and now, a token “holiday” placeholder

okay, so, it’s not a HOLIDAY, but this upcoming weekend is going to see my fragile body get killed by three-or-so days of working the Celtic Society of Southern Maryland‘s annual festival (warning, that link is INCREDIBLY slow). so you know what this means: an excuse to not have an update for the week. please, please, try and control yourselves; it’s not THAT bleak of a fate.

and to be honest, i am kind of enjoying this schedule of just saying “fuck it” to trying to update EVERY week: i am enjoying the relaxed demands, and i struggle to think of anyone who actually minds. thanks, loyal readers!

“and i don’t need no jokes for this shit…”

yeah, not really an update that’s going to be packed with jokes, i admit. it happens sometimes when you’re hammering this stuff out. so bear with me; i know with all the gun stuff, it’s been a little lean on the humor around here.

so anyways, recently my mother and i were talking about that whole Boston Marathon bombing (so you can see how long it took me to get this update polished off, ha) and her contention was that this wasn’t about religion or politics or the flashy stuff like that, but more simply, about the fact that these Tsarnaev kids couldn’t relate to Americans, American society whatever. this might be partially because of all her employment as a teacher –somehow i figure watching kids succeed or fail at socializing plays a big role in all that– but either way, i think i agree. i made the point over the last couple of weeks in between the gun rants, but if you want my opinion, it’s all part of the same problem: in the aftermath of events like Newtown’s shooting or Boston’s bombing, we immediately starting hearing “BAN CERTAIN GUNS” or “BAN ALL GUNS” or “BAN BLACK POWDER” instead of addressing the underlying problems with the drug war or proper mental health care or, hell, just assimilating the people who feel disenfranchised into society. the latter guys can ALWAYS crash an SUV into a crowd of people even if they can’t get a gun or a bomb, because they have a fundamental problem that no one gives a shit about.

and this is what reminded me of the movie Falling Down.

Falling Down
“the adventures of an ordinary man at war with the everyday world”; frankly, i think this tagline describes an entirely different movie

ah… Falling Down. it’s not a great movie; it might be a fun movie, but not a great one. but this was 1992 (right before our AWB came into effect, oddly enough), and we had a different set of things to be furiously outraged by. immigrant shopkeepers overcharging us! the menace of gang members! pushy panhandlers! disappointing fast food restaurants! it’s one of those films that tries really hard to mean well –they take great pains for the hero, Michael Douglas’ Foster, who shoots it out with minority gang members, to distinguish himself from a Nazi shop owner, and clearly by the end, he realizes his spree is NOT heroic and all– but which probably can only be kind of a fun mess.

anyway, the part of this film that i personally best recall is unrelated to a lot of this: to steal Wikipedia’s description of this, “Foster passes a bank where a black man is protesting being rejected for a loan application. The man exchanges a glance with Foster and says “don’t forget me” as he is escorted away by police.” and that’s about it; Vondie Curtis-Hall is protesting outside a bank in a much more socially-appropriate fashion because the bank’s deemed him “not economically viable,” passersby (and the average viewer who’s wanting to watch Michael Douglas blow up things that make him unhappy) could not care less, and he’s ultimately taken away by the police, during which point he asks Douglas not to forget him.

Not Economically Viable Man
obviously his statement worked, because 21 years later, i STILL have this bit stuck in my head

now, okay, this is a throwaway bit in a film (and thus the kind of thing i LOVE to obsess over) and Curtis-Hall’s character has specific beefs and motivations and all that. i get it. but on some level it comes across to me in a different way: Curtis-Hall’s part of society, he’s worked for years, he’s seeking a loan. this is not the actions of a criminal or malcontent (as far as we know), yet for some reason he finds himself impersonally rejected as “not economically viable.” and what do you do with the resultant anger, something which is not unique to this particular circumstance? you could stand outside the bank and protest, you could blow up a construction site, whatever. but what you REALLY want is for people to just give a shit. to NOTICE you when you’re outside the bank protesting, whether or not they agree with your situation. you know what happens when they don’t? more disaffection with society. tell me where this leads.

and this is what reminded me of the show OZ.

OZ
“a series chronicling the daily activities of an unusual prison facility and its criminal inhabitants”

ah… OZ. maybe not a great show, maybe more of a soap opera for men, provided you like a lot of murder and ass-rape in your soap opera. still, it had a lot of moments beyond merely being an edgy, envelope-pushing drama for HBO to run with back in the day before they really hit it big with that impeccable the Wire/the Sopranos/Deadwood triumvirate (which may still be the best ever trio of actively-running shows on a single network). those of you that DO fondly recall it (presuming that list is not restricted to just me) may specifically recall the little opening/between act/closing monologues from Augustus Hill (played by Harold Perrineau Jr.). he had some good ones –i specifically enjoy the one about Jesus spending time in jail, which is a supremely great close-out to an episode– but all this does make me think of the one from the season two episode, “Great Men.”

Augustus Hill
“Yo, imagine being remembered for a thousand years. The things you did when you was alive reaching across time and touching the lives of people not yet born. That’s a dream. That’s why people write books, start religions, find cures, run for President. But me? I don’t wanna be a great man. I don’t care if I’m remembered for the next thousand years. All I ask is, if we pass on the street, notice me.”

yeah, i can’t remember the number of times i have felt personally slighted by something someone has done, with it not being 100% the act itself, but also the fact that it implies someone could just not be bothered to give the slightest fuck about my existence. and frankly, i feel well-integrated in society, so i can only imagine how much further THAT goes when you’re talking about someone who’s not.

but whatever. maybe we’ll be more upbeat next time around these parts. 2013 is kind of a downer of a year, to be honest.

but on the other hand…

DSA SA58

so, the rundown: Maryland’s passing this new assault weapon ban, so your hero is trying desperate to score a couple of things on that list before time runs out that, otherwise, he’ll be missing out on FOREVER (or until i leave this state, but as Coolio once said, “as much as i hate this motherfucker… i love this motherfucker). anyway, i decided to throw mega-dollars at this domestically-produced FN FAL, which is a DSA SA58, to be specific, and it’s very, very nice; a FAL/SA58/whatever model is just a gun i have spurned before because of price. but not anymore! now to find some additional rifles…

anyway, the process is supposed to take 3 days to run, with a 7-day waiting period being mandatory, but due to all the furious gun-buying going on between the election, the post-Newtown threats of federal bans, and my state stuff, i was told it would take 5 WEEKS… and it took 9 weeks and 2 days total. fuck this state. but, anyway, it’s here! it’s like bringing a newborn baby home! success!

2013’s deluge of gun control part II: wherein we all wish for Martin O’Malley to go fuck himself (or however you’d phrase it)

so last week we did a little venting on this topic, but we didn’t really focus on the fact that Maryland managed to join the states like Colorado, Connecticut and New York (if not others) in having a little knee-jerk, emotion-based gun control forced on them. we didn’t get as much fanfare as Colorado (because this is less a Western state and more a nominally Southern state long known to be dominated by Democrats) or as New York (because even our legislation wasn’t so supremely fucked up), but we DID manage to fuck over our population: come October, we’ll have an increased magazine capacity ban (down from 20 to 10, fucking up pistol purchases for all, if nothing else), a swarm of new restrictions and requirements for handgun purchases (a total mess, no matter how well-intentioned, given MD’s past history of instituting this stuff) and a banned on our current “regulated” long arms. this latter is weird in that it knocks out rifles by name, so you’ll see a total ban on AKs and FALs, but no ban on equivalent yet less historical rifles like vz.58s and AR-10s. and the AR-15 situation is weird, but whatever, let’s not get into the nuts and bolts.

instead, let’s discuss our esteemed governor, Martin O’Malley.

Martin
yet another contender for the title of “most punchable face in America”

i don’t know how familiar with our governor the internet is, so here’s a quick summation: he was the mayor of Baltimore, and seemingly accomplished nothing there as far as i can tell, which earned him two terms of governorship of Maryland… where he has accomplished nothing, as far as i can tell, beyond fucking with my firearm (and pit bull ownership) rights. seriously, he’s raised some taxes and presided over the same decreases in crime that EVERY STATE has, but beyond that? nothing i can see. anyway, if you watched the Wire, you may remember Thomas Carcetti: that’s our O’Malley. i’d say it was thinly-veiled, but i think we all know that it was not. but it DOES remind me that O’Malley once bitched about Republicans starting rumors about his infidelity for political reasons, something which even loyal Democrats in this state laughed at.

ANYWAY, O’Malley, being the kind of man he is, has felt entitled to be considered the “next big thing” in the Democratic Party for some time, and in the aftermath of the Newtown killings, he decided he, like Andrew Cuomo, really, really needed to get some left-wing feathers in his cap so that he can one day be president… and that is when the idea of slamming us with gun control came into the picture. let’s refer to a sweet article from the Washington Post:

“On the day after a gunman killed 20 children in Newtown, Conn., Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley wrote a text messageto his chief legislative lobbyist.
“Do we or do we not have an assault-weapons ban?” the governor asked that Saturday, 10 days before Christmas.
No, Stacy Mayer wrote back.
Really? the governor responded. I thought we did.
A variety of pistols, such as mini-Uzis, were illegal. But the weapon that Adam Lanza had fired in Newtown — the semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle?
Legal in Maryland.
Three days later, O’Malley summoned Mayer and several advisers to the governor’s mansion. Until then, his team had mostly been recovering from the exhaustion of campaigning for three statewide referendums and President Obama’s reelection. They had no grand plan to take on guns as the state legislature was about to convene in Annapolis.”

so, a couple of issues this immediately brings up for me:

01. we actually have HAD attempts to pass assault weapon bans during O’Malley’s time in office which failed, in addition to whatever support he gave anti-gun pushes when he was merely the mayor of Baltimore. so for him to act as if he did not know what laws we did or did not have isn’t just an issue of being ignorant of the law, it’s him fucking lying for effect
02. they had no “grand plan to take on guns” because they’d failed to do so before. the fact that they MYSTERIOUSLY moved to do so one day after Newtown is not an embracing of some holy mission, it’s taking advantage of a tragedy. i think we all know this.

in fact, the article goes on to note that:

“O’Malley had been preoccupied with gun violence since his days as a Baltimore assistant state’s attorney. As the city’s mayor and as governor, he had insisted on starting each morning with a police memo listing the number of overnight homicides.”

so you were preoccupied with this, but had no idea of our current laws? seriously, it just makes it more insulting that you lie like this, O’Malley. he then goes on to basically say that we need bans on 10+ round magazines and assault weapons, but HANDS OFF HUNTING WEAPONS, a stance that confuses me if your policy is to attack crime guns. you see, if you look at, you know, actual evidence, assault weapons simply don’t get used in crime in Maryland: it’s all handguns and some shotguns, and it’s predominantly related to the drug trade. yet a liberal governor who once ran Baltimore can’t get behind addresses the actual problems? well… it’s easier to ban some guns that no one is using for crime but that LOOK REALLY MEAN.

this article then goes on to talk about how CONCERNED some of these politicians are, from:

“President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) was sympathetic to his constituents who enjoyed hunting and target practice. Guns were an important part of their lives and culture.”

…but don’t worry, he won’t let that sympathy get in the way of banning your guns and chasing Beretta out of his district, because your culture and property only have meaning in the contexts he say they do; to:

“Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s), who committed his support when the governor agreed to cut the price of a license in half, to $50, a change Muse sought to help the blue-collar families in his district.”

…because the problem with a bill that attacks your constituents rights is that the fee for them to buy a handgun is $50 too high. never mind the fact that your constituents have now had their handgun options neutered and will STILL have to jump through the fee/fingerprinting/training/licensing hoops to exercise their rights.

oh, and Sarah Brady gloating about being back to finish her business. and Miller saying we need gun bans to keep guns out of his grandchildren’s world DESPITE RESPECTING OUR CULTURE. and this exchange:

“Did Maryland need to ban every semiautomatic rifle? One statistic was repeated over and over: Of the state’s 398 homicides in 2011, only two involved rifles.
By mid-March, Mayer told the governor that she was worried that Vallario’s committee would gut the ban, as was happening in Congress, where gun legislation had stalled.
One night, as Judiciary Committee members wrangled over the bill, O’Malley made an unannounced visit.
The governor pointed at Vallario.
“Joe, don’t take out the AR-15,” O’Malley said, referring to the assault weapon.
A couple of nights later, at a St. Patrick’s Day party, O’Malley walked up to Vallario.
“Joe,” the governor said through a grin, “what are you doing to me?”
After more than a month with the bill, Vallario’s committee relented. There would be no compromise; there was no middle ground to be had with Republicans.”

so basically, opponents point out that rifles –and not just “assault weapons,” but rifles, period– are simply NOT USED IN CRIME and want compromise… and this will not work for O’Malley, who proceeds to bully the chairman into getting what he wants. O’Malley doesn’t make an argument for why the data’s wrong or what the bill will do; it’s WHAT HE WANTS. because, as previously noted, he’s a piece of shit. it’s also sad –not funny, but sad– because typically you see guys in this state bitching about how mean Republicans are on a federal level for not compromising. huh.

anyway, this legislation makes me sick for one reason more than any other: not that it fucks with my rights and/or hobbies (depending on how you want to put it); not that it won’t accomplish ANYTHING it purports to accomplish, because we’re still going to have scores of drug murders and street crimes; not that there’s a level of hypocrisy in our left-leaning government pushing to rightful acknowledge people’s rights to, say, gay marriage while restricting my firearm rights; but because this shit only happened because O’Malley wanted it for him, for his personal reasons, for his career and personal benefit. and that’s a fucking disgrace.

whatever, literally no one gives a shit about how mad our politics make me. it is the most impotent feeling in the world, i suppose. anyway, maybe next week we’ll be a little more positive? currently my motivation is being spent on “tracking down soon-to-be-banned assault weapons,” but i will try to focus up.

2013’s deluge of gun control part I: wherein our esteemed legislators struggle to understand the topic they’ve spent years legislating

so, okay, it’s probably inevitable that i would get around to making a update based around the concept of gun control. on the one hand, house of hate tends to be “flagrantly pro-gun” (hence all those “new gun” posts that are currently being delayed by the state of transferring regulated firearms in my grand home state), so we should probably have gotten around to this before now; on the other hand, the Irishman tells me all the time to not focus so heavily on this stuff since it’s going to give me a heart attack. i don’t think he’s joking; if there was a way for me to place a wager on my cause of death being “heart attack induced by YET ANOTHER outrageous anti-gun ad or statement,” i would do so. you’d think there would be someplace in Vegas that would help me out on this front, but no, nothing yet.

anyway, there isn’t really a lot for me to say from a substantive point: “assault weapon” bans are mindless feel-good pieces of legislation that will not reduce gun crime in the slightest; regulating magazine size is bogus if for no other reason than we’ve acknowledged why police should have larger magazines; and “universal background checks” and “anti-trafficking bills” do a lot more than what’s stated in their titles alone, and we should talk about that. whatever, we’ve covered this. and in my lovely state, we’re getting slammed with upcoming “assault weapon” bans/magazine restrictions/handgun licensing whether we like it or not. it won’t do a damn thing, but again, whatever, it FEELS GOOD to DO SOMETHING. never mind seriously addressing mental health care and/or the drug war, right, progressives? right, guns are an easier thing to attack.

but, hey, why so serious? so let’s focus on some of the behavior that has typified recent rhetoric:

US Representative Diana DeGette
this condescending pose simply ads to the delicious irony of Diana DeGette apparently having no idea what the fuck she’s talking about

Rep. Diana DeGette draws criticism for “pretty stupid” ammo-magazine comment

one of the things that drives pro-gun people crazy is when people who are actively anti-gun seem to demonstrate little to no knowledge of the guns they attack. this is how we get federal legislation that bans fictional Glock 7s from Die Hard 2; this is how we get politicians like Carolyn McCarthy wanting to ban firearms that have, among other “assault features,” barrel shrouds … and then, when asked what a barrel shroud is, saying, “I actually don’t know. I think it’s the shoulder thing that goes up.” because whatever your political stance, you want to believe that the politicians who are making legislation and claiming to be well-versed on the issue actually know SOMETHING about the issue.

which brings us to Diana DeGette.

“Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette drew national criticism Wednesday for remarks made at a public forum in which she said banning high-capacity in ammunition magazines would be effective in reducing gun violence because “the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.” For years in Congress, DeGette has been the prime sponsor on a federal ban on high-capacity magazines.”

and there we go: the sad, sad combination of a phenomenally stupid statement that makes it clear she has no idea what high-capacity magazines are and a reminder that this woman has supposedly been studying and legislating on this issue for YEARS. so she’s looked into banning high-capacity magazines for years, and yet she cannot actually describe what they are and how they work correctly? disgusting.

“But despite the congresswoman’s claim, ammunition magazines can be reloaded with more bullets and can be reused hundreds of times.”

okay, not wild about the phrasing, but yeah, they can be reused. what was that she said, again?

“”These are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now, they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high-capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available,” she said at Tuesday’s forum, hosted by The Denver Post’s editorial board.”

wow. but okay, it’s always possible someone misspoke, right? granted, given how far she goes with this nonsense, it’s obvious she’s actually an idiot who doesn’t know anything about THE ISSUE SHE HAS WORKED ON FOR YEARS, but let’s pretend what she meant was, “if you cut off the supply of new high-capacity magazines, the existing ones will EVENTUALLY wear out and disappear.” i personally think this is a dumb theory for a handful of reasons, but let’s indulge here and pretend that is what she meant. so, how should you handle this?

…well, what you should NOT do is double-down and release a smug statement that’s once AGAIN proof you have no idea what the hell you’re talking about:

“DeGette spokeswoman Juliet Johnson on Wednesday said the senior congresswoman from Denver “misspoke” and then issued another erroneous statement about guns. “The congresswoman has been working on a high-capacity assault magazine ban for years and has been deeply involved in the issue; she simply misspoke in referring to ‘magazines’ when she should have referred to ‘clips,’ which cannot be reused because they don’t have a feeding mechanism,” Johnson said.”

which is funny because Johnson makes a big effort to talk about how deeply involved DeGette has been –presumably with the air that one should not question DeGette’s statement, for she KNOWS ABOUT THIS STUFF– and then just digs the hole deeper with another stupid statement, which leads me to believe that:

01. DeGette didn’t misspeak (again, was always clear, but what the hell, have more proof);
02. Johnson herself knows nothing about the topic either, which might be okay in the sense that she’s a spokesperson, but still, you’d think someone in this office that’s been TRYING TO BAN THESE MAGAZINES FOR YEARS would look into learning about the topic in a way that would allow people to speak about it without sounding like blithering idiots;
03. this kind of shit really IS going to give me a heart attack. why?

“Actually, clips in most guns can be reused as well.”

EXACTLY. look, i understand that there’s a point where someone who’s really into guns (say, me) would take issue with a relative novice’s lack of information. but the thing is, i wouldn’t break a novice’s balls about this… but i WILL break the balls of a woman who thinks the federal government should ban me from having something she CANNOT EVEN DESCRIBE.

“Immediately after DeGette’s Tuesday remark, the audience in The Post building chuckled and Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, who was also on the panel, urged people who have not shot a gun to “get to the facts. … Let’s be educated as we make this decision.””

exactly. and further:

“The Colorado GOP called DeGette’s statements “extremely alarming” because, the group said, she is running a piece of federal legislation that she apparently doesn’t know anything about.”

EXACTLY. so Johnson AGAIN compounds this:

“Johnson called the attacks “just another example of opponents of common-sense gun-violence prevention trying to manipulate the facts to distract from the critical issue of keeping our children safe and keeping killing machines out of the hands of disturbed individuals. It’s more political gamesmanship that stands in the way of responsible solutions.””

how droll. look, people misspeak. that’s why you say, “whoops, so and so MADE A MISTAKE” and own up to it. this is what actual adults do. because adults realize that when you call a gun a “killing machine” (which is fucking childish, but whatever), if you’re providing evidence elsewhere that you have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about, then they might realize they shouldn’t trust you when you talk about that gun. or about anything else, and all because a congresswoman (and her spokesperson) are both too stupid to actually know a topic they purport to know well AND too fucking smug to just admit their error.

and fundamentally, this kind of behavior seems to inform EVERY similar issue.

Vice President Joe Biden
“Joe Biden” is an ancient Indian word meaning “holy shit, who thought letting this guy talk was a good idea”

Carolyn McCarthy can’t describe barrel shrouds and says “traditional rifles” are better for women’s self-defense than AR-15s, despite the fact the latter is based on nothing more than her desire to bash AR-15s? another politician who presumably has studied the issue and yet cannot fathom admitting either her errors or even facts that disagree with her. Andrew Cuomo acknowledges that he didn’t really know what was in the anti-gun legislation that he signed and touted as great before the backlash hit? yet another politician who cannot admit the errors in his prior statements. and Joe Biden’s numerous … statements are probably recognized as a hot mess by EVERYONE without any need for elaborating further on them.

look, this kind of bullshit isn’t specific to guns and it isn’t specific to Democrats, and we should be clear about that. but you know how people get riled up when some yokel Republican talks about “legitimate rape” and we get to the part of the debate where someone points out a logical error in a man who cannot even accurate talk about what he’s trying to regulate making laws that regulate it? yeah…

anyway, that’ll do for now. we’ll see if i have any energy left for this next week.