Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!

I was a little disappointed as I emerged from my bunker to see that the war on Christmas was only a hoax, but whatever... I'll just continue keeping the Yuletide gay.

On Sunday morning's Meet The Press, host and moderator David Gregory performed an unexpected feat of journalistic heroism, exposing National Rifle Association executive Wayne LaPierre's logically bereft opposition to any and all regulation of firearms. While they spent the week blaming everything but guns and gun laws for the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the conservative media suddenly found concern for bans on high-capacity ammunition clips when they thought, maybe, that David Gregory had violated one.

This is that "perspective" thing that Bob Costas was talking about. After concluding that the cause of the sickening mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was the fault of the mental illness that we sill don't know the shooter had, or the videogames we don't really know if he played, or the movies American Psycho and Natural Born Killers that we don't know if he saw, or the God that we're pretty sure doesn't abandon children because of psychiatry and gays, and not the portable arsenal that we know the shooter had, the conservative media greeted Wayne LaPierre's utter failure to explain that case by marshaling gun control laws against David Gregory.

Apparently, during his tour de force grilling of LaPierre, Gregory, at one point, held up a visual aid: an example of a 30-round magazine. It was the most powerful, most devastating part of the interview, because when Gregory asked Wayne LaPierre, over and over, to explain why taking high-capacity clips out of killers' hands wouldn't have reduced the number of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, or in any mass shooting, here were LaPierre's responses: (emphasis mine)

  • I don't believe that's going to make one difference.
  • I don't think it's what will work.
  • I don't buy your argument for a minute.
  • I don't think it will. I keep saying it, and you just won't accept it.
  • It's not going to work.

What little argument LaPierre offered, that existing bans and past bans hadn't worked, and that there are too many of these clips on the market already, cut in favor of stricter laws, not more lenient ones, and not the status quo. We can ban these clips, and round them up, no matter how many times Wayne LaPierre keeps saying it won't work because he thinks it won't work. It worked pretty well with machine guns.

Gregory's aggressive questioning then forced LaPierre to try and change the subject, and revealed his sickening bad faith in the face of tragedy, for all to see. He told Gregory ". I'll tell you what would work. We have a mental health system in this country that has completely and totally collapsed. We have no national database of these lunatics."

"But if you want to check and screen more thoroughly for the mentally ill," Gregory said, "why not screen more thoroughly for everybody and eliminate the fact that 40% can buy a weapon without any background check?"

LaPierre had no choice but to dart away again. "We… we don't prosecute anybody under the federal gun laws right now," he sputtered.

He shot back at LaPierre with a pitch-perfect summation. "But that's not a response to my question, Mr. LaPierre." Gregory began. "What I hear you saying is, 'Well, you can't do anything about the high capacity ammunition magazines because it simply won't work,' yet you're proposing things that you don't know will completely work. But you're into the art of the possible, because your standard is anything that has a chance of work we ought to try, except when it has to do with guns or ammunition. Don't you see that people see that as a complete dodge?"

The entire interview was like that, and in exposing fallacies that the media has allowed to thrive in the name of false "balance," David Gregory fulfilled his duty to serve the public interest in a way that is rarely seen, or even possible, and every bad thing that anyone has ever said about David Gregory needs to be taken back. Interviews like this save lives.

But the mere thought of a world in which mass murderers are unable to get their hands on rapid-fire arsenals, if it means that gun owners have to reload more often when they're taking target practice, is so frightening to some in the conservative media that they invoke the very gun laws that they oppose in order to somehow discredit David Gregory:

David Gregory presses NRA's Wayne LaPierre, may have violated DC law

On Sunday's broadcast of NBC's "Meet the Press," moderator David Gregory took a very aggressive posture in his exclusive interview with NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre.

After a series of LaPierre's answers appeared to frustrate him, Gregory lashed out at LaPierre and held up a high-capacity ammunition clip


David Gregory Violates DC Gun Law On National TV

Since David Gregory works for NBC Universal, there's every chance that he has legal access to film and television props, but that's not really the point. This is the absurd conclusion to some conservatives' reactions to this shooting, that the death-dealing instruments used in these mass murders aren't the problem, unless David Gregory is holding one while taking a "very aggressive posture" toward a proponent of those same instruments. Most of us would rather see that clip in David Gregory's hands than the next mass murderer's.


Another man card issued

More news about yesterday's fire and shooting:

Before killing two Webster firefighters and critically injured two others, William Spengler Jr. typed a chilling note detailing his horrific plan.

At a news conference this morning, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering released new details about Monday's ambush.

Armed with a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle — the same weapon used in the massacre in Newtown, Conn. — a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun and a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver and a stockpile of ammunition, Spengler set a "clear ambush on first responders," Pickering said, and followed through on the threats he made in the typewritten note he left behind.

"I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down and do what I like best: killing people," Spengler wrote in the note, which Pickering said was a rambling two to three pages long and did not speak to motive.

Spengler's sister is missing – they're sifting through the rubble of his house to try to find her body.


Ship of fools on a cruel cruel sea

I find that in order to get maximum schadenfreude while reading this write-up of the NRO's post-election Caribbean Cruise, it is best to punctuate every paragraph with a sad trombone sound effect. At one point I imagined Ralph Reed singing Simple Plan.



The Biggest Republican Miscalculations Of 2012


Murdered Woman's Family Sues For Greater Online Gun Control


STUDY: Antarctica Is Heating Up Even Faster Than Previously Thought


The bill of rights has only one amendment - ... at least as far as the wingnuts are concerned:

CNN anchor Piers Morgan isn't benefiting from much Christmas cheer, at least according to one measure: The number of signers on a petition urging the White House to deport Morgan has skyrocketed by Tuesday morning past 60,000 names.
"British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment," the petition to the Obama administration reads. "We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens."

By Monday, the petition had passed at least 25,000 signatures — the number required to receive a White House response.

These people are citing the Bill of Rights to deport someone for exercising free speech. And they don't have the vaguest clue just how dumb they are. I'd laugh uproariously but unfortunately these idiots are all packing heat.

And that's why the gun debate has a slightly different character than your usual political disagreement, isn't it?




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