What else is new? The minute we have yet another mass shooting of a crazy man, the main thing that conservatives want to do is insist there's nothing we can do about it. They don't even want to look before making this pronouncement. I got into the following debate with Morgan Warstler over at The Money Illusion:
I wasn't looking for a fight over guns, but this is what Morgan wrote to another commentator:
"Bill Ellis = human joke without any self awareness All rights come from violence. Govt. is born out of competent men hiring big dumb guys with guns to stand around and protect their property, making it private property. Govt. is not the big dumb guys organizing."
"Govt. is the competent guys organizing to figure out how to reduce what they have to pay the big dumb guys. ALL FUNCTIONS OF GOVT. would be achieved in a private market solution by the very same competent men that organize the govt. IF they didn’t do it by creating govt. As such, govt. only exists where it is a useful fiction to the very same competent men that created it. A useful fiction = that stuff which gets the bottom 2/3 to follow along out of fear or sheer mental acceptance."
"If you specifically look at the the very recent fall of the USSR on DAY ONE, this is exactly what happens. The Colo gun violence is a DIRECT RESULT of the Freedom of Speech enjoyed by Hollywood.
A 24 year old Phd drop out dressed up as The Joker and went to a batman movie and did EXACTLY what The Joker does in batman comics."
"If more people were armed in the theater, he would have killed less people. He wore a bullet proof vest because HE EXPECTED to be fired on and wanted to sanely continue killing people for as long as possible.
I’m not calling on Hollywood to have less freedom of speech, but those people who HATE the competent men – the A POWER – the Tea Party – the top 1/3 of America"
"They want to get rid of guns. Why? Because more guns = weaker govt. Less guns = better chance for the Big Dumb guys to organize and have more power against the competent men that are the hegemony. The vast bulk of the 200M guns are owned by the top 1/3, by the Tea Party."
"None of them walked into that theater. They also didn’t shoot the Congresswoman. But they are ALL comfortable with reminding people that govt. exists FOR AND BY THEM, and that is what it means when they talk about armed rebellion or 2nd Amendment solutions."
"DEEP DOWN everybody, including Bill Ellis gets this.The issue is Bill Ellis doesn’t like the facts as they are. He wants everyone to view it as repugnant. Which is fine. But childish. The top 1/3 run the show. If you want to formulate policy of any kind, it is best to figure out how to serve the interests of the top 1/3."
"If you think that pretending you can organize the bottom 2/3 into action by calling the facts as they are repugnant, you are SANE but DELUSIONAL. Just like the 24 year old shooter.
Bill Ellis = the 24 year old shooter"
Now again, I was not looking for a fight over guns but this is all laying it on a little thick. I mean the Colorado tragedy would have been avoided if only everyone were armed?
"If more people were armed in the theater, he would have killed less people."
So I wasn't looking for a debate over guns but I had to get into it a bit:
"Oh come on Morgan. See, you are really on the rag lately. I mean Bill Ellis= a 24 year mass murderer? How about Morgan Warstler= more like Major Freedom every day. I mean the breadth of such ad hominem attacks is breathless"
"Let’s look at reality as you claim that’s your stock in trade. You’re not winning. You couldn’t even get the most conservative SC since the 20s to vote down Obamacare. Meanwhile Americans just want Mitt Romney to release his tax returns."
"54-37, a landslide in an election. 17 points, Reagan won by 18.
Meanwhile Romney’s plan to run against the “Obama Recession” isn’t working out so well. He’s getting no traction from it. Zero."
"I give you it’s clever to act as if the real dividing line is the top 1/3 vs. the bottom 2/3, but even your A power isn’t happy to know a fat cat like Romney pays virtually no taxes and may have paid none for all we know."
"I think you’re losing, you know it, and your lashing out. Calling Ellis a mass murderer won’t help your prospects."
He has been on the rag lately. Yeah, Morgan can be a jerk. But for a Right wing nut he can make some pretty cogent arguments sometimes. But I think the losing's been getting to him. Now I get to the heart of the matter:
"The idea that more guns means less crime is baloney. Here’s some actual sense being spoke:
“this model of multiple equilibria applies to guns. There are societies with few guns and strict regs on them. Think Japan. Most of their gun deaths are socially approved suicides derived from the Samurai code of honor and Seppuku”
“OTOH, the US is clearly stuck in the “bad” equilibrium, derived from a long individualistic frontier history of widespread gun ownership, reinforced by the Second Amendment with its two parts, one emphasizing the right to own guns, recently raised above the other part by the US Supreme Court against long established precedents, with the other emphasizing the need for state level militias to be supported by a gun-owning citizenry in a society without a federal national defense (uh huh, compare 1787 national military [basically zero] to current DOD, duh). The control variable is the number of guns out there per capita, and the long US history favoring guns has meant that the barn door was torn off long ago and guns are everywhere, with no chance to go to the low gun “good” equilibrium anytime in the near future. Local efforts to control guns are hopeless as they pour in from other parts of the country, such as Virginia supplying the gangs of New York, with newly revived relaxations against the pleas of law enforecement officials to the northeast, but, hey, here in Virginia, the NRA really has the legislature in its grip to kill kill kill.”
“However, this most recent shocking event makes clear that even if the US has no hope of ever getting to that “good” equilibrium, maybe we are going too far into the bad equilibrium zone, and that more and more guns do not lead to less crime at all. What can we do?”
“Well, there is one obvious move. Reinstate the previously existing ban on assault weapons. The evidence is clear that when that ban was in place, there were fewer deaths from such weapons. The main weapon that James Holmes used in his invokation of the Joker was an assault rifle banned under the previous ban on assault weapons, left to expire. This ban must be reinstated”
"Uh, yeah! Look I’m not against gun ownership though it does not reduce crime, that’s baloney. How is it that so many countries have few guns and little crime like Japan? Yet in Japan and Switzerland and lots of other countries “only the criminals have guns”-that they have to import from out of the country-and yet they have lower crime rates than we’d know what to do with?"
"By no means do I believe we should take people’s guns. However we should take their assault rifles tomorrow. This Joker guy was stocked to the gills. He had explosives all around his house."
"He had the most domestic casualties in US history with 70. Yeah, I know he would have still been “an evil guy” or certainly plain Loco without his heavy artillery. But no way would so many be dead and wounded."
Just so we're clear, I'm not anti gun. Econospeak, by the way is excellent. If you want a really good Econ blog that finally gives you a resource against the constant distortions and sophistry of mainstream Macro-starting with Rational Expectations and Efficient Markets-this is the place to go. Barkley Rosler, the author of the piece I quoted above gets it right. The U.S. will never be Switzerland or Japan, nor do I necessarily want it to be. I don't have a problem with gun ownership. But when the Riddler killer is able to get automatic weapons and stockpile his apartment with explosives that could have killed many times more than he even killed at the theater-he had 70 casualties, which are the most for a domestic act like this in U.S history.
Whatever our socially optimum "equilibrium" is, this isn't it. George Zimmerman is another case in point. He is a sick many, deeply mentally ill who should never have been allowed near any kind of gun.
There will be many ways that the conservatives will try to deflect anyone who takes up Mike Bloomberg's gauntlet. You will hear absurd arguments like Morgan Warstler who claim that we'd be safer if everyone had a gun. If so then why do countries with less guns-where "only the criminals have guns(they import from abroad" have so much less violence? You hear about how some people are just evil or insane, we've always had this in human society we always will.
Sure. I mean that's undeniable, but, how can you deny that the Riddler would not have set a record for casualties yesterday if he didn't have access to guns?
Again, I don't seek to take away everyone's guns. But it never ceases to amaze me just what a scorched earth policy the NRA plays. They refuse to hear of any limits, any regulations, any checks at all. Even the sale of so-called "cop killer" bullets they insist should be wholly available.
In the case of Zimmerman, his whole defense may end up being Stand Your Ground, a misguided law, wholly complements of the gun lobby.
Just how powerful the NRA is can be gauged by the fact that the Attorney General of the United States was just held in contempt in the House-first time this has been done in U.S. history-based on a crazy conspiracy pushed by the NRA that Fast and Furious was about a nefarious plan to take away guns from white, Christian Americans. AKA-Warstler's Top Third.
In answer to my comment he came back with the claim that he doesn't care about the crime rate. that guns are about 'freedom." He wants us to believe that the only reason we have any civil rights is because of gun rights. He's the one who argued that if more people were armed fewer would be dead in Colorado.
" "Guns = Rights There is no doubt that the US has a stronger sense of individual over society because of the 2nd Amendment. It comes right after you can say whatever the hell you want about anybody, pray to whatever god you want, you can arm up and protect yourself without having to RELY on the state for your protection. Who cares about crime? I’mm concerned with liberty and capitalism, backed be self proetection. Why would you waste your time, responding about crime stats?"
Now he says it's not about crime stopping but freedom. However you want to construe our rights they don't come from the barrel of a gun. Yes, the government has a monopoly on force, that he has some pretty confused ideas on too. Actually this makes me think of someone way crazier than Morgan-who I do like even if he's totally full of it here-Major Freedom.
The Major tries to claim to draw an equivalence between the "violence" of the state, including the police and the violence of Colorado Riddler. The more libertarians try to be consistent the more wild eyed their theories become.