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  • Tom Smith on Gun Control

    Posted by Jonathan on December 19th, 2012 (All posts by )

    This is very well considered:

    Everybody wants to stop events like Newtown, but one suspects the gun control supporters want to do more than that: I think they want to promote an idealistic vision of “a peaceful society without guns” or something like that. I think that agenda is unrealistic on several levels — I don’t think a society without guns would be more peaceful and secure, unless you imposed a lot of other social controls that would not be imposed and you might not like if they were, and I don’t think such changes would be accepted by more than at best a bare majority of the American people, if that. It seems barely possible that sweeping anti-gun legislation could be shoved through Congress a la Obamacare after 2014, but such legislation would be very socially devisive.
     
    Another point — do we really understand how very widespread gun ownership fits into what you might call the political economy of public order in this country? To take another thought experiment: could there be any reasonable doubt that some sort of program (and I’m not saying mainstream gun-control advocates are calling for this, at least I hope not) that would require everybody to hand over any and all semi-automatic pistols and rifles they have to the government and own them no more, and was actually enforced (which would be very difficult) would result in unpredictable and possibly dangerous changes in the balance of forces between the law-abiding and the criminal in this country? I don’t know how much public order in this country is actually enforced by the latent threat of private citizens with guns, but I bet it’s a lot more than your typical well-meaning gun-control advocate would think, and I’m confident that she has not thought about that question in much depth. I bet you would find gun-control advocates live disproportionately in the safest, most heavily policed parts of this country, that is, relatively affluent, urban or suburban areas. Their cognitive biases I suspect lean against taking very seriously the personal security of people very unlike themselves in terms of social status, lifestyle and other such identifiers. All this points in the direction of legislation, if there is any, that is specific and targeted at the problem that needs to be solved. I have no confidence Congress is capable of this, as it is a hard problem and even easy problems seem beyond their ability to address sensibly, but one can hope.

    Worth reading in full.

     

    44 Responses to “Tom Smith on Gun Control”

    1. VSSC Says:

      “Suspects..?”

      I suspect that they’re broke, frightened that the dangerous people they’ve enserfed with laws and debt are yet still armed, and still desperately want us disarmed.

      And I suspect it’s too late for them in any case and they “suspect” it.

      I suspect that their suspiscion that the guns are not for Bambi or criminals but tyrants is correct.

      Yes we may be candid now. We didn’t increase at breakneck speed since 1968 the number of guns in this nation to parity with population [at least].

      We did it because we are suspiscious of social engineers. And get more so with every pious utterance. The immediate result of Newtown and their predictably suspiscious exploiting of it was a defiant surge in gun permit applications.

      You have our answer Ladies and Gentlemen of the Left.

    2. Joe Citizen Says:

      “…one suspects the gun control supporters want to do more than that: I think they want to promote an idealistic vision of “a peaceful society without guns””

      This is the typical strawman argumentation, based on fear mongering to the gun owners of America, that the right wing always engages in. When challenged, then yes, of course, I am sure they could dredge up some obscure people who want to get rid of all guns. But no one takes that seriously. There is no political movement with any level of support anywhere in this country that aspires to come remotely close to taking away any significant amount of guns from average people.

      The professional gun lobbyists desire the constant flow of money from their gullible members and they have succeeded brilliantly in convincing huge numbers of people that they are poor little victims of these powerful liberal types who will take away all their guns, unless you send money NOW. It almost seems like a lot of the old televangelists went to work for the gun lobby.

    3. Mike Doughty Says:

      The worst murder of school children in the US occurred in 1927 in Bath Township, MI, and had only marginal involvement with a gun. 38 elementary school children were killed, as well as 2 teachers and 4 other adults. 58 were injured. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster Timothy McVeigh didn’t use a gun, nor Ted Bundy, nor numerous other killers. What is true of all these incidents is that they involve a mentally ill individual. That is where the “control” ought to be exerted.

      Gun control advocates come in all stripes, but most seem to hold to the European model of virtually no handguns or modern rifles in the hands of the populace. The ones that I’ve spoken with have little or no experience with guns and less knowledge of them. Just reading some of the drivel in the media regarding “automatic weapons” proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

      There are more guns now because of the increased fear that people have of being victimized by criminals, and the fear of what the future may bring. These are not paranoid fears, but rather based on what people see every day. Prudent people want to be prepared; they know the police can’t protect them.

      Jonathan, the entire Tom Smith post is indeed worth reading. Thanks.

    4. Ginny Says:

      These engineers of human souls might consider the Biblical battles. Or Hawthorne’s comment that a society, no matter how utopian in vision, is going to need a prison and a cemetary before very many years. But, then, it isn’t their vision has a history – the state with total control is a far more effective victimizer than a thug with a gun in an armed society.

    5. Mike_K Says:

      Few mention the fact that women are disproportionately beneficiaries of concealed carry laws and are also breaking the law against concealed carry in large numbers. The use of guns in self defense is also absent from most news media except in the south where attitudes are different.

    6. John in KC Says:

      “There is no political movement with any level of support anywhere in this country that aspires to come remotely close to taking away any significant amount of guns from average people”.- JC

      Note especially the qualifiers “significant” and “average”.

      Given the history of gun control laws in some Democrat controlled municipalities like Chicago or DC and the words of our current US Attorney General (“We must brainwash people against guns”-Eric Holder) I think you discredit the party in power by not acknowledging their status as a political movement. Perhaps political force would be a better description.

    7. Anonymous Says:

      JoeC

      Sorry – I doubt it’s a strawman.

      You see, the the behaviors and decisions made between “a peaceful society without guns” and “a peaceful society” would be different, as even those initially biased towards “without guns” would be open to listening to crime data that shows trends for locales that went “without guns” and locals that went “allow more guns”

      ( I say trends for locales that changed those variables because, with culture and homogeneity variations, gun ownership vs. crime worldwide only proves that gun ownership and crime do not correlate. Instead, we have to look at how changes in gun ownership patterns affect crime rates as a semi-isolated variable)

      BUT, those arguing for “finally” having a discourse (like we haven’t for decades and decades) display their biases in favor of banning guns, while ignoring or misrepresenting crime statistics for other countries/the countries they come from (I’m looking at you Piers Morgan), and displaying a complete ignorance of history whilst shouting down anyone who says “boo” otherwise in a cangaroo court stacked 4-1 in their favor.

      They shout down discussions of mental health, cause, effect, and secondary effects, while focusing on the guns , guns , guns, on nearly every channel.

      The bodies hadn’t even had time to cool, and instead of letting people grieve, there were vicious attacks that anyone could dare want to let people have deadly implements in the name of self defense.

      The excuse is “it’s for the chilluns” – but all of the actions center on “teh gunz”, and not on discarding ideas that provably do not work.

      So no – given all the high profile politicians(NY Mayors office) etc. that have weighed in with emotionally charged nonsense and verbal violence, not only am I not sure they want a peaceful society (unless everyone’s just like them) – I’m sure that “no guns” is definitely a central goal.

    8. PenGun Says:

      Most of the rest of the first world does just fine without a heavily armed citizenry.

      You have developed a fantasy world where your lives are somehow in some movie and you might need a gun to do … some movie stuff. You have developed a gun culture that admires Dirty Harry and likes the “make my day” nonsense.

      It was a stupid thing to do and now you are stuck with it. Dumb is your problem.

    9. Sgt. Mom Says:

      No, actually one of our immediate problems is a sanctimonious Canadian jerk-off dropping by and telling us all about ourselves, drawing from the depths of his (enable deep sarcasm) knowlege about American history, culture and political philosophy. (disable deep sarcasm)

    10. veryretired Says:

      Once again we have fallen into the trap of allowing the media and the statist camp to set the agenda for this discussion.

      The issue is not guns but mental illness untreated—and untreatable—in a society under the thrall of activists of every kind and their lawyers, none of whom give a flying crap about the safety and security of our schools, cities, or citizenry.

      The mental health system in this country has collapsed in the face of endless lawsuits by advocates for deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. Now that many these unfortunate people are living on the street, or in prison if they commit some type of crime, the activists pack up and move on to their next obsession.

      Left behind are decades of personal and social carnage, and the families of people like this disturbed killer, who can’t find any meaningful help in controlling his delusional behavior, and the families of the victims of one deranged person after another who follows some halucination or another into their chosen climactic event.

      The vast majority of violent crimes in this country are committed by people with past criminal histories who are not legally in possession of any firearms, who target other members of competing drug gangs, and who would not abide by any new gun control laws, no matter how draconian.

      It is just more sensational to play up these occasional outbursts of insanity than it is to actually talk about the dozens of dead and wounded in this months’ gang shootings in Chicago or some other urban setting.

      Besides, then we would have to talk about drugs, race, gangs, and a bankrupt criminal justice system.

      Better to babble about the occasional crazy and how awful it is they caqn get ahold of a gun. Those other conversations are much too dangerous, and uncomfortable, for the media and its darlings who have been hiding and ignoring the real problems for decades.

      Cue resident trolls.

    11. Bill Brandt Says:

      Sgt – speaking of sanctimonious did you hear what Piers Morgan said on CNN?
      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/12/19/piers-morgan-calls-pro-gun-advocate-unbelievably-stupid-dangerous-you#ixzz2FVObHNAH

      (This is the only way I find out what anyone’s doing on CNN since I don’t watch it)

      I talk with a retired UK policeman – the UK is a mess – prosecuting homeowners for shooting burglars and policemen being killed by Eastern Bloc hand grenades and this jerk-off is lecturing us.

      No wonder CNN is so widely watched.

    12. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Heard about it, Bill – I didn’t watch him, either. I do relish news of the viewership of CNN and certain other stations dropping through the floor, though.

    13. Lexington Green Says:

      Never say “I think … .” Its weak. The whole way it is written is cringing:

      “Everybody wants to stop events like Newtown, but one suspects the gun control supporters want to do more than that: I think they want to promote an idealistic vision of “a peaceful society without guns” or something like that.”

      No.

      More like this.

      Events like Newtown are tragic, and no one wants them to happen. But gun prohibitionists pretend take advantage of the emotions raised by these terrible events to try to impose their imaginary vision of “a peaceful society without guns.” Of course, guns cannot be uninvented, and prohibition of guns will be no more effective than the prohibition of alcohol, drugs or abortion. All that the gun-prohibitionists can really achieve in the real world is a society in which peaceful citizens are stripped of their God-given right to self-defense, and victimized at will by criminals and psychopaths alike.

      He is on the right track but the pussified writing style is irritating.

    14. Joe Citizen Says:

      Veryretired,

      “The issue is not guns but mental illness untreated…”

      Actually, the core issue arising from the CT shooting is the untreated mentally ill having access to certain kinds of guns.

      Everyone on the right’s favorite hero, Ronald Reagan, supported the assault weapons ban. He wrote a letter to the House (along with Ford and Carter) urging them to pass the bill. LINK. Was he part of the grand conspiracy?

      (p.s. – if it so greatly offends you, you need not consider this comment to be, in any way, an attempt to engage you in conversation. Rather take it as an independent commentary on the ideas you have put on the table)

    15. Joe Citizen Says:

      “Never say “I think … .” Its weak.
      – Lexington Green”

      Wow. This has got to be framed and put up on the wall somewhere. One of the best descriptors of the conservative mind I have ever run across…

    16. Lexington Green Says:

      Joe, if you gave me a draft brief as weakly written as this piece, I’d have sent you back to your office to do it again.

      It is not a matter of ideology.

      It is a matter of forcefully articulating your case. Someone opposing it will have something solid to bash against.

    17. Robin Goodfellow Says:

      Most of the world “does just fine” without a heavily armed citizenry indeed. Just so long as you ignore history. The prime reason for the existence of the 2nd amendment is as a backstop to prevent the creation of an oppressive, tyrannical, police state. The sort of tyranny that ruled Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Denmark, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, Belgium, Austria, Albania, and many other countries in the mid 20th century and in some cases as recently as the 1980s.

      Regimes which brutalized their people and their neighbors, killed millions, stunted advancement of living conditions for decades.

      Just. Fine.

    18. Joe Citizen Says:

      “But gun prohibitionists pretend take advantage of the emotions raised by these terrible events…”

      While you are giving writing lessons, Lex, could you explain what role the word “pretend” plays in this sentence? I think it breaks up the manly flow of words, don’t you?

    19. Lexington Green Says:

      Its a typo, Joe.

      Comments can’t be edited.

      But you knew that.

    20. Mike_K Says:

      “Dumb is your problem.”

      To repeat myself, why would you waste your time with us untermenschen ? We’re not worth your brilliance and insight.

      Or are you just trolling ?

    21. Mike_K Says:

      Jonathan, hasn’t Joe C reached his troll quota ?

    22. Joe Citizen Says:

      Mike_K,

      What is your troll quota?
      If being a troll is to hijack threads with off-topic comments, especially those that merely try to insult other commenters, or get a rise out of them, then you are one of the real champions around here.

      In fact I never do that. I may throw a few elbows at those who do the same, all the time, but it is always in the context of trying to make a sincere point about the topic at hand. You, on the other hand, make it a near-daily habit of following me around and making empty, snarky comments about me. Give it a break, ol’ fellow. We all know how you feel about me. Why don’t you confine yourself to making positive contributions to the discussion?

    23. PenGun Says:

      ‘“Dumb is your problem.”

      To repeat myself, why would you waste your time with us untermenschen ? We’re not worth your brilliance and insight.

      Or are you just trolling ?’

      Me … troll. No actually you have a cultural problem. The culture grew with huge input from your entertainment industries. This has given your culture a range of inputs none of which emphasize tolerance, gentleness and a host of once admired characteristics and instead, as I said, run more to “make my day”.

      At the same time, largely because of the rather large misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment, the growth of arms industries who profit from arms sales has grown a lot. This industry has very intelligently created it’s lobby group the NRA and marketed gun ownership and use as a traditional American value.

      It never really was, but is now. Dumb, really dumb.

    24. Lexington Green Says:

      “No actually you have a cultural problem. The culture grew with huge input from your entertainment industries. This has given your culture a range of inputs none of which emphasize tolerance, gentleness and a host of once admired characteristics and instead, as I said, run more to “make my day”.”

      PenGun, I agree with this, perhaps not in the way you intend. But it is much more than the entertainment industry.

      The word “kindness” evokes nothing positive, for example.

      Without Christianity, family life and marriage, America is an atomized and almost entirely materialist society.

      There are islands of love and friendship, but you find fewer and fewer of them.

      You find more and more damaged and lonely people.

      People “network.” Friendship, the greatest human good according to Aristotle, is reduced entirely to its materially utilitarian element.

      Capitalism works if there is a haven from market-type relations. Those havens are mostly gone.

      Dogs may not eat dogs, and rats may not race, but nice guys do finish last, or not at all.

      Too bad about all that. But it will take generations to change it. I won’t be here.

      However, the misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment occurred after the Civil War and continued until recently.

      That I don’t agree with.

    25. Joe Citizen Says:

      “Capitalism works if there is a haven from market-type relations.”

      This, of course, has been the central doctrine of twentieth-century American liberalism. Liberals understand the power and the value of capitalism, as well as its limitations. Liberals support the provision of spaces for non-capitalist relationships. That is what safety nets are. That is what public policy in pursuit of “non-profit” goals is. That is what the right to privacy is all about, and respect for religious freedom (ok, that last one the conservatives are fully on board with).

      It is the libertarians, the capitalist fundamentalists, people who are often conflated with conservatives (and often in alliance with them) who pour all of their hopes, dreams and fantasies into “the market”. The market (which is essentially the battlefield of ambitious self-seeking) takes on magical powers in this view. It is the paradigm landscape for all aspects of our society. Everything should be in the private sector, everything adjudicated by price.

      “…nice guys do finish last, or not at all. ”

      Yup. A central goal of any civilization is to create the environment where good (guys) can flourish. That is precisely why the libertarian, Hobbesian world is such a ridiculous, childish fantasy world – one that gives evidence of so little real understanding of the world.

    26. Lexington Green Says:

      Joe thinks the power of the government, the state, the Moloch of the last century, a boot stamping on a human face, is a haven from the marketplace.

      The state takes all the value out of capitalism, makes it a game of cronyism, leaves all its bad features, but destroys its productive features.

      Joe thinks the loss of love in American life means the state, the iron fist, is not strong enough.

      That is truly sick.

    27. VSSC Says:

      The Citizens and Average Joe answer the Liberals and their President resoundingly. Walmart has run out of guns. This is an ongoing trend that is accelerating.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-19/guns-out-of-stock-at-wal-mart-as-magazine-prices-surge-on.html

      You have your answer.

    28. Mike K Says:

      On the news yesterday, I heard that Sturm Ruger stock and Smith and Wesson stock had fallen by 8-10%. This is a buying opportunity I would think. Sturm Ruger had so many orders early in the year they stopped accepting new ones. More brilliant lefty investment advice.

    29. Joe Citizen Says:

      “That is truly sick.”

      Actually, I think it rather embarrassing for you. You seem utterly incapable of dealing with the actual points I make. You need to interpret them, in your comic-book fashion, and then attack the image you create instead of the reality in front of you.

      “Joe thinks the power of the government,… is a haven from the marketplace.”

      I don’t know if you are just a bit careless with your language, or really confused, but “the power” is not “a haven”, which seems to be what you are intending here. The power of government can be used to create certain havens from the logic of the marketplace – yes. Absolutely – that is a central function of government. Heck, even the military, the part of government even the minimalists go along with, is explicitly run along the lines of values and principles that are wholly different from the marketplace.

      “The state takes all the value out of capitalism”

      Twaddle. The state creates the environment in which capitalism can flourish (in the domains where it is appropriate to do so). Somalia is not capitalist – it is libertarian, and well armed.

      “..makes it a game of cronyism…”

      Yes, there is cronyism. Perpetrated primarily by the capitalists who seek private advantage, and opposed historically by the progressive movements. But let me anticipate your response. Capitalists can never be blamed for doing what they are supposed to do – seek their own advantage, right?

      “…but destroys its productive features…”

      Hmmm. Except that economic growth in modern industrial societies has always been maximized when there is a significant role for government.

      “Joe thinks the loss of love in American life means the state, the iron fist, is not strong enough.”

      I gotta say, it takes the kind of person that I can’t even really imagine to write something like this. I have said nothing on the subject. You know nothing of what I think about this. For you to make a statement like this is utterly dishonorable. Have you no integrity at all? Will you say anything, just to get off an insult?

      For the record, my life is full of love. I see much love in most of the lives I see around me. I have never noticed any diminution of love, in a general sense, over the course of my lifetime. You do have my sympathies if your life is different, but your life does not equal the world at large.

    30. grey eagle Says:

      Citizen Joe,

      Why is it that the compound bow (the one with the pullies) was not invented until 1969? This kind of bow has been needed for over 100,000 years but there have been strong reasons why no one was allowed to invent this bow until 1969. Pullies, wood and cable have always been available.

      When you understand why the bow was not invented until 1969 AD you will understand why your entire philosophy and everything you believe in and everything you know, is false.

    31. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I am reluctant to engage trolls but I have been accused of “following him” so, just this once, I will point out how mean spirited and angry his supposed “but it is always in the context of trying to make a sincere point about the topic at hand.” comments are.

      “Yes, there is cronyism. Perpetrated primarily by the capitalists who seek private advantage, and opposed historically by the progressive movements. But let me anticipate your response. Capitalists can never be blamed for doing what they are supposed to do – seek their own advantage, right?”

      What we presently have in this administration is fascism, also called “corporatism” for those with weak stomachs. The “capitalists” who participate in this dishonest and corrupt system would not know a market system if it bit them.

      “Except that economic growth in modern industrial societies has always been maximized when there is a significant role for government.”

      The role for government is the rule of law and property rights plus defense when that is necessary. I disagree with libertarians who think there is never a role for defense but I agree with them when they criticize the giant corrupt corporate state we see the past 20 years. Lest the troll think I mean only Democrats as corrupt, I think we have had corruption since Coolidge. Hoover was incompetent. Roosevelt had the excuse that previous depressions had not been well studied. Harding and Coolidge dealt with one that was never recognized as one because it was over so quickly. Eisenhower was an effective and competent chief executive but government was smaller then. Johnson started us on the path of disaster but the Republicans in 1994 had a chance to reverse the course and they didn’t. I blame Gingrich for much of this but, once government got so big and powerful, human nature was unable to resist the temptations of power and privilege.

      Why do politicians always end their careers rich ? We all know why. We are about to experience a crisis that will risk the end of the American experiment. Maybe not the nation because, after all, Germany and Japan recovered from devastating wars. Still, the public seems to have changed since World War II and the welfare state is probably to blame. No nation has more than 100 years experience with a welfare state. Looking at Europe, it looks like that may be a maximum.

      This article may be a bit overwrought but it is largely true, I believe.

      If the troll had anything useful to say, I would be happy to discuss it but there is nothing but bile in his comments.

    32. grey eagle Says:

      I am curious about the derivation of the term ‘troll’ as it applies to comments here a Chicago Boyz.

      Is ‘trolling’ a fishing term – and is ‘trolling’ is merely dragging bait across the surface of a ‘lake’ in hopes that something will bite, breaking the boredom of fishing?

    33. Joe Citizen Says:

      “What we presently have in this administration is fascism,”

      Seriously Michael, have you lost all your senses? Please explain exactly how anything that has happened in this administration is fundamentally different than what has happened in other administrations? How do you ascribe a greater level of “corporatism” to this administration rather than to Republican administrations who routinely turn over the mechanics of governmental regulatory bodies to representatives of the very entities being regulated? Where the mid-level executives are loaned to the administration for four years so that they can write the rules for the benefit of the businesses (financial backers of the administration) rather than for the public interest?

      “The “capitalists” who participate in this dishonest and corrupt system would not know a market system if it bit them.”

      You seem to have a fantasy of some ideal “market system” that has never existed, despite the best efforts of progressives, I might add. One of the enduring dynamics of American politics is the constant attempt by the progressive and modern liberal movements to isolate the government from undue influence from the corporate world in pursuit of the vision, unique to the left, that the government does have a meaningful role in society, and that role is to serve the public interest. And that also means, of course, the government policing the marketplace – something that one would think that all honest businessmen would support, but only some of them do.

      The traditional opposition to this, from the right, has often denied that there even is such a thing as a public interest. Corruption is objectively far more rampant in Republican administrations (yeah, you could look it up) precisely because Republicans, in general, do not believe that government has much of a meaningful role. When appointed to office, the Republican functionary tends not to have any real vision for what to do with the job, except perhaps to work to have his agency eliminated. If he fails at that, and actually has to fulfill the job description, what to do? He doesn’t believe in the legitimacy or value of what he is doing. So he gets a phone call from the guy who raised a million dollars for the campaign, who tells him how important a certain decision is to all the right people, and that becomes the policy. There is no set of principles in his worldview to stand up to such pressure / enticement.

      Now, maybe you prefer such decisions to those made by earnest do-gooders who “don’t understand the industries they are impacting”, but don’t kid yourself that this is not the dynamic that is epidemic within all Republican administrations.

      “If the troll had anything useful to say, I would be happy to discuss it but there is nothing but bile in his comments.”

      Michael, listen to yourself. You are rude and insulting. You don’t even have the courtesy to call me by my name when you address me. Is this how people of your generation were brought up? It is you who is full of bitterness and anger. You sound like one who sees his world slipping away, and is lashing out at all the kids trampling on your lawn. ‘Cept I am not a kid.

      I find it quite sad to read your comments, and the article you link. Part of me wishes to reach out and assure you that all this doom-saying crap that you seem prone to believing is just that. That what you are going through is almost a stereotypical reaction that many, not all, older folks have when they see the world evolving in ways that are so different from what they knew, that they get scared. The focus then turns to the bad things that are happening (as bad things always happen) and that is then coupled with, and compared to the golden haze of sentimental reminiscence of the good things of one’s youth. The combination leads one to believe that the world is going straight to hell.

      We often chuckle when we hear old folks say that, because old folks have always said that, since the beginning of time. It is not real Michael. It really isn’t. There was even worse evil in the old days. There is much good today. In fact, the world is actually getting a lot better. I am not many years younger than you – I certainly remember growing up in a world where there were injustices of the sort that would seem inconceivable to today’s kids. We liberals fixed that, and the conservatives eventually came along and embraced it all (some is still ongoing of course). Technology – I remember having to walk five miles roundtrip, uphill both ways, through driving snow, to look up one factoid in a book in the library. We are masters of the universe of information now. Even crime is heading toward historical lows LINK.

      So stop projecting. I am not bitter or angry. That is very much a right wing thing – the cult of the ranting man. Go back and read the article you linked to. How sad and pathetic. I am getting old myself, so I understand the struggle sometimes to see one’s way in the new world. But I do try to see clearly, and I am excited as hell with what is going on.

      Even freedom, especially freedom, is increasing greatly. When I was a kid, blacks were third class citizens in part of the country, second class in the rest. Women were not welcome at all in the labor force, or in public discussions of serious issues. Gays were not allowed to live openly as who they are. Handicapped people were shunted away, rather than encouraged to join in to active society. Right there, you have nearly two thirds of the entire population whose freedom to live autonomous and meaningful lives has greatly increased just in our lifetimes. Stop and think how huge that is – how earth-shattering historical that is. Once again, on behalf of liberals everywhere, you are welcome. And thanks to you conservatives for eventually ending your opposition to all of these improvements.

      Yes, it comes as a price. The freedom of industrialists to use the river that flows right past their factory as a waste dump has been severely curtailed. The great historical tobacco industry has been devastated by governmental busybodies. I am sure you could come up with one or two other things :).

      So cheer up Michael – you are living in wonderful times. Despite your nastiness to me, I do wish you well and hope you find a way to enjoy your life in this exciting world. Try to be nice to me, and I promise to make my own efforts in that regard.

    34. PenGun Says:

      No. A troll lives under a bridge and waits for foolish billy goats to make them look stupid. The art and science of a troll is well exampled but there is little formal documentation of the beast.

      Wal-Mart has sold out all it’s assault type weapons in 5 states:

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-19/wal-mart-stores-sell-out-guns

    35. Michael Kennedy Says:

      A troll posts annoying and offensive comments to draw attention to itself. It does not contribute to the discussion. I have violated my rules about feeding trolls enough.

    36. Dan from Madison Says:

      @Michael – it is the same old troll format since the beginning of the intertubes:

      1) Personal insult
      2) Insane homework assignment
      3) Long winded meaningless drivel, likely copied and pasted from his list of word documents and/or Bill Moyers/Kos blog comment section

      Don’t feed ‘em and they will eventually go away.

    37. Bill Brandt Says:

      (4) Dan – don’t forget (4) Ignore substantive facts presented to the contrary and continue with the long-winded meaningless drivel

    38. Dan from Madison Says:

      @Bill – mea culpa!

    39. John Wolfsberger, Jr. Says:

      Michael, you’re comments on trolls should have included reference to “smug,” “sanctimonious,” “self righteous” and “patronizing.” At present, many of them are feasting off the Newtown tragedy, spreading as much misinformation and disinformation as they can in order to further their Leftist goals ands prevent any meaningful discussion of steps that might be taken to prevent or mitigate future tragedies.

      The best approach is to ignore them. (It’s not as though they’re contributing anything useful to any discussion.) Eventually they get starved enough for attention that they’ll click to another web site and annoy people there.

    40. renminbi Says:

      If you wrestle with a pig,you both end up muddy,but the pig enjoys it.

    41. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I don’t mind debating folks on the left. I used to spend a lot of time at Washington Monthly when Kevin Drum was the blogger. He is a serious guy although very far left. The moderators started deleting my comments, even leaving the nasty ad hominem replies in place. I finally gave up. I tried following Kevin the Mother Jones but got the same response. Maybe that’s why they come to conservative blogs. As long as they don’t troll, I’m happy to have a dialog. Pretty rare, though.

    42. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Last evening, I referred to the corporatist philosophy of this administration. I wouldn’t want to upset any trolls by calling it “fascism” again although they are synonyms. Today we have a nice example of that behavior on the part of big business CEOs.

      As the negotiations have rolled on, a growing collection of CEOs and big-business lobbies have fallen in line with President Obama’s cry to raise income taxes on those making more than $250,000. To listen to these CEOs, this is the ultimate self-sacrifice. “I would pay more in taxes” in a budget deal, explained the noble Honeywell CEO Dave Cote, but it would be worth it to “put the economy on a sounder footing.”

      We’ll see how much more Mr. Cote’s personal accountants ultimately allow him to pay. Meanwhile, the virtuous poses appear to be cover for a bigger game.

      The Business Roundtable let the cat out of the bag on Dec. 11 when it circulated a letter signed by 150 of its corporate titans sanctioning year-end income-tax hikes. The letter happened to appear a few hours after the White House leaked its offer to include corporate tax reform as part of any cliff deal. The reform, in theory, would lower corporate tax rates.

      This is why I am not disturbed at proposals to hike the rates for those with incomes over $1 million. I doubt very many small business people have incomes that would qualify. In 35 years of surgical practice, I never came close although I did have gross incomes near that level. The difference was that it cost my $10,000 a month to run my practice along with a lot of other expenses. I’m sure that’s common among business people who pay their own expense account bills.

      The Roundtable is getting cover from the RATE Coalition—a group of companies including AT&T, Ford, Lockheed Martin and Home Depot —that is committed to obtaining a “lower corporate tax rate.” The coalition sent its own letter on Dec. 6 begging the White House and Congress to “set the framework for comprehensive reform in 2013.”

      RATE’s co-chair, Elaine Kamarck, who once led the Clinton administration’s “reinventing government” effort, suggested it would be best to separate any corporate tax reform from individual tax reform, since the latter was complicated and might mess up the former. So not only would small businesses provide the down payment for a Fortune 500 tax cut, they would also get booted from any broader tax-reform ambitions. (Ms. Kamarck later backpedaled.)

      The corruption of US big business is not limited to Democrat administrations but this one seems more eager to feed the cronies than I can recall in any previous situation.

      This is getting a bit far from gun control but the thread had already discussed it.

    43. Anonymous Says:

      Top CEOs and, of course, Warren Buffet realize that at their level the rule of law is replaced by caprice, anger and vengeance. Their actual lives are at risk.

      So they form a group of backup singers for Obama.

      It is not healthy in America to be too rich.

      This is not facism because the CEOs do not create policy; they simply try to modify it so that they can stay alive.

      If they do make a fast buck as did GM, they are expected to redistribute.

    44. Joe Citizen Says:

      When you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t, damned if you reach out, damned if you turn your back, damned if you get out of bed in the morning, damned if you sleep in, etc. etc., you begin to suspect that the problem resides in the person doing the damning.

      The corporate tax rate in this country is the highest in the industrial world. All the conservatives, and especially the libertarians have been telling us, endlessly, how this makes all our businesses uncompetitive in the global marketplace. It is always near the top of the list of grievances that the business community wishes that Washington would change. Being unresponsive to these pleas is all the evidence one would need to realize how anti-capitalist, anti-business, anti-American, damn it, those liberals are.

      Then, unfortunately, the libertarian-conservative business types lost an election.

      But wait. The Democratic president might have actually heard their pleas? Might have thought that perhaps there might be some merit to their argument such that this might be an area he would consider compromising on?

      Damn fascist.

      Y’know, this stuff goes beyond parody sometimes…