Tag Archives: guns

Sex and Guns

BY STEVE BATES

This is a blog about men behaving badly. Some do it through sexual harassment and sexual assault. Some do it with firearms. While the latter is more serious, both cause lasting damage.

Is there a connection? Perhaps in a Freudian sense. Perhaps in another way: It’s all about power.

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Men who coerce teenagers and adults into unwanted sexual behavior might be looking for a glandular thrill. But I believe that many such perpetrators have another motive: to revel in their power over those who are more vulnerable than them.

It’s a psychological compulsion. “I can do this to you and you can’t do anything about it” is implied, if not stated, frequently in these situations. For the perpetrator, that might be the biggest thrill.

One of the things that is so disheartening about this behavior is that it often is displayed by people who have power already. They seem to be white, employed, even affluent. They have jobs that put them in control of others: government officials, Hollywood personalities.

I have never understood the need to control another human being. I can’t recall a time when I crossed a line in a sexual context. I didn’t even manage to get my first date until I was in college. There have been times when I wished that I had more influence in certain social settings. But my thinking has always been: If you have to beg for something or bully your way to get something, it’s not worth having. Maybe if I looked like George Clooney things would have been different. I doubt it.

I have never understood the attraction of owning a gun, either. I have fired guns. In the Cub Scouts I was required to display a degree of marksmanship to earn a badge. So my den took a trip out into the woods. One by one we took turns gazing down the barrel of a .22-caliber rifle and murdering innocent tin cans.

As I recall, I wasn’t a bad shot in those days, when my vision was pretty good. I fired off a couple of rounds at a target at a carnival as well. But that was it.

Yes, I understand the Second Amendment right to own and use guns. And no, I don’t want to repeal the amendment or confiscate weapons. (Whatever happened to that rumored gun roundup that the Obama Administration was planning, alt-right people?)

Still, I don’t believe that those who wrote and enacted the Bill of Rights would have intended it to allow sick and deranged people to obtain weapons of mass destruction such as military assault rifles. The Founding Fathers would be angry at us if they could see the misery we have allowed to occur on a daily basis. They would call for an immediate uprising against the NRA and a re-wording or re-interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Americans, you are welcome to your guns. Please don’t use them against innocent people. What can drive someone to shoot up a school or a church or a concert? What sickness, what hatred, what lack of appreciation of the value for every human life could possibly drive someone to point that weapon at another person other than in self-defense?

Whatever pleasure a power-seduced person might get from sexual abuse or from shooting someone, it won’t last. These people need to find another way to exercise their power. If they can’t, we are in trouble.

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Take the Fake News Quiz

BY STEVE BATES

Welcome to the October Fake News Quiz, in which we challenge our readers (or, some months, our reader) to determine which of these news items are true and which are fake. Here is this month’s lineup. Good luck.

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  1. Drew and Jonathan Scott, aka the Property Brothers on HGTV, are actually robots built by craftspersons working for the network. After trying unsuccessfully to cast a pair of human brothers with the necessary skills, Hollywood looks and aw-shucks demeanor, the HGTV team spent months secretly perfecting this pair of androids. The first attempts failed; the bad bots were re-purposed for other shows, notably the unfortunate remake of “Will & Grace.” Now that the robotic Property Brothers are fixtures on all-day TV, they are demanding better salaries and perks, like an upgrade from diesel fuel to refined plutonium.
  2. Aloof Acres, a gated community in the Hamptons, is offering buyers of new multi-million-dollar homes the option of additional utilities that will bring liquor directly into the residences. Along with water, gas and electricity, purchasers can choose from pipelines delivering scotch, bourbon, gin, vodka and–for the kiddies—chocolate milk. The meters can monitor the commodities remotely because electronic sensors measure consumption right down to the molecule. Temperature controls do pump up the price tags of these consumables, experts point out. However, as the president of the homeowners’ association puts it, “Don’t judge us just because we are rich and frequently drunk. Someone has to set standards.”
  3. Yoga for Pets, the franchise created by an out-of-work Zeppelin polisher and his wife in their Toledo, Ohio, basement, has spread to 43 states plus much of Europe and several of those countries that end in “-istan.” The secret to the success of the business is getting the pets’ owners to leave and not watch what happens during the yoga sessions. It would be too painful for the owners to realize how little their pets need them and how relaxed the animals become once the lights go down, the music comes on and it’s time to streettttcccchhhh. The business does have some mixed classes (dogs and cats); however cats and birds are required to take separate classes after several unfortunate incidents.
  4. Marijuana stores in the states where recreational use of pot is legal keep selling out of the new strain of dope that improves memory and decreases appetite. Most varieties of marijuana are known for impairing the memories of users, sometimes causing sleepiness. And, of course, most strains cause users to want to eat things that they otherwise would never think of consuming, like dippin’ dots and that carton of leftover Chinese food that has been in the back of the fridge for weeks. I mean, don’t even think of opening it. It could be—I’m sorry, what were we talking about? Oh God, I’m so hungry. I could almost eat quinoa. Oh, no, I think this is the wrong….
  5. The Unites States remains the only large developed country where military-style weapons and ammunition are allowed in virtually unlimited quantities in the hands of almost any resident, including nut jobs and potential terrorists. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans favor modest controls on the kinds of powerful killing machines that were never imagined by the backers of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the National Rifle Association and the members of Congress they control through threats and contributions continue to ignore the will of the people. And every week, more Americans are shot to death needlessly, including children.

ANSWERS: Of course, all five of these items are fake. Who would believe any of them?!

The Genius of Donald Trump

BY STEVE BATES

This is very hard for me to say, so I’ll come right out with it: Donald Trump is the smartest president I have seen in my lifetime. Considering that I am a hard-core liberal and voted against Trump, this constitutes a major turnaround for me–and one that is very hard to admit.

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My epiphany is based solidly on the evidence. Consider these policies and actions of the 45th president:

THE WALL: Not only does Trump plan to build a border wall that could cost upward of $20 billion, he plans to pay for in part by weakening other parts of our national security, such as the TSA and Coast Guard. What this means is that instead of relatively poor Mexicans trying to cross the border into our country to make a better life for their children, the people coming into the U.S. illegally will be arriving by planes and ships. That will bring a richer, higher-class brand of terrorists who will contribute to the national economy before committing their heinous crimes.

FOREIGN POLICY: North Korea is just itching for a fight, firing missiles in the general direction of Japan and promising to destroy American military bases in that country. It has even claimed that, eventually, it will start blowing up our West Coast. What has the president done in response? He kept eating his overcooked steak at his country club in Florida, and he has said nothing publicly. The man tweets about everything he sees on Fox News, but direct military threats from a dangerous country merit no comment? Clearly, he is being sly. One morning soon an unsuspecting North Korea will be reduced to radioactive slag.

GUNS: A recent presidential order ensures that mentally ill Americans can get guns. And Trump has failed to take any action that would limit access to firearms by people on the terror watch list. Clearly, the president is setting them up. He wants these folks to show their hands—and weapons—so that he can round them up and start the waterboarding.

HEALTH CARE: Trump and his fellow Republicans in the House and Senate have crafted legislation that is quite amazing. It manages to help the rich at the expense of the poor while angering conservatives who feel that it gives the poor too much. At the same time, it removes what few incentives remained for major private insurance companies to participate. Only the smartest minds in government could have devised such a brain-dead proposal.

RUSSIA: Some very suspicious people have suggested that Trump has a man-crush on Putin and hesitates to criticize Russia. They have it wrong. Trump doesn’t love Russia; he loves the old Soviet Union. After he conquers Canada, Mexico and a few Central American countries whose names he can’t even pronounce, he’ll have an empire that will outshine the best that the Soviets ever managed.

WIRETAPPING: Claiming that Barack Obama ordered secret and illegal surveillance of Trump in his modest New York City home was the most brilliant move of all by the new president. Clearly, Trump wants everyone to think that he is mentally unsound. So, when the IRS finds that he cheated on his taxes, or when Wikileaks proves that he is cheated on his taxes or is indebted to Russia, he can cop an insanity plea and get out of any legal trouble he might encounter.

Obama: ‘I’m Coming for Your Guns’

BY STEVE BATES

President Obama has scheduled an unprecedented roundup of Americans’ privately owned firearms for Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Long rumored by the NRA, supporters of Donald Trump and others concerned with the weakening of Second Amendment rights, the forced retrieval of all forms of guns has been secretly scheduled very close to the end of the president’s final year in office.

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The In Sight blog received confidential information from WikiLeaks about the controversial roundup. The information could not be verified, and details remained sketchy. Here is what is known:

Federal agents will go door to door beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 9–and continuing for at least 24 hours–until they have confiscated every gun, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, bazooka, grenade, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, automatic weapon, semi-automatic weapon, quasi-automatic weapon, machine gun, submachine gun, anti-aircraft missile, ICBM, dirty bomb, clean bomb, nuclear bomb, carbine and musket.

The visits—officials declined to call them “raids” in planning documents—will occur at homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, airports, train stations, bus stations and anywhere else that Americans congregate. The heaviest concentration of agents will be sent to Starbucks outlets.

The WikiLeaks documents include a partial transcript of a recent planning meeting held in a bunker underneath the White House. It reads:

POTUS: Will there be enough federal agents to go to every door in America? That’s a lot of addresses.

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL: We will deputize many temporary federal agents for the duration of the roundup. Our first round of deputies will be federal, state and local government employees, plus school teachers, librarians and tax accountants.

POTUS: And if we need even more?

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

POTUS: Sounds good. Where will we put all the guns?

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL: We plan to fill school buses with them and haul them to an Air Force base in [redacted], where we will melt them down. The metal will be used for ornamental sculptures demonstrating the horror of gun violence.

POTUS: Clever. But why Nov. 9? Isn’t that the day right after the election?

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL: We thought that everyone would be so exhausted after watching the returns that they would hardly notice.

POTUS: Not bad. Speaking of the election, has anyone talked to Hillary’s campaign people about this plan?

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL: We briefed them, of course. She was not happy.

POTUS: Really? I thought she was in favor of gun control.

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL: She is. She just wanted to do the roundup herself, after she is inaugurated.

POTUS: Too bad. [Chuckling heard throughout room.] Did you brief Trump’s people?

[Roaring laughter heard throughout the room.]

POTUS: I didn’t think so. Seriously, though. What do we do if anyone resists when we show up at their door? We don’t want any violence.

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL: We will be filming a video message that we can play for them on any device. In it, you will assure them that we need to end the scourge of gun violence. There will be a second version of the video, for real tough cases. In that one, you inform them that it will be your pleasure to pry their guns from their dead, cold…. [end of transcript].

Remember, you read it first on the In Sight blog.

If you are a gun owner, at least you know. There’s still time to move to Honduras or to build that underground survivalist shelter. Just remember, once you lock the hatch, you won’t see the inside of a Starbucks for a long time.

Guns, Guns, Guns

BY STEVE BATES

Man, I used to love to shoot guns. First, cap guns. For a while it was toy rifles. In the Cub Scouts, we got to shoot .22’s at tin cans. I murdered a few. But I got over it. I never considered owning a gun, and I never will.

To those of you who cling so tightly to your guns—particularly assault weapons—let me say: I can almost understand what you feel is your need to have powerful weapons for safety, for hunting, for the sheer thrill. I ask just one thing of you: Stay far away from me and my family.

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The gun culture is poisoning the United States. This nation was founded on the idea that we would be better than just about everyone else, that we would be a shining beacon of freedom and a safe haven from the ills of the Old World. We have done pretty well on most counts. But not with guns.

One of the greatest fallacies about firearms is that they ensure the safety of the people who own them. Guns are much more likely to be misused by children or to incentivize someone else to shoot first than they are to deter or kill an attacker. While the danger of terrorism is real, arming the world is not the answer to random attacks by well-planned fanatics intent on suicide. And how can Congress justify continuing to allow persons on the terrorism watch list to buy firearms?

I see a few paths to the reduction of the gun scourge. None of them is easy or likely to happen in my lifetime. But we should not give up the effort. We owe it to our children and grandchildren.

First, we must confront the NRA and the gun manufacturers lobby. We can’t eliminate them. But we can counter them. All of us who believe that the NRA embodies pure evil in the mindless way that it defends or rationalizes or minimizes every mass shooting should put our money where our mouths are: Let’s create and build an organization designed to take a more rational view, to expose the hypocrisy and massive guilt of the NRA. Let’s develop a culture and a political will that makes it possible for politicians not to cower when the NRA comes calling, not to take the NRA’s money, not to let their merchants of death in the door. Let’s call it the National Sanity Association.

Second, we should persuade the courts—ultimately, the Supreme Court—to rule that the Second Amendment was never intended to permit, let alone facilitate, the slaughter we see every single day on the news. The amendment was written at a time when guns fired one projectile at a time, at short range, and for reasons that made sense in the Colonial era. The right of individuals to own firearms was not recognized definitively by the courts for more than a century; the “militia” clause was interpreted as overriding the wording about individuals possessing guns. The radicalization of the NRA and the arrival of the Reagan administration added enough pressure in the courts to turn the tide.

Can you imagine the faces of the Founding Fathers if they could see the bloodshed that this interpretation of the Constitution has brought about? They would be amazed at the technology that allows one person to kill dozens in a minute—and at the number of people who are willing to employ that technology for that purpose. Surely the Founding Fathers would argue vociferously for an interpretation of, or change to, the Second Amendment that would limit individual gun ownership to a reasonable level and would guarantee government’s authority to impose appropriate regulations.
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If all else fails, I would favor setting up a separate enclave—or even a separate country—for people who insist on owning assault weapons. Perhaps we could start with a few states. One that begins with a T and ends with EXAS comes to mind. Add in Alaska and every other state that wants to join. Over a generation, everyone who wants to go around killing their friends and neighbors can move to this enclave, and everyone who prefers another way of living can move outside of it. Build a wall around the enclave. And make sure your children never get within AK-47 range of it.

Anyone have a better idea? I’d love to hear it. We can no longer just shake our heads and look away.