What's a Gun-Loving Liberal to Do?

Bryan Schatz has an interesting article in the Pacific Standard about liberal gun owners, discussing how they get by in a world where one set of peers disagrees with them about weapons while another set disagrees about virtually everything else. Here's the opening:

Early Kathryn Bigelow. Basically a slasher movie, which may be why they cast Jamie Lee Curtis in it.Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Sara Robinson of Seattle, Washington, is chatty, affable, and obviously liberal. For years the former writer for Alternet has been a member of a tight-knit community of activists who write and organize around progressive causes. Or at least she was a member, until her "tribe," as she calls it, effectively banished her in the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. "I was forced out," she says.

Robinson, a registered Democrat since the Reagan era, is also a life-long gun owner. And almost as soon as news of the massacre broke, her relationship with her left-leaning circle began to fall apart over the issue of firearms.

As she and her peers discussed the tragedy—with Robinson speaking as a reform-minded but unapologetic gun owner—email correspondence with her peers quickly devolved. Friends told her they would never allow their children into her home knowing guns were in the house—no matter how responsibly they were stored. Within weeks, she was pushed out of an online list of "tightly bonded peers" she had co-founded herself.

As the story progresses, we learn that gun-loving liberalism isn't that lonely a position. According to Gallup, there are around 16 million liberal gun owners in the U.S. They don't always feel comfortable in the NRA, but some of them have founded groups of their own:

Many left-leaning gun owners are finding a home in alternative groups like the Blue Steel Democrats—the official state gun caucuses of the Democratic party—and the Liberal Gun Club, an online forum and meet-up group for people who share an interest in guns and also respect each other's political beliefs. (Despite the group's moniker, politics vary widely among members.) It's a sort of Universalist Church of Gun Owners, where all are welcome.

Some people, Schatz reports, own guns for reasons directly related to their left-wing commitments:

I spoke to Marlene Hoeber, a transgender machinist living in West Oakland—not far from the original seat of the Black Panthers—who started her gun collection with a modern replica of a 19th-century black-powder revolver and is now "swimming" in firearms. She views her gun ownership as a political act....

[S]he owns firearms in part because she is not sure she can count on—or trust—the police. As a trans person, she knows that hate crimes happen, that some people would wish to do her harm, and that it might be up to her to protect herself.

Just a few years ago, it seemed like most of the radicals I knew who cared about gun control were opposed to it, because they associated it with racism and repression; the liberals, meanwhile, had backed off the issue, because they thought it had cost Al Gore the election. It's striking how quickly the landscape of a debate can change.

Bonus link: If the Liberal Gun Club is too squishy for you, try the Gay Communist Gun Club.

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  • LynchPin1477||

    As she and her peers discussed the tragedy—with Robinson speaking as a reform-minded but unapologetic gun owner—email correspondence with her peers quickly devolved.

    Team Tolerance!

  • Jordan||

    [S]he owns firearms in part because she is not sure she can count on—or trust—the police. As a trans person, she knows that hate crimes happen, that some people would wish to do her harm, and that it might be up to her to protect herself.

    No, she obviously is just compensating for a small penis.

    /Tony

  • Rich||

    Beautiful.

  • Rich||

    OT: The President is really on a roll.

    Obama reminded Democratic donors that “our future rests” on the success of people brought to the United States illegally as children

    Well, maybe just a *little* of our success might depend on something else.

    "The World Is Less Violent Than It Has Ever Been"

    "Except for those weekly school shootings in the US, of course."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That is actually a conservative concept popularized by George Gilder.

    Steady population increases are the only sure way to boost GDP.

    Of course he was a pro-amnesty Reaganite.

  • Tak Kak||

    "Reaganite" is the first reason to be skeptical.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    *singing in operatic style* TUUUUUUUU QUOOOOOQUEEEEE, TU QUOQUE, TU QUOQUE, TU QUOQUE!!!!! It's a type of ad hom, TU QUOQUE!!!!

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    Steady population increases are the only sure way to boost GDP.

    How you doing on that app to convert Bitcoin to SNAP?

  • Mock-star||

    I dont remember that one. Presumably he will use the money raised from shorting gold. I would expect a ROI of at least .....8%

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    I am so overwhelmed with sympathy for her I can hardly put it into words.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why do people need to tell others what they own?

    Anyway, for RC and sarcasmic -

    The Congressional Budget Office in April projected that the federal deficit will decline to $492 billion this fiscal year, the smallest in six years, from $680 billion in 2013 and a record $1.4 trillion when President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....venue.html

    $900 billion deficit reduction, bitches!

  • Monty Crisco||

    You are such a sad intellectually dihonest troll, pajama boy. So sad.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why do you hate facts?

  • Monty Crisco||

    Again, if you take the stimulus as the baseline, your statement has a nodding acquaintance with reality. But that is intellectually dishonest, as he specifically said at the time that the stimulus was a one-time thing and that it wouldn't be factored into budgeting in the future. OF course, he lied. And unlike TARP, Obama owns every fucking penny of the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus, and all the subsequent trillion-dollar + deficits....
    Why are you so trolly, pajama boy?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The stimulus came AFTER Obama took office in Jan 2009!

    WTF is wrong with you people?

    The deficit was a record $1.4 trillion when President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

  • sarcasmic||

    WTF is wrong with you people?

    We're intellectually honest. You're not.

  • Slammer||

    Palin's Buttplug|6.12.14 @ 1:16PM

    Why do you hate facts?

    We hate you. That's a fact.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Bloomberg are liars too.

    Got it.

    TEAM RED ALL THE WAY!

  • WTF||

    Don't lock eyes with 'em, don't do it. Puts 'em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming "No, no, no" and all they hear is "Who wants cake?" Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

  • Monty Crisco||

    Yes, as I said, Obama OWNS the stimulus. Bush's last deficit was north of 400bn. Liars like you append TARP onto his last budget to try to obscure this fact. Because you are intellectually dishonest.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The stimulus was not in the Jan 09 CBO report, you fucking idiot.

    That report PRODUCED WHILE BUSH was president said we had $1.4 trillion deficit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Let's see here. Some deficit numbers.

    2013: $680 billion
    2012: $1,087 billion
    2011: $1,300 billion
    2010: $1,294 billion
    2009: $1,413 billion
    2008: $458 billion
    2007: $161 billion
    2006: $248 billion
    2005: $318 billion

    An intellectually honest person will look at that and see that Obama has only cut the deficit if you use Bush's bailouts as a baseline.

  • The Original Jason||

    Three words for you:

    Cash Based Accounting

  • ||

    That's still running a deficit you fucking retard.

  • sarcasmic||

    Like I said, only if you use Bush's bailouts as a baseline.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Which reduces the deficit only $200 billion.

    From the CBO-

    The projected deficit for 2009 also incorporates CBO’s
    estimate of the cost to the federal government of the
    recent takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because
    those entities were created and chartered by the government,
    are responsible for implementing certain government
    policies, and are currently under the direct control
    of the federal government, CBO has concluded that their
    operations should be reflected in the federal budget. Recognizing
    the cost of the takeover adds about $200 billion
    (in discounted present-value terms) to the deficit this
    year, reflecting the long-term net cost of the more than
    $5 trillion in credit guarantees issued and loans held by
    those entities at the start of the fiscal year. In addition,
    the cost of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s new credit
    activity in 2009 will total $38 billion, CBO estimates.

    Done. End of story. Obama has reduced the deficit $700 billion. Only the GSE loans were put on the b/s because they were wholly owned by the Treasury.

    I am tired of educating you people.

  • WTF||

    Don't lock eyes with 'em, don't do it. Puts 'em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming "No, no, no" and all they hear is "Who wants cake?" Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

  • sarcasmic||

    Let's see here. Some deficit numbers.

    2013: $680 billion
    2012: $1,087 billion
    2011: $1,300 billion
    2010: $1,294 billion
    2009: $1,413 billion
    2008: $458 billion
    2007: $161 billion
    2006: $248 billion
    2005: $318 billion

    An intellectually honest person will look at that and see that Obama has only cut the deficit if you use Bush's bailouts as a baseline.

  • Monty Crisco||

    Thank you. Hey, pajama boy - look at 2008! Now, you can go back to your hot chocolate.

  • sarcasmic||

    And I fully expect PB to continue to say Obama cut the deficit, despite those numbers right there that show the median Bush deficit to be much lower than the lowest Obama deficit.

    Because PB is intellectually dishonest.

  • ||

    You couldn't educate a rock demfag.

  • flye||

    ...the smallest in six years...

    Interesting choice of time frame. I wonder what it correlates to?

  • sarcasmic||

    Figures don't lie, but liars figure.

  • Rasilio||

    And tell us, exactly what law, regulation, proposal, or initiatave did Obama sign that was responsible for this?

    Oh that's right there wasn't one.

    The economy tanked BEFORE he took office and even under his counterproductive leadership it eventually recovered back to close to where it was and since he was too ineffectual to be able to pass any legislation at all after Obamacare the existing tax code carried the deficit to roughly where it was before the economy tanked

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, sequestration. Tax increase of 2012. Medicare cuts.

  • WTF||

    Don't lock eyes with 'em, don't do it. Puts 'em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming "No, no, no" and all they hear is "Who wants cake?" Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

  • Duke||

    Let me get this straight: Just because the yearly deficit was reduced for one year, you claim that as some sort of victory?

    The federal debt has grown 6.66 trillion under Obama. That's $ trillion a year added to the debt. What planet do you live on guy?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The federal debt has grown 6.66 trillion under Obama.

    Because he inherited multiple trillion dollar deficits.

    Which have fallen to less than half those.

  • Restoras||

    So you admit he has done nothing to pay down the debt, and you admit has in fact added to it significantly?

  • Monty Crisco||

    That is not just intellectually dishonest - that is a fucking outright lie. NO ONE has run multiple trillion-dollar deficits BUT OBAMA. Bush didn't even run one - as you try to stick him with the bill for TARP, but that was bi-partisan AT BEST.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You're an idiot and a liar.

    Bloomberg, WSJ, CBO, Politifact all say you are.

  • sarcasmic||

    Let's see here. Some deficit numbers.

    2013: $680 billion
    2012: $1,087 billion
    2011: $1,300 billion
    2010: $1,294 billion
    2009: $1,413 billion
    2008: $458 billion
    2007: $161 billion
    2006: $248 billion
    2005: $318 billion

    An intellectually honest person will look at that and see that Obama has only cut the deficit if you use Bush's bailouts as a baseline.

  • Monty Crisco||

    Being called an idiot by your is almost tantamount to getting a BS from MIT. I regard it as a fucking honor and a badge I wear proudly. You are such a sad little liar - honestly, do you REALLY BELIEVE that OBAMA, of ALL fucking people, has spent less than Bush and reduced the deficit? To less than Bush's? Do you believe that? In your heart of hearts? Unless you are getting some sort of external stimulus (like Picard on that one episode where he was being tortured by David Warner) that is causing a functional disconnect with reality, you cannot believe that honestly. So you are intellectually dishonest.
    Now trundle off to bed, pajama boy...

  • Duke||

    Because he inherited multiple trillion dollar deficits. Which have fallen to less than half those.

    You don't understand the difference between a yearly deficit and the total national debt? I thought you at least somewhat understood the relationship between the two.

    Obama is responsible for his own deficits, and thus, corresponding total debt load, just like Bush was responsible for his. I mean, you're not going to blame the Bush deficits on Clinton are you?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I have a degree in finance, you dumbass.

  • sarcasmic||

    Let's see here. Some deficit numbers.

    2013: $680 billion
    2012: $1,087 billion
    2011: $1,300 billion
    2010: $1,294 billion
    2009: $1,413 billion
    2008: $458 billion
    2007: $161 billion
    2006: $248 billion
    2005: $318 billion

    An intellectually honest person will look at that and see that Obama has only cut the deficit if you use Bush's bailouts as a baseline.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    How you doing on that app to convert Bitcoin to SNAP?

  • sarcasmic||

    I have a degree in finance, you dumbass.

    Where'd you get it? Out of a Happy Meal?

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    Cracker Jack box.

  • Restoras||

    He doesn't. Of this I am confident.

  • Mock-star||

    He bought it with money made from shorting gold.

  • Monty Crisco||

    You must fucking suck at your job if you are half as intellectually dishonest with your clients as you are on this site. Christ, you'd be damn near Madoffian levels of duplicitous....

  • Restoras||

    $6.66 trillion of debt added is $55,500 per household in the US.

    Paying it back will be easy peasy.

  • Cis Shitlord||

    "$8 trillion debt increase" would be more accurate. "Deficit reduction" is meaningless, as each year's budget is independent of the prior year's. The only cumulative measure is the debt, which is still increasing.

  • Duke||

    That's what Progtards conveniently ignore. Obama has run huge yearly deficits, and therefore, has added to the national debt by A LOT. And that is nobody's fault but his.

  • Cis Shitlord||

    To be fair, it's also Congress'.

  • R C Dean||

    The deficit is already $800bb this fiscal year, Plugs. On track for $1.2TT.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    nope, wrong again.

    In the fiscal year through May, the government posted a $436.4 billion deficit compared with a $626.3 billion shortfall in the same period a year earlier, the figures showed.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....venue.html

    I thought you had some sense, RC

  • ||

    Hahahahahahaha

    Demfag tut tutting people about having sense.

    Now explain American Exceptionalism to us again.

  • ||

    How do they not see that their TEAM might be wrong about other things if they're wrong about guns?

  • ||

    Because in those other things, they've bought in completely. You don't join a TEAM in the first place unless you have a predilection for following the group and not thinking for yourself. One would think that your TEAM turning on you over one issue would make people rethink, but sadly, the people on a TEAM already probably aren't the best candidates for that.

  • Duke||

    Serious question: How do you handle living in Seattle (where the woman in this article lives). I've visited there and it's amazingly beautiful. Still, isn't it Progtopia land?

  • ||

    I'm not sure why people think that political elites and the loudest activists somehow set the overall tone for a city/state. People have to live their lives, buy food, have a job, and do all the things that people do, just like anywhere else. So just like anywhere else, most of your day-to-day interactions and things that you do will be pretty much just like anywhere else.

    In any city of some size, you can also fade into the woodwork and live your life pretty much under the radar and ignore all the bullshit. I did that in NYC for seven years and had a great time. I just ignored/avoided the rules and bullshit I didn't like. So I carried a gun when I wanted to, smoked weed when I wanted to, cheated on my taxes when I wanted to, and so on.

    Seattle has a lot going for it, and the derptastic bullshit doesn't effect me very much, so I don't care too much. Plus I make a LOT of money.

  • Duke||

    I can totally understand that. I lived in New Orleans for a while, which has its own set of political unpleasantries, but was able to live quite happily above that b.s. And it's a very fun city to be in when you're not being robbed or shot at.

  • JW||

    DC and the 'burbs are nothing like that.

    The state fetishism permeates everything so much, it is of such paramount importance, that your neighbors can't even begin to understand your lack of fealty to the God-Emperor.

    The fucking leftist tribalism here is intolerable.

  • ||

    My experience has been that there is actually more tolerance / interest in libertarian leaning ideas in Seattle than in other places. I've known a few people shunned me because I'm not an orthodox progressive, or progressive in the least, and you know what? Fuck those people. I am unapologetically anti-state, will tell anyone who asks me and oftentimes people who don't, and I have more friends locally than I have time to see them all.

    Washington has pretty good constitutional protections for bearing arms that preclude municipalities from enacting more stringent laws. Also, no income tax :)

  • Monty Crisco||

    That is my question. Once you see the importance of guns to liberty and independence, don't you just go full-libertarian?

  • Cis Shitlord||

    her "tribe," as she calls it, effectively banished her...

    This is how. It's an identity issue.

  • ||

    “As progressives, we’re certainly not supposed to be about driving people into closets and hiding pieces of their identity.”

    Theory vs practice

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    “As progressives, we’re certainly not supposed to be about driving people into closets and hiding pieces of their identity.”

    FFS driving unapproved opinions and actions into closets is what progressives fucking do. It's their defining characteristic.

  • flye||

    Guess she didn't realize No True Progressive can be pro-gun.

  • ||

    Our lovable old longwinded communist friend Christopher Hitchens was all for guns.

    If you take the Second Amendment as a whole (which the National Rifle Association and the political conservatives generally do not) it can be understood as enshrining the right, if not indeed the duty, of citizens to defend their country, and themselves, from aggression, including aggression from the government. The idea of the "well-regulated militia" arose from a hostility to the monarchistic imposition of a standing army. The time might come when the people might have to muster against the state. Well, what's wrong with that?
  • LynchPin1477||

    Interesting that he tries to claim that the NRA and conservatives don't take that into consideration. If anyone tries to leave parts of the 2nd Amendment on the cutting room floor, it is the progs who try to claim the only legit purpose for guns is hunting.

  • ||

    This was in 1994. Maybe the NRA made different arguments back then.

  • Restoras||

    This is exactly right. In fact the purpose of the BoR as a whole is to protect citizens from thier own government, and guarantee the means to resist it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Or at least she was a member, until her "tribe," as she calls it, effectively banished her in the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. "I was forced out," she says.

    Gun owners are intolerant. It is the duty of good tolerant people to not tolerate intolerant gun owners.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    and obviously liberal.

    I can see making "Obviously Liberal" an internet meme. Pictures of people trying to push doors that pull open, falling into open manholes, trying to define American Exceptionalism, that sort of thing. Be good for them, as seriously as they take themselves.

  • Rich||

    LOL

    "You just might be 'Obviously Liberal' if you have a Prius up on blocks in the front yard."

  • GILMORE||

    "Sara Robinson of Seattle, Washington,"

    'The Yankee Marshall', who runs a popular firearms-channel on Youtube, is something of the lone voice of pro-gun liberals* in that medium.

    (people often suggest he's the only one)

    Also a WA-stater. He's an amusing guy

    If you're a revolver-person, he's your hombre

  • sarcasmic||

    What's a Gun-Loving Liberal to Do?

    I dunno. Shoot yourself?

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Buy more guns?

    Do squats?

  • Restoras||

    Definately buy more ammo.

  • jmomls||

    That would be a waste of ammo. I would advise them to gift their guns to a right-of-center sort, then jump off that bridge in Seattle that everyone likes to jump off of.

    Problem solved.

  • Drake||

    What is a Blue Steel meeting like? People bitching about the assholes they will inevitably vote for?

  • derpules||

  • ||

    Duh, Ron Silver shoots Jamie Lee Curtis at all Blue Steel meetings. Or the other way around.

  • GILMORE||

    Bonus points to Jesse for the late 80s SNL reference.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Just give up your killweapons and rejoin the family already. (On a probationary basis.)

  • PD Scott||

    It's too late, the guns have infected her. She could trigger at any moment.

  • ||

    She may root the guns out of her home, but they are pernicious and grow back. What if I let my children go over there and a gun spore lands on one of their hands and grows a new gun IN THEIR HAND?

    *faints*

  • ||

    Like this, jesse?

    Long live the new flesh

  • ||

    I was skewing more in this direction.

  • ||

    It's pretty amazing how much cooler than you I am, jesse. You should feel bad.

  • ||

    If I felt bad about everything I should feel bad about, I'd be as emotionally crippled as the skanks you tend to prey on.

  • ||

    Don't listen to Episiarch jesse. EVERYONE is cooler than him, Sugarfree told me so.

  • ||

  • Anonymous Coward||

    As she and her peers discussed the tragedy—with Robinson speaking as a reform-minded but unapologetic gun owner—email correspondence with her peers quickly devolved. Friends told her they would never allow their children into her home knowing guns were in the house—no matter how responsibly they were stored. Within weeks, she was pushed out of an online list of "tightly bonded peers" she had co-founded herself.

    She keeps one of the Totems of Evil in her home. Of course, she can't be trusted with our tribe's most precious resource: Water...I mean, THE CHILDREN.

  • ||

    The animists have shunned her for unclean contact with a supernatural totem. She must purge or go into exile.

  • Tak Kak||

    Just make new friends that aren't ninnies.

    I know, I know, she's in Seattle, but I've already met several people from "gun-tolerant" to complete "gunfags" and I've only been here a few months.

  • ||

    You will continue to be surprised at how many people of all political stripes in Seattle own guns or don't care if others do. Also, remember that WA has the highest per capita concealed carry permit possession rate at 5% of the population.

    Have you gotten your carry permit yet?

  • Tak Kak||

    I was unaware so many people were carrying, I'll be slightly more polite to strangers now.

    I've done all the paperwork and applied, Washington doesn't have reciprocity with Virginia so I have to wait for my background check to be completed.

  • ||

    They have to get it to you within 30 days, so you'll have it soon. I have to renew mine soon myself.

  • mr lizard||

    Wow, so that's a higher rate than Florida, but not as high in total?

  • ||

    I'm not sure, but Florida has a lot of people in it. WA has about six million, I think.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    100% of the population in Vermont possess all permits required to concealed carry.

  • Tak Kak||

    Does Bernie Sanders know this?

  • ||

    Sure, and Alaska too. That's not the point you almost-Canadian hick!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Hey! I'm an almost-Bostonian asshole now!

  • ||

    You're not helping your case, you know.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    At least I haven't sunken to the point where I'm scared of candy.

  • Dr. Fronkensteen||

    mmmm, candy cigarettes.

  • ||

    I'm not sure about the almost-Bostonian part.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    There's a river with 3 half-functioning bridges between me and Boston.

    PS: It turns out that John is coming to town for work soon. I think we should ambush him.

  • ||

    I'm in!

  • Restoras||

    Isn't 'bush' a trigger wurd?

  • JohnTheRevelator||

    That article is a yeoman attempt at peak derp. But I think this is my favorite part:

    "Hoeber, [...] admits that her affinity for guns is an odd fit. “The gun is the symbol of violent power,” she says. “And obviously it is the bully who fetishizes violent power. The gun is the symbol of the bad cop, the Klansman and the gangster, the people who the leftist impulse seeks to oppose.”

    This member of the Smart People can't read even the three sentences of history it would take to realize that gun rights have been championed throughout US history by out-groups who knew being armed was their best bet to maintain their freedom in the face of all the listed bullies. I wonder if Schatz realizes how very, very lame he makes his people look, with this quote and the others.

  • ||

    That quote is a perfect example of how these people are animists. To them, the gun is not a tool, it is a "symbol", a totem that to them represents (in the very words above) people that they supposedly don't like. They cannot separate the piece of metal from the people they think use it. They are constitutionally incapable of separating a tool from a user.

  • ||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Mozambique

    Yeah, the symbol of the Right. What a moron.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "...discussing how they get by in a world where one set of peers disagrees with them about weapons while another set disagrees about virtually everything else."

    Except, they'd likely find that the latter set of peers really don't have a problem with the fact that they don't agree about things. The hardline proglodytes seem to be the ones most inclined to abandon friendships, or even the rules of basic civility, over what is, after all, a difference of political opinion.

  • Robert||

    Gay Communist Gun Club


    Pink Pistols...
    Red Pistols...
    Salmon-Colored Pistols?

  • Mock-star||

    There is absolutely nothing liberal about gun control.

    or minimum wage laws. Or forcing people to buy insurance. Or forcing people to bake cakes if they dont wanna. So on and so on....

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