Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 3, 2017

I think America is broken

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

Relevant, from Slate:

On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more. It was the worst mass murder in Australia’s history.

Twelve days later, Australia’s government did something remarkable. Led by newly elected conservative Prime Minister John Howard, it announced a bipartisan deal with state and local governments to enact sweeping gun-control measures. A decade and a half hence, the results of these policy changes are clear: They worked really, really well.



  1. The transformation of the NRA over the last 40 odd years has had much to do with this. The NRA was founded after the Civil War by former Union officers who believed the war had been prolonged by superior Southern marksmanship. They wanted to educate the Northern population in proficient gun handling.

    For its first century, the organization was focused on education and safety, turning political in the 70’s and getting more and more strident over time.

    Here’s an NRA ad from 1920:

    Here’s one from 1957:

    But then here’s one from 1970. It’s both sharply political and rather tame compared to their current propaganda:

    And it’s worked. They’ve created a large movement of ill informed sheep who wake up every morning fearing that their precious (and badly misunderstood) Second Amendment is under assault by crazed liberals bent on world domination.

    And while America bleeds, the NRA gets rich:

    It’s profoundly depressing to see a great nation slide into ignorance and violence, but that is the theme of 2017.

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2017 @ 6:41 am

    • When they block assault/ambush weapon laws, they enable a different type of hunting and sport shooting – not the type that “every ‘regular’ boy hopes” for.

      This is a good group that was started after 101 California.

      Comment by MP — October 3, 2017 @ 7:51 am

      • How about licensing of both sellers and buyers?

        A waiting period?

        A ban on mail-order sales?

        These are all positions the NRA supported before they went nuts.

        Comment by dave — October 3, 2017 @ 8:12 am

        • The myth of self-protection (it happens, but it is quite rare) and the broader theme of personal empowerment that the NRA relies on are really hard to reconcile – even in NRA-speak – with a video of automatic fire from an elevated, protected bunker into a crowd by someone with a death wish. Even in a fantasy world, few of their members can imagine having a chance against that type of WMD and most would prefer that no one had it. But as the tweet at top pointed out, the myths have withstood a lot before.

          Comment by MP — October 3, 2017 @ 10:08 am

  2. List of Congress Members who took money from the NRA and then tweeted “thoughts and prayers”:

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2017 @ 7:35 am

    • My two strongest reactions to the Vegas shootings have been (1) comments from different people about how strange it was to see police running toward the sounds of gunfire while everyone else was frantically running in the opposite direction, and (2) wondering how many shooting victims and their loved ones will turn ask their elected officials to go beyond the usual “thoughts and prayers” by moving us into the company of other industrialized countries with appropriate gun laws

      Comment by ksd — October 3, 2017 @ 9:04 am

  3. The Second Amendment no more guarantees unfettered access to fire arms than the constitution somehow grants that corporations are persons, and more recently the totally inane ruling that money is speech. Is that how it goes? Since money is a means to free expression it can’t be regulated? Similarly, if you read the supreme court rulings on the Second Amendment, the early rulings actually go along the lines of gun control but have slowly morphed into sausage by a series of Supreme Court rulings. The origins of the corporations having rights of individuals goes back to a clerical error in a ruling in the late 1800s on a land dispute involving the railroad. It’s too convoluted to explain here but it stood for long enough to be cited in other rulings down the line and is now we’re locked in ( stare decisis). I don’t think we are as locked in on the Second Amendment because the Supreme Court can reverse itself (Dred Scott).

    From Wikipedia on second amendment (history of court rulings):

    ‘In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence” and limited the scope of the Second Amendment’s protections to the federal government.[9] In United States v. Miller (1939), the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment did not protect weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

    This is a digression but it’s relevant to Lauren’s post, or at least I think it is.

    I actually wrote to Florentine Films about doing something related to the history of the Second Amendment based on the Federalist Papers (# 29). Hamilton proposed something like the national guard. I know Burns funding sources have him hamstrung and he walks a fine line. This is confirmed in a recent article in New Yorker ( My understanding from reading the origins of his company was that he works with a collective of film makers and I’d hoped one of them would see the value in this. I actually received a personalized response from one of his secretaries saying it was keen idea (I included the citation above and more), but that he has decades of films in the pipeline. The letter seemed a little patronizing like I could hear her chuckling at my niavety. The article lists some of the films and the American Revolution is in there. I see an opening to cover the Bill of Rights but I’m betting Ken is too intimidated by his funders to get very deep.

    Since the NRA constantly distorts the Second Amendment by quoting only part of it, I see a truly scholarly counter argument as the only way to fight them. Burns has been unofficially anointed as America’s biographer, which gives him a lot of clout. But even his Vietnam War film has drawn fire as revisionist. The very first segment starts with the war “was begun in good faith, by decent people, out of fateful misunderstandings.” Really ? I guess you can say the same about the NRA.

    Comment by MI — October 3, 2017 @ 11:02 am

    • Burns employee did allude to the idea being “controversial”. Ken don’t do controversy.

      Comment by MI — October 3, 2017 @ 11:06 am

  4. Lauren, are the ads for life insurance above a coincidence or the product of some sort of algorithm ?

    Comment by MI — October 3, 2017 @ 11:09 am

  5. To answer may own question, the ads clearly change frequently.

    Anyway, I found this nugget which is about the history of the gun industry:

    Comment by MI — October 3, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Say what you want

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at