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It probably isn’t this bad, but I did get a good laugh out of this:

© August J Pollak



  1. Jeff wrote:

    The GOP and conservatives have been going out of their way to point out that the only people responsible for things like the tragedy in AZ are the perpetrators. Then they come out and attack the “Liberal media” for their role in influencing those same perpetrators. Hypocrisy much?

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  2. Mad Hatter wrote:

    How about the equivalence of Osama Bin Laden inciting terrorists aqainst U.S. citizens and officials vs Beck and Limbaugh inciting terrorists against U.S. citizens and officials? If you can get your mind to do the gymnastics to see equivalence between RW rhetoric and LW rhetoric, I don’t think you should have any problem w/Bin Laden and Beck/limbaugh equivalence.

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  3. Mad Hatter wrote:

    I just heard one of the Fox newscasters (app.1210 EST) say that Judge John Roll was just “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. WTF?!?!

    Did anybody else hear this? Was there something I missed that would make this sound any better? Jesus, these people are just unbelievable!!!

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  4. ebdoug wrote:

    What I find hypocritcal about the Arizona tragedy: Arizona will give guns to anyone including mentally unstable people. Then after failing to keep the guns out of the mentally unstable person’s hands, they invoke the death penalty. “Here is a gun. We reconize that you are insane but if you use the gun, we will kill you.”
    I’m glad I live in NYState with very strict gun laws. According to the Brady report, people with guns in their house are seven times more likely to be shot than people who don’t have guns.
    firearm deaths by state: (these are 2002 statistics, maybe someone else can find better ones)

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
  5. starluna wrote:

    The cartoon crazy person is right on one thing, but for the wrong reason. Those Democrats that complain about free trade agreements and the loss of union jobs but then buy their household goods, their clothing, and their other cheap stuff at Target are being hypocrites.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink
  6. russell wrote:

    EBDOUG, nobody “recognized” the shooter was insane and nobody with a documented history of mental health problems can buy a gun, even at Walmart. Nor do we want any political entity easily empowered to make that judgment proactively. We are better off dodging bullets.

    That statistical chart is firearm fatalities, not homicides. Suicides are much more frequent than homicides and men tend to use firearms to off themselves.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Permalink
  7. starluna wrote:

    Russell – Loughner’s lack of institutionalization is definitely part of the problem in AZ. Had he actually had a documented history of institutionalization, he may not have been able to get access to a weapon. There seems to be some uncertainty about whether people who are under treatment but not institutionalized for something like paranoid schizophrenia would be prevented from buying a weapon there.

    What do you mean by, “Nor do we want any political entity easily empowered to make that judgment proactively”? I just want to be clear about what this means.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  8. russell wrote:


    I believe politicians are more of a threat to the common good than guns are. Sorry I was unclear.

    Loughner personifies the worst possible antipated outcome for the 2nd amendment. The guy was clearly disordered, but with a squeaky clean record. Even so, it’s preferable to have a few undocumented nuts out there with guns than a few nuts deciding who gets to own them.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink
  9. starluna wrote:

    Russell – I don’t agree with that perspective. I’d prefer much better controls on access to guns. I will never get over the gun injuries and deaths that I saw on a regular basis when I worked in health care. I would like to believe that we can come to some consensus on ways to prevent repeats of the tragedy in Tucson but also the gun violence that more regularly occurs.

    Having known and worked with politicians that I agree and disagree with, I can’t help but see individual people I know when I think about “politicians.” They aren’t the Borg. Most of these are people whose motivations are, generally, not nefarious. There are exceptions, of course. Some are nutcases and some are truly on the take. But many are doing what they think is best, even if I disagree with them.

    Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink
  10. russell wrote:

    Then we agree to disagree. I suspect we are both familiar with the opposing arguments. I am of the no infringed right without due process ilk.

    But stuff like mixing suicide and homicide statistics is misleading. National violent crime incidence is down, as are homicides in states which have allowed conceal carry. I think the latter outcome has surprised everybody, including proponents.

    Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  11. starluna wrote:

    From a legal perspective, due process is characterized by careful deliberation, which I think we could try to do when it comes to gun control.

    You are right that violent crime is down dramatically, which is something to celebrate. It should also provide pause to those who believe that they need a gun for personal protection.

    However, I should warn that even those statistics are misleading. The reduction in homicides is largely an artifact of better medical care. In short, we are better able to save people who have been shot. More importantly, at least in our inner cities, the violent use of guns has been increasing steadily for at least 5 years.

    Accidental gun injuries have remained stubbornly flat for at least a decade in MA. And we are a state that has very strict gun control laws. Perhaps this is a floor of “expected” gun accidents. But we also used to think that a 9% unemployment rate was the floor too.

    Nationally, the picture doesn’t bode well on accidental gun injuries. After a four year decline, gun injuries began to creep up again in 2007, with dramatic year to year increases occurring in both 2008 and 2009. All of the evidence I’ve seen so far indicate to me that 2010 will show equally large increases in accidental gun injuries.

    Careful deliberation requires that those of us who aren’t enamored with guns be reasonable about their ownership. I am not all that enamored with Fluffer Nutter either, but I’m not about to say that you should be prevented from buying the stuff. But I would say that it would be reasonable to prohibit public schools from serving it regularly in the free and reduced school lunches.

    Careful deliberation also requires that those who feel very strongly about gun ownership acknowledge that reducing gun injuries and deaths is a worthy goal and that there are reasonable policies that can be put in place to get there. For example, focusing some controls on access to automatic weapons or high capacity bullet clips might be a reasonable first step.

    Monday, January 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
  12. russell wrote:

    Luna, your arguments are compelling, BUT any right to Fluffer Nutter is not mentioned in our constitution. Automatic weapons are quite well-controlled. I don’t know if clips matter so much, Pandora’s box has been open a long time.

    I’m too tired (lazy) to search DOJ stats, but I thought shootings were down. I know you’re right about injuries being more survivable. How do you feel about swimming pools? I know they cause more accidental deaths for children than guns ever have. No constitutional issue there either.

    So, when a psychopath starts shooting into a crowd, when does it end? When another guy with a gun shows up, no?

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 1:20 am | Permalink
  13. starluna wrote:

    Russell – If you were in MA when the bill proposing to limit Fluffer Nutter sandwiches in public schools came up, you would have thought that it was specifically mentioned in the state constitution.

    Keep in mind, it wasn’t a person with a gun who tackled the Tuscon shooter. And frankly, if a gun is going to be involved, I’d rather have someone who is trained to shoot, regularly practices shooting, and trained to handle that kind of stressful situation involved in taking down someone shooting into a crowd. My younger sister used to be a weapons trainer in the Army. From what she’s told me, there is nothing worse than these young idiots who play to many video games going in guns a-blazing into an urban area. She trained her soldiers to shoot only when you have to and when you’ve got a clear shot. She is very proud of the fact that none of the soldiers she trained were ever involved in any of the problematic missions where civilians were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. If all gun owners were trained by my sister, I’d probably be less concerned about people walking around with guns. (She is also a fabulous dog trainer; must be the drill sergeant in her.)

    With regards to pools, many states have strict rules about having gates, locks, and other physical barriers when a pool is installed. I know in both CA and MA, even above ground pools have to be installed using properly licensed contractors and you have to have an inspector sign off on it. Like most people, I think that reasonable efforts that can be put in place to reduce preventable injuries deaths should be considered acceptable, including those related to pools.

    I was looking up the numbers last night on WISQARS (CDC’s data system). Unfortunately, shootings that result in injury or death have been increasing. This shouldn’t be surprising because gun purchases skyrocketed in 2008 and 2009, and apparently are doing so again. More guns out there increases the risk of the gun being used. Or the gun being stolen and used by someone else. Add an economic recession and it’s a perfect storm for preventable injury and death.

    The claim that automatic weapons are well controlled is not supported by the evidence. First, there are no federal controls on access to automatic weapons. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004 and has not been renewed. Even when AWB was in place, manufacturers developed modifications to get around the rules. Any controls that exist now are those put in place by the states. Many states, including AZ, do not treat automatic weapons differently than regular pistols. Here in MA, according to our police, the majority of guns used in violent deaths are automatic weapons purchased legally in neighboring states with less restrictive gun laws.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    I appreciate this discussion. Too many times discussions about guns are way too polarized — “ban all guns” versus “any restrictions on guns violates the constitution”. Just as there are limits on free speech, I think it would be possible to come up with reasonable restrictions on guns that would reduce deaths while preserving essential rights. Thanks for providing facts for that discussion.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
  15. russell wrote:


    LOL @ Fluffer Nutter. Got to admit I don’t even know what it is.

    Well the NRA folks agree with you on training. States with concealed carry permits require training AND have zero tolerance for drugs/alchohol when carrying.

    The other arguments become hypothetical when millions of guns are already out there. It is what it is.

    I’m not sure you understand what an automatic weapon is. Heck yeah they are controlled! You need a special FFL permit to own one and you are in BIG trouble without it. Prison time. Most gun dealers won’t touch them. It is true you can buy modification parts to make most assault rifles full auto, but shoot one and see how long it takes ATF to knock on your door.

    From Whitman to Loughner, I can’t think of anybody going nuts with an automatic weapon. There are many examples where another citizen ended these ordeals by returning fire.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  16. Starluna wrote:

    Fluffer Nutter is basically like peanut butter made entirely out of marshmallow, if that makes sense. It’s nothing but marshmallow. I like marshmallows myself and am a big fan of peeps. But this stuff is too much for me. And, as the Fluffer Nutter controversy taught me, the stuff is as sacred as the cod here in MA.

    You are right that I misspoke. I am thinking mainly of semi-automatics and guns modified to behave like semi-automatics. I was thinking about the category of guns in terms of their loading mechanism, not in terms of their firing capacity. In short, I know that machine guns are generally controlled, although apparently there are several gun shows in NH where you can find one cheap.

    I simply don’t believe that putting reasonable restrictions on access to guns in place would have no effect. Yes, there are millions upon millions of guns out there. But we don’t have to put out any more with wild abandon. We can choose to go down a different path.

    You know, the same argument that there is so much out there that nothing can be done was made with lead paint too and eventually we managed to get it off the market. We still have problems with lead paint, but the problem would be so much worse if we didn’t ban the stuff.

    Monday, January 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  17. starluna wrote:

    Oh wait, that was not Russell who made comment 16. That was me. Sorry about that Russell.

    [Are you trying to completely confuse us? I changed the author of comment 16 for you. –iron]

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  18. starluna wrote:

    One of those nights, I guess. Thanks for making the correction.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink