Guns and the Soul of America – by David Brooks – NYT

“The reality is that in some places people want these laws. It’s true that individual gun control measures, like banning bump stocks, have popular support, but, over all, the gun rights people are winning the hearts and minds of America. In 2000, according to a Pew survey, only 29 percent of Americans supported more gun rights and 67 percent supported more gun control. By 2016, 52 percent of Americans supported more gun rights and only 46 percent supported more control.”

“The real reason the gun rights side is winning is postindustrialization. The gun issue has become an epiphenomenon of a much larger conflict over values and identity.

A century ago, the forces of industrialization swept over agricultural America, and monetary policy became the proxy fight in that larger conflict. Today, people in agricultural and industrial America legitimately feel that their way of life is being threatened by postindustrial society. The members of this resistance have seized on issues like guns, immigration, the flag as places to mobilize their counterassault. Guns are a proxy for larger issues.”

David Lindsay:  The strengths of this op-ed way outweigh its weaknesses. Brooks is brilliant at looking for answers deeper than what is being discussed, and revealing truths, that add to our understanding of the enormous frustration of our political polarization.

Here are some top comments that are helpful, though none of them acknowledge that Brooks has just made an important point.


is a trusted commenter Verona NJ October 6, 2017

A 2017 Pew survey indicated 51% said it’s more important to control gun ownership, while 47% said it’s more important to protect the rights of gun owners.

The 2017 Pew survey revealed Americans want more gun control:

89% of Americans want to restrict people with mental illnesses from buying guns.

84% think there should be background checks for private gun sales and at gun shows.

83% percent want to ban sales of guns to people on no-fly or watch lists.

But Republicans have fought these common sense ideas like Communism

Why ?

Because stoking fear, ‘free-dumb’, spite and paranoia is more politically profitable to them than selling common sense, unity, thoughtfulness and public safety.

And shameless right-wing stoking of that fear and paranoia led to a surge in deranged consumer demand of ‘bump stocks’ this week by Americans who were ‘impressed’ with the Las Vegas massacre and deranged murderer.

Several ‘bump stock’ customers suggested that demand for bump stocks was because of fear that the products could soon be outlawed, presumably limiting their abilities – and ‘freedom’ – to haul around automatic murder weapons.

The truth is that Republicans have been working against the public’s safety interests for decades while stoking America’s deranged and violent gun culture that is an international disgrace.

Instead of protecting living Americans, Republicans protect guns and ‘pray’ for dead Americans.

2nd Amendment Derangement Syndrome is no way to run a country.

NYT Pick

Lisa Murphy

Orcas Island October 6, 2017

I’m really tired of hearing that stupid phrase”this is not who we are”, to counteract all the cruel, thickheaded, destructive and bigoted ways of thinking and acting taking place in this country everyday. America this is exactly who you are. A country that thinks owning guns( to prove you’re tough) is worth the slaughter of your public officials, innocent people in movie theaters, concerts and shopping malls, and most disgusting of all the murder of little children. America you are a blight on the landscape, not a “shining city on the hill”. Tawdry, mendacious, ill educated and cowardly.


New Hampshire October 6, 2017

One way that might help solve this issue is to require insurance of every gun owner. Not insurance on the value of the gun, but insurance against what that gun might do to others. When the families of victims start going after the insurance companies, things would change.

NYT Pick

Virginia Fowler

Bali, Indonesia October 6, 2017

Why does everyone keep saying that gun control wouldn’t affect mass shootings? This goes against not only logic, but the facts. Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since they severely cut back on gun ownership. Countries in which it’s very difficult to buy guns, like Japan and Indonesia, don’t have mass shootings. Remember earlier this year when a guy in China went crazy and attacked a bunch of kids in a kindergarten? All he had was a knife, so no one was killed. Anyway, mass shootings are the tip of the iceberg of gun deaths. The statistics are overwhelmingly clear; less guns equals less gun deaths. Pretty simple.

NYT Pick


Konstantin October 6, 2017

You are wrong about the NRA, their spending and their political influence.

This is the second article to minimize that influence by citing the amount they have spent on political campaigns. This is a well designed talking point that has effectively made in to what might otherwise be considered a moderate perspective on gun control.

Fact: the NRA is a top ten spender in outside activities. These activities are often election related and unambiguously intended to influence politicians even when carefully designed to not to be classified as political contributions.

The NRA also spends at least 3 times as much on lobbying as they do on political contributions. Since of this money goes to salaries to hire ex government employees to staff approximately half of the lobbying operation. Is anyone naive enough to believe that this money is not spent too influence our political system?

How did the myth that the NRA is a minor political player as measured by political contributions suddenly become a popular cause of otherwise thoughtful people? I don’t think the answer is obvious, but I am certain it’s part of their budget.

NYT Pick

David Paquette

Cerritos, CA October 6, 2017

It makes me shudder, but there is a vast amount of truth in this article. The unfortunate fact is that it makes no difference what people say they are in favor of, what makes a difference is what people do. People are in fact electing representatives that pass laws that support guns. They are buying guns in record numbers. I’m terrified, but that is the facts.

Even in California, with the some of the strongest gun control laws in the country it is illegal to buy high capacity gun magazines, but it is not illegal to own them. Thus one can just hop over the border to Nevada and buy what you want an bring it on in. No problem.

That interstate gun transport problem is the probable reason that gun control states are not as free from gun problems as one might expect.

The scariest statement in this article is this: “Gun rights are about living in a country where families are tough enough and responsible enough to stand up for themselves in a dangerous world.” There is virtually no support for this statement in facts. There are close to zero cases where one can point to the case of a gun owner successfully terminating a mass killing. In the Pulse night club shooting, the armed guard was hiding in the rest room with the rest of the patrons. In Nevada, it is simply inconceivable how any reasonable amount of armament among the concert goers could have had even the slightest effect on the number of deaths. Yet the “self protection” myth reigns.



If Only Stephen Paddock Were a Muslim – Thomas Friedman – NYT

“It’s also corrupt. Because it’s driven by money and greed — by gunmakers and gun-sellers and oil and coal companies, and all the legislators and regulators they’ve bought and paid to keep silent. They know full well most Americans don’t want to take away peoples’ rights to hunt or defend themselves. All we want to take away is the right of someone to amass a military arsenal in their home and hotel room and use it on innocent Americans when some crazy rage wells up inside them. But the N.R.A. has these cowardly legislators in a choke hold.

What to do?Forget about persuading these legislators. They are not confused or under-informed. They are either bought or intimidated. Because no honest and decent American lawmaker would look at Las Vegas and Puerto Rico today and say, “I think the smartest and most prudent thing to do for our kids is to just do nothing.”

So there is only one remedy: Get power. If you are as fed up as I am, then register someone to vote or run for office yourself or donate money to someone running to replace these cowardly legislators with a majority for common-sense gun laws. This is about raw power, not persuasion. And the first chance we have to change the balance of power is the 2018 midterm elections. Forget about trying to get anything done before then. Don’t waste your breath.Just get power. Start now.”

Yes, and, here are the top three comments, which I endorsed.

Jocelyn Ahlers Vista, CA 2 hours ago

I am starting to wonder whether the NRA could be called a terrorist organization, or, at the very least, a sponsor of terrorism. Terrorism is defined as the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to attain goals that are political or ideological in nature. The ads and political monies the NRA spend deliberately attempt to convince people that the only response to mass shootings is for everyone to own weapons. At the same time, they quash any efforts to enact sensible gun control legislation, leaving the door open for anyone to amass an arsenal that can easily kill and injure hundreds. And then they circle back around to convince people that they should own weapons to protect themselves from nuts with weapons. If that isn’t using the threat of violence (enabled by lax gun control) to further a political/ideological aim, I’m not sure what is.

And none of this even begins to address the politics of race inherent here. If people of color were gathering weapons in these numbers and using them to commit heinous acts such as this… Well, I’m thinking the response would be different.

Reply 257 Recommended

NYT Pick
matteo Port Washington, NY 2 hours ago

Tom’s right on this one. We should follow the advice of the nation’s chiefs of police: register all guns like cars; require licensing exams, strict licensing policies on the municipal level; Require insurance to cover these murderous events events, thus getting insurance companies who bear financial risk to conduct investigations; automatic weapons only for Police and Armed Forces. There’s a lot we can do that’s common sense and still gives legitimate law abiding citizens the right to bear their arms.

Reply 208 Recommended

JDS Ohio 2 hours ago

I heard on the mainstream radio today that the “kit” Paddock apparently used to convert a semi-automatic weapon to an automatic one cost about $50, and are legal, at least in Nevada. Would it be too much for the NRA to outlaw these kits? Are deer hunters using automatic weapons to shoot deer? Do we need automatic weapons to defend our homes? I’m all for a sane interpretation of the second amendment; let’s have one.

Reply 149 Recommended

Jimmy Kimmel Seizes on Las Vegas Shooting to Champion Gun Laws in Emotional Monologue – The New York Times

“‘There Are a Lot of Things We Can Do’Jimmy Kimmel, a son of Las Vegas, delivered one of the most emotionally searing monologues in his show’s 14-year history on Monday as he honored those killed and injured in Sunday night’s shooting, and challenged President Trump and Congress to act against gun violence. Just as he did in his attacks on the Republican health care bills this year, Mr. Kimmel used plain, pointed language while acting as a social conscience as he called out politicians, the National Rifle Association and complacent citizens.

Choked up from the start, he ultimately broke into tears as he related the events and the aftermath of what was one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. “This morning, we have children without parents and fathers without sons, mothers without daughters. We lost two police officers. We lost a nurse from Tennessee. A special-ed teacher from a local school here in Manhattan Beach. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up or give up. It’s too much to even process — all these devastated families who now have to live with this pain forever because one person with a violent and insane voice in his head managed to stockpile a collection of high-powered rifles and use them to shoot people.”” — JIMMY KIMMEL

Video by Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Preventing Mass Shootings Like the Vegas Strip Attack – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“After the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, the impulse of politicians will be to lower flags, offer moments of silence, and lead a national mourning. Yet what we need most of all isn’t mourning, but action to lower the toll of guns in America.

We don’t need to simply acquiesce to this kind of slaughter. When Australia suffered a mass shooting in 1996, the country united behind tougher laws on firearms. As a result, the gun homicide rate was almost halved, and the gun suicide rate dropped by half, according to the Journal of Public Health Policy.

Skeptics will say that there are no magic wands and that laws can’t make the carnage go away. To some extent, they’re right. Some criminals will always be able to obtain guns, especially in a country like America that is awash with 300 million firearms. We are always likely to have higher gun death rates than Europe.But the scale is staggering. Since 1970, more Americans have died from guns (including suicides, murders and accidents) than the sum total of all the Americans who died in all the wars in American history, back to the American Revolution. Every day, some 92 Americans die from guns, and American kids are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries, according to David Hemenway of Harvard.”

David Lindsay:  Yes, and we need to ban sales of assault weapons and high capacity magazines to civilians.
Here is a comment I endorsed.
Charlie Smithson Cincinnati, OH 4 hours ago

What I don’t want to hear is the GOP say that “Now isn’t the time to talk about gun control, now is the time to respect the victims.”

If we don’t talk about some sensible gun control, now, after this horrible tragedy, then when will we? Gun violence and death are clearly an area where America can celebrate its exceptionalism. We are amazing at it and we just keep getting better at the violence and killing.

As someone who attends many musical performances a year I can’t even imagine something like this. It is a horrible, traumatic, tragedy.

The continued allegiance to the NRA by our GOP politicians is criminal and enabling.

Reply 752 Recommended

Las Vegas Shooting Near Mandalay Bay Casino Kills 58 – The New York Times

Here are some of the top comments.The ones I endorsed say recommended.
Not Recommend.

Alive and Well Freedom City 5 hours ago

Reportedly the shooter was a 64 year old man with what amounts to a machine gun. The authorities hesitated, I understand, to call it terrorism.

Gentlemen and Ladies of the Authorities: This Is What Terrorism Looks Like.

We are suffering under domestic terrorism that the authorities seem to be willfully turning a blind eye to. Because: Guns.

The 2nd Amendment includes language that says that guns are to be used within a “well-regulated militia.” Why is that language ignored?

The time is now to stand up to domestic terrorism under the guise of 2nd Amendment protections. The time is now to invoke the “well-regulated militia” part of this law.

Reply 4235Recommended

Wade Nelson Durango, Colorado 5 hours ago

If a pile of dead 3rd graders (Sandy Hook) won’t bring about reasonable gun control in America 50 dead country music fans won’t either.

Reply 3658Recommend

NYT Pick
Kris New York, NY 5 hours ago

If the perpetrator had been Muslim, there would be no hesitation to condemn all Muslims as violent fanatics. When the shooter is the usual white American male, there is no mention of his faith or motivations. He is simply described as tragically mentally ill.

Reply 3098Recommended

NYT Pick
Christian St Barts, FWI 5 hours ago

If I hear one more politician say “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims,” I’m going to take a gun out and shoot my radio. Politicians’ job is to legislate, not to pray. Do your job: gun control! Gun control! Gun control! Start with assault rifles. A weapon intended to mow down scores of people has no reason to be sold to civilians, if it has any reason to be sold at all.

Reply 2829Recommended

America’s Lethal Politics – The New York Times

“Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.

Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.

Was this attack evidence of how readily available guns and ammunition are in the United States? Indisputably. Mr. Hodgkinson, by definition, should not have had a gun, but he was licensed in his home state, Illinois. And in any event it would have been easy for him to acquire a weapon in Virginia, which requires no background checks in private sales, requires no registration for most weapons and has few restrictions on open carry.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Here are some estimates from the
“114,994 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, or by police intervention.>

33,880 people die from gun violence

11,564 people are murdered
21,037 people kill themselves
544 people are killed unintentionally
468 are killed by police intervention
267 die but intent is not known

81,114 people survive gun injuries:

60,041 people are injured in an attack
3,700 people survive a suicide attempt
16,428 people are shot unintentionally
947 people are shot by police intervention

Millions of guns are sold every year in “no questions asked” transactions. Experts estimate that 40 percent of guns sold in America are done so without a Brady background check. Take action with our Finish the Job campaign now.”

With so many deaths in the US from too many guns on the street in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, there is poetic justice in the random killing of politicians who oppose gun controls.

Some Extremists Fire Guns and Other Extremists Promote Guns, Nick Kristof – The New York Times

“Over the last two decades, Canada has had eight mass shootings. Just so far this month, the United States has already had 20.Canada has a much smaller population, of course, and the criteria researchers used for each country are slightly different, but that still says something important about public safety.

Could it be, as Donald Trump suggests, that the peril comes from admitting Muslims? On the contrary, Canadians are safe despite having been far more hospitable to Muslim refugees: Canada has admitted more than 27,000 Syrian refugees since November, some 10 times the number the United States has.

More broadly, Canada’s population is 3.2 percent Muslim, while the United States is about 1 percent Muslim — yet Canada doesn’t have massacres like the one we just experienced at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., or the one in December in San Bernardino, Calif. So perhaps the problem isn’t so much Muslims out of control but guns out of control.”

Source: Some Extremists Fire Guns and Other Extremists Promote Guns – The New York Times

Here is a good idea from a good comment:


Heart of Texas 7 hours ago

“The problem is members of Congress who take money from the NRA. Nobody forced anyone in Congress to take money from the NRA, which now has more gun hoarders (predominantly white male) than game hunters as members. The NRA is a scourge on the planet, and everybody knows it. NRA-backed members of Congress rebuke the majority of Americans who want gun control. If you want gun control, vote them out of office. The NRA can’t buy voters. The media can help by listing every member of Congress who takes a nickel from the NRA, and running that list with every single story on a mass shooting.”

The N.R.A.’s Complicity in Terrorism – The New York Times, and a blogger’s call for action.

The American gun lobby’s refusal to accept even mild controls has made the U.S. a favorite of terrorists who want to use guns.

” “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms,” one spokesman for Al Qaeda said in a 2011 recruitment video. “So what are you waiting for?”

Few places on earth make it easier than the United States for a terrorist to buy assault weapons to mow down scores of people in a matter of minutes. The horrific massacre in Orlando last weekend is only the latest example. And all this is made vastly easier by a gun lobby that has blocked sensible safety measures at every turn, and by members of Congress who seem to pledge greater allegiance to the firearms industry than to their own constituencies. There is a word for their role in this form of terrorism: complicity.”

Source: The N.R.A.’s Complicity in Terrorism – The New York Times

This is an excellent editorial, thank you. I’m fed up with the NRA, and their bought politicians, who are all complicit in domestic terrorism and killing.

If I were a billionaire, I would fund a political organization to run the video clip on Trevor Noah’s Daily Show after the Orlando massacre, showing the ISIS spokesman explaining it is easy to buy an assault weapon in the US. He implores his listeners, What are you waiting for? I would run this clip against every politician against gun controls and assault weapon bans up for reelection, with a message, this politician works for ISIS, this politician is complicit in terrorism and killing innocent Americans. Vote of X,Y or Z, to remove ISIS supporters from our Government.”

Such an advertisement, repeated over and over, might have a positive effect. We would be borrowing a page from the ruthless swift boat ads against John Kerry, that were essentially lies. Only these heavy handed ads, would be telling the truth, over and over again.

I posted the Trevor Noah clip yesterday, but here it is again:

Lessons of Hiroshima and Orlando, by Tom Friedman – The New York Times

“I want to talk today about the horrific human tragedy of Orlando. But first I want to talk about Hiroshima — or, more precisely, the profound speech that President Obama gave there on May 27 that got lost in all the campaign noise here.Hiroshima, Obama suggested, represents a world in which for the first time ever a country possessed the power to kill all of us — and if it had to be any country, I am glad it was America. But today, he said, we’re entering a world where small groups — maybe even soon a single super-empowered person — will be able to kill all of us; therefore we’d better start thinking about the moral implications of where technology is taking us.

“Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines,” the president noted. “The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.”What the president was describing is the central strategic issue of our time: the growing mismatch between the combined rapid evolution of our technological prowess and the powers this gives to a single individual or group to destroy at scale (you can make your own gun now with a 3-D-printer), and the pace of our moral and social evolution to govern and use these powers responsibly.

And that brings me to the Orlando massacre — to what happens when, on a smaller scale, we refuse to reimagine the social and legal changes we need to manage a world where one loser can now kill so many innocent people. The notion that such a person — any person — should be able to buy a military-style assault rifle is insane. That the Republican Party cannot see the wisdom of common-sense guns laws is just begging for bigger massacres.”

Source: Lessons of Hiroshima and Orlando – The New York Times

The late-night hosts had been here so many times, after so many mass murders, that the sad comic’s changed their messages.|By James Poniewozik

“Samantha Bee, the host of “Full Frontal” on TBS, said that she was too angry to deliver some “well-meaning words about how we will get through this together, how love wins, how love conquers hate.” She continued: “Love does not win unless we start loving each other enough to fix our [expletive] problems” — starting, she argued, with restricting access to guns like the semiautomatic that Omar Mateen used to kill dozens of clubgoers.”

The late-night hosts had been here so many times, after so many mass murders, that the sad comic’s display of apolitical grief had become shtick.|By James Poniewozik
David Lindsay David Lindsay This should be the link to the Samantha Bee monologue, if you missed it. It is amazing, (as are the others as well).