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The NRA Bait and Switch (plus Tweets)

Since the horrific killings of Eli Clayton (21) and Taylor Robertson (27) (pictured left) at a gamer tournament in Florida, the media is full of stories about the problem with video games. We’re being led to believe that it’s gamer culture that’s the issue here. That, apparently, is what led to 24-year-old David Katz opening fire on fellow gamers, killing two and wounding eleven others. I think that’s just the NRA getting the focus off the real problem: the guns themselves.

I just don’t buy that video games are what made Katz a killer. If anything, I think they’re an outlet for (especially, but not exclusively) young men. The rise of video games correlates with a fall in youth violence, and it’s possible there’s a connection.

The stories all start with how big the gaming community is. A billion people watch top tournaments. That’s multiple times any Superbowl. I don’t see anyone blaming football or any other sport for violence away from the game. But suddenly we get one death, and all of a sudden the focus is on how terrible video games are.

But interviews with other leading gamers, as well as other comments tell a different story in my judgement. Commentators are quick to point to the loneliness of gaming. But the gamers in TV interviews said there was great camaraderie between the players. Katz always kept himself separate from the others and wasn’t part of the normal culture.

Cartoon: NRA - Video games cause gun deaths

Katz’s Mental Health History

What seems clear is that Katz has a history of mental health issues. Of course, most people with mental health issues are a bigger danger to themselves than anyone else, so we must be careful here. He has been an inpatient, and there are unconfirmed suggestions of self-harm. If that is the case, he should not have been able to buy a weapon. However, this is the USA, and so this young man bought a gun with ease. Apparently it’s the responsibility of the buyer to voluntarily tell the seller if they have mental health issues that mean they shouldn’t own a gun!

Most gun deaths in the US are the result of suicide. Mental Health professionals tell us that if people try to kill themselves and fail, or cannot find an easy way to die, most often they can be brought back from that dark place. But if they have a gun, there’s a pretty good chance they will be successful. Thousands of people die in the US each year that might live, just because they have easy access to a gun.

What Causes Mass Shootings (According to the NRA)

Whenever there’s a well-publicized shooting in the US, those who support the idea that everyone has the right to own any sort of gun begin the Blame Game. Leading the Blame Game is the NRA, who feed the Blame Game machine.

Mass Shooting Cycle cartoon

What causes mass shootings? The NRA has the answer ready when people inevitably ask that question. The reasons they provide are:

mental health issues
violent movies
violent video games
no religion in schools (specifically Christianity of course!)
single parent households (specifically single mothers)

The problem with these reasons is that they exist in every other culture in the developed world. Many of us have a very similar culture to the US, but we don’t have the same issues with mass shootings. In fact, the rest of us don’t have the same issue with shootings of any kind. The only real difference between the US and the rest of us is the availability of guns. And sometimes, even that isn’t the problem. Canada has just as many guns as the US. However, they don’t use them to shoot themselves or each other at the same rate as their neighbours south of the border.

Why Doesn’t Congress Change the Law?

I have literally hundreds of cartoons and memes in relation to guns and the USA. The standard line of those that support the idea of everyone being able to have a gun is, “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.” Therefore, of all of them, I think this one is the best:

Why more guns isn't the answer.

The whole situation around guns in the USA is one that baffles me. There are surveys that show more people think there should be universal background checks than like kittens (!!!), and still Congress fails to act. There’s a good reason for that of course: money from gun manufacturers channeled through the NRA. That money is then spent both on huge donations to political campaigns and advertising against candidates who don’t toe the NRA line.

There’s a lot more I could write about this. However, I’ve written a lot about it in the past, and I will again in the future. This time, I’m just going to let a few of the cartoons and other pics from my collection do the speaking.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Political Tweets

President Trump’s claims that there’s a Google conspiracy against him and all bad news about him is fake news gave fodder for this excellent cartoon …
(Via Ann German.)

 

An excellent message!!!
(Via Ann German.)

 

It’s getting worse, and it’s about time. Trump’s Teflon coating cannot last forever. There will always be a few conspiracy theorists that think he’s great, but that number will deflate quickly once the reality of his character is exposed. Many of his fans already know what he’s like and only approve of him because he’s doing what they want like putting an ultra-conservative justice on the Supreme Court. They’ll judge him wanting like only a Good Christian can when the time comes.
(Via Ann German.)

 

It looks like the “monkey” comment of Ron DeSantis is the racist comment many of us took it for, and not the accident his supporters claimed. (Of course, Laura Ingraham thinks DeSantis should get an apology!) His Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, looks to be an outstanding candidate, so I hope he gets the win he deserves.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Robert Reich’s Rules for Dealing with Trump

These were in a video from Reich I posted on Facebook a while ago.They’re worth repeating.

(Via Ann German.)

 

Legal Tweets

This is excellent news following excellent work by the New York Attorney General.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Economy Tweets

This makes interesting reading.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Children Tweets

I’ve succumbed. I swore to myself that I’d never put up a video of kids doing funny stuff for multiple reasons I won’t bore you with. But Ann German sent me this one, and it’s too cool not to use.

 

Environment Tweets

You may have heard about the red tides in southern Florida recently, causing algal blooms, shellfish poisoning, and mass fish deaths. The reason for much of this is the appalling environmental policies (or lack thereof) backed by Republican politicians. Most recently, the worst offender has been Rick Scott, who comes up for reelection this year. The video at the link is 9:23, and is worth watching if you have the time.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Cool pic.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Only in America

So I posted this tweet:

 

This was one of the responses. Un-fucking-believable. SMH.

 

Other Apes Tweets

This is cool. (“My” cat reacted to the noises the chimps were making. She doesn’t react to human voices from the computer or television, but she does respond to babies and any animal noises.)

Also, if you aren’t already, I highly recommend following Amy Carparelli on Twitter for more great animal videos.

 

Marine Tweets

A crab doing its sideways-shuffle thing.

 

🎶 Shark Attack! 🎶 (A song from my youth!)
(Via Ann German.)

 

Other Animals Tweets

A laid-back Capybara …

 

Bird Tweets

Way to blend in!
(Via Ann German.)

 

Cat Tweets

Awww …

 

Cute kitty …

 

I’m not even going to ask what’s going on here!

 

But it’s not the only one!

 

It appears to be kitten season on Twitter.

 

Learning to play the drums, sans drums.

 

And how’s this for a cool cat?!

 


 

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24 Responses to “The NRA Bait and Switch (plus Tweets)”

  1. Steve Ruis says:

    The reality is that the discussion is vastly off center. The purpose of a gun is to facilitate killing. Imagine a deer hunter with a spear. It has been done but almost no one does this any more.

    Knives are made to cut things and have many uses, and can be use to kill. Baseball bats are made to hit baseballs with but can be used to kill. Guns are made to facilitate killing things and ancillary uses have been devised but that is their primary purpose.

    Imagine what would happen to the violent death rate in this country if guns could not be used for that purpose.

    The argument “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is correct but it applies to knives, baseball bats, poisons, and every other means of killing someone. The real issue is that guns faciliate killing as their primary purpose.

    • I agree completely, and say similar things when this argument is used. One of the items that can be used to kill is a car or other motor vehicle, and look at all the requirements around driving, and what happens when you break the rules. For example afaik, California is the only state to make the effort to actually take away your guns when you’re convicted of a crime.

  2. Jeremy Bittles says:

    FYI, Canada has about 1/3 the number of guns (per capita) of the USA.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_number_of_civilian_guns_per_capita_by_country

    I would suggest one of the big differences between the US and Canada is Canada has country wide regulations and background checks, safe storage laws, police in Canada take even small firearm violations seriously. If you don’t lock up your firearms and your child gets them, even if the child doesn’t shoot someone, if you get caught you are in serious trouble. Unlike much of the USA where even if children shoot themselves or someone else, often nobody is charged with a crime.
    There appears to be very little culture of responsibility surrounding firearms in the USA. They often talk a good game but when it actually comes down to brass tacks firearm incidents in much of the USA are treated with kid gloves.

    In Canada you cannot carry a firearm just because you want to. You can only carry it to and from hunting and the range and it must be unloaded and locked up.

    Unfortunately Canada does have a problem with illegal guns which are used in about half of all shootings. I’ll give you two guesses where they come from.

    This is a link to an American who has written a number of essays on America’s gun problems:
    http://www.stonekettle.com/2018/05/bang-bang-crazy-part-14-cowardice-of.html

    Quote:
    Responsibility is about accountability.

    We used to teach that to Navy leaders when I was in uniform. Authority. Responsibility. Accountability. When that ideal declined, so did Navy leadership.

    You can’t have responsibility without accountability, to yourself, to authority (whatever that may be), to society (however you define it). That’s what law is.

    But … well, it’s funny, isn’t it? Whenever you mention accountability, the gun fetishists – the very people who angrily rush to assure you just how responsible they are – begin screaming that you’re trying to take their guns away.

    “Everyone has moments where they are irresponsible or could have been more responsible.”

    Always, it comes to this argument.

    Always, every time. They always arrive here: you just can’t expect someone to be responsible all of the time.

    And yet, that’s exactly what we do expect, from the guy driving your kid’s school bus, from surgeons, from airline pilots, from the military, from the courts, from our leaders, from the guy who operates the Staten Island Ferry and the cook who’s supposed to wash his goddamned hands after taking a shit. We not only expect these people to be responsible every single time, we demand it under penalty of law. Every single time. Because failure of responsibility for even a second can have serious consequences. And you’re going to try and tell me that guns should be regarded as any less of a responsibility?

    Please.

    Everybody has moments where they are irresponsible, Tony says. Yes, and if you have a moment of irresponsibility that results in the death of another, we call that manslaughter. And it’s illegal. And you’re held accountable. And you go to jail. I mean, are you seriously suggesting to me that a parent who “has a moment of irresponsibility” and leaves their baby in a locked, sealed car on a hot day resulting in that child’s death should be dismissed with a shrug and an “oh well, she didn’t mean to kill the kid. Shit happens! People can’t be responsible all of the time.” Hell, we’d hold that person responsible for their criminal irresponsibility if they left a fucking dog in the car.

    And here you are trying to tell me that guns should be held to some lesser standard of responsibility?

    Come on.

    Why is it that supposed “responsible” gun owners always – always, every goddamned time – argue so strenuously and so ridiculously against actual responsibility?

    Why?

    End quote

  3. Randall Schenck says:

    Sorry about that empty comment. I was simply attempting to fill in the name and email info and it submitted ?? I did not know it was loaded. Sound familiar?

    Anyway, you cover the gun issue very well and show how the NRA and gun lovers lie and make up excuses for their profession. By profession I mean their way of making money. The NRA and the pathetic culture we have in the U.S. concerning guns is a great example of how money has taken over our politics and government here. Special interests rules and nothing else matters. We could probably kill twice a many humans with guns than we do currently and still, nothing would be done. Then add in the numbers killed due to lack of health care and it just adds up to our form of population control in America. It is all wrapped up in the new American way.

    • A large proportion of the cartoons etc I have is related to politicians receiving donations.
      I didn’t include any of them in the slide show, but it’s obviously a huge issue.

      Because of, I believe, things like gun deaths and lack of health care the US life expectancy is significantly lower than that of other developed countries. It starts at birth where the maternal and neo-natal death rates are the highest in the developed world and by a long way. We watch US tv etc and maternal and neo-natal death is often part of the storyline. That is rare in other countries because the scenario is so rare. Most people just don’t know anyone this has happened to. In my whole life I know of one, and that was because of an inexperienced midwife at a small rural hospital. The same complication occurred with the woman’s next pregnancy and she recognized the symptoms. As a result she was helicoptered (free of charge of course) to a big hospital which was equipped to deal with the situation. That baby is now a health professional herself.

  4. bPer says:

    Canada has just as many guns as the US.

    Not even close. According to this Wikipedia page, Canada’s per capita rate of firearm ownership is less than a third that of the USA (and only about a third higher than that of NZ).

    According to this Government of Canada page, the rate is at least 24.1 in 100. That would exclude illegal guns and some long guns (which are non-restricted and thus not necessarily known to government agencies). Given the huge gap in those figures (24.1 vs 34.7), I have to wonder if we in Canada don’t have an unnervingly-large number of illegal firearms, most of which would be smuggled from the US.

    Nevertheless, you have to be registered and trained to be a legal gun owner here in Canada, and handguns are restricted weapons, two factors which undoubtedly account for some of the difference between gun violence statistics here and in the US.

    • I didn’t check my source re Canada so could easily be wrong there. My bad. I believe the commentator was referring to the high rifle (and similar) ownership in Canada, which doesn’t lead to people killing each other. He believed that was due to cultural issues i.e. guns are for hunting animals, not killing people.

  5. Mark R. says:

    The NRA is another symptom of the U.S.’s cultural decline…a decline rooted in unfettered greed and an inability to take action based on facts. Indeed, the NRA actively quashes the science of gun violence and its links to society ills.

    They used to be for gun control. This is what NRA’s President said to Congress in the 1930’s:

    “I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons,” said Karl T. Frederick, according to a transcript of the hearings. “I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.”

    You won’t find that quote on any NRA literature/websites today. Hell, now they’re working with the Russian oligarchs to gain more political power by backing candidates with their “dark money” (hasn’t been 100% proven, but it will be).

    Cute kitteh tweets today. And the chimps with the tortoise camera (how cool was that camera?) had me laughing.

    Robert Reich is a wise man and should be heeded by any person who wants to live in a free democratic society.

    • The NRA horrifies me. They keep trying to get involved in our elections. However, our most right-wing party, the Conservative Party, never got more than 2% of the vote before they collapsed due to a sexual assault scandal. (Same thing happened to the right-wing Christian party.) The next most right-ring party struggles to even get 2% of the vote. Our biggest political party is a centre-right party, but many of their policies are more left-wing than the Democrats, and they know better than to get involved with the NRA. None of the centre-left or left-wing parties will touch them.

      I’m horrified by the legislation basically banning the CDC from looking into gun deaths.

      I love that tortoise camera too. That artist makes quite a few cameras like that, which are incredible realistic but the smarter animals never seem t be fooled. Amy looks out the videos and always posts them and tags me so I get to see them.

      I think Robert Reich is great. He’s been doing a few lectures on Facebook lately, which I often miss but they would be easy enough to look up as I follow him. I think he’s at UC Berkley atm, where he appears to be very popular.

      • Mark R. says:

        “Banning the CDC from looking into gun deaths…”

        That pretty much says it all…a country where facts based on scientific research are no longer considered when creating legislation concerned with regulation. It is a recipe for…well, what we have…an epidemic of gun violence.

        The opiate epidemic is similar. It’s here, it’s felt everywhere, but for some reason the “most powerful, richest and bestest country the world has ever witnessed” can’t quite figure it out. Too much money is being made, so…what can we possibly do??? Paralyzed by green paper.

        Again, the seeds of both problems are germinated by greed, and religious greed is also a part of the racket; the Xtian right loves the NRA. IMO American exceptionalism is a vast delusion. The fact that we’re raised over here with the credo “our shit don’t stink” creates this type of outcome. An outcome like Trump.

        • I agree. It’s good to be proud of your country, and there is plenty about the US to be proud of, but the American exceptionalism thing is like a religion. Criticizing the country is seen as a sort of blasphemy by many.

          Countries like NZ, Iceland, Norway, Sweden etc that led many of the international indices don’t have this idea that we’re the best. We’re proud of our countries (I certainly am!), but we’re also constantly looking for ways we can improve things. I think it’s why politics is more peaceful in our countries – most politicians are genuinely in the job to make the country better and different parties recognize that about their colleagues. It’s just that they have different ideas about how that should happen. A lot of legislation is supported by both major parties, and the select committee process works well in improving legislation.

          That whole thing seems to have gone by the wayside with a lot of more recent US politicians. The Tea Party ones, for example, were determined to be wreckers. They went to Washington determined not to vote for anything that they didn’t agree with 100%, and they didn’t. They didn’t understand what the job of a politician actually is, and nor, it seemed, did those who voted for them. It’s like all those who voted for Trump because he’d turn the place upside down. But the reason it wasn’t working was because of people like that – those who were determined to wreck rather than cooperate for the good of the country. Politicians like the Tea Party ones only represented the pov of those that elected them, and not all their constituents.

  6. Randall Schenck says:

    When you list those NRA excuses for mass shooting or any shooting of people it reminds me of how delusional and stupid it has become in the U.S. I grew up in the 50s and 60s in the midwest and hunting was a culture that many still did. Some hunted a little and some a lot but it was highly regulated and structured. No one I knew had guns for any other reason and we are talking about shotguns, not rifles and certainly not hand guns. These shotguns were used only out in the country, never in the city or town. They were transported in a car without any ammunition in the gun and the shotgun was either taken apart or zipped up in a case. That was the only legal way you carried the gun. If you were hunting in a group we simply would not allow anyone to have a rifle because they are too dangerous. Unlike a shotgun the bullets shot from a rifle can travel long distances and hit things and people that you cannot see. In some states, such as Iowa, there is nothing that you can hunt with a rifle. In other states further west they allow deer hunting with rifles – the assumption being there are less people per square mile to accidentally hit. Hand guns were not used at all and most hunters consider them extremely dangerous. Very easy to be pointed in the wrong direction, even at yourself. These are all probably boring details to most readers but I just wanted to explain a more practical and safer time in the U.S. did exist.

    • It’s not boring at all. It’s interesting to see how things have changed, because it’s a lesson for the rest of us.

      Almost no one in NZ has a hand gun. You can’t get a licence to own one until you’ve had a shot gun licence for a while, and you have to go through police checks and a training course to get a shot gun licence and there are all sorts of conditions around storage. The police check you have the appropriate storage before you can get a licence as well. Almost everyone here who has guns has them for hunting. My father did when I was a kid. For him it was ducks, which is the most common, but there’s also pig and deer hunting. Rifles are rare here too.

  7. Randall Schenck says:

    Yes, I think in Japan your gun is kept locked up at the police station or somewhere and you must go check it out to use it. It is most sad that these gun nuts use and misuse the 2nd amendment to push their case. Whatever happened to updating your laws to match the reality and conditions. You have to be mildly crazy to think the 2nd amendment gives you the right to have a hand gun. When the 2nd amendment was written and ratified there were almost no hand guns, only dueling type pistils that fired one ball and took about a minute to load. So how about letting the gun nuts have all of those they want? There was no such thing as a bullet cartridge, just lead balls with loose powder that had to be stuffed down a barrel. Go ahead gun nuts, have all of those that you can fit in your house. Then stand by and wait to be called up to fight. We of common sense should be allowed to play this game of stupid.

    • I was having a look at the stats when I wrote another post about guns, and most people didn’t used to think most people should be able to own guns. Their opinion changed when SCOTUS changed in 2006. I bet if that was challenged, and SCOTUS changed their mind back to the way it was before 2006, the opinion of most people would follow suit. Of course, there’s no chance of that happening for years, especially when Kavanaugh gets confirmed. SCOTUS will be out of step with public opinion for decades. It’s already out of step re abortion – most people think it should be allowed in some circumstances. Anti-choice people go on about California and New York, but again, stats show something different. It’s only in the Bible Belt that a majority are anti-choice.

      • nicky says:

        Anti-choice for others, that is. The well-known phenomenon, about which any abortionist can tell you, that those opposing abortions are first in line when their daughter is inconveniently pregnant or when they have impregnated the house-help. Because THEIR case is different (of course).

        • That’s what annoys me the most about the anti-choice campaigners, a majority of whom come from the Bible Belt. The Bible Belt also has the highest abortion rate. The main reasons for that I believe are their failure to give their kids, or allow their kids to have, proper sex education. “Just say no,” is what they think is an appropriate message, and the onus often rests on the girl. She’s certainly the one who’s the victim of assumptions and is made to suffer shame if she gets pregnant. The other is not making contraception easily available. As I’ve said before, the abortion rate in NZ has plummeted since they started selling condoms in supermarkets where anyone can get hold of them.

          • nicky says:

            This is grist to my mill, Heather.
            If one really wants to reduce the number of abortions, serious sex education and ready availability of contraceptives (including the ‘pill’ or injections for young girls, without obligatory notification to parents or guardians) are the only proven way.
            Criminalising abortion has been shown not to work, and should be considered counter-productive. That implies that ‘pro-lifers’ are actually promoting abortions (and back alley ones at that).
            We all know what the real motivations are.

          • Exactly! The number of abortions doesn’t go down by much when it’s banned. However, the number of women dying or being permanently injured goes from virtually 0% to a significant number.

  8. nicky says:

    I know quite a few ‘gamers’, I have a 16 year old son. They all strike me as very well-behaved, pleasurable (when not gaming), decent and upstanding young men. I think I was much more of a jerk at that age. That first cartoon is outstanding.
    As cartoons go, I do not really like the Dr Strangelogic as a cartoon, but its text is really outstanding. Same for the ‘needs a rock’.

    • I find most kids these days to be pretty amazing. Much better and more aware than we were at that age. The number of baddies is much smaller ime.

      I don’t like the Dr Strangelogic cartoon pic either, but I nearly always love the message.

  9. nicky says:

    About these approval ratings, according to Gallup, Mr Trump is the only POTUS since WWII that has never scored a quarterly approval rating above 50%.
    And all of them achieved more than 50% within their first year (first quarter, in fact). Mr Trump’s quarterly ratings have been ‘underwater’ from quarter 1 onwards. Not really surprising for a president who lost the popular vote by a record number.

    • Yet he continues to say his poll numbers are through the roof, and any polls or commentators that say otherwise are lying! His cult at his rallies cheer when he says that, so it must be true! :-/

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