(Late) Open Thread for Thursday, February 15, 2018

I don't know what kind of tree this is, but it was nothing but blooms when I walked past it on the State House grounds today.

Don’t know what kind of tree this is, but it was nothing but blooms when I passed it on the State House grounds today.

Been busy today, but here are a few things to chew on:

  1. America’s Failure to Protect Its Children from School Shootings Is a National Disgrace — A second-day angle, from The New Yorker. I spent some time today writing a post on this subject, but it’s not quite ready. I’ll try to finish it tomorrow.
  2. The AR-15: ‘America’s rifle’ or illegitimate killing machine? — Why can’t it be both? With 8 million of these weapons designed for war are out there, I sort of think it is…
  3. White House, Lindsey Graham go to war over immigration — Not literally war, of course, but they’re definitely not BFFs any more. Lindsey blew his stack over a truly puerile memo from Trump’s Department of Homeland Security. It said his bill “would effectively make the United States a Sanctuary Nation where ignoring the rule of law is encouraged.”
  4. Relic Room offers plan to display State House Confederate flag — At a tenth of a cost of its earlier plan, the museum hopes this will fly at the Legislature and it can get back to concentrating on actual military history.
  5. Steve Bannon questioned in Mueller inquiry — He reportedly spent 20 hours with investigators this week.

 

135 thoughts on “(Late) Open Thread for Thursday, February 15, 2018

  1. Barry

    I enjoy my pistols and shotgun. Never cared for an AR 15. I’ve shot one, i have no use for one at all.

    Yes, I’d outlaw them in a heartbeat. I don’t care how many people have them. I’d confiscate them if possible.

    Won’t solve everything obviously. No one thing does. Would it help? Yes, most definitely.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Of course we should outlaw them. There is no legitimate reason at all that a civilian needs one.

      But suppose not one more of them is sold (fat chance; this incident will boost sales — that’s how screwed up we are). That leaves 8 million of them already out there. Way, way more than enough to provide the next mass killer with excellent odds of getting his hands on one….

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Posing that as the relevant question is inside-out thinking.

          Agree or disagree:

          “In order to engage in such lawful purposes as self-defense and sport shooting, people need AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles.”

          No one’s freedom to engage in those activities would be abridged in the slightest way if such weapons weren’t available. Only their desire to play soldier with real weapons would be frustrated. And I have zero respect for that…

          Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Of course.

              The set of people who own AR-15s and similar weapons includes the large subset of people who use them “for lawful purposes like self-defense and sport shooting.”

              How large is that subset? I’m willing to be generous. Let’s say it’s 90 percent. No, let’s say it’s 99.99 percent.

              That still doesn’t justify making them widely available. Because there’s plenty of threat to public safety in that one-hundredth of one percent. (To a staunch advocate of liberal gun laws, that sounds terribly unfair: The rights of millions overridden by the bad actions of an infinitesimal minority! But I believe the right of, say, 17 children to LIVE vastly outweighs the preferences of those millions who just by golly WANT to carry around a badass weapon.)

              To even begin to make the argument that that danger is outweighed by the “rights” of others to own them, the case has to be made that people can ONLY engage in those lawful activities with “AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles”…

              And then you’ve only begun to make the case. I still don’t think you’ll arrive at an argument that is broadly persuasive outside what we’ll call the “AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle” community…

              Reply
              1. Bryan Caskey

                “Because there’s plenty of threat to public safety in that one-hundredth of one percent. (To a staunch advocate of liberal gun laws, that sounds terribly unfair: The rights of millions overridden by the bad actions of an infinitesimal minority!”

                Prohibiting the sale and possession of certain types of firearms because an infinitesimally small percentage of legal gun owners do bad things is the same logic inherent in Trump’s travel ban in order to prevent terrorism. Are you pro-travel ban?

                Reply
                1. Norm

                  Can we subject every gun sale to the same level of scrutiny that refugees from Muslim countries receive?

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  That makes zero sense.

                  The travel ban is a ban on PEOPLE. I’m talking about inanimate objects. The kind of inanimate objects that turn people into inanimate objects.

                  EVERY SINGLE AR-15 — not a small percentage of them — is ready at any time to kill a large number of people very quickly.

                  This is where this argument always breaks down with people focused on rights ahead of the public good: It’s the guns, not the people. I just cannot begin to fathom why defenders of these weapons can’t see that there absolutely no way to guarantee that the sweet, kind, honest little old lady who purchases an AR-15 to shoot at targets only on Sundays will be the only person who will ever have possession of that weapon.

                  It’s about the GUNS (and rifles, Sarge — I know the difference). It’s about millions of them being out there, and the fact that some of them will INEVITABLY fall into the wrong hands.

                  It’s not about any individual on the planet and his precious right to indulge his whims. It’s about the weapons…

                3. Richard

                  “EVERY SINGLE AR-15 — not a small percentage of them — is ready at any time to kill a large number of people very quickly.”

                  Same thing can be said about vehicles. As we’ve seen a person behind a wheel can drive through a crowd and kill and injure dozens of people within seconds. Ban automobiles. Are all vehicle owners potential mass murderers? Anyone could be at any given time when they get behind the wheel.

                4. Claus2

                  “No, it’s harder to kill 17 people with a car. Possible, but harder…”

                  Almost that many were killed over the weekend here in Columbia just from hit and runs.

                  How many could you take out, say after a USC home football game? After a concert? At 2 a.m. in 5 points? In the pickup line at an elementary school? I bet it’s at least 17.

                5. Claus2

                  “How many chldren must give up their right to life to protect the right to own an AR57?”

                  AR-57… is that the one made by Heinz?

              2. Richard

                While we’re at it, let’s outlaw rental trucks, diesel fuel and ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

                One can go to the grocery store, pick up a gallon of ammonia and a gallon of bleach and kill people too. Those should have a 30 day waiting period to purchase.

                Reply
                1. Richard

                  “How many children do you think will die before the private sector fixes it”

                  Obviously you’ve never grown up in a rural area. If you go and purchase ammonium nitrate by the ton, do you think someone is going to miss 50 pounds? Most bulk fertilizer buildings in my home town area (the midwest) didn’t even have a padlock on the doors… because who steals bulk fertilizer. It wouldn’t even be noticed if you went in every night and stole two 5 gallon bucks of the stuff until you had what you needed. It’d be like going to an landscaping dealer and stealing mulch.

        2. Norm Ivey

          Agree or disagree:

          AR-15 and similar semi-automatic weapons are the weapon of choice for those who wish to commit murder on a mass scale.

          Reply
            1. Bob Amundson

              Sport shooting, yes. Self-defense – not many stories (I did an internet search). The tough question is how can we regulate assault rifles so that only those that intend to use them for sport or self-defense have access to them.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                And of course, you can’t. It’s ridiculous even to contemplate.

                I do not give a damn what the overwhelming majority of owners do with those weapons. I care about what the murderous few are able to do because those rifles are available to them…

                Reply
                1. Bob Amundson

                  Regulation includes banning. But how about allowing people to own assault rifles if they have letters from two doctors, one a psychiatrist, stating the gun owner is mentally stable? With a law that states if the weapon is lost or stolen, it must be reported?

                  I’m not saying I support these ideas. I’m saying regulation of some sort must be discussed.

            2. Norm

              I’ll play. I agree with your statement. Boxcutters are used lawfully and in an appropriate manner thousands of times a day, but now I have to remove my shoes to get on an airplane. Look at your kids’ battery operated toys. The battery compartment has a screw in it, doesn’t it? Most kids don’t eat batteries. That’s there to protect children. We don’t have a legal speed limit to slow down the multitudes, but to slow down the few that lack self-discipline. I have to sign for my allergy medicine because a tiny slice of the population uses it to do harm mostly to themselves.

              It’s only on the topic of access to guns that we take the stand that MOST people use them appropriately, therefore there can be no limitations on ANYONE’S rights to own them.

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                “. Boxcutters are used lawfully and in an appropriate manner thousands of times a day, but now I have to remove my shoes to get on an airplane. ”

                Not a good example for how to implement a program that ensures better security. The TSA is one of the most inept bureaucratic agencies in the federal government. We take off our shoes because there wasn’t a $3 lock on the cockpit door and because we don’t allow pilots (many/most of them ex-military) to have a weapon onboard. Rather than do those two EASY things, we ended up with a bureaucracy that determined that the optimum size for a bottle of shampoo to carry on is 3.3 ounces, not 4.. and not a problem to bring 6 of them…. and then they get false positive results on 99.99% of travelers walking through the scanners.

                Can you imagine the levels of incompetence and frustration that would go into any government program that tried to ban weapons?

                I’ve never owned a gun and don’t plan to. I’m in the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” camp. Evil people don’t care about gun laws and anything you try to ban can still be obtained.

                Reply
                1. Norm

                  I don’t accept that, Doug. Just because the government did a poor job at one task doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try another. Are we to wait for the private sector to fix it? It won’t happen.

                2. Norm Ivey

                  How many children do you think will die before the private sector fixes it (if they ever do)? It took Elon Musk over 50 years to get involved after NASA got started.

                3. Richard

                  “How many children do you think will die before the private sector fixes it”

                  I think they may already have, when was the last private school shooting?

            3. bud

              Ok. I’ll agree. It’s just not really relevant.

              Agree or disagree. When Australia passed strict gun laws in 1996 did that make Australia safer?

              Reply
            4. Mark Stewart

              I don’t think it’s the rifle that’s the issue; it’s the magazine. I don’t see the need for civilians to have >10 round magazines (rifle, shotgun or pistol).

              I think it will likely be seal on placing George W Bush near the bottom of Presidents. His decision to end the “assault rifle” ban on guns and equipment was a huge setback for our country.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                For whatever reason, I’m flashing on this exchange from the movie “Kuffs,” starring Christian Slater:

                George Kuffs: I’m looking for a really big gun which holds a lot of bullets.
                Gun Salesman: God bless you, young man.

                Reply
          1. Claus2

            Typical non-gun supporter question, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”.

            Agree or disagree:

            A spoon or similarly shaped utensils are the utensil of choice for those who wish to eat ice cream on a mass scale.

            Reply
        3. bud

          Irrelevant question. We don’t allow Indy cars on I-20. If we did most people would likely use them lawfully. Why allow semi-automatic guns on the street? Let’s start with something easy and ban bump stocks.

          Reply
          1. Richard

            Fine by me, bump stocks are garbage anyway. I can do the exact same thing by hooking my thumb in a belt loop and it doesn’t cost me anything and doesn’t need to be registered. Don’t know how to do it… go to YouTube.

            Reply
          2. Bryan Caskey

            Your analogy doesn’t work because we don’t currently have Indy cars on I-20 with some people advocating to start allowing them. In your analogy, it would be like we’ve had Indy cars on I-20 since 1970 and there’s a constitutional amendment protecting the individual’s right to a motor vehicle….and now you’re proposing banning them.

            Reply
            1. Claus2

              I just watched a video where they ran a Dodge Demon (street legal) down a public highway at 203 mph. They need to be banned… nobody needs to drive more than 55 mph.

              Reply
    2. Richard

      So your solution is to ban whatever you don’t like. If the AR-15 goes away, people will just go to the AK-47. You going to ban those too? Then they’ll just go to another high capacity magazine rifle and on and on and on until you’ve taken everything away.

      I shoot my AR-15 more than I shoot pistols or shotguns. They’re a lot more fun to shoot unless you want to just shoot 5-10 rounds. Shoot 100 rounds out of a 30-06 M1 Garand or 100 rounds out of an 5.56 AR-15. Two clips through my Garand is enough for me, I could shoot magazines through my AR-15 all day long. Actually my preference is to shoot .22LR.

      The deadliest school attack in this country didn’t even involve a rifle, it was a bomb. Take guns away, are you going to outlaw gunpowder and PVC pipe?

      Reply
      1. Norm Ivey

        Begin with any and all weapons whose design is meant to maximize killing.

        The deadliest mass attack in this country involved airplanes, and we took steps to lessen the risk of it happening again.

        Reply
  2. Barry

    Trump’s deputy campaign manager reportedly has agreed to accept a deal from Mueller.

    That likely means he has worthwhile information to tell.

    Reply
  3. Mr. Smith

    4) From the State: “Several commission members said the flag does not belong in the Confederate Relic Room because it’s more of a political flag than a military flag. They suggested it be displayed at the State Museum with the Confederate flags that were removed in 2000 from the State House dome and from the House and Senate chambers.”

    Exactly.

    When I visited the State Museum a couple of years ago, I found the three former State House flags displayed in a rather dark corner. That would be a fitting place to put this latest addition.

    Reply
  4. Doug Ross

    I’ll listen to any suggestions on how to implement better gun control procedures if we can also discuss having the death penalty as a punishment (not a deterrent) for mass murderers. There is no reason to allow teenage killers to spend the rest of their lives in prison. It serves no meaningful purpose. It doesn’t make us a better society.

    Reply
    1. Dave Crockett

      I’m willing to engage in that conversation. Let’s see if we can get anywhere.

      I’ll start:
      vengeance |ˈvenjəns|
      noun
      punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong.
      vs
      deterrent |dəˈtərənt|
      noun
      a thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from doing something.

      I concede that the death penalty should be considered vengeance and not a deterrent.

      Your turn.

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Yes, vengeance is correct. It is punishment for the worst crime – a crime for which there is no rehabilitation. In this case, the shooter deserves to die. Swiftly and without any remorse.

        Does allowing a mass murderer to sit in (most likely) solitary confinement for 50-60 years serve any purpose? How was Charles Manson’s ongoing incarceration and court appearances for 50 years benefiting society? Finite public resources were wasted on his worthless life.

        Same for Dylan Roof and this guy in Florida. There is zero doubt about their guilt. The Florida shooter already confessed. Let’s give the families of the victims the proper vengeance (yes!) they deserve.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          So, now it’s your turn, Dave. What would YOU do that would guarantee a measurable reduction in school shootings? I know everything we’ve done to this point in South Carolina (fences around entire properties, check in desks, etc.) are just expensive window dressing with little real value.

          Reply
          1. Dave Crockett

            Before I can even begin to answer, Doug, I need to see if we have any other common ground. I will offer another statement for you to react to:

            I do not accept the contention that the Second Amendment is a blanket authorization for anyone in this country to own as many firearms as they like of any design they wish to have. Some limitations (not specifying which ones at this point) may be appropriate and constitutional.

            Reaction?

            Reply
            1. Bryan Caskey

              “I do not accept the contention that the Second Amendment is a blanket authorization for anyone in this country to own as many firearms as they like of any design they wish to have.”

              No one makes the argument I’ve bolded. No one. Also, I’m not sure many people are advocating limiting actual numbers of firearms.

              Reply
              1. Dave Crockett

                Would you accept:

                I do not accept the contention that the Second Amendment is a blanket authorization for every person in this country to own firearms.

                Reply
                1. Bryan Caskey

                  Here’s the better way to put it:

                  Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From time out of mind, commentators and courts have routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. For example, most courts in the 1800s held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. Nothing in the 2A casts doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. To your point about what kind of arms you may carry, another important limitation on the right is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

                  I’d love to stay and talk guns and stuff with y’all, but I’ve got to go get ready to take my 6 year old son to Opening Day for Gamecock Baseball.

                2. Dave Crockett

                  We are going to run out of thread very quickly…but to Bryan’s comment below… I’m trying to stay broad and then narrow in on any areas of agreement. Unfortunately, as much as I really appreciate his logical, lawyerly approach, Bryan’s use of terms like “mentally ill,” “sensitive places,” “dangerous and unusual” and “historical traditions” are the broad brushstrokes that seem to stymie the conversation because clear definitions don’t seem to exist among the rest of us. Doug, if you want to continue, please ask Brad to convey my personal e-mail address to you and we can try off-blog…

                3. Bryan Caskey

                  “Bryan’s use of terms like “mentally ill,” “sensitive places,” “dangerous and unusual” and “historical traditions” are the broad brushstrokes that seem to stymie the conversation because clear definitions don’t seem to exist among the rest of us.”

                  It’s all value-judgments and line drawing, isn’t it? Take “mentally ill” for example. Currently, we do not allow people who have been committed to a mental institution to posses or purchase firearms. Now, there are certainly a lot of mentally ill people in the US who haven’t been committed to a mental institution. Mental illness is something that can have varying degrees. Should we adjust the law to include more mentally ill people? Probably, but it’s tough to do, because of the nature of mental illness.

                  Y’all are talking about making laws. Fine. Let’s talk about making a law, thinking it through…how it’s going to work, how it will be enforced, what are the trade-offs, what the likely results will be, what the problems will be, and how to make the law as problem-free as possible.

                4. Doug Ross

                  So you will only engage if I agree with your statements? Ok, I’ll play along.

                  If you are asking if I accept this statement:

                  “I do not accept the contention that the Second Amendment is a blanket authorization for every person in this country to own firearms.”

                  Yes I accept that. Felons should not be allowed to posses a weapon. People under 18 should not be able to purchase them. People who have been diagnosed by a physician or psychiatrist as having the potential to harm themselves or others should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms.
                  But other than that, I don’t care what they own or how many they own. I have zero.

                  Will you play now? Do you accept this statement:

                  “If it were possible to ban all assault weapon sales and confiscate all assault weapons from legal holders, there still would be shootings using handguns and non-assault weapons on school campuses on a regular basis.”

                5. Dave Crockett

                  I accept your exclusions related to age and mental competency. As for
                  “If it were possible to ban all assault weapon sales and confiscate all assault weapons from legal holders, there still would be shootings using handguns and non-assault weapons on school campuses on a regular basis.” I would only quibble with “on a regular basis” as too vague. How’s that? BTW, I also own no guns.

                6. Scout

                  ““If it were possible to ban all assault weapon sales and confiscate all assault weapons from legal holders, there still would be shootings using handguns and non-assault weapons on school campuses on a regular basis.”

                  -Doug

                  I accept that, but likely far fewer people would be killed before the shooter was stopped. Not a perfect solution but a step in the right direction, if it’s all we can likely agree on right now.

                7. Claus2

                  “If it were possible to ban all assault weapon sales and confiscate all assault weapons from legal holders, there still would be shootings using handguns and non-assault weapons on school campuses on a regular basis.”

                  Banning firearms isn’t going to stop assaults on schools. The deadliest assault on a school was in 1927 and didn’t involve a firearm.

                  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/1927-bombing-remains-americas-deadliest-school-massacre-180963355/

                  How would confiscation work… would the military and police go house to house searching for assault weapons? How many assault weapons registered were “sold years ago” or lost in a tragic boating accident? 8 million AR-15’s have been sold, I doubt you’d get 10% of them turned in by owners.

                8. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Dave wasn’t saying DO it. He said “If it were possible to ban all assault weapon sales and confiscate all assault weapons…”

                  So why are you asking how it would work? He’s sort of assuming it wouldn’t…

                9. Brad Warthen Post author

                  So… turn every school in America into a fortress?

                  We’ve gone a long way in that direction already. Just how impregnable to we have to make them, because there are 8 million AR-15s out there in private hands?

                  I’m thinking we don’t want to resort to minefields, so… multiple guards, preferably urban-combat-trained, each with a fully automatic weapon to have superior firepower (or perhaps sawed-off shotguns inside the building)? Metal detectors, of course, manned by those heavily armed guards, so the killer can’t just blast his way through the checkpoint. Kevlar vests and helmets for all the kids, of course, to reduce the chances of a kill shot somewhat. MGs at entrances, elevated (perhaps on the roof) to maximize fields of fire…

                10. Brad Warthen Post author

                  … and of course we have to do the same at all movie theaters, concert venues, stores, restaurants, bars, and city streets.

                  Or, instead of trying to play impossibly perfect, infallible, tenacious D EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME, we do something to reduce attackers’ offensive capability?

                11. Bryan Caskey

                  I was trying to help solve the problem. Figured since there’s such an unbridgeable divide over your proposal to ban certain types of guns, I would try and come up with a common-sense solution that might save some lives.

                12. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Did I suggest banning guns?

                  Maybe I did sometime in the last few days, given the extreme circumstances. But usually I make it a point not to. Usually I just say it’s hopeless.

                  As Bret Stephens says, nothing will be effective as long as there’s a 2nd Amendment. Which is why he, conservative that he is, suggests repealing it:

                  So all this is an argument for tougher gun-control laws, right? Well, not exactly.

                  In October, after the Las Vegas massacre, I made the case in this column for repealing the Second Amendment. The column is still being criticized by conservatives for reasons that usually miss the point. We need to repeal the Second Amendment because most gun-control legislation is ineffective when most Americans have a guaranteed constitutional right to purchase deadly weaponry in
                  nearly unlimited quantities.

                  There’s a good case to be made for owning a handgun for self-defense, or a rifle for hunting. There is no remotely sane case for being allowed to purchase, as Paddock did, 33 firearms in the space of a year. But that change can’t happen without a constitutional fix. Anything less does little more than treat the symptoms of the disease.

                  See how this issue distorts even the language used to describe it? I wrote “conservative that he is” as though it’s contradictory for a conservative to oppose our extremely liberal gun laws (or perhaps I should say, extremely liberal LACK of gun laws). Of course, it isn’t.

                  No conservative would support the present state of affairs…

                13. Bryan Caskey

                  Okay, so maybe rather than working to repeal a constitutional amendment, we try going with courthouse level security? I mean, one of those seems feasible and the other one doesn’t. Maybe that’s just me.

                14. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Yeah, courthouse-level security is more doable.

                  But as responses go, is it more rational?

                  The thing that keeps bugging me is the way we’ve painted ourselves into a corner in this country to the point that we have to immediately reject the most reasonable solutions and come up with all sorts of workarounds rather than do the obvious.

                  Oh, I can cite ALL the reasons we do that. I just think at some point, when you’ve fallen into the habit of immediately rejecting the more rational solutions, and automatically go around your elbow to get to your arse, you get to where you’re a dysfunctional society, as I wrote here.

                  At some point, you have to consider things that might even fly in the face of the immemorial custom of the Service, such as reducing or even eliminating the rum ration. Or Catholic Emancipation…

                15. Bryan Caskey

                  So there you go. Let’s talk about more security at schools. And let’s talk about mental health care options. We could can talk about expanding the prohibited person list. We can talk about making sure the data on prohibited persons are being accurately reported into the NICS database. We can talk about aggressively prosecuting straw-purchasers and people who falsely fill out AFT 4473s. We can talk about having the FBI do it’s freakin’ job and run down tips like they’re supposed to.

                  All the things I’ve listed have broad support.

                16. Claus2

                  “So why are you asking how it would work? He’s sort of assuming it wouldn’t…”

                  Because people always say to ban or confiscate guns… just curios as to how that’d work. Maybe legalize prostitution and merge the two into some sort of return program.

                17. Doug Ross

                  Let’s also talk about how many of the school shooters were on some type of prescription drug related to controlling behavior. Is it 100%? Seems like it. Maybe we need to find alternatives to sedating kids with drugs that alter the chemical structure of their brains…

                  But we’ll keep talking about banning a specific weapon because that won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

                18. Norm Ivey

                  Harden the targets?

                  There are 40 schools in RSD2 alone; even more in RSD1. Every morning tens of thousands of kids enter them. What kind of manpower are we talking about to check every one of them on entering? And then you’d have to wall off every campus like a prison. Think DJJ, not county courthouse. Is that where you want your kids attending school?

                  I don’t even think you have to collect the ones that are out there. Stop manufacturing and selling them. Offer a buy-back program. Hold owners accountable as an accessory if their weapon gets into the hands of someone who commits a crime with it. Encourage people to speak up when they know of someone with mental health issues who has access to these weapons.

                  We’re not going to stop gun deaths in this country, but maybe we can save a few lives of high schoolers and 1st graders.

                19. Norm Ivey

                  A school isn’t like a courthouse. The kids don’t go in and remain inside until time to leave. They exit buildings to change classes, for lunch, for fire drills, at least at the middle and high school levels. There’s constant movement on a school campus. Most in RSD2 have fences that might slow down a determined intruder, but it wouldn’t stop them by a long shot. In most schools, a shooter doesn’t even have to be on campus to target students.

              2. bud

                So what we’re really debating is where we draw the line. We all seem to agree that nuclear bombs should be illegal for a private citizen to own. Perhaps a few would allow Abrams tanks. Most would not. At the other end of the spectrum most would say single shot shotguns for hunting should be allowed. So where should the line be? I would do what Australia did.

                Reply
                1. Richard

                  More kids in America die from bee stings than they do from guns. Ban bees.

                  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that more kids die from peanut butter sandwiches than guns. Ban peanuts.

                2. Bryan Caskey

                  So what we’re really debating is where we draw the line.

                  Exactly.

                  So where should the line be? I would do what Australia did.

                  I don’t believe that’s practical here in the USA.

                3. Claus2

                  Let’s start confiscating weapons where they’re most used against other people… Chicago, Detroit, etc… Who’s going through the door first???

    2. Richard

      I hear states are starting to look at nitrogen gas as a execution method. I say you want to put the fear of God into people, public executions. Parade the guilty out the back door to the gallows the day after being found guilty and receiving the sentence of death. You’re more likely to die of old age on death row than to actually be executed.

      Reply
  5. bud

    I’ve decided who to vote for in the Democratic primary, Phil Noble. He’s a pragmatic Democrat who isn’t beholden to the NRA with his A grade on gun issues like his opponent James Smith. If Smith wins I’ll get more familiar with his stance on other issues before deciding whether to vote at all or just sit this one out.

    Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        It is interesting that Smith’s campaign website doesn’t have a single specific issue where he expresses his views. It’s all high level boilerplate – “military, schools, healthcare”. Not a single specific item regarding what he would do as Governor except “fight”.

        I think he should let us know what he specifically would do about guns in South Carolina. And is he pro-choice or pro-life? Is he opposed to school vouchers in any form? Would he (not sure if it is possible now or not) accept the Obamcare Medicaid funding?

        My guess is that he wants to stay vague on specifics for as long as possible. He can’t throw any red meat to Democrats now on abortion and guns without risking losing the crossover votes he will need in November. That’s too bad if it plays out that way. But wouldn’t be unusual in the way politicians run for office.

        That being said, if he’s up against McMaster, I’ll probably vote for him. McMaster is a known quantity and has been part of the problem for a long time.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Good thinking.

          Yeah, James needs to flesh out his website. I don’t think he’s staffed up to that point yet, and he’s kind of run ragged attending events all over the state.

          Last time I looked, all he had was a campaign manager and a “body man” to make sure he gets to the places where he’s supposed to go. But that was before the holidays, so maybe he’s added some help.

          I think he’s trying to save his limited resources for the general. But now that he’s got two challengers in the primary, he might have to spend more than he wants to….

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            “I think he’s trying to save his limited resources for the general. ”

            I think he’s trying to avoid taking any positions at all before the general. That’s too bad. And I reserve the right to not vote for him against McMaster if his campaign focuses on Trump or Republicans. I want to know what he is going to do.

            Reply
          2. bud

            Does it involve a huge amount of resources to post a few bullet points about major issues. To be fair Noble’s website doesn’t have much in the way of specific issues either.

            Reply
        2. Lynn Teague

          James Smith may need to flesh out his website, don’t know because I haven’t looked, but he definitely has gone on the record on virtually every issue that comes before the General Assembly — bills sponsored, opposed, voted for, voted against, press conferences, and more. Agree or not with any of his positions, his positions are definitely on the public record.

          Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’ve been wondering who in South Carolina (the only endorsement I’m familiar with is Doug Jones from Alabama, which is kind of outweighed by Joe Biden’s endorsement of James) might support Noble.

          And now I know.

          It’s Bud…

          Reply
  6. Norm Ivey

    We have 3-4 intruder drills and about the same number of fire drills at school every year. For one you lock and hide. For the other you evacuate. Yesterday at one of our high schools, a kid pulled the fire alarm. Teachers and students froze before evacuating. That’s where we are.

    Something’s got to change, but it won’t. We proved as a nation after Sandy Hook that we value the 2nd amendment with virtually no limitations more than we value the lives of 6-year-olds.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      Yep.

      As I told my wife who is a teacher:

      Nothing will change
      It will happen again (a bunch of times and it’s only getting worse. Eventually someone will kill 200-400 students at one time)

      Hope it doesn’t happen at your school or the school of family members and friends.

      Things will change when it happens at a high enough profile school

      Reply
      1. bud

        500+ were shot in Las Vegas and bump stocks are still legal. Is a Tommy gun any more lethal than a bump stock equipped AR-15?

        Reply
        1. Richard

          “Is a Tommy gun any more lethal than a bump stock equipped AR-15?”

          At the range he was shooting… nope. The Thompson submachine gun uses a .45 ACP round… a pistol round. At 500 yards most of the people who were hit would have had maybe a decent bruise.

          Reply
    2. Scout

      Really? At my school we have a fire drill at least once a month. Usually on the last day of the month because they typically almost forget and remember at the last minute. We have hard and soft lockdowns, tornado, earthquake, intruder, and bomb threat drills all maybe once a year each it seems. I think we need more of the intruder and lockdown drills, sadly.

      Reply
      1. Norm Ivey

        I think the law says some sort of drill once a month. We get the earthquake and tornado drills, too. And you’re right–all the drills usually come at the end of the month.

        Reply
  7. Richard

    How about instead of outlawing weapons, why not reopen all of the mental institutions that have been shut down over the past 30 years?

    Reply
    1. Lynn Teague

      We need more mental health care options. However, that won’t fix the gun violence problem. Mental illness does not mean violent. The real danger signals are things like a domestic abuse record or violent outbursts at school. But obviously not all domestic abusers or unruly students become mass killers. So, do we lock up a lot of people who might commit a crime, but haven’t? Doesn’t that raise some civil liberties issues? More such issues than keeping them from having deadly weapons?

      Reply
  8. Richard

    Has anyone planned on buying tickets for Elton John’s final tour? How many of you that have seen commercial for the concert at Carolina Life Arena in in March 2019, not 2018… 2019. So I guess we’ll get to see this advertisement for the next 13 months.

    If you want to save yourself some money go to YouTube and pull up recent video of his concerts. The audio on the commercial is 30-40 years old… today he actually sounds like he’s 70 years old.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I saw him and Billy Joel together at Colonial Life Arena some years back. Not particularly memorable, but it was OK.

      I think the opening act was the British punk group 13 Months of Adverts…

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I kind of doubt I’d spend that to see the Beatles if John and George were brought back to life.

          My concert-going heyday was the ’70s. In my mind, a concert ticket is worth $5, if it’s somebody good…

          Last good show I saw was at least 10 years ago. Elvis Costello, at a venue in Charlotte (I forget the name of it) that’s essentially a high-school-sized gym with seats arrayed around the edges. But everybody just stood on the BB court. The stage was at one end of the court. It was like having Elvis play your high school dance. I was surprised at what a good live musician he was in person; I’d always thought of him as a studio guy…

          Reply
  9. JesseS

    As a personal preference I’ve never been into the AR. It always seemed like a macho device for guys to pour their Gear Acquisition Syndrome into. A hanger for flashlights, lasers, miniature scopes, fuzzy dice, and Zombie Killer stickers; a status symbol for the shooting range. For a modern equivalent of a repeating rifle, the semi-automatic, I always preferred the humbler looking Mini-14, sturdy and simple SKS, or even an old M1 Garand.

    Banning it wouldn’t change my life. Not that I’m supporting the notion either way.

    Then again I hate 1911s. For a Colt I’ll take a Single Action Army. Glock? Give me a S&W Model 10 or 13. I like it simple and reliable. I’m not fantasizing about fighting in an insurgent war downtown and even I have to admit that the guns I’ve mentioned have their own power fantasies. Even if it’s gunning down Black Bart in tin can form in the back acre, while wishing I could impress the horse doctor down the road who does cowboy action shooting.

    It’s all fantasy at the end of the day. Ego, and probably severely misplaced ego.

    I’ve been out in the county for a while and the only gun I’ve had to use was a .12 gauge shotgun. That was to put down a rabid animal and I still feel guilty about it. It wasn’t lashing out or anything; it’s brain was just mush and it was struggling to breathe. You think, “I guess I’ll have to man up and put it out of it’s misery.” Then BOOM and you instantly feel like the smallest person in the world. Then you fill the hole in and feel even tinier. The world just feels cruel. Good bye little beast. Your one chance on this planet shouldn’t have ended that way. It makes you wish every living thing got a do-over.

    As far as boys being boys with their guns in a high school cafeteria, I’ve been wondering about that since Columbine. As much as I hate to say it, ideas are infectious. Harris & Klebold had the last days of usenet and GeoCities. Today’s future killers have 4Chan, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and private Discord servers. Lord knows what they are doing in the mobile space, since I’m too old for that. What’s the SnapChat for Hate?

    The thing is, I really don’t advocate censorship. I advocate inoculation. Only inoculation is hard, but I’m not worried so much about the guns as I am about the soul blackening rot people end up carrying around with themselves. The shooters are only the worst. What about all the others who go off into the world carrying that hateful weight.

    Every time this happens and the shooter survives I hear some guy at the end of the bar say, “I hope they put them in the general population and hand out shivs.”

    My response is always the same, “Do you remember being 16 or 17? Do you remember all that anger? Do you remember all that boiling rage and resentment? Maybe you were the guy who lost his virginity at the junior prom and had 3 or 4 hot girlfriends or maybe you lost it at 22 or 24 with pity sex, but you felt it, didn’t you, even if you never once felt like shooting up a school.”

    Generally they remember it. If they don’t they either had the perfect teens or they are in denial. Imagine being a kid today. Now imagine all the hateful, pent up resentment the online world pours into you and tries to exploit every single day. The MRA stuff, the White Supremacist stuff, whatever. Yeah, your kid isn’t Dylann Roof or a school shooter, you weren’t that, or even an idiot 30 something carrying a tiki torch at Charlottesville. Those people are sick, right? But who feeds the sick their poison? Who stokes the flames of resentment? Who tells them to forget all of their problems with a heavy dose of external validation?

    It’s the same con game that gets kids into gangs or joining ISIS or whatever else and some kids will fall for it every time. It’s good old disaffected youth, only with guns. Why does that feel like such an impossible and untouchable problem?

    When your dog eats poison you don’t write a letter to Congress for a law banning poison while they choke on the floor. You pour hydrogen peroxide down their throat and try to make it vomit.

    I feel like I’ve ranted about this a thousand times over.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      I like your writing about shooting the rabid animal.

      My dog grabbed a opossum last year out of a bush near our porch and dropped it near near our front. door. He only had it in his mouth for a few seconds. The opossum appeared dead. To make sure I grabbed my 22 pistol and shot it because I thought maybe my dog or partially crushed it and I didn’t want it to suffer. Only after I shot did it occur to,e that it was likely just playing dead. I still feel terrible about that. It was so unnecessary on my part. I learned my lesson. I recently saw another one and kept my dog away from it and just let it be.

      Reply
    2. Richard

      “I always preferred the humbler looking Mini-14”

      The worst shooting rifle made. If you can get your shot placement within an aread the size of a dinner plate at 100 yards you’re doing great.

      “Then again I hate 1911s.”

      Have you ever been tested for a mental disorder?

      The way you talk, I need to be worried about every high school kid in my neighborhood. Dear God, don’t let those three that walked by earlier go down and start shooting up a preschool… I bet they were gangbangers.

      I hear now the shooter is willing to plead guilty if the death penalty is off the table. The prosecution shouldn’t even allow this to be on the tale, the prosecution can have this trial over withing a day, the jury will decide this case before they have a chance to sit down in the jury room, the judge will hand sentence immediately. If we had justice, he’d be escorted out to a tree behind the courthouse before courtroom was emptied of spectators. Sometimes you just have to get rid of the bad people, and I believe there is a thing such as justifiable homicide… if he were strangled or stabbed while in jail, oh well.

      Reply
      1. JesseS

        “Have you ever been tested for a mental disorder?”

        I dunno why, but I can barely hit the broad side of a barn with a 1911. Maybe I just haven’t spent enough time with them or the sights were messed up on the ones I’ve shot.

        “The way you talk, I need to be worried about every high school kid in my neighborhood. Dear God, don’t let those three that walked by earlier go down and start shooting up a preschool… I bet they were gangbangers.”

        Maybe you shouldn’t be worried about them, but worried for them. I see this as a long term problem that our society hasn’t really broached in a sober way. It’s part gun control, part mental health, and part culture. It’s not any one thing, but a set of problems that feed into each other. As much as I hate to use the term, it’s masculinity. It’s also radicalization. It’s also lack of opportunity and a feeling of (imagine or real) disenfranchisement.

        We look at it the same way we look at a junky robbing a store, but we can’t bring ourselves to look at it from the junky’s perspective.

        Reply
  10. Richard

    So let me understand this….drunk drivers kill approx 5000 a year and we blame the driver…not the car…not the booze…the driver. We don’t ban cars….we don’t ban booze…we don’t take cars away from responsible people….but a shooting…the fault of the gun….ban it…take it away from responsible people….the liberal mind Just wow.

    I’m going to think like the anti-gun crowd who wants guns banned. I don’t drink, so I’m okay with demanding that President Trump and all of Congress ban booze.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      Plenty of people blame the booze, which is highly regulated by governments of all types.

      Cars aren’t designed to kill things. They are operated in public, by very large numbers of people at any given second. States require operators to meet a basic competency level before they are allowed to be operated on public roads. States require liability insurance, as well as annual fees and taxes. There are many laws governing who can operate a vehicle and how they are allowed to operate that vehicle, all the way down to what they can do while operating the car from the driver’s seat.

      The liberal crowd doesn’t want guns banned. The want certain guns banned or more severe restrictions placed on their purchase and operation.

      As a gun owner who likely shoots his weapons regularly,, I am perfectly comfortable with more severe restrictions on the purchase and operation of certain weaponss as part of an overall strategy to help reduce the risk of mass shootings.

      Reply
  11. Bryan Caskey

    “There are 40 schools in RSD2 alone; even more in RSD1. Every morning tens of thousands of kids enter them. What kind of manpower are we talking about to check every one of them on entering? And then you’d have to wall off every campus like a prison. Think DJJ, not county courthouse. Is that where you want your kids attending school?”

    Huh. I know that the last football game I went to at Williams-Brice had about 90,000 people there in the span of a few hours. What kind of security did it have? Metal detectors and armed guards.

    It’s not that busy at Brennen Elementary where my six year old goes to school.

    We have metal detectors and armed guards at the following locations in the midlands, just off the top of my head:

    1. Richland County Courthouse
    2. Columbia’s Federal District Courthouse
    3. The Strom Thurmond Federal Building
    4. Every Gamecock football game (where they also don’t even let you have opaque bags anymore)

    It’s not hard.

    And I don’t know where you’re getting “wall off every campus like a prison”. Why does my suggestion of doing some incremental security that we seem to have at every other darn government building make you jump to the conclusion that we need to make it like a “prison”?

    Don’t you want to do something?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’ll confess to a personal prejudice against your approach, part of the way my mind is wired. I just don’t like to think in terms of defense. I like taking the initiative. It was always a handicap for me in sports. I was always too busy thinking about scoring to stop the other guy from scoring…

      Reply

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