SEE NO EVIL

We have a problem, America.

Our problem, I've come to realize, is not a gun problem. Yes, guns and their widespread availability are a contributing factor (although personally I believe that laws restricting certain types of firearms are less necessary than laws limiting things like magazine capacity; ask the Virginia Tech shooter, who killed more than 30 people using pea-shooter .22LR pistols with high capacity magazines). The real problem, as we see from the two most recent mass shooting sprees in the United States, is that an alarming number of our citizens are deranged. Not "mentally ill." That is just a pro-gun canard. I mean that despite being of sound mind they have belief systems, ideas, and attitudes that are twisted beyond repair. A lot of Americans have been off the rails for so long that their thought processes are now completely fact free, having self-selected an alternate universe of politics, history, religion, and news that tells them exactly what they want to hear to the exclusion of all else. An alarming number of our fellow Americans are, if you'll forgive me using the proper medical and legal terminology here, fucked up.

They got this way because we insist on our right to create our own reality, our own version of history, our own version of the world in which we live, and our own version of America and how its laws and institutions work. We have created a political, social, and media culture in which the message "What the hell is wrong with you?" is never uttered. No, we have to respect one another's beliefs. Respecting one another's beliefs is a wonderful thing when we apply the concept to the subjective – I respect your religion even though it isn't mine, your belief that humanity is fundamentally good even though I disagree, and so on. Respecting one another's beliefs is disastrous, however, when we apply the concept to facts. When we have political and religious leaders who say, "Hey, if you want to believe that Jade Helm is a conspiracy to take your guns and Syrian refugees are ISIS terrorists in disguise, that's your choice!" In fact, a lot of them encourage it for their own selfish purposes. If anyone tries to point out, "No, that is wrong," the chorus of contradictory and comforting voices is ear-splitting. Don't listen to that reality stuff. Come over here with your kindred spirits and we will believe it together. It will be true because we say it is.

When three men decide to go full Heat and shoot up a medical facility for developmentally disabled people, plan the act, and then actually go through with it, we have a problem. That problem is not "mental health" or the gay agenda or Hollywood or violent video games or liberal professors or any other red herring regularly introduced into these increasingly regular conversations. The problem is not a few bad apples or isolated instances of people lashing out. The problem is something we have all created and continue to fuel: a large population of murderously angry people with easy access to guns who believe in their own social superiority and have heads crammed to bursting with fears and conspiracies and beliefs that are woven entirely from gossamer threads of pure bullshit. This is going to keep happening, not only because we have too many guns but because we have too many people who have decided that they know who deserves to die in a mental, cultural, and intellectual bubble in which they will never be confronted with radical ideas like, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't do that."

In response, we have decided to maintain the status quo and to pretend that the problem doesn't exist. Nearly every day now we see evidence of how well that is working.

51 thoughts on “SEE NO EVIL”

  • I've probably been watching one too many of Yad Vashem's YouTube videos, but the first thing I thought when I heard that these people shot up a facility for the mentally challenged was "Lebensunwertes Leben." Yeah, so sue me for going full Godwin straight out of the gate, but American domestic terrorists do seem to have a penchant for creating their own "life unworthy of life" lists, which does seem to include women's health clinic personnel and others…

  • I dunno about ignoring the problem. It’s not a big leap from “lone, crazed gunman” to “dysfunctional, crazy-making culture.” The former meme is quite common, the latter not so much. To address the problem of crazed gunmen (e.g., to reduce their numbers and thus the number of incidents), however, requires culture jamming that no one can accomplish effectively. Effective approaches to cultural purification and reestablishment of (the right kind of) RightThink requires relinquishing freedoms, which isn’t about to happen. And if civil freedoms are taken away, it will be for a different Fascist agenda. So while I sympathize without your diagnosis, there is no known cure.

  • Throwing up our hands and saying we can't change anything is abdicating our responsibility. It does not require a diminution of freedom to change the culture. It requires a concerted campaign of social pressure that shifts cultural values. That is how gay marriage became a civil right, how black people got the chance to use the same water fountain as whites, hell, it's even how smoking became unpopular. People dedicated to a new vision of America worked hard to convince others through social demonstration, advocacy, legal actions, information dissemination, etc. Our culture is not governed by inexorable forces that we are powerless to change. Our culture is US and if enough of us convince enough others of new values, it changes. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

  • The point is — and a lot of people miss it — is that I don't have to respect your beliefs. I have to respect your right to have beliefs, but I don't have to respect the beliefs themselves. A especially don't have to respect them when they escape from your noggin through your mouth and enter the public arena. And I more especially don't have to respect them when they turn into action.

    If you believe, for example, that a woman is not a human being, yeah, you can believe that all you want. But if you utter it in public, then I'm going to be all over you like stink on shit. If your start to treat a woman as less than an equal human being, then you're in for a hard time.

    As long as your twisted thought stay in your twisted brain, then I will respect your right to be as batshit crazy as can be. But once those thoughts turn outward in any way, they are subject to lots and lots of scrutiny.

  • Well, we don't really know what went on here, but initial reports are that the gunmen attacked a banquet for county workers being held in that building. So who in the hell knows what the damage was in these shooters? I do know that general acceptance of all manner of wackadoos certainly seems to be empowering said wackadoos, rather than marginalizing them.

    I do remember a guy I worked with at a regional theater in New Jersey who was a pretty intolerant individual. He maintained that all stupid people should be eliminated. He wasn't joking in the least. I asked him who would determine who was stupid and smart and he said he would be providing that service. Remain surprised that I haven't heard about him going on a rampage in the intervening years.

  • Well, I'm glad y'all seem to be keeping calm, but I am freaking the fuck out. Teams of shooters? ISIS and Turkey taking down Russian jets? People who could be the next President seriously talking about "registering" Muslims and reinstituting "enhanced interrogation techniques"? Another stock market crash (wait for it)? Jesus, is it 1914 or 1933 all over again? To repeat, I am freaking the fuck out. I think I need some gin, hold the tacos.

  • @geoff-

    I seriously asked my wife if she would consider moving to Canada today.

    I'm done with these idiots.

  • Although we disagree on the gun issue (especially considering that, if legally acquired, the guns used today were in compliance with California law, which is pretty similar to the gun control wish list of most of the moderate anti-gun people), I think you're pretty much spot on here. The slavish devotion to neutrality–not objectivity, but neutrality–is getting old. Yes, journalists should remain objective. But some people and some ideas are objectively stupid and/or objectively dangerous. Jade Helm being an anti-gun conspiracy, Obama being a Kenyan Muslim who supports ISIS, liberals secretly trying to force Sharia law on America; these aren't issues on which reasonable people can disagree, or even issues on which there might be some at least quasi-legitimate religious, cultural, or moral objection a la abortion or gay marriage. These are the fever dreams of paranoiacs, and they're played for ratings in the name of "objectivity," when being truly objective would require that the people who believe this stupid shit are called out for it instead of being treated like their side has any more legitimacy than Flat Earthers or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

  • @Khaled-

    Fortunately, I am married to a Canadian. It's pretty goddamn cold up there though. (Also, I am nervous even writing this and the above– mission accomplished NSA!!)

  • And they told you public education was 'too expensive.'

    The great crime of State government has been the systematic destruction of a decent public education. By denying residents a competent elementary education, State level and below have accomplished our downfall as a great nation.

    Ignorant children become ignorant adults. Then their children's lives are lost to want and ignorance, because the parents were never taught to expect better. Okies to Okies in 3 generations.

    An educated populace is the only defense against tyranny. State governors have stripped us of our best defense and condemned our future Americans to wage slavery.

    Nothing complex about it. Connect the dots.

  • Justine Sharps says:

    "…we have too many people who have decided that they know who deserves to die…"

    Hm, it's curious that you didn't bother to name the guiltiest of these among us. …Hint: he has a "kill list", and is very liberal (no pun intended) in implementing it.

  • No, Ed, the problem is too many guns. Take the guns out of the equation and the lunatics can attack people with knives but it is much more difficult to kill many people quickly with knives than you can with guns.

    We need Australian style gun control. Allow people to have the guns they would use to hunt–breech loaded shotguns and bolt action rifles with magazines no larger than 5 rounds–and greatly restrict every other firearm known to man. That would help reduce the gun death rate tremendously.

  • It appears that the center itself was not the target, but the gathering of government employees was. A single gunman might have had a grudge against a particular agency, but two or three?

    Is anyone thinking Sovereign Citizens? Or a similar anti-government group?

  • c u n d gulag says:

    "Home…"
    Home, home and… deranged.
    Where the Dear's the wanna-be loons play!

    Where on FOX/Rush/Drudge a discouraging word,
    Is never heard,
    And the libtard's are guilty all day!
    And night….

    To put it mildly, this country, and the remaining sane citizens, are well and truly fucked!!!!!

    Welcome to our own nightmare:
    A"Duck & Cover" policy for the 21st Century America….

  • Can't BELIEVE that conservative white men with guns are allowed to run wild the way we saw today! Frankly it would be shocking if every single one of the shooters weren't a committed Trump supporter and Koch-aligned neo-fascist hoping to impose a feudal Christocracy on those of us in the educated class. The Handmaid's Tale was a novel, not an instruction manual!

  • Dr. Stephen Krune says:

    Organized group of three Arab-Americans, one woman… definitely likely Trump voters. He's polling well with minorities and women.

  • but because we have too many people who have decided that they know who deserves to die in a mental, cultural, and intellectual bubble in which they will never be confronted with radical ideas like, "Hey, maybe there's something to this jihad thing after all."

  • Alfonso Dupont says:

    "I've probably been watching one too many of Yad Vashem's YouTube videos, but the first thing I thought when I heard that these people shot up a facility for the mentally challenged was "Lebensunwertes Leben." Yeah, so sue me for going full Godwin straight out of the gate, but American domestic terrorists do seem to have a penchant for creating their own "life unworthy of life" lists, which does seem to include women's health clinic personnel and others…"

    aaaaaaaaand it's jihad. Better luck next time Interrobang, maybe you'll get your great white defendant then. *sad trombone*

  • There are academic bubbles.

    And then there are academic bubbleheads.

    More generously, Ed writes to practice for the nascent mandatory struggle sessions.

  • Argh, this is bad news.

    As we discussed in the earlier thread, ISIS knows it needs to drive a wedge between moderate Muslims and the West in order to survive- cults always tell the moderates, "you might as well stick with us crazies, because the outside world hates you." (This was, frankly, a pretty explicit strategy of my Jeezoid high school.) The GOP has already handed ISIS a big win by talking about excluding refugees so they have to go back and live as citizens of the caliphate.

    For that reason, I had been predicting a terror attack on US soil, intended to influence the election, or at least to stir up anti-Muslim, anti-Arab sentiment. And, of course, conservatives are dumb enough to take the bait.

    And like I said before, this is why it's bad when liberals try to shut down a frank discussion of modern Islam with expletives and accusations of racism. I was listening to an interview some members of EXMNA, and they were of the opinion that Islamic radicals very much like the idea of "Islamophobia," that any criticism of Islam is somehow racist. Because it means that there's no middle ground, which is exactly what people like ISIS want.

  • BTW, I must admit that, like most other people here (including apparently Ed,) I assumed these were Christian/conservative terrorists, not Muslim ones.

    Ed's original post seems a bit ironic in light of this recent revelation.

    "They got this way because we insist on our right to create our own reality, our own version of history, our own version of the world in which we live, and our own version of America and how its laws and institutions work."

    According to a lot of moderate Muslims and ex-Muslims, we got this way because many liberals insist on their own version of Islam and Islamic history. It's called "kuffarsplaining," and it's racist, and it's making things worse for the people who actually have to deal with the issues of real-world Islam (for example, ex-Muslims and moderate Muslims.)

    If I can't state my agreement with the statements of ex-Muslims without a liberal telling me I'm a "fucking moron" and "full of shit," what is that but a liberal deciding that he's going to live in his own version of reality?

    When a liberal decides to use the Muslim pronunciation of the word "Muslim" (i.e. "Mooslem") as an way to insult anti-Muslim bigots, what is that but a liberal deciding that he's going to live in his own version of reality?

    Once you start listening to what ex-Muslims have to say, you realize that over and over again they're saying, "liberals don't give a shit about us."

  • Tayne sez: "Throwing up our hands and saying we can't change anything is abdicating our responsibility. It does not require a diminution of freedom to change the culture."

    I think that's directed at me. I'm certainly not advocating abdication of responsibility and believe in fact that some steps are worth taking on purely moral motivations without too much attention paid to outcomes. However, I disagree that we can enjoy a full slate of freedoms and still expect, what … activism? education? to stem gun violence. Social theorists I read suggest that moral purpose and consensus typically flow from conditions of clannish homogeneity in emerging societies. Whereas today's liberal culture is pointed the opposite direction, Trump supporters and the Tea Party (large overlap there) clearly want to end the multiculti experiment. It's unclear which view will win out short- or long-term, but the 2016 election may provide an answer.

  • >> Whereas today's liberal culture is pointed the opposite direction, Trump supporters and the Tea Party (large overlap there) clearly want to end the multiculti experiment. It's unclear which view will win out short- or long-term, but the 2016 election may provide an answer.

    This guy gets it. This shooting would NEVER have happened without the clannishness of Teatards, whose dedication to gun culture simply enables white supremacist violence.

  • Mental health or the lack of it. The easy ability to get treatment would be nice. Without stigma would be nicer.

    185K gun checks on Black Friday. Cali has laws almost as tough as Chi Raq. Yeah, too many guns. Magazines too large. Wikipedia say close to one gun per person in US. Thats probably 10 guns each for 10% of population.

    Whats changed is the hate that is being stirred within this country. The intolerance. So what if it's my job to give you people a marriage license, I don't have to because my idol say so. Then the glorification of those who spew hate. The rallies. The newspaper articles.

    The violence and ability to create it by our own militarized servants whose job is to serve and protect. Local police departments with APC's or tanks. What came first, the chicken or the egg. A generation of black youth raised to be scared not because of the color of their skin, but the bullseye imagined on their back and chest. And the machine that doesn't kill them may very well get them thrown in a for profit prison.

    Today we are abuzz about a possible Muslim. Or was it a white terrorist? We make them stars for the 48 hours until the autopsy begins. Then the tragedy continues until the victims names are released and the media circus continues. The policeman, the vet, the teacher, the children and then cue stage left, their bereaved parents and families. It's like a made for TV movie with the same script, yet a few different intangibles. Mr XXX in a Planned Parenthood with a AK-47, Mr MMM in the government building with the AR-15. They make millions off of that 7 / 24 coverage.

    Yet we shrug our shoulders, wishing for a simple answer to a complex question that has no single course of action that will stop the merry – go – round. We plod ahead.

    Fixing the loophole that allows no background check for Face to Face transactions at gun shows (or anywhere is) a place to start.

  • There's the old Voltaire bit 'Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities' – but unfortunataly it seems there's a thriving DIY scene for that as well.

  • "using pea-shooter .22LR pistols with high capacity magazines"

    –Only the Walther P22 was .22LR, but there are no high-capacity magazines for 22LR pistols. 10rds is standard, though you can mod the follower or buy one to add 2-3rds I think.
    His main gun was a Glock 19, which carries 15rds, but also holds 17rd and 33rd mags.

  • The problem with America is, and always will be, Americans.

    I've seen enough of German politics to make me sick to my stomach but nothing, NOTHING could convice me to move back to the US. My parents could both be pre-ALzheimers and I would only come to visit. I'm out.

  • this country is spiraling down into madness so fast it’s breathtaking

    hey, next gunhead mass shooter – please come get me. i’m tired of living in your ridiculous lizard-brain world anyway

    oh, and even if we could solve this domestic gun bullshit – which we can’t, it’s way too far gone – we’re still happily destroying countries in the middle east and now trying to pick WW3 with Russia

    not to mention we’ve destroyed the oceans, topsoil, aquifers, biosphere, endless numbers of fellow creatures

    i’m just done with all of it, just done with my total nattering pompous clueless failed species

  • I am really, really dreading what the conservatives will make of this- assuming that the shooters really were Muslim, or even if they weren't.

    American-born Muslims quietly work alongside their coworkers for years until they drop the baby off at grandma's and shoot everybody?

    Get ready for a lot of talk about "the enemy within" and "how well do you really know a Muslim?" This attack is going to be used to make people feel afraid of having any Muslims in their lives, at all. People are already getting Muslim strangers kicked off flights. Get ready for people to have their Muslim coworkers kicked out of their jobs, after knowing them for years.

  • Might have been smart to wait for some facts before posting this mess of presumption and prejudice. Is this morning's news causing you to question your own bubble of preconceived comforting, condescending ideas? If not, it should be.

  • Wow, the trolls are so enjoying their 2 minutes of gloating and preening. No, no, not that they're right on the whole. Just that for an instant they can feel superior and put Ed and libtards in their "place" although the point of Ed's rant stands on its own.

  • What the fuck with all the trolls? This smacks deeply of one person, or some small group of people deciding to hit this site all at once. Definitely not organic.

  • Not seeing the presumption. Ed's use of the clinically correct term is spot on whether the name of the perp is Farook or John Smith. This is clearly different from Paris where there was no prior relationship between the shooters and the victims. Shooting up your co-workers is something real 'mericans have been doing for decades. And every time it is fucked up.

  • you make many valid points. the idea that some folks have it in their head that they can take the law into their own hands to enforce whatever belief they have, or take revenge violently for slights real or imagined is a huge problem. so is the fact some folks simply wont take responsibility for anything they do. I always say in any conversation that every word in a thought after the word "but" is simply a lie and an attempt to excuse that which you don't have the authority to excuse

  • c u n d gulag says:

    @Anon,
    2 mass shootings in one day.

    Shootings are like Lays potato-chips (to paraphrase):
    You can't have just one.

  • Hominidae got tired of sticks and stones; had to invent metal tubes with high-velocity projectiles. Madness and mishegoss … and so goes the sixth great extinction.

  • This attack is going to be used to make people feel afraid of having any Muslims in their lives, at all. People are already getting Muslim strangers kicked off flights. Get ready for people to have their Muslim coworkers kicked out of their jobs, after knowing them for years.

    Hey, kinda like the Cultural Revolution, eh?

    Christian abortion clinic terrorists get a pass, of course.

  • ConcernedCitizen says:

    Why would a U.S.-born citizen travel to Saudi Arabia to obtain (and I'm using that verb deliberately) a wife, and then murder a bunch of government employees with her? I think Ed nailed the answer: alternative realities. And, unfortunately for us, alternative realities are nowhere as all-encompassing and entrenched as they are in the realm of the supernatural.

    "We knew from that moment that things can go terribly wrong in our world—not because life is unfair, or moral progress impossible, but because we have failed, generation after generation, to abolish the delusions of our ignorant ancestors. The worst of these ideas continue to thrive—and are still imparted, in their purest form, to children."

  • Saw a brief news item earlier today that countries like Australia are considering issuing warnings to their citizens regarding travel to the U.S. The gun nuts have succeeded in turning the U.S. into a place that casual tourists are beginning to view the same way they'd contemplate visiting Afghanistan or South Sudan.

  • Ed definitely nails a large problem with our culture, usually called the echo-chamber effect.

    I do want to stress that not all is lost. Despite all the mass shootings and hate crimes, in a country of 300 million relatively highly educated/ trained people we've only had a few McVeys and Unibombers, so we're probably doing something right. Tl;dr, don't move to Canada: support your local food bank/ safety net of choice, volunteer with disadvantaged kids, whatever it takes to make things that little bit better.

  • http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/10/21/gun-homicides-steady-after-decline-in-90s-suicide-rate-edges-up/

    Gun homicides steady after decline in ’90s; suicide rate edges up

    "Between 1993 and 2000, the gun homicide rate dropped by nearly half, from 7.0 homicides to 3.8 homicides per 100,000 people. Since then, the gun homicide rate has remained relatively flat."

    "The nation’s overall gun death rate has declined 30% since 1993. This total includes homicides and suicides, in addition to a smaller number of fatal police shootings, accidental shooting deaths and those of undetermined intent."

    "The rate of nonfatal gun victimizations declined in a similar way to the gun death rate, with a large drop in the 1990s – 63% between 1993 and 2000. The decline since then has been more uneven. In 2014, there were 174.8 nonfatal violent gun victimizations per 100,000 people ages 12 and older."

    I think one of the main differences between 1993 and now is the media. Then, three major networks and CNN. Now the internet wild card and all the cable/sat channels going wall to wall with every horrific detail over and over again generates a climate of fear.

    Thus (IMO)

    "Despite these trends, most U.S. adults think gun crimes have increased. In our 2013 survey, more than half (56%) of Americans said the number of gun crimes had gone up compared with 20 years ago. Another 26% said the number of gun crimes had remained the same, and just 12% said gun crimes had declined."

    Here's some encouraging news for the anti-gun contingent here…

    "The July survey also found that Americans strongly support a variety of specific gun control measures, including expanded background checks (85%), laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns (79%) and creation of a federal database to track all gun sales (70%). A smaller majority (57%) support a ban on assault-style weapons."

    My first reaction is that we need to see, in detail, what laws we already have on the books and how well they are being administered. Perhaps rather than grandstanding some more laws into being, we could get some more mileage out of the catalog we already have given our current situation.

    //bb

  • Oh hey, by the way, a police chief and 11 of his officers are under investigation for making phony books and having military grade hardware "disappear" from their lock up. Gibson county, Indiana. This shit is insane!

  • Yes, we shouldn't do anything rash lest another group of fanatically disposed people decide to take out their rage with "guns." our right to live in terror of some "extremist" right's to blow everyone up just to get even. lol imagine using guns to solve an issue.

    that's okay in America, and we know various "groups" do, and they do it oh so well, so often. wondering who is the "terrorist" group today and tomorrow. America loves guns and people love killing using guns.

    such idiocy such excuses for psychotic and antisocial behaviors. i often forget we live in a "Winner take All," Lord of the Flies Jungle, with Guns as the means of survival. Times like these i see how excuses never stop the gun killing. The words go on forever

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