If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Body Count

On with the Body Count….

Charlie Pierce referred to it as a Cargo Cult of Weaponry.  That’s a good way to look at it.


On Monday, I was working with the FIRST Robotics team on shop and tool safety.  General rules to be safer, behavior, dangers, etc.  As a fellow mentor said, following every one of those rules will not make you SAFE, but WILL make you SAFER.  Power tools are inherently dangerous, and they need to be respected.

And even though our shop is not equipped with the greatest array of tools, it seems like the safety training we provided is still way beyond what is required for Americans to possess and believe they know how to use the most dangerous tool of all, a gun.

At Balloon Juice, a poster said that Americans are led to believe that guns win arguments, when what they do is END an argument. A distinction that is certainly lost on the gun fetishists and murderer’s lobbyists.  A gun will not make you safe; in fact, the gun rarely makes a person SAFER.  Rules for gun use do, however, have the potential to do so.  And national regulations have the potential to make everybody, including grade school children, safer.

And even though we were talking tools at the Robotics meeting, one of the more highly excitable students interjected during the quiz, something about using a gun as part of horseplay in the shop.

I immediately stopped the point I was trying to make, looked directly at the student and said “Thomas, if you or any one of the team ever brings a gun into this activity, we will have failed in EVERYTHING we are trying to help you learn.  It should go without saying that a gun is never allowed in the shop, or anywhere near the team.  And in fact, I personally will do everything in my power as a 3rd degree black belt to break both of your arms and take the damned thing away from you before you hurt anybody.”

I rarely use my experience as a black belt as a threat, but in this case I was trying to make the point that even joking about gunplay was inappropriate and dangerous.

And, of course, the Clackamas shooting was the next fucking day.

Seriously, America, the zompocalypse will be a step up for you.


Here are examples of the gun fetishist quick draw artistes:

Yeah, having these nimrods walking around armed at all times is going to make everyone safer.  These are the guys making the “armed society is polite society” argument.  Sheesh.

  1. Wow. That makes the mall thing in Portland seem like amateur hour. What will be next, a bazooka attack on the Happy Kids And Puppy Time parade?

    This country is sick. And fucked. Sickly fucked.

  2. The wingnuts have already started to weigh in – if those wussy 3rd graders had been strapped, all would have been fine, Peggy Johnson in Mrs. Whizzernuts’ art class would have double tapped him

    • Peggy Johnson in Mrs. Whizzernuts’ art class would have double tapped him

      Inappropriate as a joke is, I had an art teacher in junior high that I believe would have been able to do so, and probably would have kind of enjoyed doing it.

  3. if someone dares to tell me IRL that teachers need to be armed there’s gonna be some punching….

  4. Nick says:

    Fuck. Fuckety fuck fuck, fuck.

    Just… fuck.

  5. mikey says:

    Another goddam tragedy delivered by our insane national firearms policy. It obscures the daily and nightly drip-drip-drip of urban handgun murders and suicides, but it MIGHT just present an opportunity to try to get some real firearms regulations passed by a legislature altogether cowed by the opportunists in the gun business and the wackos who think any limitation somehow violates their rights, while they accept other reasonable regulations without a peep.

    The question is, if we can start a process that results in some genuine legislation, will it be some stupid, pointless, feel-good law limiting high capacity magazines (at least we did something!!) or will it be something that actually starts us on the long, painful road of making guns scarce and expensive, which will actually save some lives in the long run. This is classic America – a heavy political lift and a hard problem to actually solve, but we will look around, determine we are cold and solve the problem by pissing our pants. Ahh, now I’m warm – problem solved, right?

  6. Damn, you should change your name to Zombie Prophet McDonald… though predicting a mass shooting these days is not too difficult.

    How sick is our society when the “unthinkable” becomes a damn-near weekly occurrence?

    • I couldn’t even write a post about it. I had done all my screaming earlier in teh week. A title and two links, all I could manage.

      Oh, I mean, besides finishing off my Bryan Fischer and Wayne LaPierre voodoo-torture dolls. Now, where did I put those long pins….

  7. blue girl says:

    I watched the first video. I’m too scared to watch the second one.

  8. mikey says:

    Y’know, Z, I always find myself conflicted when the talk turns to increased training requirements for firearms purchases. There’s really no downside to it – to the extent a mandatory training/certification process incrementally makes the acquisition process slower, more costly and more difficult it’s clearly a good thing. Hell, we have a much stiffer training requirement for a drivers license than we do for firearms.

    But on the other foot, these murders and suicides are not accidents, the result of mis-handling or mis-using a gun. They are intentional, and strict mechanistic safety/handling training won’t really change the outcome when the silicon chip inside their heads gets switched to overload. And the most effective comprehensive safe gun handling training comes from getting your shit jumped by a grizzled old rangemaster (or the old shooter next to you on the range who might even be me). Once a retired drill sergeant/armorer explains the rules to you, I promise you will not soon forget them.

    But even beyond that, I have fairly extensive training. I have a laminated card in my sock drawer that says I’m a Gunsight certified tactical firearms instructor, and I have a fancy certificate somewhere around here that says I’m a certified “Three Gun Master”, which is pretty much the highest tactical honor you can aspire to. So if I go off the rails, as compared to some doughy white guy who shot his fancy gun once the week he bought it in oh seven and it’s just stood in the closet ever since, who’s going to murder more people in a shorter period of time?

    All in all it can’t be a bad thing at the margins, but it’s not much of a real solution, and we need to think about doing things that will make a real difference…

    • I wasn’t really calling for firearm training as a solution to mass shootings, mikey. more just riffing on the idea that I was training kids to be safer around tools, and that safety training for firearms is slightly analogous, except that the tools we were training on are designed to build things, and a gun is a tool designed to kill things.

      But there are also a fuck of a lot of shootings that happen because of sloppy safety. Shootings of family members. Kids getting a gun and taking it to school. stolen guns, even. Suicides.

      The reports are that Lanza did the shootings with his mother’s guns. Now, if she had stored them with trigger locks or in a gun safe, would he have been able to do it?

      • mikey says:

        Yeah – I get that, but it does come up with regularity. My hobby horse this time around is if the horror in Connecticut is going to open a political window for some kind of regulation, let’s make a real effort to do something that has a chance of making a difference…

    • the silicon chip inside their heads gets switched to overload

      Nice reference. i considered using that as the song title for this post.

  9. Was this lonked yet?

    Consider it lonked

    So let’s state the plain facts one more time, so that they can’t be mistaken: Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries, and in every other country, gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.

    The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, is of supreme value. Whatever satisfaction gun owners take from their guns—we know for certain that there is no prudential value in them—is more important than children’s lives. Give them credit: life is making moral choices, and that’s a moral choice, clearly made.


    • mikey says:

      Yes. Very simply, yes. It’s appalling that we are even considering their self-serving, nonsensical argument. Lower tax rates do NOT increase revenues. Carbon pollution causes global warming. And the cheap, immediate availability of firearms leads DIRECTLY to more gun murders. The American Political Right has always been willing to advance weird, impossible arguments to bolster their otherwise unsupportable positions, but it speaks even more poorly of Americans that these arguments are simply rejected immediately, out of hand. The UK had less than one hundred firearms murders last year. The US had ten thousand. How can ANYONE without an agenda seriously consider the argument that our lax firearms regulations are not the precise cause of that massive discrepancy?

  10. Mother Jones reports that in 61 mass shootings over thirty years, not a single one was the killing stopped by a civilian with a weapon.

    Not. A Single. One.

    Just shut up, a lot, you wingtards who say we should all be packing, that teachers should be packing.

    THERE’S your data point.

    • mikey says:

      Of course not. We have shootouts on teevee. They make for compelling drama. They are not a regular part of real life. Miami in ’86. North Hollywood in ’97. Extremely rare, and almost always involve law enforcement rather than armed civilians. Even Nidal Hassan shot forty people on an army base before anybody could put fire on his position. It’s a fantasy, offensive in it’s superhero-worship qualities and easily seen for what it is…

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