Tom Diaz


In bad manners, Concealed Carry, Expendable Youth, Guns, marriage equality on June 26, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Bill Clinton–The Uncertain Trumpet Who Lead the Retreat from Gun Control.

The marriage equality movement won an historic victory in the United States Supreme Court today.

That landmark ruling should cause the gun control movement to hang its collective head in shame.

Twenty years ago, the idea that the marriage of two people of the same sex should be recognized–not just as a legal bond, but as a fundamental human right–was enormously less popular than gun control. Today, the gun control movement has clearly cratered. In the wake of the latest mass murder (at this writing, in Charleston South Carolina) the best this pathetic “movement” can emit is a few plaintive whimpers and the sound of frightened politicians scurrying back into the gun violence closet.

What went wrong? Why did these two movements realize such profoundly different fates.


Call it what you will–“gay rights,” “gay marriage,” “human dignity”–one movement never gave up its core, fundamental, existential believe. Gay people in America never stopped believing that they were human beings and entitled to precisely the full package of rights as every other human being in the world. The leaders of this movement suffered slings, arrows, wounds, and tactical defeat, but they never lost sight of what they wanted.

The gun control movement did precisely the opposite. Its political and cultural leaders cut and ran from the field. They enthusiastically followed the flag of something called “The Third Way,” a banner as shameful as the Confederate flag, and it led them into defeat.


Sen. Chuck Schumer, anointed as the future leader of Senate Democrats, took gun control off of its antibiotics when he decided to run for the Senate. With his finger ever in the political wind, Schumer has voted both ways on many issues. He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in the House, for one example.

Spawn of the Democratic Leadership Council, birthed by Bill Clinton, and nurtured by obscure corporate funding, third way politics boils everything down to the simple calculus of winning elections by finding the “sweet spot,” the tiny patch of middle ground between the conflicting principles of left and right that–devoid of conceptual baggage, moral commitment, and ideological conviction–yields not change but mere election and re-election.

When Washington’s politicians began getting bashed in the middle-1990s, they panicked and ran away from the fundamental principle that a civilized society can and should control the kinds of guns available within its bounds, and the kinds of people who should–and should not–have access to them. In the bosom of The Third Way movement, they suckled on easy slogans and half-assed measures, which focus groups and polling told them they should call “common sense gun laws.”

The movement lost sight of guns, guns, and more guns as the issue and fell in love with re-electing its political “leaders,” people like Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Rahm Emanuel (to name only a few of the worst in leadership positions who could have made a difference but chose not to.) Blaming the NRA became the easiest way off the field, short of admitting political cowardice.

Nancy Pelosi

Many deluded and ordinary people have since flocked to this feel-good but essentially meaningless and demonstrably useless parade of shameful surrender.  God bless them all, the long and the short and the tall. However good their hearts may be, they follow a pied piper. They are like believers in the millennial coming–okay, maybe The Rapture did not happen this year, but just wait until next!

The foundation babies and lemmings occasionally emit as a hopeful sign of progress a fundamentally flawed “fact,” one that I must admit I also have circulated. That is the mantra that “fewer and fewer people are buying more and more guns.” Wrong. This erroneous assertion–intended to demonstrate the increasing lack of popularity of guns in America–is based on a nugget of polling that indicates that the percentage of households in the U.S. reporting gun ownership continues to decline. Whatrahm1 is missing from this optimistic bumper sticker of thought is the fact that the universe, the number of households, has soared. Even if the percentage of gun-owning households has declined, the number of gun-owning households has grown significantly larger. So, in fact, precisely the opposite is true: more and more people are buying more and more guns. Which helps explain the seeming paradox of a gun industry doing so well in the face of the alleged unpopularity of its products.

Since the mass evacuation of the battlefield by the “progressives” and “realists,” the wise people of Washington have correctly told us that “gun control is dead,” “gun control is toxic,” and “gun control is the third rail of politics.” The main reason the concept of gun control still exists as a stubborn but faint ember is the vested interest of the gun industry and the National Rifle Association in scaring the crap out of the kind of people who think their guns protect them and society. This fear-mongering has sold tens of millions of guns since the halcyon days of 1994.

The worse consequence of this sad history is that the pusillanimous politics of the The Third Way have actually caused more guns to be sold and more people to die than would have been the case had the movement’s leaders…well…stuck to their guns instead of cutting and running.

The result has been exactly like that which occurs when one repeatedly stops in mid-course anti-biotic treatments. Eventually, the disease becomes invulnerable. The Third Way and its claque quite clearly have infectious fluid, if not blood, on their hands. One could make the case that the “gun violence prevention” movement today actually promotes death and injury by firearms instead of reducing it.

Yes, there is a grandly swaggering “movement” of foundation babies still swirling around like gnats, largely sustained by the flawed vision of self-righteous people with millions of dollars to piss down a rat hole. Hey, it’s a comfortable living.

But the fight is over.


What remains is the fearful scramble of manufacture, import, and sale of guns, guns, guns. Because, just like Confederate flags, boys, if you don’t get them today, the gun-grabbers will get them tomorrow.

If marriage-equality champions had followed the path of the once-much-stronger gun control “movement,” they would also be shriveling weeds on the side of the path, pariahs skulking around the margins of society.

They did not, and today they won. Meanwhile about 87 people died in the United States from gunshot injury today.

So, what is to be done about guns, mass murder, and our daily bread of random death and injury?


Well, any informed and rational discussion should turn now to the practicalities of life in an excessively-well-armed society: questions like hardening likely targets (churches and synagogues) and–take a deep breath–whether the paradigm of gun availability and self-defense has now shifted so far that the concealed carry advocates may have a case to make.

I could make that case.  But I choose not to.

For now.

Last Gun Cover

Ignore the part about “fewer and fewer people buying more and more guns.”

Our Queen in Waiting, Hillary I, Ascends to Her Rightful Throne Midst Appropriate Pomp and Circumstance from Her Adoring Court

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2015 at 4:17 pm

President Obama Nails It on Gun Control! Bravo, Mr President!

In Guns on June 11, 2014 at 12:22 am

Obama weeping

Today, President Barack Obama spoke his heart and the truth on gun violence in America.

Let’s commit to “not one more,” by which I mean, not one more whining, apologetic, misleading speech from our “political friends.” If they can’t match the President, tell them to get a new job!

 The President’s Full Answer

 I have to say that people often ask me, you know, how’s it been being president and, you know, what are my — you know, what am I proudest of and what are my biggest disappointments? And you know, I’ve got 2 1/2 years left. My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of, you know, people who, you know, can do just unbelievable damage.

We’re the only developed country on Earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it’s a one-day story. There’s no place else like this.

A couple of decades ago Australia had a mass shooting similar to Columbine orNewtown, and Australia just said, “well, that’s it. We’re not doing, we’re not seeing that again,” and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since. I mean, our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country on Earth that would put up with this.

Now, we have a different tradition. We have a Second Amendment. We have historically respected gun rights. I respect gun rights.

But the idea that, for example, we couldn’t even get a background check bill in to make sure that if you’re going to buy a weapon you have to actually go through a fairly rigorous process so that we know who you are, so you can’t just walk up to a store and buy a semi-automatic weapon? It makes no sense.

And I don’t know if anybody saw the brief press conference from the father of the young man who had been killed at Santa Barbara — and as a father myself I just, I could not understand the pain he must be going through and just theprimal scream that he gave out. Why aren’t we doing something about this? And I will tell you that I have been in Washington for a while now and most things don’t surprise me. The fact that 20 six-year-olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible and this town couldn’t do anything about it was stunning to me. And so the question then becomes, what can we do about it?

The only thing that’s going to change is public opinion. If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change. I’ve initiated over 20 executive actions to try to tighten up some of the rules and the laws, but the bottom line is, is that we don’t have enough tools right now to really make as big of a dent as we need to.

And most members of Congress — and I have to say to some degree this is bipartisan — are terrified of the NRA. The combination of, you know, the NRA and gun manufacturers are very well financed and have the capacity to move votes in local elections and congressional elections. And so if you’re running for office right now, that’s where you feel the heat. And people on the other side may be generally favorable towards things like background checks and other common-sense rules, but they’re not as motivated, so that doesn’t end up being the issue that a lot of you vote on.

And until that changes, until there is a fundamental shift in public opinion inwhich people say, ‘enough; this is not acceptable; this is not normal; this isn’t, sort of, the price we should be paying for our freedom; that we can have respect for the Second Amendment, and responsible gun owners and sportsmen and hunters can have, you know, the ability to possess weapons, but that we aregoing to, you know, put some common-sense rules in place that make a dent, at least, in what’s happening’ — until that is not just the majority view – ‘cause that’s already the majority view, even the majority of gun owners believe that — but until that’s a view that people feel passionately about and are willing to go after folks who don’t, you know, vote reflecting those values — until that happens, sadly, not much is going to change.

Last thing I’ll say: A lot of people will say that, you know, “well, this is a mental health problem. You know, it’s not a gun problem.” You know, the United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these mass shootings at ratesthat are exponentially higher than any place else. Well, what’s the difference? The difference is, is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition intheir houses. And that’s sort of par for the course.

So the country has to do some soul-searching about this. This is becoming the norm. And we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me. And I am prepared to work with anybody, including responsible sportsmen and gun owners, to craft some solutions. But right now,  it’s not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress. And we should be ashamed of that.




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