December 21, 2012

It isn't the guns. It is the stupid.

God knows I find Joe Scarborough annoying and never watch his show.  His occasional moments of lucidity don't make up for the rest.  And that also applies to his conversion to the gun control side.  But here, I was more listening to the Republican mouthpiece for the NRA, and have to say that Joe is more right here than the doofus.  And you can see the NRA speak here--1) talking about guns is "politicizing" a tragedy. 2) Whatever we say, we can never say that any particular "gun" is a problem.  The problem has to be something else--video games, movies.  His mom.

Meanwhile, here is a little sanity on the suggestion that all of these people are just mentally ill--or at least, mentally ill in any technical way.
But there is overwhelming epidemiological evidence that the vast majority of people with psychiatric disorders do not commit violent acts. Only about 4 percent of violence in the United States  can be attributed to people with mental illness.
Again, I am not saying that the only problem here is guns.  I am not convinced that anyone needs a Bushmaster AR 15 for any legitimate reason beyond just liking the gun.  Nor am I convinced that the Second Amendment was really meant to be a license for everyone to have as many guns as they want.  That "well regulated militia" part just seems to have disappeared.

But by all means, let's fund mental health treatment, and we should do that even if doing so doesn't stop any shootings.  We should do that because it is the right thing to do.  And we can talk about video games and films.  I am unsure their impact, but have no problem with that discussion.  But we also have to talk about angry white males and we have to talk about guns.


steves said...

To be fair, this guy wasn't speaking for the NRA. The NRA held off until today before having a press conference.

leighton said...

The NRA's press conference wasn't much better.

steves said...

I thought it was pretty mild and expected.

Streak said...

Expected, yeah. Mild, not sure how.

Tony said...

I found it to be defiant, cynical, and intellectually dishonest.

steves said...

How? If you guys want to discuss the research, I would be happy to. Show me some hard data that suggests bans and other similar acts reduces crime. The majority of what I have seen seems to suggest that things like bans on specific weapons and magazines does not do anything to lower violent crime or really protect people.

steves said...

If you want real intellectual dishonestly, look no further than Dianne Feinstein's cut and paste.

I have read the book by Gary Kleck that was mentioned in the article. It is well respected in the field of Criminology.

Streak said...

Not sure that this conversation was about the research. This was about the NRA's refusal to even consider that guns are part of the problem. This was about the NRA insisting that 15 year old video games are the problem, even though there is no research that suggests that either. This was about the NRA, most famous for calling the ATF "jackbooted thugs" wanting to turn all our schools into police states.

You want to defend the NRA and then bitch at me about tone?

steves said...

Jack booted thugs? C'mon, that was almost 20 years ago and they apologized for that.

The video game thing was BS, but that has been used by politicians in both parties.

No, I think it is intellectually dishonest to put the focus on AWB's and magazine restrictions. If this is the focus, then people need to be up front and say that the main purpose is getting rid of certain guns, not protecting people.

Streak said...

Yes, of course, because the NRA has moderated on everything since then.

We have talked about this. You get mad when I say things about gun rights people and insist that we need to be able to talk reasonably. Nothing the NRA said the other day was reasonable. Not one thing. Yet you call it "mild?" What the fuck?

What I hear from the NRA, and from you in this mode, to be honest, is that gun people don't give a shit about those of us who are scared of guns and people with guns. Our concerns are unreasonable, and actually to be dismissed. If we are so concerned about violence, we need to just buy a gun and get ready to shoot someone.

The NRA and their spokes people are fucking nutjobs. You got really angry at me the other day for disparaging gun nuts that way, but these people are exactly that. You need to decide, perhaps. Because defending the NRA does not make you seem reasonable.

Tony said...

LaPierre is out there. He only sees one solution and that is more guns. He has pushed all points to the extreme; the only answer to violence is more violence; the only answer to bad guns is good guns; all mentally ill people are monsters; he is unwilling to talk about any solution in between. Streak, you're right; utterly unreasonable.

Listening to an NPR report yesterday morning, there are over 300 million guns in America, not including illegal guns. That's more than one gun per adult! "Guns" was used as a catch-all, so certainly the term doesn't represent AR's. We're nowhere near a solution, and the best guess if there is an AWB, is that it would take ten years to make any progress. That's probably being generous.

The issue isn't about research; its about organizations like the NRA who have dropped the ball on keeping people safe. The NRA can wink at things that make us less safe (like the glutting of the market with AR's and it being pitifully easy to procure one), and then when such things like Newtown become reality, then they assume no responsibility. Its everything else but the guns.

steves said...

What I heard from the NRA is that they were interested in putting some type of security in schools, in the form of police or private. I don't think this is without problems, but they didn't say that permit carriers should be allowed in school.

They also spoke about beefing up the NICS system to include more data from states on people that have been adjudicated mentally defective or found NGRI.

The only thing they didn't want was an Assault Weapons Ban and a magazine restriction. Both of these things are not supported by most of their members. In addition, the research suggests that those measures won't do anything to lower crime or make people safe. How is this unreasonable? Expecting laws and restrictions have some kind of relationship to some reasonable measure of safety?

An assault weapons ban won't do anything. We can wait centuries and it still won't do anything. Those types of guns aren't used in most crimes (less than 1% of all homicides). As for safety, the NRA offers free safety classes. In reality, despite 300 million guns being in circulation, gun accidents are at an all time low. According to the CDC, death related to gun accidents account for .6% of all accidental deaths.

I can understand that some people are uncomfortable with assault weapons and 30 rd. magazines. I don't know what to do about this. How do you want the NRA to take responsibility for Newtown? Places with very restrictive guns laws, like Norway, the UK, and Mexico, still have mass shootings and killings.

Streak said...

Yes, while he blamed everyone except the NRA or gun rights people. You are going to seriously tell me that there is not a problem with the "I can never have too many guns" culture, nor the bizarre believe that everyone can and should be prepared to be Rambo?

Your dismissive tone about the jack booted thug comment suggests that you are not consistent on the NRA. In past discussions you have suggested an understanding that the organization is radical and not reflective of most gun owners. Now you simply dismiss their radicalism and suggest they were reasonable? For blaming video games and the media? As Tony says, no one can talk badly about guns around the NRA, and evidently you.

I don't get that. I understand that the AWB didn't work in the way it should have. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try something like this. You have yet to explain why reducing magazine size won't do anything.

And the other thing that just gets me, is that you and the NRA completely ignore the clear fact that we are the most deadly country in the world. Our homicides and deaths by guns eclipse everyone else. That includes suicides and accidental deaths as well as homicides. And yes, mass shootings are relatively rare, but they are more common here than other countries. Their exceptions don't disprove that.

And, as Tony notes, the NRA wants no conversation about guns. Sure, let's blame it on the media and the mentally ill, and 20 year old video games. But the gun culture is never to be questioned. Never.

steves said...

The JBT comment was unproductive and shouldn't have been said. Given that the NRA trains thousands of police and federal agents every year, I think it is safe to say that they are not some kind of anti-gov't group any more.

As for people buying and collecting guns, I can understand that you find this distasteful.

If the right to keep and bear arms is an actual "right", then the burden is on the state to show why a restriction is necessary to promote a legitimate gov't interest. It is not on the people to show why they need it and it is not enough to say, "oh heck, why don't we give this a try and see if it works."

It hasn't worked in countries that have made the possession illegal, so why would it work here?

We are not the deadliest country. We are not even in the top 10.

Streak said...

You are correct about numbers of deaths. We are pretty high on the ranking of homicides compared to numbers of guns.

But to clarify, I don't mind most gun collectors. I know there are people who collect guns the way that others collect musical instruments. I am not attacking that. I am attacking the gun culture that celebrates the idea that each individual American needs to be willing to kill. You know it is there. Please don't suggest to me that it isn't.

But other countries have had success in limiting access to certain weapons. Surely we can do better. Surely you can do better than to suggest to me that the NRA is a reasonable voice for gun rights.

steves said...

I see your point about wanting to kill, or at least giving that impression. If you are ever in MI and I am doing a class, I invite you to sit in, free of charge. I think you will find that the NRA message is one of using a firearm as a tool of last resort (at least in that class).

Anyway, I may not be back online today. If I am not, I would like to wish you and your family a nice Christmas.

Streak said...

Steve, that is why I think there is a huge disconnect between you and the NRA leadership--a disconnect that I thought you acknowledged. I have no doubt that your approach to safety is excellent and even that many, if not most gun owners are responsible and serious. But that isn't what lapierre is defending.

I hope you have a great Christmas as well.