The Problem Is Guns

Not mental health, not Islam, not Christianity, not white supremacy, not homophobia, not an innate flaw in the Human Race.  Nothing but than casual, nearly universal access to machines designed to kill many, many human beings in a short period.

Tossing out these intractable facets of human nature to obfuscate the root cause of massacres is the preferred tactic of gun apologists.  Blame Orlando on homophobia, blame Charleston on racism, blame Aurora and Sandy Hook on mental illness.  All amorphous social problems with no immediate solution.

Unlike, say, enacting basic, common sense gun safety regulations at the federal level of the sort that have proven very effective in other countries.

Vox has a very good 'explainer' on why we can't do it that basically boils down to three letters:
NRA.  So the foundation of our Gunpocalypse ends up being the same as for most of our other 'impossible' problems- capitalism.

Anyway, guns are the problem. I'm having ten or so individual arguments about this and thought I'd compress them all into one blog post since they all use the same couple of talking point arguments.



#2: Crazy people are crazy, we must fix mental health!

Crazy people who can't easily stock up on firearms are less able to murder large numbers of people.  Okay, sure, let's improve our rudimentary mental health services- great.
In the meantime, let's do what we can to eliminate access to assault rifles, extended magazines, etc.

#3: People are violent and will do stuff anyway, so gun safety laws are pointless.
(this is really popular among touchy feely FB liberals.)

See above.
I'll take an inherently violent populace armed with knives and bats over one armed with assault rifles and semi automatic pistols with extended magazines.

#4: Without our guns the EVIL GOVERNMENT will steal our rights!

If push comes to shove Uncle Gomer and his basement full of illegally modified ARs won't be doing shit against the armed forces of the United States of America.

#5:  Hunting and Fishing!  Home defense! Varmint control!
A:  Good news!  Revolvers, shotguns and hunting rifles have you covered.

#6: (my favorite)  Cars kill way more people than guns, I SUPPOSE YOU WANT TO BAN CARS TOO YOU DUM LIBTARD?!

Cars are heavily regulated.  You need to take a test to get a license to drive, you must renew your license every few years, you pay a tax for ownership, you are required to carry insurance and are liable for damages they incur.  Car makers are also subject to onerous safety regulations to make them safer.  And it is illegal to drive race cars on public roads.

I'd very happily apply the automotive model to firearms.

If I had my wish there would be no private ownership of guns.
Which I realize is Utopian thinking along the lines of "we don't need gun saftey laws if we eliminate mental illness, racism, homophobia, etc"

But restricting access to a particular subset of firearms and accessories that enable these massively fatal attacks can and must happen.


RIP Lau Kar-Leung

2016 continues building its legacy of carnage, claiming one of the HK's greatest action choreographers and directors.

Commemorative film festival entries available on Netflix:

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
One of the greatest films ever made.

Return to the 36th Chamber
A worthy sequel.

Disciples of the 36th ChamberAnother classic

A mighty legacy.


Adios, Democratic party

So this primary thing is at a rolling boil, with the likeliest conclusion remaining unchanged- Candidate Clinton.  Also unchanged is my low opinion of HRC and belief that she's a weak candidate with bad judgement who will make a poor president.  She'll beat Trump thanks to inexorable demographic change undermining the efficiency of running explicitly racist, xenophobic national campaigns, but is also the embodiment of a political dead end I was hoping we could back out of instead of pitching our empties out the window, stomping on the gas and crossing our fingers that the airbags deploy.

Ah well, c'est la vie!

This all has hipped me to the fact that I'm no longer a Democrat.  Once you reach the conclusion that capitalism is the root of most evil you're at an impasse with our two political parties.  Not that they're the same, but that both serve capital above all and everything else is cosmetic.  Bernie is no kind of actual revolutionary but his funding model has let him go off script, bringing up solutions that are standard in European democracies but verboten here- single payer healthcare, subsidized college education, curbs on the excesses of the free market.

The official Democratic reaction to these commonsense proposals has been....illuminating.
But I guess not surprising in a world where the head of the DNC recently went to war for payday lenders.

So, barring some kind of sharply leftward course correction, I'm out. I'll vote defensively in national elections- however debilitating her flaws HRC picking 3-4 new Supreme Court justices is preferable to Trump throwing knives at a gallery of Scalia wannabes vetted by the Heritage Foundation- but I'll be doing it as an unaffiliated voter until a viable Socialist party comes along.


True Customer Tales: Trump & the Art of the Deal

(Trump's Rug Emporium, artist's conception) 

We've had a copy of Art of the Deal by Donald Trump on display by the register the last couple of weeks and it's been an entertaining ride.  The college town used book demographic isn't receptive to The Donald's message and I regularly find it turned around, face toward the shelf, or carried off to assorted faraway sections (favorite destination so far:  smut).  The few grudge bearing oldsters asking after it have been put off by the $15 price tag (which is a deal, we could get $20 for it on Amazon right now).

But today The Art of the Deal found its soulmate in a cranky, piss-stinking borderline homeless dude with black fingernails.

I've seen him around town for a while, but never in the shop.  He was grumbling past the door when he looked up, spotted Trump on display and bee-lined inside.  He dropped it on the counter, muttering something about holding it, then vanished into the depths of the shop, trailing an ammoniac stench cloud strong enough to make me consider just booting him on the spot.  But the place was fairly empty, so I held off.

He came back up with a paperback copy of 'the Text of the New Testament' by Metzger.
"Gimme this for a dollar."
I checked the price.
"It's seven dollars plus tax."
"UUUuuuuuuhn." he groaned, spinning toward the door.

He stopped short at the sale cart, and after a grunting, grumbling pause returned with two quarter books which I rang up.

"That'll be fifty four cents."

He dug through his pockets, piling half a microwave burrito, a dirty sock, a handful of Taco Bell Mild sauce packets and a selection of wadded up napkins on the counter.   He became frustrated, grunting "MONEY" before hurriedly shoveling his debris back into their pockets of origin and stomping out.

The fellow behind him in line failed to take this display in stride, and was further unnerved by the aggrieved shouts of "FUCKING....MONEY!" echoing through the doorway from the sidewalk.

I figured that for the end of the saga, but ten minutes later he was back, gripping a dollar in one weathered paw like the last flower of spring.  I rang up the cart books again, and he croaked out

"I need dimes.  Dimes, for the bus.  More dimes."

So, I gave him all dimes and a few pennies, which he counted out three times before they went to join the burrito in the abyss.  He gestured sweepingly at the Trump book still sitting on the counter.

"HOLD THAT for me, I'll be back tonight.  Fifteen fucking dollars!"

Will update if he makes it back.


Our First White President

Pick up Fuss from school and on the way home we had a short political discussion.

Dada, who are you voting for for president?
Well, in the primary I've voting for Bernie Sanders, and then in the actual election I'm voting for whoever is the Democratic nominee.

Then I had to explain a bit about primaries and whatnot.

Dada, is Trump a Republican?
Yah, he is. Who are you going to vote for?
I'm voting for Hillary.
Oh? How come?
Because, because she's the first woman president.
Dada, can you believe that whoever is president will be the FIRST?
Yes.  Hillary will be the first Woman president, and Trump would be the first white President!

I paused, mouth open for an emphatic correction.
And then realized he's right, because the only president he's ever known is Obama.

That's true, Fuss, he'd be the first white president you've ever had.

Fuss nodded and went back to eating Cheeze Its.


David Bowie RIP

For years I've had a nervous tic when I get drunk- I corner someone at a party and pose the question "which rock act released a great album in the most decades?"

My answer is David Bowie, and none of my victims have topped it.

David Bowie (aka Man of Words, Man of Music, aka Space Oddity)

(all of them)

Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

(?, I need to check 'Outside')


and this bit of delight as a chaser.