Further assorted thoughts on gun policy this week

The NRA people act like they’re the most oppressed population in the entire United States, when in fact they control the entire debate and all policy outcomes on anything related to guns — or even tangentially related to guns — at the Federal level. This power continues despite gun-owning households being only about a third of households these days, and probably only a fraction of those being hardliner NRA members who oppose any reform except fewer controls.

Things that are now “tyranny” apparently include

  • locking your gun away from children;
  • selling guns with biometric locks;
  • magazine limits;
  • allowing background checks to try to keep legal guns out of irresponsible hands;
  • keeping track of who owns things intended to be used as a deadly weapon like we do for a person’s car, which is not intended as to be used such;
  • doctors asking if you keep a gun in the house because it’s a known health risk factor;
  • restricting general ownership of military-grade firearms designed solely to kill people in combat; etc. etc. etc.

Here’s another question: If widespread anticipatory gun ownership is the only way to avoid or throw off totalitarianism, how did all of the Eastern Bloc countries and the Soviet Union fall apart without a huge shoot-em-up revolution from 1989-1991?

Even in the middle of World War II and just afterward, the Soviets managed to very effectively suppress a vast array of nationalist/partisan revolts against the USSR in the outlying Soviets and occupied satellites (Ukraine, Poland, etc.) even when those people were quite heavily armed. One of the deadliest terrorist organizations in the world as measured by sheer number of successful target assassinations was the Western Ukrainian insurrection against the Soviet government after the Nazi withdrawal. Thirty months and 11,725 assassinated Soviet officers, agents and collaborators later, the heavily armed Ukrainian Insurgent Army was ultimately brought down by infiltration, psychological warfare, and their own alienation of the local population. So much for guns saving the day against a totalitarian occupier.

A half century later, the Soviets were brought down by, essentially, bankruptcy and internal political reform. If you want a realistic fantasy of throwing off totalitarianism, it probably won’t look like “Red Dawn.” No, it probably just involves a lot of spreadsheets, endemic corruption, and ill-conceived defense expenditures.

12 fatal mass shootings in 5 months

I researched and penned this section on a new op-ed from The Globalist on the NRA’s death grip over American policymaking:

There are, in fact, so many mass shootings now — the government has reported a big increase — that only a few, truly elaborate sprees make the national news anymore. The UCSB shooting is actually the 11th fatal mass shooting in 2014, but perhaps only the second to get wall-to-wall coverage.

With the exception of the UCSB shooting and the Fort Hood shooting, barely a dent was made by the killing sprees that left at least four dead in each of the 2014 mass shooting events in these U.S. cities and towns: Spanish Fork, UT; Cypress, TX; Defiance, OH; Alturas, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Glade Spring, VA; Oak Lawn, IL; Jonesboro, AR and Tampa, FL.

The common denominator in all of them is less “did we miss the signs?” on this particular, isolated individual — often a domestic attack — and more about the rampant access to guns and a powerful “movement” that fetishizes killing instruments.

Beyond that are the more than forty dead children under 14 killed so far in 2014 by “accidental” gun deaths, at a pace that researcher David Waldman found matches the 2013 child casualty pace like clockwork. Unlike an accidental automobile death, few accidental gun death cases result in any prosecution.


Update 6/8: The day after this original post there was another domestic incident mass shooting, in Mission Viejo CA, resulting in 4 deaths. The total for January through May ended up as 12 events.

You can hear more on this topic in AFD Ep. 61.