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Fri Sep 27, 2013, 04:26 PM

Why was the reaction to the Navy Yard shootings more muted than that of Sandy Hook?


http://www.democraticunderground.com/12593500


"I would have expected the Navy Yard shooting to cause more interest in discussing gun control. It appears to have petered out already."-- Skinner

This response from one of DU's Administrators was in answer to a query about the policy of allowing gun discussions in GD to continue. That is a topic for another time. But Skinner's observation is worth investigation.

I agree that there is far less interest in discussing gun control after the Navy Yard shooting. I offer some reasons why this may be the case, esp. in light of the Sandy Hook shooting.

1) The weapon used did not fit the narrative of gun-ban responses. Even though MSM in short order proclaimed the weapon to be an AR-15 "assault weapon," they had to immediately back track and correct themselves. Such a revelation was not only embarrassing to the media, it also effectively short-circuited the usual hard-wired responses. No resonant narrative, no uniform anti-gun message.

2) Politicians within the Democratic Party and anti-gun elements within the GOP (Brady Center) seem to have gotten the message about arm-specific bans and controls after watching the response to Sandy Hook when tens of thousands of citizens formed 'round-the-block lines at gun shows across the country, and ammunition seemed to disappear from the market. IMO, those long lines (along with some notable capitol grounds demonstrations) constituted in-your-face political statements more than paranoia about bans and response to market forces. Politicians noted who had the juice on this issue, and who did not.

3) There were no children or notable politicians or they're-just-like-me theater goers among the victims. That didn't make the killing of these civilian workers any less tragic, but again past narratives could not be relied upon. Further, the perpetrator did not fit the bill, either. He was black, and IMO, was not as readily subject to the easy condemnation and characterization as the usual perpetrators: White murderers. Discussions about his mental health and past run-ins with the law were and are more measured, and unlike the Sandy Hook killer, his family was not keel-hauled in public.

4) Perhaps most disturbing is a new (and false) myth: Mass murders are becoming more routine, and hence less subject to national "outrage." The myth is false since mass murders, while rising in the last year, are not very routine. But that does not make the myth any less powerful and convincing to many. Our culture has blended news with entertainment with celebrity, and has been doing so for years, now. Curiously, while celebrity is sought by those who have the best "voice" or play the best guitar or who kill the most people, the mass-celebrity model for any of these is breaking up as fast as mass media. Those who want to Be Somebody may find more markets for celebrity, but the audiences are shrinking and more fragmented. The community which legitimizes social and cultural values, popular entertainers and "stars," and steers the body politic toward widely-agreed-upon policies and actions is being replaced by an enveloping technological fog, at once alienating the more unstable among us and providing, in the case of mass killings, less and less "recognition." In short, Aaron Alexis is no Cho is no Charles Whitman. But the "style" they use has momentum, and many celebrities in far less malevolent undertakings cannot be accused of creativity and a new approach. So mass killings are likely to continue, though perhaps less frequently. After all, these hideous actions are styles, and subject to the same forces acting on dial-ups, rabbit ear T.V.s, and bell-bottoms.

________________


It is incumbent on those who wish to deal with the problems of mass killings to take a different approach. Inadvertent or not, with this latest killing the players in gun-control seem to have de facto taken a different approach. It shows: Where are the long lines at gun shows? Are runs on ammunition happening again? I think we know the answer to those questions.

The rhetoric of bans not only fails to address the problem, but severely divides Americans from each other, casting stigma on those who want to at least define the problem and see what can be done: Mass murders are quite different from the daily grind of nightly news murders, and approaches to one only occasionally overlap with the other. I don't propose to deal with new approaches in this thread, only to offer my views on the worthy observation by Skinner. I post here because the special dispensation toward gun topics in GD does allow gun threads which have major, national policy implications.

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Reply Why was the reaction to the Navy Yard shootings more muted than that of Sandy Hook? (Original post)
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 OP
Cali_Democrat Sep 2013 #1
geomon666 Sep 2013 #2
msongs Sep 2013 #3
stevenleser Sep 2013 #29
Bolo Boffin Sep 2013 #42
Posteritatis Sep 2013 #4
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #5
etherealtruth Sep 2013 #22
doc03 Sep 2013 #6
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #13
NutmegYankee Sep 2013 #14
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #15
NutmegYankee Sep 2013 #20
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #21
NickB79 Sep 2013 #37
doc03 Sep 2013 #24
NutmegYankee Sep 2013 #43
doc03 Sep 2013 #44
The Straight Story Sep 2013 #7
Kaleva Sep 2013 #17
thereismore Sep 2013 #8
Hayabusa Sep 2013 #27
Pretzel_Warrior Sep 2013 #9
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #12
IveWornAHundredPants Sep 2013 #33
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #39
Demo_Chris Sep 2013 #10
RedCappedBandit Sep 2013 #11
Jefferson23 Sep 2013 #16
stevenleser Sep 2013 #31
1-Old-Man Sep 2013 #18
AngryOldDem Sep 2013 #19
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #28
stevenleser Sep 2013 #32
NickB79 Sep 2013 #38
mythology Sep 2013 #23
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #25
DJ13 Sep 2013 #26
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #30
DJ13 Sep 2013 #34
Robb Sep 2013 #35
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #40
99Forever Sep 2013 #36
Incitatus Sep 2013 #41

Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 04:28 PM

1. Probably because little children were slaughtered at Sandy Hook elementary school.

That's probably why the reaction to Sandy Hook was less muted than the Navy Yard shooting.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 04:29 PM

2. "I would have expected the Navy Yard shooting to cause more interest in discussing gun control."

Because we know it won't go anywhere. Gun nuts on both sides have a virtual stranglehold when it comes to any sort of legislation on gun control and if you oppose them they'll call you a traitor and destroy your career.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 04:30 PM

3. because the military cannot even protect its own despite having armed guards? nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:30 PM

29. They dont have armed guards. Few if any people on military bases are armed at any given moment. nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #29)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 11:49 PM

42. I heard there was an armed guard here.

The shooter killed him and then took his weapon. That's what I'd heard. I don't know if this was retracted or not.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 04:31 PM

4. Perhaps one involving elementary-school children may have been a factor.

Also, outrage fatigue.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 04:31 PM

5. Because the NRA won, and we know we can't beat them.

That's the bottom line.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 07:34 PM

22. Yes we can ... it will take time, but we will

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 04:39 PM

6. I can't figure that one myself. When the gun laws actually

prevented it from being far worse. From what I have read he tried to purchase an AR-15
but was unable to because he had an out of state ID.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #6)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 05:47 PM

13. I inquired of this in the Gungeon...

I think CBS does not have it right, because ANY legal firearm not under NFA regulation must be sold/purchased in the same manner, be it handgun, rifle or shotgun. ATF has a different regulation for types not conforming to types I cited, most esp. true Assault Rifles (or machine guns in popular parlance), so the CBS story is very puzzling.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172132749

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 05:57 PM

14. 18 USC 922 bans sale of handguns to out of state buyers.

The handgun must be transferred to an FFL in the buyers home state to complete the sale.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #14)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 06:00 PM

15. So that leaves the question about the long guns up in the air.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #15)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 06:29 PM

20. It depends on the state.

CT requires a permit be obtained for all rifles or handguns. Requires a background check and a NRA style safety course (NRA named specifically by law).

The federal rule may have saved a few lives because the Navy Yard gunman wanted to purchase a handgun, but could not as he wasn't a Virginia resident. That left him with only a rifle to choose. He probably chose a shotgun over the AR-15 because he could saw it down and put it in a bag.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #20)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 07:33 PM

21. What I'm thinking. Shotguns can be as effective aso a pistol or rifle

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #20)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 11:11 PM

37. Minnesota requires a handgun permit to purchase an AR-15

Or any other rifle with a pistol grip (AK variant, certain Mini-14's, etc).

I wonder if Virginia is similar?

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #14)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 08:05 PM

24. The report I heard was he tried out an AR-15 but couldn't buy it

because Virginia state laws forbid sales of rifles and handguns but not shotguns to out of state buyers. That may be wrong but that was a report I saw on TV.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #24)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 01:47 AM

43. That report got retracted. There is no VA law on rifles. nt

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Response to doc03 (Reply #24)

Sat Sep 28, 2013, 12:43 PM

44. Since they are so damned expensive maybe he just didn't have the money. He couldn't

buy a handgun because of federal law, unless he picked it up in his home state.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 04:44 PM

7. It appears that the guy obeyed the laws already on the books

Up until he sawed off the shotgun to make it more portable (the law against doing that does not seem to matter to someone who is going to the use gun in other criminal endeavors).

Not sure what new laws would have prevented him from doing what he did, so not really sure what there is to debate. He had back ground checks, etc, so we can't blame laws or guns for what he did (and apparently we can't blame him either).

I am not even sure what is up to debate anymore - background checks by the states, most everyone is ok by that (vs the fed). Don't sell guns to people? Not going to happen. Why he went off when most people in the US don't and killed a bunch of folks? No one really cares why if it doesn't help promote their agenda.

We agree what he did was terrible, some are sure the cause was the very existence of guns, some that he had mental issues, video games, whatever.

He had a shot gun, which he illegally modified and used in an illegal way - so now new laws would have stopped him from doing what he was planning on (murder is already against the law) - he acted in a manner different than any of us have done or desire to do, and using him to demonize another group (gamers, islam, guns, mental health patients, etc) falls flat since the overwhelming majority of people in those groups don't do such things.

What is there to debate other than emotional attachment to an issue? He was bad, did a bad thing, is dead.

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 06:12 PM

17. The argument that better enforcement of current laws doesn't apply here

Not saying you say or have said such a thing but it has been argued by others that no new laws are needed as those in place are adequate but what is lacking is better enforcement of those laws.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 05:08 PM

8. Because after Sandy Hook we decided that even dead kids won't matter, why should some office people?

nt

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Response to thereismore (Reply #8)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:20 PM

27. Pretty much this.

I've pretty much given up hope on getting any sort of gun control passed because of what didn't happen after Sandy Hook and ~20 dead children.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 05:13 PM

9. We could also be suffering from massive shooting of the week fatigue

 

I think it is ridiculous to draw the conclusions you did.

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Response to Pretzel_Warrior (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 05:33 PM

12. What is ridiculous about my contentions & speculations?

Please note number 4 in my list, esp. the first sentence. This seems to be in line with your reason.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #12)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:34 PM

33. Well, let's see:

Asking the question in the first place is a little ridiculous. Why did people react differently to a dozen adults in a Navy facility being killed on the one hand, and twenty kids and six adults being slaughtered on the other? Really? You reacted to each event with the same cool equanimity, I suppose. No, I see you peppered your statement with some expressions of disapproval for gun massacres, and you used the word 'tragic.' Well done.

As to your other points:

1) People who don't like guns, such as myself, don't actually give a fuck what kind of gun it was. Your talk of "fitting the narrative" is meaningless. Whether it was a bolt-action ten gauge super-slider fast-action whizzbanger or Elmer Fudd's musket, there is still a gun problem in the U.S.

2) I'm sure you'll agree that the overwhelming majority of Americans who did not line up to purchase guns and ammo after the massacre were making their own political statement by refraining from arming up. Oh, you don't agree? Funny.

3) The people killed at the Navy Yard were just boffins, everyday people. They went to work in their office and they were shot for their trouble. So I'm not sure why you say they're hard to relate to. You seem troubled that Alexis has not been as "condemned" as the other recent killers, which is odd. He's been plenty condemned, and to the extent that he hasn't, it's because his particular insanity has been made much more specific: he was hearing voices and had very particular concerns. He was more obviously in a different reality than the others.

4) This is a particularly confused paragraph. As far as I can make out, you're angry that people should begin to see these killings as 'routine'? You can't deny that whenever it happens (which is more often than ever), people now go "Another one?", or that police departments are receiving special training for just such events now. And how much more routine does it have to become before you'll admit there's a problem, that there are too many guns out there and that they're insufficiently regulated?

You end with a heartfelt plea to take any condemnation of guns out of the equation. Talking about gun bans or presumably any sort of additional regulation divides the nation, so we'd best not go there! Why, it might cast stigma on that special subset of people who love guns but are still able to muster disapproval for the massacre of innocents. You hint that you want to "define the problem and see what can be done," but apparently until you can do so without risk of disapproval for your love of the popgun, you'll be at the range "plinking," or whatever.

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Response to IveWornAHundredPants (Reply #33)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 11:35 PM

39. One of the problems with reaction to killings is a feeling of moral high ground

that allows the easy condemnation of others when their outrage fails to meet the expectation of others. That alone can get folks in line.

You may not give a f--- about gun types, but those proposing bans sure do. It was the ban tactic of choice for months after Sandy Hook.

Politicians don't speculate on the influence of those who aren't in line, be it for voting or gun purchases. They DO pay attention to those who act. You agree?

"Hard to relate to?" Are you saying they were quite everyday for those in the Beltway? Perhaps. I don't consider their lives any less important than those of children, however. And I don't think Alexis' world was any more removed from reality than "others" like Lanza.

I think I dealt with the myth/reality of routine-ization clearly enough, and enough respondents here seem to agree there is a fatigue factor involved. Perhaps you disagree. Again, mass murders are different in character from other killings, and "too many guns" or 75% fewer is unlikely to stop these kinds of killings. Again, you may disagree.

See my post 28. Maybe that better sums up why for some the response to the Navy Yard killing was different. Do you agree? It goes to your main contention.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 05:14 PM

10. Dead kids. nt

 

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 05:32 PM

11. ahem

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 06:06 PM

16. Because our nation has not reached that magical number of fallen victims, yet. Someone

on DU remarked after this last mass shooting that it might take an entire town to be wiped
out before the NRA are defeated.

I think they might be correct, hyperbole aside.

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Response to Jefferson23 (Reply #16)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:31 PM

31. Sadly, I don't think one town would do it. nt

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 06:16 PM

18. The first few times you get a blister, but after that you get a callous and it doesn't hurt anymore.

We have become inured to the unnecessary deaths of our fellow citizens.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 06:25 PM

19. Learned helplessness? Sense of futility? Ennui?

I said to a colleague after Sandy Hook that, if that massacre didn't do it in terms of serious discussion and action concerning guns and gun control, then nothing would.

I'm being proven right. I don't know what it would take to spur action at this point, and furthermore, a part of me doesn't want to know.

This country just fucking loves its guns -- we are an embarrassment.

Also embarrassing is the reluctance to have a frank and honest discussion about mental health. Also an embarrassment.

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Response to AngryOldDem (Reply #19)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:27 PM

28. Curiously, a tenet of gun control is "more guns = more crime"...

I don't think that had been shown, but if one believes this in a genuine way, then it would behoove one to drop the subject of bans (as was done in effect after this latest shooting) lest the "proliferation" of weapons be exacerbated as was dramatically seen with the gun/ammo sell-outs earlier thus year.

That didn't happen after Navy Yard.

Strange and powerful political dynamics few expected.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #28)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:33 PM

32. The gun control tenet is "more guns = more gun deaths" and the stats all show that

this is the case with very few outliers.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #32)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 11:17 PM

38. The US as a whole is one huge outlier

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/07/181998015/rate-of-u-s-gun-violence-has-fallen-since-1993-study-says

"Firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011," according to a report by the federal , "and nonfatal firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011.


Gun deaths have dropped 50% in 30 years, and gun crimes 75%.

In that same timeframe, how many tens upon tens of millions of new guns were purchased to add to the few hundred million already out there?

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 08:02 PM

23. The problem with your premise is that there are those who want to prevent mass killings,

and there are those who don't. The NRA absolutely doesn't give a damn about mass killings other than as an opportunity to make money. There's a reason that Wayne LaPierre is going around saying that we need more people with guns, even though in this case, the guards with guns weren't able to stop the lone gunman. It's because it creates fear among those who are willing to support the NRA.

There are responsible gun owners who are willing to discuss restrictions and other measures, but the NRA and its ilk aren't willing to be involved in a reasonable discussion. One of the features of our government is that it can often protect the minority at the expense of the majority, even if that minority is incredibly tiny, like the 10% of people in the U.S. who don't support universal background checks.

Additionally there is mixed evidence on the incidence of mass shootings. The FBI definition, which is 4 or more victims of any crime, shows no increase, but if you exclude gang violence and armed robbery, there is a distinct increase in mass shootings. When I think of a mass shooting, I think of something like Sandy Hook, the Navy Yard or Columbine. One or two gunmen, usually mentally disturbed and not on drugs, attacking a large grouping of people.

So the only reason that it can be said that the level of mass shootings isn't increasing is because crime overall is dropping, not the sort of random mass shootings that we know as Sandy Hook, as the Navy Yard, as the Arvada movie theater. I think it's silly to lump gang violence and armed robbery in with random shootings. The drive to commit the crimes are so different that the same preventative measures won't work. You can't send an anti-gang task force to stop a lone gunman in a movie theater. You can't have detailed information on crime patterns to know that the next random mass shooting will be at the liquor store down the street that has been robbed 5 times in the last year like you can with armed robbery.



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Response to mythology (Reply #23)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:12 PM

25. You make some good points, but the OP was about the interest

level drop off for this latest shooting. I agree that measures for reducing "common" murders will differ markedly for those addressing mass shootings. I'm no fan of the NRA, but objectively, in the long run, there is no upside to ignoring mass killings. That group has a tiger by the tail, and cannot be seen as appeasing gun controllers, hence their backing off from UBCs they once supported. They fear a strengthened Gun Owners of America (far more militant) and newer more strident groups.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:17 PM

26. Because the "looming shutdown... be afraid!" serves the right wing MSM better?

Wouldnt want more gun control debate after another tragedy to get in the way of trying to force right wing fiscal ideals down the throats of Democrats in DC.

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Response to DJ13 (Reply #26)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:30 PM

30. I offer a different reason for lack of debate in #28.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #30)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:39 PM

34. That works too

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 10:41 PM

35. By design.

Right-wingers spook easily. Every mass shooting convinces them they need MORE guns, despite that being in no one's beat interest save those who manufacture them.

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Response to Robb (Reply #35)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 11:41 PM

40. "MORE guns" doesn't seem to be a big phenomenon this time. Why?

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 11:03 PM

36. What's left that hasn't...

.. already been said. Our politicians are all either bought off or spineless.

Human lives mean almost nothing to gunhumpers and the terrorist organization, the NRA.

Fuck them all.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2013, 11:48 PM

41. Par of it because it happened at a Navy yard.

We are so used to hearing about military personnel deaths, it's pretty much expected on a regular basis.

It reminds me of a speech from The Joker in The Dark Knight.

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