There are a lot of potential threads to follow from the murder of nine churchgoers in Charleston’s most historic black church. I’m only posting historical links rather than new material in part to emphasize this crucial reality – we’ve seen this movie before.
The United States is the only place on Earth where violence of this character happens on a regular, ongoing basis. That is not an accident. Somehow we have become numb to this absurdity. We don’t even try to do anything about it anymore. Here’s a summary of a few topics around gun violence and psycho killers:
The Growing Risk of Political Violence
For starters, let’s be clear on what did and did not happen. The incident in South Carolina is not terrorism or political violence. It is vital that we understand the difference between the actions of isolated lunatics and the growing danger of organized, strategic political killing.
“Perhaps our normal (perhaps there’s a better word…) ecosystem of psycho killers is responding to something in the water that the rest of us are failing, so far, to notice. As we dump more and more toxic rhetoric into our political swamp, those tortured souls may be acting as our crazy advanced warning system of larger troubles to come.”
Politics, Gun Control, and Psycho Killers
America’s spectacular, unregulated private arsenals are a problem. Pouring that much lethality into the general public will make it impossible to contain the impact of weirdos on the margins on society. We are basically ceding our liberty to crazy people who can take it away more or less at random.
“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. However, people kill a lot more people, a lot faster, with a Bushmaster.
Some would say claim that Americans aren’t heavily armed enough. It’s true I suppose, that if we all had minefields in our yards and Gatling guns mounted on our roofs we would, for example, suffer fewer burglaries. We would also have fewer limbs. Life is full of tradeoffs.
We are paying a price in public safety for my ability to play with serious firepower. That’s an unavoidable fact. The political question is whether that price is worth paying.”
Gun Control in the Ownership Society
There is no credibly defensible reason why America should be the world’s peacetime leader in mass, random slaughter. Would we continue to have lunatics shooting up our private spaces if we required insurance for guns in the same manner that we do for automobiles?
A properly structured market can solve, or at least mitigate, a wide range of problems. Creating a market for gun safety through a simple, enforceable insurance obligation could radically reduce gun violence while protecting and even expanding the rights of competent, responsible gun owners. There is no sane argument against basic liability for negligent gun ownership.
“New proposals add more symbolic regulation on top of existing symbolic regulation. For example, an assault weapons ban sounds useful until you look at how vague the restrictions are. It is easy to circumvent them and also easy to accidentally violate them. Background checks are a modest help at the moment of purchase, but they don’t follow that gun through its lifespan. Our thinking around weapons regulation fails to address the need for choice bounded by accountability, transparency, and responsibility.
We need a new approach, but the effort to craft better laws is complicated by relative indifference to gun rights on one side and tin-hat paranoia on the other. Here’s an idea that might work.”
I am at the Buc-ee’s off I-10 and an Army truck just stopped here.
Could it be the beginning of Jade Helm and Obama’s take over off a state he already controls?
Alex Jones where are you!!!!
Careful, Turtle, this could go viral!
Fine but if they commandeer the slurpee it will be on your head.
Dylann Roof was not a psycho. Dylann Roof was a racist who was radicalized and thoughtfully planned this attack. To call him a psycho is dangerous. There is an ideology there; there is a worldview that we must take pains to understand so we can hopefully eradicate it. He may have been working on his own, but make no mistake, the country’s white supremacists have long called for an inevitable race war. Roof’s actions follow their logic.
One thing to think about, Anse, is the age of Roof and our hopeful wishes that the old white majority conservative will simply expire. Obviously, there are groups out there who are cultivating a vulnerable young population in the white supremacist message. This is going to take concerted, long term efforts to change how people think as opposed to hoping they will simply die off.
You are right. We make too many assumptions about the arc of history bending toward justice. I think it does, but it can’t be something you just expect to happen. It requires diligence and action.
There are some very big SCOTUS decisions expected this month and Mondays at 10amET, opinions are released. Note that opinions are released in full – both majority and minority. You may want to bookmark this site to track decisions (majority and minority) on cases of interest. The division of SCOTUSblog.com that provides historical records on decisions going back to 1993, showing which justice wrote which opinions. Here’s the link. Stay tuned!
Thanks, Mime. The Supreme Court and its decisions are my absolute favorite news topic to read about. There’s no comparison to reading the actual rulings in their entirety versus mere summarizing, paraphrasing, and cherry-picking performed by the news media.
I love to see the reasoning and logic used, the precedents cited, etc.
I’ve always thought Nina Totenberg does an excellent job of covering the court. Time limitations mean that she can’t quote every word from everyone, but you will get a good breakdown of all the major arguments, and the Justices get pretty equal time (except for Thomas, but that’s what happens when you rarely ask questions).
Kind of like a SCOTUS version of the NFL highlight reel.
I agree. I love hearing her quote the back-and-forth among the justices – “said Scalia, replied Sotomayor.”
My favorite SCOTUS reporter is Linda Greenhouse of the NYT. These ladies are doing a great job explaining how the highest court in the land functions.
For those who enjoy the study of the highest court, Bob Woodward years ago wrote an excellent book entitled: The Brethren. It may raise more questions than you’d like to think exist about how decisions are shaped, but it will certainly increase your understanding of the process….warts and all.
Thanks, Mime. I will check out the book you mention, literally, from the library.
I think you will find the “behind the scenes” messy politics of the court pretty amazing. The power of the clerks – the jockeying and clever manipulation/ aka/ persuasion between justices portrays a process that is not nearly as erudite or removed from politics as one would imagine (and hope)…It was written in 1979 which is admittedly a very long time ago, but haven’t read anything like it recently altho sure someone here has a suggestion.
A new topic – Today’s Houston Chronicle profiled an innovative ER program funded through the ACA, called “ETHAN”. It is encouraging and informative about how people use and abuse our ER centers and how this has impacted the ability of hospitals to manage care and attendant costs. Further, it highlights the need to re-educate a population that has become dependent upon ER and ancillary transport services to more responsible, appropriate behavior. I think you’ll find it very interesting.
We can split hairs all we want but in my personal opinion I think we should take a pause from the heated debate and observe a period of silence for the victims, the survivors, and their families. This is a time of mourning. Personally speaking, my heart is heavy over what happened and I prefer to keep my words to a minimum. Happy Fathers’ Day to all the dads out there.
Tthor’s tenet on the necessity of guns in all facets of public life sounds like a religion to me, in the same way the bible study group in Charleston followed their religion’s tenet of unarmed welcoming of strangers.
One difference is an unarmed stranger poses little danger to others, while an armed stranger can harm many others.
If unarmed community groups cannot meet safely, what the hell kind of nation do we have here?
Armed camps are no substitute shared obligations and goals.
The idea that Americans should arm themselves and conduct their daily activities (even worship) packing heat is, for me, a depressing and dystopian scenario.
My family never had guns while I was growing up and I’ve never owned a gun–nor do I intend to. I refuse to live in fear.
“I refuse to live in fear.”
Me, too. 🙂
Doug – your arsenal o firearms is a testimony to your “lack” of fear.
Feeling the need to be armed is the same as running scared.
Do you guys have fire insurance on your home? Are you quivering in fear of fire?
Professor Krugman presents a study the says that we don’t have a welfare state because of racism. We all could have told them that.
Of course it’s because of racism. It has nothing to do with the fact that this country was founded on the principles of individual liberty and limited government. There are millions of people who claim to fight the growth of ever-larger government based on these principles, but everybody knows the deep down they don’t believe it. Everyone who claims to believe in the Constitution is just a dirty stinkin’ racist.
Seems like you take everything you do not agree with on a personal level personally………that is very telling. It is as if a light has been shown into the darkest corner of your soul.
What’s up with that?
The Constitution and principles of individual liberty and limited government………no one here argues against that, Doug. As Leonard Pitts poignantly states in his moving commentary on the Charleston tragedy: “Individuality is, after all, the first casualty of racism…..There is a myth in this country…that holds that we are done with race and have been for a very long time; that we overcame, learned our lesson…for most of the people who…call themselves ‘conservative’, that myth is nothing less than an article of faith.
I have copied the main parts of Pitts’ column here in the hope that it make it easier for all to read. Allow Pitts speak directly to each of us about how black people feel deep inside and what we as one people can do to understand that we are not “done with race”.
“Let them go to Charleston. Let them visit a church with no sanctuary. For that matter, let them go to Baltimore…Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, St. Louis, Miami. Let them go to any of a hundred cities and talk to black people who are sick of hearing how America overcame, learned its lesson, reached the Promised Land, yet somehow, sister can’t get a loan, dad can’t find a job, brother has to factor stop-and-frisk encounters into his travel time to and from school, and Walter Scott gets shot in the back while running away. All for rapes they never committed and government takeovers they never planned.
If what happened in Charleston was extraordinary, and it was, this is the ordinary, the everyday of “existing while black” that grinds your faith down to a nub and works your very last nerve. Especially when the background music is provided by a bunch of people who don’t know, don’t know they don’t know, and don’t care that they don’t know, singing operatic praise to a faded myth.
Solange Knowles, sister of Beyonce, put it as follows Thursday in a tweet: “Was already weary. Was already heavy hearted. Was already tired. Where can we be safe? Where can we be free? Where can we be black?
Where, in other words, can we find just a moment to breathe free of this constant onus? Where can we find sanctuary?”
There is more interesting history about this particular black church – why it was formed – how many times it has had to be re-built – how SC outlawed black church formation. Read it all.
This is not about guns specifically, although guns so frequently are part of the threat. No- this is really about how we value lives of all people, not just “our individual” life and liberty. There is no individual liberty for just one person unless there is liberty for all. This is the very heart and soul of individual liberty. It’s staring us all in the face….if we could only see.
No, these nine black people who gave their lives inside their church sanctuary, didn’t bring guns to their Bible study, they brought Bibles. And, that is all they should have had to bring.
“Seems like you take everything you do not agree with on a personal level personally………that is very telling.”
Is it? Precisely what does it tell?
Chris, I think you’re wrong. This is terrorism.
It’s unlikely my opinion would turn yours. But this excerpt from an essay by writer Brit Bennett has a truth that your protestations do not.
“Despite reports of the killer declaring his racial hatred before shooting members of the prayer group, his motives are inscrutable. Even after photos surfaced of the suspected shooter wearing a jacket decorated with the flags of Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa and leaning against a car with Confederate-flag plates, tangible proof of his alignment with violent, segregationist ideology, his actions remained supposedly indecipherable. A Seattle Times tweet (now deleted) asked if the gunman was “concentrated evil or a sweet kid,” The Wall Street Journal termed him a “loner” and Charleston’s mayor called him a “scoundrel,” yet the seemingly obvious designations — murderer, thug, terrorist, killer, racist — are nowhere to be found.
“This is the privilege of whiteness: While a terrorist may be white, his violence is never based in his whiteness. A white terrorist has unique, complicated motives that we will never comprehend. He can be a disturbed loner or a monster. He is either mentally ill or pure evil. The white terrorist exists solely as a dyad of extremes: Either he is humanized to the point of sympathy or he is so monstrous that he almost becomes mythological. Either way, he is never indicative of anything larger about whiteness, nor is he ever a garden-variety racist. He represents nothing but himself. A white terrorist is anything that frames him as an anomaly and separates him from the long, storied history of white terrorism.”
Well shit. Other information has emerged that renders my hairsplitting definition of terrorism in this case inaccurate. In short, we now have the identity of the group that essentially sponsored the boy’s initiation into violent white supremacy.
The Council of Conservative Citizens was formed out of the wreckage of the old White Citizens Councils that whitewashed the activities of white paramilitaries and terrorist groups. The kid wasn’t trying to impress Jodi Foster. He was trying to act on the rhetoric of the CCC.
So yes, there are groups that stood to benefit from his actions. Those groups are very busy tonight taking down their websites and Twitter accounts in an effort to thwart possible civil and even criminal charges.
So, I got this one wrong. That sucks.
You were only wrong on that one point. Your basic argument remains a good one. We do have a gun violence problem in this country and need some creative solutions to it. I’m not impressed by the potential for conventional gun control measures, which have always struck me as half-assed.
I’ve felt for a long time that the root of the problem isn’t guns as such, but a gun-romanticizing subculture with aspects of both the Minutemen and the Old West, and I guess also the Confederacy although I hadn’t considered that aspect before. That romantic subculture feeds into the prevalence of guns, the fanatical paranoia about alleged threats to gun rights and the 2A, and the existence of people that feel they are at war (literally) with the U.S. government. Switzerland, which has very high rates of gun ownership but no comparably romantic gun culture, has a very low rate of gun violence compared to the U.S.
The existence of that subculture is not only the root of American firearm violence but also the reason why addressing the problem is so politically difficult.
“So, I got this one wrong. That sucks.”
Don’t sweat it. Nobody is right 100% of the time. Also in my almost 15 years of participating in on-line discussions, I’ve seen far too many people go into the most crazy, nonsensical, and intelligence-insulting rhetorical contortions because they painted themselves into a corner and they’ll be damned if they’re going to admit to the obvious error and move on. Being able to admit to a mistake is a mark of good character in my estimation.
Plus we had some nice civil arguments in the classical sense. Usually you don’t have that many of us disagreeing with you, so consider it a nice workout.
Chris, my definition of terrorism is whether the act was intended to have repercussions (to terrorize) members of a community beyond than the victims. In my mind, that bar is hurdled with room to spare here, but I can see the political aspect of it. Regardless, you put forth a reasonable argument which you modified as new information became available. That is far more honest than essentially all political commentary today.
One of the biggest reasons I remain faithful to you and your blog, even though I don’t comment as often as I used to, is that ability to admit when you are wrong and to call out others when they are. I have always had the utmost respect for you but you just upped it a couple of notches.
“The Council of Conservative Citizens was formed out of the wreckage of the old White Citizens Councils that whitewashed the activities of white paramilitaries and terrorist groups. The kid wasn’t trying to impress Jodi Foster. He was trying to act on the rhetoric of the CCC.
…….,,,,So yes, there are groups that stood to benefit from his actions. Those groups are very busy tonight taking down their websites and Twitter accounts in an effort to thwart possible civil and even criminal charges.”
We can only hope that some vigilant citizens collected lots of screenshots before that happened. Imagine if there’s enough evidence to justify classifying the CCC as a terrorist organization!! There’d be some heads exploding.
These “shadow” hate groups have been operating with impunity for years. Maybe the time has finally come where they will be brought to accountability for their role in promoting hate crimes. Let it start with the CCC. At the very least, there needs to be more public awareness of those who have affiliated with these organizations as they climbed the political ladder.
And by the way, a few prominent members of the CCC include former GOP Senators Trent Lott, Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms. Former Mississippi Gov Haley Barbour and current Mississippi US Senator Roger Wicker have both spoken at the group’s events.
These Republican members of the CCC are merely spokes in a much larger wheel. Those of us who have watched in growing frustration and shock the vitriol that is so very public coming from not only prominent members of Congress (I will NEVER forget “YOU LIE”), but from everyday people, our neighbors and family, are not surprised by each new atrocity. Our society is coming apart. It is so incredibly, humanly, sad.
And, I share BW’s wishes for the nine Black victims to rest in peace.
I think it is terrorism even if his association with a supremacy group were absent.
To me, your post sounds like a white guy making excuses for another white guy, not out of racism but more out of blindness.
Please forgive me if I ignore the political aspect of Charleston at this time. Roof mentioned mission while under questioning. I find this remark very curious. I’m also curious as to what passages of the Bible they were studying that evening.
He also mentioned that he wanted to bring about a race war?
I’ll throw this one in.
Please allow my brothers and sisters to pass on in forgiveness and commune their souls to the heart of Christ.
I am very, very impressed with the way that congregation and the City of Charleston general is responding this this horror. Peace and best wishes to those folks.
Same here. I’m not a particularly forgiving person, and I can hold a grudge for a very long time, but I respect people who practice what they preach. Forgiving someone who wronged you so grievously is very hard work.
Agreed. There are precious few people who really appear to adhere to the tenets of their religion. The acts of the Charleston congregation, despite their biting pain, makes me a bit less cynical.
Do you ever wonder how Black people can continue to forgive in the face of such abject sacrifice? Do they feel their faith would be compromised if they didn’t perform this act of forgiveness? Is it that they have had to demonstrate it time and again simply to find peace in living? To wake up one more day and go out into a world that has used them and hurt them badly? How can they forgive those who perpetrate racism, bigotry and murder their people as worthy of God’s forgiveness? You would think their courage and gentle piety would shame those who despise them for their color, and offer the rest of us courage to stand up for them. Yet, the atrocities and public insults continue. It’s not about guns – it’s about us.
Mime, let the survivors continue to have forgiveness in their hearts. They deserve to be at peace after all they’ve been through. Let the rest of society who is not so forgiving take that burden off them, be angry for them, and mete out the appropriate justice to the perpetrator.
Of course, Tutt. I am angry because this keeps happening. These people and their family and friends are suffering a far deeper pain. I do wish them peace and I hope that justice will be done. Until the next time. And, it will come.
Twitter users @HenryKrinkle and @EmmaQuangel used a Reverse Whois lookup to locate a manifesto posted at LastRhodesian.net and registered to Dylan Roof’s name, that appears to be a white supremacist manifesto by the Charleston shooter.
ZOMG/Cthulu on a Cracker/ &%$#@*&^
Even just reading the selected quotes has me looking for some brain bleach. Reading the whole unedited text in one go is probably hazardous to the mental health of anyone with even a shred of decency. So thanks Vox for breaking this toxic sludge into bits well below the LD50.
Go on GOP, say it. Say the R-word. That’s the first step, saying it. Once we’ve passed that hurdle, then we’ll work on the admission that it still exists, that’s it not just some bad thing from the distant past.
If you want to read all of the puke, you can go here.
Proceed with caution. You have been warned.
I have to grudgingly give him credit for a fragment of a valid point in all that toxic ooze. He’s right about the little lies the “white flight” people tell themselves.
Roof obviously had a good mind, but it twisted. Did you note the date on the manifesto? Feb. 9, 2015. Sad that this wasn’t picked up on by someone who could have intervened. I am sure we’ll continue to learn more about Roof and his childhood and growing years. We have not only lost one more young man, we have lost nine others. So sad both couldn’t have been saved.
Just another brick in the blue wall, eh? Well done, Chris. Illinois Dem precinct chairs breathe a sigh of relief today, resting assured they have nothing to worry about when the local opposition party is led by the likes of, well, you. But let’s dispense with petty party politics (which, frankly, are of little interest to YT) and talk substance, viz. your (borrowed from the gun control wing of the Democratic Party) notion of “a simple, enforceable insurance obligation [that] could radically reduce gun violence while protecting and even expanding the rights of competent, responsible gun owners.”
First we’ll have to dispense with the concept of a “national gun registry.” Gun registries have the potential to serve a small number of legitimate purposes, but unfortunately history clearly demonstrates that ultimately they end up serving an entirely unacceptable end, i.e. government confiscation of firearms. Not only that, it’s already been demonstrated in no uncertain terms in our own country that “privacy protections” for such registries are a pipe dream. The following addresses both concerns: http://jpfo.org/articles-assd03/kopel-catastrophic-consequences.htm. To understand the typical progression of gun registration, one need look no farther than our northern neighbor: http://www.infowars.com/canadian-mounties-override-civilian-rule-to-arbitrarily-ban-confiscate-firearms/.
Second, we must dispense with the prima facie risible notion that gun liability insurance (even in combination with a national registry) might “radically reduce gun violence.” In the case at hand, the captured perpetrator has already been charged with nine counts of murder, *one count of illegal possession of a firearm*, and will likely face federal hate crimes charges, as well. You will note that *none* of these existing laws *prevented* his heinous, unlawful acts. As an alternative, you might well propose a law that provides for the incarceration of psychiatric patients who go off their meds. It would prove just as workable. Let us acknowledge reality: We simply cannot legislate away evil, and legislating away the natural right to self-defense only gives evil freer reign.
Third, firearms liability insurance in the form you have proposed is simply a Jim Crow law for firearms ownership. It serves the same role as a poll tax, denying the poor access to their right of self-defense. To avoid this lamentable (and no doubt intended) consequence, why, we’d have to structure a gun liability insurance law somewhat like the ACA, with federal subsidies for the poor and full protection for preexisting conditions (which are currently used to deny firearms ownership).
Much like proper health insurance reform, firearms liability insurance *could* serve a useful purpose. A very simple law would suffice: all companies offering liability insurance of any form must also offer firearms liability insurance, with the federal government providing needs-based subsidies. To the greatest extent possible, leave it to the market to determine what form(s) such insurance would take, and what prerequisites might be appropriate. Above all else, leave it to individuals to decide whether purchase of such insurance makes sense for them. I am currently a member of both https://www.texaslawshield.com/ and https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/. Both organizations offer financial support for litigation costs should I ever find myself in a court of law as a result of having deployed my firearm in self-defense. This is good, but only partial, protection. It would be nice if suitable coverage were also available for the costs of damages awards.
Oh, and in other breaking news:
“Third, firearms liability insurance in the form you have proposed is simply a Jim Crow law for firearms ownership. It serves the same role as a poll tax, denying the poor access to their right of self-defense.”
The guns themselves can be fairly cheap, but the ammo is another story. A little searching finds some 38 special rounds at $13.23 per 50, as one example. If you’re really expecting to use that gun for self defense, you’re going to have to practice. Regularly. A box of 50 bullets isn’t going to last too long. Then there’s the range fees, whatever those might be (as most poor people probably don’t have access to expanses of private property large enough for safe target shooting). I really doubt that an insurance requirement is going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for poor people wanting to have a gun in a legal manner.
Well, fly, I load my own to the tune of ~6,000 rounds per year; that saves me about 50% vs. store bought. I have an annual membership at American Shooting Center. I burned 150 rounds today; total cost for a couple of hours of good, clean fun was about $20 – about what I’d spend at the movie theater. And much of my trigger time is on a LaserLyte training system, which costs next to nothing after the initial investment. (I also dropped 25 bucks on 20 rounds of Hornady Critical Duty .45 ACP – I’m not going to scrimp on the ammo I may end up betting my life on.) I have no idea what firearms liability insurance would end up costing; my bet is it wouldn’t be cheap.
But it looks like you’re not poor Tracy. There’s this nasty paradox that makes it “expensive to be poor”. Poor people can’t afford to buy in bulk, despite the long run savings, because the up front cost is too much. Nor are they likely to be able to invest in sort of long term cost savings systems you mention, for the same reasons.
So no, you aren’t convincing me on that point. The shooting sports are one of many things that just aren’t realistically available to poor people because of their cost, and an insurance requirement isn’t going to be the barrier you’re claiming.
Then there’s the whole “there’s a Black with a gun”!!! Enjoy your sport, Tracy. Working people are spending their money on food and health care and lodging. Not firing ranges or bulk bullet purchases.
Tracy, Do you know you just burnished the point fly was making?
unarmed, the point is that as far as hobbies go, shooting can be done on the cheap. You can melt lead to cast bullets on a Coleman stove, for goodness’ sake. I spent less than a hundred bucks on my first reloading setup back in my salad days. I did so precisely because it was the only way I could afford to shoot. Conversely, it’s highly unlikely that firearms liability insurance, were it available, would ever be cheap. It would be “the straw that broke the camel’s back for poor people wanting to have a gun in a legal manner.”
Thing is Tracy, I’ve had the experience of living hand to mouth for a few years in my youth, and even your so-called cheap investments in a shooting hobby would have been problematic in a budgetary sense. And I’m not even claiming to have been as bad off as some really destitute people.
But if that is really such a big problem, let the NRA do some charity in this area. They’re rolling in lots of cash, considering all the politicians they buy.
Not the NRA, but there is a non profit in Houston that helps arm the poor. http://armedcitizenproject.org/about
(btw, this org was started by a gun totin’ white guy in a former confederate state. Notice the racial diversity in the pic.)
Wow, a hyper-conservative white southerner donating time and money to fill the streets of the black community with guns. Where do we get such big-hearted heroes?
Doug – The ArmedCitizenProject is very interesting. Amazingly it incorporates many of the features of gun safety that we plead for. They provide trigger locks and I assume inform the users that unlocked guns are so very dangerous for children.
From the site: “We are choosing mid-high crime neighborhoods in cities across America, and offering defensive weapons to citizens that can pass a background check, and that will take our safety, legal, and tactical training”.
OMG, Doug. I’ll take it.
But Doug, No one is saying all gun advocates are racist or or even all racists are pro-gun. But there is an overlap. Want proof? I’ll take you to any corner bar in your state or mine and start an innocent conversation about , say welfare, and see where it takes us. It clearly states on the web page that it is not out of the need for self protection for poor folks. It is to gather data so the gun culture can fight against the anti-guns folks. “The goal is to find if there exists a causal link between an increase in the presence of firearms and the level of crime”.
The fact that this group is using gun safety points to prove that the gun safety people are incorrect, well, it boggles my mind. When it will prove just the reverse.
We all know the limitations on the federal gun registry. Maybe if that division was given the staffing, authority to use the data proactively, and a budget adequate to develop real educational programs not just for gun owners, but kids, and law enforcement – maybe, just maybe, that would do some good. Instead, the gun lobby has co-opted members of Congress to do their bidding to destroy this division of government, with no commensurate plan to address the real problems posed by gun violence in our country. The “leave me the hell alone” philosophy is it. That’s not helping.
No, what I read from you is more of the same gun freedom pap, although, as always, it is extremely well written. For that, you get credit.
Unless and until our nation’s gun violence declines instead of continually increasing, your arguments will reflect a defensive, partisan viewpoint (which is of course your right) , but absolutely will not present ANY solutions other than “more guns save more lives”. That’s not working, Tracy. Period.
“Unless and until our nation’s gun violence declines instead of continually increasing…”
Violence has diminished greatly in the last few decades, while gun sales have skyrocketed.
The FBI data does contradict my perception that deaths due to gun violence is increasing. Even though the study ends in 2012, that leaves only three and one-half years.
That is a good thing. Not being a statistician, I don’t know how these facts were compiled, but facts are facts. Not being a criminologist, I don’t know if the crimes by guns is shifting from more single acts to multiple shootings. That would be interesting to know.
I am thankful that gun violence trends are decreasing. You would no doubt attribute that to more guns in public hands; I would be interested to know what other factors are contributing. But, fair is fair, and a declining homicide rate is progress.
I guess then we would need to think about who is being targeted and whether the U.S. is doing all it can to protect against these repeated crimes. Are there additional laws or ways to utilize gun registration that would improve access to guns by those who shouldn’t have them? We may never prevent someone like Roof from murdering in cold blood innocent people. But my view is that the solution proposed by gun rights advocates for more guns, carried in every situation – even in elementary schools and churches speaks to erosion of freedom and increase in potential violence. Then, there remains the glaring favorite target of racists – Black people.
Thanks for the link, Doug. It was helpful.
Gun violence is on the decline. So is gun ownership: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/number-of-households-with-guns-on-the-decline-study-shows/
“According to the latest General Social Survey, 32 percent of Americans either own a firearm themselves or live with someone who does, which ties a record low set in 2010. That’s a significant decline since the late 1970s and early 1980s, when about half of Americans told researchers there was a gun in their household.”
The number of guns in circulation is a misleading statistic, since one person can own multiple weapons. Gun ownership has declined by almost 20 percentage points since 1980. The idea that there is a direct relationship between gun ownership and gun violence is consistent with these statistics.
What is not immediately apparent from the NY Times charts is that the period from about 1980-1995 represented the high-water mark for violent crime in this country. While improvements from that nadir are more than welcome we are not, in fact, safer than we were in the 1950s (or most any time before that) in terms of violent crime.
Gun sales may have skyrocketed, but that is largely misleading as well, since gun ownership is ever more concentrated in the hands of the few. No matter whether Doug or Tracy have one gun or 72, they only have two hands in which to hold them.
“You would no doubt attribute that to more guns in public hands; I would be interested to know what other factors are contributing.”
I would, partially. Economist John Lott has assembled some pretty convincing stats in that regard. But there certainly are other factors. One theory is Roe v. Wade, on the basis that unwanted babies are more likely to grow up to be criminals.
Well, Doug beat me to the punch; in my defense, I did spend the afternoon at the range. One other interesting point to take note of is that to the extent we do continue to have locales plagued by persistent gun violence, they almost always coincide with municipalities that have the most draconian gun laws.
And 1mime, there is no “federal gun registry.” Also, both the NRA and the NSSF have very extensive and successful education programs. (You might want to actually peruse the following links. I’ve posted them before; perhaps you missed them. http://www.projectchildsafe.org http://training.nra.org/)
There is no federal gun registry. You are correct, Tracy, but it is not because it hasn’t been pushed for. The gun lobby objects to what they perceive loss of privacy. I think that could be managed, if a greater good would come from having such a registry. This is not the main issue, however, and we both know it. Too many guns, too much ease of access to guns, too many people obtaining guns who should be barred from gun ownership.
The NRA is doing some good things to help educate, but principally, their main objective is unfettered gun access. The organization could and should do more. Use their millions in more positive ways to help find solutions that would not threaten responsible gun ownership but would address irresponsible ownership. That’s all. It’s simple. Yet every time a law is offered to address an area that would enhance gun safety, the NRA opposes it. Maybe it’s time they get on the right side of this issue and stop being obstructionist.
More guns, less gun owners, looser gun laws, more mass shootings.
Very clever, Tracy. There are about a hundred reasons why your gun fetish bears no resemblance to the events at Lexington and Concord, even if Breitbart tells you that you are at the capricious mercy of a far-distant tyrant for whom you did not vote.
Nice try with the poor people justification against liability insurance. You don’t give a rat’s ass about poor people defending themselves, it just an attempt to make your paranoia seem less selfish.
johng, I certainly wouldn’t claim to know what’s going on in your head; perhaps you could return the favor. I understand that pointing out the rank hypocrisy of the left on this topic might cause you to lose your cool, but do try to keep a civil tongue in your head.
“I understand that pointing out the rank hypocrisy of the left on this topic…”
Really Tracy? Then let’s point out the massive beam lodged on YOUR eye.
The attitude you are displaying in the aftermath of this atrocity is something that I just cannot grok. Based on all your previous postings on the topic of guns, there are 2 major points that you make very frequently:
1) You consider yourself to be a responsible gun owner, and
2) You greatly fear the prospect of the government confiscating all the guns.
So based on that, in the light of what this little scumbag did, I would have expected you to be very upset. I would have thought that you would have been angry that this little puke was making the cause of gun ownership look bad. I would have expected indignation that he could just get a gun without having to demonstrate that he knew how to use it responsibly, or understood all the legal ramifications if he ever shot someone, or had any respect for that easy power of life and death that fits into the palm of one’s hand. But what was your initial response to this incident, at least on this forum? Going back one post it’s this:
“Ah, well. Yet another example of a familiar recipe: nutball + gun free zone = tragedy”
Wow, that’s some really impressive righteous indignation there!
Some of the regulars here, who I very often agree with, have expressed support for what Australia did in banning guns. In this particular case I’ve not been inclined to agree with them, because I actually have been in agreement with a sentiment that you have expressed, that it’s not good to take rights away from responsible people based on what irresponsible people do. But I don’t see your reaction, or the reaction of the other NRA types to this tragedy (I’m looking at YOU Charles Cotton, you asshole) to be responsible at all. The fact that Roof was able to get a gun legally is a MAJOR problem, a problem that needs to be addressed, and if you keep denying/ evading that reality, you are going to help bring about this thing that you fear most. I suggest that you look at smokers as a cautionary tale. There’s not much complaint when restrictions are put on them these days, because so many of them have been such insufferable douchebags who didn’t bother to think about how they might be negatively impacting others. You might say people ought to side with them out of principle and because, freedom, and quote some Niemöller, but it’s human nature not to get all that worked up over jerks getting hit with restrictions that interfere with them being jerks. If the responsible gun owners don’t want to step up and help propose solutions to deal with the irresponsible gun owners/ loopholes that make getting guns too easy for the wrong people, someone else will end up doing it, and you just may not like their ideas.
Fly, the “the little scumbag” is a *murderer*. He doesn’t make gun owners “look bad;” he makes human beings in general “look bad.” There is evil in the world, and “little scumbag” is merely its latest ambassador. There is simply *no reasonable* way to stop people like him from obtaining guns, or explosives, or flammable materials, or any of the means to commit mass murder. So pull the beam out of your eye, and deal with that.
Don’t get me wrong, I sympathise with the families of the victims. My “Ah, well” is merely my reaction to the utterly banal predictability of *all* of this, especially the caterwalling of the gun grabbers.
And fly, lest you purposefully misconstrue “utterly banal predictability,” consider the following: How many horrific object lessons does it take before people realize that, a) “No Guns Allowed” signs do not deter murderers, and b) such signs are in fact open invitations to mayhem. How many examples must be provided before the leaders of public institutions, including churches, acknowledge they are responsible for the security of the facilities they oversee, and a) provide for secured means of ingress/egress, or b) failing that, provide for an armed security presence, or c) failing that, allow those legitimately present the means to defend themselves.
None of the above conditions obtained at that church, so evil walked in and sat down right next to them. Evil came prepared to do evil; they had taken no steps to thwart evil. When that bitter moment arrived, all they could do was pray, and die. Very sad, and inexcusably foolish.
Ah, how foolish of those nine dead Black worshipers to think they could just go to their small church Bible study with no fear for their safety. Oops, they forgot their guns! Oh, my, their bad.
Tracy – you have it all figured out. Life is utterly controllable. As one of the parishioners in the Charleston Church service this morning said, despite our grief, I am reminded that there are worst places.
“Fly, the “the little scumbag” is a *murderer*. He doesn’t make gun owners “look bad;” he makes human beings in general “look bad.” “
So it looks like you’re not that upset over people who abuse a right that is so near and dear to your heart. As I’ve said, I just don’t grok that.
“There is simply *no reasonable* way to stop people like him from obtaining guns, or explosives, or flammable materials, or any of the means to commit mass murder. “
So let’s not even bother to try? I don’t expect any sort of screening regarding guns to catch 100% of the people planning mass murder. But I do expect that the effort be made to stop the ones who can be stopped. Roof is a prime example. Reports are that he bought that gun, yet he had a pending felony charge. That should have been a big red flag right there. Could he have gone to the black market then? Sure, but that increases his risks of getting caught, probably at least delays his plans. Any obstacle that’s thrown in the path of people like him can help.
“a) “No Guns Allowed” signs do not deter murderers, and b) such signs are in fact open invitations to mayhem.”
No evidence that Roof was even considering that in his plans.
I expect some churches probably will post some security, so that they can at least have some control over the situation. But having to set up all these little armed camps everywhere is not a good thing.
OK, Tracy. In 1775 the colonies were part of a far distant kingdom of a limited sort of constitutional monarchy. Those colonists, as a whole, did not have any say on political matters that affected them. You – or at least some conservatives – may think that Obama is a far distant tyrant, but the fact is that he was elected in a poll in which you probably voted. You have no claim to a lack of representation. If you do not like the outcome of that election, you can do everything in your legal abilities to change the outcome of the next one. Taking up arms against the duly elected government is treason and the dark whispers from the NRA crowd about their guns preventing tyranny from this elected government borders on it.
The conservative obsession these days with guns, gays, and abortion are unhealthy for democracy. These become focal points, litmus tests, beyond which little else matters; it is why we have Ted Cruz and Dan Patrick as representatives. If you like shooting, then enjoy your hobby. If you think you need to be constantly armed to protect yourself, then there is a major problem in this country. Citizens of other countries seem reasonably safe, safer in fact than we are, despite (because of?) a strict lack of guns.
Slightly off topic, but go to chron.com and read the Big Question. They can’t even name the correct city where the atrocity occurred. The incompetence of these people knows no bounds. Let’s hope they correct it soon. LOL
Can you link that Viking? The chron’s search engine totally blows and I don’t see it on the page.
This is an interesting essay about White people and the lack of acknowledgement of racism:
It’s on the front page of chron.com. Right hand side about halfway down.
I see, was looking in the wrong place. And as as my post it’s still wrong.
I saw this screenshot of a Facebook post on another forum. I can’t find a web link to the image, so I’ll have to quote it. It is a spot on and absolutely devastating smackdown of SC governor Nikki Haley’s evasion of the obvious:
Nikki Haley: “Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight’s senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.”
Devin Goldberg: “We do know what motivated this troubled young man. In his own words it was his racist delusions and hate. We do know what enabled him. Clearly he’s been spurred on by right wing broadcasters and politicians (the ‘we want our country back’ crowd). He was given the gun as a birthday present in a state that requires little or no background checks, screening, or training. We do know all of this already. For you, Governor, to say ‘we’ll never know’ is testimony to your lack of courage and insight. You’re so afraid to stand up against the forces that motivated and enabled these murders that you spout a mealy-mouthed ‘prayers and sympathies’ note. You are a profile in cowardice.”
Racism isn’t the elephant in the room. It’s the HERD of elephants in the room, with the 10-foot high pile of elephant dung that’s accumulated due to so much denial of said herd of elephants.
I disagree Chris that this isn’t a terrorist act.
From the Chron article quoted about “adding more toxic rhetoric to the political soup” seems to imply that. I agree completely with that statement, but it’s political nature is what MAKES it a terrorist act.
Terrorism is not a fundamentally violent act. It’s EXPRESSED as violence, but at its core it’s a political act. On the same spectrum as voting or protesting (but obviously way, way, way, way down the spectrum).
It is violence where the intent is not really to hurt the victims. The victims are merely pawns, the intent is to enact political change, through violence and fear. The political aim is different, of course (perhaps the aim is to get US Forces out of the ME, or Jewish IDF out of Gaza) but it’s intended as political.
Considering the gunman did not know or care who his victims were (as long as they were black), that he hoped to instill fear in the REMAINING black Americans, and that he hoped to spark a civil war (about as violently political an act as exists), I’m not sure how this can be anytjing OTHER then a terrorist act.
And I think it’s more then just semantics. If it’s just a “lone wolf” or a fringe racist, this can be easily dismissed by the media without asking the truly tough questions about things like systemic racism and gun control.
But if we reach a broad consensus that this is terrorism, and the media describes it as such, perhaps that can build up the political will to start looking for solutions.
The word ‘terrorism’ obviously holds a lot of political heft to it, and if we properly labeled this attack as what it was, perhaps we could build some political will to enact some change.
“this can be easily dismissed by the media without asking the truly tough questions about things like systemic racism and gun control”
90% of black murders are perpetrated by blacks. I suppose it’s somehow satisfying to get all hyped up about whites killing blacks, but the stats don’t back it up.
And what are the motives behind those “black on black” murders you insist on harping about Doug? Let’s see, one person wants to take another person’s property. Or a jealous boyfriend/ girlfriend situation that escalated. Or and argument over some trivial thing that escalated. Or someone being a careless irresponsible dumbass with a loaded gun. Or even a gang fight. But none of those situations are unique to Black people. If you look at White on White crime, or Hispanic on Hispanic crime, or any murders by most criminals, you’ll find those motives. Why is the crime committed by Roof different? Because he killed his victims because of their skin color, because he wanted to terrify other people with the same skin color, and because he hoped that more people would start killing each other on the basis of skin color. That’s a higher level of evil than the actions of the typical criminal killer.
There’s a definition for the logical fallacy you just committed: red herring. Those things really start to stink up the joint, so please stop bringing them here.
With a giant plank in his eye Doug is here to deny reality and tell us up is down and night is day.
Doug, the shooter has already made his intent clear. He wanted to spark a race war by killing some Black people in a place that holds significant meaning within the Civil Rights movement. The racist rhetoric within the right wing is more than just palatable. They think they so clever in the coding of their language “thugs” but their intent is clear as day.
The other day I ashes when will the right wingers come out to blame the parents for their lack of teaching Roof to behave and guess what I am still waiting. Maybe only minority parents are bad I suppose.
Keep throwing out the red herring and straw men you are making a fool of yourself and you intent is crystal clear.
For your amusement (or horror), Perry or Parody?
“I’d like to exposit my position by asserting that I did not at any point mean to imply that Mr. Roof’s actions were caused purely as a result of his drug use. Clearly, Mr. Roof is a very disturbed man, and I think we — all of us, Americans on every side of the political equation — can accept as inmitigatable truth the very unpleasant idea that his actions were rooted in what some might call racism. Now, whether that racism stems from mental illness or cultural pressures such as violent video games, we cannot say until further investigations and implications are completed. But I’d like to make another point as well, which is to say that I’ve recently read reports of Mr. Roof’s confession, in which he said to police, and I am being quoting him here with my own words, that he almost decided to not go through with this act because the people of that church were being so nice to him. Now, think about that. Think about that for a moment. Here you have a mentally ill, culturally corrupted lone wolf like Dylann Roof, and he’s been planning this attack for something like six months, and right there on the verge of committing it, he almost changes his mind. And why? Because people were nice to him. And it really begs the question, doesn’t it — what if they had been nicer? What if we all had been nicer? Could that have stopped this tragedy? We’ll never know. But in the days and weeks and months ahead, I hope that we can take some lesson from those words and think before we start accusing each other of things like being racists or valuing gun rights or what have you. Maybe we can turn this terrible national tragedy into something positive, and use this young man’s words as something of an inspiration. Be nice to each other. I think I can do that. Can you?”
I’ll be back with the answer later.
You are absolutely correct, Fly, that this terrible tragedy provides an opportunity for us to
turn this into positive action. Every tragedy, I feel the same despair and hope that it will bring about change, then the next horrible event occurs.
Who needed more inspiration to change things than after Sandy Hook? Tamir Rice? And, on and on. I keep hoping people will change and tragedies like this keep happening. We have a national, societal problem that is rotting away the heart and soul of our nation.
It took me all the way to the fourth word to decide this was a parody. I’d bet $5 that Perry has never uttered the word “exposit” at any point in his life.
So, we have the stupidity and denial of people trying to spin this as an attack on Christians, rather than racism. Then we have Rick Perry insulting everyone’s intelligence by calling if an “accident”. But I can one-up those with something even more stupid and horrendously offensive. I give you the opinion of one Charles Cotton:
You are only barely better than the scumbag who did this.
Like blaming a woman whose husband beat her unconscious for not standing up to him……
A link with screenshot badness:
GRRR – so many of these jerks are from TX…….And, don’t you love the damage control with the posting disappearing from the website! Thank goodness someone photographed the remarks. “Sanitized” damage control…….
According to the reports I heard, the shooter had to reload five times. Yes, if someone was carrying, lives and taxpayer dollars most likely would have been saved. I would much rather see 1-2 dead victims and a dead perp than nine dead victims and a perp that lives for another decade or two before justice is finally carried out.
So, once again, the answer to gun violence is more guns – in churches. Doug, you just don’t get it.
Trouble is Doug, you and that Cotton asshole are mistakenly making the direct link to Pinckley votes no, people get murdered, no steps in between. Just because concealed carry might have been allowed doesn’t automatically mean that any of those people would have chose to be carrying a gun at that time. There’s also no mention of what the vote was- did the measure fail by just one vote or a bunch of votes? Also no mention of if this scumbag who had no business being allowed to legally purchase a gun had been properly screened, he might not have had a gun that night.
And now we have the people who are praising the shooting on social media:
We need one of TR’s facepalm pix here. One thing that I will say about social media, it’s a great way for the idiots and the scumbags to out themselves. Who wants someone who thinks murdering innocent people because they were Black is a good thing doing a job that involves matters of life and death? Could anyone trust him to rescue a Black person in a fire?
We should outlaw all guns so the drug dealers will have something to fall back on as drugs are legalized.
We asked you nicely not to bring strawmen.
Your genuine empathy for the victims (who are your victims? mine are the 9 dead people) is touching, Doug. This is a serious subject. Try to contribute with something other than sarcasm. It is deserving of deeper thought.
Yea, we’ll be overrun by black market gun runners, just like they are in Canada and Britain and France and Japan and Korea and Germany and…
I will reiterate what I wrote in the previous thread. Guns and gun violence are part of America’s cultural DNA and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. To me it doesn’t really matter whether the reliance on gunfire results from insanity or terrorism.
Yes, unfortunately you’re right. If this country can wave off the murder of kindergarteners, then I don’t think change is in the cards in my lifetime. It is a shame we do not have the courage of the Aussies.
Chris – going to have to disagree with you on the terrorism thing, from at least a few different angles.
In your first comment, you noted, “Responding to that incident effectively would require more than merely bringing the perpetrators to justice. It would require identifying and confronting the political structure that organized and enabled it. And by the way, we failed to effectively do either.”
I would suggest we have an economic, educational, and political power structure somewhat designed to produce or enable disparities across the races. That may not necessarily be the exact structure in place now everywhere (but it certainly is in some locations), it was the structure of the past that we are undoubtedly dealing with today.
Your second comment noted, “
If you want to see the consequences of domestic terrorism in the US today, follow an abortion clinic worker through their day in a southern state. Only a relatively few incidents of actual physical violence have been carried out against them, but those actions take place against a backdrop of organized opposition that could explode at any moment. Those folks know they are taking their lives in their hands when they go to work.”
You might want to take the perspective of the young Black man pulled over by a nervous cop or a young Black man alone at night on the wrong side of a southern small town, and I bet you would find one or two who would suggest they are taking their lives in their own hands when they go outside being Black.
The shooting in SC amplifies such feelings.
I might also suggest we slow down with the “lunatic”, “crazy”, “nut job” and any number of other terms to describe Roof.
While we might assume that someone who would shoot 9 people is insane, we seem about 100 times more likely to describe White killers “crazy” but Black killers as gang-bangers and thugs.
I would argue that Mr. Roof’s brand of “crazy” is as much a part of his upbringing and culture as the drive-by shooting gang banger is a product of his upbringing and culture.
“I might also suggest we slow down with the “lunatic”, “crazy”, “nut job” and any number of other terms to describe Roof.”
I nominate “scumbag”. It’s accurate and AFAIK, no racial baggage.
“I would argue that Mr. Roof’s brand of “crazy” is as much a part of his upbringing and culture as the drive-by shooting gang banger is a product of his upbringing and culture.”
I couldn’t agree more, this young man didn’t learn his hate in a vacuum. It begins at home and is given fertile ground to grow in our society. Between the media’s sensationalism and misrepresentations of events of this nature and the political rhetoric of our countries leaders to make hay of these situations, these kids are given all the ammunition they need to feed their anger.
A question for anyone here who is old enough to remember the racial tension of the 1960s and what it felt like- are you getting the same vibe now? I’m not old enough to evaluate that time except through studying history, but this past year is making me wonder if history is beginning to rhyme here.
I meet the age litmus test, Fly, and the difference mostly is visibility and public expression that has been validated by various radical groups to promote individuals to feel comfortable, nay – stand up and be proud – to say and do these things.
Frankly, I am amazed the President and his family are still alive.
I wonder if these is a two steps forward- one step back thing. The fact that a Black person was elected President, twice, is a big deal, and a sign that there has been progress. But anyone who thought that this meant racism was over was kidding themselves. Anyone who thinks all the vitriol directed at Obama is 100% political differences, with absolutely no racism involved is also kidding themselves. It’s an ugly thing to see, but perhaps it’s like a boil that has to grow big enough to be lanced.
I really would love to have a 2215 history book drop through some wormhole for me to read.
Nothing like the tension of that time. Although I was a preteen to late teen during that time. White people are with Black people on this. No excuse for the murder of those church people. There is no large group of support for Roof’s action. That was not true in the sixties and is why I think tensions were heightened then.
I’m also thinking of the various police shootings and their aftermaths. What’s happened in Ferguson and Baltimore hasn’t compared to the 60s riots, but I wonder if those are just a few sparks that gutter out, or do they grow into big flames?
We’re still waiting to see if anyone gets charged over the death of Tamir Rice. That has the potential to get very ugly.
You are right about that, Stephen. Back then, except for those directly involved, you simply didn’t know it was going on. Still pretty segregated living patterns, for one thing. Integration may have impacted the schools, but people still lived where they always lived, so the daily intercourse of Black and White lives we now see (still limited due mostly to economics), didn’t exist.
I’m old enough to remember. I was working as a secretary to a grandfatherly LTC at Fort Hood when there were riots in many cities in 1968.
His solution: get out the machine guns and mow’em down.
I first became politically active during that time Fly and I agree with Mime I too am surprised the President and his family have been physically unharmed.
Looks like the Prosecutor’s job should straightforward. The conviction will happen. The sentencing will probably be death. I don’t like the death penalty, but this crime is particularly heinous.
The people that were murdered did not deserve it. They weren’t ganbangers or drug dealers, and Rev. Pinckney was described as “kindly.”
It’s inevitable that politics will be involved, but in this case I’m not interested.
In general, gang-bangers and drug dealers do not deserve to be gunned down in cold blood.
I don’t want to suggest that your hood is showing, but this is a group of folks shot in a church, and your “They weren’t gang bangers or drug dealers” seems…well, just odd.
Maybe, however, when the good folks in Aurora, Colorado were shot in a movie theater, you also noted that they were not gang bangers or drug dealers.
I’m not sure the “politics” involved, but this was a racist ass-hat in a state with the Confederate flag flying high this morning shooting Black folks, so if by “politics” you mean, “hey, we are just celebratin’ our heritage”, then you get to be a racist ass-hat too.
Mr. Stay at Homer your extrapolative abilities are without question. I don’t know how to hit the knuckleball (or as I suspect you sanded it a bit).
I think I’ma gonna take that pitch.
It was just an accident…….
The stupidity is original, I’ll give him that.
I acknowledge his credibility and intelligence barely above Trump. Clown car carnival barker meter. neck and neck off the charts.
Stupid or not, that is appallingly offensive. An “accident” is two cars bumping into each other. An “accident” (maybe) is little Timmy finding dad’s .45 and shooting his sister. The premeditated murder in a church of 9 people because of the skin color is an abhorrent act of terrorism. (And despite Lifer’s definition, this was a terrorist act.)
Is this the GOP’s SOP now? When confronted with solid evidence of a problem, deny it exists?? I realize that the investigation is in it’s early stages, but the racism motive can’t get any more obvious. Why can’t you say it Perry, Santorum, Graham???? Scumbag shot those people because they were Black.
Fly – it is part of the continued GOP narrative that they are the true victims. The current GOP hopefuls know they cannot call this shooting what it really is – an attack by a Confederate sympathizer with White suprematist views. That hits to close to home with a large percentage of their base.
It is sad that Perry, Paul, and Bush have to try to frame the shooting in a different light because it allows them, their base, and the nation to continue to avoid talking about the race issue our nation so sorely need. Instead they will frame it as another example that Christians (one of us) were the true target. Fear politics at its finest and lowest.
Beyond the realm of Presidential candidate stupidity Mr. Cotton a NRA Executive Board Member posted on the NRA website that this shooting was the direct result and fault of Senator Pickney ( Minister of the church and one of the victims ) because he voted in opposition to some gun law forcing churches to allow concealed carry.
“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs constant struggle.”
I have read that the problem was the church (and/or its members) possessed insufficient armament (from the right side of the aisle), and from the left, the poisonous attitudes of racism are to blame.
Perhaps and as nostrums go these are completely sufficient responses to ‘solve’ gun violence (by definition a nostrum is an idea for solving a problem, especially an idea that is unlikely to be effective). Have more, better, nicer, responsible people with more guns. Solution!
With some disagreement as to the polling results (eg Gallup), it does seem that gun ownership in America is reflected by fewer citizens owning more guns.
It is well beyond time that the costs of this supposed Constitutional and western civilization right and heritage be borne by those most enamored of this right. Insurance, higher taxes, including on ammunition, tons of training and videos, maybe even your doctor should be required to inquire and then tell you something completely obvious. There is no better solution for a charging grizzly than a gun-where do you live?
Possessing the right to kill is not liberty.
Crogged – Well said. I might add that gun education must present real data from real studies concerning gun safety.
Funny thing, I was having a discussion about guns in particular situations. The pro-gun person said that he lived where coyotes and bears were a problem. I allowed how a gun would be wanted in such situations. After our exchange, I did some research and it seems that statistically bear spray prevented attacks better than a gun and the maulings were shorter.
I don’t remember if the study included all bears or a particular species. I do know this, if I lived in Grizzly country, I would want bear spray and multiple large caliber guns.
No, Dylan Roof was not a terrorist any more than the guy who shot Gabby Giffords or the guy who went on a rampage at Fort Hood, or the guy who shot Ronald Reagan was a terrorist. Just because a lunatic attaches himself to some particular concept that rambled across his path does not mean that his bizarre outburst has a meaningful connection to that idea. Whether the idea is white supremacy or impressing Jody Foster, crazy is crazy.
This distinction is very important because real political violence does exist and the danger that we might experience it is increasing. If we lose our ability to recognize organized political violence and distinguish from our other problems we are going to face serious unnecessary difficulties when it arrives.
For example, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963 was terrorism.
It was organized and connected with a purpose shared not just by some delusional psychopath, but by an organized political entity actively promoting an agenda. It was violence harnessed toward a political goal that used defenseless civilians as its subjects.
Responding to that incident effectively would require more than merely bringing the perpetrators to justice. It would require identifying and confronting the political structure that organized and enabled it. And by the way, we failed to effectively do either.
The act didn’t succeed in halting that congregation’s activism, but it didn’t need to. As part of a wider struggle it was successful in maintaining a level of compliance among racial moderates who otherwise might have dismantled the larger white supremacist system during that era. The long terrorist campaign of white supremacist groups, aided and covered by more dignified organizations like white citizens councils was overall very successful. It’s the key to understanding the shape of politics in the South today.
Crying wolf over Dyann Wolf is only going to muddy the waters. Diminishing the significance of political violence by putting it on a par with “Taxi-Driver”-style psychosis is a mistake. Trying to use this incident as the basis for a political campaign as though it were organized terrorism will backfire – badly. And it will make it nearly impossible to respond to real terrorism in the manner it demands when that event arrives.
Completely agree. Ted Cruz spouting Dominionist rhetoric did NOT cause the atmosphere which lets an individual feel safer in killing other human beings. If the goal is to lower the number of people being killed by guns you can choose to have fewer people, or fewer guns. Everything else is just political abstractions we use to organize reality and give us more things to disagree and argue about.
You seem to be suggesting that terrorism must always be done by an organized group and can never be the actions of a lone individual. As far as I can tell, that’s the only difference between what Roof did and what the 9/11 terrorists did, other than the ideology and the specific targets.
But terrorism is any violence committed for political purposes with a view to achieving a particular political end, and that’s what this was. There’s no requirement that the terrorist be part of an organized conspiracy.
The difference between Dylann Wolf and John Hinckley, Jr., who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, is dramatic. Yes, both acted alone. But if Hinckley had shot Reagan for political reasons (Reagan was quite controversial politically, of course) then that, too, would have been a terrorist act. But he didn’t. He shot Reagan as part of his stalking of actress Jodi Foster, playing out a line from the movie Taxi Driver (“If you don’t love me, I’ll kill the president”). His motives were entirely personal and had nothing to do with Reagan at all, except that Reagan happened to be the president.
There’s a long history in the South of politically-motivated violence directed against black people, intending to keep them in their place, to silence their voices, to prevent them from voting. Some of that has been done by organized groups, some by lone individuals. I can’t see any way at all in which what Roof did differs from any of that. Same motives (political ones), same type of actions.
And like I said, there’s no evidence I’ve seen that Roof is mentally ill. We can’t dismiss this so blithely.
You are unnecessarily complicating this. Dylan Wolf did what Dylan Wolf wanted to do, he was not told by anyone else to go to the church and shoot people and is solely responsible for his actions. This isn’t ‘because’ of the Civil War or campaign rhetoric or a semi organized group of people acting on orders. The terrorism here is the ease by which one individual can cause mayhem, not the reasons ‘why’ the brain thought the mayhem was deserved.
A dissenting opinion:
For the record, I take zero offense over your begging to differ on the matter of terrorist or just crazy. To the people who are trying to frame this as religiously, rather than racially motivated, I’m very offended by your insult to my intelligence.
Given the history of Black churches being targets of White supremacist terrorism, the simplest explanation is that this is a continuation of the trend. The notion that this is instead someone more akin to Hickley who just coincidentally fell into this pattern of terror and intimidation towards Black people is going to require more evidence than is out there now for me to buy into it. But I will keep my mind open to any new revaluations/ insights that get uncovered.
A racist with a two by four or a noose can’t kill 9 people in seconds. Yes, racism bad, racist with an automatic weapon, worse. I’m with you on the endless amount of racism in this country, long tragic history–but this tragedy is the dead people, not the misguided racist. We can more easily deal with the guns than we can with people’s attitudes, how often are any minds changed here?
And I’m with all the readers who have pointed out South Carolina is still flying the Confederate Flag. This is a racist, or stupid, act and my formula includes that zero is in it-you can be a complete idiot or totally racist in defending this nonsense. I’m quite troubled by the romanticizing of the ‘Old South” as a bunch of Colonel Sanders look-alikes bravely fighting for…..well, I don’t recall that, it was complicated. BULLSHIT.
We don’t need any more passionately stupid or racist people with guns in this country-which is easier to fix?
I agree that someone determined to be racist is going to be racist, and even has the right to choose to be racist. But fortunately our society has evolved enough that there are negative consequences for public expression of said racism. Transitions are tough, and although we are no longer in the bad old days of White supremacy, we haven’t made it to MLK’s promised land yet. I think we’ve gone further than any other society towards egalitarianism, but we’re not there yet, and we shouldn’t patting ourselves on our backs so much. An optimistic view would say that these are the next set of growing pains, and we will end up with more progress towards that goal. I haven’t decided yet if I will take the optimistic view.
That is very limiting Chris and somewhat arbitrary. You have to be a card carry and dues paying member of a group to be labeled a terrorist? Really? The Fort Hood shooter wasn’t a terrorist because he didn’t coordinate with a chief? Even though the al Qaeda and ISIS ideology encourages and cheerleads lone wolves? So the Boston Marathon bombers weren’t terrorists? Of the doofusses that tried to attack the Garland “event”?
I’m just rehashing what others already noted, but Dylan Roof was imbued (or self imbued) in a systematic and historically persistent attack and subjugation of a particular group (Blacks) in this country. He had a (despicable) ideology and acted horrifically on it. Whacko bird or not, member of any group or not, he had a shared destructive ideology with those hate groups and was moved enough to act on it.
Actually, really, those lone characters like the Boston bombers at the guy at Fort Hood are not terrorists. Those guys were gonna go kill somebody eventually. The fact that they dressed it up as an Islamic thing is an accident of history. If they had been watching Taxi Driver instead of internet jihadi videos they might have tried to kill the President.
Look, terrorism is fucking scary stuff on a whole different level from psycho killers. Terrorism is scary because of what it ***means***.
When those guys bombed that church in Birmingham they weren’t just killing some people. They were telling black communities across the South and everyone who sympathized with them that the stakes had been raised. There were people out there who, with the tacit support of powerful forces, might kill you and your innocent children for supporting racial justice. And they might do it in the most sacred places imaginable. And they might every well escape consequences for their actions.
Not one person was prosecuted for the Birmingham bombing for more than fifteen years. We never brought all the perpetrators and enablers to justice.
That’s terrorism. That is not what happened in Charleston.
To understand why I a draw a distinction between this incident in Charleston and, for example, the bombing of the church in Birmingham, follow the scenario out just a bit. Imagine for a moment that this was an organized act of strategic violence directed at civilians that was connected to a political goal (in other words, an act that fits a reasonable definition of terrorism).
What if there was an organization claiming responsibility for the incident. Or in more typical American fashion, there was a prominent organization pretending not to have been directly involved while actively justifying the act, privately celebrating the killer, and using their political heft to interfere with efforts to obtain justice. Among the dead was perhaps a political figure who had been successfully organizing resistance to their plans. The act, in addition to costing lives, destroyed valuable resources the group needed to pursue their goals. And the act slowed the target group’s ability to mobilize supporters and gain access to resources by spreading fear about potential consequences of supporting the group.
By the way, that pretty well describes the Birmingham bombing and other similar acts of violence from the Civil Rights era. It also describes the burning of this very Charleston church in 1822 after the slave uprising organized by Denmark Vesey failed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark_Vesey
If you want to see the consequences of domestic terrorism in the US today, follow an abortion clinic worker through their day in a southern state. Only a relatively few incidents of actual physical violence have been carried out against them, but those actions take place against a backdrop of organized opposition that could explode at any moment. Those folks know they are taking their lives in their hands when they go to work.
That’s what terrorism looks like. It might be carried out by a lone weirdo, like the guy who assassinated George Tiller, but it nonetheless falls in line with a wider objective.
The word “terrorism” gets its name from its power as a political tactic. It’s that connection to a wider objective that gives terrorism its special character and sets it apart from mere murder. That’s also what makes it difficult to resist and dangerous to a political culture. Using the term to smear groups we dislike anytime anyone commits a violent act will make it much more difficult to organize a response when real terrorism occurs. The real thing is nasty and politically challenging. We will regret neutering or muddying the term.
Find me the organization or interest that wanted that kid to shoot up the church. Yes, I know the internet is filled with white supremacist organizations, but this guy did not carry out this act to impress them, they don’t own him, didn’t sponsor him, and with the exception of other lone crazies like him, would not have wanted him to carry this out. Most importantly, those groups have nearly 0 real political influence and no public support. Tying this act to white supremacists is like tying Reagan’s shooting to Jody Foster. After all, she did inspire the whole thing, right? I saw Taxi Driver…
Don’t let a sense of righteous and justified outrage cloud judgments. We’ll regret it.
You don’t believe that his stated purpose was to start a “race war” would be a qualifier for your definition of terrorism?
And now, let’s go a little further with this. What’s the harm in throwing around the term “terrorist”?
Imagine that real terrorism appears in our political climate after the term “Terrorist” has been applied for political advantage almost anytime some lunatic commits a murder. How are you going to muster the political outrage you’ll need to convince people **who support the political cause of the terrorists** to turn their backs on them over their tactics?
Answer: you won’t be able to do that because you’ve destroyed the public consensus about the practice by turning it into meaningless propaganda.
Chris you make some excellent points and I don’t disagree on the domestic attacks you do consider terrorism, but I can’t wrap my head around why other acts of violence, mayhem, and murder designed to sow terror and fear is not also terrorism, no matter how unorganized or sophomoric or idiotic the “planning” and implementation is.
And I doubt the extent of the “Cry Wolf” impact in categorizing horrific attacks as terrorism. I mean it’s not like we’re classifying armed robbery or carjacking as terrorism or a hate/bias crime even if the attacker hurled racial epithets.
Conversely, I think the cause is already lost if we can’t “muster the political outrage” and “public consensus” to meaningful action even after 34 people are killed on a college campus, 20 schoolchildren & adults slaughtered right before Christmas, 19 kids massacred in a Colorado High School, 12 people murdered in a Colorado theater, and now 9 murdered in a South Carolina church no matter what we call it.
I get that this is a pretty fine distinction. I just think it matters enough that it should probably be discussed. Unfortunately, almost all of the people talking down the terrorist angle are doing it because they have weaknesses on racial issues. That’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t change the situation.
The “action” called for when a well-armed psycho killer destroys a bundle of lives for no reason is more sensible restrictions on who can gain access to lethal force and by what methods. That’s the political consequence that is screaming to be addressed. The terrorism narrative is a red herring.
By contrast, the “action” called for when a political force resorts to acts of terrorism is quite a bit more forceful and comprehensive than just gun control, or at least it should be. There is no such political force toward which to direct that kind of concentrated political response because there is no political force of any real consequence or influence behind this kid’s actions.
Following this incident up as though it were an act of terrorism takes us nowhere, because there is no one on whom to attach any convincing blame. There is no political force to confront over this issue – because this isn’t terrorism, it’s just a random delusional guy going out and killing people for a moderately more politically interesting reason than that his dog told him to.
This incident should provoke a very clear public wave in favor or more reasonable gun restrictions. Instead it is already descending into a muddle because people are busy inculpating their favorite straw man.
“There is no such political force toward which to direct that kind of concentrated political response because there is no political force of any real consequence or influence behind this kid’s actions.”
But there IS, Chris. There is. It’s the Confederacy. It’s the separate white Southern subculture. It’s the same political force that caused the Civil War, the KKK, and similar acts of terrorism for over 150 years.
It’s the same political force that has engineered a hostile takeover of your political party, and really it’s the reason you are writing this blog in the first place. That subculture is dying out as the South becomes increasingly urban, industrialized, prosperous, and ethnically diverse, but it’s not quite dead yet, and it’s lashing out and trying to do as much damage as possible before it croaks.
This is every bit as much an act of terrorism as the Oklahoma City bombing or the shooting of a family planning doctor or a young Muslim blowing himself up in a crowded street.
Yes, there’s a gun control issue here, too. I get that. And I think your idea about insurance has merit and I hope you’ll push it further. But there’s no reason we can’t recognize both.
Ok Chris that distinction I can clearly see and delineate. You won’t stop al Qaeda or a McVeigh with tighter gun restrictions. But we know a Hinckley or any of the shooters I noted above more than likely could have been prevented or their carnage minimized.
But I still can’t let go and quite agree with your demarcations fully. Brian’s point above is something I agree with and would have also counterpointed with even with your most recent example’s clarity. To which I would also add, the Rick Perrys, the Lindsey Grahams, and you know who all the others are that won’t even have the honesty, decency, and courage to call it a racist hate crime are part of the problem and the political force to which a person such as Root feels legitimized to act. And the absolute GALL to call it an “accident” or to co-opt and wrap your nasty White ass in the cloak of victimization in a blatantly racist attack and claim it was an “anti Christian” act. My blood boils and my ass twitches (to borrow from a fellow liberal blogger).
And I guess I’ll split hairs also and throw out what if Root had firebombed the Church instead?
As someone who is wrestling with insurance companies right now, I think the proposed insurance requirement is a very good idea.
I say this as someone who owns an older house where the roof hasn’t been replaced in the past 25 years because it doesn’t leak.
I say sturdy construction, they say the odds are it will be failing soon. And they always win. Having a house without insurance on it is a non-starter.
Let the actuaries go after the gun owners. They react to data, not much else. Well, except greed, I guess. I
Updated information says that Roof didn’t get the gun from his father, but rather purchased it himself. Trouble is, he had felony drug possession charges pending, so where was the red flag that should have been triggered?????
He may or may not have gotten the gun from his father, but I doubt that he invented his white supremacism from whole cloth. I’ll bet dad used a few choice slurs in their trailer park heaven.
“The incident in South Carolina is not terrorism or political violence. It is vital that we understand the difference between the actions of isolated lunatics and the growing danger of organized, strategic political killing.”
Okay, Chris, I’m not going to disagree with your overall argument in this post — that we need to come to our senses regarding guns — but I do disagree with this paragraph.
I haven’t seen any good evidence that Dylann Roof is a lunatic, and he most certainly isn’t isolated. If we’re going to approach this killing historically, and I agree that’s important, then we should recognize that indeed we have seen this movie before.
We’ve seen it in the terrorism of the Reconstruction era that restored white supremacy to the South. We’ve seen it in lynchings, shootings, and church bombings over the decades after serving to suppress the black vote. We’ve seen it in the violence of the Civil Rights movement era.
Roof was “isolated” only in that he seems to have acted alone, not in the sense that his actions were in a class by themselves. They were not, although they were more extreme than usual. And he was not socially isolated, but part of a white supremacist movement that is in turn part of the Confederacy, and that is reflected in the Confederate battle flag flying over the South Carolina state house and in the flags of Rhodesia and of apartheid South Africa stitched on Roof’s jacket. His motivations for the killing were almost certainly what he said they were: resentment of black people and a desire to provoke a race war. While these motives are deplorable, they are not symptoms of mental illness, and we can’t dismiss this crime as the actions of a nutcase who is nothing like the rest of us, not reflective of political currents in our society, and not an indicator of problems beyond the fact that he had such easy access to deadly weapons.
I agree with you, Brian.
As do I, Brian.
Here’s a summary statement from Richard Cohen who heads the SPLC. Simple, complete.
“Since 9/11, our country has been fixated on the threat of Jihadi terrorism. But the horrific tragedy at the Emmanuel AME reminds us that the threat of homegrown domestic terrorism is very real.”
As I noted earlier – America is poised to commit $612 BILLION for its defense budget. What portion of that money do you think, is focused on domestic terrorism?
Well said. The whole notion of White people in America being so oppresed deserves nothing but scorn and mockery. The people who buy into that, as well as the people who are indulging in bizarre rhetorical contortions to frame this atrocity as being caused by anything but racism are so full of crap that they must harbor some magical extra-dimensional space in their innards. Otherwise they’d be exploding all around us.
Amidst all the back-and-forth commentary going on since the news about the 9 people broke, I was struck by this heartfelt comment made by someone named “Seasoned Senior” on The Independent (UK) website:
“The people at the church were so nice to him and so in those quirky moments the killer mulled over in his mind whether they would live or die? But hatred held out. Whoever helped him develop his racist attitudes became a killer too Wednesday night. These attitudes don’t develop in a cocoon. That he almost relented because of the kindness showed him and for such a brief moment in his life shows the power inherent in kindness. The people at the church who died gave life to the power of kindness even in the midst of a terrifying moment. If that wasn’t a heroic act, what is?”
I would start looking into his family life very closely. I’ve reached the conclusion that raising children in households with this kind of hatred is child abuse and perhaps the kids should be removed at a young age.
Some may think that’s too radical.
Here’s a bit of a historical take on racism as a psychological disorder. It added a new term to my vocabulary: “drapetomania, described as “the disease causing slaves to run away.”
It was published only a couple of months ago.
This one, from a medical journal, is truly mind-bending.
“…because so many Americans are racist, even extreme racism in this country is normative—a cultural problem rather than an indication of psychopathology.”
Whew, people. Sadness at my place.
Yeah, Bobo, at all our places. This finding by the clinical psychiatrist in your link hit home:
“It is time for the American Psychiatric Association to designate extreme racism as a mental health problem by recognizing it as a delusional psychotic symptom. Persons afflicted with such psychopathology represent an immediate danger to themselves and others.”
Well, altho it’s nice to read it from a PHD, any rational person could make the same observation.
Yes, Tutt, well said. Thanks for sharing that comment. We honor the nine people who died by remembering their kindness and goodness.
Thanks, OV. I found that comment incredibly moving — the part about the power of kindness.
I often post about the power of good over evil. Alas, in this case, good almost prevailed, but not quite — almost prevailed, and unknowingly, because good, by definition, could not see the evil that was in its midst.
Let the deaths of these 9 people not be in vain and let goodness and kindness have the last word.
Tutt, I read that families of the victims have told Roof that they forgave him. In one sense, good prevailed. Evil was not able to corrupt their faith and let hatred take over their hearts I can’t tell you how much I admire the members of that church. They’ve demonstrated true Christianity in action.
Well, you and they are better people than I am. The problem is who has to always do the forgiving – this church was founded because these Black people were cast out from the White Methodist Church, then insulted further when the same church heirachy poured a parking pad over Black graves for their church vehicle. This one Black church has endured many, many other grievances and attacks over their 100 year + existence. And, they are one of many such churches who have been torched and people hurt.
When is forgiving long enough, OB? When do those who perpetrate hate and violence to the innocent EVER stop? When are they held accountable? Your judgment day may do it for you, but if it were my mother, father, grandfather, aunt, or uncle that was shot in cold blood, I would not be forgiving Roof; I would be testifying his ass into the deepest, darkest prison hole I could find.
NO, the Republican Party has some real soul-searching to do. They have encouraged this element; they own them. You own them. Others are being hurt by them. This has to stop.
Chris, I’m going to have to disagree with you on one point, the terrorism angle. Granted the information is still coming out, but the latest mass shooter looks like he very much was acting on a politcal agenda, and he wanted to start a race war. At the very least he looks like the White supremacist version of the American Muslim youth being inspired by ISIS to attempt an act of domestic terrorism.
This certainly doesn’t also preclude him from being nuttier than squirrel droppings. My opinion is subject to revision as more facts come to light, but this absolutely does stink of terrorism to me right now.
I agree with you, too, Fly.
So most people here have classified me as a lefty, although I self identify more as a centrist. One thing about being a centrist is that you are not center on all issues, but rather for some issues you are in the left wing camp, but others find you on the right wing side. So now I’ll show some of my RW side. One notion that I 100% agree with is that every right has its twin responsibility. Some of the more extreme LW absolutely does dodge that, and the RW is correct to call them on it. But on the issue of guns, most of what I hear from the NRA types is “MY RIGHTS!! MY RIGHTS!! MY RIGHTS!! MY RIGHTS!!”, and hardly a peep about “my responsibilities”.
I’m up for discussing this issue. But before we start, could we please knock aside a ridiculous straw man? Nobody here has been advocating for taking guns away from responsible people. Can we just all agree to take that off the table and not waste time/ insult anyone’s intelligence?
Requiring gun owners to have insurance would work I think. I work in a power plant and we are self insured. We have a whole department just on safety and training. Putting the liability on the owner has turn one of the most dangerous work environments into one of the safest. We beat the pants off of most other industries on safety according to the statistics. What provides accountability and enforcement is what I call the “Morgan and Morgan , for the people” effect. That is a high profile law firm in my area specializing in suing people who are culpably of negligence. This is way cheaper and more effective than a bunch of regulations.
As I said in the previous post, I’d like to see use of guns treated like use of cars. You get trained, pass a background check, and a test, and you get a liscence to use and carry a gun. That would work with an insurance requirement.