The Watering Hole – Saturday – July 21, 2012 – It’s Not 1787 Anymore

Yesterday morning, in Aurora, Colorado, a 24-year-old named James Holmes unleashed the largest mass shooting in US history using ammunition, weapons, and clips that were all legally purchased. Had the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban still be in effect, he would not have been allowed to possess some of that weaponry legally. It is desperation to try to argue that he would have found a way to get them anyway.

The people of this country need to have an honest discussion about guns. It’s not 1787 anymore, and we don’t depend on state militias to defend our nation against invasion, which is what the Second Amendment is about. It’s about national defense, not personal protection and not protection from our own government. That may be a side-benefit, but it was never the main purpose, no matter what anyone from the NRA says. The “right to keep and bear arms” is clearly predicated on the idea that the arms bearer was going to be part of “a well-regulated militia,” not just someone who liked having, as former Senator Phil Gramm once put it, “more guns than I need, but fewer guns than I want.”

A loaded gun is dangerous, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. (I said “loaded.”) A loaded gun can kill or seriously injure even when it’s in nobody’s hands. Please don’t tell me guns are safe.

But enough about me. This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about this or anything else you want.

93 thoughts on “The Watering Hole – Saturday – July 21, 2012 – It’s Not 1787 Anymore

  1. Nothing requires a company to sell guns in the first place. I think if we hold gun sellers accountable, like we do bartenders (for serving too many drinks to someone who then commits murder with their car); then you hold gun sellers accountable if their weapons/ammo were used in a mass killing. Then you’ll see them stop hiding behind the “we just followed the law” excuse and step up to more stringent standards, or just stop selling guns.

    Let’s not forget, that the real reason we don’t do away with guns in this country isn’t about self-protection. It’s about profit.

    Aurora suspect James Holmes was buying guns, dropping out of graduate school – U.S. News

    Officials told NBC News that all four were purchased legally, beginning in May, from two national chain stores: Gander Mountain Guns and Bass Pro Shops.Bass Pro Shops released a statement saying that employees at a Denver store followed all laws when they sold two weapons to Holmes. “We want to offer our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families,” said Larry Whiteley, manager of communications for the company. “This is an unspeakable tragedy, and we join with all Americans in offering our prayerful support. Based on the records we have reviewed, personnel in our Denver store correctly and fully followed all Federal requirements with respect to the sale of one shotgun and one handgun to the individual identified in this incident. Background checks, as required by Federal law, were properly conducted, and he was approved. Again, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We also offer our support and appreciation to the law enforcement and emergency response professionals and all others who responded to give aid to these innocent victims.”

    • Background checks are worthless when used on a person that was never a felon until they purchased the semi-automatic and used it for the purpose for which is was designed which is killing as many people as possible. It’s too late then. Offering prayers and sympathy doesn’t undo the deed.

  2. Doesn’t this also show how crazyinsanestupid we are in giving up so much of our right to privacy to fight the “War on Terror”? If “terrorists” were truly targeting the USofA, we’d have seen a lot more these kinds of attacks, committed by Islamic extremists.

    As I sit here this morning, albeit pre-caffinated, I cannot think of any terrorist attacks on US soil carried out by Isalmic extremists. (9-11 is equivocal, as there was absolutely no criminal investigation)

    Let’s face it, arming yourself to the teeth won’t stop a drone strike. All it does is give you a sense of power. If you’re so afraid of your own government you feel you must be prepared to kill government police and armed forces to protect your way of life, then you haven’t been engaged enough in the political processes. Actually – you’ve been used, pwned, by those who manipulate you through fear.

    This won’t be the last mass-murder, sad to say. It may well take a civil uprising against the 1% to see a reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons.

      • The question would then be, would the Democrats in the Senate be willing to use the filibuster as aggressively as the Republicans have?

        Unfortunately, their recent track record – the Bush years – proved they all too often will roll over and give the Republicans whatever they want…heck, the same has happened when Democrats held both houses and the Presidency.

        In a game of political chicken, Republicans win. That’s because they don’t care if they destroy the country. Let’s face it, most of the wealth owned by the 1% is likely already off-shore anyway, so they have nothing to lose, and a country to gain.

        • I don’t think they even care about the power anymore. I don’t think they want the country for anything but its resources. They’ve almost succeeded in sucking up all the available money, and once they gets their hands on the Social Security & Medicare money, they can then jet off to another country of their choosing. Then they can leave their overseers to manage the company workers/slaves while we strip the land of all its resources, which will be for sale elsewhere.

          They. Don’t. Care.

  3. The 1st amendment doesn’t give you the right to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater, but the 2nd Amendment gives you the right to possess enough guns to shoot 71 people in that same theater.

    American exceptionalism.

  4. Yesterday morning, when I was reading one of the early WaPo articles on the Denver shooting, I noticed a commenter made a good point:

    “Strangely I do not yet see the suggestion that this would not have happened if everyone in the theater had been carrying a firearm. I suppose they should also all carry gas masks, too.”

      • and carry antidotes for anthrax, cyanide gas and mustard gas.

        also wear a fire-proof suit.

        nah…heck with it…just be sure your teenager is packin’ every time he/she goes out on a date, ‘cuz ya never know, man, when some crazy guy is gonna open fire on the theater, restaraunt, mall, skating rink, etc….

        ‘cuz no one hell-bent on committing mass murder, to the point of wearin’ bullet proof armor is ever gonna fire on anybody knowin’ someone could shoot back….

    • Great article that needs much more attention. The part about the plea bargaining is exceptionally telling. I’ve never liked that one. If the prosecution has a case, prosecute it. If they don’t, don’t. But I really like the idea of not guilty by reason that the law is pathetic.

      • Plea bargaining is GREAT business for the private prison system. Myself, I would always opt for a trial by a jury of my peers. Let the people decide. One does need a good lawyer 🙂

    • WTH is wrong with people? Yesterday’s tragedy made me rethink my grandson’s love of super heroes. He is only five years old and he likes the idea of super heroes helping people. There is one concern that I have and that is electronic games. Right now my daughter and SIL monitor the games that he is allowed to play and his time spent with electronic devices is limited each day.

      I wonder what kind of impact this mass killing will have on the future of this movie. Maybe there is too much graphic violence on our screens.

      • Why not just have Jack Nicholson reprise his Joker role for the visit. I’m sure that would be well received.

  5. Warner Bros Won’t Release Dark Knight Rises Box Office Until Monday ‘Out Of Respect For The Victims And Their Families’

    Here in Hollywood, this is a well worn form of respect — hiding your profits for an extra 24 hours.

    • Will yesterday’s violence have a negative effect on this movie’s profits? The news was really graphic about what was happening on the screen and what was happening in real life at the same time. I know that I couldn’t watch that movie without thinking about these murders and terrorist attack.

  6. I’ve read many accounts of parents in the theater with their children, ranging in age 6 and 7 years all the way down to 2 and 4 MONTH old babies.

    At an R-rated, darkly psychological movie.
    At a midnight screening.

    What the fuck is wrong with you ‘parents of the year’? How fucking selfish can you get? Can’t afford a babysitter? Wait til you can or wait for the DVD. Can’t wait for a matinee screening or you HAVE to be firsty first!

    This is not 20/20 hindsight. It’s just a bad idea even if nothing had happened. This is one reason I don’t go to theaters, certainly not at peak times.

    • I’m with you, badmoodman. I don’t understand people who have children, but don’t seem to understand or care that their lives will actually change when they become parents, and that children aren’t just stupid little pods that don’t respond to external stimulation. Now those same parents are going to be all pissed off at their kids because they’re having bad dreams about the scary movie and the scary man who tried to kill them with guns.


  7. I have a hard time classifying the tragedy in Aurora as a terrorist attack. It, like Columbine, Va Tech and many others are examples of good old American psychopaths. From what I have seen there doesn’t appear to be any political motivations behind it and I’m getting seriously tired of having every bit of psychotic behavior being called terrorism and continuing the Right Wing Fear & Panic meme. That bill of shoddy goods is overdue to being junked.

    The rest of the world has suffered from repeated terrorist actions since at least the end of WWII and manage to be able to discern criminal activity from terrorism. America, on the other hand, had its first taste of serious foreign terrorism on 9/11 and has become obsessed with it. Maybe its easier to call any heinous crime an act of terrorism caused by foreign or outside influences than admit we are breeding our very own nutcases with access to personal WMDs.

    • “Terrorism” has become a catchall phrase transcending religious, political or, ideological goals.

      When you have a society peppered with psychopaths with easy access to guns and rifles, you better expect these kinds of things to happen with some degree of regularity. Just try and be somewhere else when it does.

    • With all due respect, Hooda, the jury’s still out on whether 9/11 was an act of foreign terrorism. Actually, the jury’s not out – there never was a criminal investigation, only a foregone conclusion. Not exactly the American way of jurisprudence when it comes to identifying and punishing the guilty – it seems we tossed out “innocent until proven guilty” that day, and every day following.

  8. I switched to MSNBC during a commercial during the Mets game, and they had a graphic up “POLICE DIFFUSED BOOBY TRAP IN APT” – i groaned when I saw “DIFFUSED”. Apparently someone caught it, because the next time the graphic came up, it was corrected to DEFUSED.
    At least someone in their graphics department knows English.

    • They can’t help hyping. We essentially no longer have ‘news’ agencies. Its all paparazzi. Sensationalism, news bites for those who live in the 140 character world.

        • Well, it predates my interest in Politics, which is when I started to pay more attention to the news. By that time, the expression had been around “a while.” Oh, well. It wouldn’t be the first time I got something wrong, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. 🙂

          • I’m not saying you are wrong, Wayne. I just have a hard time reconciling it with the news from Walter, Chet, David and company. Back in their day news was considered more of a public service and not revenue driven.

            • Then there’s the yellow journalism from the turn of the 19th century…

  9. Hooray, this website no longer maxs out my CPU, husband fixed it so I only use my ancient laptop as a dumb terminal.
    I don’t know if any of you have seen Obama’s ad in which Romney sing “America the Beautiful” while fact citing Bain’s outsourcing appear on the screen. It’s an effective commercial. If I hear it one more time I may require medication. I don’t see how Virginia will survive the avalanche of ads between now and November.

  10. After viewing zxbe’s clip (posted at 11:01), I came across this Charlie Brooker commentary. I love how he says Fox News Channel “leans more to the right than a man who’s had his right leg blown off.”

    • If the claims about Darwin are to be considered as the definitive point where the world suddenly became immoral or amoral by religious definition then the proof of the pudding would be that prior to this evil turning point mankind had been perfectly (or at least mostly) moral. So all actions prior to 1859 were moral and after that things just went to hell in a hand basket.

      If this were true, then there would be a fairly clear dividing point in behavior of humanity that was clearly immoral and degenerate. If one has any knowledge of history they would know this was a period where the old world ideas of serfdom, slavery and nobility took major hits. It has been a period of humanism with equality of people making great strides against the monarchies and mercantilistists. It has also seen the decline of control of religion, challenges of the blind faith acceptance of centuries old mysticism.

      No wonder they hate Darwin as much as they hated Galileo.

      • Here’s where I stand today:

        No, I do not believe that our government planned the 9/11 attacks. Could the Bush Admin have known about the crimes in advance and allowed them to happen? Maybe, but I’m just not ready to absolve or blame them completely. One thing I know for sure is that the official explanation for what happened that day is a pack of lies, and I think Chief of Staff Phillip Zelekow steered the committee away from anything that might expose the extreme incompetence and callousness of those in our government responsible for letting the attacks happen.

        (The fact, and it is a fact, that Bush’s first cousin ran the company responsible for security at the World Trade Center plaza does not help the Bush side at all. The fact that witnesses who were prepared to say they heard sounds remarkably like explosions coming from the top of the towers just before they fell were not allowed to testify doesn’t help. The fact that the steel beams from the towers were shipped off to China before they could be thoroughly examined, as you would do in any crime scene, doesn’t help them, either. But was it an “inside job”? I’m not ready to agree it was.)

        Should we have started the “War on Terror” because of the attacks? Of this I am certain: absolutely, positively not! Those attacks were crimes, not “acts of war” and they did not warrant a response by the full force of our military. Should we have sent in a small team of “commandos” (pick your favorite DoD team) to hunt out the leaders of the criminals? Yes, as it seemed to be the most cost-effective way of dealing with them though I would have preferred that they captured and brought to stand trial for their crimes.

        Just as you will never eliminate poverty in any Capitalist society, you will never eliminate terrorism in a world where Religions promise you a better life after you’re gone, especially if that Religion condones the killing of other humans. (This applies to the Roman Catholic Church and their Crusades, too.) As long as people can believe that the God they worship will forgive any harm they do to others, you will have Terrorism (but Religion will not be the only motivator.)

    • Conspiracies to the left of him.
      Conspiracies to the right of him.
      All In his own little muddled mind.

      (admittedly I didn’t get past the second minute mark as it was painful watching a man, in need of medication, rant on as if it were reality)

  11. When you’re sitting down anticipating digging into a bbq pork chop, it’s best not to get distracted in conversation, otherwise you could mistake the brown bottle of Trader Joe’s bbq sauce for the brown bottle of Blue Moon beer.

  12. Bush #43: “I Crawled Out of the Swamp”

    True quote, just “edited for clarity”, as Romney would say. Actual context (from the NYT):

    … [I]t has become clear that Mr. Bush will not be campaigning for Mr. Romney in any big way. In an interview posted online by the Hoover Institution this week, Mr. Bush said he has had enough of politics. “I crawled out of the swamp, and I’m not crawling back in,” he said.

    • How about we just thank the first responders for being first responders and let the Reich-wing freaks thank God for giving them relevance far beyond their due?

  13. “Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is floating legislation that would name most U.S. coastal waters after former President Ronald Reagan.

    Issa reintroduced his bill Wednesday to rename the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which generally extends from three miles to 200 miles offshore, as the Ronald Wilson Reagan Exclusive Economic Zone.”

  14. But for the fact that we execute the factually innocent, I would re-think my opposition to the death penalty. In the meantime, we might consider that those imprisoned for life without the possiblity of parole are not entitled to medical care – let nature take its course, be it a cold, a cut, a toothache or any other otherwise treatable condition.

    I just get the sense that this murderer will happily be a legend in his own mind, unaware of the horror of his actions, reveling in his notoriety, for the rest of his days. And I view this through the lens of a parent – who can predict if one’s offspring grows up to do something just as horrible. It must be terrible for his parents as well.

    Unfortunately, this is not the first, nor will it be the last. I understand the death penalty is not a deterrant – it is vengance, pure and simple. And…justifiable.

    But for the fact that we execute the factually innocent, I would re-think my opposition to the death penalty.

    • I oppose the use of capital punishment in all cases. IMHO, what scares criminals more than death is the thought of spending decades in prison, especially a maximum security prison (and, even worse, a privately run for-profit prison) which is where murderers tend to go. Timothy McVeigh waived all his appeals and asked George Bush for clemency because, a) he was an idiot if he thought Bush would ever commute his sentence; and, b) he didn’t want to spend more time in prison awaiting the inevitable.

      So, if you really want to punish someone, don’t execute them, confine them to prison for the rest of their natural lives. Then, if it turns out you imprisoned the wrong guy, you can set him free and pay him a few million and go after the real criminals.

      • For me, it’s less about the criminal, and more about us — as in society.

        If we use the state to kill people who have committed crimes, it’s just US killing people, using the state as a shield.

        The possibility of a wrongful conviction is too common to take a chance on trusting the state to “correctly” kill for us. Life in prison without the possibility of parole is the solution.

        Personally, I’d rather die, but my brain isn’t wired like a sick fuck killer’s brain, so I’ll never really know how they might feel about it.

        • “The possibility of a wrongful conviction is too common to take a chance on trusting the state to “correctly” kill for us.”

          yeah, like I said….

          When I wrote the above, I had just finished reading about the mother who had bullets in her throat and abdomine and kept asking about her 6 year-old daughter…they haven’t told her her daughter had been killed yet….

          • I know…I can’t even imagine it. It’s absolutely horrifying. Still, even if it were one of my men killed, I can’t imagine killing in return. Forgiveness is another matter entirely…

  15. I know there are folks at the zoo who own guns, but I really wish the founders had made it very clear, instead of vaguely scripted, that the right to bear arms is directly related to having a well regulated militia. At least military type assault weapons should be for the military…

    • Back then, if an idiot opened fire on the town square, he’d have been mobbed by the time he could re-load his musket.

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