Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Open Letter to Senator Diane Feinstein

Senator Feinstein:

Not for the first time, you have disappointed me today and, I believe, let your country down.

We disagree on the question of gun control. That's ok; I have a lot of friends, and some family, who share your views on the matter. I like to think I have the facts on my side, but that is truly a discussion for another day.

My issue with you today is the press release you put out yesterday, calling for a renewal of the debate on gun control in the aftermath of the recent shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

We may leave behind for the moment that the breathless reports - reports which you chose to pass along, in the utter absence of proof - that the shooter used an AR-15 rifle to wreak his havok were totally false. We may also leave behind your repetition of the same tired falsehoods about the AR-15 being a "military-style assault rifle," when in fact it is a consumer version of a military rifle, that can not shoot automatically, as "assault rifles" do.

What I cannot leave behind is the fact that you put this press release out as soon as you did. In a sickeningly literal way, you could not muster the grace to wait until the bodies were cold before you pounced upon an opportunity to forward a political agenda. I find it hard to think that a savvy politician such as yourself could strike such a tone deaf position; instead of providing whatever comfort you could in a raw moment, you chose rather to stir the pot in a calculating way that, if I didn't know better, I would dismiss as the act of a political dilettante.

As the dust settles we find that the shooter wrestled with significant mental health issues, had multiple arrests for crimes involving the combination of anger and firearms, and was somehow able to bring a shotgun into the Navy Yard. The failures on an institutional level that allowed this rampage to take place were staggering: He should have never had WNY clearance, he should have never passed the background check that he took and passed on Sunday when he purchased his shotgun, and for heaven's sake he should have never been able to bring the firearm onto Navy Yard property, clearance or no.

What we do not find is any mention of these facts in yesterday's press release, or for that matter any subsequent ones.

If you would really display a bona fide desire to prevent the next Navy Yard, or Aurora, or Newtown - as you claim to want to do - you would at barest minimum acknowledge the common thread of mental instability that binds the perpetrators of these unspeakable acts. You would lend some of that single-mindedness with which you pursue your agenda towards enforcing existing laws regarding who can purchase a firearm and who cannot.

Or, you may just carry on as always, and not let pass a single opportunity to make political hay, whether or not the facts of the matter are represented.

I would like to think that the American people are smarter than that; you may find that this approach will backfire on you, as the recent recall elections in Colorado have proven can happen.

I suspect, though, that you will continue with your ever-more-shrill rhetoric about how the only problem here is guns, guns, guns, and how the best way to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal element is to remove them from the hands of the law-abiding.

Because, as I have stated before, you have disappointed me, and you will very likely do so again.

15 comments:

  1. What I cannot leave behind is the fact that you put this press release out as soon as you did. In a sickeningly literal way, you could not muster the grace to wait until the bodies were cold before you pounced upon an opportunity to forward a political

    Let me make sure I comprehended this correctly...the only subject of this post is that she acted too quickly? I mean, you mention a bunch of other shiat but qualify it with "we may leave this behind for the moment..."

    Obviously this is a subject you and I will never agree upon, but hopefully your vision isn't too narrow to see that if someone mentally ill can get a rifle, something needs to be changed.

    Love, kisses, and ammo,

    The One and Only Very Josie

    PS. Play smart

    PPS. The boy did it. Sold some shiat, ponyed up some savings and bought an expensive "Paul McCartney" guitar...whatever the hell that is.

    PPS. One more thing; Happy Birthday Jew Boy!

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  2. Hi there Jo! No, the main thrust of this post was not that she acted too early; rather that she acted opportunistically and callously, using falsehood, to score some cheap political points on the backs of the recently dead, and in so doing earned my contempt.

    I agree that something has to be done, absolutely. But I'm in favor of enforcing existing laws, which would have prevented him from purchasing the shotgun in the first place (he allegedly used the shotgun to take the guns off a security guard). I'm also in favor of the state of one's mental health being a bigger determinant of whether or not one can purchase a firearm. We both agree on those things, right?

    Finally, I would hope that you know me as, among many other less savory things, a thinking person. I understand that this is an issue with a thousand tentacles and needs nuanced thinking to untangle. I'd hate to give the impression that my vision is narrow - I think it's far from that.


    P.S. Pics of the guitar or it didn't happen.
    P.P.S. Thanks Yosie! The big 4-5. Glad that this one rolled around, actually. Had some doubts...
    P.P.P.S. I have plenty of ammo but I'll take that love and those kisses...

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  3. The enforcement of existing laws that relate to gun ownership and instances when gun ownership is forbidden (as an example to convicted felons) could make America safer from gun violence if these existing laws were enforced. Adding new gun laws simply facilitates the hidden agenda of gun registration and confiscation efforts.

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  4. The NRA folks seem to often say "If everyone had a gun, they could take out a crazy gunman like this, no problem." I.E. "Let's arm the teachers!" after Sandy Hook.

    So what, there were not enough guns in the Navy Yard?

    What do you imagine their explanation for that paradox might be?

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    1. the paradox is the guns arent readily available.

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  5. Well, I don't speak for the NRA, but my personal response to that question might be this:

    There is a percentage of school rampage incidents that would have never been undertaken if the would-be perpetrators knew that their adversaries were armed and could possibly prevent their weird hail-of-gunfire take-em-all-out-with-me fantasy from becoming reality. That percentage is NOT 100%; as we have seen in Washington there are some who will, with eyes open, walk into an armed facility with the same set of plans. But to whatever extent arming teachers will prevent some of these incidents, it is at least an idea worth exploring.

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    1. Crafty:

      We also have to factor into that percentage of NOT 100% that would lead to increased gun violence in schools as a result of teachers now carrying guns into them. Teachers that may choose to use them when they shouldn't. Students that may take them from teachers and use them when before they couldn't. Crazy shiats who now happen to have access to a gun in a school when before they would have only had, lets say, a knife.

      So, the offset that may result from teachers now packing heat would also have some offsets due to increased availablility of those same guns. I don't know if they would equal out. It may decrease gun violence in schools. It may increase gun violence in schools. But I didn't see that factored into your statement.

      s.i.

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  6. Hey there s.i. - long time - hope you're well.

    I'm not unmindful of the fact that arming teachers will mean that there will definitely be guns inside any school where this policy takes hold. I would hope (and if I were king of the world,it would be) that the only teachers who could carry would already be marksmen, who have had proper training on the firearm they are carrying. This means they'd know how to conceal and secure their weapon just as much as how to hit the black in a target from 50 feet. If they put firearms in the hands of a neophyte (not The Neophyte!), that could lead to bad things. I suppose I didn't include that into my statement because once you get that many levels down, there starts to become a lot of if's to keep track of.

    Frankly, I'm ambivalent on the subject of armed teachers. Emperor Crafty would probably dictate that private security perform that function; teachers have their hands full trying to teach. But I don't reject the idea outright.

    You know, it wasn't that long ago that firearm safety was taught in public schools. I think that if more kids were made familiar with firearms, they wouldn't take on the taboo, almost talismanic qualities they have now with kids. And of course teaching a kid to safely handle a firearm is only a good thing. Many "gun guys," myself included, are fanatical about gun safety, and are honored when asked to pass down the concepts of safe handling and respect for a firearm.

    As I said earlier, this is a big issue, with many facets, and there's no one panacea to magically fix it.

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    1. If you consider the demographics involved with who exactly is teaching in our nation's schools only a small fraction could pass any handgun training certification. There is a lot more to hit than proving how many holes you can put in the black to achieve a passing score. The high school my daughter graduated from a few years ago has a full time armed security guard. I am glad that school board made that decision....

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    2. Crafty:

      I'm doing well - almost sad to see summer go, which is rarely the case here in Vegas! I hope your summer has gone well.

      I'm ambivalent as well. It's the middle ground of knowing I would want SOMEONE between my son and those gun shots getting closer and closer...and yet thinking it simply can't be possible that MORE guns are going to make us safer. Coronado High School, in Henderson, has almost 900 teachers. If even half of them started packing heat, we're talking 500 guns in that school every day. Teachers bringing them back and forth to their class room. I know many of those teachers. Good people. Of the ones I know who have said they would bring a gun, I wouldn't trust 1 in 10 to actually keep track of it, keep it secured daily, and use it to keep my son safe. I honestly believe my son would be in more danger if they allowed the teachers to arm themselves.

      Considering the extremely long odds that any individual student is ever at risk for a live shooting on campus (tragic when they happen, but extraordinarily rare as a % of students), now introducing 500 guns onto that campus every day...I just can't imagine that leading to anything but trouble.

      Still - if it DID happen. And MY kid was behind the door as those gun shots grew louder. And no one else was there to save him. I would want that teacher to pull out her/his gun and blow that shooter away.

      s.i.

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  7. I'm fairly certain if my teachers had been armed, I'd be dead right now.

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    1. Oh my God I never thought of that before. I'd have been culled from the herd on the second day of school.

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  8. You were surprised by Feinstein's actions? I wasn't. Feinstein and others like her seize on every opportunity to push their own agenda, even when it doesn't fit. And once proven wrong no effort is ever made to say "Oops, my bad. Guess I shouldn't have said that." Of course she had no problem getting a gun and concealed carry permit (in California, I guess some pigs ARE more equal than others) when she felt threatened 20 years ago. Of course she gave it up once she became a senator and was afforded armed protection.

    I'm not saying the answer is to arm everyone. Hell there are a ton of people I would never want to see armed. And they aren't even the crazy ones or the felons. But why make it harder for good law abiding people to be able to take care of themselves? Because banning guns doesn't stop the criminals from getting them. Take a look at Chicago.

    I seriously doubt most urban schools would get anything like 50% of the teachers to qualify to carry concealed weapons. Hell 10% would be a huge amount. But even if only 5% of the teachers in a large high school were armed, would that not at least change the place from a completely gun free zone to a place that some psycho would have to think about the possibility of someone actually being able to stop him? And while most large urban high schools have some sort of armed security, the same isn't true at the lower level schools or rural schools of any kind.

    If even 5 or 10 people were armed at a "gun free zone" wouldn't there at least be a chance someone could stop a shooter before 20 or 30 kids are shot? Because in case you hadn't noticed it, almost every one of these massacres takes place in a "gun free zone" where the chances of someone being able to stop the shooter are extremely limited. And yes I consider Ft Hood and the Navy Yard as gun free zones because even though there are armed guards at the gates, the service men and officers are not allowed to carry weapons on base.

    Common sense laws that make it harder for felons and mentally ill to get weapons, I'm all for. Nonsensical laws that limit what law abiding citizens can carry based on such things as a foldable stock, bayonet lug, or 20 round magazine are stupid and need to be totally resisted. All they do is restrict what the law abiding can do without any impact on the criminals and crazies. And completely gun free zones just facilitate tragedies like Newtown, Aurora, and Va Tech.

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    1. Neo, well put as always. Thanks for adding to the debate - hope you're well.

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  9. I am Gary, I hope your recovery is still going well

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