Our Plague of Marginalized Men

It’s been 11 days since the latest insane person (they’re always men) armed with military firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammo commenced a public slaughter. Since then we — American culture — have followed what is by now a completely predictable ritual of ineffectual hand-wringing, stale punditry, pampleteer-style moralizing and finger-pointing. In fact, given the opening of the Olympics, pro football training camps and the nip-slip du jour of some silly pop star we may have dispensed with this particular outrage in record time. (As usual, The Onion had it about right.)

Quite obviously there is no will to do anything about any of the facets of this latest slaughter. The “debate” is so stagnated that even the idea of regulating the ability of anyone being able to buy thousands of rounds of ammunition on-line is too fraught with political peril to consider seriously. The argument that there are too many guns floating around American society, or that there are too many high-powered military-style killing weapons available to anyone with enough brainpower to game the laughable security check system, has been had hundreds of times over and is for all intents and purposes futile. The people who feel the greatest need for exotic weaponry feel that need so intensely, which is to say so irrationally, that they form an impermeable obstacle to writing gun-ownership laws along, say, a Western European or Japanese model. Gun “control” just ain’t going to happen.

For years, I’ve been fascinated with the perceived need for firearm self-defense. Or, put another way, the threat perception of the most adamantine “gun enthusiast”. The American society these people see bears very little resemblance to daily reality.

I suspect conventional wisdom will tell us that we live in one of the most violent societies in human history. But that is simply … flat-out … wrong, by any available metric. In fact, according to every credible statistic I have ever seen, not only is gun-crazed USA circa 2012 experiencing an ongoing. dramatic decrease in violent crime, the northern tier American states — essentially Minnesota east, including Chicago and Detroit — is nearly at a point where their h0micide rate is as low as that socialist hell hole, western Europe. (Sun Belt and western states, still in the thralls of their “rugged individualist”, “pioneer” ethos are a different story, but even those rates are in a steady decline). Moreover, and this is where it gets interesting, the rate of gun ownership, which is to say the number of individual people owning guns … is declining. Fewer and fewer of us own guns, of any kind, even hunting rifles, much less, one presumes, sleep with a Glock under our pillow in anticipation of a home invasion by, (take your pick), a pack of thrill-killing gang-bangers, or a dozen newly arrived “illegals” bent on beheading suburban Americans for the sheer pleasure of it all.

The twist to that last fact is that while gun sales continue to spiral into the ionosphere, (a result of a moderate liberal black guy being elected president, and groups like the NRA fear-mongering about gun grabs by Big Gummint), more and more guns are being purchased by the same people. Arsenal-building is another way of describing it. While most Americans feel secure walking the streets of their neighborhoods, grilling in their backyards and watching junk TV from their Barcalounger with the windows and doors open to a cooling breeze, others are effectively arming themselves to the teeth, in preparation for … what?

At this point you drop down the Rabbit Hole of the psychology of gun fetishists. While each mass killer comes with his own witches brew of demons, including prescription drugs, it is reasonable to describe all of them as “marginalized men”, men who for whatever the reason feel they’ve lost their chance at whatever they wanted/needed most and have no way to restore themselves. In a word: fatalism.

Fatalism was the quality that leapt out at me doing a story about Michele Bachmann’s Sixth District true believers a couple of years ago. One after another after another described the world in semi-apocalyptic terms, with Bachmann and her ilk being prophets of some kind of reckoning, that I suspected, would restore marginalized men to the kind of prominence they enjoyed by right of birth in the 1950s.

My suspicion is that if a thousand owners of multiple gun permits were given a thorough psychological test, the picture that would emerge would be one of a highly fatalistic world view, a world of irrationally perceived threat, full of a pervasive hostility to their interests and beliefs warranting a kind of martial response to every kind of adversary.

The media end of this wondering why this dramatic reduction in the threat of violent crime is not better understood? As much as I’d like to see Surgeon General PSAs dropped into the middle of “Monday Night Football” showing the remarkable drop in homicide rates, along with the implicit message that those who require a .45 to feel secure at Southdale are to be pitied for their Chicken Little state of high anxiety rather than admired for their cowboy individualism, that too ain’t going to happen. If only because, whether they want to admit it or not, a pacifying America (at least in terms of flying lead) is at odds with the prevailing themes of both popular drama and popular news, which require constantly whetting an appetite for mortal conflict to assure financial success.

95 thoughts on “Our Plague of Marginalized Men

  1. Mike Thomas says:

    Drugs are illegal, yet it has never stopped a margnalized hippie or pusher from finding them.

      1. Mike Thomas says:

        How about an aggressive drug crazed lunitic at night on Nicollet as you are trying to walk peacefully to your car? Unlike your fear of mobs of guns, that has actually happened to this poster.

      2. Erik says:

        I’ll try and speak for Lambo here. The problem is you Mike. You’re marginalized. And you’re a racist with a penile inadequacy complex.

  2. The prescription drug angle is not the greatest of the taboos when it comes to investigating why people such as Mr. Holmes do what they do.

    Consider this passage from http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/48416 (no ad hominems, please):

    “Reportedly, James Holmes’ father, Dr. Robert Holmes, worked for a company named HNC, which contracted research with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). I don’t know for fact what Dr. R. Holmes did for them, but there is a connection. James Holmes, at the age of 18, was a research intern at the Salk Institute, participating in research regarding enhancing certain chemicals of the brain to increase the endurance of a soldier and prevent combat fatigue. (By the way, folks, when I was 18, I was washing dishes in the school cafeteria, trying to put myself through undergrad. This guy, Homes, was no slack, he was cream of the crop in the scientific braino’s camp). There are reports that indicate James Holmes, during this internship, worked on something called “Flicker Fusion” and how it can manipulate/control the mind. Later, at a science camp, James Holmes identified his mentor as John Jacobson. He did this during his presentation on “temporal illusions” when he was reviewing the data on how to “manipulate temporal order” such that sensory experiences originate in the mind rather than from the environment. In other words, manipulate such that you could create any world/reality for an individual.”

    Yes, “reportedly” and “there are reports”. But, where are the MSM investigative journalists who should be following up on such leads? They won’t go near it. Any investigative journalist who actually digs into serious governmental malfeasance knows that anybody who wants to deflect such investigation can torpedo the journalist’s career with just a little name calling. “You’re a conspiracy theorist.”

    1. i hadn’t heard of the DARPA business, but there is a standardized media response, and I think a standardized media response window, to these slaughters. “Closure”, information wise, seems more about experiencing a national eulogy than getting a full(er) understanding of the background and motivations of the killer. How much do any of us know/remember about the guy at Virginia Tech?

      1. Erik says:

        This is Alex Jones stuff. Personally, I don’t reflexively discredit it as outlandish conspiracy bunk. It’s just very hard to know because it hasn’t been fleshed out by more mainstream sources.

  3. Erik says:

    Lambo, when society comes together and has a civic debate over gun control, you’ll no doubt still be out of the conversation, sent off to the kitchen with the kids. You’ve never demonstrated competency with basic topical facts. You’re an ignorant blowhard. Your “insight” has never had an informed quality. Your total knowledge is a couple catch phrases thrown in awkwardly while flogging your base bigotry against a class you deem insufficiently urbane.

    Note a couple things:

    There’s no such thing as a “multiple gun permit”.

    I’d be stunned if you can actually describe how the security check is gamed, to the extent it happens. I’d be stunned if you can describe the security check at all. I’d be stunned if you can define “arsenal” legally or contextually as it might apply to firearms enthusiasts.

    Mind you, you’re not alone. Most of you folks who think you’re pro gun control are a bunch of know nothings and/or bigots. Thing is though, if we’re to have that societal discussion, our demand is not unreasonable that you among the “smart-set” know what you’re talking about and also be honest brokers.

    The heart of the matter is this: crime has gone down in the midst of a fairly permissiveness gun rights environment in the US. You grasp this right? If we have a murder rate equivalent to western Europe, then there is no correlation to guns. No efficacy for gun control.

    If there’s no efficacy, the gun owning public is right to ask what’s it to ya? Do you have something to hang your hat on besides feel goodism or bigotry? If there’s no efficacy, you got a better word to explain yourself than bigotry?

    Suffice it to say, there actually isn’t a lot of hand wringing. What there seems to be is a bewilderment that profound self-righteousness wasn’t enough to carry the argument while the argument was happening.

  4. Erik says:

    Here’s a better article, from a Democrat:


    Pithy quote:

    “wrong, by the way, that politicians haven’t addressed gun violence. They have done so brilliantly, in a million different ways, which helps explain why the rate of violent crime is about half what it was twenty years ago. They simply haven’t used gun control to do it. Gun laws are far looser than they were twenty years ago, even while crime is plunging—a galling juxtaposition for those who place their faith in tougher gun laws.”

    Here’s another pithy quote, which isn’t entirely in contradiction with Lambo’s worldview, save for his bigotry and the conclusion that bigotry brings him to.

    “Gun-control advocates brush away evidence of gun laws’ dubious value with the argument that if even one life could be saved, it’s worth trying. What’s the harm?

    The harm is that 40 percent of Americans own guns, and like it or not, they identify with them, personally. Guns stand in for a whole range of values—individualism, strength, American exceptionalism—that many gun owners hold dear. Tell a gun owner that he cannot be trusted to own a firearm—particularly if you are an urban pundit with no experience around guns—and what he hears is an insult. Add to this that the bulk of the gun-buying public is made up of middle-aged white men with less than a college degree, and now you’re insulting a population already rubbed raw by decades of stagnant wages.”

    And another quote.

    “The harm we’ve done by messing with law-abiding Americans’ guns is significant…. in 2010, I drove 11,000 miles around the United States talking to gun guys (for a book, to be published in the spring, that grew out of an article I wrote for this magazine), and I met many working guys, including plumbers, parks workers, nurses—natural Democrats in any other age—who wouldn’t listen to anything the Democratic party has to say because of its institutional hostility to guns. I’d argue that we’ve sacrificed generations of progress on health care, women’s and workers’ rights, and climate change by reflexively returning, at times like these, to an ill-informed call to ban firearms, and we haven’t gotten anything tangible in return. Aside from what it does to the progressive agenda, needlessly vilifying guns—and by extension, their owners—adds to the rancor that has us so politically frozen and culturally inflamed. Enough.”

  5. Erik says:

    I am less apocryphal than many no doubt, but the President is not a moderate on guns. His position has always been the most leftward that was possible within his own personal political universe. While a legislator from Chicago, he was a proponent of a handgun ban. He dropped that when he went to the senate, but maintained his advocacy for an AWB. As a practical matter, he’s dropped his support of an AWB now that he’s President.

    He’s not a moderate. No doubt you wouldn’t be happy with him if he was. He “evolves” as the situation dictates. I don’t have a sense he’s actually got well developed thoughts or animus on the subject. I find it more likely he’s just rather doctrinaire.

    In any event, you’re wrong.

  6. bertram Jr says:

    Erik: Splendid job, howeVer even Bertram Jr winced at your well placed skewering of Mssr.Lambeaux’s bloated kiester.

    You gots to remember he spent years on an expense account falutin’ with Hollywood types – the very same ones who market guns, guts and gore to us nightly on the TV and in the theaters, while upturning tHeir noses at the very markplace they “serve” (middle America, patriots, families).

    I was going to school Lambeaux on the fact that every generation that goes to war returns to the hearth and hunting fields with that war’s weaponry (as it is what they are accustomed to, and the manufacturers follow the market) whether the musket, the Sharp’s carbine, the M-14, the .30.06, or today’s .223 SEMI-AUTOMATIC black rifle.

    But then I realized Lambeaux is never going to get over his Hollywierd anti-gun, laissez faire haired, mojito-handed hatred of this country and it’s core values.

    Tally ho, lock and load, and 97 days to go!

  7. Rob Levine says:

    IMHO demographers got a grip on this long ago: Crime is a function of the percentage of a population that consists of young men. Fewer young men, proportionately, less crime.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Yes, well, a 100-round capacity magazine enables rather more violence to be accomplished. At least force these malignant kooks to reload a little more frequently during their insane spasms of violence so that heroes the likes ol’ Bertram Jr. can peek out from under their seats and pick ’em off with their purse guns. Pew, pew, pew, blam, blam, blam, “got you evil doer.” Is that too much to ask, gun enthusiasts?

      Meanwhile, let’s get at the root cause. Too dang many Slim Jims and Triple Bacon Burgers: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=high-trans-fat-diet-predicts-aggresion&WT.mc_id=SA_CAT_HLTH_20120731

      1. Erik says:

        I don’t know if it’s too much to ask. Maybe it’s not. Certainly they are regulatable. Note:

        – His jammed. That’s what they do. They are of limited utility.

        – The police have them. You lefties ought to share in the alarm at the militarization of the police.

        – By advocating for stupid laws over the course of 40 years the gun control movement forfeited their ability to advocate for sensible laws now.

        – The scepter that is the focal point of the NRA’s obstruction is Harry Reid.

    2. Rob: I don’t believe anyone doubts the “young male factor”. But there are other facets that get less attention. What for example accounts for the disparity between northern tier and Sun Belt/western states? Or Western Europe/Japan v. USA? Western Europe has plenty of young men — many immigrants — and a punishing unemployment rate — although money is hardly the only factor in “marginalization. The broader fact is that in terms of state v. state violence, the post WWII period is the least violent in centuries, amid a surging world wide population. Something other than “aging” is going on. My guy, Steven Pinker, argues that the effects of “enlightened humanism”, transmitted by all sorts of channels of information, continues to steadily accrue …after 600 years.

      1. Rob Levine says:

        Brian – difference between North and South? Slavery. The West is different. Europe doesn’t have the guns + they have more of a safety net, i.e. universal health care. Why is there less state vs. state violence? Well first there was the Cold War with the great powers and their client states. Attack one, you attack all of the alliance. Enlightened humanism? Yeah, maybe over the long term. But maybe that hit its pinnacle in the 1970s. Are we on the downslope?

      2. Erik says:


        Key say HUMANISM PINKER EUROPE into Google books and give him the first link that comes back. That ought to hold him for a while.

        Really you ought to feel under some obligation to explain what your link to Men and Masculinities is supposed to mean, since you present it as the academic exclamation point for your BS theory. In truth you use the link bogusly. It doesn’t back up the context you provided for it. It’s a bluff, no more than a vague match for your search on guns, men, and marginalization.

        I’ve said it before. I’m shocked you don’t have a job writing serious articles for adult wages.

      3. Erik says:

        Mind you, we all know this is the internet. That’s the first context we should all understand. So you’re obviously free to try and snow anyone and everyone. …Come up with theories, assert research that backs it up, put in some bogus links…. But I think it would be helpful to be disabused how this would not be Jonah Lehrer territory in the world of real journalism.


  8. barbara says:

    Oh, Brian, it seems you’ve agitated the radical right again. How articulate, your character assassins. How almost (?) pathologically angry. How droll. How armed and dangerous. How….wrong. Seriously.

    1. Erik says:

      Pffft. If it was just the right, your ilk wouldn’t have lost the issue. Go sit in the kitchen with the kids while the adults discuss.

    2. bertram Jr says:

      You one of them “high and mighty” free thinkin’ liberal girl abortionists?

      Cause I don’t know you. But I guess I can make assumptions, too.

      How do you like mine?

      1. Erik says:

        How so? I mean, I realize you’re pretty weak on engaging rebuttals… But we’re talking about me right? I’m demonstrably deep and un-marginalized. You two are both know-nothings.

  9. Always men..? I beg to differ. They just get the press while females get a wash over… Not that either is any better than the other when actual numbers and violence are realistically tabulated.

    1. Erik says:

      It’s all bunk. We’re supposed to understand that we have a gun problem while crime declines. It’s a leap of faith. There’s no statistical underpinnings.

      Thing about the marginalization theory is that it relies on the implied racism of ‘real Americans’, ie, the rubes, rednecks, and insufficiently urbane. It’s non-falsifiable, and has the added appeal of reinforcing Lambo’s belief that he’s better people than ‘real Americans’ because he’s not a racist. Which is important if as an atheist you need a form of secular altruism that compares favorably to the golden rule, which is inherently illegitimate and stupid because it’s theologically based.

      I digress.

      The idea that we’re living in a Springsteen song is going to get tiresome to the point of disbelief at some point. I’m younger than some of you has-beens but my frame of reference is probably useful because it’s now common. I didn’t get my girlfriend pregnant by the river and have my father in law take me down to the union hall to get me a union card so that I could start a dead end job I’d hate and enter a marriage I’d despise and then lose my job when the factory was outsourced.

      The larger point: wage stagnation is measured at a macro level. At the macro level true it’s true that the wage trend lags. But you go out into the world and invariably find that a lot of people think they do just peachy. Their self-perception is they compare favorably to mean and median income stats.

      So there’s a loop that can’t be closed. You can’t assert marginalization resentment when most people don’t acknowledge being marginalized by external forces.

      That could be false consciousness, but I’m confident it is as it always was. A lot of guys like guns. Because they just do.

      Those of you who are blithe ironic dipshits should understand that serious gun owners – carry permit holders and NRA members – are more law abiding than the general population. We’re not dangerous. Street criminals and the psychotic are dangerous. By definition.

      Gun people’s instincts tend to be libertarian. I don’t have any sense for example that gun people are intellectually invested in limiting marriage to heterosexuals.

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Get a copy of “Methland” and read it, Erik. It’s not about guns or their regulation. But it most certainly is about marginalization. I picked up my copy after a recent stint in Iowa not far from the settings in the book.

      2. Erik says:

        Your point is well taken. Lambert’s point is demolished. Those people are marginalized. Some dude who only gains say $10k in wages over the course of a decade and like guns is not marginalized.

      3. Erik says:

        Pinker’s insight and the statistics would give you reason to have not much fear. Once more for effect, the sensible conclusion to draw is your head is being overruled by a bigotry of some sort. It’s entirely the correct word to use.

      1. Erik says:

        There’s more to say on this, but Holmes, Laughner, and Cho aren’t marginalized white men, which is the hook you hang this screed on.

        Are they? Really? Explain.

        BTW how’s that “Loughner is a tea partier” meme going?

      2. As for women? Way to many over the years. Mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia. A Molly something or other blew up a mining camp in Colorado in the 1880’s and the lisy really does go on, and on. A black? Ever really take a look at Nelson Mandela’s background?

        Or do you just mean here in America because the lives of others don’t actually count..? Around 1992 I responded on a call where a woman had shot and killed several children as well as her current boyfriend and her ex husband.

        Just how many people have to be killed of wounded to make it spectacular? Just asking…

        You tend to make my point though Brian. Crimes of this type are all to often just written off on today’s journalistic circles of misandry, and yes, sensationalism.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Great television. But “BB” doesn’t quite capture what’s going on in state’s such as Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, etc.

  10. Erik says:

    Fellas, I only do this because I’m an expert and because this is what my writer’s vanity plays to. I only have two more things to say.

    What Lambo’s got here isn’t an argument so much as a collection of bigoted tropes that are the pillars of his worldview. With the general incoherence, rebutting that gets a bit scatter shot. So I’ll make his argument somewhat fairly and then wrap this up. It goes like this:

    “Our murder rate is like Western Europe’s. Thus there’s not a systemic / chronic violence problem that necessitates people needing guns for self defense. Alternately, there’s no efficacy or justification for gun control. But people shouldn’t have guns anyway, because of things like Aurora and Tuscon and VT. Marginalized, middle aged white men aren’t a crime problem. And Holmes, Loughner, and Cho weren’t marginalized, middle aged white men. But marginalized, middle aged white men are a political problem because they are resistant to gun control and make it difficult to keep guns away from Holmes, Loughner, Cho, et al.”

    The 40 year debate over gun control is over, and the gun owners won. So I / we don’t really have much compelling urgency to educate dumbshits about guns or the 2nd Amendment. It’s nice when the opportunity arises and someone’s receptive. But it’s not urgent. However there are a couple ironies that are entertaining to the point of orgasmic schadenfreud.

    You libs aren’t out of line in mocking the gun peoples’ obsession with detail. It’s certainly a mockable attribute on some levels. And I don’t blame you for not caring as much. But most of you are pretty doctrinaire, having adopted conventional Democratic thinking on gun control. Which is to say, the sociological and legal heavy lifting for gun control advocacy was farmed out to a small group of lawyers and academics with ideological axes to grind, while you folks all stayed blissfully dumbshit. I suppose I should qualify that. You collected blithe ironic zingers from the Daily Show, Daily Kos, and HuffPo that you could spit out on a moment’s notice. You do have that.

    But it wasn’t like that on the other side. Most of the NRAs 4 million members are pretty mentally engaged, as I say, to the point that it’s almost a caricature.

    So as it stands, the NRA isn’t stifling debate. There is no debate. We have numerical supremacy in amounts of people who can articulate concepts to voters and policy makers and we used it over the course of 40 years to win the argument. The argument is over. What you have…. the contradictory synapses like I concatenated above, and also blithe ironic zingers from dumbasses… that wasn’t persuasive while the argument was happening. You lost, and the debate is not being reopened. You folks have no new insight to offer and no leverage.


    “Marginalization” as it makes people resistant to gun control is a bitter clingers / What’s the Matter with Kansas / false consciousness argument. It should almost go without saying that it’s bullshit. But it’s worth adding, people who know nothing about guns are not the people to ask about why other people like guns.

    There’s also a contradiction to resolve within Lambo’s bigotry detail. He has some ongoing sport mocking the Tea Partiers for their aggrievedness. Fine. Now that’s not the same as the NRA, but I don’t gather Lambo can make that distinction. In any event, this is a case of trying to have it both ways. If they are marginalized, then their aggrievedness is justified, and they aren’t then very mockable.

  11. Minnesotan says:

    Sorry, you lost me with all the big words. I did understand nip-slip, but had a tough time focusing after that. But here I go. I am middle-of-the-road politically. Just a few points:

    1) When you support one of our basic rights, you have to go whole hog. As someone who owns a few firearms for hunting, I don’t necessarily see the need to have a personal arsenal, but that doesn’t give me the right to tell someone else they can’t. Similarly, as a supporter free speech, I don’t agree with many things, like the Westboro Baptists protesting military funerals, but I won’t support legislation to curb free speech.
    2) Taking guns away, limiting access to guns, etc won’t remove certain deranged individual’s desire or ability to inflict harm. We all read where Homles had booby trapped his apartment. He was quite capable of inflicting mass harm without firing a single round. Or look to the Middle East where suicide bombings are a fairly regular occurrence. Or Timothy McVeigh. Or today’s story on startrib.com that a kid in China went crazy and killed 8 while wounding 5 with a knife.
    3) 99% of the proposed legislation after events like this is pure feel-good, do nothing, political grandstanding.

      1. Erik says:

        Baloney. Your objection is knee-jerk, lazy, and cliché.

        Post-modern use of nihilism as a slur on conservatives is bogus. Nihilist is not properly used to describe the mere desire to be unencumbered by measures that would mitigate misbehavior of the minority, irresponsible class, whoever that might be. Minority in number, BTW. That desire is not a selfish philosophy. Under what circumstance is the freedom of the responsible, majority population to be a superseding priority to liberals? Is it ever to be a priority? Are there any other issues where the holder of that general philosophy would not be a nihilist?

        Not that you need my compliments or approval, but I like the cut of your jib Jim. Your expression is consistently formidable. But with this you too would do well to engage or affirm the various topical points rather than dismiss them.

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        The issues raised by these mass shootings seem, to me, to be two-fold: We have an even worse mental health care delivery system than we do general health care; and we need to place limits on the mass lethality of guns.

        In the recent cases in Aurora, Tuscon and Virginia Tech, you have three men clearly in need of mental health care and intervention armed with weapons that accept high-capacity magazines, and thus, capable of rapid and uninterrupted mass murder.

        We need more of the former and less of the latter; neither of which pose any threat to anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights, nor eliminate all possibilities for future violence by other means, as “MN,” and other reflexive 2nd Amendment fetishists, irrationally requires.

      3. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Meh, Eric. Fine, you find my figurative use of “nihilism” to dismiss MN’s cynically-high standard for measuring any limitation on gun ownership as illegitimate because it will not eliminate all violence by other means; the let’s set it well aside.

        It’s just trite and lazy sophistry. That more palatable?

      4. Minnesotan says:

        Jim, what is an acceptable limit on the number of rounds a firearm can shoot? That seems to be where the rubber meets the road. Nearly any firearm can shoot numerous rounds of ammo. So the only way to achieve a goal of eliminating mass shootings is to eliminate firearms.

      5. Erik says:

        It would be a start. As proponents of robust(er) regulation, you’re going to have to placate my constituency to get there. You’ll not for another generation get an opportunity to ram something through like the Brady Bill was or the 1994 assault ban was. We control the issue now, and we don’t need you. You need us. And you will not be persuasive as some combination of George Lakoff, Bill Maher, and an editor of the New Republic. The problem with that persona type is not that it speaks over the head of the gun owner. The problem is that persona is far less informed than the gun owner, and is also quite often a smug obnoxious douchebag. I know a lot of you fellas think that plays well in a conversation. I’m an invaluable resource here. Believe me when I tell you it doesn’t play well.

        Rather than rely on the certitude of your self-righteousness, you folks are going to have to learn what you are talking about. Not knowing what a semi-automatic rifle is and how popular they are has been a big factor in not getting a renewed assault weapon ban. There may be some legs to the high capacity magazine argument, as it’s simpler. But I doubt it.

        All your doctrinaire solutions are spoken from cultural bias. Rather than be bewildered there’s no “sensible” compromise, you’re going to have to make an effort and come up with something else.

      6. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Well, MN, duck hunters have somehow lived with the DNR requiring them to put a plug in their shotguns to limit the number of shells, or at least they did when I hunted ducks. I could live with standard cartridge capacities on pistols, just no high-capacity cartridges. Same with semi-auto rifles. No high-capacity cartridges, period.

        This is not hard to work out. But I can hear the keening now and these logic-impaired memes about no matter what you do it’s hopeless because someone somewhere managed to kill by some means other than a firearm.

        “Wile E. Coyote doesn’t have trigger finger and has been dropping safes and boulders on the Road Runner for decades, so, you know, what’s the point”?

        I don’t find that a compelling argument for doing nothing.

      7. Minnesotan says:

        Jim, the problem is where do you draw the line at “high capacity?” Take either a pistol or semi-automatic rifle, your choice. Say you draw the line at a clip that can only hold 10 bullets. It takes seconds, literally, to remove a spent clip and insert a full one. So you’re not stopping a deranged gunman, you’re simply slightly inconveniencing him.

      8. Minnesotan says:

        Brian, forgive me, but I can’t see. General “high capacity” and “high and quick body counts” is far too ambiguous to have a real discussion, if that’s what we’re after.

        Down below you say ”firepower designed solely to accumulate high and quick body counts….I’m not talking hunting squirrels.”

        But you are, or at least you could be. A .22 rifle, an extremely popular rifle for hunting small game, is quite capable of holding “high capacity” and “accumulating quick body counts.”

      9. What we’re after is some illumination of the gun obsessive mind, how it thinks and how it rationalizes what is demonstrably absurd. We have, again, achieved that much.

      10. Jim Leinfelder says:


        Baloney. You’re back to your knee-jerk denial of any and all measures to mitigate wholesale slaughter. It’s a pathetic cliche.

      11. Minnesotan says:

        Not really Jim, I’m after your definition of what you consider “high capacity.” I’ve tried to be respectful throughout this discussion. Haven’t referred to you as a nihilist, lazy, trite, knee-jerk, or cliched.

        It’s a Friday, maybe you could humor me and put a nice round figure to “high capacity.”

      12. Jim Leinfelder says:

        To reprise my earlier comment, MN:”Well, MN, duck hunters have somehow lived with the DNR requiring them to put a plug in their shotguns to limit the number of shells, or at least they did when I hunted ducks. I could live with standard cartridge capacities on pistols, just no high-capacity cartridges. Same with semi-auto rifles. No high-capacity cartridges, period.”

        Nothing that adds to the capacity your pistol, semi-auto rifle came with. You need a number: 12, no more than 12. That’s a pretty modest request. An it’ll never happen.

        And all I criticized were your arguments, not you as an anonymous person. So no need to feel assaulted as an anonymous person, MN.

      13. Minnesotan says:

        Never felt assaulted, just wondering where your anger comes from. As much as BL seems to want to consider me part of the gun obsessed crowd, my arsenal consists of 1 rifle and 1 shotgun. Haven’t used the shotgun in years and the rifle comes out of the safe three times per year. Once to sight it in and two weekends during the MN deer season.

        But I agree with you, nothing that adds to the capacity of a firearm will never happen.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful post, Minnesotan. We need more of that.

      I respectfully disagree, though. Let me see if I can do it without calling you a “douchebag.”

      Somewhere between a 12-guage, which almost no one wants to seize from individual citizens, and Howitzer-type weapons, which almost no one wants individual citizens to have in their backyards, there is a line to be drawn. Agree? When you say “whole hog,” I assume you’re not talking about huge military-style weapons, correct?

      If we can agree that there is a line to be drawn somewhere, can we agree that a debate about the democratic consensus on the right place to draw that line is not necessarily a move to take away the right? After all, a debate about whether it should be permissible to shout “fire” (or “duck, AR-15”) in a crowded theater is not a move to take away free speech rights, is it? The “where is the line 12 gauge v. Howitzer” debate is a legitimate democratic exercise about how to balance security and freedom needs, both of which are important.

      Let’s focus on the big problem instead of the gun disaster du jour. The big problem is that the U.S. has six times as many gun homicides in this country as Canada, a nation that, like us, values hunting and has guns as an important part of its heritage. Six times! Whether or not orange hair guy could have been stopped or slowed, I gotta believe that a great and freedom loving democracy can come up with some ways to take a chunk out of that bigger problem short of wholesale gun seizure. A democratic debate about how we can do better drawing a more sensible line is not, in and of itself, an outrageous rights grab.

      1. Minnesotan says:

        We can agree that there is a line to be drawn somewhere. There already are lines drawn when it comes to firearms sales and ownership. When I say “whole hog” I mean that unfortunately there’s very little room for middle ground on gun control issues. I’m not a member of the NRA, I don’t agree with them on every issue, and particularly how they go about “firing up the troops.” But if you line us all up at midfield and make us choose sides that’s where I’d be. Call it a slippery slope if you must, but I don’t believe that if gun rights advocates tried to “meet in the middle” with gun control advocates that it would end well for those of us who legally and responsibly own firearms. I also believe many proposals, such as the recent call to ban the online ammo sales, are feel good ideas that would have no effect on making you or I safer. If it were to pass, which BL rightfully claims it won’t, the only real purpose would seem to be to make it easier to pass additional gun control laws.

        You site that we have 6 times the number of gun related deaths in Canada, but we also have nearly 10 times the population. So perhaps that’s a reason…

      2. Minnesotan says:

        If you were elected president.

        But in all seriousness, who said anything about confiscating firearms? A more likely scenario would be additional laws that would make it such a hassle or so intrusive to purchase firearms or ammunition that marginalized white guys would give up.

      3. Erik says:

        It doesn’t matter Lambo. The lack of that potentiality doesn’t make anything you would propose proper or necessary by comparison.

        What’s the deal with that Google books link where you infer correlation between marginalized men and gun ownership? The book doesn’t link those concepts.

      4. Thanks, Joe. The essence of my post is that despite these occasional atrocities we live in remarkable non-violent times and are trending further away from our worst moments (which on an incident per hundred thousand basis was probably 150-200 years ago, not the notorious 1960s or the crack epidemic of the ’80s.) With that said what explains the mentality of the truly gun obsessed to stockpile firearms and react so irrationally to calls to simple, common sense limitations on firepower designed solely to accumulate high and quick body counts? My suspicion remains — men marginalized for any number of reasons, not solely economic — grasping for something that restores for them a sense of status or power over their fate, and based on the response here I’d say my suspicions have been confirmed.

      5. Joe Loveland says:

        Yes, more guns, fewer gun owners. I understand that, and it’s a good point.

        In addition to the marginalization theory, some other explanations:

        * Gun marketers use ever more effective marketing to people on their lists — current gun owners — and that serves to concentrate gun ownership.

        * Hunters need or like different kinds of guns for different kinds of critters.

        A lot of hunters I know seem to get lots of gun catalogs and come to think they need an arsenal, for the same reason anglers think they need a gazillion different kinds of rigs for different kinds of fishing…because Cabellas and their ilk offer ever more alluring choices and ever more effective marketing.

        These types of folks are building an arsenal, but not out of marginalization.

        I don’t disagree that the profile you describe exists, or even that it might be getting more prevalent. Could be. But there are other factors are in the mix.

        I’ll just never understand the military style weapon and ammo thing though. I can’t believe we can’t agree to draw the line there. You don’t need military style weaponry for hunting or self-protection.

      6. Erik says:

        He’s also saying that I’m an example of a marginalized male, and that I prove his suspicion because I’ve objected with inordinate passion to his various assertions. He’s looking for affirmation from someone, and has called your name. Are you able to affirm that?

      7. Erik says:

        I’ll provide some education, briefly. Then you’ll be able to understand from hereon.

        Arsenal is used hyperbolically. It’s inflammatory. It doesn’t often have a proper context to attach to the typical gun owner.

        You end up getting a .22 for plinking in the woods. Then a 12 gauge for ducks. Then a shotgun with a slug barrel for deer. Then a rifle for deer. Then a rifle for your kid for deer. Then grandpa passes on and you get 5 or 6 items. Then you get a handgun. Then you get a .22 handgun.

        This is not an arsenal. And it’s very easy to find yourself with a few thousand rounds of ammunition on a shelf in the basement, much of that being a few bricks of 500 count .22 long rifle.

        The extent some of these guys are self styled tacticalists, they don’t have arsenals either. A couple good handguns and a black rifle ain’t an arsenal.

        There aren’t many attributes of a gun that are exclusive to the military. A carbon fiber or plastic stock has identical ergonomic appeal to the infantry man as it does the hunter. They are light. Engineering achievements are not going to be limited to arbitrarily to military small arms. If it’s more reliable, recoils less, etc, those features will eventually be added to civilian weapons. The only small arm military exclusive attributes there are is automatic fire and high cap magazines.

      8. Erik says:

        There’s a note to add about ammo. Yes, its been bought and hoarded in absurd amounts over the last few years. Some of that has been in response to paranoia over the Obama Administration. But the greater motivation has not been near so malignant. Ammo has been scarce. And this predates the Obama administration, as does most of the hoarding.

        War and police contract manufacturing has monopolized much of the existing ammunition factory capacity over the last decade. Shooters who like to shoot have been compelled to buy as much ammunition as they can when they find it available. They need it if they want to maintain a shooting schedule, and the price keeps going up.

        If you’re not a schizophrenic, this is the practical reason you buy 1000 rounds of ammunition at a time. This is also the practical reason why earnest proposals to ration ammo are going to be dismissed, right after those proposals are dismissed merely out of principle.

      9. Erik says:

        Finding the words ammunition and shortage within the same book is going to suffice, right? I’d like to know what you think of Lambo’s prior link. You’re quibbling with me over a fairly minor point.



        That’s the words ammunition + shortage filtered for 2001 – 2007. Take your pick of 28800 results.

        I’m an expert. I know the facts and I know your tropes. As an amateur and layman you’re not going to find me substantially in error. That’s where that righteous liberal certitude comes in handy though eh. You never have to walk away from a conversation acknowledging that you got schooled on the facts.

      10. Jim Leinfelder says:


        Your link’s not working. Using your parameters, all I find is a bunch of gun forums full of paranoid-sounding anecdotes, nothing credible, by my lights. Seems there was a lot of demand for ammo use by our military that, post-Truman, has obviated the need for “a well-regulated militia.” Seems there was a war on. I’ve no doubt you might’ve been hard up for .50 caliber rounds.

        I’d hazard to say you and your fellow plinkers rather dramatically overestimate your ammo needs and tend to get the vapors at the posting of even the most spurious internet forum rumor that the liberals are coming for your wadcutters.

        But, though I own guns (inherited) and know how to shoot them, I’m not one who defines himself by those terms. So perhaps I lack your more visceral investment in the gun culture. But I remain confident that if I need a box or two of shotgun shells, I’ll be able to purchase them.

        The rest just seems like a lot of contrived drama to me.

      11. Erik says:

        What I’ve demonstrated is the ammo shortage predates Obama. Therefore, Obama paranoia isn’t a cause for the hoarding. It’s just the latest excuse for it, whether justified or not. Ammunition has been scarce on the shelfs at times. The real world manifestation of that is not that some guys buy 20 boxes of ammunition in one trip (though that happens). It’s that without exception everyone buys a box or two when they can. Result is the same, it creates a shortage, but this is explained perhaps not so absurdly.

        As a group we are melodramatic (though I think benign). You are obviously free to snark about our absurdities, but I think… rather it is that I KNOW…. most of you engage this stuff from a pretty poor knowledge base. Thing is, gun ownership is a political movement, and this stuff is all a matter of constituent politics. So if your reasoning were not defeated on merit, it’s just defeated because gun control advocacy is not a real movement. It’s a sentiment. That’s the upshot of not engaging and having visceral skin in the game. It’s a bit of an impossible loop for liberals to close. If you engage, this stuff is demystified and not scary. And then you still lose the issue.

      12. barbara says:

        You know what, Erik? When you/we are not being mega-snide and actually put down our puke shields for a moment, we might actually learn something from each other. Like you, I need to need to verify info (from both sides of this great divide, btw). That said, I’m paying attention to what you’re saying. But if you slam me again with absolutely no knowledge of who I am, what I know, or what I care about, it’s all over between us. Please don’t do that any more.

      13. Erik says:

        OK. The arguments here are bit of sport to me in some ways, but I am moved by an appeal like yours. I will try it another way.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      What difference could the niggling details possibly make, given your, and your peers’, automatic rejection setting to even the most modest limitations on the bearing of arms?

      1. Erik says:

        This is not a gun control thread. This is quack psychology used so a guy can vomit his pet bigotries out into open conversation where a few people might be tricked into affirming them. Minnesotan is new here. Earnest. He didn’t know that. He mistook it for a serious exchange, so he asked some pretty typical questions in the interest of furthering the conversation.

        “I’m not talking hunting squirrels.”

        Nor did he know Lambo doesn’t have the chops or temperament to have a conversation in which facts are articulated and evaluated. Nor did he know Lambo will only engage conservatives who appear intellectually docile.

        Now you know, Minnesotan.

  12. Minnesotan says:

    My rejection setting is only set at 95%. I was referring more to specific proposed legislation, the vast majority of which would have no impact on stopping these type of events – such as banning online ammo sales.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Just out of a misguided sense of curiosity, MN, do tell us all why you, or anyone, need to be able to fire more than 12 times, 13 if you keep one in the chamber, without having to be inconvenienced to reload?

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Make your case, Erik. Share with us the scenarios where some guy like you came to grief for lack of a high-capacity magazine.

      2. Erik says:

        It’s an irrelevant point. The relevant one is that high capacity magazines offer greater utility for self defense purposes than “regular” capacity magazines. Justifying this point by anecdote, study, or statistical model isn’t required. It’s self evident.

        The police use high capacity magazines to maximize the utility and firepower of their weapons. That utility and firepower isn’t any less useful to civilians for self defense. You asked for a reason. Self defense is the reason.

        It’s fair to observe you’ve got incredulity to self defense. That horse is also far from the barn politically speaking. Concealed carry / self defense is very mainstream, and permit holders have proven shockingly law abiding. So it’s the opposite. If you want to restrict civilian privileges that have not been abused, you ought to be able to speculate on the statistical efficacy of your proposal.

      3. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Yes, and also for what, if you’ll recall, prompted this discussion? I’m not aware that there exists a case for unlimited civilian personal defense. If there were, then doubtless you’d be armed with a legal fully-automatic weapon, which also further advances your imagined overarching need for an unlimited capacity to defend yourself. But they’re not legal for you to own because their threat to public safety is understood to outweigh your perceived need to own one for its self-evident utility.

      4. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Oh, please, Erik, you’ve devolved to self parody. This is like reading “The Onion.” And Fast Food Chicken Boy, the point, my point, anyway, is to merely limit the firepower of the murderously mentally ill by limiting magazine capacities. You, like your entire obsessive demo, reflexively play the it’s-pointless-if-it-doesn’t-eliminate-all-cases-of mass-killing card.

        I just don’t see public safety being trumped by your fantasies of refighting the Battle of The Little Bighorn.

  13. Chick-fil-A Patron says:

    When you’re a legislator, every problem is remedied with legislation. It’s the hammer in search of a nail.

      1. Chick-fil-A Patron says:

        These events will happen every so often, unavoidably so.

        Legislators – and the public – are misguided if they think they can eliminate mental illness-driven tragedies through more restrictive gun laws.

        We also have a little thing called the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

  14. Jed Leyland says:

    Twenty years ago, I asked Richard Nixon what he thought of gun control. His on-the-record reply: ‘Guns are an abomination.’ Free from fear of gun owners’ retaliation at the polls, he favored making handguns illegal and requiring licenses for hunting rifles.
    — William Safire (originally from a New York Times column), Los Angeles Daily News, June 15, 1999

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