Re: No lesson to be learned here. Carry on.

1

You know, heebie, if all of the students at the library had been armed that guy wouldn't have been able to shoot himself.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:39 PM
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To be scrupulously fair, he said "less crime," not "fewer shootings involving unbalanced loners who slip through the rickety sifters of family, society and school."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:41 PM
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So you're saying that the one guy with the presence of mind to have a gun was the same guy who took down the shooter?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:41 PM
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2: I think one can be scrupulously fair and still laugh at UT Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:43 PM
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4: probably not to their faces, though. They might be a bit tightly wound.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:45 PM
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I can't decide whether my not being, at all, pro-gun control is a rational response to social science evidence or just that I don't care about things that are obvious big time electoral losers for Democrats.

I was ardently pro gun control in the early 1990s, when it seemed like one of the core planks of US liberal ideology, but it just seems like a total non-issue to me now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:46 PM
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Apparently, he was a math major. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:48 PM
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You can be not at all pro-gun control and still laugh at UT Students for Concealed Carry, Halford.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:49 PM
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I'm sure he was about to switch to engineering.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:49 PM
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If he was an engineering major he would have actually shot people. Applied vs. theoretical.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:51 PM
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8 -- Well, not to their faces. I mean, that's kind of the whole point, right?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:51 PM
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I also think it's pretty reasonable to laugh at the Libertarian and Objectivist clubs at a public university.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 3:54 PM
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4: One's scruples require as much.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:01 PM
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6: Living in Texas has greatly increased my personal interest in gun control.

My brother is actually considering getting a concealed carry permit because he's a state lobbyist. Stay with me for the explanation: Until quite recently, anyone could walk in or out of the capitol building, no bag checks, no security. In May, someone shot off a gun outside the entrance. (No one was hurt.) As a result, there are now metal detectors at the entrances. People who do business in the capitol (legislators, staff, lobbyists, reporters) are dreading long lines when the Lege goes into its every-other-year, 4-month session in January.

BUT. It's still legal to carry a gun into the building as long as 1) you have a license and 2) it's concealed. People who have licenses don't have to go through the metal detectors, so there's now a perverse incentive to arm oneself.

The crazy loopholes are bigger in Texas.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:04 PM
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I don't care if the whole damned campus carried a handgun, none of y'all would have got me.


Posted by: Charles Whitman | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:07 PM
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14: My friends in Texas have guns cached all the hell over their (sumptuous) house and cars. It's entirely possible to stumble upon one looking for a tissue or something.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:13 PM
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I'm in the peculiar position of being in a city with an exceptionally high homicide/gun violence rate, and having a fairly deep-seated antipathy for opportunistic gun shops and dealers, and yet having almost no stomach for the actual gun control laws that periodically get proposed.

It's not that I can't imagine a gun control law that would on balance be a useful thing to enact, it's that the actual laws with which I am confronted are so dismal.

And also, the legislature is disproportionately comprised of people who are nuts (in the colloquial sense), biased, and/or ignorant. I say this with renewed vigor, having recently witnessed several well-meaning ladies and gentleman stumble through some elementary reasoning the likes of which a fifth-grader should have been able to follow. So I don't trust them on gun rights any more than other issues.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:14 PM
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laugh at the Libertarian and Objectivist clubs at a public university

Patrick Henry University is probably private, although that information is not specifically disclosed.


Posted by: Patrick Henry University Admissions Office | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:18 PM
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No one else was hurt.

Gil Buckman is disappointed in his son's shooting.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:20 PM
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17.2, .3: Not a challenge, but can you explain a bit about the unsatisfactory actual gun control laws? I don't disagree that many proposed and actual regulations seem less than brilliantly composed (the magazine capacity restrictions seem mainly to have driven up the price of pre-ban mags), but the kernels of gun control -- licensing, registration, additional licensing for concealed-carry, jail sentences for possession of unlicensed firearms -- seem reasonable.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:20 PM
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Yes, but probably not until later tonight!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:21 PM
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I also think it's pretty reasonable to laugh at the Libertarian and Objectivist clubs at a public university.

George Mason University, a public university, has basically devoted itself to those causes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:25 PM
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12, 22: Replace democracy/democratic/National Socialists with government/public/Libertarians in the Following Goebbels quote as needed:

When democracy granted democratic methods for us in the times of opposition, this was bound to happen in a democratic system. However, we National Socialists never asserted that we represented a democratic point of view, but we have declared openly that we used democratic methods only in order to gain the power and that, after assuming the power, we would deny to our adversaries without any consideration the means which were granted to us in the times of opposition.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:37 PM
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people who are nuts (in the colloquial sense)

As opposed to the botanical one?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:42 PM
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Libertarians, Tea Partiers, etc. would be really dangerous with the wrong leadership. Except that they already have the wrong leaders. Make that bad leaders. Well, I guess they already have that, too. They are already and forever Nazis, only without the power or anything useful like that.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:45 PM
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25: A political historian might say that there were several kinds of Nazi: veterans of the Freikorps, post-chancellorship opportunists, the racial-theory-minded enthusiasts, the usual sociopaths, etc., etc.

Do you think there is a similar variety to the Tea Party? To me they seem an undifferentiated, flabby mass of what Joel McCrea in Ride the High Country calls "white trash peckerwoods" rubes.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:54 PM
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No, I was being sarcastic. As for being rubes, is Obama the guy you voted for?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 5:00 PM
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the legislature is disproportionately comprised of people who are nuts (in the colloquial sense), biased, and/or ignorant

This is entirely true, except that "comprised" should be "composed".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 5:07 PM
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17.3: And it really does seem like they are worse than in other states.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 5:08 PM
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24: Most legislatures are disproportionately composed of cashews, almonds, and filberts, with the balances of their constituents typically being either legumes or grains.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 5:13 PM
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29: Maybe they mistook the whole "Keystone" thing to mean they were supposed to be constantly drinking that beer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 5:14 PM
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And it really does seem like they are worse than in other states.

Oh brother are you misinformed. I wish Sacramento was part time. Those guys all should have a real job, first.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 5:18 PM
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32: PA is full time, I think with more staff spending per capita than any another state. And, PA is much poorer than CA, so Sacramento must have done something right at some point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 5:27 PM
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Sacramento must have done something right at some point.

About 50 years ago.

My own pet theory is that government "seems" to work best when the constituency is more or less homogeneous. Consensus of the like minded. Now this can devolve into the petty bickering of the faculty lounge, or explode when the have-nots demand their piece of the pie as well. Frex, people talk about how good California public schools used to be, but that was before everyone was allowed to go to school, IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 5:34 PM
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Frex, people talk about how good California public schools used to be, but that was before everyone was allowed to go to school, IYKWIMAITYD.

This may not be the only salient change.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:28 PM
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Whoa, rereading 17 is a fun peek into my dysfunctional thought processes. For the record:

24: I typed "crazy (in the colloquial sense)," then changed it to nuts and forgot to delete the parenthetical bit

28: I thought "Should it be composed? Nah, you compose a letter, not people."

Thank goodness Unfogged's crack team of proofreaders was on the job.

And it really does seem like they are worse than in other states.

I'm going to have to disagree. I can think of two -- New Hampshire and Montana -- where I have a handful of datapoints to indicate relative sanity.* Otherwise -- TX, NY, NJ, OK, UT -- just as bad as PA, in my fairly limited experience.

*IN THE COLLOQUIAL SENSE.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:32 PM
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TLL, have you iced anyone today?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:33 PM
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You only ice a bro.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:37 PM
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when the constituency is perceived as more or less homogeneous. Consensus of the like minded white, educated, property-owning men.

Sorry, TLL, but I can't agree with you more than once per thread, and I already used up that with your 32.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:37 PM
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36.last: I'm possibly angry because in 8 years of voting, I've never had gotten to vote in a contested election for the state legislature. Not primary, not general. Not even counting fake parties like the Greens and Libertarians.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:40 PM
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How have we gotten this far without a Mary Rosh joke?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:42 PM
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39. 'S Ok, Witt. And as much as I feel like Reg in "Life of Brian", ie what have the white, educated property-owning men ever done for us, I think I prefer my democratic republic a little noisier, as Barney Frank said.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:45 PM
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California schools were desegregated starting in 1947. The "best public schools in the world" thing was true through at least the 1970s. The decline is pretty closely linked to a certain ballot initiative beloved of conservatives. Now, what was that proposition number again?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:49 PM
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18 is excellent.

But otherwise, what is there to say? The gun nuts are wrong, here's yet another example of how and why.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:51 PM
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I have to leave before defending Prop 13, but the California Legislature never knew a program it didn't like, and as fucked up as it has left the state I would rather have it in place than the tax regime that existed previous.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:53 PM
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Guns are so much easier than a bow and arrow. And, unless my exercise program starts to work, a knife just won't work for me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:54 PM
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I wonder if I could get the legislature to enact a "knife season" for deer if I started some kind of a cave man exercise/hunting group. Many of our deer live too close to people for safe hunting with projectile weapons and if our ancestors could stab a deer, we should keep the skill from being lost.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:59 PM
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36: I can think of two -- New Hampshire and Montana -- where I have a handful of datapoints to indicate relative sanity.

What metric are you using? (You mention datapoints.) I'm surprised at the mention of New Hampshire, given that they trend stubbornly Republican (libertarian, anti-tax, etc.) there.

Or, are we talking just about gun control laws?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:01 PM
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47: It's squirrel season here. I just recently learned that there's a limit of how many you can kill per day (six), but if you can get close enough to a squirrel to off it with a knife, then you probably deserve as many as you can get.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:04 PM
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I just recently learned that there's a limit of how many you can kill per day....

For values of "you" other than Chuck Norris.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:06 PM
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Is it squirrel knife season?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:06 PM
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Is it squirrel knife season?

CHARLIE, DON'T YOU HAVE AN ALLEY TO MOP OR SOMETHING?


Posted by: OPINIONATED FRANK, DENNIS AND/OR DEE REYNOLDS | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:10 PM
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Anyway, I think Pennsylvania gun law is pretty loose, but I don't think you can be armed on campus. Pretty much anybody boring (no convictions or serious mental illness) can get a conceal carry permit, I'm told.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:10 PM
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Prop 13 wasn't much of an attack on legislative *spending*, though. A proposition that limited that directly, instead of protecting the tender pockets of real estate owners, would be much more convincing as an attempt at fiscal sense.

||
I mentioned icing to an actual frat brother last weekend and he was mildly impressed that I was up to date with the lingo. Fieldwork: it's not just hobos.
|>


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:23 PM
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OK, Flippanter, back to your question. This NYT article from a couple of years ago hits on one example:

With about 85 percent of Philadelphia's homicides involving guns, gun control advocates are urging state lawmakers to limit handgun purchases to one per person per month. The goal is to choke off supply to so-called straw purchasers, who buy multiple guns on behalf of those who cannot legally acquire the guns themselves because they have criminal records.

Aside from the obvious problems with this kind of law, there are other side effects, such as when wives or girlfriends are coerced or intimidated into buying guns for a male partner, and then are subect to prosecution when he goes out and commits a crime with it. In those cases, the gun control law didn't do anything to stop the crime, it just created an incentive for a previously innocent party to be caught up in the prison system, potentially leaving children without either parent.

I'm also pretty skeptical of "assault weapons" bans, partly because so much gun crime seems to be handgun-driven.

Here's a pretty good summary of why city officials are at their wits' end and what happens when they run into suburban, exurban and rural officials. The city's attempt to pass its own gun control laws was indeed struck down because state law preempts them. City Council is going to try again this fall.

Heaven knows I'm sympathetic to the impetus behind the laws. Murders are down this year compared to 2007, and running about the same compared to 2008 and 2009. Regardless, the rate is still horrifying. So far this year there have been nearly a half-dozen homicides within a few blocks of where I worship, and two teenagers who were peripherally connected to my work (no one I knew personally) were killed in gun violence.

It's worth asking about the relationship between looser gun laws and more guns sold/trafficked through the state. This article claims gun-trace data says blame Mississippi. But frankly, I'd expect a climate-change bill from the PA state legislature before I'd expect a gun-control measure.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:25 PM
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48: No, I don't know anything about NH gun control laws or lack thereof.

I'm going off of:
- Relative lack of hysterically overreaching legislation making national news
- Laws to abolish the death penalty passing/coming close to passing in recent memory (passed by both houses and vetoed by the governor in 2000; passed the House in 2009)
- Personal acquaintance (though likely unrepresentative)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:34 PM
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I think there are like 400 members of the NH state legislature, or 1 for every 5 grouchy Yankee in the state, so there's that. Anyhow, I have (had) a little bit of experience with the PA legislature and it's way worse than California -- way dumber and more corrupt. As I always say about California state government, the people in it are great and the institutions are good -- we're just hindered by our crappy progressive era laws and nutso initiative system.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:43 PM
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Murders are down this year compared to 2007, and running about the same compared to 2008 and 2009.

It only makes the news here when Philly breaks a record.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:43 PM
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My Cal II students are doing amazingly well on this exam. There's no way I can take credit for this; it's too unusual and I am pretty boringly consistent. Must be a batch of strong students.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:45 PM
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Fun Pennsylvania legislature fact: When they unconstitutionally* passed a pay raise for themselves, they put it in a bill raising the salaries of the judges and added a clause saying if their raise got ruled unconstitutional, so did the judges'.

Fun Pennsylvania Supreme Court fact: They took the raise.

*Introduced at midnight with no prior notice or debate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:47 PM
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56: NH might be too small to make national news. That said, I don't follow the state's politics very closely either, despite having family there. I just notice that they keep moving in a rightward direction, at least in terms of their elected officials. Whether those officials are actually quite moderate as things go (as legislation emerges), I do not know. Libertarian overall, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:49 PM
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a clause saying if their raise got ruled unconstitutional, so did the judges'

Surely this is not possible.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:50 PM
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The Republican candidate for state rep came by the other day, with an interesting pitch. He's a reasonably decent fellow, having been the principal of one of our high schools for a number of years. He knows he needs Dem voters to win, so he told me that if the Republicans win a majority in the house, as is virtually certain, we need a non-crazy person in the room when important things like education are being discussed.

I should ask EMessily what she thinks of him.

Not that I'm going to vote for him: we have the 26 year old founder of a local progressive group on the ballot, and I'm not going to pass up the opportunity to support him.

A neighboring state senate district has a gay Republican marijuana dealer running.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:51 PM
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62: I had simplified a bit, but this has the basic facts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:56 PM
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[Gun-control] just seems like a total non-issue to me now.

Growing up in the south, I got used to rednecks carrying guns a long time ago. I don't approve of concealed-carry laws, but I'm pretty resigned to them. Sweeping gun-control legislation is a non-starter in much of this country (and will probably always be), but I'm more or less supportive of legislation that nibbles around the edges (registration, waiting periods, etc.) Mostly I just ask that I'm not in-between when these libertarians yahoos start shooting each other (and inevitably they do). As a famous wing-nut once wrote, I think of it as evolution in action.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:58 PM
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NH might be too small to make national news.

Maybe. I was thinking of the kinds of extreme anti-reproductive-rights bills that get airtime on feminist blogs. I rarely hear about those in the national news. Or the ignorance from -- who was it, the TX legislator? -- who said Chinese Americans who had trouble voting at the polls should change their names to make it easier for "Americans" to remember (and presumably, to find their voter registration records).

62: Ha. It's not only possible, it's the only thing in recent memory that has actually stirred voter anger. People were actually voted out of office over this. The guys a PACleanSweep.com are still angry about it; note the ticker in the upper left corner of their website telling us how many days it's been since the pay raise.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 7:59 PM
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66.1: Right. You've got me curious now; I'll look into the conservative Republicans they have running, and apparently winning, these days. Though I have family there, I don't vote there, so I'd been watching with my usual degree of cocking of eyebrow and shaking of head. They really don't want to be Vermont, you know! That would be awful!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:07 PM
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When I worked briefly in PA politics (almost 15 years ago!) there were a bunch of state legislators who were so corrupt, and so clearly incompetent, that I was actually shocked felt like I'd been put into a time machine and sent back to the 1880s. One guy who was the head of the transportation committee had a brother who was a major highway contractor, and the political brother's job was basically just to stay sober long enough to vote for more highway funding.

Just checked and the guy is still in the PA legislature.

The CA legislature sure has its issues, but you don't see characters like that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:10 PM
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and the political brother's job was basically just to stay sober long enough to vote for more highway funding.

And they still don't pave the fucking highways.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:14 PM
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I was ardently pro gun control in the early 1990s, when it seemed like one of the core planks of US liberal ideology, but it just seems like a total non-issue to me now.

There are difficult issues of public policy, but this isn't one of them. We know that the strict regulation of guns reduces violence. This isn't a tough issue, even though nobody cares about doing the right thing on this issue any more.

In 20 years, enlightened liberals will be saying, "Back in 2008, I was ardently anti-torture, but nowadays, eh, who cares?"


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:19 PM
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And they still don't pave the fucking highways.

In fairness, you have to prioritize the paving of the regular highways before you get around to funding the specialty roads.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:22 PM
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New Hampshire ain't so bad, but it did break with the rest of U.S. civilization in 2000, and thus put GW Bush over the top.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:23 PM
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72: I always blamed elderly Floridians for that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:24 PM
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My understanding is that the studies suggest that lax gun regulation causes a (very) slight increase in the crime rate, but isn't a particularly significant factor for overall increases is violent crime. It's not "more guns, less crime," or "more guns, more crime," but more like, guns, meh. I'm thinking of the Ayres and Donahue study, which is the last thing I've read on this and which came out years ago, so I could be wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:27 PM
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I just notice that they keep moving in a rightward direction
I'll look into the conservative Republicans they have running, and apparently winning, these days.

I'm finding this take on New Hampshire somewhat dumbfounding. The moldering corpses of Bill and Nackey Loeb would certainly be surprised to learn that conservatism is only recently ascendant there.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:27 PM
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43

California schools were desegregated starting in 1947. The "best public schools in the world" thing was true through at least the 1970s. The decline is pretty closely linked to a certain ballot initiative beloved of conservatives. Now, what was that proposition number again?

In practice when people call public schools "good" they mean the student body is mostly white. In 1980 white students were the majority in California public schools. Today they are barely a quarter. So it is not surprising that California's schools are now not considered as "good". This has nothing to do with proposition 13 or anything else besides the changing demographics.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:29 PM
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Then, unless the pimples come back, my ass would make a good public school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:34 PM
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Excuse me, I'm new here. Could you tell me how to get to the cafeteria?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:37 PM
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We know that the strict regulation of guns reduces violence.

In all seriousness, *do* we know that? I'm not concern trolling here, and I'm plenty convinced that we need gun licensing, etc., but then again, even much stronger gun-rights-advocates than me are OK with licensing. So what definition of "strict" regulation are we talking about, and what evidence is there that it reduces violence?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:44 PM
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At the end of the hall. It's a bit drafty.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:44 PM
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75: Well, I know. Which is why I asked Witt what on earth she was talking about in 36. I mean, NH isn't necessarily noticeably crazy (in the colloquial sense), but I wouldn't cite them for much beyond 72's "they ain't so bad besides the conservatism and goddamned stubbornness and stuff."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:44 PM
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I'm thinking of the Ayres and Donahue study, which is the last thing I've read on this and which came out years ago, so I could be wrong.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Ayres and Donohue were comparing a gun regulation regime that was insanely lax with a gun regulation regime that was merely extremely lax. (And truly, I don't know much about Ayres and Donohue, so I'm willing to be educated.)

What I proposed in 70 was that strict regulation of guns reduces violence, and that this (as much as any social science issue is) an established fact. I'm not aware that Ayres and Donohue examined this issue at all.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:51 PM
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In practice when people call public schools "good" they mean the student body is mostly white.

Yeah, that's probably true. But to present such obviously racist biases as evidence of an underlying objective reality or something is a pretty f___ing egregiously racially motivated gesture in and of itself.

But thanks for coming out, James. There's always a "B" team, after all.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:55 PM
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Yeah, my understanding -- which is basically just middlebrow consciousness, not based on any serious reading -- is that there's little evidence that gun control regulations are significant sources of either increases or decreases in crime in the United States. But god knows I'm not going to wade through the internet morass on this issue, so maybe a real social scientist will come along and save us.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:01 PM
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82: I want it a little lax. Loading your own ammo is time consuming.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:03 PM
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Also, I forgot that I want to argue with KR from the thread last night. Even though he already backtracked. I'm going hammer it home anyway. Shorter this guy: It ain't at all like tapping your telephone:

For a growing number of people, if the government has access to someone's Internet communications, you have access to just about everything. They know what food you like. They know who you're having sex with. You know who your friends are, and who your enemies are. They know your political views, your literary preferences, your sense of humor. They know how much money you make, what kinds of health problems you have, what neighborhood you live in.
Viewed in this context, forcing Internet communications companies to reverse engineer their systems for breach by the government is like forcing construction companies to build houses that have cameras in every room.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:07 PM
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So what definition of "strict" regulation are we talking about, and what evidence is there that it reduces violence?

London vs. New York is an easy, Google-able example, at least regarding murders. And remember that New York is, despite its density and income disparities, less murderous than many other cities.

You might as well ask how we know other systems of healthcare are better than the one in the U.S. Pretty much every comparable country that runs healthcare rationally gets better results than the U.S. does, and the same seems to apply to guns.

As with healthcare, one could argue that Americans are intrinsically more fucked up than other countries, and that public policy has nothing significant to do with it. And truly, the U.S. is pretty fucked up on health issues and violence issues independently of fucked up health and gun laws. But that still doesn't seem to account for the enormous differences.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:10 PM
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But thanks for coming out, James.

James has never really been in the closet on this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:11 PM
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For once I didn't perceive James as saying anything offensive -- I thought that he was just stating that what most Americans mean by "good school" is "mostly white", which I think is probably a pretty fair assessment. I didn't read him as endorsing this view, just pointing out that it's a common one.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:30 PM
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87: Unlike the issue in 86, I don't have a strong bias here, but I'm honestly puzzled by this contention. There are so many differences between London and New York that it seems wildly unrealistic to cite gun regulation as a meaningful one, even when you narrow the issue to homicide rates.

Poverty, un/underemployment and economic stress, and the confounding factor of a large swath of the population having criminal records and thus beingeven more limited in finding legit jobs are three big ones to start with. Maybe I'm underestimating these factors in London. I don't know beans about London geography, but my sense is that the city doesn't have the same enclaves of deep, multigenerational poverty as, say, the South Bronx. Am I wrong?

(And while I know you are arguing in good faith, the Daily Mail is not a source I trust. The article you linked says NY's homicide rate went down; it cites a zero-tolerance policing policy, which I would expect the Mail to endorse; and it says nothing that I can see about gun regulation. The one aspect I would easily believe is that the practice of charging criminals with federal gun crimes has reduced the murder rate for the simple reason that keeping young men locked up for more years is going to almost by definition reduce the murder rate.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:37 PM
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84: I'm not sure why anyone would expect regulations in small geographic areas with no border controls to have much effect. Or why anyone would think those conclusions would have any implications for national regulations.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:48 PM
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NH isn't necessarily noticeably crazy (in the colloquial sense)

"Live Free or Die" on the license plates has always struck me as a little crazy, especially given that "free" appears mostly to mean "without taxation" in NH.

They really don't want to be Vermont, you know!

I'm trying to think of a starker political boundary in this country than the Connecticut River, and coming up with nothing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 10:04 PM
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12: Can I bring up again that I saw tea baggers in the flingin' flangin' Smithsonian? Consistency: not a cardinal virtue in certain camps!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 10:09 PM
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92 last: the Potomac is a pretty big deal.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 10:18 PM
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92.last: This has some candidates (Detroit area race and ethnicity map).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 10:19 PM
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True, others come close. VT/NH is an especially weird divide in that the people on either side of the river seem pretty homogenous. Not that there aren't right-wingers in VT, but even accounting for Burlington's tipping the scales it's really a different place politically.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 10:35 PM
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96: Maybe Vermont can build a weed fence along the river to shore up the divide.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 10:46 PM
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I am not exactly sure what the UT Students for Concealed Carry are concealing and carrying.
Anybody can explain?


Posted by: wolfgang | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 6:22 AM
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90:
even when you narrow the issue to homicide rates.

Yeah, it was loose talk on my part to talk about "violence." I don't really know about how violence is affected by guns, but I've got my suspicions.

With the Daily Mail, I just grabbed the first Google link, because it's well known that among developed nations, strict gun laws correlate to a lower homicide rate. I think the Swiss are an outlier on this - with easy access to guns and low homicide rates - but I'm not really aware that there's a serious dispute about this overall. If you've got some statistics demonstrating otherwise, I'd be curious to see 'em.

(One useful thing about limiting the conversation to homicides is that the statistics are pretty reliable, and pretty comparable. It's easy to count bodies.)

Whatever economic factors are involved seem to be overwhelmed by other factors. The U.S. is very wealthy, and as income inequality has increased, the murder rate has gone down. Recessions don't seem to have a large effect on homicide.

Killing people is fantastically simpler with guns. You make something easier, you get more of it, all things being equal.

Granted, that's a suspiciously Econ 101-type theory, but this is how it actually plays out in the real world. I'm all for counter-intuitive explanations of social phenomena, but I think you need to propose some pretty powerful mechanism to overcome an explanation that is both intuitively obvious and is borne out in real life experience.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 6:26 AM
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98: Guns


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:14 AM
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70
This isn't a tough issue, even though nobody cares about doing the right thing on this issue any more.
In 20 years, enlightened liberals will be saying, "Back in 2008, I was ardently anti-torture, but nowadays, eh, who cares?"

Really? Not caring about gun control is analogous to not caring about torture? Wow, that's nutty (in the colloquial sense).

There are difficult issues of public policy, but this isn't one of them. We know that the strict regulation of guns reduces violence.

Can I get a link supporting this? To me it looks safe to assume that total fewer guns reduces violence, but that's not what we're talking about. Here are the ideas mentioned so far in this thread: registration, waiting periods (65), limits on purchases per person per month, assault weapons bans (55), magazine capacity restrictions, licensing, additional licensing for concealed carry, and jail sentences for possession of unlicensed firearms (20). All of those combined don't look like strict regulation at all to me. They're all on the state level or lower and it's easy to cross state lines, and correct me if I'm wrong but it's still pretty easy to buy a gun from an unlicensed dealer who doesn't check any of this stuff, right?

Even strict regulation doesn't mean total fewer guns as a fait accompli, it depends on exactly what that regulation says. So given that strict regulation isn't even being discussed, let alone total fewer guns, why should we devote ourselves to tendentious, useless regulations? Other than the fact that it prevents other leftier-than-thou people from comparing us to torture supporters, of course.

That sounds a lot more angry than I mean it. Really, I don't care much about this issue; of everything said here so far I think I agree with the first two paragraphs of 17 the most. But the strong gun-control argument I disagree with in general was expressed particularly inflammatorily up there.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:14 AM
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@100

But why would you conceal your gun?
The manly way is to carry your Winchester rifle or AK-47 openly.


Posted by: wolfgang | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:20 AM
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I don't know beans about London geography, but my sense is that the city doesn't have the same enclaves of deep, multigenerational poverty as, say, the South Bronx. Am I wrong?

Very much so. There are huge parts of south and east London that are desperately poor and have been forever. Hackney and Tower Hamlets are the poorest municipalities in the country.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:23 AM
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Y'all will be delighted to hear that the brave pro-hiding-a-gun-in-your-pants crowd were not deterred by the shooting and defied all common sense and good taste and held the lecture anyway. (Though they did move it off campus to a bookstore run by truthers. Also, the Federalist Society pulled its sponsorship.)

Ah, the indomitable American spirit.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:28 AM
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NH confuses me. Half the state is a suburb of Boston. It's not particularly religious. It's been a swing state for 18 years. Three-quarters of its Congresspeople are Democrats, at least nominally. And as for personal anecdata, my dad's family, generally pretty liberal (Doonesbury's Joanie Caucus reminds me of my aunts), is from New Hampshire and one aunt still lives there. I know the state attracts libertarians but I still just can't think of it as a right-wing enclave.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:30 AM
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105: it's been trending Dem and will probably continue to do so. On the other hand, that half the state you mentioned is really more of an exurb of Boston, and exurbs, even in Massachusetts, tend to be full of GOP-voting, SUV-driving types, it's got no urban areas not much of a working-class industrial base and very, very few non-white people, and it's attracted a huge number of libertarians relative to the total number of libertarians, so that's three-to-five people right there. Add in the odd smattering of reactionary rebebl bikers who came up for Laconia and took to it and it's not really a surprise that there's more of a wingnut base there than, say, hippie Vermont.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:44 AM
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Further to 103,

I expect London has enclaves of deep poverty that predate the founding of the US republic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:48 AM
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but I think you need to propose some pretty powerful mechanism to overcome an explanation that is both intuitively obvious and is borne out in real life experience.

I think what's obvious is in the murder rate stats by race.

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0301.pdf

Access to guns is not the underlying problem, and I continue to be amazed that gun control would be a priority for anyone looking to actually address crime rate and other quality of life issues.

The AWB came and went and didn't accomplish anything. And come on, waiting periods? People always throw out stuff like this but do we really think impulse legal retail gun sales are a driving factor in the murder rate?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:50 AM
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The AWB came and went and didn't accomplish anything.

You expect her to solve the whole problem by herself?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:51 AM
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the founding of the US republic

While perfectly accurate, this phrase sounds funny (funny "fuck you, former colonial overlords," not funny "ha ha") to my American ear. I guess we would say "American independence" or "the Revolutionary War."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:53 AM
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^ in that sentence


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:54 AM
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VT/NH is an especially weird divide in that the people on either side of the river seem pretty homogenous.

They like to shop at NH state liquor stores, for instance.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:01 AM
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99
I'm all for counter-intuitive explanations of social phenomena, but I think you need to propose some pretty powerful mechanism to overcome an explanation that is both intuitively obvious and is borne out in real life experience.

Culture? I know it's very risky to rely on that for anything and it's basically impossible to quantify, but it does seem relevant. Canada is another of those outliers like Switzerland. It has gun laws comparable to America, I think, but a murder rate comparable to Western Europe. Canada also lacks two very American things: a nearly permanent racial underclass (us Québécois have had our problems, but I have to admit it's not quite as bad as minorities deal with in America) and a national myth of cowboys as heroes.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:03 AM
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110: I guess the phrase sounds very Roman to me, and our founding fathers loved little better than mapping everything they did on to Roman precedents (e.g. GW basically choreographing his whole "No, no. I'm going back to my farm" dealio). But yeah, I would never say it either.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:03 AM
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re: 113

And a country settled by lots of Scots, who prefer to stab people or hit them with blunt objects?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:09 AM
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I think it's obvious thst massive reductions in the number of guns reduces crime. It's just that pesky constitutional right--we'd have to go around confiscating peoples guns to get to the Australia numbers or whatever, and that just ain't happening ever.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:10 AM
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Canada also lacks two very American things: a nearly permanent racial underclass

?


Posted by: Cryptc ned | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:14 AM
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I think it's obvious thst massive reductions in the number of guns reduces crime.

Sure, if we equate the crime rate to "number of people who get shot".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:16 AM
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118: Right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:21 AM
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113: Culture is a huge factor, IMO. The US has a very aggressive culture, as well as being very self centered. Combine that with wild west mythology and it's no surprise we're a violent country.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:24 AM
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It's just that pesky constitutional right--we'd have to go around confiscating peoples guns to get to the Australia numbers or whatever, and that just ain't happening ever.

Confiscation/prohibition is not the only solution. It would assumedly not eliminate intentional homicides, but a MADD-style campaign of firearms safety information and education might go some way to reducing "I know where my dad keeps his gun!"/"I just need to retrieve my inexpensive zinc-alloy pistol from the baby's crib"/"We've been out here for six hours, Cletus. Pass the moonshine"-type shootings.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:25 AM
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108, 109: I'M SORRY EVERYBODY. Jeez.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:28 AM
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121: you're holding up MADD as a useful model? Really?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:30 AM
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123: Note the studied omission of reference to the NRA and its putative Eddie Eagle firearms education mode.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:33 AM
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123: Sifu's more of a DARE kinda guy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:37 AM
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The Dems need to stay the heck away from talking about gun control.

It is a losing political issue, and just isnt much of a help in reducing crime.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:39 AM
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122: It's ok, AWB. We know you did your best.

We Americans are just too aggressive and self-centered, and your superbearpowers were no match.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:40 AM
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126: The Democrats have shown an uncanny, Adlai Stevenson-esque ability to make pretty much anything a losing political issue: free beer, two girls for every boy, that Republican candidate set his domestic workers on fire, etc., etc.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:41 AM
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125: DARE meaning Drug Acquisition, Receipt, & Enjoyment?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:42 AM
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101 and 108: Don't confuse my arguments with those of others. I'm talking about serious limits to gun access, not waiting periods or AWB.

116:It's just that pesky constitutional right ... that just ain't happening ever.

Plenty can be accomplished under the Constitution - even the Roberts Constitution.

But, yeah. It ain't happening. There was a time when serious gun law reform was possible, but that time has passed. As I said above, once the Overton Window moves sufficiently, we'll all look back and wonder why we were so upset about torture. Even if we're still a little disturbed about it, it just won't be worth fretting about because, hey, what are you going to do?

101: Wow, that's nutty (in the colloquial sense).

Well, at least you're not insisting that I'm nutty in the technical sense.

The current torture debate, while very important, isn't as important as a lot of other things. It isn't even as important as the government-sanctioned torture that has always been pretty routine in this country, and that is barely being debated at all.

U.S. gun policy has caused an enormous amount of grief. And there was a time when it was possible to talk about that grief sensibly. That time has passed, but I'd sure like to bring it back.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:42 AM
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I'm talking about serious limits to gun access, not waiting periods or AWB.

Jesus Christ. She's already apologized, pf. Lay off.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:46 AM
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128: Oooooh, speaking of which, Gawker says Meg Whitman's former domestic worker lady (she's Latina!) is scheduled to give a press conference from Gloria Allred's office at 11 am PT.

I am seriously excited for this.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:47 AM
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No offense intended to AW Bear. gswift and I are using a bit of jargon to discuss the failure of the Average White Band.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:48 AM
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Focusing on the homicide rate alone, while measurable, is a bad proxy for "violent crime" in general -- one thing I do know is that there's a fair bit of evidence that the UK has somewhat higher rates of overall violent crime, including rapes and assaults, than the US, though with a lower homicide rate. There are some intuitively plausible ways in which guns account for that difference (I don't think that e.g. fights in bars work the same way here as in Britain, in part because of the possibility that someone has a gun) but I think it's more likely based on culture, different kinds of criminal groups, and different police/sentencing practices.

In any case, I think it's clear that gun control as tried in the US has had very little effect on crime in the US.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:48 AM
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123: You would concede that MADD has been tremdously successful in passing their legislative agenda, wouldn't you?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:50 AM
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I don't know why you people are giving up on AWB so quickly. Don't underestimate 18th century British literature, even without rum and the lash.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:53 AM
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136: AHEM.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SODOMY | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:54 AM
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This map shows that culture and economics have a pretty big impact.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:59 AM
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138: it seems to track (with a couple of exceptions: New Jersey: The Safety State! New Mexico: You're A Dead Man!) pretty closely with this map. Violent crime per capita -- and optimally violent crime per capita mapped on a county-by-county level -- would be more useful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:04 AM
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138: I wonder why Mississippi is the regional outlier there. That's weird.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:17 AM
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132: Me tooooooo.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:19 AM
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140: no big cities?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:21 AM
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That is per capita. Or, rather, per 100,000 capita.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:30 AM
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My studious viewing of true crime shows on ID Discovery tells me that all murders take place in FL. Sometimes Cali, but mostly FL.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:30 AM
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Aha! More helpful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:31 AM
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I don't think that e.g. fights in bars work the same way here as in Britain, in part because of the possibility that someone has a gun

It's much more difficult to do that thing where you slide someone along the top of the bar in a British pub, because the beer pumps tend to get in the way. Also, European regulations have meant the virtual extinction of the honky-tonk piano player.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:33 AM
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My knowledge of violent / gun crime is negligible, although it does seem we have somewhat of a toothpaste and tube problem, so, you know, not the most efficient allocation of political capital. Also, I know this makes me sound completely crazy, but in the darkest years of W's presidency, I was genuinely happy that if there were going to be secret police at least they stood a decent chance of getting shot and waking the whole neighborhood.

But all of that was just really just an excuse to restate how excited I am for this Whitman press conference. I'm betting whatever horror story is told somehow involves her horrible, horrible sons.

Wheeeeee!


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:36 AM
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Although now that I'm compulsively refreshing Gawker in case they get any leaks about the Whitman thing before the press conference (what? I can't wait 2 hours, what are you, nuts?), there's this lovely tidbit:

http://gawker.com/5651057/elderly-chicago-woman-is-the-new-bernie-goetz


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:40 AM
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The Dems need to stay the heck away from talking about gun control.
It is a losing political issue, and just isnt much of a help in reducing crime.

Has a single Dem said anything about gun control in the last 15 years? This is like saying Republicans need to stop proposing anti-miscegenation laws. These battles have already been lost.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:42 AM
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145 to 144.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:45 AM
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It's much more difficult to do that thing where you slide someone along the top of the bar in a British pub, because the beer pumps tend to get in the way. Also, European regulations have meant the virtual extinction of the honky-tonk piano player.

On the other hand, I did once see someone get thrown through a Winchester pub's window, in stereotypical Old West bar brawl fashion.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:48 AM
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I hope it's a juicy revelation, but given that Allred's involved there's an about 85 percent chance that it's total and complete bullshit.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:49 AM
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re: 151

Yeah, I once saw someone get thrown _in_ to a shop window, on Falkirk high street, at New Year. He climbed out none the worse for wear, surrounded by shattered glass.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:49 AM
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148: This story, linked from the page you link to, has been making me crazy angry ever since I first heard about it. Throw the book at them. Hard time, no parole.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:55 AM
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152: Total bullshit and juicy are not mutually exclusive.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:56 AM
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148:

Margaret Matthews, a 68 year-old Chicago woman, was reportedly being "terrorized" by a group of middle school vandals in her neighborhood. So when one of them broke her window, she shot him. He's 12. She's already a folk hero.

WTF?! More: Elderly Woman Shoots 12-Year-Old Boy; Boy Is Charged With Crime, Woman Is Not

(All the articles describe her as "elderly." She's 68!)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:58 AM
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I wonder if the ubiquity of firearms has contributed to military-style police raids.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 9:58 AM
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154 is horrifying. I don't think this has been linked from here yet: Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project. I can't stand Savage, but it's a cool project. (Sadly, in light of this case, all the videos I've watched talk about surviving middle school and high school. It's assumed you're safe once you get out of that social setting.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:06 AM
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157: That's a common observation. In most cases, though, police raids on Jim's Meth Lab and Tom's Crackery don't encounter the Halo-esque armed resistance that SWAT weapons and armor imply. I wouldn't discount the ubiquity of guns, but I'd also glance at phenomena like generals wearing camouflage battle dress to meet the president in the Oval Office or on Air Force One.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:09 AM
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154 is evil and the scumbag roommate and his ladyfriend should be jailed. What horrible, horrible, little shits.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:10 AM
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I'd also glance at phenomena like generals wearing camouflage battle dress to meet the president in the Oval Office or on Air Force One.

Yes, indeed. It smacks of penis anxiety, dunnit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:10 AM
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159: I'm not arguing that it's a justified response. Swat tactics could easily be adopted in response to very few incidents.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:15 AM
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Wasn't there a shoot-out in LA years ago with some guys in body armor armed with fully automatic weapons that led to police forces loading up?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:19 AM
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162: I didn't take it that way. And I should have added that, on balance, presenting armed, violent criminals an overpowering and invulnerable arresting force may save lives in the long run; the problems arise when one drives the Ralph Lauren-branded Hotspur Hussar Stealth UniMog into some poor family's living room looking for an ounce of the heathen devil weed.

161: Most things men do smack of penis anxiety, typed the man.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:20 AM
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164: Well, sure, the Drug War is the bigger problem, increasing incidents and funding, but don't they need the specter of Scarfaces shooting up the officers to justify their behavior?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:26 AM
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Yes, the little shits in 154 are indeed fucking awful people who did an awful thing. I react with the same visceral anger to any reports of non-consensual sexual violation, which is exactly what this is. (I get so mad whenever a tv character's secret stash of sex tapes is a plot point, for example, because it's always treated as, like, minor bad boy behavior or something, and then I end up ranting about how everybody is fucking high and that asshole should be in jail, and about then I remember why it was sometimes a good idea for me to smoke pot, what with my blood pressure and all. But I digress.)

I can't help but think, though, that there's also the issue of being outed as a reason to kill yourself. Not saying one is worse than the other, just that they seem like distinct issues.

I have also noticed, being on just the older side of the "all of your life being on the internet since the age of 12" generational divide (how fucking glad am I that my adolescence has disappeared in all but memory? THANK FUCK), that the crazy young people seem to have seriously different ideas about what's acceptable behavior wrt to putting things on the internet, and privacy in general. I think they're completely fucking dumb, but they do seem to have a different set of expectations, and when I lecture them (I'm talking about cousins etc now) they look at me like I'm ranting about how if we fall behind in the Great Game the Hapsburgs will have access to all the trade routes or some such shit.

Until, of course, something like this happens.

What a horrible fucking thing.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:32 AM
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||

NMM to Arthur Penn.

|>


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 10:36 AM
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seriously different ideas about what's acceptable behavior wrt to putting things on the internet, and privacy in general

Welcome to the reality TV generation.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 11:00 AM
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phenomena like generals wearing camouflage battle dress to meet the president in the Oval Office or on Air Force One.

You don't have Friday casual at your office?

In reality, the military has been trying to cut down on the different types of uniforms needed for daily use. BDUs are now authorized as uniform of the day for most settings, whereas just a few years ago it would have been Alpha or Charlie.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 11:03 AM
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BDUs are now authorized as uniform of the day for most settings, whereas just a few years ago it would have been Alpha or Charlie.
I know Obama admitted using it in the past, but taking cocaine on Air Force One still seems like it would be a bit of a faux pas.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 11:07 AM
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Wasn't there a shoot-out in LA years ago with some guys in body armor armed with fully automatic weapons that led to police forces loading up?

I remember watching that on TV. Holy shit.

http://blutube.policeone.com/Clip.aspx?key=1719B9081DD0C329


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 11:15 AM
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BDUs are now authorized as uniform of the day for most settings....

1. Is meeting the president one of "most settings," or exceptional even for theater commanders?

2. Is the military under the impression that the class-A uniforms look too good or something? Haven't flashy uniforms and bristling cavalry whiskers* been part of military self-presentation until the post-colonial wars of counter-insurgency and decolonialization ruined everything?

(To quote Flashman: "Where would Flashy be without his tart-catchers?")


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 2:17 PM
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I don't know beans about London geography, but my sense is that the city doesn't have the same enclaves of deep, multigenerational poverty as, say, the South Bronx.

The typical social profile for most of London (and most British cities) is a lot of variance over not much distance. Where I live, one street north has an Aston-Martin owner, and a classic motorbike collector, and a typical upper middle class civic-action type. My street shows up on websites about gang territories, although there is no evidence of this on the ground. One street east, and you get regular newspaper reports about gangster shootings. Nearby is a council estate that is covered by Special Police Measures!!! according to the news but is actually mostly inhabited by bus drivers*, taxi drivers, and construction workers.

Regarding BDUs, there are a lot of people who are pissed off about being made to wear combats at the Pentagon, who think that it was an ideological move by Don Rumsfeld. do a search on "ACU site:turcopolier.typepad.com" to see what Patrick Lang and community think.

*600 of them


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 4:03 PM
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Is the military under the impression that the class-A uniforms look too good or something?

Three thoughts. First I think there was a genuine attempt to cut down on the expense of maintaining fourteen different uniforms. The Marines were going to have Dress Blues, some kind of modified uniform that kept the dress trousers and then BDUs. I know that when I was on active duty I had seven different uniform options not including BDUs, which I wore exclusively in one command and never again in another.
Second, there may be some kind of super secret psychological reason to have REMFs in camo. Makes them feel like warriors, or something.
Last, super keen uniforms have not been in vogue since the turn of the last century, what with the advent of machine guns and accurate artillery. Not being seen became the thing.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 4:31 PM
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The whole "we are all warriors" thing was a big factor. I have noticed at the Pentagon that a number of Army service members are now wearing the new ASUs instead of the ACUs. I recall that word went out that Gates wanted his military staffers to wear proper uniforms. Certainly something has changed. But not enough. I think a theater commander should wear a fitting uniform when meeting the commander in chief of the military. He shouldn't pretend that he just stepped in from the battlefield.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:13 PM
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a theater commander should wear a fitting uniform when meeting the commander in chief of the military

They certainly are dressed properly when they testify before Congress. Weird.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:18 PM
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I have noticed at the Pentagon that a number of Army service members are now wearing the new ASUs instead of the ACUs.

Yeah, I've noticed that as well. They look a lot less like they just rolled out of bed, and a lot more like flight crew for United.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:26 PM
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I'm fairly irritated at all the different types of uniform encountered. Guys. The word means something.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:29 PM
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And the ACUs are so baggy that the word fit shouldn't come near them. Actually, I am amazed that the Navy never moved to them for non-work details. They seem to have more officers with weight issues than the other services (even the Air Force!). The baggy uniform would help these marine (lower case) mammals.

I think the new ASUs look pretty good. They don't look like airline pilots to me. The return of the 19th century jacket is sharp. Now they need beards (except the women, unless they want beards too—I don't want to oppress anyone).


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:35 PM
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all the different types of uniform encountered

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:36 PM
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Ha. I'm still waiting to meet a NOAA officer so I can check them all off on my mental list. I already have the rare, but less so, USPHS officer.

Occasionally I have seen the French army officers in the building. Now there is a sharp service uniform.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:41 PM
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NOAA insignia look even more like Star Trek than does NASA

http://www.noaacorps.noaa.gov/about/insignia.html


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:55 PM
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A USPHS officer can perform a wedding, but only if the couple is quarantined without a judge or member of the clergy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 5:59 PM
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all the different types of uniform encountered

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard?

No, the baggies, the asus, the actual dress, the aviators with their flight suits, all within a single service. So lame.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 6:02 PM
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I am rolling here on pet peeves. So, the flight crew officers (many of them not pilots) wearing mechanics overalls. Pheh!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 6:42 PM
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And a NOAA officer can only perform weddings on an ark made of gopher wood.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 6:43 PM
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If you can't find gopher wood, I wonder if squirrel wood is close enough. It is apparently more common.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 6:49 PM
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Wow, that NOAA device (and the ones based on it) is different. It reminds me of a surveyor's mark, but even so…Trek.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 6:50 PM
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Also: emails signed "v/r" or "yours in service"


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:01 PM
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ooooooooh.

I had to explain the v/r recently to someone who joined DoD from another federal organization. I said it is a not very respectful way of saying Very respectfully. If they cared enough, they'd spell it out. I do. (I haven't seen the yours in service, thank goodness.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:09 PM
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Yeah, if you were so respectful, you'd just type it out mofo.

I get lots of emails not intended for me, since I have a really common name. There are dozens of me in the directory. A good half dozen with the same middle initial, too!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:13 PM
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f/u/c


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:13 PM
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feigning urbane comments?
Furries united in Christ?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:16 PM
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I think that's how d^2 signs off.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:19 PM
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Hey, crap.

f/y/c

Stupid reality TV generation messing me up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:19 PM
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I think that's how d^2 signs off. When he has time for catchphrases.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:25 PM
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Geez! I can hear the fireworks from the baseball game down here by the Arl/Alex. border. Must be the last home game.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:28 PM
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We had about 20 minutes of fireworks last night when the local team made the playoffs. Exciting!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:30 PM
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I just realized what Tweety probably meant. CLOWN, not C***. Though maybe he is just boosting Fine Young Cannibals.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:35 PM
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At first, I thought the fireworks were thunder. NOAA (see, it all connects) has forecast 1 to 2 inches of rain tonight for the DC area.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:36 PM
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200: Shower? I don't even NOAA!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:38 PM
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Possibly it is "feathered young chickens" or "fruity yahweh coolers"


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:39 PM
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North Carolina has been getting some bitchin' rain, apparently, but do we get to hear about it. No.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:41 PM
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200: Let it rain.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:45 PM
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I want to live blog the rain, but there is no rain.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:48 PM
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Nor here, just a couple exits south.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:50 PM
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I guess we're now live-blogging the not-weather. Whoo!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:52 PM
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No rain here, either!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:54 PM
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Our exciting lives (FMLC). Shortly, I'll not be live blogging sleep.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:55 PM
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I can't liveblog at the moment, because I'm not on a train.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:56 PM
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God yes, it has been pouring for days.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 7:59 PM
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I'm on a boat. (An ark?)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:04 PM
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212: With your swim trunks and your flippy-floppies?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:09 PM
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Actually, I rather like rain.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:10 PM
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213: arranged like flowers in a vase?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:11 PM
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I hope O'Keefe remembered, among the dildos and condom jars, to include a nautical-themed pashmina afghan.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:14 PM
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I remember an intramural indoor soccer team I played against in college was called "rum, sodomy, and the lash."


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:16 PM
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217: If only they had announcers at intramural games. "The Bears are being held to one goal by rum, sodomy, and the lash."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:21 PM
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Yeah. Tottenham recently played a club called BSC Young Boys or something like that (they play at wankdorf stadium). The commentary was priceless.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:23 PM
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God yes, it has been pouring for days.

Here, too. It's particularly jarring, because we were about to go into mandatory water restrictions.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:26 PM
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Who'll jar the rai-ain?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:33 PM
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It is not raining here. I'm catching up on the thread.

With the Daily Mail, I just grabbed the first Google link, because it's well known that among developed nations, strict gun laws correlate to a lower homicide rate. I think the Swiss are an outlier on this - with easy access to guns and low homicide rates - but I'm not really aware that there's a serious dispute about this overall. If you've got some statistics demonstrating otherwise, I'd be curious to see 'em.

I have no stats. I'm making a different argument, that the correlation is basically meaningless.

(One useful thing about limiting the conversation to homicides is that the statistics are pretty reliable, and pretty comparable. It's easy to count bodies.)

Agreed.

Whatever economic factors are involved seem to be overwhelmed by other factors. The U.S. is very wealthy, and as income inequality has increased, the murder rate has gone down.

This doesn't make any sense to me. There are many different kinds of economic factors. Even a very crude comparison of murder rates vs. unemployment rates could very well show an inverse correlation, regardless of income inequality. And of course, one confounding factor, notwithstanding our agreement above, is that better trauma care over the last few decades = fewer murders.

Recessions don't seem to have a large effect on homicide.

I don't have any idea whether this is true, but economic impact is sufficiently localized that I wouldn't believe almost any finding on this topic, in either direction, at the national level in the US.

Killing people is fantastically simpler with guns. You make something easier, you get more of it, all things being equal.

Indeed. Which is why Cyrus's point about "more total guns" seems key.

103, 107, 173: Thank you for remedying my ignorance. As I said, I really know almost nothing about London geography. I had a faint sense that the city proper was smallish and most of the very poor areas were technically outside it, but obviously that's wrong. I wonder if I was thinking of the financial district.

do we really think impulse legal retail gun sales are a driving factor in the murder rate?

No.

113, 120: I agree. The US is not uniquely belligerent, but we are an aggressive and individualistic culture, overall.

I wonder why Mississippi is the regional outlier there. That's weird.

Yeah, I went looking to see if MS contains one or more of the weird jurisdictions that refuse to participate in FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, but can't find any data that they do.

121: Yeah, periodically I think about whether there is an effective way to do this. Then I remember how this basically liberal crowd reacted to my musing about talking with the neighbor who has guns with small children in the house, and think: Nope.

There was a time when serious gun law reform was possible, but that time has passed.

I actually basically agree with you about the zeitgeist, but I still can't figure out what laws you think would have had a real effect in reducing the number of guns floating around in our society. Are you thinking world-class massive gun buy-back programs or something?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:34 PM
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...but I still can't figure out what laws you think would have had a real effect in reducing the number of guns floating around in our society.

I can't either. You'd have to get rid of the 2nd amendment and the 4th amendment to do that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:38 PM
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Recessions don't seem to have a large effect on homicide.

This may be masked by the fact that trauma medicine has been getting better much faster (partly thanks to the wars) than weapons have been getting more lethal. Especially the weapons available to the average crim. People are surviving today who would have been murder statistics 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. You wait until the National Railgun Association starts getting some stuff done, then the statistics will fall back into line again.

I'm fairly irritated at all the different types of uniform encountered. Guys. The word means something.

Turgid: you ain't seen nothing yet. Wait till you see the British Army, which has more uniforms than battalions.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:11 AM
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Has anyone else noticed that NOAA's logo rocks?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:29 AM
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Can someone explain why you'd need more than three uniforms (not counting camo alternatives)? Combat, everyday and dress.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:41 AM
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London doesn't really have a city proper, does it?


Posted by: David | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:55 AM
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Except the City of London, David. But that's basically just the financial district - aka the Square Mile.

Can someone explain why you'd need more than three uniforms (not counting camo alternatives)? Combat, everyday and dress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Army_Uniform

So you've got: ceremonial uniform for special occasions (receiving new colours etc); service dress, which is your business suit equivalent if you're important and/or work in an office; combat dress in various colours and types (jungle, temperate, desert, maybe urban and arctic too); mess kit, which is your black tie equivalent; barrack dress, which is your jeans and a shirt equivalent for everyday work; flight suits for flying in; boiler suits for fixing engines in; tropical variants of most of the above.

Not to mention, of course, that every regiment will have different headgear and belts, possibly several different types of each (beret, bearskin, forage cap, helmet, bush hat, Deputy Dawg Hat, Dangerous Brian Hat, woolly hat, lowa cap etc...)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 4:10 AM
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I still can't figure out what laws you think would have had a real effect in reducing the number of guns floating around in our society. Are you thinking world-class massive gun buy-back programs or something?

As I've said, there are a lot of societies that have this worked out. No reason not to look at what they've done. I'm not really familiar with comparative guns laws, any more than I'm familiar with comparative national healthcare, but we know other countries have made this work.

I don't get what Moby's talking about here. The Second Amendment, until very recently, was pretty much a dead letter. We've obviously entered into a new jurisprudential era, but there's no reason beyond politics that we can't go back. Certainly there's no reason we can't wish to go back, which is what this conversation is about since we all agree that the politics are cast in concrete.

Even with the Roberts court, you could, say, require every gun to be registered and impose large penalties for people whose registered guns are found in the possession of other people, etc. You could require serious training for anyone to get a license to own a gun. All guns and ammunition could be sold by the government, and all bullets could be sold only to registered gun owners.

I'm just brainstorming here. Get the political will, and you can sharply restrict gun use. The smarter move would have been to not let guns proliferate the way they have, but that ship has sailed.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:55 PM
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The Second Amendment, until very recently, was pretty much a dead letter.

Could you elaborate on this, because I genuinely wonder how anyone living in the U.S. could have this view.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:07 PM
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229: I was arguing that enforcing restrictions sufficient to substantially reduce the number of guns in the U.S. would require enforcement methods that go beyond what is currently considered a reasonable search and seizure, let alone the current interpretation of the 2nd amendment.

Your brainstorming list basically takes everything that was worked so well at stopping drug use and applies it to guns. I would expect a similar result, except even less successful since there are several hundred million guns in circulation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:18 PM
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229: Even with the Roberts court, you could, say, require every gun Communist to be registered and impose large penalties for people whose registered guns are found in the possession of other people harboring unregistered Communists, etc. You could require serious training for anyone to get a license to own a gun espouse Communist principles. All guns and ammunition political propaganda could be sold by the government, and all bullets materials for printing propaganda could be sold only to registered gun owners patriotic Americans.

There, fixed that so it would actually have a chance of becoming the law of the land.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:24 PM
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Works good with Muslim for Communist and Quran for propaganda too.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:25 PM
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Could you elaborate on this, because I genuinely wonder how anyone living in the U.S. could have this view.

Even under the Roberts court, there is not much of a Second Amendment right to bear arms. You can't buy Stinger missiles or tanks or whatnot, whether or not your militia wants them.

But before 2008, there was no right to bear handguns. Period. I don't know if anybody tried to challenge it in the interim, but DC's law was in effect for three decades before the Roberts Court ruling. There was never any legal controversy about the DC law and others like it because there was no question about the jurisprudence in that area. Even on the Roberts Court, it was a 5-4 decision.

IANAL, and here's a question I don't know the answer to: Pre-2008, when was the last time the Supreme Court overturned any gun restriction or prohibition based on the Second Amendment? Was there any Second Amendment jurisprudence that indicated that any restriction on arms sales was invalid? Ever?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 4:43 PM
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234: IANAL also, but my understanding is that the Supreme Court spent most of the twentieth century ducking the issue of what the second amendment really meant, leaving it up to partisans of both sides to assume or argue that their favored interpretation was correct. There was one significant 2nd amendment case in the twentieth century, U.S. vs. Miller, in 1939, which said that common use in a militia had something to do with what weapons were covered by the 2nd amendment, but that was about it. Douglas Linder (a law prof at UK law school) has more here and here.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 11:47 PM
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235: You say "ducking the issue," I say "permitting any kind of gun regulation." Tomato, tomahtoe.

Yes, the Supreme Court permitted assumptions and arguments to be made by each side - but that's the First Amendment, not the Second Amendment. I'm still wondering if there was a pre-2008 example of the Court using the 2nd Amendment to strike down a gun law. Certainly not Miller.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 6:12 AM
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