…what’s the word? [DOT 26/5/22]

by any other name...

…you’ll never guess what happened

If you haven’t ploughed through the Sue Gray report yet, it is easily summarised: numerous parties were held in Downing Street, breaking the Covid rules that bound the rest of us. They were organised, approved and attended by some of the most senior politicians and civil servants who run this country. Some were even commemorated by an official photographer at the taxpayer’s expense. While elderly and ill people could not see their relatives and mothers underwent the rigours of childbirth alone, at the heart of government staffers drank till they threw up, enjoyed punch-ups and mistreated the security guards and cleaners they saw as beneath them. They laughed at the rest of us and congratulated themselves for having “got away with” it. The squalor of the set-up is inseparable from its outrageous arrogance.
All will be turned into The Boris Show, just as everything in Westminster has been since he moved into No 10. Between them, the prime minister’s ego and the political classes clapping like eager seals have combined to turn the affairs of the UK into the longest-running and most grimly predictable box set of all time. Each episode starts with a scandal and ends on the same dreary cliffhanger: how does our antihero get out of this one?

…seriously…you’d think that now we all finally get to hear sue gray’s final word on the subject that there’d be enough clarity going around for it to be the end of the line…except of course…it isn’t

Even if SW1 can’t tear itself away, the rest of us should – and observe how the system that has enthroned and enabled Johnson has in the process almost destroyed itself. I am not referring to Dougie Ross and Charlie Walker and the other insipid Tory careerists trying to unseat him. I mean the institutions and the ideology that swept him into No 10, and keep him there today. And at what price! Through his full-bellied carelessness, Johnson has clumsily yanked down the entire stage set of the puppet show that passes for British democracy. Our political culture and economic rationales lie before us, drained of credibility and emptied of purpose ­– except to hold in place the hollow man who hasn’t the faintest clue how to govern, save to mouth trite slogans about getting Brexit done and levelling up and building back better.

…but then what can you expect from people who think the default meaning of WTF is “wine time friday”?


…I’ve read a farcical amount about this farce…& the shortest version would seem to be that’s it’s not been nearly as bad for boris as you’d expect…unless of course you happened to be expecting exactly what we’ve got…which you might have if you’d noticed a few clues along the way…after all…in a context in which nothing could be said meaningfully until sue gray was through…until she said some stuff early before the met took a turn…which meant she felt a need not to look too hard at the stuff the police were supposedly investigating…or indeed things they decided to overlook

Conservative MPs fear a “cover-up” over potentially the most damaging event of the Partygate scandal after Sue Gray admitted she did not fully investigate an alcohol-fuelled gathering in the flat shared by the prime minister and his wife.

The six-month inquiry concluded with an acknowledgment from Gray that little was known about what took place in the flat above 11 Downing Street on 13 November 2020, with food, alcohol and loud Abba music reported.

Gray said it would not have been “appropriate or proportionate” to continue her inquiries into the gathering after they were paused to make way for a Scotland Yard investigation.
But she admitted her knowledge of the gathering was limited because she had only just started collecting evidence about it before the Metropolitan police announced its own Partygate investigation in January, prompting her investigation to stop to avoid prejudicing officers’ inquiries.

When the Met’s Operation Hillman came to an end last week, with 126 fines handed out, Gray said she “considered whether or not to conduct any further investigation into this event but concluded it was not appropriate or proportionate to do so”.

…much the same way she apparently had hundreds of photos of some of these events but only published a handful from the official photographer’s supply…there are tangential references to an event in boris’ personal residence that was taking place at the same time as one of the ones she did report on…that some attendees arrived at having come from the unexamined one…& when it finished up a half-dozen let themselves back through the door into the other section & didn’t leave until the small hours were getting less small…& people have seriously tried to suggest that if that wasn’t a work event the police (or sue) would have investigated it so ipso facto it can’t have been a party…& yet…so spoiled for choice am I that I’m not even sure that’s the most infuriating thing?

Johnson repeatedly declined to deny reports that he had asked Gray not to publish her report. Her communications officer was relieved of his duties on Sunday, a decision understood to have been made by No 10. It followed a row on Saturday after Gray’s office denied Downing Street’s claims that she had instigated a meeting between her and Johnson.

…you see, sue’s office pointing out a factual inaccuracy in the downing street narrative of events was apparently an unforgivable instance of her playing politics

After Johnson was heavily criticised in April for joking with backbench Tories hours after he had apologised to the Commons for being fined, allies claimed he struck a more contrite tone at a private meeting with his MPs on Wednesday evening.

He repeated his admission of culpability for what he said was a “pretty excruciating” sequence of events. “We got things wrong, I got things wrong, I’m ultimately responsible,” he said, according to one ally.

…& you know what…”we got things wrong, I got things wrong, I’m ultimately responsible” does actually seem to be a pretty accurate statement…or at least it would…but that would only be true if those words actually mean the things you’d normally expect them to…& it’s exceedingly clear that at least one of them very much does not

Well, there we had it. It had been heavily briefed that Boris Johnson would be the model of remorse for his statement to the Commons on the Sue Gray report. But that Boris lasted barely 30 seconds and what we got thereafter was the classic narcissist’s non-apology. A tawdry torrent of self-pity. A man more sinned against than sinner. A good man cast adrift in a world he barely understood.

The Convict began by saying he was grateful to Gray. I bet he was. There was little doubt she had pulled her punches. She was a career civil servant, after all, who had spent a lifetime covering up other people’s messes. Yes, there were some telling details in her report – the wine stains, the puke, the brawling, the dodging out of sight of CCTV cameras at 4am, the altered invitations – all of which suggested that everyone knew they were acting against the law. But there was no smoking gun. Or not one that could flush out a prime minister devoid of shame.

“I don’t say this to absolve myself,” Johnson said repeatedly. Except he did. And time and again he found himself worthy of total absolution. The fixed-penalty notice he had received? That was for something that was never a party. But he accepted his martyrdom. Not. He would go to his grave believing he had done nothing wrong. Not least because as the police hadn’t busted him for any further crimes, then he couldn’t have committed any.
“We are humbled,” he said with a dismissive, regal wave of his arm. Except he wasn’t at all. You need empathy and a state of grace to feel humbled. He didn’t even feel humiliated. Which any normal person would have been.

There was no hint of repentance or sincere apology. Just delusional ramblings. A man far more dangerous than a serial liar. An amoral sociopath capable of believing any falsehood to be true if it fits his solipsistic worldview. Nothing will shake his belief that he never lied to parliament or anyone else. The truth is just a matter of perception.

…& while john crace, as ever, paints a pretty adroit picture…the part that’s vying for the top spot in the induced-indignation stakes for me is the bit that for want of him being immediately struck by lightning severely undermines the case for an omnipotent deity who’s on the record about the whole “thou shalt not lie” thing…because of all the bullshit trotted out to defend this stuff the part that just might take the cake is when he said he “takes full responsibilty”

…I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the identity of indiscernibles…which as wikipedia points out is something people have talked about since leibniz…but I guess I generally think of in relation to someone called max black from back in the 50s

A. The principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles seems to me
obviously true. And I don’t see how we are going to define
identity or establish the connexion between mathematics and
logic without using it.
B. It seems to me obviously false. And your troubles as a
mathematical logician are beside the point. If the principle is
false you have no right to use it.
A. You simply say it’s false-and even if you said so three
times that wouldn’t make it so.
B. Well, you haven’t done anything more yourself than assert
the principle to be true. As Bradley once said, ” assertion can
demand no more than counter-assertion; and what is affirmed
on the one side, we on the other can simply deny “.
A. How will this do for an argument ? If two things, a and b,
are given, the first has the property of being identical with a.
Now b cannot have this property, for else b would be a, and we
should have only one thing, not two as assumed. Hence a
has at least one property, which b does not have, that is to say
the property of being identical with a.
B. This is a roundabout way of saying nothing, for ” a has the
property of being identical with a “means no more than ” a is a
When you begin to say ” a is . . . ” I am supposed to know what
thing you are referring to as ‘ a ‘and I expect to be told something
about that thing. But when you end the sentence with the
words ” . . . is a ” I am left still waiting. The sentence ” a is
a ” is a useless tautology.

…broadly speaking what max takes issue with is the idea that it’s not possible to have two things that are the same in every way while also being two things rather than literally the same thing…& I’m generally pretty sympathetic to his point…but…all things are most assuredly not equal…& it’s also pretty obvious to me that if a series of things all share the common property of clearly contravening the same set of rules in the same way…& the people doing them also happen to be the same people responsible for drawing up the rules…that claiming they earnestly believed what they were doing wasn’t against their own rules…is transparently bullshit from the ground up…whereas…when it comes to that “full responsibility” boris so fulsomely proclaimed himself to be taking…I defy you to find any aspect of it that could distinguish it from “exactly fuck all responsibility”…remind you of anything?

…”this isn’t the place to talk this over”…sure…beto’s the “sick son of a bitch” in that clip…he’s the one who’s “out of line & an embarassment” for (apparently all on his own) trying to make this shit “a political issue”…that’s not what abbott’s texas is all about

…there are already times when it seems like we might need to put quote marks around the term “education”

…speaking of two-steps

…as the details of what happened at that school in texas this week become clearer & ever more unbearable…so the response continues to careen down the same track as ever like some runaway ideological train

“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbott said, adding that the shooter “horrifically, incomprehensibly” killed more than a dozen students. Abbott also said the shooter, who was killed by law enforcement, had a handgun and possibly a rifle. A state representative told CNN the alleged shooter legally bought two powerful assault rifles just after turning 18.

Yet last year, Abbott signed into law several measures making it easier to own and carry guns in the state. One allows Texans over 21 years old to carry a handgun like the one the shooter may have used without first getting a background check.
But Abbott, who has signed nearly two dozen laws providing more access to guns, said the measure “instilled freedom in the Lone Star State”.

Abbott is scheduled to appear at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston this weekend. The Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz, who called for more armed officers at schools after the shooting on Tuesday, will also speak at the convention.

…of which more, anon

Texas has always had some of the most relaxed gun laws in the nation. In the aftermath of other mass shootings – including at a church in Santa Fe, Texas, in 2018, and at a Walmart in El Paso and the Midland-Odessa area in 2019 – lawmakers in the state have reacted by loosening those regulations rather than restrict access to firearms.
“It’s astounding to me,” state senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat from San Antonio whose district includes Uvalde, told the Texas Tribune. “We’re supposed to create things. We’re supposed to create legislation to keep people safe. By God, to keep children safe. And here we’ve done exactly the opposite.”

Texas Republicans followed a playbook in their response that’s similar to how the NRA has responded to school shootings for a generation, according to tapes released last year by NPR. After the 1999 Columbine shooting, the organization’s leaders developed a strategy to avoid politicizing the tragedies.

After the attack in Uvalde, some Texas lawmakers took the same route. Congressman Tony Gonzales, whose district includes Uvalde, told CBS on Wednesday morning that he didn’t want to discuss gun policy so soon after the worst school shooting in the state’s history.

…& with this latest tragedy cropping up so soon after the last one…that sure does make a curiously narrow needle through which to thread the fucking elephant in the room…to put it mildly

The logic those Republican leaders float is that the only way to solve the epidemic of American mass shootings is with more access to firearms in hope of stopping rogue gunmen. The state attorney general, Ken Paxton, who is facing felony fraud charges and won a GOP primary runoff hours after the shooting in Uvalde, repeated that rhetoric on the far-right network Newsmax on Tuesday.

…sickening as it might be to contemplate…it’s quite literally business as usual

For the first few years of my career, which started in 1995, the industry adhered to self-imposed rules and norms – such as restricting tactical gear like that worn by the Buffalo and Uvalde shooters to the law enforcement and military sections of trade shows. Even up until about 15 years ago, self-imposed policies like this were strictly enforced by the industry’s own trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Industry norms prohibited displaying tactical gear, certain marketing campaigns or incendiary firearms names, for fear of what might spread throughout the country.

But as the increasing vitriol of the National Rifle Association (NRA) proved politically effective, some in the gun business realized this messaging could be adopted by the firearms industry to sell more guns. All that was required for success was a dedication to frighteningly dangerous rhetoric and increasingly powerful weaponry. Cultural norms and responsibility would have to go.
A number of other people in the industry sounded their own alarms about the impacts of “terrorist rifles” and a nation with unlimited gun sales and insufficient responsibility. Those warnings resulted in the quick and very public loss of careers at the hands of the NRA and its growing radicalized troll army.

Everyone else got the message. Speaking up for responsibility was not to be tolerated. Unpleasantries like radicalized young men with too many guns were to be treated like diffuse pollution that could be dealt with by someone downstream. Even when unspeakable tragedies, such as the murders at Sandy Hook, were linked directly to shockingly irresponsible marketing campaigns that promised a metaphorical “man card” to any young man who purchased an AR-15, the NSSF opted to look the other way.
The NSSF helped craft a new world of gun lobby extremism in which profits are all that matter. With the election of America’s first Black president, the lobby embraced conspiracy-mongering, racism and fear campaigns. Gun sales soared from less than 8m guns in 2008 to more than 16m in 2016.

In 2016, the firearms industry was all-in on Donald Trump and even piped his 2017 American Carnage inauguration speech throughout the industry trade show like a religious ceremony. The industry celebrated because Trump was the perfect salesman for more guns. This system was simply being pushed to its next stage.

This Friday, Trump is scheduled to speak at the annual NRA convention in Houston – less than 300 miles from Uvalde. The convention hall will be full of NSSF industry members lining up to court Trump and his frenzied fans. The system continues to work just as it was designed by the NRA and NSSF; from their point of view, nothing about it is broken.

…yup…told you that was likely to get another mention

In a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump said he would keep his “longtime commitment” to speak at the event in Houston because the country needs “real solutions and real leadership in this moment.”
In a statement Wednesday, the NRA said the shooting was a “horrific and evil crime” that was the work of a “lone, deranged criminal,” while it confirmed its annual event would go forward as planned.

“As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure,” the group wrote.

The NRA announced this month that Trump would headline “a star-studded cast of political heavyweights” at its “celebration of American freedom.” It noted that it is the sixth time he will have addressed the group.

…I mean…you couldn’t pay me enough to attend that thing…but I’m guessing you’d have about as much luck selling the folks that you’d find there on something like this being a better use of their time?

This article is the first comprehensive empirical analysis of post- Heller Second Amendment doctrine. Beginning with a set of more than one thousand Second Amendment challenges, we have coded every available Second Amendment opinion—state and federal, trial and appellate—from Heller up until February 1, 2016.

…after all…hasn’t it always been this way?

Many are startled to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule that the Second Amend­ment guar­an­tees an indi­vidu­al’s right to own a gun until 2008, when District of Columbia v. Heller struck down the capit­al’s law effect­ively banning hand­guns in the home. In fact, every other time the court had ruled previ­ously, it had ruled other­wise. Why such a head-snap­ping turn­around? Don’t look for answers in dusty law books or the arcane reaches of theory.

…& there’s simply nothing that can be done

…despite what some people might say


…but you can absolutely count on the part where nothing is going to be done

…it’s not like it’s a secret how or why, either

For more than a decade, as mass shooting has followed mass shooting in the United States, Democrats in Congress have proposed gun restrictions to try to prevent the next tragedy, hoping that the fresh outrage and anguish of another massacre would finally yield some consensus.

Each time — after gun massacres at concerts, grocery stores, a Bible study and, most wrenchingly, elementary schools — they have failed amid Republican opposition.
A Timeline of Failed Attempts to Address U.S. Gun Violence [NYT]

…you see the GOP, the NRA, the gun manufacturers…they’re like boris…they take “full responsibility”…while other people suffer & die…& that’s just fine by them…but woe betide any attempt to rock their comfortable little boat…after all…they need to keep their powder dry

…so…fuck it…there’s literally no end of shit I could have spent this talking about…but I’m currently still too damn angry to focus on any of that

‘Quantum Internet’ Inches Closer With Advance in Data Teleportation [NYT]

…which may or may not sound like a good thing

Millions of children had their online behaviors and personal information tracked by the apps and websites they used for school during the pandemic, according to an international investigation that raises concerns about the impact remote learning had on children’s privacy online.

…& there’s this bullshit simmering away, too

Twitter to pay $150 million fine over deceptively collected data [WaPo]

…not to mention the part where twitter had an AGM with a vote or two that didn’t go elon’s way…& naturally he’s still busy talking about throwing all kinds of cash around

Musk is now committed to paying $33.5 billion in cash for Twitter, up from the $27.3 billion he had previously committed to. That lowers the amount of debt he will have to take on from banks to get to the $44 billion he has agreed to pay for the social media company.

…even a few cases of people actually getting shit done



…maybe even some turtle content

A sea turtle neared extinction. A trove of eggs shows it can be saved. [WaPo]

…but just to really underscore the part where you can still get a point across even when you’re specifically not allowed to make it in as many words…at least some of the kids still seem to be all right

Told not to say ‘gay’ in graduation speech, he made his point anyway [WaPo]

…I’ll try to get back here with some tunes…but mostly I guess this is the part where I try to shut the hell up for a while



  1. God bless John Crace of the Guardian. I still say Sue is being fast-tracked into the Lords. She’s about the right age for it, but interestingly wiki says she’s either 64 or 65, her exact age is unknown. She was born in north London in the late 1950s, not found floating in a reed basket alongside a riverbank (or maybe she was found in Regent’s Canal?)

    In any event, according to a report on the report I read, she spends a lot of time in that report expounding on the age-old theme of rampant alcoholism among government employees “at the highest level” (presumably this refers to both the politicians’ and functionaries’ status and the alcoholism) and talks about instituting clear and rigid protocols regarding workplace alcohol consumption and even suggesting a total ban on the practice. Sue, dear Sue, luv, you’ve been in government all your life. Can you imagine a cranky Whitehall grimly attempting to keep up the appearance of functioning while undergoing painful alcohol withdrawal, the DTs, the hallucinations…Maybe that’s how they got Brexit, actually, although its two guiding forces, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, are not known to have gone on the wagon during that pivotal moment that lasted for something like over half a decade.

    • Oh by the way, and this is totally relevant to this discussion (alcoholism and England), I have a new hot prospect for a Deadsplinter bolthole.

      Yes. Ensconced among the orchard in Devon we will become self-sustaining by continuing to operate and expanding the on-site cidery. Devon is lovely, I’ve been, but I don’t know too much about it, other than it’s a little difficult to understand the true natives, especially after they’ve had a glass or two of our hard cider. They have a weird pirate-ish accent. Then, father to the west, at the very tip of southwest England, is Cornwall, which has its own language, not a dialect, and that’s where a lot of the pirates came from. It’s in Cornwall that you find Penzance (as in “The Pirates of…”) and the aptly named Land’s End.

      So just something to consider.

        • I was just thinking about you! Politico had a story about how much money states spend to subsidize film and TV production. Here, I found it:


          A million years ago, and maybe it wasn’t even here, maybe it was on GroupThink or Jezebel, I mentioned to you that I didn’t know that Georgia even had a film industry, and you replied that yes, it does. Now I learn that not only does Georgia have a film industry, but according to this story the Peachtree State is all in, spending more (in “tax credits”) than any other state. $1.2 billion, in a state budget of less than $30 billion, as opposed to a relatively measly $450 million out of New York State’s preposterously bloated $200 billion annual state budget (I think we just passed one that’s more like $220 billion because why not, it’s only money, and it’s not like any New Yorker is going to leave for anyplace like Florida or Texas, are they?) I had to do the Georgia state budget research myself, by the way. I DID MY OWN RESEARCH.

          • Yes, Georgia is called Y’allywood for a reason. I lived in Wilmington, NC for a long time too because of tax incentives. I had to go back and forth between LA and Wilmywood depending on the whims of the NC legislature and their love/hate relationship with the film incentives. That’s how I ended up back in The ATL – NC ditched theirs for awhile in 2010 and all of the work dried up so a whole bunch of us had to pack up and move. GA became the hotspot so a lot of us are still here – as well as a lot of LA people that came here.

          • I’m sure they would. And I think Britain got rid of their draconian canine quarantine laws so with the right paperwork we could load up a rental van at Heathrow and whisk ourselves down to Devon.

    • …john crace is a legend, frankly…but the gray report (irony only possibly unintended) is certainly part of a long & venerable tradition…it’s important that these things take a long time, during which “the conversation” can be chivvied along to keep pace with the ever shifting goalposts that said report is inevitably quite specifically enjoined (…side note…ain’t it grand that the legal meaning of that term is literally the opposite to its otherwise-perfectly-functional definition…it’s practically emblematic) from either getting to the bottom of or otherwise having anything meaningful to say about…all the while harping on about the forthcoming report as being the thing with which the answers will arrive…before briskly noting that it doesn’t specifically say anyone is specifically on the hook for anything as though that is in some way an answer in itself to the legion of obvious questions that haven’t been allowed to be posed…much less provided with answers

      …I mean…take your pick…there’s the leveson one about the press…the one(s) about the police…that classic of the genre that broadly equated a lack of personally culpability in the still-murky facts surrounding the death of one dr kelly with a complete vindication of the part tony blair played in a certain very special military operation over iraq way…seriously…it’s like an endless cavalcade

      …it’s the english way, don’tcha know?

  2. i was following the shooting more or less as it happened over on twitter and oppo

    its depressing how many people see 19 dead kids and have a first thought that is not takin my guns! 2a rah rah!

    like…didnt even gets the tots and pears out of the way first….

    • also a surprising amount of people that seem to think if you take their guns away america will end up powerless to defend itself from an authoritarian regime with deathcamps and shit…

      i honestly cant wrap my head around the logic required to get there

      and realistically…how effective are a bunch of  people too scared to walk outside unarmed going to be fighting off the ebil gubment?

      • Fox News and republicans use guns  and the second amendment as a dog whistle. They instill fear in the white folk that they need guns to protect themselves from the black folks. That’s it – plain and simple.

      • There’s no logic to it. It’s fear, that’s it. Fear of anyone or anything that’s not me and mine. Fear of brown people, fear of police, fear of criminals, fear of Communists, fear of socialists, fear of LBGTQ+, fear of literally anything. You’ve got a significant chunk of the population (though not the majority, in fact) terrified of everything, and there’s a cadre of grifting scum that make millions by stoking those fears.

        Those same people degrade education and corrupt mass media and muzzle dissent, and the frightened people never have a chance to realize they’re being conned. If they even could — it’s not clear that any type of reasoning can reach them any more.

        There isn’t any logic at all.

        • yeah…i get that… the fun really starts in the conversation when someone actually calls them scared tho

          they really have a lot of ways of saying how not scared they are….also a lot of ways of calling you a gay commie libtard for suggesting it..

          im not sure theres a fix to it anymore….think yous may have past the point of no return

  3. The one group who might have the power to bring about gun reform in the US is teachers,  by way of national  strikes/sick outs/resignations. The GOP loves to push home schooling but during the lockdown we saw how inconvenient and generally disliked it was. And not everyone, even among the middle class, can afford to send their children to private schools. I don’t think that other GOP answer to education – school choice – will do much to change that. We all know it’s  really just another tax break for the well to do, a tool for breaking teachers unions, and a means of offering less funding for the people who need it most.
    Teacher walk outs cost Matt Bevin, Kentucky’s trump cosplay governor, the re-election, to a Democrat no less. And I have no doubt a Republican will beat him in the next election in spite of all the good he’s done for the state. Because people never seem to learn and teachers will once again vote against their best interest.
    I don’t know if enough of them would cooperate nationally to make a difference. You’d think risking their lives and the lives of their students would be an incentive even if all the budget cuts and insane curriculum demands aren’t. But what do I know? 🤷🏻‍♀️

  4. Looking to be even sadder, I went to Facebook and found my feed populated by sound arguments against guns, suggestions for sensible regulation, lists of school shootings, and general heartbreak and outrage.

    Then there were the gun owners who outed themselves by rather than posting about the tragedy, posted about our country’s lack of mental health care. True, not quite  a straw man argument, but not the point. Also these same folks are against the universal health care that would provide mental health services.

    Finally there was this gem, from the maganomics site, again with no mention of the massacre of children…against a backdrop of Clint Eastwood, the words “The problem is not guns. It’s hearts without God, homes without discipline, schools without prayer, and courtrooms without justice.

    What is wrong with these people?

    • “Mental health” is pretty close to being a straw man argument. Even if Republicans were willing to fund medical treatment (of any kind), the Uvalde shooter had no criminal record and there was no reason to have him assessed. To “enforce” mental health, you’d need to screen 300 million people. So yeah, it’s a convenient boogey man to wave away the fact that the problem here is that an 18-year-old can buy guns more easily than getting a driver’s license.

      If it was a “mental health” issue, then Republicans should support a mental health screening for anyone who wants to buy a gun. I mean, they want women to have ultrasounds, doctor’s notes, mandatory waiting periods, mandatory intrusive examinations, and mandatory sessions to “persuade” them not to have abortions before they have abortions. But anyone can wander into a store, plunk down money, and walk out with a gun. Make them have a medical exam.

      • …I don’t know if it’s exactly a straw man…but it does yeoman’s work for their con game version of debate…the superficial level of “mental health is a thing you say we should care about so you can’t argue against me without me getting to say your against it & a liar…as well as wrong” might be elementary sophistry but it clearly plays just fine with the audience they’re actually talking to, for a start

        …there’s arguably some more insidious stuff about why they drill them to haul that out like a verbal shield to hide behind & deflect the immediate conversation about their abject failure to do anything about either problem…or indeed every other aspect of the debate that doesn’t run along the well-greased rails of their stock responses from that one right up to the senate refusing to even hold a debate

        …but I find I wonder if a big part of what I think we might not really have a handle on is the term “police”…whether it’s language or behavior or the proverbial stitch in time that might have saved more than nine in this instance I think we might be missing a trick

        …I think the guy that founded what became the met (robert peel) said something along the lines of “the police are the the people & the people are the police”…which to many a would-be good guy with a gun probably sounds like an invitation to vigilantism…but I’m moderately sure was more by way of a suggestion that a good bit of what keeps the peace is ideally that people don’t get to the point where they do this kind of shit without someone noticing they’re not headed anyplace good & giving enough of a shit about it to drag them in a different direction…& I don’t want to sound like I’m getting all come-to-jesus about it…but fundamentally I guess what I’m saying is it seems like if we got to say that society was predicated on giving a shit about people & that it was normal to set “making sure everyone is ok” as a sort of informal baseline…just maybe some of these problems might be at least less prevalent?

        …hell, if making it a public health thing is what gets something done I don’t know as I’d be against it in principle…although I hew to the idea that part of the whole “making sure everyone is ok” deal is universal healthcare so I guess I’m biased

        …but the levels of ghoulishly self-serving irresponsibility on display by these people is genuinely hard to swallow, however you add it up?

  5. I’m hearing that the cops took their sweet fucking time to confront the killer and even prevented parents, who were outside hearing shots being fired and kids screaming, from charging the building. I also heard that some cops went in and save only their own children while leaving the rest to fend for themselves.

      • Yes, there were cops outside the building, and yes, there were parents who were urging them to go into the building, but it’s not clear from what I’ve read whether there were already cops inside the building when this was happening.  It’s one thing if they were all standing around saying “No, you go first.”  But there may have already been a team/teams in the building, and you still have to maintain a perimeter.

        Sorry if I sound like That Guy.

        • …you don’t sound like “that guy” to me…but “that guy” sure is out there running his mouth about some stuff & I’d admit to struggling to quite square the more readily verifiable facts with the narratives I’ve heard without being left with some combination of questions I can’t answer, things that look like something I very much don’t want to find out to be true & a lot of speculation that I’d give a lot to have be less plausible?

          …he seems to have said he was going to shoot his grandmother to at least someone online…then did…informed whoever he’d been saying it to that he had & announced his intention to go shoot up an elementary school…I don’t honestly know how any system short of a panopticon picks that out of the online morass & puts it in front of anyone who could have done anything to prevent it…but contrary to the first stuff I saw it seems like he didn’t kill the lady & she called 911 (she’s in hospital & seemingly migrating away from the intensive side of critical condition)…so I guess that’s when you’d be hoping the police were trying to get some sort of act together…& however it came to be that he wound up crashing the truck that likewise seems to have been called in

          …but it seems like before they managed to get on the scene he’d managed to make it past the resource officer & barricade himself in with the people who were killed…& in what seems to me to be the most perverse kind of irony the reason they didn’t so much breach that barricade as eventually get hold of a key to the door is because the whole place had been essentially fortified specifically as a measure of added security against the possibility of exactly what killed them being a threat

          …so it seems possible that between his managing to shut himself in with his victims & his eventually being himself shot children elsewhere in the school might have been evacuated…I’d kind of be shocked if that wouldn’t be what’s expected but I don’t know how anyone thinks these sorts of things are supposed to work in what might laughably be referred to as a “best case scenario”…in somewhat of a laugh-or-you-cry sort of a way

          …in any case, if you do happen to think of anyplace that might provide either clarity or perspective on what parts of the I-fucking-hope-that’s-not-how-it-went stuff I could at least try not to sweat?

          • The stupidest part of the doubling down on the “we need more good guys with guns” argument is when random armed people start running into  other armed people in the halls of these situation how exactly do we know who is the good guys and who is the bad?  How many more people would be caught in the crossfire?

          • My first question would be what kind of door were they dealing with?  Was it a solid door with no window, where they couldn’t get a decent visual on the room?  If you can’t be sure what’s on the immediate other side of the door, you’re not going to blow the knob off with a shotgun, for example.  Or maybe – the irony – it was a bulletproof door.  Maybe there are small tactical explosives they could/should have used but couldn’t use, or forgot to bring.  In any evacuation scenario, you have to consider potential lines of fire, so that your evacuees aren’t getting shot at as they leave.  Were they sure there weren’t any accomplices outside the building waiting to do just that?  I’m sure there’s a lot more to consider that I’m not even educated about.  That’s why I’ll wait until a halfway reputable news source compiles some kind of reliable timeline of the response before I get too critical.  Even then, some of the more important information may not be readily available to the public for whatever reason.

            • …to the extent that I can claim to have followed what appears to have been the case

              Authorities have not explained how the shooter got in the back door — or the classroom door, which according to the district’s security plan should have been locked.

              …but I’m at least under the impression that the reason the door he shut himself behind with those people was supposed to be locked was because it was exactly the sort of door you’d expect to be able to meaningfully shelter behind when confronted by an active shooter…which I’d guess would be reinforced in probably more than one way & unlikely to have a window in it…but as you say, I really wouldn’t know…if I’m entirely honest I took that quote from an NBC article that pretty much opened with

              Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District had doubled its security budget in recent years, according to public documents, in part to comply with state legislation passed in the wake of a 2018 school shooting in which eight students and two teachers were killed. The district adopted an array of security measures that included its own police force, threat assessment teams at each school, a threat reporting system, social media monitoring software, fences around schools and a requirement that teachers lock their classroom doors, according to the security plan posted on the district’s website.

              …but currently I haven’t been able to bring myself to click through on any of those three links because I don’t really need greater accuracy in my mental pictures of any of this than I’m already stuck with…hence being in the market for anything that might help with gaining some sort of balanced perspective?

  6. A few facts on guns in America…


    My take is that the NRA & Pro-fetus party enjoy this.  After every shooting, gun sales go up and looser restrictions applied.  It helps to push the narrative that public schools have failed, we need to home school or have private religious schools with armed guards.  I heard one of the congressmen called out the Rethugs, “if you really think this is a mental health issue, why don’t you introduce a bill for that?”  They don’t because they know better and they would have to actually work instead of raise money & talk on Fox.  This is a very important point & the Dems really need to stop thinking calling them out will make them not want to work with you, that ship sailed long long ago…


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