…damn it [DOT 26/3/21]

I'm gonna need a bigger drink...

…much as “it’s friday” ought to be a good thing

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/man-with-body-armor-guns-possible-explosives-arrested-at-university-kentucky-hospital

Man armed with six guns and body armor arrested inside Atlanta grocery store, police said [WaPo]

https://www.theroot.com/a-thing-i-wrote-about-guns-and-loopholes
[…I’ll be honest…you might not want to read that one…harriot is a writer I seldom regret reading but he’s not in the business of making anyone feel better & today kinda sucks as it is]

How fear and shootings drive business for the gun industry [WaPo]

…the truth is I’m not feeling it today

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/mar/25/preachersnsneakers-instagram-pastors-fashion-saint-laurent-gucci

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/25/los-angeles-police-homeless-encampment-clash

…& a fair chunk of that is because sadly

Jessica Walter, star of Arrested Development, dies aged 80 [Guardian]

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jessica-walter-star-arrested-development-archer-dies-80

‘An absolute legend’: Fans and co-stars mourn Jessica Walter, actress and star of the Internet’s favorite GIFs [WaPo]

…meanwhile

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/03/25/biden-excels-at-his-first-news-conference-the-media-embarrass-themselves

Georgia lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to legislation to impose sweeping new restrictions on voting access in the state that make it harder to vote by mail and give the state legislature more power over elections in the state.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/25/georgia-voting-restrictions-law-passed

Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon (D) was arrested Thursday after trying to watch Gov. Brian Kemp (R) sign a controversial new voting bill into law, authorities said, in a heated interaction that was caught on video.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/03/25/park-cannon-georgia-arrest-voting/

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/georgia-legislator-arrested-pulled-out-of-state-capitol-as-governor-signs-new-voting-law

Threats to US voting rights have grown – what’s different about this moment? [Guardian]

President Biden said on Thursday that Republican efforts to limit voting rights were “sick” and “un-American,” vowing to prevent states from taking what he called “despicable” actions that undermine democracy by making it harder for people to cast ballots.

Georgia Republicans enact a major law to restrict voting, part of a nationwide push. [NYT]

Georgia governor signs into law sweeping voting bill that curtails the use of drop boxes and imposes new ID requirements for mail voting [WaPo]

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/25/the-mcconnell-filibuster-is-not-the-same-as-the-jim-crow-filibuster-its-much-worse

…& although arguably this isn’t bad news

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/supreme-court-makes-it-easier-to-sue-big-companies-and-police

…on the other hand…this doesn’t exactly bode well?

The case that the Supreme Court heard this week about a California law granting union organizers access to private farms has been described as a labor case, which it marginally is. It has also been described as a case about property rights, which it definitely is. But what makes Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid one of the most important cases of the current term is the question it presents for the newly configured court: whether, after years of disappointment, the political right may finally be able to take the Supreme Court for granted.

Testing Time at the Supreme Court [NYT]

…& speaking of dollars

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/big-tech-and-congress-squared-off-the-frustration-was-palpable

House lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Thursday interrogated the chief executives of Google, Facebook and Twitter, escalating their calls for swift regulation of the tech industry.

During the more than five-hour hearing, lawmakers in five-minute intervals called out executives on a wide range of issues including extremism, misinformation, cyberbullying, climate change and the coronavirus. Many of the politicians attempted to force the chief executives to answer “yes” or “no,” cutting them off if they tried to explain how “nuanced” those issues are.
[…]
“The power of this technology is awesome and terrifying, and each of you has failed to protect your users and the world from the worst consequences of your creations,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.), the top Democrat on a House Energy and Commerce panel focused on technology.
[…]
Doyle asked all of the CEOs if their companies were partly responsible for the Capitol riot, pressing them to answer in a yes or no format. Only Dorsey said yes.
[…]
The executives aren’t new to testifying before Congress. Last summer, the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple were grilled over antitrust concerns. And late last year, Republicans called the same trio to testify specifically on Section 230.
[…]
Taken together, the long list of questions shows that many of the committee members showed up prepared and knowing what they wanted to get out of the executives.
[…]
Still, that doesn’t mean that a consensus has emerged on what comes next.

Lawmakers from both parties suggested the time had come to make changes to Section 230, for example. But the two parties want the law changed in opposing ways. Democrats want it to hold companies to a higher standard for the spread of racism and misinformation. Republicans want the companies to cut back on moderation, arguing that current practices threaten free speech.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/03/25/facebook-google-twitter-house-hearing-live-updates/

…seems pretty clear somebody isn’t doing their job, anyway

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/mar/25/google-criticised-failing-remove-antisemitic-auschwitz-reviews

Google Podcasts has been compared to Parler, the social network that became a hotbed for extremist groups [NYT]

…but they aren’t the only ones flooded with money while flooding the rest of us with poison

One of the most enduring, indestructible toxic chemicals known to man – Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), which is a PFAS “forever chemical” – is being secretly incinerated next to disadvantaged communities in the United States. The people behind this crackpot operation? It’s none other than the US military.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/25/us-military-toxic-chemicals-us-states

…& much as you’d think it was impossible to fuck up water

Lawsuits are mounting against a Las Vegas-based bottled water brand, Real Water, amid a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation and accusations by more people in more states that it caused liver illness and other ailments.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/lawsuits-mount-nevada-based-real-water-amid-fda-probe

The dearth of clean water in much of Florence, which is 47 percent Black, located about an hour northwest of the coastal resort town of Myrtle Beach, illustrates a national environmental crisis in America, especially for Black people in low-income rural communities.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/water-heavens-south-carolina-pastors-crusade-for-clean-drinking-water

…or for this story to get any worse

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/25/saudi-accused-of-threat-to-khashoggi-un-investigator-is-human-rights-chief

…yeah…& they haven’t moved the giant ship

Tugboats and dredgers were toiling to release the wedged container vessel, which is obstructing the crucial artery of global trade like “a very heavy beached whale,” one expert said.

Giant Ship Blocking Suez Canal Could Take ‘Days, Even Weeks’ to Free [NYT]

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/egypt-s-suez-canal-still-blocked-huge-ship-leaves-global-trade-in-a-jam

…though if any of you were (like me) a little confused by the suggestion that “a gust of wind” could shove something that massive…physics says hello

The bank effect and the big boat blocking the Suez [FT]

…& if the financial times’ paywall gets in the way of that…basically the physics part is this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_effect

…not to be confused with the making-bank effect…which also causes huge things to get unexpectedly jammed up

To paraphrase one of the most iconic tweets of the past 10 years, Amazon’s recent denial about employees not being forced to urinate in bottles at work has people asking a lot of questions already answered by the denial.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/mar/25/amazon-bottles-pee-tweet-warehouse-workers

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/03/25/amazon-urine-bottle-twitter/

Amazon is fighting a union drive in Alabama. In Europe, its workers are already unionized. [WaPo]

Leaked memo shows Amazon knows delivery drivers resort to urinating in bottles [Guardian]

…so…signs of an impending dive into dystopia continue

Anyone with an iPhone can now make deepfakes. We aren’t ready for what happens next. [WaPo]

…still…in honor of the fact it’s fur face Friday…& since I need something positive somewhere in this

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/video-captures-moment-hero-dog-stopped-traffic-during-owner-s-seizure

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48 Comments

  1. Let’s kick off the weekend with this forgotten hit, if the theme is to be “Mama”. You’re reading that time estimate correctly. This song is almost 7 minutes long, and very repetitive, but it was one of my favorites when a wee Mattie and his similarly underage boyfriend used to sneak into gay bars and dance to it:
     

    • GASP! Is that former Jezebel commenter Greg Samsa, so now he’s @formerGregSamsa??? I always wondered what happened to him. He was very, very smart and very, very funny. I see his avatar is a dog, and that commenter, like me, was very devoted to his hound. 

  2. The delivery driver situation is huge. If Dejoy gets his way the pressure on delivery drivers will only get worse. I am already seeing sporadic delays, damaged packages and, where packages out of the local distribution center usually would be delivered by 1 or 2 pm, they now show up at 6 or 7 pm.

    • Yeah………..they lost a three thousand dollar check I wrote back in January.  Either that, or it’s still sitting in a bin somewhere because Jeff Bezos’s shit takes priority.

  3. Amazon is, of course, a monstrous conglomerate poised to destroy every industry it can get its tentacles around, and like any such creation, isn’t built on some ingenious product or particularly standout service. No, its cost-effectiveness is leveraged almost entirely on exploiting employees and getting sweetheart deals from shippers (until it can break those businesses and be its own post office/distribution center.)

    What kills me, though, is how hilariously touchy the company is if you dare suggest it’s anything but a white knight job-creating hero that’s really only getting tax breaks because it loves you so much. “But we have a smile right on the box!” executives say, as if they don’t have a million people working for them and thus we are perfectly aware — many times over — of what the working conditions are like.  You can’t hide what you are at that level of scale. They might as well lean into it and cancel Christmas for Tiny Tim!

  4. Amazon is taking over 2 vacant buildings local to me, 1 in my city, to hear the mayor tell it this is great news, fantastic opportunities, but out of the jobs available the wage is ‘up to $18 per hour’ so most of them are less. 23 years ago I made about that as my starting salary, I cannot imagine trying to live on that now. 

  5. Thank you for the DOT’s continued focus on guns in America. The Harriot link is sad and superior – worth the read time, especially where, without explaining the reasons (which does not, in any way, lessen the impact) we learn that his subject was also family violence, a far more frequent cause of gun death than mass shootings. (Which is not ranking gun violence on my part – we have a mass problem, at all the levels.) I wrote here, some time ago, about my own experience with violence in which a gun was used as an instrument of control. I suspect that there is not one of we DeadSplinterati who has not had a least a tangential gun violence experience.

    Two years ago, I worked with a local group to remove an automatic weapon filled gun store from  our general neighborhood; it was close to elementary schools, colleges, and residential neighborhoods. The 25 foot sign in the parking lot was an AR 15 featuring the store name. The “fight” came down to local politicians unable to spend the money to fight NRA backed lawsuits threatened (with letters to prove it) by the store owner. Success came by going in the back door and working with the landlord to stop renewal of the gun store lease. Keep up the good work, @SplinterRIP.

    • I lost a friend in a mass shooting what seems like a lifetime ago, yet here we still are.  His name was John Scully & he died trying to save his brand new bride from being killed when he ran into the shooter in a hallway of the office they both worked in.  I have no doubt John would be alive today if the shooter didn’t have an automatic weapon as he was a very strong agile dude.  The day of his funeral was one of the weirdest days of my life as we started the day with his funeral and ended at another good friends wedding. 
       
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101_California_Street_shooting
       

      • I’m so sorry for your loss.
         
        I’ve been mulling over whether to say anything, because I believe my opinion on guns differs quite a bit from the majority, or maybe all of you here. I am a gun owner. I hope I can say my piece in a way that reads respectfully, because I do respect you and acknowledge that far too many people in this country are hurting from losses due to gun violence.
         
        But I feel like we continue to avoid dealing with the main problem. I honestly do not believe the existence of guns is the problem. Yes, we need far better gun control. Universal background checks and closing gun show loopholes are no brainers, that everyone except those paid off or brainwashed by the NRA agrees with. But they don’t fix the problem either. The problem is our culture. A big part of it is toxic masculinity. A complete lack of mental healthcare is another piece. Pervasive messages of hatred and fear coming at us from all sides… We’re not going to fix this problem with gun control. And the real problems are big, deep problems that are not easily solved, so I get why people focus on gun control because it feels like a more solvable problem. And don’t get me wrong, we do need to improve gun control. But I think even if we could wave a magic wand and make all the guns disappear, we’d just end up with a giant uptick in bombings and people driving their cars into crowds.
         
        I hope I haven’t offended anyone. Please let me know if I have. 

        • …I can’t speak for everyone else but you certainly haven’t offended me…if I’m honest I’ve spent years trying to get my head around how people look at guns in the US on account of having grown up somewhere where owning them wasn’t viewed as a right…so there were licenses involved & in some cases the police might want to come & see for themselves they were being kept somewhere safe & suitable if you didn’t want that license being revoked

          …it still didn’t stop there being some notable tragedies…like this one

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungerford_massacre

          …after which some laws changed so that semi-auto rifles & high-capacity shotguns were no longer legal…& this one

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunblane_massacre

          …after which essentially handguns were rendered illegal…although according to the most recent official statistics I could find those remain the firearms most commonly used in a not-so-legal sense in the UK

          https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7654/

          …so I do somewhat understand the argument that if you’re inclined to break the law the fact that having a gun is illegal isn’t necessarily the deterrent it is for those who aren’t…but at the same time I struggle to understand not being prepared to treat the owning of specifically lethal devices as emphatically not a right?

          …not looking to argue about it or anything…I once got into it with a 2nd amendment aficionado on kinja to the tune of tens of thousands of words over a period of weeks because I really did want to try to get my head around that point of view so I wouldn’t want to bore/upset anyone by getting into the weeds about it

          …in principle I suspect you’re right, though…the fact that there are so many guns in the US seems linked to the way that guns are seen from a cultural perspective differently than in just about any place else I can think of

          …but in practice it seems hard to deny that if there were a lot less of them it might well be that a lot less people wound up getting shot…& that getting rid of the ones that are principally intended to fire a lot of bullets in as short a time as possible…& owe a lot to principles that make sense on a battlefield but don’t seem to me to be much use for hunting…seems like something that maybe doesn’t deserve to be considered a radical idea

          …which isn’t to say I’d be offended if you disagree with that suggestion so much as it’s approximately where my attempts to grasp the born-in-the-USA perspective tend to falter?

          • I can get that. Licenses are also required here… At least I believe in all states?? (I hope so… Correct me if I’m wrong.) If I didn’t deeply distrust the police and believe they would do so in a horrible and racist way, I wouldn’t object to periodic checks that people are handling their guns safely and legally.
             
            I think a lot of the cultural differences are rooted in the relatively recent settlement of the West. There are absolutely still many people in the US who rely on hunting as a crucial food source (something which I’m not sure is true anywhere in the UK), but it’s more than hunting. The push West was a time of lawlessness and violence. That’s still very much part of our cultural consciousness. 2A rights are deeply intertwined with our concepts of rugged individualism, for better or worse. 

            • …by & large I’m reasonably sure that you’re right about nobody in the UK having to hunt their own meat to feed themselves, although I think it’s still something some people do in some places…often places other people will pay significant amounts of cash to visit for the purpose…like the places you can stalk deer in the highlands, for example…& even down south it used to be not uncommon in rural areas 

              …I can remember friends coming by my grandmother’s to give her the odd bird or rabbit from time to time, for instance

              …but the “cultural consciousness” thing is key, I think?

              …for example, the idea of “settling things” with a gun has always seemed alien to me despite having no trouble understanding it in all the westerns I watched as a kid…or all the other kinds of movies that goes for…so it’s almost like I can understand it well enough in the abstract but barely at all in practice?

        • I don’t own guns, but as my post (yesterday?) indicated, I have no serious objection to them. I was on a range two months ago. I’ve considered buying one for myself, but don’t really want to put in the time to maintain it, and I don’t really need one. 
           
          So no, you didn’t offend me. I do think you’re conflating “gun control” with “gun removal.” The ease in obtaining guns is a serious problem, and I don’t know a single gun owner who doesn’t support universal background checks and closing gun show loopholes. I do know some who would argue they need to be able to buy assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, etc., and I do have issues with that, and I have friends who will happily argue the point with me. I don’t think those serve a legitimate purpose outside authorized agencies. That’s fine, argue with me. But again, if guns were properly regulated, it wouldn’t be as big an issue.
           
          I absolutely would say NO ONE should be able to walk into a store and walk out carrying a gun 10 minutes later for any reason whatsoever (I have, in fact, done EXACTLY this at a Walmart – it was a gift – long story). Now there’s a 3-day waiting period and a background check in Florida if you purchase a gun at Walmart, but that didn’t exist then. And if you go to a gun show you can still walk out with a gun 10 minutes later with no background check at all. Three days isn’t much but it’s better than nothing. Universal background checks and a two-week waiting period is absolutely reasonable. But too often reasonable accommodations are treated like some sort of assault on gun rights, and they’re not. Buying a gun shouldn’t be a spur of the moment decision ever. If your life is in danger, go to the police.
           
          I personally feel that everyone who owns a gun should have to take mandatory gun certification. I had to spend a half-hour at the range watching a mandatory safety video or I had to leave. If I go back, I have to show my card or I watch the video again. If the gun range can insist on that, then gun owners shouldn’t object to taking a certification test. If you want it, put in the time to show you’re responsible. But you know what? Give me universal background checks and a waiting period, and I’ll pass on that one. Because I’m a reasonable guy. 
           
          As for the existence of guns, that question will never be addressed in the United States of America ever as long as this is a country. Like it or not, the right to gun ownership is part of the Constitution, and it’s guaranteed barring a Constitutional Amendment. The last Amendment was passed in 1992 and it was about Congressional pay. The last major Amendment was passed in 1962, fifty-eight years ago, about voting rights. There is no conceivable way to get three-fourths of the states to repeal the Second Amendment. It’s not even a remote possibility. Anyone running around saying the “government will take your guns” is lying or an idiot or both. It’s a straw man to disguise the fact that they don’t actually want to wait to buy guns or get a license like they needed to drive a car and don’t really have a good argument for not doing so. It’s a talking point fed to them by someone who is trying to manipulate them. 
           
          I’m not naive enough to think that any of the changes I proposed would stop the majority of mass shootings. But if forcing someone to wait a couple weeks to pick up their Sig Sauer P220 made one person take the time to rethink murder or suicide, I think it’s worth it. 

          • gUN cOnTRoL mEaNS hiTTiNG wHaT yOu AiM aT.
             
            I used to think that was cute until some asshole in Connecticut killed 28 of the 30 people he aimed at.  I own over a dozen weapons, some “military style,” about half of them inherited.  I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said.  And I think the term “responsible gun owner” is meaningless.  Show me someone who will admit to being an irresponsible gun owner.  I’ll bet that even the guy who managed to shoot his own kid in the face at a shooting range thought he was a “responsible gun owner.”

          • There’s a lot to respond to, and I’m finding myself with limited energy today, but I do want to respond to a couple of your points.
             
            I am discussing both gun control and gun removal, and I am not conflating them because I support one but not the other, and I very much disagree that it’s not a real thing that a lot of people want to see. Many liberals scoff at the idea that anyone’s guns could get taken away, but it is not an impossibility. Certainly the bar for constitutional amendment is high and unlikely to get enough support, but it does have supporters. My MIL included, and don’t get me started on the very contentious arguments we’ve had with her on the subject. She will in the same breath say no one is threatening 2A rights and then imply anyone owning any type of gun is a violent maniac. 
             
            I agree that the “government wants to take our guns!” is an overblown fear that is encouraged by the NRA. But it is not unfounded, and I think Democrats need to work on cleaning up their messaging on guns to avoid unnecessarily alienating gun owners. 
             
            Banning certain types of guns (count me on the same page as your friends opposed to that specific action), carries the potential to result in seizure of those guns. Again, that is an unlikely, but not impossible, scenario, given that most bans have grandfathered in weapons bought before the ban was in place.
             
            I agree with waiting periods, and actually I think mandatory gun safety certification would be one of the more meaningful changes we could make. It is a requirement to get a license in my state (I had to attend a four hour course), and it absolutely should be at a federal level. 

            • We’re going to have to disagree on gun removal. A one-millionth of a chance of gun seizure is a possibility, yes. So is the sun going supernova tomorrow. But there is no serious argument to be made that 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the states would ratify repealing the Second Amendment. There have been 17 amendments in over two centuries, and most were small procedural issues.
               
              Supposing that tiny possibility were to come to pass, any attempt to seize guns would run afoul of laws against unreasonable search and seizure and a whole lot of other laws. If that’s keeping gun owners awake at night, they are misinformed.  
               
              More often, it’s used against liberals. Trump brayed incessantly about Hilary “taking away your guns” and it worked because somehow, some way, gun owners STILL don’t understand how the Constitution works. 

              • Repealing 2A and any sort of gun seizure is unlikely – I am not arguing otherwise. But it doesn’t take repealing 2A to ban certain types of guns, which is a large part of the fear. And yes, the messaging is used against liberals, but liberals often make it too easy to have that line used against them. Their messaging is often very clearly anti-gun, even though they never say “we’re going to come take your guns”. 

          • …so, if I’m honest I don’t think “nobody should get to own guns” is necessarily the way to go…even growing up in the UK I was around them in various contexts – certainly enough to know there are plenty of people who own(ed) them pretty much all their lives without anyone getting hurt as a result

            …but to me it seems like people hang more on the 2nd amendment than it seems like it should be able to support as written…& I’m sure part of that is some inherited bias on my part…so although I think the ground on which the term sits with respect to the constitution is arguably not as firm as it’s generally taken to be I’m prepared to cede that the language does specifically refer to it as a right…even if the context suggests that right might once have been contingent on a responsibility that no longer exists since there’s a standing army & states don’t have to raise militia troops by relying on the citizenry

            …but I also struggle with the “bear arms” part…in that kinja thread I mentioned I said at one point that even when the amendment was made it wasn’t as though the idea was a ship’s captain could return from the navy & expect to bring the cannon ashore & mount them on the roof of his home…& the reply I got was that in fact that was exactly what it meant

            …I can’t see it getting much traction or anything but I honestly don’t see the letter of the thing needing to be amended in order to claim that logically limits on the either the extent or the nature of the arms that can be kept & borne could be imposed without actually contradicting the text of the thing

            …so if you don’t mind my asking…what would these friends most likely suggest argues for the buying of high-capacity magazines/assault weapons & such things?

            …I’m not trying to be all “well, actually…” about it or anything…it’s just that it’s always been hard for me to wrap my head around & I’d like to understand this stuff better than I do

            • There is absolutely an argument to be made for restricting the type of weaponry available to citizens without going against 2A. Automatic weapons are already banned. Massachusetts and some other states banned “assault rifles”, which is an extremely poorly defined term, and I would argue is more of a political buzzword than it is a useful classification.

              • …I definitely don’t know enough to be able to come up with a proper definition or anything…but there would seem to me to be a distinction that could be drawn between the sort of thing you might expect to own as a private citizen & the kind of thing you’d expect the military to issue to those in service

                …so I guess when I hear the term assault rifle I think of something that’s designed for military purposes…which is to say on the one hand killing people rather than animals…but also with a calculus behind it that seems at odds with a civilian world…I’m probably not the best person to try to articulate it, though?

                • Ok so I’ve typed and erased a bunch of replies to you. I was debating if I wanted to get into this or not, but I will. The main thing at issue here is this: what is the purpose of guns? It’s certainly not just hunting. If it were only hunting (and there are many liberals that feel that is the only legitimate reason to own guns), then you could vastly restrict guns without issue. But that’s not it.
                   
                  I believe, and some will say I am a crackpot for thinking this, that a major purpose of citizens owning guns is defense against the government. And sure, if the military was determined to take any one person out, they don’t stand a chance. I get that. I think it works on a larger scale as a deterrent against certain abuses.
                   
                  Let’s look at the Black Panthers. A large part of what they accomplished was because they carried rifles and sent clear messages that they were fed up with racist governing. And eventually a hell of a lot of gun control ended up resulting from the Black Panthers’ existence, because the white people in power were terrified of the Black people with guns. 
                   
                  Right now, I don’t think it benefits us that the Democrats have become the anti-gun party and the Republicans the pro-gun party. I think in some ways, it has allowed us to get to the point that we’re at now, with Republicans flagrantly flaunting the law, oppressing the people, suppressing the vote… what do they have to be scared of? 

                  • …I fear this is another thing I grasp better in the abstract than in the specifics…in principle I can see an argument that armed defiance might be the last resort against a despotic government…& by extension that an armed populace might function somewhat like a nuclear deterrent as something to stave off that despotism

                    …but it doesn’t really make sense to me if I try to figure out what that looks like in reality…for want of a better phrase…for all that I do think I agree about the difference it made that the black panthers armed themselves with more than just rhetoric

                    …either way I definitely agree that helping the republicans foster the idea that anyone interested in owning a gun is a more natural fit on their side of the aisle doesn’t get anyone closer to there being even an intelligible discussion (let alone debate) about how to strike some sort of balance that could stop the US being such an outlier in terms of the number of people that get shot & killed in a given year

                    …& I appreciate you taking the time to respond to these…it certainly wasn’t my intention to cause anyone any grief over my fish-out-of-water attempts to understand something that’s arguably too complex to do justice to with any kind of brevity

                  • I think we’re in such a weird arms race though between people who genuinely want protection against a potentially despotic government and the disturbingly militarized police forces.

                    While I don’t own any guns (I personally don’t want the responsibility of them), I remember watching local news coverage during the Ferguson Protests and being like wow motherfuckers just rolled out armored vehicles…. did they borrow that from National Guard…. oh fuck the county police own military armored vehicles with fucking gun turrets and whatnot.

                    Like I don’t know what the average gun owner is supposed to be able to do in response to how we’ve over-militarized our police forces in many places. I could have a bunch of firearms and St Louis County PD could break out the modified vehicles and plow through my house and take me out. 

                    • Yes, this is a super important point. I think the hyper-militarization of the police is a big part of the problem, for the arms race you bring up but also more broadly for the cultural impact. What does it do to a child’s psyche to raise them telling them police are heroes, when this is what the police force looks like? 

        • I think I get where you are coming from, we are very casual when it comes to violence in the US. I cringe every time I hear someone say ‘I’ll kill you’, in anger. I heard my own dad say that and I know he thought nothing of it. But I think it is a very short leap from saying and doing. 

    • @Elliecoo – courage is contagious.
      As women we are always expected to make nice, push things under the rug, be understanding, etc. I remember this vividly, my brother was living with me and we had an argument. He actually made the hand gesture for a gun and said, I felt like shooting you. I told him to never say anything like that to me again, he flipped out, started screaming and moved out that day. My mother was mad – at me. She said to me, you don’t think your brother would hurt you do you? And I told her I was not going to give him the opportunity. I have not spoken to him since. A few months later I stopped speaking to her as well. Of course they told everyone I was sick and needed a psychiatrist but when I went into the room he slept in I found full body targets, so no regrets on that judgement.
       

    •  I suspect that there is not one of we DeadSplinterati who has not had a least a tangential gun violence experience.
      @Elliecoo ….. well actually…i think there might be one
      ive only ever faced regular violence (tho shootings do happen over here…ive managed to not be anywhere near any of them…same for my friends and family)
      that thing ammo sexuals like to bring up about if guns were illegal then only criminals would be armed kinda has a core of truth to it
      criminals mostly shoot other criminals tho….

    • @elliecoo I read your story and I am in tears. I am so sorry for little elliecoo having had such a terrifying experience and for all the attendant bullshit you went through. *gentle hugs*
       
      All I can say is, sadly, #metoo, except he was a “friend” and I knew he carried a knife. The threat of violence if I didn’t “behave” was enough for me to submit to what he wanted, and I’ve been dealing with the fallout from what he wanted for the last 23 years.  

      • @HoneySmacks, thank you. And I am deeply sorry for your trauma. It stays on and on…Big fat hugs to you. We are legion, we women who have grown stronger from violence when we should have been able to stay soft.

  6. The piece about Biden’s press conference was dead center. The press asked 0 questions about Covid. They were fixated on immigration issues they don’t understand.
     
    Astead Herndon, just about the only good political reporter for the NY Times (because he works almost solely outside of DC and NYC) has said that the gulf between political press and reporters who actually cover immigry is almost immeasurable. The reason is that 95% of the political press knows nothing.
     
    If you read the bios of these reporters (and their editors) you quickly see how ignorant and insular they are. They live in mediaworld, and they have no sense of history, institutions, or real people. They could just as easily be covering fashion or sports, or in the case of NY Times top political editor Pat Healy, spend years reviewing Broadway.
     
    Which probably also explains why sports reporting is so bad, too.

  7. Someone take the film Wall-e and change the company that destroyed the planet to Amazon .
     
    Hopefully, the craven shittyness of the GA party of voter suppression spurs everyone to act and Biden and the Dems to nuke the filibuster from orbit. Then, we cram through the John Lewis act, DC statehood, PR statehood and add a couple of Supremes – It’s the only way to be sure. 
     

  8. I’m not offended, I just think it’s important to be clear that things like toxic masculinity correlate poorly with murders in general and gun murders in particular.
     
    Plenty of countries are loaded with toxic masculinity and paranoid messaging, but have far lower murder and murder by gun rates. 
     
    There are many problems besetting this country, but it’s a huge mistake to try to single track things that run on multiple tracks or chase after only root causes. We have to push against all of it.

    • Is it true that toxic masculinity tracks poorly with gun violence? I have not seen a good analysis showing that. I’m not sure it makes sense to say that it’s not the problem because toxic masculinity exists elsewhere in places with less violence. American toxic masculinity may be more violent than say, British toxic masculinity. The culture of violence here is the problem, and it is intricately connected to problems of misogyny and white supremacy.
       
      I do agree that it’s a mistake to try to focus on single track fixes, and I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t agree with efforts to increase gun control (for the most part). I’m saying we need to do that and much, much more.
       
      But also I hate that the gun debate, like practically every other debate in this country, is so polarized. I think there are a lot of us in the middle who find we don’t fully agree with either side of the argument happening in the media or between politicians. 

  9. That Michael Harriott piece, damn.

    He lives in Birmingham, AL if I recall from earlier pieces of his I’ve read.

    I have a dear friend who grew up in quasi-rural Alabama and he mentioned how he could have bought a gun at a trade show when he was in high school with no ID or anything. Just him handing over cash. Like he went up to a dealer and acted like he wanted to buy a gun to see if the guy would let him buy it (he was 16) and it was like hey no big deal sure. He then acted like he didn’t end up having enough cash to get out of the situation. 

    But seriously… that’s pretty terrifying. 

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