Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard, and the Case Against New Gun Laws

Legislating by crisis is bad governance.

This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on September 18, 2013. Read it there now.

Monday’s horrific mass shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard left 12 victims (plus the shooter) dead and more than a dozen people wounded. It has raised immediate, impassioned, and understandable—if ultimately misguided—calls for increased levels of gun control now.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a longtime proponent of assault-weapons bans whose effectiveness is questionable at best, announced that the killer was armed with a “military-style assault weapon” and asked, “When will enough be enough?” She argued for restricting sales of AR-15 rifles even though the shooter was not armed with that weapon.

Joining Feinstein in specifically denouncing the AR-15 was CNN host Piers Morgan, who said on his show that the Navy Yard installation had been “infiltrated by a man with a legally purchased AR-15, who just committed the same kind of atrocity as we saw at Sandy Hook and Aurora.” After learning that Aaron Alexis had in fact been unable to purchase such a weapon due to existing laws, Morgan tweeted, “Lots of confusion over exactly what guns Wash Navy Yard shooter used. But do you think it matters to the victims? #GunControlNow

Feinstein’s and Morgan’s imprecise reactions suggest exactly why legislation shouldn’t be crafted, much less passed, in the heat of a crisis. Whether it’s truly awful drug laws pushed in the wake of high-profile celebrity deaths, national-security measures rushed unread through Congress after the 9/11 attacks, or transformative bailouts to the banking and auto industries essentially cobbled together over a long weekend, laws should be the product of serious and dispassionate deliberation. We feel with our hearts, yes, but we should govern with our minds.

Any calls for new gun legislation need to be squared with two long-term trends that are directly relevant to the unspeakable crime at the Navy Yard. The first is that mass shootings are not increasing. Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox, co-author of the 2011 book Extreme Killing, defines mass killings as those in which four or more people die and says there is no increase in such events in recent years. As he told Bloomberg, “Our tendency is to go overboard and overreach in terms of trying to increase levels of security … [but] this is not an epidemic.”

[Article continues below video. Click to watch; scroll down to continue reading]

["The Navy Yard Shooting & Gun Control" was produced by Meredith Bragg]

In the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, Mother Jones published a widely cited tally suggesting that mass shootings were in fact trending upward. In an article for The Boston Globe, Fox criticizes Mother Jones for “exclud[ing] cases based on motive, location, and victim-offender relationship.” Despite shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and Connecticut, “there has been no upward trend in mass shootings” wrote Fox, who provides an illuminating chart of incidents and casualties covering the years from 1976 to 2010. “What is abundantly clear from the full array of mass shootings, besides the lack of any trend upward or downward, is the largely random variability in the annual counts.”

The second trend is a continuing decline in violent and gun-related crime, including murder. Newly released FBI statistics show that 8,855 murders were committed using firearms in 2012 compared with 9,528 in 2008. During the same five-year period, overall murders dropped from 14,224 in 2008 to 12,765 in 2012. Over the past decade, “serious violent crime” (rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) with weapons declined by 26 percent. Such declines are of a piece with longer-term declines in violent crime rates. In 1993, for instance, the violent crime rate per 100,000 people was 747. In 2003, it was 476, and in 2012 it was 387.

Yet even if the continuing decline in violence in America means that new federal gun control legislation is a nonstarter, as House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) concedes, it doesn’t mean that the government is without the means of increasing worker safety at military installations.

As my Reason colleague J.D. Tuccille has pointed out, the Navy Yard falls under the restrictive rules and regulations that cover most military bases and effectively strip personnel of weapons. To work at the Navy Yard—even as a subcontractor, as Aaron Alexis was—required a security clearance. Precisely how Alexis, who received a general (as opposed to an honorable) discharge from the Navy and had a history of gun-related violence and mental instability, was able to pass any level of scrutiny and be allowed to work at the Navy Yard remains a mystery. Just six weeks ago, reports Fox News, a Rhode Island police officer reported Alexis to naval station police for erratic and delusional behavior.

The Pentagon is reportedly auditing its security-clearance processes for military installations; one assumes other workplaces will follow suit. Such attention comes too late to offer any succor or comfort to the families, friends, and co-workers mourning the dead. But in the end, it is far more likely to be effective than any sort of gun-control legislation urged after a mass shooting.

This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on September 18, 2013. Read it there now.

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  • ||

    OT: New show about Nicole, "You're the worst."

  • Ted S.||

    This is why there are no female libertarians....

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Jimmy, a completely self-absorbed, proudly outspoken, and utterly insensitive writer living in L.A.

    Gretchen, a cynical and self-destructive beauty played by Aya Cash

    The beta to Gretchen’s alpha, Lindsay is married and trying her hardest to be a proper adult-type lady

    Edgar, Jimmy’s sweet and earnest childhood friend/roommate who is a war veteran suffering from PTSD and mild battlefield-induced psychosis

    NEEDZ MOAR CLICHÉS

  • ||

    "Associate Producer: Chip Bok."

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Police officer doesn't think crazy person is crazy enough to bring in for a psychiatric evaluation but does contact his employer to tell them? Uhm, is that part of the report in a different color ink?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    TELL THAT TO THE VICTIMS' FAMILIES.

    Whatever your counter argument, which I can't hear because of the fingers plugging my righteous ears, it is little comfort to those killed in whatever latest incident I'm using to push my agenda. You're a monster for wanting children to die just so you can shoot Bambi. Only authorities possess the authority it takes to have an assault weapon like the AR-15 which was definitely used in whatever latest incident I'm using to push my agenda. Crawl up onto these coffins I'm standing on and look me in the eye and explain to me why ONE minor constitutional amendment is more important than my child's safety. And so on.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    How are you typing with your fingers in your ears?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    P.S. That's a Katie Couric softie question. Do your worst!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I didn't say they were my fingers. Anyway as always I'm dictating this to Ernesto my Filipino manservant.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I was hoping for something a bit more Ewwww. I am disappoint.

  • Jumbie||

    Well, he never mentioned what ERNESTO was doing with his mouth, but let's say there's more than one way to take Dicktation.

  • Killazontherun||

    Somehow, FoE gets even the smallest of details right.

  • Almanian!||

    That's why he's FoE, and the rest of us are A Grateful Nation.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Nick, they have to legislate according to the latest crisis. What else can you expect them to do during a 13-year emergency?

  • ||

    Well, there's some legislation that needs to be fixed. Emergencies expire? How are our betters ever going to save us if they must take time from their busy schedules to post a continuation letter.

  • Paul.||

    Jerbs.

  • ||

    How have I not heard of American Coup before? Reason should have reviewed this by now.

    Published September 10th, of course.

  • Hyperion||

    OT, but may as well go with the way the thread started...

    I haven't seen this posted here, so:

    The mask is really off, first the liberal prof guy trying to encourage people to kill the children of NRA members, now this.

    CA dem wishes death on children of Ted Cruz aide

    Fuck all progressives, they are the enemy, and they mean all this hateful stuff that they say, despite their whiney ass fake apologies. After all, their comrades have already killed tens of millions all over the world, and you better believe that they will not hesitate to have their gawd, the state, kill you also.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I don't think they're particularly evil, just mental midgets who act out like five year olds when they think they can get away with it.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    No, they're evil.

  • Drake||

    Both.

  • Ted S.||

    I haven't seen this posted here, so:

    Then you don't read H&R enough. :-p

  • Hyperion||

    Work and marriage sometimes gets in the way of 'reading H&R enough'.

    IOW, I can't read every post, in every thread, every day. I do my best...

  • hotsy totsy||

    But how DARE the NRA mention Sasha and Malia going to private schools and having armed bodyguards, while the rest of us have our kids in no guns allowed zones?

  • DJF||

    Or the government could just enforce the laws they already have such as laws against shooting other peoples tires or floors which would probably have flagged this guy so he could not pass a background check to buy a shotgun.

    Its no use having background checks for crimes on individual gun buyers if you don‘t convict people of actual crimes such as shooting tires or floors.

  • Hyperion||

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That was justified. School is supposed to be a place of learning, not political fisticuffs. I would say the same for an anti-gun shirt.

  • playa manhattan||

    I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have happened with an anti-gun shirt.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Likely true, but that doesn't change the principle.

  • Acosmist||

    So they engage in viewpoint discrimination?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    School is supposed to be a place of learning

    Maybe students could learn to tolerate people with different political opinions, instead of learning to shriek and throw poo when somebody wears a political T-shirt.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's what social life after school is for. Tolerance education is not a priority during math class, however.

  • Nazdrakke||

    That's right, Tulpa, school is not a place for competing ideas, even in passing, it is a place for being properly programmed by the state.

  • Hyperion||

    Are you surprised when Tulpa takes the statist position on a topic?

  • ||

    Tulpa's not a statist. He's a contrarian. He comes here to fight, no matter the issue.

    He get's his jollies arguing, regardless of the relevance of the topic or the principles (or lack thereof) he espouses. In fact, the more off the wall his position, the more he enjoys it. IMO he's worse than shitstopper or Tony.

  • Hyperion||

    Maybe, but he usually argues by taking the statist position. How else are you going to play contrarian to a room full of libertarians?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Maybe, but he usually argues by taking the statist position. How else are you going to play contrarian to a room full of libertarians?

    There are plenty of cases where standing up for property rights and opposing fraud makes you a contrarian around here.

  • Robert||

    he usually argues by taking the statist position. How else are you going to play contrarian to a room full of libertarians?


    Just follow me around, I'll give you a clinic in it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Oh please. The mark of a contrarian is that they switch positions and make contradictory arguments in order to always be on the opposing side. My positions have been relatively unchanged over the years posting here, though I have changed a few after my opponents produced intelligent arguments that I could not refute. (hasn't been much of that going on in the past year or so, but oh well) And in many cases I'm agreeing with the majority.

  • Robert||

    You mean Tulpa's a troll? That he's insincere?

    Couldn't it be that he's like me, sincere, but taking more interest in arguing against someone than making redundant statements in agreement? Of course, sometimes the positions I take are so "out there" that nobody argues with, against, or around me.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's right, Tulpa, school is not a place for competing ideas, even in passing, it is a place for being properly programmed by the state.

    Again, math class or reading class is not a place for competing ideas, it's a place to learn how to do math or learn how to read. Multiplication tables and phonics are not statist indoctrination.

    If the kid wants to put on the rifle shirt he can do it during lunch or recess or maybe current events class and I wouldn't object. And the kid sitting next to him can put on an anti-gun shirt. But during real classes there need to be no distractions.

  • ||

    Do you remember being a high school student? The redhead that sat two seats in front of me and the blonde that wore the impossibly short skirts that sat next to me were more of a distraction than some dudes tshirt.

    If you want to argue that they should all wear uniforms, then that's fine. But singling out someone's tshirt as "dangerous" is fucking stupid.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I do think they should wear uniforms, and be segregated by gender. There was a reason that was traditionally done.

    Not sure about what to do with homosexual students though.

  • Irish||

    Tolerance education is not a priority during math class, however.

    There's a difference between the school trying to shoehorn in 'tolerance education' and a student simply wearing a political t-shirt.

    One of those is attempted indoctrination, the other is the free movement of ideas.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Yes, there is a difference, and perhaps "tolerance education" has an unuseful connotation here. But that post was in response to the poster who thought the rifle shirt could teach tolerance of opposing viewpoints.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It wasn't a political shirt. It was a fucking Duck Dynasty shirt.

  • Hyperion||

    I thought that maybe one of them was running for some office, on the teabagger platform.

  • Irish||

    Wow, I didn't even read the article and assumed Tulpa was being truthful.

    It's literally just a guys face and says 'I will hurt you physically and metaphysically.'

    This is the dumbest fucking thing I've ever seen.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Sorry, I was confusing it with the other case where the kid got in trouble from wearing a shirt with an "assault rifle" on it.

    Still, that's threatening language. Generally if the kid would get in trouble for saying a thing he shouldn't be allowed to wear a shirt that says it.

  • Acosmist||

    No, no it's not.

  • Irish||

    Still, that's threatening language. Generally if the kid would get in trouble for saying a thing he shouldn't be allowed to wear a shirt that says it.

    If a kid said 'I will beat you physically and metaphysically' no rational human being could possibly construe that as a threat. This is particularly true when he's obviously quoting a T.V. show.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Saying you're going to beat someone isn't a threat? (Outside the context of a game, of course)

  • ||

    Not when you're quoting someone else.

  • ||

    Oh, gee. Look whos here to argue. I'm so happy.

    Hey Tulpa. I contend that the sky is blue, care to take issue?

  • Hyperion||

    The sky is only blue if the government says it's blue.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Uh, why is anyone here? To share recipes for pot roast?

    It's beyond ironic that the "pox on both your houses" contingency, which opposes pretty much everything the government does, is whining about "contrarianism".

  • ||

    With all of us ganging up and picking on the poor, downtrodden government, Tulpa is courageous enough to stand up for the underdog.

  • ||

    Why am I not surprised that you think it was justified.

  • ||

    School is supposed to be a place of learning, not political fisticuffs. I would say the same for an anti-gun shirt.

    Duck Dynasty is "political fisticuffs"? I know the level of American discourse has deteriorated to about the level of reality TV, but I'm still gonna have to call bullshit on that one. They made him remove the shirt because it was "threatening", not because it was political. This is about soccer mom school shooting hysteria.

  • ||

    Annnnd I shoulda continued scrolling before posting.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    As stated above, I mistook this case for the one with the NRA t-shirt with the 'assault rifle' on it.

  • Dave Krueger||

    We feel with our hearts, yes, but we should govern with our minds.

    Ummm... Most members of Congress aren't equipped for the second option. That's one of the benefits of Congress. It employs the thinking-impaired, thereby ensuring that they don't starve to death or be forced to join some other gang.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    And they answer to voters, not to The Jacket. Damn it, the voters want ACTION, not a bunch of whiny libertarians harping on and on about some "Amendment" thingy.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Precisely how Alexis, who received a general (as opposed to an honorable) discharge from the Navy

    Nope. He received an honorable discharge, actually, because the Navy didn't think they had enough evidence to force a general discharge.

  • DJF||

    Anyone know what reenlistment code he got on his discharge? Not all honorable discharges are the same. RE-1 means you can reenlist. RE-2- Ineligible for reenlistment, RE-3D means failure to meet disciplinary standards.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    None of the articles I've seen go into that much detail. The proceedings for general discharge were started but abandoned, but I'm not sure how that appears in the records.

  • DJF||

    Thanks. Probably the reporters don’t know enough to even ask the question.

  • Entropy Void||

    ^^^ THIS

  • Seamus||

    A general discharge should not disqualify one from firearms possession. My brother was thrown out of the Navy with a general discharge (under honorable conditions), not because he was any kind of threat to anyone, but because he couldn't understand why, when they sent him to electrician school, he had to get up in the morning and go to class. ("As long as I learn the material and pass whatever test they give me, it should be OK, right?" was his attitude.) He was unclear on the concept of "naval discipline," but that's hardly a reason to cancel his 2d Amendment rights.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Kenya has restrictive gun laws, which I'm sure will make the relatives of all those people happy.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, they apparently are not strict enough.

    Reminds of when I was accidentally tuned into NPR on my way home yesterday, and they were talking about the shooting in a park in Chicago.

    The talker managed to mention the fact that at least one 'AR-15' may have been used in the shooting. That seemed to be the most important factoid about the entire story.

    And apparently, the police chief of Chicago blamed it all on the very lax gun laws in Chicago. That was when I managed to snap out of my paying attention to rush hour traffic mode and switched the channel.

  • From the Tundra||

    I listened to Welch on MPR the other day. First time I had tuned in forever. It was vomit-inducing - they work really hard to make the discussion conform to their conclusions.

    Someone, possibly here, described public radio as "liberal rage with indoor voices"

    Fuck NPR (sotto voce, of course)

  • Killazontherun||

    It might not be anarchy in places where only law enforcement, gangs and terrorists have guns but it sure as hell looks like what most people expect it would.

  • np||

    All it takes is one parent:
    North Carolina School System Bans Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man
    OMG, filthy and profane, not appropriate for young children (aka Highschoolers)!

  • Hyperion||

    Those aren't highschoolers, they're quasi adult children. Their little minds still need molding in accordance to the great progressive doctrine of purity.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Which will be raised first for childults, drinking age or compulsory education age?

    My vote is for the second if downward path of student "loans" continues. Once it becomes universal, mandatory will follow.

  • Hyperion||

    Raise compulsory education and child support to 40 years, then lower the age of military service to 12 years and re-instate the draft.

    / the proglodytes

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I liked the HG Wells version better.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "We cannot have works of art that even attempt to accurately portray reality, or our children are doomed."

    FFS, they read Invisible Man, and all they got out of it was that he used a dirty word or two?

  • Hollywood||

    OT, but I had to share: My girlfriend invited me to see a documentary that was playing at a local film festival. The message of this movie, I shit you not, was that the only way to help people is by having empathy. Without empathy no one can be helped. The documentary spotlighted various "agents of change" or "empathy volunteers" or whatever the fuck they referred to them as -- essentially just people volunteering in certain causes. Anyway, the film ends and I am sitting there stunned, after 90 minutes of squirming and writhing through the painful experience of watching this shit. The guy who runs the organization and produced the film opened up a Q&A, I thought for sure someone will say something about how absurd the whole idea is. Nope. Just a bunch of compliments. I couldn't fucking believe it. So I ask, "you said in order to be a real change agent, you have to have empathy. Was Sam Walton a change agent? How about Henry Ford? Certainly those two have helped a lot of people?" His answer was no, they don't count because they don't feel empathy and ultimately we will need a society where people are forced to feel empathy.

    The Q&A was abruptly stopped at that point. I couldn't believe there was a guy who basically admitted that the only thing that matters are intentions. That is often discussed on this board but this guy created a whole organization on that idea. It really seemed like a cult.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    In other words, if you don't have a deep emotional connection to the Tribe, you are worthless.

    - All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  • Killazontherun||

    My question would have been, 'if your premise is correct then how do you explain the last five thousand years of human history leading to the advances we take for granted as we sit here where 'empathy' had nothing to do with those accomplishments?'

  • Hollywood||

    That would have been a question, though he might have said something like technology is driving us apart and we are losing touch with the tribal/community empathy that we had when we had to rely on each other for survival, or some such shit.

  • Irish||

    You should have asked 'Who do you think has had more of a positive impact on humanity? You for making a mediocre documentary because you're "empathetic" or Andrew Carnegie for coming up with better ways to make steel because he wanted to get rich?'

    Of course, Carnegie was actually really philanthropic and gave tons of money to charity, but I assume that someone who made this dipshit documentary wouldn't know that.

  • Killazontherun||

    You certainly deserve credit though for getting your question in, but you're right, as much as I tried above to leave no wiggle room he would just not accept the premise no matter what.

  • Hollywood||

    Thank you, yeah I didn't expect for him to have an epiphany right there and then. It was worth it just to startle the other people there. I could hear a lot murmuring from the audience when I tried to pierce through the group think. I guess they didn't empathize with me.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Was Sam Walton a change agent? How about Henry Ford? Certainly those two have helped a lot of people?"

    I get your point about people who seek profits managing to benefit humanity, but as for the examples you give - Henry Ford certainly *thought* he was helping mankind, and in his own way he tried to be philanthropic (at least to Gentiles). Wasn't it Henry who established the Ford Foundation, or was that one of his offspring? I'm not saying the Ford Foundation benefits humanity in reality, but from the "intentions matter" perspective it was certainly philanthropic by design.

    Doesn't Sam Walton have some kind of foundation, too?

  • Irish||

    That's true, but they don't run their businesses the way they run their charities. The Ford Motor Company had more of a positive impact on humanity than the Ford Foundation did.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I certainly agree that when the liberal empathy brigade took over the Ford Foundation and, instead of charitable aid to the poor, went in for "social change," they made the country a worse place. One of the Fords protested, but he got outvoted IIRC.

    The moral for philanthropists is to have some method of keeping your foundation's staff stick to your intentions - giving them specific instructions they can be sued for deviating from.

  • Irish||

    Even if the Ford Foundation had been run the way the Fords wanted, it still would have had less of a positive impact on people than the motor company. The Model T is one of the most important inventions of all time. Nothing the Ford Foundation did matches it in importance.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I totally get it - but there is still room for the rich to benefit the community by sharing their dough - they're probably likely to be better at the govt in deciding what charitable gifts would do good, and make sure the money is administered properly.

    The public is going to insist on helping those on the social margins - to the extent philanthropists don't do it, the demand will grow for expensive govt programs, and support for these programs will be the measure of one's compassion.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Even the most hardworking rich guy ought to be thankful for his/her wealth - not to the govt, God forbid, but to God, who bestowed on them their talents and opportunities. Before you roll your eyes, this was Carnegie's attitude. His money, as he saw it, was a divine trust to benefit the less fortunate - especially in bootstrap-enhancing projects like libraries.

  • Hollywood||

    The fact that these people had money to give away in the first place is itself an indication that they've already benefitted society, assuming they earned their money in a relatively free market. I think we'd all agree that charity is an admirable thing and we'd probably have more of it if the government reduced the amount of assistance it provides. Govt entitlements crowd out better, private charities.

  • Entropy Void||

    Things haven't changed much.
    Back in the early Eighties, my alma mater, Rollins College was GIVEN a state of the art, fully computerized research library. By Olin Winchester. The protestations of the student/progs was ridiculous.

  • Hollywood||

    I understand what you're saying. My point is even if they were some Daniel Plainview-type characters (minus the murders) they still helped people. Voluntary trade results in positive sum outcomes regardless of the particular disposition of the parties involved.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's a good thing - and a compassionate thing - that we have a social system where even a purely selfish and greedy person can benefit the community by selling people stuff that helps them.

  • Hollywood||

    Free market capitalism is the most compassionate and most prosperous type of economy that exists.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yes, because to the extent the economy is run by the govt, the energy the greedy and/or idealistic would put into entrepreneurship and improving products would go into getting their hands in the public till - and the idealists would be the most insufferable because (to paraphrase C S Lewis) they have the comfort of their own consciences.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I don't know if I'd say it's compassionate, as it's an impersonal system (which is what makes it work so well).

  • Irish||

    ^^^ Exactly. The free market works because it does not depend on individual morality or compassion. If a system depends on the compassion and morality of the individuals involved, it will inevitably fail when immoral people seize control.

    That's why, even if it were possible to run an effective socialist system, it would always fail due to immoral people gaming the system.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    That's the thing though. When you really look at good a Henry Ford or a Sam Walton did, their philanthropy is hugely outweighed by the advances their business activity provided our standard of living.

  • Knarf Yenrab (prev. An0nB0t)||

    You should have informed him of the difference between sympathy and empathy and then dropped the mic. This sounds like a meeting of the pious, better-than-you brigade, where sensitive people congregate to discuss how sensitive they are and how much better the world would be if everyone were as sensitive as them.

    Self congratulation is rarely an attribute of a living saint, though that may come as a shock to those who prefer symbols and good intent to reality.

  • Hollywood||

    I couldn't have described it better myself.

    I could definitely picture the volunteers trying to one-up each other in terms of what I like to call their "disaster tourism." There were a lot of people highlighted in the film that talked about how terrible the conditions were but made no mention of what they were doing or trying to accomplish.

    Here's the film's website in case you like to piss yourself off:
    http://whocaresthefilm.com/

  • Drake||

    I hope your girlfriend is hot and realizes what she owes you for dragging you through such an awful experience.

  • ||

    Personally, I'd be seriously evaluating my relationship after that if I were Hollywood. Unless he's just in it for casual sex. In which case I can't understand why he'd put himself through that in the first place.

  • ||

    His answer was no, they don't count because they don't feel empathy and ultimately we will need a society where people are forced to feel empathy.

    Doesn't it sort of beg the question to say that those men did not feel empathy, therefore their actions demonstrate that they don't feel empathy?

    Presuming the motives of another person is a lot easier than either A) asking them or B) just judging their results, I guess.

  • Tejicano||

    I remember reading about a guy who had great empathy for the plight of the German people after WWI and went on to become an agent for change to improve their lives. Does anybody remember how that turned out?

  • Entropy Void||

    I think the end result was that half of those German Peoples (at least the ones that were left) ended up being under Communism. Where's the progproblem in that?

  • Hyperion||

    ultimately we will need a society where people are forced to feel empathy

    And there you have it. The key word here is 'forced', and it also applies to everything else that the state wants you to do.

  • Hollywood||

    Yup, that is a direct quote too, his exact words. I wanted to ask what that means in reality, how such a thing achieved, but like I said he ended the questions right then.

  • Hollywood||

    Of course I was imagining the Ludovico technique as the method he intended.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "We haf vays of makink you empathetic."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    School is supposed to be a place of learning, not political fisticuffs.

    How fabulously droll.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It wasn't a political shirt. It was a fucking Duck Dynasty shirt.

    It's a moral tragedy and a failure of political leadership when the wrong sort of people become wealthy and run around doing whatever the fuck they like.

  • Killazontherun||

    I get the 'how in the hell?' feeling when the commercials for it air. I find them to be too affectatiously redneck,quite a bit phony, actually.

  • Knarf Yenrab (prev. An0nB0t)||

    They're all college grads, millionaires, and at least one of them has a master's degree. But it's reality tv, so you can't show them doing things that millionaires actually do, which would likely be even less entertaining than a Charlie Rose interview, if such is possible.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The impression I get is that the older generation--Phil and Si--are the genuine rednecks on the show. Even though Phil has a master's degree, he turned down a football career because it got in the way of hunting. He started the duck-calling business, but while successful it never became huge because he didn't have the business instincts to grow it that far. It was Willie that took Duck Commander to the next level.

    The younger guys are the redneck equivalent of yuppies--they affect a lot of redneck stereotypes but they're as nouveau-riche as you can get and it shows with a lot of their hijinks.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    they don't count because they don't feel empathy and ultimately we will need a society where people are forced to feel empathy.

    My feelings of empathy are aroused by the victims of totalitarian psychopaths.

  • Hollywood||

    Of course there was no discussion about the possibility of two people being empathetic to the opposite sides of a particular issue. I suppose his feeling will indicate what is the right and wrong.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    No, the one who is more progressive wins out over the pseudo-empathetic person with the Koch-funded crazy ideas.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Anyone want some light weekend reading?

    A Big Heart Open to God
    The Exclusive Interview with Pope Francis

    http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview

  • Nazdrakke||

    No.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Well, I knew it was a tough sell.

  • mtrueman||

    "Fox criticizes Mother Jones for “exclud[ing] cases based on motive, location, and victim-offender relationship.”

    I disagree with Fox here. Crimes with differing motives deserve a separate analysis. Grouping together all incidents with 4 or more victims may be useful at times, but here it seems to obfuscate.

    A gang of drug dealers may kill 4 rivals in a dispute over territory. This is very different from a frustrated, suicidal loner who goes on a killing spree. Does Fox group these incidents together to show that mass killings are not increasing? If so, it is dishonest and manipulating. I'm surprised nobody else here has questioned the Fox claim.

  • Hollywood||

    It might be manipulating but it's nothing compared to womanipulating.

    Check your privilege.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Gee, maybe you should read the article? He's criticizing their convoluted cherry picking.

    Not only is Mother Jones’s decision to disqualify cases based on certain criteria hard to defend, the criteria themselves were not necessarily applied consistently. Mother Jones included the 1993 Chuck E. Cheese robbery/massacre of four people committed by a former employee, but excluded the Brown’s Chicken robbery/massacre of seven victims that occurred the very same year, presumably because two perpetrators were involved in the latter incident or perhaps because these gunmen had no prior connection to the restaurant.

    Mother Jones also eliminated massacres involving family members, even though they too can involve large body counts, such as the massacre of 14 relatives and two others by R. Gene Simmons of Russellville, Ark. in 1987. Other massive shootings, like the execution-style slaughter of 13 in a Seattle club in 1983, were ignored because of their relation to gang activity or some criminal enterprise. Particularly mystifying is the decision not to include cases involving multiple perpetrators yet to waive this condition for two school shootings.
  • mtrueman||

    No question that MJ's criterion couldn't be tweaked in any number of ways and even improved on. But that's not what Fox is up to. They are denying that there is any meaningful distinction between a killing of 4 in a gang dispute over territory - essentially part of engaging in a criminal business, and crimes like this one in Washington.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    You're confused. This is an article by James Fox, not Fox News. Which you would know if you had bothered to read it before commenting. And as he points out, Mother Jones is not only cherry picking with their criteria, but ignoring their own "rules" when it suits them. The raw statistics without cherry picking do not show an increase in mass shootings.

  • mtrueman||

    Thanks for clearing up my confusion. I did skim over the linked article, and even noticed that it was from a Boston website rather the Fox which I expected. I thought they were publishing external articles, much like the editors here. What an embarrassing gaffe!

    As I said, if Fox has a better way to handle the data, he's yet to tell us about it. His insistence that there is no meaningful distinction between differing types of mass shootings is dishonest. You evidently agree, as you've yet to disagree with my point over several posts. I agree with you as well, MJ's handling of the statistics could be improved upon.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The "troll meter" is off the charts with this post. Time to change your name again, mtrueman.

  • mtrueman||

    "The "troll meter" is off the charts"

    So again we're down to name-calling. You can call me Martin if you prefer. I've had both names since I was born. I don't feel it necessary to hide behind a pseudonym, unlike others, Tulpa.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Identifying a pattern of behavior isn't name calling.

    I use a pseudonym because my workplace is full of leftist fuckwads like yourself who would love to retaliate against me if they knew my law and order libertarian philosophy. And of course we have no way of knowing if your real name is as you say, so pipe down.

  • mtrueman||

    "I use a pseudonym because..."

    No need to explain yourself. I'm not making accusations, and your concern over your work mates is none of my business.

    I've been called a troll since I first started commenting here. It doesn't stop those who are interested from engaging me in discussion and debate. Then again, I've seen commenters here responding to spam comments, so admittedly this is not much to boast about.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    At 2:13 you claimed to have read the Fox article. Troll.

  • Irish||

    Wow. You don't even realize Fox in this context is a person, not the news organization.

    Honestly, do you ever bother educating yourself about an issue before commenting? There seems to be a frequent problem whenever you decide to comment on a reason article since you never seem to know what you're talking about.

  • mtrueman||

    "Honestly, do you ever bother educating yourself about an issue before commenting?"

    Honestly? Only rarely. These issues seldom hang on the information divulged in the latest link, and I have an audience here of ankle biters falling over themselves to correct me on minor points like Fox is a person rather than a news organization.

    Honestly? I'm disappointed that my respondents aren't more willing to discuss the dishonesty of the Fox erasure of the distinction between the different types of mass shootings.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The claim that Fox is dishonest sure as hell depends on the content of the link. Troll.

  • ||

    Um, Fox being a person and not the news organization is a huge fucking point.

    And there IS no meaningful difference. Death is death.

  • Entropy Void||

    I wondered how long it would be before some some progtard confused the Fox News/James Fox coincidence.

    Thank you for restoring my faith, Martin.

  • mtrueman||

    "Thank you for restoring my faith"

    I may be able to go one better than restoring your faith. If you sincerely believe that there is no meaningful distinction to be made between an incident like this one in Washington and a particularly violent turf battle over gang territory, then keep reading me. I may be able to restore your sanity.

  • mtrueman||

    "Death is death."

    We're not talking about death. We're talking about murder.

  • ||

    Murder results in death, yes?

    Thanks for proving you're a troll.

  • mtrueman||

    "Murder results in death, yes?"

    Do you have a point to make, or just stating the obvious? It might help your argument if you can get past tautologies.

  • ||

    I directly responded to your assertion and you ignored it. Again there is no salient difference between murder for gang turf and that of a crazed gunman. Just because you feel one of those scenarios is more icky than the other doesn't mean there's a difference. Both result in the deaths of people.

    Fuck off troll.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    It wouldn't take much education. The exact same sentence he quoted said that Fox's article was in the Boston Globe, which would be bizarre if Fox were Fox News.

  • Irish||

    The claim by the left is that more people are dying in mass shootings. Cherry picking which ones you count in order to get your desired trend is far more manipulating and dishonest than anything Fox did.

    Sort of like how Mother Jones claimed no civilian has ever stopped a 'mass shooting' and then left out all the instances in which a potential mass shooter was stopped by a gun owner before it became a mass shooting.

    Obviously most people would argue that stopping a mass shooting before it has occurred is better than stopping it when there are already 6 corpses, but Mother Jones willfully left out all of those cases in order to maintain their narrative without regard for all the evidence against that narrative.

  • mtrueman||

    "The claim by the left is that more people are dying in mass shootings"

    Not that interested in the claims of the left. The claim of Fox news that there was no increase in mass shootings that interest me.

    The distinction between crimes motivated by greed and crimes without this motive seems valid to me. What does Fox hope to prove by ignoring this?

  • ||

    The distinction between crimes motivated by greed and crimes without this motive seems valid to me.

    Good for you. It doesn't say shit about the rate at which those crimes are committed though. Your personal interests and national crime trends are not the same thing.

  • mtrueman||

    "It doesn't say shit about the rate at which those crimes are committed though."

    Indeed it doesn't. What is the rate at which 'those crimes' are committed?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    If you read Fox's article, you'll see that (a) the criteria MJ comes up with are actually pretty arbitrary, and (b) they don't actually follow them when it would hurt their conclusion.

    For instance one criterion is that there has to be a lone shooter, yet they include Columbine. Another criterion is that it has to be in a public place, but they include a shooting at a party in a Seattle home.

  • mtrueman||

    I read the Fox article, and while there will always be points to quibble over, as in the case of Columbine, where two shooters were involved rather than one, I think their most important distinction, that some mass killings are perpetrated to further some criminal activity, and others are not, is valid.

    What purpose, other than manipulating the statistics to hide the hide the increase of these seemingly motiveless spree killings, is served by lumping all mass killings together? Surely the libertarian arguments hold true regardless of whether these crimes are on the increase, decrease, or holding steady.

  • Irish||

    I read the Fox article, and while there will always be points to quibble over, as in the case of Columbine, where two shooters were involved rather than one, I think their most important distinction, that some mass killings are perpetrated to further some criminal activity, and others are not, is valid.

    That's not what they did though. They created criteria that were totally arbitrary, such as the need for it to be a public setting, and then ignored their own rules in order to create the illusion of an upward trend where none exists.

    What purpose, other than manipulating the statistics to hide the hide the increase of these seemingly motiveless spree killings, is served by lumping all mass killings together?

    Most of these 'motiveless spree killings' are based on severe mental illness. Why is a mentally ill person shooting up a school different than a mentally ill person shooting at family members? In both cases the motive is the mental illness.

    Mother Jones claimed to leave out all instances of shooting at family members because that allowed them to leave out many early mass shootings so that they could slant their results. Stop running interference for a band of liars that purposefully ignored evidence and refused to abide by their own rules so that they could prop up a failed narrative.

  • mtrueman||

    "They created criteria that were totally arbitrary"

    Totally arbitrary? You yourself don't even think this. You say these crimes are "based on severe mental illness."

    I agree completely that MJ's work could be reivised, but no revision is on offer in the Fox article. Rather his point is to deny that there is a meaningful distinction between these mental illness crimes and those that aren't. That deserves to be pointed out.

  • ||

    Rather his point is to deny that there is a meaningful distinction between these mental illness crimes and those that aren't.

    That's because for the purposes of tracking the rate at which the crimes occur, the motivation and your sympathy for the type of victim is irrelevant.

    That you don't really give much of a shit when it's icky drug dealers and junkies getting bumped off, but you do give a shit when it's suburban kiddies and middle class mommies and daddies getting bumped off isn't relevant to an analysis of the rate at which people are getting bumped off.

  • mtrueman||

    "the motivation and your sympathy for the type of victim is irrelevant"

    I think you are mistaken here. When looking into a murder, motivation is of the utmost importance. It can make the difference between a charge of murder one and manslaughter - a difference of some 10 years behind bars. You're correct about the irrelevance of my sympathies, but this has nothing to do with the argument I'm making here. Irrelevant, in a word.

  • Entropy Void||

    No.

    What deserves to be pointed out is that you are a pedantic, ignorant progtard fuck.

    That is not namecalling, it is my empathetic analysis.

  • mtrueman||

    "you are a pedantic"

    Don't confuse superior intelligence and wit with pedantry.

  • Entropy Void||

    Didn't.

    Don't you confuse intelligence and wit with ignorant pomposity.

    And don't confuse that with an interrogatory statement.

  • ||

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    What purpose, other than manipulating the statistics to hide the hide the increase of these seemingly motiveless spree killings, is served by lumping all mass killings together?

    Are you fucking kidding me? MJ comes up with arbitrary cherry-picked criteria to get the result they want, and then ignore the criteria in order to get an even better result, and you're accusing the other side of "manipulating" by presenting a well defined set of statistics? And saying that those who criticize said manipulation are "quibbling"?

    A+ trolling if that's what you're up to; if you're actually serious I would give an F, but this is so awful I think we need to overflow into the Hebrew alphabet for your grade.

  • mtrueman||

    "MJ comes up with arbitrary cherry-picked criteria"

    The MJ article is, what, over a year old? Until someone improves on it, it seems as though it's the best we have. Even the author of this piece refers to it.

    I'd rather be a troll than an anti-semite, thanks very much.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Speaking of random...

  • ||

    Until someone improves on it, it seems as though it's the best we have.

    Just because it's the only thing you would prefer to read doesn't mean it is the best we have. Fox actually wrote a book on the subject. We could call that "the best we have" and use it as our Bible as well, I suppose. But then, what you really mean here is, "Until someone I agree with produces the same data..."

  • mtrueman||

    "Fox actually wrote a book on the subject"

    So what is the correct rate at which these Washington type crimes occur? Sincerely, I'd like to know. Also, I'd like to know how he defines them. To me that's a very tricky business. I agree with commenters here that MJ's criteria about single shooter, public space, non family members are questionable. I also find the assertions made by some here that mental health is the key issue. How does Fox define these crimes?

  • ||

    A gang of drug dealers may kill 4 rivals in a dispute over territory. This is very different from a frustrated, suicidal loner who goes on a killing spree.

    In what possible way, except that you value the lives of junkies and their enables less than the random victims of a spree killer? For statistical purposes, why is the distinction important? Why is there a distinction at all, actually?

  • mtrueman||

    "In what possible way..."

    you don't seem to have put much thought in this, but since you asked, I think the most important difference between a suicidal loner on a spree and a businessman who kills to protect or expand his territory is motive. One hopes to gain from his act, the other doesn't. Just what motivates the loner suicide spree killer is not at all clear, that's why MJ's attempt to put their finger on the matter is so controversial. You asked me a question and I gave you a fairly simple answer.

    "For statistical purposes, why is the distinction important?"

    Why is it important to keep statistics? Good question. I think one reason is to keep tabs on police. See if they are up to the job. There are probably lots of other reasons why statistics on different crimes are kept. I suggest you ask your local cop if you are interested in pursuing this.

    "Why is there a distinction at all, actually?"

    Because every act is unique, yet some acts bear similarity to others to greater or lesser degrees. Pattern recognition is not some new fangled leftist fad, it's part of being human.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I find them to be too affectatiously redneck,quite a bit phony, actually.

    There is undoubtedly a lot of "license" taken with that show. For strters, there is no possible way those yahoos actually build the duck calls hanging on the rack at Cabela's. I suspect there are five hundred Vietnamese refugees in the part of the building they never show who make the products.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Vietnam doesn't have refugees anymore. But I don't doubt the duck calls are produced by persons near and dear to Reason's heart; something about "imaginary lines".

  • ||

    Vietnam doesn't have refugees anymore.

    And you wonder why you're despised and called a cunt?

    You are a miserable excuse for a human being.

  • Drake||

    There are lots of Vietnamese living in the U.S. and other places who left Vietnam because they like being alive. I think are pretty well settled in and don't consider themselves "refugees" any longer.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Precisely. People forget that the war was 40 years ago and VN is now a major ally, tourist destination, and trading partner.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    And you wonder why you're despised and called a cunt?

    Because some people have poor reading comprehension and even poorer argument skills? Not naming names.

    What, precisely, in my statement are you taking issue with?

  • ||

    I take issue that you feel the need to argue the most mundane points. Brooksie was CLEARLY joking. He could have used ANY group of refugees that ever existed, yet you feel the need to argue about it.

    You are only here to nitpick as the only thing you care about is arguing.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    If I'm accused of holding commenters to the same high standard I hold myself to, guilty as charged.

  • ||

    Your a dick, as charged!

  • ||

    Or you're.

  • ||

    If I'm accused of holding commenters to the same high standard I hold myself to...

    You let the other commenters question beg, change their logic mid-argument, and then red herring the discussion as soon as it starts to go south on them?

    Well, he's generous if nothing else.

  • ||

    And before you go full pedant, I'm not accusing you of doing that in this particular comment, at this particular moment. Just your general style of argumentation.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I must have one hell of a fallacy cloaking device -- everyone insists I'm guilty of fallacies but nobody can point to where in my arguments it happens!

  • ||

    Most people employing fallacies have a very difficult time detecting them. otherwise they probably wouldn't use them.

    Sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming "LALALALALALALALALA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" when people point out your bullshit doesn't make it go away in anybody's mind but your own. But in that sense, yes, you have remarkable fallacy-cloaking capabilities.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I'm not talking about my inability to identify my alleged fallacies, I'm talking about my accusers' inability to identify where they occur. They just randomly type the name of a fallacy and do an end zone dance, which is understandable because few people here are going to call them on it.

  • Killazontherun||

    Probably right, my maternal uncle created the portable treestand industry; I worked for him making the damn things to put myself through college. By the mid 90s when his sons took over, the original company was sold, they formed an offshoot contracting with Chinese factories to make them.

    His profile:

    http://www.ncbowhunter.com/hf_ben_southard.html

    Yahoo? I was informed of the massacre at Waco when he came up to me and growled, 'the motherfuckers burned them all.' Yup, but no more of one than myself.

  • Drake||

    No need for new gun laws - the existing ones work exactly as designed. The Sailors and civilians at the Navy Yard were reduced to unarmed targets.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I think are pretty well settled in and don't consider themselves "refugees" any longer.

    I thought about that, but was too lazy to concoct some convoluted time-based qualifier.

    Also, fuck off, Tulpa, you tribalist dimwit.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Weak. You made your statement, now stand by it, don't whine about somebody calling you on it.

  • sarcasmic||

    So speaks the pussy who is too cowardly to post on weekdays because he knows he'll have his Tulpafication thrown right back into his cowardly face.

    Pussy. I bet you're mad because your dad gets laid more often than you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    What keeps you from doing that now? You're here. I'm here. Take your best shot.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What the fuck are you talking about? The Gulf Coast was a popular destination for Vietnamese refugees, in the seventies and eighties. They now undoubtedly qualify as established Hyphenated-American immigrant families. It is my suspicion that many of the hard-working productive people employed by Duck Commander(?) come from that community.

    I'M GLAD THEY"RE HERE.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If I'm accused of holding commenters to the same high standard I hold myself to, guilty as charged.

    We're not all humorless simpletons like you.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  • ||

    OT: “Qualified immunity thus protects an official whose conduct was objectively reasonable, even if the conduct infringed upon a constitutional right of the plaintiff.”

    I don't get this. What's the point of a constitutional right if it can be lawfully infringed upon by an official as long as the conduct deemed "objectively reasonable"?

  • ||

    I'd be interested in finding out how one gets on the "objectively reasonable" committee. I mean, obviously it's not just the subjective opinion of one person, or even a handful of persons, right?

  • juliajuli||

    my roomate's mom makes on the internet. She has been out of a job for six months but last month her paycheck was just working on the internet for a few hours. browse this site......

    HTTP://WWW.RUSH60.COM

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