It’s the Guns, Stupid

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I was never a fan of President Ronald Reagan and can proudly say that I never voted for him. But he did possess an ability during his time in office for communicating a hopeful tone to the American people. They used to call him “The Great Communicator.”

One of his most famous rhetorical flourishes focused around his belief that when he thought about America, he felt that it was that “shining city upon a hill.” Reagan borrowed the analogous quote from John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, who upon setting sail for New England in 1630, reflected on his hopes for what would come to signify American exceptionalism; that we would be the moral compass and example for the rest of the world.

Let’s say that these days, that “shining city” is beginning to look more like an abandoned town, with rubble and burned out facades dotting the landscape. The precipitous fall from grace is breathtaking in scope.

Out of all the madness, however, the American spirit of protest and making our voices heard is alive and well. We can at least hold our heads high when it comes to that aspect of our troubled democracy. The people are pissed, and rightfully so. We’ve seen enough of the extinguishing of our black brothers and sisters on the United States streets and simple lip service that things must change is not enough.

Of course, we must change the culture of our policing in America. We’ve known this for quite some time now. There are many ideas on how to do this, and some are quite striking in their scope. When the city council of Minneapolis votes to disband, dismantle, and start from scratch their entire police department, perhaps we have reached a tipping point.

But going forward, this is not going to be easy. We should brace ourselves for more chaos, division, and uncertainty. Because if there’s one thing that separates this country from most civilized Western democracies, it’s America’s obsession with guns, and in turn, the violent nature of our society in general. If we ignore that signature point, we do so at our own peril.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to disarm police departments throughout the country? Oh, of course, we’d have to have an armed segment for extreme situations. Still, in a perfect world, our police would be part of the community, there to assure we’re adhering to the laws of the land, but who’s first inclination is to de-escalate the situation, not inflame it.

This concept is not crazy talk, at least if we look to some of the other countries around the world who have nowhere near the number of people, especially those of color, who perish at the result of police misconduct. We’re the cream of the crop when it comes to that dubious distinction.

There are reasons for this, not the least of which is our violent culture and history of deep racial mistrust and animosity between the police and the African-American community. Other countries that do a better job of policing do not have this kind of history. Many, such as Japan and some of the Nordic countries, are more homogenous. There’s not the diversity and cultural differences in those countries that we experience in America.

But, when it comes to policing in general, it’s way past time to start looking at how our friends overseas are doing the job, and ask ourselves why we can’t do it here?

When it comes to training, we do not measure up compared to other countries. For instance, in Germany, police recruits are required to spend two and a half to four years in basic training to become an officer, with the option to pursue the equivalent of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in policing. In America? On average, it can take as little as 33 weeks when you combine field and classic training.

The problem with that is that if you’re only spending roughly 21 weeks in classroom training, you don’t have enough time to master the concepts of crisis intervention or de-escalation techniques. According to Paul Hirschfield, associate sociology and criminal-justice professor at Rutgers University, “If you only have 21 weeks, naturally you’re going to emphasize survival.”

There’s much more restraint exercised when it comes to policing in most European countries. It’s the norm, not the exception. For example, some countries, such as Finland and Norway, even require police to seek permission before shooting anyone. In Spain, police have to provide verbal cautions and warning shots before resorting to lethal force.

And let’s face it, in most European countries, the police are regarded in society along the same lines as a doctor, lawyer, or teacher. They’re also paid better and trained longer than their American counterparts.

The numbers do not lie. Police killings in America dwarf those occurring in other civilized societies across the globe. For example, to put it in perspective, between 2002 and 2017, adjusting for each countries average population, there were 71 police killings per million people in the U.S.; 3.2 per million people in Iceland; 1.5 per million people in Finland, and 0.8 police killings per million people in Norway (Snopes). Similarly, there were 36 police killings in all of Canada in 2017; 14 in Germany; and in England and Wales, 3 in 2018.

Yes, the examples above are from mostly white countries. And yes, most have generous social safety net policies who’s populations consistently rank near the top in overall happiness and contentment in global polling year after year.

But let’s get real here, folks. While the racial disparity and cultural differences set us apart from many of our European and Asian friends around the world, there’s one thing that stands out above all others: our love of guns. That’s right, we Americans own more guns than anybody in the world. The latest estimates put the overall civilian gun cache around the world at roughly 857 million. How many of those do Americans own? 46%, which comes out to about 393 million, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey (SAS).

It’s the guns, stupid.

How can we expect de-escalation from our police departments when there are so many firearms floating around on the streets of America? Is it any wonder many of these departments are more than happy to accept hyper-militarized machinery from the federal government via grants and other programs? How can you police the streets and practice de-escalation when the starting point for everything is that the civilians have as much, if not more firepower than you?

Until we as Americans come to grips with this phenomenon, I don’t see how we can ever move forward. The Second Amendment folks will never allow gun confiscation. They’ll yell, scream, and be the squeaky wheel that continues to hold one of our political parties hostage. Hell, we can’t even get a universal background check bill passed. Over 80% of Americans want such a measure. So much for representational democracy, I suppose.

I’m hopeful, yet deeply skeptical that things are going to change as quickly as we want. The problems within so many of our police departments are so deep and systemic; it’s going to take sustained pressure by millions of people in the streets to get the change we so desperately need. Maybe we’re up to the task, perhaps not.

But the glorification of firearms in this country is what sets us apart from others around the world. They must look at us and wonder what the hell is going on. Can we ever have a police force like they do in the U.K. where bobbies still patrol the streets, absent guns on their hips?

Indeed not when hundreds of small men in fake military gear can march to governor’s mansions with assault weapons proudly displayed for all to see. Not when this is seen as acceptable behavior by a sizable portion of our population. And certainly not when that behavior gets celebrated by a particular television network and other false patriots.

In theory, the solution is simple: remove or severely reduce civilian gun ownership; de-militarize, disarm and retrain our police to de-escalate first – and use force as a last resort.

In practice, however, this is America. We love our firearms way too much.

It’s the guns, stupid. It’s always about the guns.

152 comments

  1. ALWAYS! ALWAYS! Even though we’ve had all this turmoil in the Twin Cities, there isn’t a day go by where people are shot and killed. And none of thse have anything to do with protests or police brutality. And they all involve hand guns, not assault weapons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, and I just don’t see how we can become a better and less violent society without big-time gun safety regulations. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but I really believe it.

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      1. Brookingslib, I am for gun safety. What I am not in favor of is politicians utilizing tragedies related to guns to push a gun control narrative.

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  2. Well said, Jeff! It is high time that the people started protesting about gun control. It is abundantly clear that elected politicians are not listening to the 80% that want greater gun control. If you wish to reduce gun violence as well as racial strife, the electorate must get out and vote for the candidates who will get these things done. I guess the basic question for America is, “Do you want to preserve your democracy and freedoms?” Considering the scandalously poor voter turnout in most of our democratic elections, I fear the answer is that people don’t care. Election turnouts going forward will tell the tale.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true John. I’m hoping the apathy is replaced with activism this time around. The only way we’ll get anything done at all is if Dems can win back all three levers of power. I see no other way. The R’s are only about power. Nothing else. This election is so important. Maybe police reform, this time around, gets done. Still, based on the past, it’s hard to be optimistic.

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    2. Hi John, it’s not so much that ppl don’t care, more like too many are losing hope that whoever we put in the white house makes no difference, nothing fundamentally changes which frustrates majority of voters. So next election comes around and many will boycott or vote 3rd party. I anticipate 50% or less even bother to vote, esp during a pandemic.

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  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    I did not intend to post a fourth post tonight, but … on reading Jeff’s post, I felt I had to. His words speak for themselves, and for the record, I am in 100% agreement with every word. We are the creators of our own doom … the love of guns in this country is greater than the love of life. Thank you, Jeff … great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jill! Yes, the United States of America…land of the free, home of the brave, and as many freaking guns as you’d like! I’m so disgusted. You mention one word to most of these folks about even a semi ban on assault weapons and they go nuts. I remember Beto O’Rourke got killed for mentioning gun confiscation or gun buybacks. You know what? I’m all for it. I know it won’t happen….but damn it Jill. What the hell is wrong with us?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know … guns and bigotry are the two biggest problems this nation has or has ever had. And, it seems that both are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Sigh. I dunno what is wrong with us, Jeff … I think the human species is flawed and is largely determined to either bring about its own extinction, else destroy the entire world. Why else would we have nuclear weapons and throw away billions of dollars on space exploration? Sigh.

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      2. Brookingslib, if you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of owning a gun, then don’t buy one. Jill Dennison, if you require a history lesson, look at the Columbine shooting. Gun-free zone. Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. Gun-free zone.

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      3. So I have a question for you friend. Why don’t we start treating guns like we do automobiles? Registration, liability insurance, mandatory gun safety class before you can purchase, etc.. Is that something you could support?

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      4. Brookingslib, universal background checks, criminal and mental health background checks, prohibition of firearms sales to minors are regulations I can support. Other than that,everything else should be scrapped.

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      5. Oh well. We disagree. I support all of yours, plus all of the ones I just asked you about. Sadly, none of the regulations you or I support will happen because we have one party beholden to the gun lobby and other radical right causes. It’s a tragedy what’s become of this country. Like I’ve said to you before, we are a laughingstock to the rest of the civilized world when it comes to gun violence. It’s too bad you treasure your rights to own as many guns as you want over what’s best for society as a whole.

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      6. Next time I go to a public place, be it a restaurant or grocery store etc..and I see someone with an open-carry gun, I will leave immediately and demand to speak with management. Sorry, I also have a right NOT to be mowed down by a lunatic. I have no way of knowing whether that person is or is not one. While you seem intent on America being just like the old west, where everyone is packing, I reject that premise. That’s not the America I want to live in, and will do everything I can to speak out against it.

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      7. Brookingslib, that is your decision. However, that does not give you or anybody else the right to put one’s right to self-defense up for a vote.

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      8. One’s “right to self-defense” does NOT mean individuals need to own (and open-carry, which they are allowed to do in some states) AR-15s and other military-style weapons.

        -IF- a person were to take your proposal related to individuals needing “self-defense” seriously, there is NO NEED for any one individual to have more than ONE gun in their possession to protect themselves and/or their family.

        However, because of the “second amendment” malarkey, every Tom, Dick, or Harry has the “right” to possess guns, not for personal defense, but rather to kill scores of innocent people. (And in many cases, to compensate for physical inadequacies.)

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      9. I didn’t say anything about self-defense. Public places aren’t the place for people to be packing. In my opinion.

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    2. Jill Dennison, basic common sense would dictate to me that looking down the barrel of a gun should in and of itself be a deterrent to the desire of one person to harm another. Brookingslib, you are perfectly free to live in a gun-free zone. Try a country that has government owning all of the guns and being able to lord over all of the people.

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  4. My personal feeling, bomb every weapon manufacturing plant in North America, including all munitions plants. And if they try to rebuild them, bomb them again and again and again till they give up. I know, there are billions of weapons already out there, but you have to start somewhere. Guns are almost useless if they don’t have bullets, and bullets are pretty useless with guns to fire them. You want to make change, you’ll never do it by negotiation. It is time to use force to destroy force.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol, i know ur being ironic… blow up all the guns but the mindset and laws remain intact, citizens will simply buy bombs or any other weapon in the black market. Ppl who feel they need guns, why? b/c of fear, unless consciousness level rise, nothing fundamentally will change.

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    2. Well rawgod, I get your point. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say. I don’t think your solution will ever come to fruition, but I do get the urgency in your proposed action. In this country, however, things move at a snails pace, especially when you have a powerful lobbying group like the NRA and the weapons manufacturers showering politicians with cash and threats. I wish I could snap my fingers and make this crap all go away. Ughhhhh….Life in America

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      1. I don’t think that will ever happen, no one has the guts anymore. But what could be equally as effective and doable? That is the question, and I have no answer for…

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      1. Being Canadian, I have no idea to what you refer. If you are talking about the stupidity of the English government’s response to the colonies, remember, Canada was a British Colony too. We did not have to fight to gain our independence. We bided our time, and we took it peacefully. The American response I think was foolhardy. You could as easily have lost your Revolution, and where would you be today? Guns are death machines. This is the 21st Century. Get with the program.

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      2. Rawgod, maybe you should reread history of Columbine, the Aurora. Colorado movie theater shooting. Gun-free zones, however, no gun wielding criminal would abide by such a law. Apply some common sense here.

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      3. There is no common sense when it comes to guns. Most of the world gets along without guns in the hands of their citizens. The US has probably more gun deaths than the rest of the world put together. You want to have guns in your country, go ahead. I will not cry when someone shoots you, or somebody you love.

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      4. I do, as do you. My goal was merely to point out that not everyone thinks like you, in case your readership should take your thoughts as unopposed.

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      5. Rawgod, here are my general thoughts on the gun issue: I would prefer that there be no gun violence at all. Having said that, I think the root of the problem is lack of proper training and education as to how guns should best be used. Example: Someone is doing target shooting on Coca-Cola cans, to pick a certain item for the purpose of target practice. However, the main purpose for the gun is related to home defense and/or hunting. Should that person be left in peace to do as he or she pleases as long as no harm comes to other people in the process?

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      6. Anticipating problems is known to cause them. Make life equitable for everyone and there will be no need to defend your home. Meanwhile, there is enough food at the grocery store for everyone. There is no longer any need to hunt, or fish.

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      7. You cannot anticipate all variables no matter how hard you try. Accidents happen. Other people plan things that affect the you negatively, or positively. You can go bankrupt through no action of your own, or you can get lucky and win a lottery.
        I give you kudos for wanting to try, but in the end it is all useless. You are going to die, so just hope you go peacefully.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Again, thank you. I hope you are leaving comments. That is where I think the rubber hits the road. I love to have conversations, as if you have not noticed.

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      9. Rawgod, on a separate matter, I do invite you to look at my blog I know that some people cannot stomach the hardcore spicy foods, however, I do invite you to read my blog and leave meany feedback or suggestions for items that you would like to see me review. Start with the introductory post and move on from there.

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      10. I took a look already, but the food blogs hold no interest for me. My body goes into convulsions if I accidentally consume a number of spices, so my diet is very bland.
        As far as how you want me to read your blog, it is how I would prefer others to approach my blog, from the beginning, but few do, lol.

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      11. Rawgod, the reason for the suggestion about the opening post being read first is so ideas can be dropped there. If there is anything that you can think of that you would like to see me review, please feel free to share them.

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      12. Rawgod, I know that some people may not like spicy foods because that may not taste good to them. I know that some people may have digestive disorders that make spicy foods hard to tolerate. You do have my permission to share any of the stuff on my blog with family and friends. My blog is solely moderated, however, I am happy to converse and discuss in-depth the items I blog about.

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      13. Rawgod, my blog is solely and heavily moderated. I will not delete comments that are just stating a difference of opinion regarding a hot sauce or pepper that I review. My blog is family-friendly and I will want to keep it that way. Comments that are clean will be approved. Those that are not will be deleted.

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  5. I apologise if I have written this on your blog before, trotted out so many times but feel it is conceivable and bears repeating.
    Starting with The Gun Issue and expanding.
    Firstly, the USA is still a new nation. Look at Europe…1700s…that’s nothing! Historically the mix is still cooking.
    Secondly the USA was founded on a basic premise that a large central government was to be distrusted and it would be up to the individual or a community to work things out on a day to day basis. Hence the firearms, in the 1700s in a new nation, something advisable to have. As is the case with all cultures once an ideas are stuck in the collective head they can be fearfully difficult to shift from the whole nation. I would cite you examples but I would only start fearful arguments with some whose ancestors came from those nations (See what I mean?)
    Anyway, back to the USA put those two aspects together and you have a large segment of the population who see their gun as a symbol of their independence. Now taking the Nuclear Weapon analogy, that means…’Hmm, is my little handgun going to be any use if someone (Possibly of another race-but they never said it) invades my home with a semi-automatic?….I better get one’ and so on. Also there will be a mindset that if Socialists take over Washington you had better be ready to defend yourself- now you know there are plenty out there who subscribe that wacky-doodle view
    Thus the guns don’t go away…
    So looking at the problem from a many faceted viewpoint. The guns are symptomatic of many fractures within the USA. And there divides are growing (Not helped by not having a president only an occupant in The Whitehouse). History suggests that this will lead separation of states from the centre as folk seek out their own solutions. The last time this nearly happened it was along the North South divide, this time it could be more fractured (look at a political map) with even cities becoming independent. Hopefully if this scenario takes place it will be through a quasi-legal set up and no marching armies, although be prepared for Ulster like situations. Then you’ll have a sort of set-up similar to The Holy Roman Empire, with the president and Washington being very nominal as each region goes its own way. Thus will some areas will have very strong gun control laws as one outcome.
    This disintegration is quite normal in History.
    The only really big issue in the case of this happening to the USA ….Those nuclear weapons

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Roger, you understand the U.S. better than most over here. I too wonder what will become of our ‘never perfect’ union. The coastal states out West are already forming compacts on various issues like climate change, going completely around D.C. I can see your scenario playing out some day. The fracturing of our nation continues unabated. Social media, and opinion media on television is furthering this fracture. And now we have a president who thrives on this division. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s sad to watch it happening.
        When I was growing up (born in 1951), I thrived on US culture- Cartoon Shows, Sit-coms, comic books, MAD magazine (as good as any text book), later music (mostly West Coast 1960s). These led me into deeper interests of history in general, politics, cultures and so forth. My speech idioms are peppered with a hodge-podge of sayings from around differing parts.
        As much as one could say in the broad use of the term I ‘loved’ America and although Left-wing (real european hard left-wing) got into several arguments with fellow-travellers over America not being the source of all evils.
        These past years though, as The Right was shaken by ‘one of those people’ getting into the Whitehouse I have witnessed the rise and growth in boldness of the ugly side (which lurks in all nations and peoples).
        This has culminated in their wiliness to install an incompetent in the Whitehouse, solely because he is everything the Liberal and Democrats are horrified by, because he is their creature and they can tug his strings and yank his chain and he will dance and sing for them.
        It’s no longer the USA(for all its own share of faults and failures) I grew so fond of. It has become fractured.
        Once in a set of circumstances I could have found place (Maybe New England way) and settled there. Not anymore. Not while this madness is rampant.
        So much potential, so much hope being caste aside and trampled on for a handful of vanities, fears and sinful hatreds.
        I wish you guys well, I wish you a safe passage out of this and above all I wish I will be proven quite, quite wrong.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I like to remind some of my readers, Roger, that the world no longer looks to us for leadership. That we’ve lost our ability to shape world opinion, let alone peace. I’ve been told that we were never looked upon with such admiration anyway. But I think your view represents how things really are across the pond. We have been looked to for leadership, and to a certain extent, still are. Now, however, it’s simply vanished into thin air. It will take years my friend, to rectify what the orange idiot has broken. We were fracturing before he got there, but now it’s clearly broken into a gazillion pieces. I certainly hope that Joe Biden becomes the next President of United States. He’s certainly not a perfect candidate. He’s clearly lost a step, but I think he’s the right person at the right time for what we need. I think America is going to see that on November 3. God help us if we don’t! Have a great day Roger…

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      3. It is indeed a strange time when Democrats and Liberals can took back to the eras of LBJ, Nixon and later George Bush jnr with a sort of ‘They weren’t so bad. If only they hadn’t….’ view..(rose coloured or otherwise).
        I fervently wish you well for November, for if his creators on the Right blidnly vote him back in there will so much disfunction..
        So much that to repair the damage you will need a ruthless operator of your system, a not-very-nice person but one with a near messianic intent to unite the nation again, never mind who they tread on. They won’t be a dictator but would be a expert manipulator of the majority of the population across the racial, religious and cultural divides and maybe not someone the USA would have seen before, maybe someone who could get themselves a third term too.
        Stormy times ahead.
        I will be thinking for you guys.
        Take care Jeff.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s not black guns killing black people, it’s black people.
    Soooooo. If you want real results, by your own argument, you need to ban black people. Sounds kinda racist to me.

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    1. I watched your video, Ragnar, and was appalled you could condone such bullshit. Being non-American, this is just rhetoric piled on top of rhetoric until you cannot see the floor for all the shit piled on top of it. (Please excuse the language, Jeff, I usually restrain myself, but watching this Shapiro character saying America is only defending itself from tyranny by owning more and more weapons including AK47S, etc. is making my calm, Canadian blood boil.) Your founding fathers did want to ensure tyranny never took over the nation, but the way the NRA and others interpret this amendment is creating tyranny, not by the government, but by the citizens who are supposed to be protecting the nation.
      Shapiro is right on one count, most gun violence is committed by young men 16 to 25, or 55, or whatever. But the solution is not to put them in jail. The solution is to give them the tools and opportunities to be equal to those whom they are stepped on by.
      You have in America, and I doubt anyone will disagree here, haves and have nots. When the haves work to protect what they have, to prevent the have nots from sharing in what they have, this creates a fission point. Something has to blow. And, thanks to the Second Amendment, the weapons are there to be used both by the have nots to try and take what they don’t have, and the defending haves who don’t want to have things taken away from them. Where there is inequality, the solution is to create equality, not to throw the have nots in jail, where they learn to use better and more violent tactics to try to take what they are being prevented from having.
      If you followed all that, you deserve a medal. But it needs to be said. Quit supporting the rich while blaming the poor. Start blaming the rich, who refuse to share, and start supporting the poor to not having the shit falling down on them.
      I better stop here, or I will have to write a book on the stupidity of American who support the pursuit of wealth at the expense of the people they exploit!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rawgod, you are entitled to your opinion. When armed robbers start beating down your door, you can’t come to me and say, “Damn, I wish I had a gun to defend myself with” when you might be looking down the barrel of one yourself. As harsh as it sounds, short of being on hard times due to no fault of one’s own, being in poverty is a choice.

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      2. Brookingslib, I know that you don’t believe this, however, the fact of the matter is that gun-wielding criminals don’t give a damn about what gun laws are on the books.

        Nan, I am not one to look for conflict. Having said that, I am not going to sit down and take what comes to me without some response.

        Rawgod, if there is a sign on someone’s doorstep that says, “Nothing here is worth losing your life over,” do you think that would be a good deterrent to a conflict?

        Jill Dennison, can you explain logically the double-standard behind politicians trying to legislate the gun issue to restrict our right to self-defense and yet they always seem to have armed security on their persons at all times?

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      3. If armed robbers came to my door, I would invite them in, and offer to have them take anything they needed, without interfering. They are only things, and can be replaced. To defend things at the cost of lives is incredibly stupid. I will NEVER say, Damn, I wish I had a gun to defend myself with.
        Meanwhile, poverty is only a choice for those who are used to having g things, and even then I would argue the point. Poverty is a social condition that prevents people from getting things. Poor education, shit jobs, sitter pay, all of that is designed to keep poor people poor. And, of course, rich people rich. You are obviously white. You are used to having these things within your grasp. There is no thought of ever NOT HAVING THESE THINGS. For someone born into poverty, having anything at all is a dream, a fantasy. Certainly, some succeed, but they are the exceptions, and the obstacles they had to overcome are numerous and tremendous. To a white person, used to having things, the cry is, “Obstacle? What obstacles?” Consider yourself lucky you were born white.

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      4. Rawgod, I am sure you read history, however, look at Columbine, the Pulse Nightclub attack, the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado following the showing of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. Every single one of them was supposed to be a gun-free zone. How did that work out?

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      5. They all worked out tragically. Having defensive guns may not have helped, but only added to the tragedy themselves. We have mo way to know. But no matter what you say to me, Ragnar, you live in a sick society, and you cannot heal the problem by throwing more guns at it, or throwing the have-nots in jail. America has been trying that for centuries, and it just keeps getting worse and worse. You are not part of a solution, but your thinking is part of the problem.
        We are getting along well enough on my blog,and hopefully we can find common ground on your blog. But on this blog, neither of us are going to budge. I will not condone guns on any level, final statement. There can be no middle ground. They are not necessary to life in any way. This issue is black and white in too many ways. There can be no grey in gun ownership, or gun use!

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      6. Rawgod, I had offered you the option of following my blog and leaving me any comments. You don’t have to do either, however, you can read my blog at will and I will be delighted to discuss the items I review. You can also share some ideas in my introductory posts about a hot sauce you have had experience with and enjoyed.

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      7. Rawgod, here are a few questions I would like to get your thoughts on: 1: Political bias aside, who came to the discussion better prepared: Ben Shapiro or David Pakman? 2: Does the history of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, a shooting in a supposedly gun-free zone, negate the argument for gun-free zones? 3: What is to be done about these hypocrite politicians who claim to be anti-gun and yet surround themselves with armed security?

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      8. To begin Ragnar, I have no political biases, though you may think I have some. I do not believe in government, let alone democracy. Politicians are all ego-trippers, and their politics are just attempts to hide that they are control-freaks.
        Who came better prepared? Since Shapiro had an ax to grind and Parkman was just reacting to that ax, sure, Shapiro came better prepared. But that does not make him right. He is so full of bullshit he cannot see his ass for standing in the heaps of shit he lives in.
        You have mentioned gun-free zones before. You actually believe there are such things as gun-free zones? What the hell does that even mean, gun-free zone? Is that like an airport where you have to go through a metal-detector to get through the door? Were there metal-detectors at the door to the theatre in Aurora? Gun-free zones are a fantasy, especially now that guns and bullets are being made of plastics. Get with the real world, Ragnar, gun-free zones do not exist–anywhere.
        Hypocrites are hypocrites, no matter what they are being hypocritical about. I am a hypocrite myself. I don’t believe in killing any living beings, yet in order to survive living beings–animals and plants–have to die to provide my body with sustenance. That is the way life works. Life lives on live. No matter who or what you are, except maybe plankton who I believe live only on sunlight, living beings eat life to survive. The thing is, most plants feed strictly on already dead and decomposing materials that they turn into food with the help of sunlight, excluding Venus Fly Traps and their relatives. Another thing is, most animals kill strictly for food. They eat what they kill, and what they don’t or cannot finish, carrion eaters like crows and maggots finish for them. In nature, almost nothing goes to waste.
        And then comes man, who kills for pleasure, or for power. For revenge, or for greed. Or just through sheer curiosity, or hate. And guns and other weapons provide humans the tools to wantonly kill, to no purpose except to fulfill their own fantasies.
        This is why I am anti-gun. Not because of politics! Not because I follow the crowd! Everything I believe I have thought about, and come to my own conclusions on. I don’t listen to others, or believe everything I read without full consideration.
        Your efforts to play your games are meaningless to me. They are child’s play. I do not surround myself with weapons for protection. I do not need protection. I do not fear death. I am ready for my death whenever it should occur. What others do, that is up to them. But I see no need of any kind to ever kill anyone or anything just because you can. Murder is a waste of life. Guns are a waste of materials that could be better used elsewhere.
        Dig?

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Rawgod, just to clear up one area of potential misunderstanding, I was saying that I agreed more with Ben Shapiro on ideological grounds than David Pakman. I like them both equally.

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      10. Sorry, Ragnar, but ideologies are for idiots, no insult intended. Take yourself away from ideologies, I know you have the intelligence to do so.

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      11. Rawgod, maybe I am misinterpreting your advice, however, it seems to me that you are encouraging me to not buy into a Left/Right way of thinking.

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      12. I am hoping you can throw away those designations if you want to. That choice is yours. If you like such designations, be free to keep them. In regards to myself, if I have to place myself to choose a position on that axis, I choose to be so far left of centre that Marxism looks right wing to me. But then, I only put myself on that axis for the sake of people who need to be left or right. For myself, I am Responsible Anarchist. I take responsibility to be the best person I can be while being free to do whatever I want without becoming irresponsible. I only do what others want if it aligns with what I want, and as long as no living being gets intentionally harmed in the process.

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      13. So, to see if I understand you, you believe people need to be governed, but you can live without government for yourself? It this a fairly true statement about you? How would you change it to make it completely true?

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      14. Rawgod, you misunderstand me. I have a libertarian nonaggression principle that influences my thinking. The government should leave me alone as long as I am not disturbing order in society.

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      15. There has to be more than that, or at least it sounded like it. You’re saying, I think, libertarians can be left, right, center or nowhere, like me. Is that correct? I thought it was a political position in itself.

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      16. By the way, Ragnar, I finally got to your blog tonight, and there is nothing there for me, sorry. As I said, I cannot tolerate any kind of spice that is even warm. Hot sauces would kill me. Thanks, but I will stick to garlic, and onions, as my flavour enhancers. They do well with things like parsnips and turnips. Those are flavours I enjoy.
        Do you happen to have another blog that does not involve food?

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      17. It is a shitshow, but it is part of the world whether we want it to be or not. You don’t seem to be avoiding it, you certainly have your opinions. Just as I have mine. But I understand my motivations. I’m not sure I understand yours.

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      18. Rawgod, I am the sole moderator of my blog. If I got a few hundred comments all at one time, I would make time to read them all. Some may be in waiting as I will require time to read them all. Comments that are clean will be approved without exception. Those that are anything but clean will not be tolerated.

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      19. Rawgod, you missed the point. I said that I agreed with Ben Shapiro politically more than David Pakman. To his credit, David Pakman brought some facts to the discussion worth noting. Nothing I said indicated that he was 100% right or wrong.

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  7. I try, Jeff, and I will keep on trying. I just wish Spelchek would stop making me look so uneducated. Whoever designed Spelchek was not an English Major!

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  8. Rawgod, to clear up one detail, I agree with Ben Shapiro in terms of overall ideology. To his credit, David Pakman also came to the discussion with pertinent information. Nan, gun-free zones are ripe with potential targets for gun violence. Jill Dennison, I would like to live in a 100% peaceful world. Given the state of things, both domestic and foreign, that makes this expectation not completely realistic.

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  9. Rawgod, I did not say that Ben Shapiro is right on the gun issue in entirety, nor did I claim that he is wrong. The same holds true for David Pakman. They both came prepared with information on the subject.

    Brookingslib, as far as the exchange between David Pakman and Ben Shapiro is concerned, who came to that discussion better prepared?

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    1. Sorry friend. I never watched the whole video. My patience for right-wing so called ‘journalists’ is at an all time low. I just can’t stomach it anymore.

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      1. Brookingslib, I would not consider Ben Shapiro to be a journalist. Just a political commentator. To be fair to me and in my defense, I have not thrown any insults insofar as I know or Rawgod or any other people I have responded to.

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      2. Brookingslib, I would not consider Ben Shapiro to be a journalist. Just a political commentator. To be fair to me and in my defense, I have not thrown any insults insofar as I know at you or Rawgod or any other people I have responded to.

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  10. Brookingslib, I would not consider Ben Shapiro to be a journalist. Just a political commentator. To be fair to me and in my defense, I have not thrown any insults insofar as I know at you or Rawgod or any other people I have responded to.

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  11. Brookingslib, if the less guns=less crime logic actually worked, which it does not, malls, movie theaters, schools, to name 3 examples, should be the safest places on Earth. What about the Virginia Tech shooting? All of that adds up to the fact that gun-free zones don’t work unless all guns are removed from a country by law.

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  12. Rawgod, I think some context was missed in the comment I made about my agreeing more with Ben Shapiro than David Pakman. Ideologically speaking, I tend to agree with Ben Shapiro on political ideology. To be fair, David Pakman made his share of valid points.

    Brookingslib, unless and until elected officials turn down Secret Service protection, people who are armed with guns, I would argue that they are hypocrites if they refuse to lead by example. Just my thoughts.

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    1. So Ragnar, political officials on the left and right should ignore the death threats most of them get on a daily basis? This is a violent world friend. They should do what they must for protection even if that means armed security. Not sure what protection Gabby Giffords had because her assailant got through it. She’s advocated for common sense gun regulations ever since. I think she’s brave and honorable in doing so.

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      1. Brookingslib, I never said that. You clearly missed the point I am making. Don’t feel comfortable being around guns? Don’t be environments where they are visibly in sight. Problem solved.

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      2. Brookingslib, here is a hypothetical scenario for you: 2 people are patronizing a coffee shop, 1 with an actively carried firearm, 1 who refuses to carry because of a fear of firearms. The management has no issue with the firearms that the person who is a customer may have, however, the other customer makes a fuss about it. Should the person with the fear of guns be allowed to dictate whether the gun owner should leave to increase the comfort of the non-gun owner or should that person just shut up and mind his or her own business?

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      3. The coffee shop owner can do as he pleases. If he’s ok with open carry customers, so be it. The guy who doesn’t like guns is within his rights to tell the owner his feelings. My advice to the anti-gun guy is to cease ever going there again. Question for you: does a place of business have the right to ban guns in his or her business? Personally, that’s the kind of business I would want to go to. That’s just me

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      4. The owner of the business has every right to decide who he or she serves as customers. Having said that, nobody has the right to demand that the management force other people out just to make them comfortable. Heck, I find bars to be unappealing because I have no desire to touch alcohol. Having said that, as long as I am not being harmed by it, I have no right to put them out of business.

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      5. I’m wondering … what about this scenario? The person who feels uncomfortable about open carry goes to the manager and expresses his feelings. The manager may not be opposed to the practice, but in order to serve ALL his customers, he goes to the person with the gun and asks him if he wouldn’t mind either (1) concealing it under his shirt if it’s a pistol, or (2) if it’s a rifle, putting it in the car while he’s in the coffee shop.

        Of course if the gun carrier refuses either action, then the disgruntled customer has no choice but to leave. In any case, it bespeaks of compromise … which too many people nowadays seem to feel is a sign of weakness!

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      6. Don’t be environments where they are visibly in sight.

        Now THAT is a tough one if you live in states (e.g., Texas) that allow open carry. What does a person do when they need to go grocery shopping? Delivery only? C’mon rag … don’t get so involved in defending your “gun rights” philosophy that you make statements like this!

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      7. Erroneous to who? You? Simply because two people disagree on something does not make one person “right” and the other “wrong.” Even when a person references other sources to “prove a point” does not necessarily mean the sources are valid and/or supported by the majority.

        This is why there’s always going to be division in politics (especially) because, in essence, “proof” (but not always evidence) can always be found to validate one’s beliefs.

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  13. Rawgod, in my question about political biases, I meant that question in relationship to Ben Shapiro and David Pakman respectively. Who had the better position on the solution of reducing gun deaths: Ben Shapiro or David Pakman?

    Brookingslib, despite our areas of disagreement, I am very much enjoying your blog.

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    1. Good hearing from you Ragnar. I appreciate that. Thanks for participating. You’ve always been civil. That’s all I expect.

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      1. Brookingslib, I know that you probably have little, if any, patience for what you classify as Right-wing journalism. However, I will look at each thing I think about sharing with you in great detail, be it an article or video. The only request is that you be willing to look into it and give me feedback.

        The David Pakman and Ben Shapiro exchange was not on a Right-wing news source, as David Pakman is a Left-leaning individual. By the way, my comment relating to agreeing with Ben Shapiro, which was in response to Rawgod, was not entirely related to the gun issue. The comment was related to ideology in general.

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      2. I’ll do that Ragnar. Like I told you in another comment, I’ll look at stuff in the 5-6 minute range. Anything more and I tend to move on. Just an FYI

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      3. Brookingslib, I will be sure to be mindful of that. I will also make sure that it is a worthwhile share. Do you have much experience with Thom Hartmann? Sam Seder? The David Pakman Show? The Young Turks?

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      4. Vox is pretty good. They lean left, at least they did. They do a lot of comprehensive journalism with facts to back it up most of the time. I haven’t read much recently. I liked Ezra Klein, who I believe co-founded it, but he’s now with the NY Times. I still think they’re credible though. You?

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  14. Rawgod, my comment related to agreeing with Ben Shapiro more than David Pakman was solely based on ideology. I did not say that one person was entirely wrong and the other person was entirely correct. Both guys made their share of valid points. Neither guy shouted down the other, which I actually do like.

    Brookingslib, I know that we have some areas of disagreement. What I like about your blog is the fact that you don’t go into the ranting that some people seem to want to engage in. You come across as quite reasonable and levelheaded in your posts and responses to comments that some people have made.

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    1. I appreciate that Ragnar. I want honest debate, not hyped up name-calling and ranting. That’s my goal, at least. Sometimes politics is vicious and unreasonable. I can get as heated as the next person. We have to lower the temp as much as possible. Thanks for adhering to that concept.

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      1. Brookingslib, I am of the belief that you, Nan, Jill Dennison, Rawgod and I all want to live in a peaceful and non-violent world. The gun rights crowd can get somewhat trigger happy-pardon the pun, however, recreational use of firearms and that for home defense I see no problem with.

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      2. Actually I don’t find fault with those either. I just feel you should be properly licensed, registered, background checked, and even complete a safety course, before you ever are allowed to purchase one. That’s just me. Would you be ok with those?

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  15. Rawgod, I am aware of your disdain for some of what Ben Shapiro had said in his exchange with David Pakman on the gun issue. You in a way took my expressed sentiments in a way that was not intended. I did not say that Ben Shapiro was 100% right or 100% wrong. The same is true for David Pakman, at least in the sense that I did not view him as being 100% right or 100% wrong. The question about political bias was intended in the sense that David Pakman and Ben Shapiro are of polar opposites politically, however, who came to the discussion better prepared?

    Brookingslib, political bias aside, who came to the discussion on the gun issue better prepared between Ben Shapiro and David Pakman in your opinion?

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    1. I finally watched the video in its entirety Ragnar. It was a little longer than I usually would indulge, but I know you wanted me to check it out so I did. I thought they were both cordial and offered up some good points. I think they were both prepared, fairly equally. It seemed to me the one major point where they differed the most was in the area of how the 2nd Amendment was put in place solely for the purpose of arming the public so they’d be able to stand up to a tyrannical government. Shapiro is all-in on the tyrannical govt theme, while Pakman is not. I’m, of course, am with Pakman on this.
      Also, where do you draw the line on what kind of “arms” we can own? It seems Shapiro is at least open for regulation on some weapons, which, I suppose shows he’s being fair. All in all, it was a good conversation between two guys who are on opposite sides politically. For that, they should be commended.

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      1. Brookingslib, I will watch every video before I share them. I am sure that you are busy with a lot of things, however, I will only share what I believe to be relevant to the posts I comment on.

        Regarding David Pakman, I do like how he presents himself. He has not gone into significant ranting like some of the people I listen to.

        Anything I share I will look at the length of time of the video before I offer it. I will also provide some context and explanation as to why it is being shared.

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      2. I appreciate that. And Shaprio, to his credit, was also congenial. I’ve seen him not be in other situations, but in this particular video he was good.

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      3. Jeff, I agree. If discussions/debates were as civil as that between Ben Shapiro and David Pakman on the gun issue, I think we would all be better off. Example: Some people say that they believe we should have open and conceal carry permit laws and some people say no to both because they argue that getting a permit is a roundabout way of asking for permission from the government to exercise a Constitutional right. For people who are Second Amendment absolutists, do they not have valid points when they argue that the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed seems to be absolute by its very nature and definition?

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      4. I’ll just say that mandating citizens to do anything as it pertains to laws that govern our society are problematic to some people. Seat belts? Drivers licenses? Vaccine requirements for school or work? Wearing shoes and and a shirt to enter a business? Drug tests? Red lights for cars? Speed limits? No smoking on planes?
        I could go on and on. But hopefully you get my drift. Some of these things we’ve accepted over time. Some people don’t accept specific regulations. But, they comply. It ought to be the same with guns Ragnar. I’ve compromised in that I accept the fact we will never get rid of guns in this country. Your side, the 2nd Amendment folks, need to find it in your hearts to compromise as well. The government isn’t always the big bad monster some make it out to be. We need government, unfortunately. Otherwise we have unimaginable chaos. Shall we become Haiti? Somalia? Hell, many countries around the world with weak or non-existent governments for that matter.
        Our democracy is messy as hell. But I’ll take it over most of the others around the world. I must obey laws, just like you friend. Asking you or anyone else to comply with more stringent gun safety measures isn’t asking much. Is it?

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      5. Brookingslib, the only gun regulations I will give legitimacy to are those that prohibit sales to people under the age of 18 without parental say so, prohibition of sale to people with a violent criminal history and those with mental health problems. All other regulations, would be scrapped, particularly open vs. conceal carry permit laws, as those are a roundabout way of needing the government’s blessing to own firearms.

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