Posts Tagged ‘fail’

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Rape culture pops up in the strangest places

August 3, 2013

This is a post I almost want to put up on Daily Kos, but I’m thinking better of it, because of the fight it would pick there. There’s a nice community of skeptics there, but there’s also a fair share of rabid catholic defenders there and I don’t enjoy interacting with them. (who would.) Besides, the great orange satan is being overrun by libertarian anarchist types, so…

Anyway, rape culture, catholicism. This should be fun eh?

So I was listening to a little MSNBC today getting ready for work. I didn’t get a chance to see much of it, but I can check it out later at length. I already found the pertinent bit, though.

I can’t embed it, but it’s the first clip of today’s Melissa Harris-Perry show and it’s about the end of the Ariel Castro court case. For kidnapping, imprisoning and raping three women over the course of a decade, he’s finished as part of this society — he gets to be housed in a jail until he expires. But he left society with a bang.

if you’ve seen the youtube video, amanda this weekend, this right there itself proves that this girl did not go through no torture. that woman did not go through no torture. because if that was true, do you think she would be out there partying already or having fun? i don’t think so.

This was Castro offering excuses for his behavior — that since these women have been seen to be happy since they escaped his clutches, they must not have suffered as much as they say.

i seen gina in the media. she looks normal. she acts normal. a person that’s been tortured does not act normal. they would act withdrawn and everything. on the contrary, i heard the opposite. she’s happy, the victims are happy.

Naturally Melissa’s panel had no kind words for Ariel Castro, and it’s amazing that he even tried. He’s the poster case for rape! The lengths to which he went to imprison these women, the chains they found, no one’s going to mistake what he did for anything but rape. But the panel went on to speak of a rape culture, a term I haven’t seen much, but I am aware of the concept. The one man on the panel had this to say about it.

so to me, what i heard there was an appeal to us in the larger community and society and saying, hey, if i did this, would this woman be out there partying? because what happens in rape culture, what happens in sexual harassment is that women are continuously put in a position, where they have to prove their innocence before their perpetrators, you know, are found guilty of what they’ve done.

It was an appeal to men. And why not, who else would it appeal to but men? Well, perhaps some women sufficiently indoctrinated or bullied into going along, I’ll get to that…not that MHP is one of those. She mentioned being a survivor and now I’m wondering about that, but this was her take on rape culture.

you literally must die to prove that you resisted sufficiently. this seems to me, we have policies substantiating this. we were just looking at the fact that in ohio, in fact, in 31 states, in 31 states, rapists can sue for custody of children produced in the context of rape and/or for visitation rights, in 31 states this this country. in only one state where there’s a waiting period for abortion can people who have been raped or are victims of incest even get that waived, right? but that idea of, who has to claim innocence, how much is that a part of rape culture? that you, the victim, the survivor are also the one on trial.

So, up to this point I was considering a DK diary until I remembered one of the many things I despise about the catholic church. This was what reminded me:

you literally must die to prove that you resisted sufficiently.

And there’s a valid argument about catholicism to be had here; but I know the G.O.S. is not that good a place for such arguments anymore. There is a patron saint, however, of rape victims.

Maria Goretti was born in October, 1890 to a family of peasant farmers. Alessandro, her murderer, was the son of her family’s landlord. The attack took place in July, 1902, when Maria was a few months shy of her twelfth birthday. Most accounts say that Alessandro had “propositioned” her before and she had always refused him. After her death, Alessandro went to jail, where he dreamed that he saw Maria in Heaven and she forgave him. He then repented and was forgiven by both the church and Maria’s mother.

And so, the patron saint of rape victims is an 11-year-old girl who was not raped, but who died rather than “allow herself” to be raped.

The Catholic Church holds up Maria Goretti as a shining example of purity and chastity. As Pope John Paul II explained, “St Maria Goretti is an example for the new generations who are threatened by a non-commital[sic] attitude that finds it difficult to understand the importance of the values which admit of no compromise.”

The RCC has several patron saints for this purpose. There’s Agatha, who was tortured and killed for rejecting a man’s advances and refusing customers after being forced into a brothel. Agnes of Rome refused to make sacrifices to pagan gods, and to surrender her virginity by rape, and was killed for it. Antonia Messina fought a rapist to her last breath: a martyr to purity, she’s called.

Detecting a bit of a theme, here.

Maria Goretti is another of these martyrs to purity. She was called that by Pope John Paul II, as recently as 2002. He also had this to say about her. Keep in mind the story of her death.

Her martyrdom reminds us that the human being is not fulfilled by following the impulses of pleasure but by living life with love and responsibility.

Contrast this with MHP:

you literally must die to prove that you resisted sufficiently.

The old pope (two popes back now I suppose) raises some questions about the choices people have, and how the church interprets them, as pointed out by this fellow skeptic

Given the context of promoting chastity, “following the impulses of pleasure” appears to refer to normal sexual desire. If so, what does “following the impulses of pleasure” have to do with Maria Goretti? Is the pope saying that if Maria had “allowed” herself to be raped, she would have been “following the impulses of pleasure”? Or is he saying that Alessandro was “following the impulses of pleasure” by wanting to rape Maria?

If the pope was referring to Alessandro, it still shows the Catholic Church’s lack of understanding about the psychology of rape. The act of a rapist is not the same thing as normal sexual desire. Not for the rapist, or for the rape victim. Rape is a violent act of domination. The fact that this case is about a 20-year-old attempting to rape an 11-year-old should already tell us that this is not an example of normal sexual desire.

There’s no good answer here, for the pope or the church. Of course, these best-case asexual eunuchs to their crucified god aren’t the sorts of people I would go to for any kind of expertise in this area, much less understanding. Empathy seems beyond them as well, when the examples they hold up to women are martyrs to purity. That the only proper path to show innocence is to die resisting. The church teaches that rape victims — survivors — must be in some measure guilty. After all, they’re not dead. There’s your rape culture. There’s a piece of it in church doctrine. I bet their priests teach catholic victims of rape to pray to saints like Maria Goretti, and hidden in the stories of these saints is a message to survivors that they failed.

you literally must die to prove that you resisted sufficiently.

And being a religion, of course, there is no political process by which we can seek to excise this cancerous idea from our midst. The most we can hope for is that most catholics don’t know about this rot in their belief system. I expect most don’t; I sure didn’t, back when I was one of them. But like most skeptics, I’ve learned quite a bit more about religion since I gave up believing in the stuff, quite often we know more about religion than the believers do.

This isn’t an attack on catholics, though. Charitably, one could call it an attack on their ignorance. Worst case, their priesthood knows. It’s on catholicism that the attack comes. And the reason I don’t bother putting this up on DK is that the catholic defenders’ league recognizes no such difference. I would like to think that I’d have a really hard time finding voices sympathetic to Pope John Paul II’s glowing endorsement of the martyr of purity. But this culture, this rape culture is pervasive. Clearly, the 31 states where rapists can sue for custody and/or visitation rights for the products of their violation speak to it.

I think I’ve internalized it to some degree, myself. In my wandering, reading and research I came across this tumblr and started reading. A lot of horror stories seem to start in parties with alcohol as a key ingredient, so to speak. I was thinking how it’s a shame that alcohol is around to facilitate this sort of thing, that I’m glad I don’t drink, it’s a wonder women go to parties at all…

If owning a gun and knowing how to use it worked, the military would be the safest place for a woman. It’s not.

If women covering up their bodies worked, Afghanistan would have a lower rate of sexual assault than Polynesia. It doesn’t.

If not drinking alcohol worked, children would not be raped. They are.

If your advice to a woman to avoid rape is to be the most modestly dressed, soberest and first to go home, you may as well add “so the rapist will choose someone else”.

…and that thought process came to a screeching halt.

It’s true, it’s not the booze. Women ought to be able to drink and have a good time like anyone else. This should not be what happens to women if they choose to have a few drinks. There’s something wrong with this society, and there’s something wrong with me. Step one, I suppose, recognize the problem. This is one occasion where I can quote Matthew 7 at myself.

7 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how [b]can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Perhaps I’ve taken the log out of my eye? Or have I just figured out that it’s there. Progress either way, I guess. As a skeptic, it pays to check and examine what’s in my head as much as anyone else’s. Rooting out those sorts of assumptions will be the work of a lifetime for me. I may have been raised catholic, but I’m not even sure where this notion came from for me. It could just be from being male, in this society.

Anyway, I can work on myself along with those 31 states and the church. No one gets away scot-free. Except for the vast majority of rapists, I suppose. Also cited during the MHP show:

and it’s the rare moment where someone who has committed sexual assault is put in prison for that. right? so that’s the 3% of cases that that actually happens.

Got a lot of work to do.

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No u

March 5, 2013

Just a quick lol for Bryan Fischer, of the American Family Association, for taking so many years to finally invoke the NO U response.

During his Monday Focal Point radio broadcast, Bryan Fischer insisted that liberals were modern “Pharisees,” a Jewish sect which was depicted as self-righteous and hypocritical in the New Testament of the Bible.

“You know who the American Taliban is?” he asked his listeners. “It’s secular fundamentalists because they are the one that want to remove all mention of Jesus from the public square… and they’re the Taliban. The Taliban wants to do the same thing. Taliban wants to drive Christ and any mention of Christ and drive Christians from the public square.”

“So, who is the Taliban today, who are the Pharisees today? Freedom From Religion Foundation, ACLU and secular fundamentalists all across the fruited plain.”

Meanwhile, skeptics have been using American Taliban to refer to, well, folks like Bryan Fischer, since the outbreak of the war in Afghanistan. There’s a good reason why The Raw Story shares the Bryan Fischer video clip from Right Wing Watch. Fischer is quite the regular there, and for good reason.

So, grats for taking so long to go with NO U.

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You will know fear!

March 5, 2013

[Since I have seen the Sha of Fear (and beaten him in LFR, but then who hasn’t), it seemed appropriate to include a reference to the bastich in today’s presentation of NRA fear-mongering.]

Another physical manifestation of terror

The NRA seems to have recognized its weakness on universal background checks for buying guns, as their spokesmen made the rounds yesterday, trying to reinforce their campaign of fear-mongering against this popular gun control policy. Undeterred by the demonstrable falsity of their claims, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and Ronnie Barrett, an NRA board member and manufacturer of his namesake sniper rifle, preached messages of conspiracy theory and revisionist history, aiming to frighten any doubting conservatives, gun owners or NRA members back into line.

With three-quarters of NRA members supporting background checks, their leaders have some work to do, since they’re evidently not going to follow the will of their own membership.

*****

Let’s begin to face the peril with Wayne on Fox & Fringe, er, that is, Varney & Company on the Fox Business channel. Stuart Varney obligingly pretended to play devil’s advocate, offering a position in favor of background checks while doing nothing to counter LaPierre’s arguments. I guess he personified the straw man.

LAPIERRE: It is a huge waste of money. It’s going to be selectively enforced. It’s going to be abused. And the worst thing, you’re creating a registry of all the law-abiding people in the country that own firearms. I know the politicians say, “Hey, we’ll never use that list to confiscate.” That’s a pretty darn tall order to believe a promise from people in this town right now.

Media Matters goes on to explain, yet again, how the NRA chooses to ignore the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA), the law they worked to pass, which forbids the creation of a federal gun registry. It’s this law which has created the sticking point in Senate negotiations, as Republicans resist any kind of record-keeping — and as Democrats try to find an effective alternative to a federal agency.

The Raw Story also notes Wayne’s appearance on Fox Business, pointing out his empathic commentary on the mentally ill…

“It’s a speed bump for the law-abiding,” he said in an interview with Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney. “It has no effect in the real world on stopping crime or keeping mental defectives from committing horrible acts.”

LaPierre goes on to claim that HIPAA laws and privacy laws will prevent would-be mass shooters from being entered into the system for psychological issues. This NRA article of faith, as usual, is demolished by the facts. As can be seen in this helpful infographic from the Center for American Progress, of the nearly 2 million people blocked from purchasing guns via NICS background checks, 1.1% are categorized as “severely mentally ill.” They cite FBI data on adjudicated mental health reasons for denial, and that percentage translates into 10,690 people who tried and were stopped from buying a gun.

Mind you, this is the current, flawed, incomplete record-keeping system that President Obama and Democrats in Congress are trying to reform and improve. This system that Wayne LaPierre claims isn’t stopping anybody, in reality, has stopped almost 2 million people.

I find it interesting, if a bit odd, that the likes of Wayne LaPierre continues to rain down abuse and trash-talk on the mentally ill. It doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the NRA business model. Then again, considering the NRA’s desired result of no new gun laws, maintenance of the status quo, ever more gun proliferation, and of course profits for gun manufacturers…

All right then, don’t tell me that it’s too perilous. Let’s have just a little bit more peril. In the form of Ronnie Barrett, CEO of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing and a member of the board of the NRA. Yes, when I see an NRA board member on an NRA sponsored TV show, I see just another NRA spokesman. Barrett’s history of gun manufacturing and sales is…interesting, perhaps worth a moment to read that wiki article. This is another company who refuses to sell to law enforcement, specifically in California, as punishment for their state’s law against the company’s .50 caliber rifles.

In Ronnie’s case, he appeared on the NRA’s Cam & Company show on the Sportsman Channel. This NRA propaganda vehicle is often featured on Media Matters, and in my diaries for that matter. So here we go again, as Barrett compares gun laws to Nazi Germany and predicts genocide…

Ronnie Barrett, defender of liberty

BARRETT: In all of history when this kind of stuff has happened before, it’s bad news. You know and I hate to be one of these doomsday guys, but in past things like this result in the death of millions. You know, and World War II hasn’t been 700 years ago, it’s only been 70 years ago. And if people don’t think that these things don’t happen to modern, progressive, Christian nations like Germany was, they’re wrong, brother, I mean we’re sitting here just nearly repeating the same past of that, the disarming of the citizenry not based on any facts but based on cynical emotions that are put in and rushed through in the middle of the night before anybody has a chance to study the true facts, before their citizenry even knows what’s going on. I mean holy smokes, what kind of state government was that? I can’t believe that’s one of the members of the Union here, one of the members of our Republic. It’s just unimaginable.

Compare this to the previous video of Wayne and Stuart tut-tutting about the confiscation of guns in the United Kingdom. How about that, anyway? A law was passed there in 1997, which banned private gun ownership almost completely. Surprisingly, years later — 10 years since the full effect of the law was achieved — no genocide. Wondrous. Well, it could be Barrett is just mad with them because his company used to supply sniper rifles to the IRA; I suppose Barrett may not be selling many Light Fifties there now. And in some previous work, I’ve gone over the revisionist history used by the NRA to falsely compare gun control legislation to the Nazis. Actual history shows that the gun laws in Germany were much more strict, prior to the Nazi regime, and that the 1938 law signed by Hitler deregulated guns for most Germans, while prohibiting gun ownership for Jews and some other persecuted classes. To quote again the historian Salon consulted on the matter:

“Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”

Of course, Wayne wants his flock to believe the myth that they are a persecuted class, even as he barks about gun laws unfairly treating a hundred million gun owners. A hundred million people, as a persecuted minority class? Wayne’s absurdities don’t stand up to scrutiny. What he’s counting on, though, is a lack of scrutiny. From gun owners, from the NRA membership, and a lack of scrutiny from the media won’t hurt his chances either. Which is why I value Media Matters’ work, and make such frequent use of it. Let some light shine on these hectoring blackcoats and their false dogma. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, so the saying goes.

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When gun control is outlawed…

March 4, 2013

[…and, we’re back. Since my schedule switched I have a little spare time today due to yesterday’s chore duties. Today I poke at the NRA and a manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines and other gun…accessories…I think ‘accessories’ and I can’t get toys out of my head, and I suppose that’s appropriate. Oh, yes…and a bonus reference for Escher Girls, couldn’t help it.]

¿Quien Es Mas Macho?

There’s an old saw about outlaws and guns, that I was reminded of as I surveyed the day’s news. On average, though, guns rack up a body count of about 87 people a day. And as the day’s victims queue up to be counted (Tom Begnal may have his next piece up shortly), I’m left wondering if it’s actually the American people who are outlaws — outside the protection of the law.

I mention this as, in Colorado, a manufacturer of high-capacity magazines, Democrats in the state Senate are under pressure to abandon new laws that would restrict the size of ammunition magazines, and mandate serial numbers on magazines. Magpul, the manufacturer in question, has threatened to pull out of the state, with Wyoming and Texas more than willing to facilitate a move for the promise of some jobs.

And Magpul has also decided to demand a loyalty oath from police — an oath to the 2nd Amendment — before it will deign to sell to them.

*****

Over the weekend, I wrote about the threats that Democratic representatives in Colorado are receiving lately, since new gun control legislation was proposed and then passed in the state House. Death threats against these Democrats, threats about their children being raped…quality rhetoric from gun enthusiasts, surely.

And since I monitor the activities of my enemies, I note that the NRA has compiled a list of Colorado state Democrats to intimidate, er, to contact and please express opposition to anti-gun measures. It might be time well spent for anyone interested in reducing gun violence to also contact these state Senators. Subvert the NRA with their own handy list, why don’t you?

With this legislative backdrop in mind, let’s get to Magpul, manufacturer of ammunition magazines and other gun accessories. When they’re not marketing calendars of pinup girls with guns, they have an section of their website dedicated to Propaganda. And no, neither of those is even a joke, although perhaps the folks at Magpul think it’s funny. In this news/propaganda section, Magpul’s CEO explains his decision to make outlaws of cops.

With the fight in Colorado right now we do not have time to implement a new program, so I have suspended all LE sales to ban states until we can implement a system wherein any Law Enforcement Officer buying for duty use will have to promise to uphold their oath to the US Constitution – specifically the second and fourteenth amendments – as it applies to all citizens.

Why the 14th Amendment, you might ask? Oh, I can think of at least one reason.

On June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, reversed the Seventh Circuit’s decision, holding that the Second Amendment was incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment thus protecting those rights from infringement by local governments.[6] It then remanded the case back to Seventh Circuit to resolve conflicts between certain Chicago gun restrictions and the Second Amendment.

Yeah, so, guns. Figures. Anyway, that’s Magpul demonstrating its great fondness for law enforcement professionals. I guess they may have to do without those pinup calendars for awhile. There are some reasonable facsimiles out there.

Beyond just pissing off cops, Magpul has weighed in on the new gun legislation in Colorado, and threatened to move out of state if it’s passed. It’s already passed in the state House, and the governor is on record that he’ll sign it.

The bill would make it a crime to have magazines that can carry more than 15 rounds, with a stricter limit of eight for shotguns. People who own larger magazines now would be allowed to keep them.As the debate unfolds, states have made overtures to Magpul, including offering to pay their moving costs. The company won’t name the states, but Wyoming and Texas have expressed interest in netting the $85 million the company projects it will spend in Colorado next year in payments to suppliers, subcontractors and service providers. Magpul said the move would also impact its 200 employees, plus an additional 400 who work for suppliers and subcontractors.

They also cite added production costs for a requirement to add serial numbers to magazines. Because why not spend the money instead on moving to another state where it’s not required?

Anyway, what’s another 80 or so people dying today…there’s corporations out there, with a few jobs to dangle in front of state legislatures! Time will tell if Columbine and Aurora, or Magpul and the NRA will win the day. But it’s clear who gun enthusiasts think should enjoy the protection of the law, and who should be outlaws.

Tuesday edit:

http://www.denverpost.com/…

Don’t think I will follow up on this today, so I noted on DK for the persistent commenters; state Senate committees in Colorado passed all seven gun control bills, and they are scheduled to be debated in the full Senate on Friday. Republicans are looking to peel off three Democrats to kill any of the legislation, and I understand one or two Democrats have already expressed opposition to at least some of the bills.

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I get tweets?

February 28, 2013

Yeah, incredibly…an actual reply from the Twitter account of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and I’m sure it’s not him but some member of his staff, but whatever. They’ve taken offense to a tweet I forwarded about him from Presente, a story I can also find on ThinkProgress. The more recent dust-up that I found on the Hill was just my following up with a bit more research. I’ll have to check back later today and see if his staffers continue to engage. I might believe it’s actually Rep. Rohrabacher if I get a Scott Brown-esque “Bqhatevwr” tweet.

Anyway, fun!

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Acts of desperation: NRA pushing lies and conspiracy theories

February 26, 2013

[…and we’re back! New week, more tales of NRA paranoia and fear. Are they really as frightened as they sound? Well, gun manufacturers could see their profits take a hit, so…]

In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee has released the bills they will consider in regard to gun violence prevention. As legislative proposals like universal background checks and a new assault weapons ban come closer to getting the vote that the President has demanded for them, the NRA counterattack has become increasingly unhinged.

They seem to be testing the ability of fact-checkers to keep up with their lies, and today I see Media Matters has tackled a series of programs the NRA ironically titled “Media Misinformation”…in which the misinformation taking place is coming from the NRA.

*****

To be fair, I can’t excerpt too much of the Media Matters article, and it’s worth the read for the variety of NRA mythbusting in it. But it’s clear that the gun enthusiasts have been busy. On their Cam & Company show, the NRA spokesman Cam Edwards has done several segments about “Media Misinformation.” Intended as some sort of media criticism, the NRA’s rebuttals are themselves founded on falsehoods and debunked by Media Matters.

   In five recent “Media Misinformation” segments, Edwards…        …cited the long-debunked research of criminologist Gary Kleck to claim that up to 2.5 million defensive gun uses occur each year while also pushing the false claim that loosening concealed gun carry laws reduces crime.

…falsely claimed that the United States ranks 28th among industrialized nations in terms of gun homicide rate when the U.S. actually ranks first in a more comparable study among high-income nations.

…used discredited research to attack an accurate claim by Mother Jones that guns in the home are more often used in criminal acts, accidents or suicides than for self-defense.

…made a flawed and anecdotal comparison to deny that increased gun availability is associated with increased firearm homicide.

…denied that a link exists between firearm access and suicide while suggesting that making firearms less accessible to a suicidal individual was not a plausible way to prevent a suicide attempt.

For example, the discredited research of Gary Kleck was used twice — while Cam Edwards was pushing concealed carry laws, and in his attack on Mother Jones. I was particularly amused by the way in which this research was debunked by Dr. David Hemenway, Harvard Injury Control Research Center Director: simple math. Not even fuzzy.

[I]n 34% of the times a gun was used for self-defense, the offender was allegedly committing a burglary. In other words, guns were reportedly used by defenders for self-defense in approximately 845,000 burglaries. From sophisticated victimization surveys, however, we know that there were fewer than 6 million burglaries in the year of the survey and in only 22% of those cases was someone certainly at home (1.3 million burglaries). Since only 42% of U.S. households own firearms, and since victims in two thirds of the occupied dwellings were asleep, the 2.5 million figure requires us to believe that burglary victims use their guns in self-defense more than 100% of the time.

There’s much more, of course — other research from around the same time as the old Kleck study showing a fraction of his numbers, and more recent data from the CDC showing a ratio of 32 gun homicides to each “legal intervention,” or justifiable homicide by firearm. 32 to 1.

Cam Edwards was also caught in a lie while attacking Stephen Colbert, who is more than capable of defending himself, of course. But it’s interesting to see how the NRA uses statistics to make a misleading argument.

On January 10, Edwards claimed that Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert was wrong to say that the United States has the highest firearm homicide rate among industrialized countries. Instead, Edwards claimed that the United States ranks 28th in the world in firearm homicide.

Media Matters tracked down the chart that the NRA used to make this claim, and found that the U.S. ranks 28th when compared to a whole range of countries that submitted data for the 2007 Small Arms Survey. And sorted by Homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 pop, sure enough, the U.S. is 28th — after 27 industrialized nations with similar income and living standards? No, not so much. The NRA is using a chart that treats America the same as Honduras, or Mexico, or Zimbabwe.

To look for, say, European countries, one has to look further down; that is, through countries with much lower homicide by firearm rates. Countries like, say, Switzerland, with its conscripted militia and mandatory gun ownership and training laws often admired by the NRA, and its homicide by firearm rate of 0.77, compared to ours at 2.97 on the same chart.

And there’s more still, whether it’s data collected by the Violence Policy Center showing the link between more guns and more homicide, a link that the NRA disputes. Almost makes me want to move to New Jersey.

Or, how about data collected by the New York Times showing the link between more guns and more suicide, which the NRA also disputes. Because even if restricting access to guns is the most effective suicide-prevention policy, that might mean…horrors! Less guns!

And if a series of lies and discredited research masquerading as criticizing “Media Misinformation” isn’t enough, there’s always Wayne LaPierre pushing the CT, to a standing ovation in Utah. Same old tale, background checking leading to registration, then confiscation. With an added bonus of gov’t hacking and criminals stealing your guns.

“Picture this: your name, your address on a map giving directions to your home that could include a list of all the specific firearms you own,” LaPierre said. “That’s a pretty handy list if you’re a seasoned criminal or a drug dealer or a gang member, isn’t it? How safe do you think that government list would be?”

Wayne figures we’re just one mass slaughter away from confiscation, showing his disrespect for the victims of gun violence in this country. He utterly fails to see this violence as an actual problem — that is, anything beyond portraying victims as political props, as a threat to gun manufacturers’ profits. More guns is, of course, the only solution the NRA will entertain.

“This so-called background check is aimed at one thing – registering your guns,” he said. “When another tragic opportunity presents itself, that registry will be used to confiscate your guns … Imagine right now your name on a massive government list.”

So it’s clear, at least to Wayne. Although the current proposals have no gun registry included, he sees that as inevitable. Certainly I would like to see a nationwide gun registry after reading about the success stories in some states, but in Congress it’s simply not on the table. And if the government won’t indulge his paranoid fantasies and confiscate guns, criminals will hack the database and steal them. I see I’m not alone in recognizing the paranoia and fear that the NRA seeks to instill in its membership; Miriam Walkingshaw, founder of Utah Parents Against Gun Violence, was quoted for the Salt Lake Tribune about the speech.

“He made this chain of logic that universal background checks equate to registering guns and that leads to confiscation,” she told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It went more and more into the paranoia, and then he mentioned the catch-and-release justice system – this constant fear that there are so many criminals out there.”It’s always more and more guns” with the NRA, she added.

Precisely. Always comes down to that, doesn’t it? Funny how that works.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this piece, and the latest move in the Senate. Since John Boehner’s Republican majority in the House has achieved total incompetence at its legislative function, it’s up to the Senate to make the first move and force the House into action.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has released a series of gun-violence preventions bills — including a controversial assault weapons ban being pushed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — for mark up in his panel on Thursday….

Other legislation being considered for Judiciary markup is a bill by Leahy to stop illegal gun trafficking; a “placeholder” proposal on universal background checks for all gun sales by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); and a measure by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to increase school safety.

Since procedural rules could delay this for a week, I expect that Republicans will force that delay. The NRA is expected to try to derail the legislation in committee — no doubt hoping to kill this effort before it reaches the entire Senate, and draws more attention. And Politico expects a Republican filibuster because of the assault weapons ban; I expect a filibuster because Democrats are sponsoring legislation, period.

The time is now, bring the noise — demand a vote.

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The circle of death: or, hey, come steal my guns!

February 19, 2013

[My latest piece now on Daily Kos seemed to deserve the Rocky & Bullwinkle treatment for the title. Thankfully it is on the short side.]

Concern is rampant amongst gun enthusiasts about registration, leading to confiscation (then extermination, if you believe Ann Coulter). Even the NRA can be found putting the fear into its membership.

With this in mind, I find it hard to be compassionate for the poor, terrorized gun owners of San Antonio. They seem to have brought trouble on themselves by proudly displaying the NRA logo on their cars, and in so doing, inviting burglars to break into those cars looking for guns.

You’d think they would know to keep a lower profile…

*****

The sad news from Texas: (video at the link, sorry, it doesn’t want to embed)

“They’re looking for any indicator of what type of property might be in the car,” says a BCSO detective who works undercover. He adds his team is seeing a huge jump in the number of vehicle burglaries in and around the county where thieves are looking for one thing: weapons.”They would smash the window, search the vehicle. They would take the fire arm out, steal the firearm and leave behind other expensive items such as phones and computers and things like that.” He’s seen dozens of incidents in the past month.

The news piece goes on to relate how the black market in guns is booming, as criminals seem just as capable of planning ahead as gun enthusiasts when it comes to new gun control legislation on the horizon. And what better targets for their criminal activities than gun owners so insufficiently paranoid as to self-identify with NRA or hunting stickers on their cars?

This detective says they’re not just looking for guns in your car, they’re also breaking into your home to hunt for guns.”I think that if you have a firearm-related sticker, it is reasonable for a burglar to assume that you have a firearm either in your vehicle or in your home.”

So while gun enthusiasts may be frightened with the prospect of a gun registry identifying them for a criminal’s shopping list — never mind that no registry has even been proposed at the federal level — they have unwittingly identified themselves as targets for gun theft.

And to think, the NRA eagerly supports legislation in a variety of states to protect the rights of gun owners to keep guns in their cars, wherever they go. The same NRA that demands of its members, “We will buy more guns than ever.” And those window decals are pretty cheap at the NRA store.

No, I’m not going to link that. I’m not going to help the NRA supply guns to criminals!