The Haunted House That Guns Built

Did a marketing campaign trick Americans into loving firearms?


The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture, by Pamela Haag, Basic Books, 528 pages, $29.99

Basic Books

Sarah Winchester was the widow of William Winchester, and William's father Oliver was the pater familias of the Winchester gun company. Oliver died in December 1880, and William succumbed to tuberculosis four months later. Two months after that, Sarah's mother died. By mid-1881, Sarah was essentially alone. But she also held 48 percent of the stock for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. And the stock paid dividends, between 21 and 79 percent of profits every year from 1869 to 1914.

Upon William's death, his wealthy widow got on a train in New Haven and went west until she couldn't go further. She ended up in San Jose, then a burgeoning town still feeling the aftereffects of the gold rush. She bought some land and began building a house—and kept building, and building, and building. When she died in 1922, the house was still under construction: a confusing, ad hoc, and immense mansion of 160 rooms filled with inscrutable architectural choices. Doors open onto walls; staircases go nowhere; halls wind back and forth; rooms are built within rooms. The whole disorienting, labyrinthine mess is now dubbed the Winchester Mystery House.

Why did Sarah build it? Well, there's the legend and there's the truth.

Here's the legend: Distraught by the deaths of the people closest to her, Sarah became heavily involved with spiritualism. A medium told her the family was cursed by everyone who had been killed by Winchester guns, and that she should go west to build a house for the spirits. If construction ever stopped, the medium said, Sarah would die as well. The house is built in a convoluted fashion in order to throw off the spirits, who apparently were easily confused by switchback hallways and oddly placed doors.

The truth? No one knows. Sarah left no journals, she was obsessively reclusive, and very few records exist.

But for Pamela Haag, the legend in some sense is the truth. In The Gunning of America, her contentious and aggravating but still ultimately interesting book, the Yale-educated historian traces the stories of American "gun capitalists," most prominently the Winchester family, and the businesses they built. "We hear a great deal about gun owners, but what do we know about their makers?" she asks. Haag tells Sarah's story because "Oliver Winchester produced the rifles that contributed to many a gun legend; and, through her creation, Sarah became a counter-legend to the gun legends.…Oliver's mad ambition and Sarah's mad conscience belong to the same story and culture."

More bluntly, she tells the legend because it fits her narrative. Haag believes that companies like Winchester did not merely manufacture guns but manufactured the demand for them; if this created a crisis of conscience for Sarah, Haag feels, so should it now for the nation.

Although Haag often papers over the factual lacunae in Sarah's tale with words like "may have" and "perhaps" and "probably," she doesn't always do so. Readers have to be astute to differentiate between solid facts and Haag's guesswork, as during a bizarre multi-page foray into what Sarah's visit to a Boston medium "may have" looked like. And even when she includes such caveats, she can really lay it on: "Sarah may have heard the cogs of justice click into place. The spirits had exacted retribution against Sarah—and the Winchester name—by taking Will's life, and Annie's, and the lives of all her babies, to atone for those killed by their rifles." She should have added, "or at least that's what some unsubstantiated and biased sources say." Hundreds of passages could have used a similar disclaimer.

Haag's book is not an anti-gun diatribe. But from the outset, she confesses that guns are foreign to her; she admits to having never owned or shot a gun when she began working on the book, and many of her word choices—a reference to America's "intractable gun problem," for example—betray her queasiness with such tools. This unfamiliarity with guns helps explain the central thesis of her book: that America hasn't historically had a "gun culture." Instead, she suggests, corporations gave that culture to us. "Gun markets and demand could never be taken for granted," she writes. "It was the gun business's business to create them."

The Gunning of America is fundamentally an informative industrial history that unsuccessfully tries to be a trenchant social commentary too. Haag is fascinated and confused by American gun culture, and her argument that it was "manufactured" should, she thinks, have some effect on the gun debate. Americans don't have a "unique and special relationship to guns," she writes—or, if it is unique, it is a product of forced rather than natural demand.

This is the Hypnotoad theory of advertising and control. Hypnotoad, for those not aware, is the star of a fictional TV show, Everybody Loves Hypnotoad, within the cartoon comedy Futurama. In the Futurama world, set 1,000 years in the future, one of the most popular programs is a running loop of a toad with multi-colored, mesmerizing, oscillating eyes, accompanied by a pulsing industrial drone. You can't look away. Viewers are spellbound, held in rapt attention by the bewitching stare and the thick, oddly mellifluous hum, which combine to hack the audience's minds. Fans chant, "All glory to the Hypnotoad!"

Hypnotoad theories are bigger than politics yet still inexorably tied to the political. Have you ever ranted against the "corporate music" consumed by "the masses"? Have you ever lamented the tragedy of American consumerism and the relentless cacophony of mass marketers cajoling their dupes to buy, buy, buy? Then you've embraced your own Hypnotoad narrative, complete with the wonderful sense of self-satisfaction you get from knowing that, despite being surrounded by a thick web of impenetrable control, somehow you have emerged untainted.

Although Haag's language is more measured than that—she doesn't describe anyone as a "dupe"—it teems with those implications. At one point she writes, "One answer to the question 'Why do Americans love guns?' is, simply, that we were invited to do so by those who made and sold them at the moment when their products had shed much of their more practical, utilitarian value." It may be just an "invitation," but, apparently, by accepting it, we were unwittingly becoming part of an unnatural market invented by "gun capitalists."

Haag also writes: "Earlier, sales had meant 'satisfying wants'—wants that existed independently of advertisement—but in a consumer culture where demand ideally kept pace with faster production, sales meant, 'the actual creating of wants in the minds of the purchaser, and the building up of desires.'" Here she echoes the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, whose 1958 book The Affluent Society described the alleged process by which "production creates the wants it seeks to satisfy." To Galbraith, if a person's desires were not "original with himself," then there was something unseemly about them. Thus, he reserved a special scorn for advertising, which he compared to being assailed by "demons" which create "a passion sometimes for silk shirts, sometimes for kitchenware, sometimes for chamber pots, and sometimes for orange squash."

In Haag's view, the domestic American gun market was created by the "visible hand of the gun industrialist," which "sat heavily on the gun market and orchestrated it." In the 1910s and '20s, Winchester's team of salesmen fought to push into new markets by using different strategies to create new gun-buying demographics. One prominent ad said that every "real boy" wanted a Winchester rifle. Through these and other methods, Haag contends, gun sales were pushed "beyond the natural inclinations of the customer or market demand"; the gun became "a thing that served psychological needs more than the pragmatic ones of war, ranching, the conquest of Native Americans, or the rural economy." At a time when Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill, and other Western icons were beginning to achieve their legendary status, gun manufacturers capitalized on that mystique.

Haag makes a reasonable case that such marketing campaigns contributed to the consumer demand for guns. But whether that new demand was "natural" is a question the Hypnotoad theory of advertising isn't well equipped to answer. People who embrace that theory seem to forget New Coke, Coca-Cola's disastrous attempt to discontinue and replace Coke's original recipe. Or the Edsel, or OK Soda, or any of the countless failed products that enjoyed millions of dollars in advertising backing. Far from being able to invent demand, they spend most of their time trying to figure out what it is.

Haag's narrative about the "making of American gun culture" ultimately reflects her personal puzzlement about why people own guns at all. Ask a "gun nut" why America has a "gun culture" and he'll say it's because guns are awesome. Ask Haag, and it's because gun capitalists made people think that guns are awesome. Is there really a difference? Introspectively, I have no idea what my "true" desires are and which have been foisted on me. I do know that when an ad shows me something I want but previously didn't know about, my reaction is not to feel violated.

What do we achieve by arguing that parts of American culture are somehow fake? The music industry took a band called the Pendletones, renamed them the Beach Boys, recorded a few dozen songs about surfing, and then pushed a saccharine vision of California beach culture. Movie makers added Beach Party, Beach Blanket Bingo, and many more insipid Frankie and Annette features for good measure. Should California surfing culture therefore be looked upon with skepticism? Can the "fake" ever turn into something "genuine"?

The Gunning of America is mostly interesting, readable, and enjoyable. Haag discusses the invention and perfection of Winchester's famous Henry rifle, the trials of establishing a domestic market for a highly durable good in a rapidly urbanizing country, the gun industry's experiences during the Civil War and in selling weapons to regimes abroad, how the industry cashed in on romanticized notions of "the West," and the Winchester Repeating Arms Company's eventual downfall (at least as a family-owned business) after World War I. All these are interesting stories that are well-told, and Haag's asides about "inventing demand" are intermittent rather than constant.

But occasionally we get tales like the legend of Sarah Winchester, where Haag essentially tries to write a novel and forgets to write history. She tries to justify her embrace of the Winchester Mystery House legend by comparing it to gun legends. The house "became a tourist attraction, advertised by a ghost story that—exactly like the western gun legends—grew more lurid, yet more confidently 'factual,' with each retelling, but this does not mean that there was never a core of truth to it," she writes. Possibly, but one wonders how much Haag tried to find that "core of truth," especially when the legend was so useful for injecting "conscience" into her narrative.

There is some evidence that Sarah was involved with spiritualism and that her house's idiosyncrasies are somehow tied to those proclivities. But Haag's attraction to the legend leads her to ignore competing theories about the heiress's behavior. In Captive of the Labyrinth, one of the very few biographies of Sarah, the De Anza College historian Mary Jo Ignoffo challenges the story that Haag embraces. Ignoffo doubts her involvement in spiritualism, her mission to cleanse her conscience, and her desire to fool ghosts with a convoluted house. Sarah, she argues, was just a rich, reclusive, and eccentric Gilded Age widow who lived in high society but didn't care what other people thought of her. She built the house to give her life purpose, Ignoffo concludes, as well as to satisfy her lifelong interest in architecture, a profession that was not readily open to women at the time.

Haag makes only two references to Ignoffo's theory, both confined to footnotes. The only substantive one is bizarre and dismissive: "Captive of the Labyrinth focuses on the more worldly aspects of Sarah's time in California and calls spiritualism a 'mistaken legacy,' although to some extent all legends are by nature mistaken, yet, for their own reasons, believed."

Haag wanted to write a book that would affect modern debates over gun policies, and so she infused an otherwise interesting history with dubious notions about "natural markets" and grieving widows. She'd have been better off sticking to the facts.

NEXT: Keith Scott Shooting Body Cam Footage Released

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  1. What a pile of excrement this piece is. The “gun culture” is not specifically about love of guns but it IS about love of autonomy, that is, freedom from a tyrannical government bent on control (slavery) to the “elites”. It is love of self and love of loved ones with the means to protect/defend against ones who would take from them their possessions, their freedom, their LIVES! I expect much more from REASON than this claptrap which sounds rather like the ”establishment” line of contorted “reasoning”.

    1. Progtarians gotta progtard.

      People need to smoke weed to be free. Right to bear arms, meh.

      1. My best friend’s sister makes $89 an hour on the internet . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her check was $14750 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go this website and click tech tab to start your work… Now this website…

    2. You realize this is a book review right? I suggest reading through it and you will feel a little mire vindicated

      1. Can you imagine writing a book about dog breeders despite never having owned a dog? Or a book about car makers if you don’t know how to drive? This is a bizarre book, to say the least.

        1. My father wrote what is considered the definitive biography of Joseph Priestly with out ever being a minister. Your argument SOUNDS good, but falls apart under scrutiny.

          So, the author has a point of view about guns. So would an author who loved them. It is important to keep in mind an author’s probably bias when reading, but that doesn’t necessarily render the work valueless.

          1. Priestly is know for being a chemist and inventor, much more than being a clergyman. Did you father know this? If he did not, he’s not a very good biographer. Chipper’s point is a very valid one.

            1. My father was a Professor of the History of Science and Technology. He had those aspects well covered. But Priestly was also one of the Founders of the Unitarian Church, and may well (my Father looked for but could not find proof) have been run out of England by the Anglican Church (he kept winning arguments with them). My father did not have a minister’s background in theology, and this made dealing with that aspect of Priestly’s life a little difficult.

              Every author has bias. It’s inevitable. Nobody can write a book about any subject and cover every aspect, and if they could the resulting book would be to heavy to lift. That this woman does not like guns does not invalidate the book; it puts the book in context. If the book concluded something creditable about gun manufacturers, her original bias would emphasize that conclusion – as Lawrence Tribe’s know pro-gun-control bias underscores his statement that the Second Amendment protects and individual right.

              1. A friend of mine used to say “It’s very easy to have an opinion on something you know nothing about.”

                In in my experience this is very true; it’s often the people who know very little about a subject who have the most confident opinions about it. And it seems to work in reverse as well. Bias is often tempered by knowledge.

                This is all anecdotal really, but I think it makes sense that someone who loves/admire/respect the subject they are writing about will also be more honest and knowledgeable about it.

                1. They may be more knowledgable, but why more honest? Ok, I happen to agree, viscerally, on this issue because sooooo many of the gun control hysterics have been caught lying to me. But intellectually, I should evaluate this woman’s argument on its own merits.

                  Which, I happen to think, are slight. As Mr. Burris points out, her thesis rather depends on (as he so delightfully puts it) the Hypno Toad theory of advertising. But she may have, as Burris says, done good and interesting work outside of her bias.

                  Or it may be that this is another shoddy bit of academic fakery in the pattern of ARMING AMERCA. But we will only find that out if we read the thing.

              2. The author posits that gun culture is manufactured by advertising and then admits to not having purchased or fired a gun. The implication is that by buying a gun she would necessarily be a part of that culture and would have become a victim of the whole charade. By removing herself from the culture she can insulate herself from challenges to her biases.

                In this way it is much like a Priestly biographer declaring the superiority of the phlogiston hypothesis while admitting to never having studied chemistry, and in fact admitting a measure of uncomfortableness with the whole idea of oxygen, which has admittedly been highly advertised by chemists.

        2. Can you imagine writing a book about dog breeders despite never having owned a dog?

          Umm, yes?

          One can pen a biography of Jeffrey Dahmer without having raped, murdered, and eaten one’s victims. That Haag (aptronym?) has never owned a firearm is not sufficient to automatically disqualify her from writing about those who do; however, it is clear that she approached her subject with a great deal of bias. Yet that bias has nothing to do with her status as a gun owner or not, per se. It is quite possible to write dispassionately about a subject without ever having participated in it. That’s just isn’t the case here.

          1. Writing a biography is categorically different than writing about a tool one could easily acquire, simply because the subject may be unavailable or unwilling to cooperate. Should one not use best effort practices when writing about something? If Dahmer were alive and you were writing a book about him, would you not want to visit and interview him? Which book would you rather read, the one where the author interviewed the subject, or one where he did not? A book by a linguist, about a language, who speaks the language, or a book by a linguist that
            does not?

            I am not saying subjective experience is necessary to write a book on a subject, but that it is strange to eschew such experience when it is readily available.

            1. Quit being so defensive. Your point is a very valid one. There are a lot of people posting here that like to split hairs.

          2. It’s not so much that she never owned or held a gun, but that she expresses and aversion to guns. Indicative of irrational bias.

          3. The thesis of the book is that Winchester got rich manufacturing demand through advertising. A competing thesis is that Winchester got rich manufacturing a better gun then his competitors. You can test the latter thesis with a trip to a gun range, comparing Winchester rifles to the contemporary competition. If you don’t bother with this simple experiment, it shows a shameful lack of curiosity, and, I don’t know, scholarly rigor?

            1. A lack of scholarly rigor combined with an excess of progressive anti-capitalist propaganda. She hates firearms, she hates successful business people, she hates marketing, and most of all she hates people making up their own minds about how they will spend their time and money.

            2. Ignoring her specific thesis re guns/Winchester, her broader implied thesis is absolutely correct. Advertising of everything in a mass society is based on emotional manipulation not rational argument. It has been so ever since Edward Bernays created ‘public relations’ and incorporated Uncle Siggies revelation that we are basically overgrown lizards driven by our ego, superego and id into that. And guns are pretty much Exhibit 1 of how ‘public relations’ (incorporation of a product into news events) actually works even if that PR is completely accidental/unintentional. News events are what drive gun sales. And everyone on all sides attempts to make news events about guns.

              Libertarians recognize that fearmongering and manipulation when it comes to govt/pols initiating it. Leftists/progs/etc recognize that fearmongering/amnipulation when it comes to BigBadCo initiating it. They are both right and always will be as long as we have a ‘mass society’.

              1. I’d argue that the PR experience of ‘gun culture’ is almost completely identical to Bernay’s explicit creation of his marketing campaign re cigarettes to women in the 1920’s. He chose (or rather was paid by Lucky Strike) to link cigarettes to women’s emotional desire for freedom/power/independence. And then placed the product in marches with women carrying ‘Liberty torches’ and such. And it worked. Women started smoking and the Jazz Age and flappers began.

                Guns are now absolutely linked in the same way to an emotional desire – and indeed the same emotional desire. Whether it has been a deliberate campaign – or a reaction to pols use of PR to link tragedies to ‘gun control’ – or is pure coincidence – is irrelevant. The link is emotional not rational and the link is through mass news.

          4. Umm, yes?

            One can pen a biography of Jeffrey Dahmer without having raped, murdered, and eaten one’s victims. That Haag (aptronym?) has never owned a firearm is not sufficient to automatically disqualify her from writing about those who do….

            Nice analogy. Writing about gun owners in a society where half the population are gun owners versus analyzing one of our culture’s most notorious psychopathic deviants. You should use it next time someone says white people don’t understand how minorities feel.

          5. I could imagine someone writing a book about dog breeders despite never having owned a dog…but they are probably secretly in league with the cat community and trying to discredit the dog community.

        3. “Haag’s narrative about the “making of American gun culture” ultimately reflects her personal puzzlement about why people own guns at all.”

          And that right there is why no one should waste their time reading the book.

    3. Captain Comments: Did an aversion to reading lead a retired Navyman to bloviate on the internet about an article he clearly did not read?

      Also: there is a very good comic book called House of Penance that focuses on the Sarah Winchester legend. I highly recommend it. Has very little to do with the 2nd amendment, though. More to do with grief inspired madness. So you probably wont be able to angrily post about it on political websites. If thats your thing.

      1. Highly recommend the Winchester House visit. Nothing like it that I have ever seen and that Sarah was cRaZy. Interesting stuff about her family history from firearms.

        Winchester repeating rifles were da BOMB.

    4. Gun culture IS about guns. It probably originates in love of autonomy/freedom/family. But our power/effectiveness to achieve all of those has been stripped from us. Guns are merely the remaining mythological fetish we cling to to deny that those others have been stripped. The stats I’ve seen re gun ownership – 50% of guns are owned by less than 3% of owners and Pareto distribution (80/20) probably applies too – supports that. They (the minority of extreme collectors/hoarders) do not have some unique love of autonomy/freedom/family. Nor are they generally dangerous to society as gun grabbers would have everyone else believe. But they mostly certainly have a fetish about guns.

      The second we allowed a standing army and professionals to eliminate a local militia (starting with the Militia Act of 1903 but even that legislation was a response to earlier failures), we lost our control over our own self-defense (at the community level). By ‘we’ I mean EVERYONE – those who don’t like guns, those who don’t know/care what we lost, those who do own a gun or two, and those who have far more guns than they have hands.

      And it is precisely because gun culture is about guns (not love of autonomy/etc); that we respond to further attempts to centralize/professionalize/etc ‘self-defense’ – by buying guns rather than actually attempting to try to reverse the diminishing autonomy.

  2. and People eat McDonalds because the Clown told them too, nobody would eat Lucky Charms if not for that bloody leprechaun….

    Nobody actually likes anything, they just do what evil corporashuns tell them to. I’m also reminded of The Time Traveller’s Wife another book written about the wrong character.

    1. When people do things leftists dont like it is because of the evil kkkorprations. When they do stuff leftists like it is irrefutable proof that leftists are right about everything.

      1. And the leftists will tell you all about the evil corporations by sending texts on their iPhone and posting on Facebook with their Windows Surface Pro?. They will do so using all the ‘facts’ that they gathered doing a google? search while drinking their Frappucino? from Starbucks?.

        1. “The iPhoning of America – Business and the Making of American Free Speech Culture”?

          I give it 4 years..

          1. I’ll give up my iPhone when they pry my cold, dead fingers from atop the Steve Jobs – inspired virtual keyboard!

    2. I once had an argument with an anti-smoker who maintained that I didn’t REALLY enjoy the taste and smell of a cigar, I only thought I did.

      He was unable to explain, when challenged, what the difference was.

      1. “False consciousness”!

    3. Id like to point out that I am fairly certain that advertising did not create the demand for chamber pots.

      1. It was the reek just outside the back door that created the demand for chamber pots …. and the flies!

  3. The house is built in a convoluted fashion in order to throw off the spirits, who apparently were easily confused by switchback hallways and oddly placed doors.

    Is the ability for ghosts to pass through objects a 20th century invention?

    1. They can only do what they are told by advertisers.

    2. They sure didn’t help Mrs. Winchester at the drafter’s table.

    3. Feng shui very good here.

      1. “Feng shui” is Chinese for “big scam”.

  4. Americans don’t have a “unique and special relationship to guns”

    Just off the top of my head I’d suggest comparing American gun culture to a few other countries’ gun culture – you know, the ones where the peasants aren’t allowed to own weapons for fear that they might start getting uppity with the nobility. That saying that God made man and Sam Colt made men equal? I don’t think you hear that in too many countries other than the US. The same goes for that Bill of Rights stuff where it’s made explicit your rights are inherent and not merely privileges granted by government, as in many other countries. I think there’s maybe a connection there between thinking of yourself as a sovereign individual and having the means to defend your sovereignty that you won’t find in many other countries.

    1. Well said. The fact that gun ownership is specifically mentioned in the constitution indicates that we do have a “unique and special relationship to guns” and have always had a gun culture as well.

      1. You’re misreading it, that was totally to establish the National Guard. It just took them until 1903 to get around to it for some reason..

        1. Noooo, the 2A did two things –

          it reminded all that a “militia was necessary to the security of a free state” (essentially a consolation prize to the anti-Federalists who were unable to stop the Congress from being able to raise a standing army)

          and that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

          and fyi the Congress passed militia laws the very first year. they didn’t wait until 1903 to address the militia.

          1. You need to upgrade your sarcasmometer.

      2. IMO,the Second Amendment is a “core concept” of America. (along with the rest of the “Bill of Rights”.)
        And those who don’t like that should look for and relocate to some other country,or learn to live with it.

      3. “Guns” are not mentioned in the constitution.

        The right to bear arms is far far more broad than just “guns”. A free people are only free if they are able to defend that freedom from enemies internal and external. The arms necessary to defend that freedom range from personal knives, daggers, swords, spears, personal projectile weapons, squad heavy arms, and even heavier weapons. Perhaps we can define a line at National level weapons such as ballistic missiles, nukes, but at the time of the Bill of Rights it was recognized that the Revolution was successful not only for the personal rifle, but more for the privately owned cannon.

        You are falling into the prog trap of redefining history and language.

      1. Not even close – the Swiss ‘gun culture’ is built around service to the state. Conscription and the legal obligation to be prepared to defend the state underpin Swiss gun possession.

        1. Swiss Servitor is apparently living amongst them so he could give a more nuanced explanation – but that’s my understanding.

        2. Which, if I remember correctly, grew out of the Germanic ideal of men being willing to defend themselves, their property, and family. The state came later.

        3. Also remember William Tell.

        4. Yes, but they do have the best reply to a veiled invasion threat in history. In answer to a question by a German general observing a Swiss militia exercise who asked, “What would you do if invaded by an army twice your size?” An unimpressed Swiss colonel drawled: “Fire twice and go home.”

  5. You know what I haven’t heard in the last several days? Gary Johnson’s name. Not in the media anyway.

    I suppose that libertarian moment has passed us by. Once he was out of the debates, they didn’t have to worry about him.

    I wonder what he’d have to do to get booked on Good Morning America et. al. a couple of times a week? I was kinda hoping that he’d at least get the liberty message out there a little bit.

    1. They think he’s hurting Hillary.

    2. He could act confused when asked about some foreign hellscape place.
      That always gets a lot of attention.

    3. I heard he stuck his tongue out at some reporter the other day.

      That’s all I’ve got.

    4. Considering he’s been sticking out his tongue at a female interviewer and claiming that global warming doesn’t matter because the earth will be swallowed by the sun, lack of Johnson coverage can only be good for libertarianism.

    5. He’s on Good Morning Snuffleupagus this morning.

    6. The media is in full-protection mode for Hitlery. They sold their souls to barry and the democrats a long time ago and – like a Mafia guy – they’re in too deep to bail out. If Johnson was a real threat to Trump instead of Clinton he’d be booked on every late-night talk show, invited to every Hollywood fund raiser, and be offered a job as a panelist on MSNBC.

  6. I wonder if she’ll talk about people duped into wanting More State.

    1. You poor brainwashed useful idiot, you’ve been duped into believing people have to be duped into wanting more state. It’s a rare case of false false consciousness.

  7. Haag’s book is not an anti-gun diatribe.

    Sure sounds like it is. The author’s inability to connect with her subjects makes this a pointless endeavor.

    Speaking of guns, you may be inexplicably hearing from news reports a new term in the next few days.”Hunting-style rifle” is being used in connection to the Washington mall shooter. Stay tuned to see what this new development in the war on filthy gun culture means.

    1. “Hunting-style rifle” – has a wooden stock. Like an older pump 12, for example. I have a pistol-style hunting-style rifle with wood grips I sometimes use for squirrel hunting.

      1. I have a pistol-style hunting-style rifle with wood-style grips I sometimes style-use for squirrel-style hunting.


    2. We have been assured over and over for decades that gun grabbers have no interest in taking ‘hunting style’ rifles.

      Fuckin’ liars. Nobody saw this coming.

    3. “Hunting-style weapons are uniquely and deadly weapons. Made to kill in a single shot from thousands of feet away. Easily purchased at gun stores and most worryingly – GUNS SHOWS!”
      Damn, I think I shit my pants again.

    4. I’ve heard it was a .22 as well. Probably something like a 10/22 or Plinkster. Wait until the gun grabbers discover that the guns they were saying it was OK for us to keep can kill people, too.

      1. in the pics I’ve seen,you can see a curved,detachable magazine below the stock. IIRC,those can be fitted to the Ruger 10/22.

    5. They arrested a suspect in that shooting in case you haven’t heard.

      His name is Mohamed Gomez.

    6. the usual centerfire hunting rifle is now a “scoped sniper rifle”,if it has a black or camo stock.
      IOW,a “weapon of war” (the latest catchphrase),and you should not have one.

      Except the Founders intended that US citizens have “weapons of war”.

      BTW,the mall killer may have been using a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch rifle,that has a wood stock.
      (but operates,has the same features exactly like,and uses the same ammo as an AR-15)

  8. Going to the range at noon. Got some shoot and see targets in desperate need of some holes.

    1. Shooting what?

      Ever since the wife retired I have had to slow down on my gun purchases. I think I am starting to have withdrawal symptoms.

      1. Couple .22s (a pistol and a rifle) and a .38 special. Got one of those metal targets that spins when you hit it. Gonna be fun.

        1. Excellent. I hope your weather is as pleasant as mine is here. Have fun!

    2. Shooting some of your excess orphans?

      1. Serpentine, ..serpentine!

      2. That’s just wasteful. Sell them for a profit.

        1. Unless you have some associates who prefer the uh, Irish Solution* to overpopulation.

          *As described in Swift’s A Modest Proposal

        2. Where do you think he got his orphans?

          *Shuffles pile of ducats like poker chips*

  9. So an appeal to emotion based on another fallacy – that Winchester tricked people into buying guns. A big steaming pile.

  10. Speaking of guns…the Washington shooter turns out to be a Turkish immigrant who tweeted “We win. I vote for Hillary Clinton.”

    Holy shit.

    Is Cankles going to try the “He did it because of Trump” line again? Has anyone got any news on the Boston shooting? I heard one little blip about it last night just before going to bed. The only info I got was that three shooters were on the loose.

    1. Saw this about a multiple stabbing, seen nothing on a shooting.

    2. I’m sure Putin is involved somehow.

    3. The Washington shooter’s name is Mohamed Gomez.

  11. My first gun was a Winchester single shot 16 gauge and I have a 3 shot 20 gauge for deer and a couple others. I bought them because I like to shoot animals and eat them.

  12. Speaking of Futurama, my favorite quote from that show is “Murder isn’t working and that’s all we’re good at.” I think Michelle Nichols said it.

    I always think of that quote when the government’s laws fail to produce the intended results.

    1. Hiromori Nagao? This is driving me nuts. ????. What is this?

      1. There is no correct answer because I made it up. I just looked up the meaning of my actual name and then strung together kanji with the same meaning.

        They are Japanese kanji. So they have two or more possible readings, one from the original Chinese sound and one from the Japanese sound.

        So you can read it several ways. Hiromori Nagaou is one way to read it. I’d been reading it as Kourin Nagaou.

        I couldn’t think of anything clever like other people.

  13. Sometimes I wonder if people know what a book review is.

    1. A sales pitch?

    2. What’s a “book”?

  14. You know who else banned guns?

    1. The rest of the civilized world!

  15. This unfamiliarity with guns helps explain the central thesis of her book: that America hasn’t historically had a “gun culture.” Instead, she suggests, corporations gave that culture to us. “Gun markets and demand could never be taken for granted,” she writes. “It was the gun business’s business to create them.”

    My favorite part about this claim is that it is an attempt to discredit gun ownership as an American value but it completely contradicts an essential progressive economic tenet: which is that supply-siders are wrong and supply does NOT create demand.

    So either Americans have always had a demand for a better, more useful weapon or the supply-siders are correct and when businesses and corporations are allowed to create new goods and services demand follows it, thus validating the basic logic of a free-market economy.

    1. FWIW, supply-side economics does not postulate that supply creates demand, but rather that demand exists independently and increasing supply allows that demand to be met at lower prices.

      In other words, it is better to stimulate the economy by making it cheaper to produce goods and provide services than by inflating the money supply so people have more to spend. Although the nuance is often lost in translation; supply-side is about lowering government-imposed barriers and not about giving away subsidies to suppliers.

      Although I think you are right that “supply creates demand” is the progressive caricature of supply-side economics, and so your reductio ad absurdum applies to their premises.

  16. OT: (It’s Sunday): Buckwheat Zydeco died

    Stanley Dural Jr., a Louisiana music legend whose stage name was Buckwheat Zydeco, has died. He was 68.
    As an ambassador of Louisiana roots music, Dural traveled the world with his accordion, a ton of stage swagger and a deep love for his family and home state — spreading the throbbing sounds of zydeco to millions of adoring fans.

    “He died at 1:32 a.m. (Saturday) Louisiana time, keeping musician’s hours right to the bitter end,” longtime manager Ted Fox posted on the musician’s website.

  17. OT: Complaints about NH police rarely end up in court

    Over the past decade, 28 citizens have filed complaints with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office about excessive force by police officers.

    Only two of those complaints resulted in prosecutions of those involved; in both cases, the officers ended up pleading guilty.

    In response to a Right-to-Know request by the New Hampshire Sunday News, the Attorney General’s Office reviewed its files going back to 2006 for complaints of excessive force.

    The request was prompted by footage captured by a news helicopter in May that showed two state troopers – one from New Hampshire, the other from Massachusetts – beating a man who appeared to be surrendering after a police pursuit ended in Nashua.

    Of the 28 cases investigated since 2006, 13 were determined to be unfounded or lacking sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation.

    Six complaints were referred to local agencies to investigate. And in three cases, the complainants chose to pursue civil action.

    1. Manchester police do not wear body cameras. But patrol officers did get a stern warning from Chief Nick Willard during a recent roll call.

      Willard had just watched a Youtube video of two sheriff’s deputies in San Francisco beating a man who had surrendered.

      “If you did this,” he told his officers, “I’d put you in jail.”

      And he added, “If you stood and watched two officers commit such an assault without intervening, I’d terminate you at the very least.”

      Sure you would.

        1. I remember that case! Nothing else happened.

  18. OT: Police chief claims to be disgusted by officer’s actions

    Confronted with their hollering and profanity, a Manchester police officer took pepper spray to three people under arrest and handcuffed to a police department bench, according to an investigation obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader.

    A video shows a police officer approaching two of the three – all siblings in custody after a drunk driving arrest – and delivering short blasts of pepper spray. The third was sprayed off camera; all three started writhing once sprayed.

    “They were simply yelling at the officer,” said Police Chief Nick Willard, who was the assistant chief when the incident took place in late 2013. “He (the officer) decided to punish them. I thought it was a violation of their constitutional rights and rose to the level of assault.”

    Willard said the police officer, Ryan Boyd, resigned in July 2014, just before a disciplinary hearing was convened as part of the termination process. Police turned the case over to New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster, whose office investigated the case, Willard said.

    But a grand jury did not indict Boyd, Willard said.

  19. OT: poster stirs up concern trolls

    People in Durham are concerned after someone noticed a poster soliciting young women for the website on a downtown bulletin board last week.

    Later in the article:

    “Our concern is that for the unwitting young woman who might actually respond to such an ad, typically there are sexual expectations beyond just dinner making for an unhealthy encounter,” Selig said. “Dinner would likely just be the first course. We don’t want to see young people in that situation.”

    1. See? The book is right, advertising creates needs, and you are not OT at all.

    2. This flyer posted to a bulletin board is a terrible danger. It might appear elsewhere. We must show what it looks like in our newspaper, so people will know not to look at it.


    3. “We don’t want to see young people in that situation.”

      Every porn site on the internet would like to have a word with you.

      1. He doesn’t want to see young people in that situation … with somebody other than him.

  20. No accountability. No agency. Everything is out of my control. I am responsible for nothing. It’s always someone else’s fault. Korporashunz force me to do things.

  21. “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves?and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms? “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
    – Richard Henry Lee, Federal Farmer No. 18, January 25, 1788

    Clearly Oliver Winchester had a time machine.

    Gun grabbers are liars. Every goddamned one of them.

  22. And blacksmiths manufactured the demand for swords. Ironworkers manufactured the deman for cannons. Bowyers and fletchers manufactured the deman for bows. So stupid. It’s like these people don’t know any actual humans, and certainly not any human history.

    1. Oh, they know. They manufacture these deceptions to fool the foolish. I especially like the argument that the second amendment doesnt mean what you think it means. It means only militias.

      I can come up with a multitude of quotes from the very authors of the amendment explicitly stating that it is a right of every citizen, that every person able to bear arms should have arms and that the militia is made up of the entirety of the citizenry. Yet they persist in twisting logic and the meanings of words to arrive at their pre-determined conclusion.

      They are liars.

  23. And blacksmiths manufactured the demand for swords. Ironworkers manufactured the deman for cannons. Bowyers and fletchers manufactured the deman for bows. So stupid. It’s like these people don’t know any actual humans, and certainly not any human history.

    1. What created the demand for server squirrels?

      1. You did Ted. You did.

    2. SugarFree created the demand for Warty rape-n’-slash fiction.

  24. Although Haag often papers over the factual lacunae in Sarah’s tale with words like “may have” and “perhaps” and “probably,” she doesn’t always do so. Readers have to be astute to differentiate between solid facts and Haag’s guesswork, as during a bizarre multi-page foray into what Sarah’s visit to a Boston medium “may have” looked like. And even when she includes such caveats, she can really lay it on: “Sarah may have heard the cogs of justice click into place. The spirits had exacted retribution against Sarah?and the Winchester name?by taking Will’s life, and Annie’s, and the lives of all her babies, to atone for those killed by their rifles.” She should have added, “or at least that’s what some unsubstantiated and biased sources say.” Hundreds of passages could have used a similar disclaimer.

    Shorter: This book is largely fiction and supposition. It’s deceitful, dishonest and tries to obscure that dishonesty. It’s not worth your time unless you’re picking it up as fiction.

    1. Hey everyone, this crazy lady from the 19th century who believed in ghosts thinks guns are bad. Why won’t you weep and repent your sinful ways?!?!

      Never forget progressives are puritanical scolds of the highest order.

  25. Have you ever ranted against the “corporate music” consumed by “the masses”?

    I always just assumed it was because the masses are stupid and have crappy taste in music.

    Also, some “corporate” music is catchy. It’s bound to be.

    Everything is awesome!…

    1. What drives me crazy is how people don’t seem to understand population dynamics.

      “Mass market X is bullshit and no one really likes it” — if nobody really liked it, then it wouldn’t be mass market, now would it?

      But just because millions of people like mass market X doesn’t mean everyone or even a majority of people do. There are hundreds of millions of people in this country. You can make a boatload of money off satisfying 10- 20% of the people and appear to “dominate” the scene, because even though the remaining 80-90% don’t like it, their tastes are more diverse.

    2. The same people will post that video where every popular song is almost the same. Using the same chords.

      1. For those educated in music theory, it goes back to basic harmony, which is in classical training, so thoroughly rules-based that it’s practically a science. There are certain chords, progressions and transitions that are inherently pleasing to the ear. They literally resonate well at the frequency level. Pop music makes extensive use of these pleasing combinations, both intentionally and unintentionally.

        If you have a child invent a little song to sing, it will almost always include these common tonal progressions.

        Most peoples’ education in tone and harmony ends at the level of the Do Re Mi song from Sound of Music.

  26. ICYMI (and just if you’d like to see a picture of Paul Krugman wearing a bra) – the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize winners were announced the other day.

    The Chemistry Prize was awarded to Volkswagen “for solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested.” The Peace Prize went to some researchers for their study entitled “On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit”. My favorite was the Psychology Prize, a study on lying conducted by asking liars how often they lied and then trying to figure out whether or not to believe their answer.

    1. MEDICINE PRIZE [GERMANY] ? Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas M?nte, Silke Anders, and Andreas Sprenger, for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa).

      Had an itch on my right ear minutes after reading this. Tried the mirror thing and it didn’t work. Pshh.

  27. The narratives about the power of advertising, video games, rock lyrics, campaign ads, and so on, are all about robbing the population of agency.

    Of course, campaign finance restrictions are the most pernicious and dangerous, but they’re all terrible:

    “If we allow candidates and their supporters to just spend whatever they want and run whatever ads they want, the poor ignorant population might be misled. Thus, we, their betters, must enact these laws to protect them from their own propensity to make poor decisions.”

    Effing statists.

    1. Video games are evil.

      The Total War series taught me the (then baffling) notion that low taxes lead to growth and longterm wealth.

  28. Haag often papers over the factual lacunae in Sarah’s tale with words like “may have” and “perhaps” and “probably,”

    You know who else often employs weasel words to as a rhetorical strategy to distract from “factual lacunae” present in order to frame the topic within the preconceived narrative this person’s readers expect?

    1. Wikipedia?

      1. Marcus Tullius Cicero


    2. Every blogger ever?

      1. Every blogger journalist ever?

        Fixed it for ya.

  29. Headline of the morning: Gary Johnson Calls for Space Colonization, Vows to Stay in Race

    Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate and former governor of New Mexico, said that the future of the human race will depend upon learning to inhabit other planets.

    “We do have to inhabit other planets. The future of the human race is space exploration,” Johnson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” in offering a response on how to address the challenges posed by climate change.

    Johnson was also asked about a comment he made about climate change back in 2011, when he said that “in billions of years the sun is going to actually and encompass the earth.” The Libertarian candidate said today that this remark had been a joke.

    “Can’t we have a little humor once in a while?” he said. “And that is long term. Plate tectonics, at one point Africa and South America separated, and I am talking now about the earth and the fact that we have existed for billions of years and will going forward.”

    Johnson vowed to stay in the race even though he won’t be on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Monday night due to polls showing that support for his candidacy falls short of the 15 percent minimum set by the Commission on Presidential Debates as a standard of inclusion.

    Life on Mars?

    1. I see. Gary calls for more space cadets.


      1. I ought to be sad at the Libertarian tears, but … hahahahahahahaha!

    2. “We do have to inhabit other planets. The future of the human race is space exploration,” Johnson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” in offering a response on how to address the challenges posed by climate change.

      Well. Yeah. The sun only has another 5 billion years left on the old ticker. This is known.

      On the other hand, Gary, expecting people to think 5 billion years ahead when 2020 seems, like, forever away is a bit much.

      I mean fuck.


      1. The Earth will only be habitable for another 600 million years. After that, it will be too hot for photosynthesis.

        1. Only 600 million years instead, huh? Now it’s puzzling that people would find Gary’s comment strange. That’s much more immediate.

    3. Uh, guys, I know it’s great that the libertarian candidate is doing well and all, but can we not have the stoner start going on long rants about space exploration? This is getting a little too ‘university dorm discussion’ for me to take seriously.

    4. Next, GayJay warns Guam will tip over!

    5. he was referring to the concept that when a yellow star runs out of fuel,it expands enormously into a “red giant”,and scientists predict that Sol’s photosphere would grow to the orbit of Earth. (Earth would be well-fried before that.)

  30. Those damn gun capitalists – improving their lot by selling people what they want!

    1. That’s one way to win a Darwin award without dying.

      1. 52 years old, good chance he was already ineligible

    2. think of it as evolution in action.

  31. I expect much more from REASON than this claptrap which sounds rather like the ”establishment” line of contorted “reasoning”.

    It’s early, but… da LAWZ iz da LAWZ!


    1. I can drink when I’m awake!

  32. to atone for those killed by their rifles

    Presumably someone else was being heaped with blessings for all the lives saved by their rifles, or the nations kept free from foreign subjugation by them; or are we to presume that the Winchesters and their gun-marketing ilk were the secret provocateurs behind WWI (all wars, really) as well?

    Didn’t the US provide arms for both sides of the conflict in Europe? I know we provided maxims before the war; did we make weapons under contract for Germany, or anything similar? I recall hearing that we did. i don’t think there’s any moral point to be made there on behalf of Haag (or to rebut her)… just that i recall hearing (*probably from some history channel “Way of the Gun” doco) that WWI was the great boom & bust for US firearms makers, where many scaled up to meet this massive European demand, but then when the war ended, were stuck with huge capital investments which couldn’t be unwound… .

  33. I never needed advertising to see the beauty in a custom ingraved flintlock with a rich walnut stock or even a stock Government 1911, either in their artistic merit or simple utility. The same is true of late 60’s muscle cars. Some things are just cool.

  34. “This unfamiliarity with guns helps explain the central thesis of her book: that America hasn’t historically had a “gun culture.” Instead, she suggests, corporations gave that culture to us. “Gun markets and demand could never be taken for granted,” she writes. “It was the gun business’s business to create them.”

    Seems to me that there’s a classic example of someone being unfamiliar with consumer demand, where it comes from, and the limits of marketing.

    Marketers covet advertising to youth because young consumers haven’t yet established brand preferences for things like shaving razors and beer. There’s a big difference between marketers persuading consumers that they should use Gillette rather than Bic and persuading them to shave their faces. Look at the portraits of the Presidents in order, and the dynamics behind the demand for shaving products seems to be driven by things like religious revivals, the appeal of rugged individualism, and women getting the vote. People may prefer one product over another because of marketing, but the underlying demand for the product regardless of brand is driven by factors beyond the scope of marketing. Consumer products either serve the needs of their customers or they fail.

  35. Same thing with Winchester. Winchester’s success wasn’t in convincing people that they needed something useless. Winchester’s continued success can be attributed to making a better product than their competitors largely due to the superior designs of one Mr. John Browning. Browning’s designs were so excellent, that his Winchester Model 1894 rifle in .30-30 remains a popular deer hunting rifle in heavily wooded areas along the East coast today. Those lever action Winchesters might still be a preferred weapon for self defense due to their lightness, simplicity, and reliability today if it weren’t for reliability improvements of the AR and AK platforms.

    The same can be said of Browning’s design for the 1911 pistol. That design remains popular today and was only really challenged once the lighter and smaller Glock became sufficiently reliable circa the 1980s. However, there are plenty of consumers who would still just as soon carry a 1911. Once again, the point is that one design proved superior for consumers to the other options in the market. Marketing is about differentiating your product from competitors–not creating demand for something no one wants. It’s a game theory thing.

  36. Marketers can’t create a need for farmers to shoot rabbits and coyotes, hunters to supply themselves with deer meat, or people to protect themselves from criminals. Does this lady have any idea how useful it is to have a rifle on a farm? Does she imagine that farmers would still be using horse drawn plows if it weren’t for advertising? That farmers would rather devote all that acreage to horse feed if only it weren’t for marketing? That people would rather scrub their clothes against a washboard if only it weren’t for marketing? I don’t think this lady understands how consumer markets work. Marketing can’t sustain a useless product.

    Meanwhile, blaming advertising for gun culture is like blaming the Second Amendment on the First Amendment. Yeah, our preindustrial, colonial ancestors thought gun ownership was important. Does she imagine that gun culture created by advertising existed prior to the industrial revolution?

  37. If anyone wants a double-dose of smug, ignorant lefty journalism,… here’s more of the same

    i think its cute how they keep suggesting there’s some deep-seated psychological problem w/ Cody Wilson…

    “I do exactly what I’m required by law, and nothing else,” he declares. “We’ve shipped almost 2,000 machines at this point. We’re responsible for at least 5,000 to 10,000 new ARs that exist. At least.”

    He says it proudly, like a child that’s just taken a magnifying glass to an ant colony.

    …. and, despite all the words spent, the author manages to completely avoid any rational consideration of the merits of the ‘free speech’ argument being made.

    1. What did you expect?

      He’s making their attempt to control gun sales an exercise in futility.

      The whole progressive mindset is about using the coercive power of government to make the world a better place.

      It isn’t about taking one of his arguments seriously. His actions are undermining the whole foundation of their thinking.

      What Darwin did to Christianity is peripheral damage compared to what Cody Wilson is doing to progressives on gun control. Christianity can sojourn on despite evolution. If anybody and everybody can easily make themselves as many AR-15s as they want, it pulls the rug out from under everything progressive journalists stand for. Progressive journalists think their whole job is to inflame the public and thereby force the government to act. Cody Wilson is making it so there’s nothing the government can do.

      Once more progressives start piecing it all together, their top priority may become to inflame the public against Cody Wilson. Somebody should probably start a legal defense fund for him now if they haven’t already. I’m sure he hasn’t done anything illegal, but he’s undermining the cause of government coercion worse than Dread Pirate Roberts and speaking truth to power like Chelsea Manning and Snowden. I wouldn’t expect the fact that he isn’t doing anything illegal to protect him from the government..

      1. He’s making their attempt to control gun sales an exercise in futility.

        That’s not quite true either.

        Tho you wouldn’t know it because, again, the author never bothers with trying to rationally examine the issue and see it for what it is.

        The fact is that Cody Wilson’s project would never present any serious threat to gun control;

        simply acquiring the means to make the components of his ‘internet gun’ requires more wealth than it would require to simply go and buy a gun on the black market (or in a store, depending on what degree of legality you prefer); and then, what do you have = a single-shot 9mm pistol? something less practical, from a defense POV, than a kitchen knife?

        His partially-finished lowers don’t do much either unless you already have the funds and means to get all the rest of the parts of an AR15 – something generally impossible in the rest of the world; and in the US, all you’re left with is an unregistered, dubious-quality AR which doesn’t exactly threaten the status quo in a nation with tens of millions of ARs in the secondary market.

        In practical terms, he threatens nothing. Its the *idea* of the thing they object to; and its the idea of the thing which his legal case is really about = free speech and exercising rights that theoretically remain to us simply because *we can*. The author’s real beef is that these rights still exist on paper; instead of acknowledging this, they ‘shoot the messenger’ who points it out

        1. “Acquiring the means to make the components of his ‘internet gun’ requires more wealth than it would require to simply go and buy a gun on the black market”

          That internet gun is only interesting because 1) it was one of the first to be 3-D printed and, more importantly, 2) it’s a test case for their precedent setting lawsuit.

          It isn’t just about the state of the costs and quality right now. The case he’s forcing against the State Department is a precedent setting case–it’s built for the future.

          To whatever extent the internet furthered the cause of freedom, it wasn’t just limited to what it could do when everybody had a 28 kbps modem, email was pretty new, the browser hadn’t been invented yet, and nobody knew the interwebs would come preinstalled on your phone.

          The cost of 3-D printers and 3-D printing will not remain what it is. The state of the art in terms of the quality of firearms that can be produced with 3-D printers will not remain what it is. And even if manufacturers will always be able to produce a higher quality firearm off the shelf than what you get from a 3-D printed one, that doesn’t mean gun control can ever be effective in keeping lower quality firearms out of the hands of anyone who wants one once anyone can print one (or more) out.

          1. Your statement of the obvious “things will change” doesn’t affect my point at all.

            You can’t 3d print a gun barrel. And even if you could sometime in the distant future it would still remain a ridiculously un-economical concept.

            No matter the advancement in tech or the change in costs, its simply not a practical challenge to simpler means of arming ones self, or of the simple means the state can impose to engage in practical ‘gun control’.

            Even if everything re: the guns gets ‘better’, the ammo can still be regulated. As i said in the very beginning = Wilson’s project has very-little to zero practical impact on “Gun Control” and is more a battle of principle about ‘free speech’ and whether people actually can exercise rights which – regardless of their utility or practicality – remind the state that it has limits on what it can control.

            Its more about the idea than the reality. That people *can* make (shitty, mostly useless) weapons on their own. Its not about whether those weapons constitute any practical bypass of existing regulations.

            1. “You can’t 3d print a gun barrel.”

              See my comment below.

              I do not know that a gun barrel cannot be be 3-D printed or will never be 3-D printed.

              I know that gun barrels have been 3-D printed. I also know that they are prohibitively expensive.


              I know that 3-D printed barrels will probably never function as well as those made in more traditional ways, and I know that 3-D printed barrels outperforming the traditional kind isn’t necessary for them to completely undermine the government’s ability to enforce gun control. All that’s necessary for the government’s gun control to become ineffective is for the 3-D printed guns to becomes inexpensive enough and of high enough quality that people will want to use them for their intended purpose.

              A Brazilian knockoff of a Glock may not be of as high quality as a Glock, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless or that, starved of other self-defense options by gun control, that people won’t use them. Hell, 3-D printed guns may suggest that if the government can’t stop people from printing low quality guns for themselves anyway, the government might as well let people buy quality.

        2. “His partially-finished lowers don’t do much either unless you already have the funds and means to get all the rest of the parts of an AR15”

          Everything that can be 3-D printed will probably eventually be 3-D printable–just like everything that can be distributed digitally will be eventually. I remember when distributing movies and things via the internet was cost and time prohibitive. Do you know how much carbon fiber and upgraded computers needed to be installed to make movie distribution on the internet practical?

          Also, Defense Distributed isn’t the only bunch selling 80% lowers, and there are people selling 80% lowers made out of polymer. I know there are companies that make barrels out of carbon fiber. I know that 3-D printed metal isn’t as durable as forged.

          What exactly are the differences?

          Would printed barrels be less accurate, or are they forever impossible?

          Would printed barrels be less durable (replaced every 2,000 rounds instead of 10,000), or are they forever impossible?

          I have no doubt that 20 years from now, if it’s possible to 3-D print an entire AR-15, it won’t be of as high quality as one that’s well made by a reputable manufacturer. But if it’s of high enough quality, that probably doesn’t matter in terms of the ability of the government to use gun control to stop their production and distribution.

          1. 1. it’s GLASS fiber to distribute data,not carbon. 2.”carbon fiber barrels” have a thin metal liner with the rifling,wrapped in carbon fiber for support,replacing most but not all of the heavier metal. AFAIK,nobody has a durable all-plastic barrel yet,they all burn out the rifling after a few rounds.

        3. I don’t know about nor care how it is in other countries,but in the US,you can buy the AR upper,the shoulder stock,and the parts to finish the lower **without needing any background check**.
          The lower receiver (in finished form) is the only part that has to have a background check and Form 4473 completed before you can take it home,and you cannot mail order them,as you can with the rest of the parts. There are plenty of US companies offering “80% lowers”,that require a certain amount of milling and drilling to accept the other parts to make a complete functioning rifle. Defense Distributed is the only one offering the CNC milling tools and program to finish an 80% lower yourself. IIRC,they even have the plans (program) for making a 1911 style handgun.

    2. The progs do more to create demand for ARs than any level of advertising.

    3. The LPeace should run Wilson/Borowski in 2024. Unfortunately, GayJay is well on his way to being the Libertarian Harold Stassen.

      1. Fucking autocorrect!

    4. Clutching an iPhone in one hand, a cup of strong black coffee in the other, he’s not exactly menacing ? until he looks at you.

      His eyes are searching, hard, darting around the West Hollywood cafe. Brown eyes that seem a touch nervous, and tired.

      Good lord. Who can make it through that steaming pile of drivel? Not I.

      1. I like to imagine the reporter jumping half out of his chair when Wilson looks directly at him, then trying to keep his cool.

        “You’ve got to stop doing that!”
        “Doing what?”
        “Looking at me all menacing-like!”

        *Wilson raises an eyebrow, reporter falls backwards in his chair*

        “I told you! Sudden movements make me skittish!”

    5. I don’t know, the article pales in comparison to the internet psychologists in the comments diagnosing him with sociopathy through their brilliant deductive skills of “he likes guns, I have an emotional response to guns that is negative, therefore he is a sociopath”…which are immediately followed by other commentators praying for his ‘karmic death’.

  38. “Introspectively, I have no idea what my “true” desires are and which have been foisted on me.”

    What kind of retarted humbug is this? Introspectively it’s obvious as fuck. It takes some monumental self-delusion to imagine that some of one’s desires may be someone else’ desires violently raped into his mind.

    1. I have no idea what my “true” desires are and which have been foisted on me

      I think he’s making a more epistemological point about the superficiality of the ‘true desire’/’false desire’ distinction. I don’t think he makes it very well. I think there are better rebuttals to the socialist idea of “Manufactured desire” he could have simply borrowed from. Instead he throws out Hypnotoad and the Beach Boys, a rhetorical question, and leaves it hanging and unsettled.

  39. “I do exactly what I’m required by law, and nothing else,”

    And, of course, the EVERYTHING NOT MANDATORY IS PROHIBITED mob goes bananas.

  40. The worst part about Cody Wilson is that he’s likable in person, and it’s easy to want to root for him as the underdog. But then he’ll say something so off-the-wall ? “gun safety is using both hands”, say ? and you crash back to reality.

    The banality of evil, in all its glory; and I’m not referring to Cody Wilson.

    1. But then he’ll say something so off-the-wall ? “gun safety is using both hands”, say ? and you crash back to reality.

      Too bad the likes of Frederick Douglass or Martin Luther King Jr. aren’t around to give this guy an interview.

      The cognitive dissonance would be epic.

  41. The motto for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be: We Will Find a Way to Lose!

  42. Instead, she suggests, corporations gave that culture to us.

    Apparently she failed to notice that guns were manufactured and sold before the advent of the corporate form of business. That takes some mighty willful failure to research/understand the subject – though for someone only interested in their own polemics, rather trivial.

  43. Oooo, some progressive butthurt in the promoted comments again. Keep pumping that cash to Reason, nerds!

  44. Yeah, I’m sure it was corporate marketing that caused African Americans to desire guns in order to defend themselves from racist whites.

    And I’m sure it’s nothing but corporate marketing that makes people like me worry about the devastating effect a war on guns would have on society.


  45. Western “gun legends” are far more a creation of that era’s media,they sensationalized gunmen and shootouts in order to sell more papers and storybooks. Same as they do today.

  46. I think I am going to write a book about the world of physics and how it capitalized on the mindset of WWII to artificially create a need to nuclear weapons research.

  47. the Second Amendment of the Constitution is NOT ABOUT hunting or sporting.
    semi-auto,magazine-fed rifles such as the AR-15 and AK-47 are today’s modern MILITIA weapons,and thus should be the most protected of firearms under the Second Amendment.

    Militiamen were expected to appear for muster bearing arms and ammo similar to and compatible with what the Regular military had in use AT THAT TIME.
    Since we “compromised” and restricted ownership of full-auto,true assault rifles,that leaves the semi-auto versions for civilian militia use.

    In US v Miller,SCOTUS asked if a short-barreled shotgun was a weapon that a militia would commonly use,implying that arms protected by the 2nd Amendment were arms a militia would use. AR-15’s,M-16’s and AK-47s would be ordinary militia arms,and “hi-capacity magazines” also would be protected.

    it’s VERY clear the Founders INTENDED that civilians have “weapons of war”,militia arms suitable for militia purposes,that include combat.

  48. Did a marketing campaign trick Americans into loving firearms?

    No. Next question.

  49. The only obession with guns in this country is the progressive left. The progressive left is a violent sub culture bent on ramming their views down everyone else’s throats. The only thing stopping them is a lot of people with guns. The Democrats of old south used a bunch of Billy Bob rednecks aka KKK to keep the undesirables in line. In 2016 those same Democrats use Occupy Wall Street, Move and BLM to push their socialistic agenda. The neoconservative on the right and progressives of the left sould be forced to have abortions so those sick idealogies may someday vanish.

  50. The Constitution protects the individual right to bear arms. Nuf said (period)

  51. What we actually have is another anti-gun elitist manufacturing history to fit her narrative. The majority of the US in the early 1900s was very different than it is today. It was a rural and agrarian culture where police were not present. The only form of law enforcement was a local sheriff who was based in the county seat. All you have to do is look at the crime wave in the early 1930s that created the image of the FBI. Here in Texas, Bonnie and Clyde were are the most famous criminals of the era. At this time, people still protected themselves rather than depend on police. Like so many northeast elitists, the author is simply trying to create a vision that the love of guns in the US is not the norm and not the actual intent of the 2nd amendment. These loons will say and do whatever they think they must to achieve their dream of banning guns in the US

  52. This book review really brought out the gun nutters.

  53. as Carlos answered I’m surprised that some people able to profit in a month on the computer .
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  54. Really Nice Post. Thanks for sharing with us.

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