19 dead so far this year in school shootings

Including the murderer and the murdered at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, OR yesterday, 19 grade school and colleges students have died in what we now so casually call “school shootings” in 2014.

It’s barely June.  19 people.

Stay with me, this isn’t going where you think it’s going.

A lot of people are going to say that guns are the problem. The majority of guns used in these incidents have been legally-obtained weapons, either purchased legally by the shooter (such as the shotgun-toting Aaron Ybarra & stabber/shooter Elliot Rodger) or taken without permission from people who bought them legally.

Saying the problem is guns is easy, but it’s only part of the problem. There are so many guns in the United States that they’re simply everywhere. If you don’t own a gun yourself, you know somebody that has one – at least one. Depending on where you are right now, you might be sitting next to somebody who has a gun on them right now. The vast majority of guns are owned by law-abiding citizens that could never imagine using them in any capacity other than to defend themselves, their family or their property.

The only way to make guns NOT a part of this problem is to remove them from the equation. ALL of them.  Nobody but the military & the police have guns and that becomes the new reality of the United States of America.

That isn’t going to happen. Period.  It’s time, therefore, to stop talking about guns as being the problem.  Gun ownership laws (aka gun control laws) aren’t going to change enough to remove guns from the hands of the vast majority of citizens of the USA.

What else can we point to?  Bullying?

Maybe.  Maybe bullying is a problem.  That cowardly little asshole Elliot Rodger felt bullied by other kids and rejected by women.  Those kids that shot up Columbine High School felt bullied and mistreated.  Bullying has been going on since school started and while it’s always been a shitty thing, millions of people have dealt with it in other ways than shooting up their classmates. Are we not teaching coping strategies to our children?  Are we telling our children, “Oh, well, if that football player picks on you, it’s OK to shoot him in the face, then empty your gun into the pep rally attendees in the gymnasium.”

Of course we’re not.  Bullying, then, isn’t the problem.  (Don’t get me wrong – it’s A problem, but blaming these school shootings on bullying is what I’m talking about.)

I’m going to go out on a limb here, then, and say that guns and bullies aren’t causing these school shootings.

The media is at fault.

NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, even NPR – they are the reason we’re seeing an increase in the frequency of these school shootings.

Every time one of these cowardly little assholes takes an assault rifle into an elementary school and blows away a bunch of kids, these “reporters” and “anchors” and “experts” spend unimaginably countless hours on TV and radio dissecting every aspect of his personality, digging down into his psyche, his motivations, his difficult childhood – any aspect of the shooter’s life that gets them a little more air time, a few more ratings points.

What it turns into is a fetish, a cult that worships these little fucking assholes who think shooting their classmates is going to get them attention. Why do they think this? BECAUSE IT’S TRUE.

It used to be for the average American to get on TV, they had to streak across the 50-yard line during a nationally-televised college football game.  That was a one-and-done event, a laugh on the news that night.  Now you too can get talked about on TV for endless hours simply by buying a gun (legally) and using it to attract the media.  If you shoot up a school – you don’t even have to kill anybody – then the talking heads on TV and radio will discuss your life in minute detail for days, weeks, even months.  They’ll talk about you now. They’ll talk about you when your trial comes up.  They’ll talk about you in a year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years.

(Think they’ll forget about it in 20 years?  Guess what – it’s the 20th anniversary of the murders OJ Simpson was acquitted for. Guess what they’re talking about on TV this week?)

Shooting up a school has become the newest, best way to achieve immortality in our corrupted culture. There is no more sure way to achieve the goal of people paying attention to you than to shoot up a school, movie theater, fast-food restaurant, etc. You’ll be on the “news” and achieve immortality.

The problem, then, is us.  That’s right – you and me and every other American. Not the guns, not the bullying, not the misogyny alone – but all of it.  USA! USA! USA! We’ve done this to ourselves by creating a culture that glorifies “media,” that thrives on TV shows like America’s Got Talent and American Idol.  Our society, our empire, is crumbling around us every day and we’re so oblivious to it that the only way to get any attention now is to get on TV – and what surer way to get on TV is there than to kill classmates?  It’s a guaranteed way to get your picture into every American household, to make your name a household conversation piece, to get you mentioned on every channel, station and newspaper in the country.

The solution, then, is for the media to simply stop talking about these events in such morbid depth.

Like eliminating the guns, though, that’s never going to happen.  As a society, we have no self-control, and we simply won’t be able to do it.  Ever.

We live in the country we’ve built, and we deserve exactly what we’ve created for ourselves.

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cuccinelli and the gun show loophole

I saw another reason to hate politicians this morning while watching the news.

Independence USA PAC is running a new anti-Cuccinelli ad in Virginia. (IUP is funded by current NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg.) The ad puts forward how Cuccinelli opposed closing the “gun show loophole” …

Wait.

Do you actually know what the “gun show loophole” is?

When you buy a gun from a gun dealer or pawn shop or any other commercial entity that is licensed to sell guns, you have to fill out a piece of paper and prove your identity to the shop. (This post only addresses the rules in Virginia – I am not familiar with gun laws in any other state.)  The shop then takes your piece of paper and your proof of identity and they contact the state police, who run a quick check to make sure you’re not a felon or charged with certain misdemeanor crimes (drug possession, domestic violence, etc.).  If you don’t set off any alarms, the shop is allowed to sell you the gun, they do so, and you leave happy.

(Due to recent events like the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, there have been numerous attempts to get a person’s mental status taken into account in the gun purchase process, but unless you are committed to a mental institution against your will, there often isn’t any public record that can be searched by the police (or even the FBI) that will show whether or not you have a history of mental instability.)

In the state of Virginia, as a gun owner, you are allowed to engage in the private sale of your firearms if you so wish.  Whether you own 1 gun or 100, unless you are a commercial entity, you are not required to put anybody that buys a gun from you through the background check process.  You are expected to engage in some due diligence in the private sale of a firearm, such as writing out a bill of sale and getting some proof of identity that shows your purchaser lives in Virginia. This last part is important, because selling a gun across state lines requires the involvement of an “FFL” – Federal Firearm Licensee, or somebody who is allowed to sell guns commercially. Many private sellers will take this a step further, by not only asking for a drivers’ license, but also asking to see a buyer’s voter registration card, which is a pretty good way to make sure your buyer isn’t a felon, because in Virginia, felons aren’t allowed to vote and therefore won’t have a  voter registration card.

The “Gun Show Loophole” is when a private citizen rents a table at a gun show and sells part of his collection of guns.  Note the key words here – PRIVATE CITIZEN. Not a commercial entity.  Even at a gun show, a commercial seller must submit buyers to the background check process.  A private citizen is not required to do so.  This means that anybody with a VA DL can go to a gun show and probably buy a gun pretty easily – with no background check – as long as they buy from one of the collectors at the show.

“Closing the Gun Show Loophole” then would entail forcing ALL parties that sell guns at gun shows to submit buyers to the background check process.  It’s that simple.

However.

Whether you think this is a good idea or not is not the point of this blog post.  What is the point is why I hate politicians.

The new Independence USA PAC ad blasting Cuccinelli shows the photos of several mass killers, including Seung-Hui Cho (pictured at left), who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech on 16 April 2007. It also shows the Aurora, CO shooter, James Holmes, as well, and several others in a very fast montage.

I did some research into these shooters.  All either had a history of mental illness (or at least some measure of treatment for mental issues) or were suspected of mental problems in the months leading up to their murderous activities.

Every single one of the shooters pictured in the ad used legally purchased firearms, none of which I was able to determine were purchased using the “Gun Show Loophole” or in any way that was anything other than 100% legal.  Some of the shooters used guns purchased by other people, such as Adam Lanza, who killed all those 1st graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School with his mother’s legally purchased guns.

Putting the photos of these cowardly murderers in an ad about how Cuccinelli sucks because he opposed closing the “Gun Show Loophole” is specious at best.  This shows that politicians – and the high-powered lobbying collectives that support them – care more about scaring the shit out of you than actually educating or informing you about the issues and where their candidates stand on them.

In Virginia, this ad has the effect of saying “The VA Tech massacre was Ken Cuccinelli’s fault because he opposed closing the gun show loophole.”  Keep in mind that the “Gun Show Loophole” wasn’t even an issue people were talking about in 2007 when the VA Tech massacre happened.

Shame on Michael Bloomberg – who, by the way, should stay the fuck out of Virginia politics and focus on running his own city – and shame on Terry MacAuliffe and any other Democrat, Republican or Independent that supports this kind of misinformation and fear-mongering.