No reasonable discussion seems possible with the pro-gun folks.

gundiscussionAll the pro-gun folks flip the fuck out as soon as anyone mentions the possibility that perhaps it’s a little too easy to get ahold of one these days and they start screamin’ that THEY’RE COMING TO TAKE ALL OUR GUNS AWAY!

Fuck, they’ve been making that claim about Obama since before he was elected President and he’s been in office 6 years, 155 days, 20 hours, and 36 minutes (as of this post) and he has yet to propose even the smallest of gun legislation. That won’t stop the nuts from screamin’ he’s gonna do it any day now!

I think there is a reasonable discussion to be had on gun law reform, but we can’t have that discussion because of the knee-jerk reaction from the other side. It’s always amusing when I see the pic of the carpet knife show up with the quote about how the 9-11 hijackers used it to kill 3,000 people but no one is calling for a ban on carpet knives.

carpetknifecontrol

It’s just a tool and a gun is a tool and it’s the people that use it wrong that are the problem. That ignores the fact that when used properly a carpet knife doesn’t result in someone’s death whereas a gun when used properly is intended to kill something. Also you don’t have the high rates of suicide and accidental deaths with carpet knives that you have with guns, but, hey, other than that they’re exactly the same!

It is right about one thing: Gun control laws are about control. You’d think that would be obvious from the fact that we call them “gun control laws”, but apparently this is a stunning revelation to the pro-gun crowd. Also there’s more at stake than crime committed with guns. There’s also suicides and accidental deaths both of which are way more common with a gun in the home than with a carpet knife. When was the last time you read about some kid finding his dad’s carpet knife and accidentally slicing a sibling to death with it? Kids accidentally shooting each other happens almost weekly. We don’t even bat an eye at it anymore. So long as it’s not my kids killing each other than who cares? Those were obviously all irresponsible gun owners so they deserve what happened!

Back in 1996 after a mass-shooting at Port Arthur, Tasmania — a popular Australian tourist spot — left 35 people dead and 18 people seriously wounded the folks down under finally had had enough. Deciding that a decade of gun massacres that left over 100 people dead was more than enough, they enacted strict gun control laws. They outright banned rapid-fire rifles and shotguns, put in place tighter licensing requirements and set a uniform national standard for gun registration. They didn’t ban all guns and responsible people can still get a license and own guns.

The result? The risk of death from gunshot fell by 50% and has remained as such since. Gun buyback programs helped reduce the amount of suicides by firearms by 80%. In the 19 years since there hasn’t been another mass shooting. You’ll note that this doesn’t mean all gun violence has been eliminated, but it has been reduced significantly. The most recent incident they’ve had with an armed gunman was the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis where an armed man took 18 people hostage at a Lindt chocolate cafe for 16 hours. Near the end a gunshot rang out and the police stormed the cafe. Two hostages were killed, one by the gunman and one from a police bullet that ricocheted, the gunman was also killed. Four other folks were injured. So, yes, some gun violence still happens, but the outcome of that situation was a far cry from the Port Arthur massacre nearly 20 years before.

Among the wealthy, industrialized countries of the world — Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (England and Wales), United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) and United Kingdom (Scotland) — the U.S. has a gun homicide rate 15 times higher than any of them. Some of those countries have some pretty strict gun control laws, but in most of them it’s still possible to own a gun. Our gun control is the loosest in the world and it shows.

As long as we continue on this path we will continue to have events like the Aurora theater shooting and the Newtown school massacre and the AME church rampage. I thought for sure that after 20 kids got killed in their school it would finally get the pro-gun folks to feel a little empathy, but nope! Fuck those kids! I ain’t givin’ up my Bushmaster rifle just because somebody else’s brats got shot up cause FREEDOM! What about the carpet knives?? Why aren’t you banning those? And cars! You can kill someone with a car! I ONCE SAW A MAN CHOKED TO DEATH WITH A MAGAZINE! WHY ARE WE STILL ALLOWING THESE DANGEROUS WEAPONS TO BE SENT THROUGH THE U.S. POSTAL SYSTEM????

Reasonable discussion is right out and until then it’ll be more of the same. Maybe someday the number of dead will be high enough to shock some sense into people, but it looks like there will be an awful price to be paid the way things are going.

To say that Obama continues to disappoint would be a major understatement.

To say that Obama continues to disappoint would be a major understatement.

It’s just a shame all the alternatives are so much worse. It’s disheartening to think the best we can do isn’t all that removed from the worst we have done. When it comes to policy decisions such as this he’s consistently as bad as, and too often worse then, President George W. Bush.

Missing portion of Obama Hope poster revealed

From Demand Progress

President Obama just signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law despite startling provisions that will allow the military to indefinitely detain American citizens. It’s a travesty, defying basic principles of justice and due process in perhaps the most extreme respect our nation has ever seen.

Thankfully, several lawmakers are keeping up the fight. Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced legislation to undo these provisions of the NDAA, in the form of the Du…

I wonder how long it’ll be before there’s a whole section of the criminal code devoted to Patriotism Crimes.

Only a Republican would try to pass patriotism laws dictating what is an isn’t unacceptable displays of patriotism. First up: How to properly sing the Star Spangled Banner. Next: Banning of dissent.

Indiana Senator Wants To Fine People For Messing Up The Star Spangled Banner

Submitted by James Morgan

Indiana Republican State Senator Vaneta Becker wants “performance standards” for the Star Spangled Banner.

Becker of Evansville calls for the Indiana Department of Education to implement specific “performance standards” for the way the anthem is sang and played at any event sponsored by public schools and state universities.

The bill seeks to fine individuals $25 if intentional changes are made to the song.

If you’re at a Colts game, warning: don’t ad-lib.

A list of the companies pushing SOPA.

Most of these are exactly what you’d expect, but there’s a few that boggle the mind. Why the hell would L’Oreal give a shit about SOPA? Are they worried we’re pirating their hair colors or something?

All the Companies Supporting SOPA, the Awful Internet Censorship Law—and How to Contact Them [Sopa]

Who’s officially on the record backing what could be the worst thing to ever happen to the internet? All of these companies listed below. Don’t take our word for it—this list comes straight from Congress. Just FYI.
If you want to get in touch, we’ve provided a contact list below. Maybe you want to let them know how you feel about SOPA.
SOPA Supporters
60 Plus Association: info@60plus.org
ABC: http://abc.go.com/site/contact-us
Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP): 703-539-ASOP (2767)
Ame…

I would like to think we’re better than that…

I would like to think we’re better than that…

…but I worry that we’re not. I don’t even know if we can stop it in the face of the money and influence of the big media companies. Though that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Adam Savage on SOPA: “We’re better than that”

James sez, “MythBuster Adam Savage joins the growing chorus of opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act.”

Honestly, if a friend wrote these into a piece of fiction about government oversight gone amok, I’d have to tell them that they were too one-dimensional, too obviously anticonstitutional.
The Internet is probably the most important technological advancement of my lifetime. Its strength lies in its open architecture and its ability to allow a framework where all voices …

If I lived in Tennessee I’d be in jail because of SEB.

Apparently Tennessee is full of pansy-assed pussies that can’t handle having their delicate sensibilities offended:

A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.

[…] The ban on distressing images, which was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last week, is also an update to existing law. Tennessee law already made it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender “reasonably should know” would “cause emotional distress” to the recipient. If the communciation lacked a “legitimate purpose,” the sender faced jail time.

The new legislation adds images to the list of communications that can trigger criminal liability. But for image postings, the “emotionally distressed” individual need not be the intended recipientAnyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you “should have known” that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you could face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

via Tenn. law bans posting images that “cause emotional distress”.

Considering that much of what I write and say is offensive to someone out on the Internet I’d be in serious trouble if I lived in Tennessee. Especially given my fondness for images like this:

I don’t generally have any particular state of the union in mind when I post stuff like that, but if you live in Tennessee then I can understand how you might find such an image distressing because there’s a pretty good chance it applies to you.

Or perhaps you’d be more upset at something like this:

I’m sorry, I can’t help it. The look on Jesus’ face is just too damned funny not to laugh at. Sure, I can see how these might be upsetting to the more delicate natures of Tennessee residents, but then they probably shouldn’t be hanging out on SEB to begin with if they’re so thin-skinned.

Not that I’m too worried about this law. I seriously doubt it would stand up to a Constitutional challenge in court. And it’s not like I have much of a desire to visit or reside in Tennessee anytime soon. I don’t generally have a problem with Tennessee, at least not until they passed this idiotic law, I honestly just don’t think about the state that much.

Though if you are from Tennessee and you have been offended by things I’ve posted or written about here on SEB, then please allow me to say, in all sincerity and from the bottom of my heart, with all the love and warmth I can muster: Fuck you.

Indiana Republican Eric Turner worries that women will fake a rape or incest to get free abortions.

Wow. The Republicans are really chowing down on their own feet as of late. First we have Sean Duffy whining about 174K a year not being enough to survive on. Now we have an Indiana state representative who’s worried that women will fake having been victims of rape or incest in order to get an abortion under a proposed law in his state that will make it harder to get abortions:

In an attempt to soften the blow this bill would land on Hoosier women, state Rep. Gail Riecken (D) introduced an amendment to exempt “women who became pregnant due to rape or incest, or women for whom pregnancy threatens their life or could cause serious and irreversible physical harm” from being forced to carry to term. Fearing this bill would “push women to the back alleys” for illegal abortions, Riecken pleaded with lawmakers to allow women to make the choice in these cases.

Turner then stepped to the podium and insisted that Riecken’s amendment would create a “giant loophole” for women. That loophole? Women “could simply say they’ve been raped”

Check it:

To say that Rep. Linda Lawson’s (D) followup was restrained is an understatement. Ultimately, however, asshat Representative Turner got what he wanted and the amendment was defeated in a 42 to 54 vote. It now moves on to the Senate which has already passed a similar bill so this is likely to make it to the Governor’s desk.

Hat tip to The Synthcore Daily for the heads up.

Cold medicine policy aimed at reducing meth production ends up creating more criminals.

Crystal Meth is one of the few drugs that makes me doubt my belief that drug prohibition laws should be repealed — it’s affects are stunningly deleterious to addicts. The problem with trying to control production is the fact that it can be whipped up using common household chemicals and over-the-counter cold medications. There’s also a variety of methods, most of them dangerous, that can be used to produce meth.

Given all of that, it was decided the best plan of attack was to track and limit how much cold medicine you can legally buy. The idea being that if you tried to buy more than a reasonable amount of cold medicines that can be used in meth production the authorities could be notified. This did put a dent in meth production, for awhile at least.

Ultimately the meth producers did what any enterprising business would do and outsourced the acquisition of cold medicines to people looking to make a quick buck:

“It’s almost like a sub-criminal culture,” said Gary Boggs, an agent at the Drug Enforcement Administration. “You’ll see them with a GPS unit set up in a van with a list of every single pharmacy or retail outlet. They’ll spend the entire week going store to store and buy to the limit.”

Inside their vehicles, the so-called “pill brokers” punch out blister packs into a bucket and even clip coupons, Boggs said.

[…] In some cases, the pill buyers are not interested in meth. They may be homeless people recruited off the street or even college kids seeking weekend beer money, authorities say.

Because of booming demand created in large part by the tracking systems, they can buy a box of pills for $7 to $8 and sell it for $40 or $50.

The tracking systems “invite more people into the criminal activity because the black market price of the product becomes so much more profitable,” said Jason Grellner, a detective in hard-hit Franklin County, Mo., about 40 miles west of St. Louis.

“Where else can you make a 750 percent profit in 45 minutes?” asked Grellner, former president of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association.

via AP IMPACT: Meth flourishes despite tracking laws – Yahoo! News.

Oops. It’s that damned law of unintended consequences again.

Most of these laws were enacted back in 2006 and in spite of them, or perhaps even because of them, meth production has been on the rise after that initial minor drop. By 2009 it had increased by 34% and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon:

The increase was higher in the three states that have electronically tracked sales of medication containing pseudoephedrine since at least 2008. Meth incidents rose a combined 67 percent in those states — 34 percent in Arkansas, 65 percent in Kentucky and 164 percent in Oklahoma.

Supporters of tracking say the numbers have spiked because the system makes it easier for police to find people who participate in meth production. But others question whether the tracking has helped make the problem worse by creating a new class of criminals that police must pursue.

Not only are more people making and using meth than ever before, but the laws have increased the number of people profiting from its production. Once again the Powers That Be are attempting to control the problem by cutting off the supply instead of dealing with the demand. So long as there are people out there providing a demand for meth the criminals will find a way to produce it and for every one we incarcerate there are a dozen more available to fill the void.