Guns

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 am, October 3rd, 2017 - 155 comments
Categories: International, law, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Another day another mass shooting in the United States of America.  At least 58 people have been killed and hundreds of others injured by a 64 year old armed with an arsenal of weapons.

With utter predictability the right is trotting out well rehearsed lines.  With a sense of ad nauseam the US right’s talking heads are claiming that this is the price of living in a free society, even though no other free society has this rate of gun inflicted deaths on innocent men and women.

Some are sticking by the insane proposition that the solution is more guns.  But you just have to think about 20,000 country and western festival goers shooting up the Mandalay Hotel in self defence to realise that this is not a solution.

The disparity in treatment of the killer is again evident for all to see.  From early reports the current killer is a lone white male and questions are being asked about his mental health.  If he was black or had any sort of link to Islam the word “terrorist” would have a place in every headline.

And the leader of the free world expresses “warmest condolences and sympathies” to the victims.  Meanwhile the Republican Party will bunker down and refuse to do anything about gun control.

Twitter had some of the best and most unusual responses:

155 comments on “Guns”

  1. tc 1

    15 years since Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and it’s just as current IMO for insight into why this is just another day in the USA.

    How many other gun related incidents didn’t make the headlines ?

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Yep Moore has always been on the money on this issue.

      He had this Awful Truth episode Gun Crazy that was put out in 2000. It starts off with Charlton Heston yelling out “Guns” to huge applause from a NRA meeting. It stuck in my mind and hence the blog post title.

      It is still crazy and still relevant thousands and thousands of deaths later …

    • Ed 1.2

      A key scene form that film.

  2. Sparky 2

    The US’s endless spate of violence has more to do with social and economic inequality than guns per se I’d suggest. I’m not a fan of guns but they are I believe really a symptom of a bigger problem. Keep in mind too that its not always been guns, there have been bombings too, for example Oklahoma City.

    • Andre 2.1

      America is so far out of line with the rest of the world in gun ownership, lax gun control, and resulting gun violence that tightening gun control laws and reducing gun ownership are the incredibly obvious first response to reducing the violence. Which makes the NRA the largest terrorist organisation currently operating.

      https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

      https://www.vox.com/2016/2/29/11120184/gun-control-study-international-evidence

      • One Two 2.1.1

        ‘The USA’ is ‘the largest terrorist organisation in the world’

        Get it right!

          • Andre 2.1.1.1.1

            The description you’re looking for is “rogue nation”. Pretty much all definitions of terrorists specify they’re non-state agents.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              So, does that mean that ISIS is not a terrorist organisation? They do call themselves a state after all.

              • Andre

                And they perform a lot of the functions of a state in the territory they control. So there’s at least a bit of arguability there. But since no other state recognises them, I’d fall on the side of “not a state, therefore terrorist”.

      • Sparky 2.1.2

        To my mind that’s just treating the symptoms of a bigger problem. The real issue here is the US’s oligarchical government that entrenches inequality.

        • red-blooded 2.1.2.1

          This guy was a wealthy retiree who lived in a retirement village. He wasn’t suffering the effects of an oligarchical social and political power structure – he was benefitting from it! And the checks on his background show no links with extremist religious or political groups (although these checks are still at a pretty basic level, I suppose).

          It’s true that the US is a very unequal society, but there are other societies with huge social disparities that don’t suffer mass shootings (or regular mass killings by lone operatives without political motivations). While Britain has suffered bombings and more recently deliberate driving related killings, they tend to have political motivations and are more easily defined as “terrorist” because they Do tend to be committed by people who are excluded from power by race, culture, religion, immigrant status (and usually social class) and who belong to groups with identifiable agendas that include the use of attacks on random civilians.

          The fact is that the US sacrifices tens of thousands of its people each year to the great god of the gun. This article from 2016 says that the US rate of gun deaths is 160 times that of Britain, with 6 times the population.
          https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/06/16/gun-violence-united-kingdom-united-states/85994716/
          This chart has it at 109 times (using data from different years, and from a while ago now). Also note that NZ isn’t great – the US death rate is only about 10.5 times higher than ours.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

          • marty mars 2.1.2.1.1

            Good points – what does it mean when a person like this does this? I’m not sure if the ramifications of that will be able to be realised for a while.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1.2

            He wasn’t suffering the effects of an oligarchical social and political power structure

            Actually, I was thinking he was – but in the reverse way from what you’re thinking.

            His wealth made him think that he could do anything he damn well pleased.

            Should also note that this was obviously a well planned action. He knew what he was doing for months before hand.

            Also note that NZ isn’t great

            NZ also has a relatively high gun to population ratio. Double that of the UKs.

      • ianmac 2.1.3

        There are more guns per head of population in Canada than in USA. The death rate in USA is much higher. A matter of attitude?

        • Andre 2.1.3.1

          Uh, no. The gun ownership per capita in Canada is very roughly 0.3 per person, in the US it’s very roughly 0.9.

          There’s a chart some way down in this article that shows gun ownership per capita for various countries.

          https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

          But yes, there’s also a big cultural attitude problem in the US that makes the gun violence problem much much worse.

          • ianmac 2.1.3.1.1

            Thanks Andre but I couldn’t find the numbers other than for homicides. A way back I seem to remember Michael Moore visiting Canada and quoting that Canada per head of population had more guns but far fewer deaths from guns. And what was the difference in attitude?
            My weak memory I guess.

            • ianmac 2.1.3.1.1.1

              You are right Andre.
              USA =112 per hundred people
              Canada= 30.8 per hundred
              Australia = 24 per hundred
              NZ = 22 per hundred

              • Andre

                Interestingly the percentage of households and percentage of individuals that own guns doesn’t have as wide a discrepancy. None of the data I saw looked that solid, but for households with guns in Canada the numbers in various sources ranged from around 18% to 25% and for the US it was 30% to 40%.

                Part of the reason for the extremely high guns per capita in the US is the few utter fukn loons that collect an arsenal.

    • CoroDale 2.2

      Correct Sparky – and to say it more directly, the USA is off-the-charts-crazy, and after decades of extreme right fascist govts, it’s no surprise that some many Americans have done the maths and bought a gun.

  3. One Two 3

    Guns are not the root of the problem!

    • No but they are a route of the problem imo

    • left_forward 3.2

      It seems so obvious that the proliferation of machines that are designed to kill people is very much the root of the problem – so what are you saying is the root? – something limp like lack of personal responsibility .

    • Molly 3.3

      Given the distance to the music festival, it would be hard to see how bare-handed combat would have resulted in the same devastation.

      Use of assault weapons made one man’s actions – a lethal random killing spree.

  4. Wensleydale 4

    I feel sorry for the average sane American just trying to get by. It must be incredibly stressful living in the midst of a homicidal circus where the clowns carry assault rifles, and the ringmaster is a petulant toddler with a persecution complex and the empathy of a cinder block.

  5. Ed 5

    Charlton Heston
    From my cold dead hands

  6. Ed 6

    Bowling For Columbine Trailer

  7. mac1 7

    Crosby, Stills and Nash sang “Find the cost of freedom buried in the ground. Mother Earth will swallow you. Lay your body down.” in response to their question “When everyone’s talkin’ and no-one is listenin’, how can we decide?”

    My response to Bill O’Reilly above who wrote that the mass shootings were “The price of freedom” would be to ask just how high is the cost, and how much is too high a price? Who pays the price? Freedom to do what? Freedom from what?

    If these deaths are the price that is asked and paid by innocents for the freedom of others to own weapons which can in the hands of one deranged man kill and wound 600 people, then it is too high, and O’Reilly’s views are too simplistic.

    “How can we decide?”

    America needs to reassess its values. It needs to consider and answer that question.

    We also need in New Zealand to re-consider our gun laws and how we control and register both guns and owners. Time to listen to the lessons from America, as CS&N’s song “Find the Cost of Freedom” suggests.

  8. Sabine 8

    The non carrying population of the US lost the conversation on guns with the Sandy Hooks shooting. Once the US decided that gun rights are more important then the right of safety for some six and seven year old kids it was over.

    The very sad thing tho is that those that survive will now have pre-existing conditions and will have little to no access to affordable healthcare. They might still have a bit of access now under the ACA but once that is starved out of existence they are on their own. All hail to the ownership society where automatic weapons have more rights then people.

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

  9. adam 9

    And yet we are not aloud to say this terrorism, is it becasue he is a male and white?

    • Stuart Munro 9.1

      These are revenge fantasies. I’m not sure terrorism is the word.

      • adam 9.1.1

        Look at a dictionary Stuart Munro, look at what his act has done to people, the gun man has succeeded in terrorizing people. He is by that definition a terrorist and the media should treat him as such.

        • Stuart Munro 9.1.1.1

          My problem is probably that I look at too many dictionaries. Strictly, a terrorist is a supporter of state violence, specifically the state violence of la Terreur, which in 1793 and 94 put tens of thousands to death and intimidated many more.

          The modern use, since 9/11 or so, relates more to anti-state actors. It would have been more accurate to call them anarchists (in the Bakunin or Kropotkin tradition), or pterrorists, since the use of flight was a non-trivial component of their modus operandi.

          Now Paddock was one scarily murderous son-of-a-bitch – but I haven’t yet heard a political explanation for his actions, and lacking a political motive makes him a mere over-achieving mass murderer. Perhaps a new term is needed for mass killer, but he doesn’t fit the ordinary contemporary meaning of terrorist.

          • AB 9.1.1.1.1

            Yep – if we call something “terrorism” even though it lacks a political or religious motivation, we weaken the word “terrorism” to simply mean “anything that causes people to be terrified”.
            And I don’t think that is very useful in terms of helping our understanding of what’s going on.

    • Andre 9.2

      It’s not being called terrorism, yet, because so far there’s no public evidence there was any political motive or intent to modify a population’s behaviour.

      • weka 9.2.1

        Not having public evidence hasn’t stopped the MSM before.

        • Andre 9.2.1.1

          But even outlets that call out atrocities like the Pulse nightclub as terrorism long before the MSM are refraining from calling this terrorism. So far.

          • weka 9.2.1.1.1

            not sure what you mean by outlets there (no the MSM?). The Orlando shooter wasn’t white.

            • Andre 9.2.1.1.1.1

              While the definition of terrorism is fairly loose, it’s not quite one of those words that mean whatever the user wants it to.

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

              So here’s a longer explanation of why it’s not (yet) being used for this atrocity.

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/terrorism-federal-law-las-vegas-shooting_us_59d26166e4b06791bb121828?section=us_politics

              • weka

                Yes terrorism has a set of definitions. I took adam’s comment to be about media coverage not definitions.

              • mickysavage

                I dunno if killing 58 people in cold blood with automatic weapons is not terrorism then what is?

                • Andre

                  Mass murder by an unhinged nutcase with a massive unformed hostile rage against his fellow humans?

                  The thing that distinguishes this from terrorism as it is commonly understood is that the murderer doesn’t seem to have intended to send any kind of message with his monstrous acts. On whats come out so far, he apparently just killed for the sake of killing.

                  edit: and if you go by the old cliche “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist”, well, he doesn’t appear to have been fighting for or against anything in particular.

                  • Yes that is my reading of it – he wanted to kill as many as possible.

                    The term terrorist has always been misunderstood and misused and in any real terms is difficult as a descriptor not least because it has also been used by governments.

                    • Andre

                      I guess another reference point in the “terrorism or not” debate is
                      I don’t recall David Gray of Aramoana infamy being called a terrorist.

                • UncookedSelachimorpha

                  I dislike the word “terrorist” generally – best to simply call all people who do this sort of thing (whether politically / religiously motivated or not) ‘criminal murderers’ in most cases, I think.

        • Psycho Milt 9.2.1.2

          Any examples you can cite? There often seems to be speculation of the “possible terrorist incident” or “was this a terrorist attack” kind, but the same applies to this incident after Da’esh claimed he was one of theirs. Of course, that claim’s taken more seriously for someone called Khalid Masood than it is for someone called Stephen Paddock, but the principle’s the same.

          • weka 9.2.1.2.1

            I think the dudes who occupied that forestry rangers building is a pretty good example of how there’s is different framing of incidents based on race and class. Also the original Montreal shooting years ago, journalists at the time weren’t allowed to talk about the gendered nature of the attack (shooter targeted women on campus). Not sure why the attitudes of the dominant culture wouldn’t be at play or why that’s in contention.

            • Andre 9.2.1.2.1.1

              If you’re referring to Y’all Qaeda occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, then yes, that should have been called terrorism. It met the elements, there was violence by non-state agents in service of a political agenda. Similarly those who murder and harass people that work at and use the services of abortion clinics should be called terrorists.

              But if terrorism as a word is to retain any meaning, it shouldn’t be used in situations where it doesn’t fit. And the evidence so far is it doesn’t fit this atrocity.

              • weka

                yes, but I don’t think that’s the only reason it’s not. Racism is a thing that influences the media.

      • adam 9.2.2

        That’s my point, in many cases there was no public evidence of political motive or intent to modify a population’s behaviour but still the media ran with it.

        BUT, only if they were Brown.

        That said, 58 people dead, if that not an act of terror, I’m confused at what is.

        • marty mars 9.2.2.1

          The political motive defines it.

          It is also obvious that this ‘everyman’ in terms of the dominant society will be treated different to the ‘other’ however imo the ‘everyman’ will generate more terror than any terrorist could.

          • Andre 9.2.2.1.1

            “…the ‘everyman’ will generate more terror than any terrorist could.”

            Rationally you’d think so, if your neighbour or co-worker that looks just like you might suddenly go on a murder rampage that should be scarier than if it’s only identifiable “others” that do that.

            But when I think back on how my workplace reacted after Oklahoma City and the 1993 WTC bombing, there was a nervous high alert that stayed high for a long time after WTC (carried out by Islamists), compared to a definite relaxation that happened as soon as it was determined that white boy Timothy McVeigh did Oklahoma City.

            • red-blooded 9.2.2.1.1.1

              But surely that’s able to be understood better when you consider that a bombing organised by a group leaves open the possibility of other attacks as part of a campaign by the same group, or closely aligned groups (‘cos after all, if there’s a group then the same anger and change-agenda are shared, rather than belonging to just one individual). An attack by an individual with psychological issues or a mental health problem is easier to see as a “one off”.

              Of course, that ignores the fact that any society is going to contain people with extreme problems who might become attackers – and, getting back to the focus on guns, that a person with access to firearms is more likely to attack and kill while feeling this way.

              • Andre

                I really dunno. It seemed odd to me at the time, given McVeigh’s connections to Ruby Ridge type nutcases so there was a wider movement of mostly whites that was at least as dangerous as a foreign group. It was also the time when “going postal” entered the lingo, and IIRC the perps in those cases were white.

                But yeah, easy access to guns makes the consequences so much more tragic when someone goes off the rails.

            • marty mars 9.2.2.1.1.2

              Interesting – i wonder if his age will make a difference or his perceived position within society.

              I really worry about the rachet effect as bigger, worse atrocities have to occur to get noticed and if you want to be noticed then, well, not good.

          • adam 9.2.2.1.2

            No marty mars the act defines it. The actions were the actions of a terrorist.

            • Union city greens 9.2.2.1.2.1

              They were apparently the actions of a man with lots of guns who had a breakdown and went on a shooting rampage.

              Terrorism usually comes with a cause attached. So far there have been no such causes claimed or identified.

              Unless later proven this is definitely not terrorism. It is of course terrifying, and terrorist do cause terror, but that’s a different thing altogether.

            • marty mars 9.2.2.1.2.2

              No Adam that is incorrect – this is a well known concept not really up for Adam World interpretation but whatever you seem to be creating a new pathway even when a new one isn’t needed.

              • adam

                Here https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/terrorism

                The language is a bit broader than you think.

                • Okay, what was the political aim or goal of the murders? What were they supposed to achieve?

                  Why do you want to call It a terrorist act anyway?

                  • adam

                    Isn’t the personal political? Terror can happen without aims, and most times it does.

                    • Are you for real? Maybe the next hurricane we can name hurricane terror because people will be terrified when it hits populated areas.

                      The definition of terrorism includes the aim – that’s the point of the word mate.

                    • adam

                      Wow, points for misrepresentation there marty mars. I see you add more to your comment after I responded. “Why do you want to call It a terrorist act anyway?”

                      So to your point the killing of 58 people is an act of terror. The motivation is beside the point, the point is the media are not even going there. Mainly becasue the shooter was white, and as people have said on this thread already, the usual response to a white mass murdering terrorist is mental health.

                      Can’t call him anything else, might be to much for people to think about. Want to save that terrorist word for the Arabs right? Want to have a go to word we can use to strike fear into people, so we can blame the other. Rather than confront the issues within our own communities, or would you rather I put aside that violence in and of itself at this level is an act of terror?

                    • You misunderstand.

                      I know your points – i read the article too. Your barking up the wrong tree buddy simple as that. There doesn’t have to always be a big conspiracy behind the shit that happens sometimes the way it is is the way it is until more information comes along.

                      Edit I often adjust what I write – nothing to do with what you wrote Adam – build a bridge mate

                    • adam

                      I get you follow the media, that’s all I get.

                    • (Deleted) and somehow I’m not surprised (deleted).

                      edit Thanks for finally admitting you don’t get much – good on you.

                    • adam

                      When did you go all beige marty mars?

                      I’m trying to pin down the date…

                    • Lol Jesus youre a fuckwit adam no surprises there lol

                    • adam

                      well it takes one…

                    • Okay this is the last thing I’m saying to you on this

                      Yes I am a fuckwit sometimes and many times I irritate people and say the wrong thing from their point of view. I’m sure I’ve fucked you off.

                      What you write fucks me off sometimes.

                • McFlock

                  Every definition in your link includes the motive as well as the act:

                  […] in order to achieve political aims or to force a government to do something.

                  […] to achieve some goal

                  […] to demoralize, intimidate, and subjugate, esp. such use as a political weapon or policy

                  • adam

                    terrorism in British
                    (ˈtɛrəˌrɪzəm )
                    noun
                    1.
                    systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal
                    2.
                    the act of terrorizing
                    3.
                    the state of being terrorized

                    • McFlock

                      what goal?

                    • McFlock

                      Violence is what was used to achieve the goal.
                      What was the goal?

                    • weka

                      to control, or effect change in a desired direction.

                      I think there’s a case to made for calling domestic violence terrorism. Could probably even broaden it out in some cases to being political e.g. MRA goals.

                    • weka

                      According to federal law, an act of “terrorism” is an act that is “in furtherance of political or social objectives”, whereas Paddock’s motives remain unknown.[33] Under Nevada law, a terrorist only must intend violence to cause great bodily harm on the general population.[34]

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Las_Vegas_Strip_shooting

                      Bearing in mind it’s a wiki page on an event that is being updated a lot. Haven’t followed the references.

                    • McFlock

                      In some cases domestic violence might be terrorism – in others “slavery” might be equally or more valid.

                      But (Nevada law notwithstanding) not all mass violence is terrorism, and not all terrorism is mass violence. Immediately dropping the “t” word at the slightest excuse is why I have to play “don’t set off the metal detector” any time I need to jump on a jet, and provides no semantic difference from a fuckwit wanting to skew foreign policy and a fuckwit who just wants 15 minutes of posthumous fame.

                    • weka

                      I agree, but I would say the problem there isn’t in defining terrorism but that the definitions have been misused by states and the MSM for so long that there is now inherent cultural bias. In the case of the US, white = not terrorist if they can help it.

                      I don’t know if Paddock’s actions fit formal definitions of terrorism (hard to tell when we don’t know his motives). But I think it’s a problem that as you say any fuckwit wanting his 15 mins of posthumous fame can use terrorism to that end. The unwitting terrorist, because I’m sure people there are feeling fear and changing their behaviour accordingly.

                    • McFlock

                      I think the word still has a distinct meaning that we have no pithy substitute for.

                      Additionally, calling a sad, lonely fuckwit a “terrorist” simply because they wanted notoriety (or even just to lash out) actually gives them the status they were seeking – validating massacre as a way of getting respect.

                      We should be very careful, I think, about throwing dramatic words around, even if others aren’t so careful.

                    • weka

                      I agree with that. The tricky bit is that the MSM etc are still throwing the word around too much when it comes to non-white people.

                      If some sad sack yells out something about Allah as he kills people, do you think the MSM won’t use the word terrorist?

                    • McFlock

                      That’s actually what I liked about the aus response to the sydney cafe siege. ISTR the cops, pollies etc were very careful to keep the “terrorism” tag as far away from the guy as possible, despite his best (albeit confused) efforts to claim otherwise.

                      But yeah, there is often an ethnic bias in the language that is used. I tend to follow the path of resistance, rather than having an infinite number of words that all have exactly the same, broad, meaning.

                      It’s the opposite techinue to Orwellian “Newspeak”, but the outcome is equivalent: we lack the ability to express complexity because the very language we use is incapable of describing our thoughts.

                    • If some sad sack yells out something about Allah as he kills people, do you think the MSM won’t use the word terrorist?

                      Is there a reason they shouldn’t? If someone claims to be killing people on behalf of Allah, I don’t see any reason not to take him at his word.

                    • McFlock

                      If someone claims to be killing people on behalf of Allah, I don’t see any reason not to take him at his word.

                      Well, the Sydney guy did that, but it seems that he was more just a pathetic, sad dick with personal issues rather than being an individual with specific sociopolitical goals.

    • red-blooded 9.3

      Most atrocities labelled as terrorist are committed by men. And if we think a little outside the immediate present (eg IRA) there have been plenty of white people labelled as terrorists. I think it pretty obvious that this guy didn’t have a change-agenda. Some mass killers do (eg the guy who killed all the young Labour Party activists in Norway) and some don’t (eg the Sandy Hook massacre). To be labelled a terrorist, I think there needs to be a change agenda and an identifiable group whose cause is being promoted. That’s what makes something like the London Bridge massacre a terrorist attack.

      • adam 9.3.1

        I think you are way off red-blooded,

        to terrorizes or frightens others is a terrorist.

        Terrorism is the act of terrorizing.

        Yes it can have a political component, but the act itself the 58 dead and 200+ injured is terrorism pure and simple.

        • red-blooded 9.3.1.1

          You’re just arguing around in circles, adam. Whenever someone puts up evidence, or a counter-argument, you come back with:
          – “I think” (So what? Words have shared meanings – that’s how they work.)
          – or the fact that people were terrified. (Yup, and I used to be terrified of my cousins who regularly hurt me for fun. They weren’t terrorist, just bullies. Similarly, a rapist terrifies his victim, but he’s not a terrorist – he’s a rapist. It’s possible to be a violent, oppressive thug who causes terror without being a terrorist.)

    • And yet we are not aloud to say this terrorism…

      You’re not? Who imposed this ban, and why are you accepting it?

      …is it becasue he is a male and white?

      Most people aren’t calling this terrorism because words have meanings. If something turns up to suggest this incident fits that word’s meaning, no doubt there’ll be plenty of people calling it terrorism. However, it’s unlikely that their assessment of whether the word fits will involve having a look down his pants or checking his ethnic background.

      • adam 9.4.1

        If words have meaning then killing 58 and wounding 200+ is an act of terrorism.

        My point is exactly that, why does the colour of his skin and his gender stop the media calling this what it is, an act of terrorism.

        • Andre 9.4.1.2

          Are you suggesting that if the perpetrator had been female, authorities and media would be faster to call it terrorism? Okaaay…

          Meanwhile I’ve just gone back to look at coverage of the San Bernadino shooting. Even days after the shooting, with the shooters known to be radical Islamic and of Middle-Eastern ancestry, authorities and media were very circumspect about not using the word terrorism.

          eg http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/02/us/san-bernardino-shooting/index.html

        • Psycho Milt 9.4.1.3

          If words have meaning then killing 58 and wounding 200+ is an act of terrorism.

          Non sequitur. Killing lots of people is mass murder. Terrorism features a political or ideological motive, neither of which is so far evident in this case. If you want to revise the meaning of terrorism so it covers multiple murder or attempted murder in general, you’re not going to get a lot of takers because it would be a nett loss in semantic value,

          • adam 9.4.1.3.1

            So a semantic value is more important if the person is white. I’m getting you are missing my point Psycho Milt, almost every time it’s a white person, the media do not use the term terrorism, in any meaning of the word.

            If they are white, it almost always defined as mental health, and given the semantic issues over the coupling of those two words, don’t you think we should look at things with a bit more of an open mind?

            Rather than fall into patterns and stereotypes of: white = mental health, black = gang, Latin = drugs, or Arab = terrorism.

            • In Vino 9.4.1.3.1.1

              Adam – this is partly because of the groups that rush to claim credit. Isis have already tried to claim credit for this one, but look like making fools of themselves this time. If the investigation finds that this guy had no connections with the Red Brigade, Islamic fundamentalism, Vegetarians, etc, then it would seem that his murderous behaviour was simply psychopathic. I would say the same about any mass murderer of any colour. I agree with Psycho Milt that terrorism is done with a political or military purpose. We have to wait and see why this guy did it. If he did it for a purpose, then it will be terrorism. If he did it because he was bananas, it wasn’t. If he wanted it to mean something, he may have left evidence, otherwise it seems totally futile.

              • adam

                So the act of terrorizing people is not an act of a terrorist? To be a terrorist, one needs to have political motivation? So individuals who terrorize now have a free pass not to be called heinous terrorists, becasue they need to have some sort of political motivation?

                • Stuart Munro

                  I know of plenty of people who were terrorized by their ex-partners. Nevertheless we do not call them terrorists.

                  Language is a strange thing – its changes are decided by usage. There is nothing to stop you calling Paddock a terrorist, but the correctness of the designation depends on whether a large number of strangers eventually agree. He was certainly a bad ‘un, they might. And if they do, the current meaning will change to include him.

            • Psycho Milt 9.4.1.3.1.2

              …almost every time it’s a white person, the media do not use the term terrorism, in any meaning of the word.

              Correlation != causation. In cases where White people have engaged in terrorism (eg the RAF, IRA, ETA) the media haven’t hesitated to use the word terrorism. In cases where a White guy engages in mass murder because he’s a psychopath who’d like to be famous, the media doesn’t use the term terrorism because it doesn’t apply.

              There is racism involved here, just not in the way you think. Why is there so little terrorism by White people reported in the media? Because the people who are running things generally don’t have reason to engage in terrorism. There’s your racial privilege playing out. And when it’s society’s rulers who are using violence to achieve political goals, there are different words that apply, so yeah, not a lot of White terrorism out there to cover.

              • adam

                Look I know your trying to spin it away from the USA, but it happened in the USA, so the context is the USA and their media. Which I hoped was obvious, the fact you have to reach out the USA to counter me, makes me feel some what vindicated.

                The USA runs a particular line around terrorism, or acts of terror. They can’t be done by white people. That is and always be my point, bombastically I may have started this thread – but my point stands, act of terror done by white people in the USA are not covered the same way that acts of terror if perpetrated by Blacks, Hispanics, nor Arabs.

            • Psycho Milt 9.4.1.3.1.3

              Also:

              So a semantic value is more important if the person is white.

              Nope, a semantic value is important full stop. Attempting to obscure, dilute or obfuscate the meanings of words for political purposes isn’t anti-racist, it’s anti-communication.

  10. Exkiwiforces 10

    The problem with the USA is it’s stupid out dated constitution aka the “right to bear arms to form a militia” which is ok back in day when you were using black powder firearms and before the war of 1812 the USA had no standing Army until they got bashed my some of relatives in serving in the British Army of Canada/ Canadian militia when the White House got burnt to the ground.

    The current NZ Firearms act is a good piece of legislation by world standards, but problem is the NZ police do not properly enforce the act like they do here in Australia. But you will still have the issue of the underworld obtaining firearms which mostly side arms or sawed off shotguns/ rifles which are easier to conceal than a long arm aka rifle/ shotgun regardless how tight the firearms legislation is.

    • Andre 10.1

      The second amendment isn’t the problem, since there’s a lot of room in how it’s interpreted. It says “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” (with or without some more commas, depending on which version). So it doesn’t actually say anything about an individual right to bear arms, it could just be about preserving states’ rights to keep arms against the federal and foreign governments. Particularly when you look at other parts of the Constitution that are about state’s rights.

      The problem is there’s a small part of the population that’s rabid about their guns, and the NRA has become particularly skilled at whipping them into a frenzy. And that the majority of the population that wants gun control is nowhere near as motivated about it.

      • Exkiwiforces 10.1.1

        Yes, how one interprets the second amendment is the problem and having spent time along side the yanks over the years. I’ve heard various versions of the of the 2nd amendment to a point some us don’t know what true or what false and then you get some yanks saying that it’s your personal freedom and your right in a democracy to bear arms to protect yourself from government. And you are right about NRA as will.

        To me to own a firearm or firearms is a privilege not a right in a democracy.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 10.1.2

        “The problem is there’s a small part of the population that’s rabid about their guns, and the NRA has become particularly skilled at whipping them into a frenzy.”

        To some extent – but I think direct profit seeking by the US firearms industry is playing the biggest role, including funding lobbying and the NRA.

  11. Once was Tim 11

    “With utter predictability the right is trotting out well rehearsed lines. ”
    Of course they are Micky!. It’s all they’ve got. Their “founding fathers” gave them the right to bear arms – utterly unaware of technological advances – such as a future that would bring the semi-automatic; the assault rifle; and all that kaka (I’m not arms expert).
    It’s become orthodooxy – much like a neo-liberal economic agenda. A faith, a religion, a TINA, a cult.
    Maybe the fact that its all going tits up is something that HAD to happen.
    But if you expect my heart to bleed for 58 dead and 500 injured, juxtaposed against a million Rohingya, you’ll be waiting a long time.
    In a mini-me sort of way, there’s a gaggle of Natzi Party tishuns and fawning media that are expecting much the same sort of sympathy.

    • Cinny 12.1

      That’s way way messed up Katipo. Weapons manufacturers will be rubbing their hands in greedy glee. Far out so lucky to live in NZ

      I heard from a redneck friend over Florida way that many carry weapons because they are too scared to get into a punch up due to blood and HIV fears etc.

      Guns are used for one thing, killing, people can make all the excuses in the world that it is for protection, but all firearms have one basic function, to kill.

      It’s terrifying how normalised firearms are in ‘Murica

  12. rhinocrates 13

    Typically, first and foremost is ‘This is a tragedy and no time to talk about gun control.”

    On a parallel here, Trevor Noah on when a black person should protest:

    The ammosexuals are already going through the bullshit bingo grid. I’m sure someone can arrange this, and add a few of their own:

    Now is not the time to talk about this
    This is the price of freedom
    False flag!
    Crisis actors!
    It was a sad act by a disturbed individual (if the perpetrator was white)
    We must pull together against this terrorist threat (if the perpetrator wasn’t white)
    How dare you politicise this!
    It wouldn’t have happened if the victims had superior firepower
    But her emails! (this can be used anywhere, anytime)
    They deserved it
    Hitler tried to ban guns too!
    Gun control only helps the criminals
    Second Amendment!
    Thoughts and prayers
    Why aren’t you crying?!
    The solution is in the Bible and only in the Bible

    • rhinocrates 13.1

      Oh, and Pat Robertson’s already come with another grid square I should have thought of: Atheism caused it!

  13. Ad 14

    Now is not the time for a gun control debate, according to the White House:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/02/white-house-trump-las-vegas-gun-debate-243371

  14. joe90 15

    Barking.

    It’s been illegal to carry a toy gun on the Las Vegas Strip since 2012, when Clark County commissioners passed an ordinance banning “dangerous objects” from the Strip.

    The ban, intended to make the sidewalks safer, prohibited flame throwers, blades over three-inches long and toy guns.

    But what it didn’t prohibit was real guns.

    http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/nation-world/article176655566.html

  15. Sabine 16

    275 days of the year, 273 ‘mass shootings’

    http://www.newsweek.com/mass-shooting-almost-every-day-us-675334

    and the police relays on this to trace guns

    https://www.gq.com/story/inside-federal-bureau-of-way-too-many-guns

    Quote” “ I get e-mails even from police saying, ‘Can you type in the serial number and tell me who the gun is registered to?’ Every week. They think it’s like a VIN number on a car. Even police. Police from everywhere. ‘Hey, can you guys hurry up and type that number in?’ ”
    “It’s a shoestring budget. It’s a bunch of friggin’ boxes. All half-ass records.”
    So here’s a news flash, from Charlie: “We ain’t got a registration system. Ain’t nobody registering no damn guns.”

    it should be called terrorism, legalized domestic terrorism by those that want guns to have more rights then people, and that use their guns to enforce their wants and needs.

  16. Stuart Munro 17

    I think the concentration on guns may be partly mistaken in the US context because as Moore points out, gun ownership is relatively high in Canada too, but with significantly fewer gun deaths. The same observation can be made of Switzerland.

    So, what is it that makes guns so much more dangerous in American hands? Part of the answer lies in a judicial stance that legitimizes (or even idolizes) armed self defense. In NZ we have doctrine of equivalent force, whereby you may use a weapon of similar threat level against an armed intruder, but gunning down a knife armed assailant exposes you to a significant risk of a murder charge. The lack of an equivalent feature in the US is part of the problem. It relates to minimalist conceptions of government that casualize or underfund policing instead of maintaining a full nationwide system.

  17. Exkiwiforces 18

    The thing about Switzerland is that when you have completed your 18mths National Service Training, you return home with your assault rifle and also you are bomb up along with your combat gear etc. Also they are very strict on who has a firearms license. So if someone did play up? There is a chance that your next door neighbor might knock you off before the police do.

    • Stuart Munro 18.1

      I’m guessing if you ‘played up’ in Switzerland the least bad result would be you’d find yourself living without firearms in a community with them who think you’re an asshole.

      The “neighbor shoots you first” is more the US logic.

  18. Exkiwiforces 19

    I tend to feel safe in most European countries than I do in the states, because it almost feel like if you say the wrong word to some muppet he or she will pull a firearm on you and the further you get away from the major US centres the the more unsafe I feel. Even the US police are bordering on a shoot first ask questions later approach as everyone seems to have some sort of firearm or firearms within arms length away.

    • Stuart Munro 19.1

      Yeah Korea’s like that, super safe – and their cops are all armed. They shoot about 9 people a year – less than us – I had a chat with a cop there about it. He said no-one wants to shoot anyone ever – the paperwork’ll take you over a year even if you do everything right. Mind, compulsory military service takes the cowboy thrill off firearms there too.

      • Exkiwiforces 19.1.1

        I would agree that in certain countries that having National Service would mostly take out that cowboy thrill factor out of weapons training, but I know my own experience you get the odd one who thinks he or she John Wayne or Mae West. In the most Western European countries it was the landed Gentry, Game keepers, Jägers, Poachers that had access to firearms and then it was a privilege not a right to have firearms.

        Even with my own firearms that I Iost as result of PTSD. I lost my privilege to have access to or ot used them ATM and even back in NZ it was always drill into by my next of kin etc that it was a privilege not a right to own firearms.

        • Stuart Munro 19.1.1.1

          There’s also the thing about who needs them – in a farming area they’re a tool but there used to be a saying to the effect that it is not possible for a saint, dwelling in Mayfair, to possess a .303.

          It’s starting to look like the US will eat itself if it doesn’t reform – and their current president is not really ready to lead in the public interest.

          Sounds like your kin were on the ball too. No-one wants a firearms tragedy on their conscience.

          • Exkiwiforces 19.1.1.1.1

            The yanks I’ve work alongside on operations can’t or seem to understand Australian or New Zealand firearms ownership is a privilege not right. Either side of both families (Oz and NZ) are from land, bushies, miners, hunters or in the military to maintain a high standard in marksmanship. Even my partner says I have a lot of respect for firearms and the way I teach and how I under take my own firearms training.

              • Stuart Munro

                Seems like he was ready to go full Oklahoma City.

                The Beast has uncovered what may have been his motive – his father was arrested for a bank robbery in Vegas when he was seven. If that was the reason it would be sort of in the nature of a blood feud.

                • RedLogix

                  The common thread is that most are socially isolated loners, often aggressively so. Paddock may be a bit unusual in that he appears to have had a partner, but initial reports suggest a pattern of rejection.

                  To be quite honest, with the degree of social dysfunction in the USA I’m surprised these big massacres don’t happen more often.

                • Exkiwiforces

                  Yes, it does appear he was about to do the full Monty and he picked the right state to do it in.

                  • RedLogix

                    “Going Postal” may be a fit too.

                    Untangling all the motives and aspects to these mass murders is beyond my understanding or wit; but it’s clear that while all societies have their share of unhinged zealots and sociopaths, the USA uniquely enables them into action.

                    The open question is … just how big a massacre will it take before real change happens? Or is it going to spiral down into total madness?

                    • Exkiwiforces

                      To tell you the truth, I don’t think gun control in the US can be achieve as I think they are now pass the Point of No Return and it may well get worst before it gets better. Possible worst case a all out civil warfare with each state having it own National Guard Units things could very well spiral down into total madness.

            • RedLogix 19.1.1.1.1.2

              In my limited experience people who have professional police/military training with weapons tend to be the most cautious and restrained about their use. Because along with their training in their use, they also learned about consequences.

              This guy is a good example:

              http://www.stonekettle.com/

              http://www.stonekettle.com/2012/07/the-seven-stages-of-gun-violence.html

              Thirty years ago I joined the military and spent my entire life there. I know more than a little about guns. I’m a graduate of the Smith & Wesson Rangemaster Academy, the nation’s premier firearms instructor school. I’m a certified armorer and gunsmith. I’ve graduated from nearly every boarding officer and gun school the military has. I hold both the Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medals. I’ve taught small arms and combat arms to both military and civilians for nearly thirty years now. I’ve fired damned near everything the US military owns, from the old .38 revolver to a US Navy Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser’s 5” main battery – and everything in between.

              • Exkiwiforces

                I have two good books that I use to base all my weapons training on plus my own experience and others within our section.

                On Killing “The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in and Society” and On Combat “The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace”

                By Lt Col. Dave Grossman and I believe copies are now up to their 4th or 5th edition.

                • RedLogix

                  Just skimmed through the contents section … dark and powerful material.

                  • Exkiwiforces

                    Yes its very dark and powerful, but very useful information. He has put an awful lot of work into both books and members of my treatment team both here in Darwin and down in St John of God Hospital in Richmond NSW do read Lt Col Grossman information.

  19. joe90 21

    Horrible factoid of the day.

    Number of Americans killed on battlefields in all wars in history:1,396,733Killed by firearms in the US since 1968:1,516,863(NYT)— richard bacon (@richardpbacon) October 2, 2017

    http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/aug/27/nicholas-kristof/more-americans-killed-guns-1968-all-wars-says-colu/

    • Macro 21.1

      Yep the rate of firearm fatalities in the US is horrendous – 10.6 deaths per 100,000 U.S. citizens.
      They are killing themselves at a rate just short of 10 per day. In 2013 there were 33,636 deaths due to “injury by firearms”. And that does not include the numbers of injuries. In the same year there were 73,505 nonfatal firearm injuries.
      It’s utter madness.
      But it took 59 deaths for one Gun toting proponent to wake up to the error of his ways when he finally realised the stupidity of thinking guns provided “protection”
      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/02/las-vegas-gun-control-caleb-keeter-josh-abbott-band

  20. joe90 22

    Thread.

    Las Vegas shooting isn't deadliest mass shooting in US history. The deadliest mass shootings were acts of white supremacist terrorism. (1/x)— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) October 2, 2017

    1919: Elaine "race riot" in Arkansas where a mob of white men shot and killed 100-800 black people "on sight." https://t.co/P7CaVVwc7X pic.twitter.com/92yfFfbpjg— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) October 2, 2017

  21. Andre 23

    A good reason not to call this terrorism (until there’s good reason to think there is some kind of politics behind it) – it feeds horseshit and fake news like ISIS claiming responsibility.

    https://www.vox.com/world/2017/10/2/16403958/las-vegas-shooting-isis-claim-responsibility

  22. joe90 24

    Dawkins has the wingnuts exercised.

    Durn tootin’, great shootin’. Cool dude sertin’ he’s 2nd Mendment rahts. Hell yeah! Every country has its psychopaths. In US they have guns— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) October 2, 2017

    • Ed 25.1

      Silence is golden?

      • Incognito 25.1.1

        Yes, there are no words and the full stop signifies the end of a wordless silent moment. It also symbolises the need to put a full stop behind this kind of madness.

        TBH, this was not my intention by WordPress (?) did not allow me to post just empty space(s) …

      • joe90 25.1.2

        A single full stop to express there are no words / words are not enough.

  23. joe90 26

    Predictable.

    Easily shedding the trappings of reality, Jones concocted a customarily lurid and complex tale involving the Islamic State group (ISIS), former Vice President Albert Gore and former CIA official Philip Mudd, among other imagined malefactors. Jones also alluded to “the literal grandchildren of the folks that financed the Bolshevik Revolution out of New York and London,” an elaborate allusion to Jews that none of his devoted fans could have missed.

    Jones suggested the attack was staged to coincide with the past weekend’s release of former football player O.J. Simpson from the High Desert State Prison, not far from Las Vegas:

    They released O.J. just 20 hours before the attack took place so all the media would come and be in place to cover this event. The whole thing has the hallmarks of being scripted by deep state Democrats and their Islamic allies using mental patient cut-outs.

    http://www.newsweek.com/alex-jones-deep-state-behind-las-vegas-attack-676016

  24. Ed 27

    I notice the bombers at Manchester are called terrorists and the semi-automatic rifleman is called a ‘lone wolf’, a ‘shooter’ and now an ‘attacker’ by the corporate msm.

    If one was at Las Vegas, one would be just as terrorised as one would have been in Paris.

    Could the media not politicise violence please?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11929469

  25. Siobhan 28

    This wee gem from a few days back. The issue is not just American violence, its something they export, and they want to export even more..

    “Gun companies are suffering a sales slump under the Trump administration.
    But a regulatory change could give them a boost overseas.
    The administration is considering shifting oversight of gun exports from the State Department to the Commerce Department. The proposed change would treat handguns more like commodities and less like military weapons, and loosen the bureaucracy for gun manufacturers.
    “They are currently hamstrung by considerable red tape,” gun industry analyst Rommel Dionisio wrote in a report for Aegis Capital.”

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/27/news/companies/gun-exports-trump/index.html

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