cross posted from Penigma.blogspot.com
There were six mass shootings just in the month of July this year, and another one in the first week of August, by a right wing extremist attacking a minority religious group.
assault style weapon and large capacity magazine; July 17, 2012: 17 injured in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, attempted murder of an 18th legally purchased military assault style weapon used;
July 11, 2012: 4 children were shot while they played in a Chicago, Illinois park
July 9, 2012: 3 dead, including 1 child, 2 wounded in a Wilmington, Delaware park
July 6, 2012: 3 people were wounded in a Chicago, Illinois shooting
July 2, 2012: 1 killed, 5 wounded at a party in Seattle, Washington
July 1, 2012: 1 dead, 2 wounded in a Chicago, Illinois shooting in a public park
Planned mass shootings imitating the Aurora Colorado shootings, (as distinct from any other planned mass shootings) which were thwarted (NOT an exhaustive list):
July 27, 2012: Neil Edwin Prescott, Maryland, made phone threats intending a mass shooting
2 dozen weapons, including assault style weapons, thousands of rounds
July 24, 2012: Timothy Courtois attended a Bat Man movie showing while armed, identifying himself
weapons appear to be a mix of legally and illegally acquired;
Man armed with gun, knives entered Ohio theater showing Batman movie, police say
Fanatics who distort the 2nd Amendment fear that if we restrict dangerous people from acquiring and carrying firearms, either open or concealed, that there will be a terrible, horrible, frightening assault on freedom and civil rights, as distinct from the terrible, horrible, frightening assaults on the lives and bodies of actual Americans and others in this country.
These 2nd Amendment fanatics equate more guns with more freedom, regardless of the actual decrease in safety, and therefore freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A right to SAFETY, not lethal force or vigilanteism, is part of the more recent progress in our understanding of civil rights, as reflected in the 3rd right of the Universal Declaration of Rights. The same 2nd Amendment fanatics also tend to have an inaccurate knowledge and distorted understanding of the origins of any right to self defense and castle doctrines in western European law and philosophy. In support of the maximum possible sales of firearms and ammunition, these 2nd Amendment, mostly extreme right wing fanatics also seek to restore the rights to firearms to convicted felons, even those who committed multiple crimes of violence with firearms, and who have known problems with violence. These criminals have a poor track record with responsible firearms ownership, and frequently commit additional crimes of violence in the community.
There is in fact, NOT a demonstrable problem with voter fraud, but conservatives want to deny millions of LEGAL voters their right to peacefully engage in the most fundamental exercise of civil rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution, and by our respective state constitutions. There is no factual basis to their fears, they can find no instance of voter fraud, or altered election outcomes from voter fraud. Conservatives oppose felons voting, or having their voting rights restored, despite those people having concluded their sentences – a position held despite every indication that when former felons – felons who have completed their sentences – DO vote, they are far more likely to become productive citizens who do not re-offend. This is a fantasy fear of voter fraud on the part of conservatives. What they REALLY fear are losing elections where legal voters don’t like their candidates.
It is quite common for the conservatives to point to the Coleman / Franken race; but the only instance of voter fraud in that election was a Republican who committed voter fraud for Coleman and McCain. There IS no investigation whether conducted by conservatives, liberals, neutral academics, or bi-partisan organizations like the MN County Attorney’s association which has EVER found a problem with fraudulent voting in elections. Zero, zip, NONE. But it is a terrible fear, and the further to the right the individual, the greater that unfounded fear. They don’t need facts, they are not persuaded by facts; they hold tightly to that fear with both hands intransigently, no matter how overwhelming the evidence is to the contrary.
They WANT to believe their fantasies, so facts are irrelevant – they’re conservatives! Ideology replaces critical and analytical thinking, and induces them to not only ignore facts, but to actively oppose them. This is the basis for my regular assertions that the more to the right a conservative is, the more they tend to have broken with objective reality.
In contrast, these same conservatives push for former felons, who are likely to be dangerous, to have their firearms rights restored. There is an entire legal specialty that has grown up around it, in spite of the clear pattern of harm and danger and violence that results from it. These are often NOT good candidates for firearms rights to be restored. NOT giving felons legal access to guns reduces subsequent crimes by 20 to 30 percent.
Individuals convicted of crimes, even nonviolent misdemeanors, are on average many times more likely than law-abiding citizens to subsequently commit acts of violence.
So long as we have conservatives, especially the Republican, Libertarian, and Tea Partiers who are veering further and further to the right, and increasingly abandoning any connection to thinking based on facts, in favor of beliefs and fantasies and just plain delusions, in wanting to push for more lax gun laws but more restrictive voting laws, we will continue to have more violence, but far less freedom.
We will have, courtesy of the right, an intentional abandonment of the fundamental premise of self-government, representative government, and one man/one vote, in favor for armed criminals with assault weapons. God forbid we give civil rights to people who are same sex oriented, or allow minorities, the military, the elderly and students to vote without onerous obstacles, even though we have more than adequate safeguards in place. But suggest that we return to ‘may issue’ where there was not a problem with 2nd Amendment reduction, and there WAS a huge reduction in gun violence, or suggest that we restrict criminals, dangerously crazy people, domestic violence perpetrators, stalkers, or drug users from obtaining firearms legally and easily, including assault style weapons and expanded capacity magazines — things which make ALL OF US LESS SAFE AND LESS FREE — and you will have the 2nd Amendment conservatives dementedly foaming at the mouth.
They can’t demonstrate that anyone is improperly denied firearms under ‘may issue’. The statistics are clear – shoot first laws result in an increase in homicides, but no reduction of crime. Lax gun law states have far more gun violence, both non-fatal and fatal shootings, as well as more suicides with firearms and far more accidental shootings, especially of children. There is ample documentation that conservative gun law changes have produced serious injury and fatalities, but they don’t care.
We need to hold conservatives to facts, we need to vehemently and legally oppose conservative delusions of ideology, and to force them through reason to return to objective reality. Because they are increasingly becoming more extreme – and more dangerous to all of us, including themselves. Their fears are misplaces, their terrors of others are wrong, and they have lost the ability to reason. Facts are their enemies more than any criminals who might harm them.
Facts should be their friends, if we can stop their dementia. But until the right returns to sanity and factual, objective reality, we have to stop their efforts to endanger us all. We have to step up and confront them on their lies and factual inaccuracies about the Constitution, their failed gun culture, and their failed ideologies. Our ACTUAL freedom, and our very lives are at risk from conservatives, their politics and legislation. We need to deal with the real world, and we can begin by learning the lessons of facts, and making responsible changes, including emulating what has worked in the rest of the world.
The answer is fewer guns, less violence, less groundless fear, less right wing extremism, and more voters participating in representative government. THAT would make us all more free, and be consistent with the U.S. Constitution. We should renew the assault rifle ban, and ban expanded capacity magazines, and give felons the ballot, but not guns and bullets.
Ballots are not the risk; bullets are.