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Friday morning at Netroots Nation led off with an all-star panel to discuss gun violence. It's an issue that provokes strong emotional responses, particularly from the two panelists who represent teachers. But it's also an issue that provokes strong determination from the public officials represented on the panel, to continue to push forward legislation designed to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands. Panel members also pushed back strongly against the idea that the movement to reduce gun violence in this country has anything whatsoever to do with taking guns away from responsible gun owners who keep guns for legitimate purposes. That is propaganda spread by the NRA which plays on the public's distrust of government to accomplish their primary mission, which seems to be acting as a trade association for gun manufacturers, rather than acting in the best interests of the responsible gun owners they purportedly represent.


Several of the panel members stressed the importance of engaging in a dialogue with gun owners, and couching arguments for gun control in a way that is not threatening to gun rights advocates, and that will appeal to the majority of public opinion. State Senator Darrell Steinberg, for example, made the excellent point that advocating for restrictions on assault weapon sales at the same time as acknowledging the need for mental health reform, are not either/or propositions. Some of the panelists also mentioned the need to support legislators such as Senator Joe Manchin, who took a courageous stand against the NRA position, despite a strong background in favor of gun rights.


It was interesting, however, that even on a panel devoted to the theme of reducing violence, gun metaphors and violence metaphors kept cropping up. Senator Steinberg repeatedly talked about "fighting" to enact legislation to reduce gun violence. I understand that strong opposition must be overcome, but it still seems a bit incongruous to talk about fighting to reduce violence. Somebody else talked about "shooting down" the opposition's arguments. And the moderator Jehmu Greene asked the panelists at the end to engage in a "rapid fire" round of final responses. It's an indication of just how strongly violence has permeated our culture when a group of people all sincerely and passionately dedicated to the cause of reducing violence has difficulty discussing that issue without resorting to the language of violence themselves. 

hopeandchange

Originally posted to hopeandchange on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Hide the Guns" is not the answer (4+ / 0-)

    If you want to reduce gun violence, the key is in our social programs.   No matter how great a plan you have to lock up all the guns in the whole country, if you don't deal directly with the homicidal maniacs in your community, you will continue to have these disasters.

    The answer lies in having a community that is engaged.   And, in RESPONDING when people report a problem, or ask for help.

    In many of the recent horrific incidents of gun violence, problems were reported BEFORE the incidents.  The response was inadequate.  Had there been an adequate response, the tragedy could have been averted.

    Before the Boston Marathon bombing, the Soviet Union reported to the U.S. that Tsarnaev was a risk.

    Before the Batman shootings, the psychiatrist reported to campus police that the shooter was a danger to others.

    Before the Gabby Giffords shooting, police advised the parents to hide the guns from him.   Jared's family struggled with him for years.  His behavior was bizarre.   Yet, the laws are designed so that no one could make him get help.   And, his parents were held hostage.  They had a choice of turning their adult son who could not hold a job out onto the streets, or living with a homicidal maniac.

    The community knew these shooters were dangerous.  If a person is a danger to himself or others, he should be committed.   But, they weren't.   Because, our society has chosen to ignore families who beg and plead for help with their mentally ill loved ones.

    There was a time in the past, when a family had a crazy family member, there was a way they could get that person committed, and get them some treatment.  We had State Mental Health hospitals.   We had standards for commitment that were strict, but not impossible for getting a person committed.  

    Now, countries call other countries, and warn them, and we do nothing, and wait to get blown up.

    Police visit parents and tell them to hide the guns, and we wait until someone gets shot.

    Isn't that crazy?   The police and the parents KNOW enough to hide the guns.   And, that's our plan?!   Hide the guns?!  
    That's IT?!  

    We hid the guns.   It wasn't enough.   Now, we need to have a national discussion about how we can respond when a person is identified as dangerous, BEFORE they shoot answer.

    •  That and full background checks, licensing and re- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      gistration. These regulations will (slowly I admit as it will take time to deplete the very large inventory out there) reduce the number of firearms in the hands of people that should not have them.

      I strongly support the social programs side you suggest, but that alone will not do anything if the inventory of firearms is not also reduced.

      •  Will a gun cause you to kill? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankRose

        Would putting a gun in your hand cause you to kill?

        Are you unable to control yourself?

        Do you believe that the gun would make you do it?

        Are you a compulsive person who would act exactly the way that you fear others would act?

        Now get yourself a song to sing, and sing it till you're done.

        by JayFromPA on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:20:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It clearly causes a whole lot of people to shoot (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, LilithGardener

          others when we have over 105,000 people getting shot every single year (sure many of those are "accidents" aka negligence). Whether I have self-control is not the issue, the issue is whether we will continue to allow people that should not have access to firearms to keep getting them.

        •  Ample evidence that alcohol degrades (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite

          judgment and reduces inhibition.

          Alcohol + gun = much higher risk of handling a gun negligently and using a gun illegally.

          Are you arguing the alcohol can't make you stupid?

          In some hands, a gun does make them stupid. Without a gun they would retreat or take cover, with a gun they advance and shoot.

          Even happens to experienced LEOs, eg. the guy who was sharing a hotel room with his son. Retired LEO went to bed with his loaded hand gun next to the bed. Son went out for the evening. Awakened by his son entering the room, with a key), he shot his own son. This man was in that space between sleep and wakefulness. He mistook his own son for an intruder. When fully awake, I'll guess the guy had very good judgment and lots of experience in assessing the level of threat.

          Yes, the presence of the loaded gun beside his bed while he slept was a stupid idea. The loaded gun made him stupid.

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:16:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But we haven't hid the guns (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      When anyone can walk into a gun show and buy a gun (and plenty are sold at gun shows without a background check) - we have not succeeded to hide the guns.

      When young people in almost every major city can readily buy a gun on the street - we have not succeeded to hide the guns.

      When people (mostly men) are subject to a protective order and there is no mechanism for them to surrender the guns (at least until the order expires or is adjudicated) - we have not succeeded to hide the guns.

      When 40% of homes with children don't keep their guns locked up - we have not succeeded to hide the guns.

      As long as more than half of unintentional shootings are committed by children and teens  - we have not succeeded to hide the guns.

      As long as we have states passing laws that increase public carry, and increase open carry -  - we have not succeeded to hide the guns.

      I understand and agree with your points that LEO advice to people troubled by their family and friends is woefully inadequate. I understand and agree with your point about our lack of mental health infrastructure.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:08:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Hide the guns" is a start especially since (0+ / 0-)

      Children find them & kill each other or some adult.

      I do recall a 4yo killing his/her vet father recently. I don't recall the details because there are so many of these stupid, negligent killings.

      There are too many guns in the hands of stupid people. Bullets don't discriminate either; they don't respect walls.

      Mental illness is another scapegoat to distract from the real problem, too many guns in too many stupid hands, or that people do not 'keep' them.

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:56:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's hoping that we find a way to reduce (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, LilithGardener, tytalus

    the number of people getting shot from over 105,000 per year (on average 288 per day or one every 5 minutes).

    I saw part on the later session with women against gun violence and found it good.

    It is interesting about the violent language, but I think kit is mostly just how our language has evolved in a time when we accept that so many Americans getting shot every day is "normal." I also think that when the NRA (and all the manufacturers they represent) is definitely in it for the violence and is willing to spend mega-millions to promote/foster this violence (the more violence there is, the more scared people buy their product with the hope of feeling safer) there is no way to confront this other than as a fight.

    Thanks for the diary reporting from NN2013.

  •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:05:59 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this thoughtful post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    I've been alert to the violent terms we use in almost every area of our lives; the war on cancer, (why can't we solve cancer instead.

    Terminate a pregnancy, why can't we just end a pregnancy instead?

    We expel kids from school. Why can't we just call it, "permanent suspension" or the student was "directed to alternative education."

    We "fight back." Why can't just stand up, speak up, or organize, to "challenge X."?

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:22:57 AM PDT

  •  And how does this work? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite
    the importance of engaging in a dialogue with gun owners, and couching arguments for gun control in a way that is not threatening to gun rights advocates
    ?
    When even the slightest, lightest, most reasonable measures cause gun owners heads to explode, there is no possible discussion of reasonable measures, is there?
    That immense overreaction to the most modest gun safety ideas, amounting to bullying, basically, shuts down any constructive  discussion and that is it's intent.
    Gunloons don't want a fix for this, they are A-OK with a hundred thousand people getting shot every year, 30 000 of them dying. Clearly sociopathic. If they cared even a tiny amount about the rest of the people around them, they'd back off and try to find a solution, but NO. That's not acceptable in the least.
    And they lie about it to boot: ask a gunloon what would be an acceptable fix and you get back completely useless, unworkable, ineffective suggestions that they KNOW are worthless and ineffective. That's the point, they now can say "well, we support these rules" without any likelihood that 1) the rules will be passed and 2) that they will have any effect.
    I'm all done with pussyfooting around the gunloons, their murderous hobby has cost us too many lives and their callous disregard for other people puts them in a category that should be classed as a mental health problem.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:32:20 AM PDT

    •  the way it works (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankRose

      is that instead of speaking to your opponents in a way they perceive as threatening--e.g., we're going to take your guns away--you talk about shared values. Most gun owners will tell you they are also in favor of reducing violence, especially the killing of innocents. They will tell you they are in favor of gun owners taking care of their guns in a responsible way. So why can't you have a dialogue about what would be effective to prevent needless slaughter, and about measures that would encourage gun owners to keep their firearms locked up, or that would educate people about gun safety?

      Besides, nobody is suggesting that we take guns away from responsible gun owners, so why would we even need to debate this issue in a way that is perceived as threatening to gun owners?

      And if you're interested in reducing tension and violence in society in general, why on earth would you call your opponents loons and sociopaths?

      •  Gun owners will TELL you anything, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        so will psychopaths, but when it comes to actually doing anything to curb the slaughter, they are staunchly opposed.
        They can tell you all day long how safe they are until they accidentally shoot themselves or someone else (see the GunFAIL diaries for details). They will tell you how responsible they are until it comes time to act responsibly then it's "not their problem" that 20 kids were slaughtered or that 4000 others have died since 12 14. They claim they keep their guns locked up but also claim they have guns to protect themselves in their homes, which of course is a lie, because if their guns are broken down, unloaded, locked up and the ammunition is locked away separately, which would be proper safe storage, there's no way that will protect them from a home invasion, they have to have it out and loaded to do any good at all. So that whole meme is bullsh!t.
        The dialog about needless slaughter ends the moment you try to come up with an effective solution, any slight impediment to universal easy access to lethal weapons is considered a "gun grab" by their paranoid standards.
        Of course no one would take guns away from responsible owners, the problem is with the definition of "responsible". Guns in a house with children: irresponsible (I don't care how carefully you stash your guns, kids will get their hands on them). A "self-defense" ninja and his glock 23 stalking the neighborhood to guard against "bad guys"? Trayvon Martin. The "responsible gun owners", YARGO, are not at all responsible to society, they believe that it's the wild west out there so everybody has to get a gun. Sorry, but that is sociopathic.
        I'm done with these freaks, there is no discussion with madmen and monsters and that's who you are dealing with, no matter how civilized their exterior, no matter how reasonable they sound, they are people who are OK with killing. They lose no sleep over causing death. That's as close to a definition of psychopath as you need to get.
        I'm very interested in reducing the tension in society and making it safer and the most obvious way to do that is to reduce the number of and access to lethal weapons. But that's not an option the gunloons will even begin to listen to.
        So screw 'em.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:23:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The only people who talk about taking guns away is (0+ / 0-)

        The NRA & their aiders & enablers. They promote more guns for all so that they can sell more guns. More guns haven't done anything except kill more people. American gun owners don't care as long as they have they magical gun that will protect all.

        If responsible gun owners cared and took responsibility for this problem, then things would get better. I am not holding my breath.

        Clearly gun owners hear something that we aren't saying.

        I don't want to take something away from anyone who is armed.

        nosotros no somos estúpidos

        by a2nite on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 05:29:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Assault Weapons BAN" (0+ / 0-)
    Panel members also pushed back strongly against the idea that the movement to reduce gun violence in this country has anything whatsoever to do with taking guns away from responsible gun owners
    Just planning to ban them.....

    Some 'All-Stars' you got there.

    Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

    by FrankRose on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:49:41 PM PDT

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