Monday, January 14th, 2013

Another Sign of the Times

The New York Times is reporting that the Newtown parents have issued this statement:

“We’re looking for dialogue. We’re looking for ideas. We’re looking for a national discussion to take place. We don’t want to just come out and say this is what we stand for, this is what we believe in. We want to encourage a national discussion on this. Do something different. When you look at what’s been done in the past, it hasn’t gotten us very far. We have to do something different.”

Since it seems too far-fetched that this group remains somehow captive to any pro-gun influences, one has to take this amazing pre-emptive surrender as yet another sign of just how beaten down we are in what remains of civil society. Jesus, people, you don’t enter a life-and-death struggle asking to talk things over with you enemy. Rosa Parks didn’t ask to be allowed into the middle rows of the bus. You make a clean and simple demand and then go fight for it.

As for “what’s been done in the past,” wasn’t that a whole lot of nothing? Sheesh!

For those TCTers who are interested in this topic of liberal surrender-monkeying, I also heartily endorse Thomas Frank’s new review, in the February Harper’s, of Spielberg’s silly little “Lincoln” movie. It’s by far the best thing Mr. Frank has ever penned, IMHO. (Among other excellent observations, Frank calls Spielberg “that Michelangelo of the trite.” Oh, s–nap!)

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in A Culture of...


17 Responses to “Another Sign of the Times”

  1. January 14th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    High Arka said:

    How cute–the death of your children now entitles you to fifteen-minute celebrity status. Under legal guidance, and with lots of cooperative group-work, you can release soulless PR statements that sound like something the White House press club could’ve come up with by itself.

    This is why newspapers don’t need staff anymore–any middle-class person can immediately produce the party line on any given piece of news, including a death in that person’s own family.

  2. January 14th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Charles D said:

    What the heck is a “national discussion”? Or a “national conversation” like the one Joe Biden is supposedly having?

    This nation is incapable of holding a discussion. On virtually every topic, we have at least two entrenched groups who are immune to all arguments and any facts that don’t support their pre-conceived ideas.

    These parents don’t need a f*&^ing discussion, they need to stop needless gun violence before someone else’s child is killed. If they don’t have any idea how to do that, they should do some research or talk to someone who has instead of opening a faux dialogue with those who aren’t able to change their minds.

  3. January 14th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    High Arka said:

    If they really cared, they would go fight for it–they would not swallow the easy answer like so many 9/11 folders, but instead delve into the dark questions of pattern behavior, conflicting initial multiple-shooter reports, and fathers with access to LIBOR rate information.

    A really short, easy link on the LIBOR part of that story.

    If they actually went after it like bloodhounds, they would either mysteriously disappear, or unravel the puppeteers behind America’s long history of random-white-guy attacks.

  4. January 14th, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    diane said:

    Rosa Parks didn’t ask to be allowed into the middle rows of the bus.

    and even more empowering, neither did those unnumbered, unproclaimed …….. young, ‘black,’ women and men ….. preceding her, whom, ….. it was decided upon, …. were too primal, AND Uncomprising to the venal message given,…. to highlight …may they rest in peace, …… eternally, …… for their sacrifices

  5. January 14th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Marla Singer said:

    Not to threadjack, but RE: the CT & CO shooters and their fathers embedded in the same LIBOR scandal. WTF? I know that the most unlikely coindidences will happen eventually due to pure chance – but seriously, Wjust TF? I’m no mathematitian, but the odds have to be astronomically low…

  6. January 14th, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Marla Singer said:

    (well, if anything, we may now have a striking anecdotal/empirical evidence that the captains of high finance and their errand boys may come from genetic lines that have achieved perfection in socipathic behavior)

  7. January 15th, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Michael Dawson said:

    Charles, you’re quite right, though I would contend that we don’t actually have two groups. As Chomsky puts it, we have the Business Party, and the differences between its two wings are quite small. Even on gun control, there’s certainly no entrenched anti-gun faction to speak of.

    As for “national dialogue,” that is not only massively naive as to how things get changed, but the impossibility is structural. The marketing operations that pass for politics take place entirely through advertising and the corporate media. Those two venues are incapable of facilitating any serious discussions.

    Did you guys catch the self-flattering tripe about parenting in that NYT story? “I am not done being the best parent I can be for Ben,” Mr. Wheeler said. “Not by a very long measure. If there is something in our society that clearly needs to be fixed or healed or resolved, that resolution needs a point of origin. It needs parents.” Cripes, what drivel.

  8. January 15th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Marla Singer said:

    Has there ever been anti-gun group in the US? At least I am not aware of any.

    Also, I find it important not to forget that the revitalization of interest in gun ownership is at least partially a lefty achievement – the Black Panthers made a big deal out of the right to self-defence.

    That’s not the reason I personally oppose many forms of gun control, but I think it is worth remembering beyond the other accumulated garbage (e.g. the interests and marketing of the gun industry etc.)

    As for policy, I am pretty sure that the rational response is pretty much “do nothing”. The potential reintroduction of the assault weapons ban is useless if the goal is to reduce gun violence – overwhelming majority of gun homicides (>75%) are conducted with handguns, not rifles. So if you are going to ban anything – ban handguns, but leave the rifles alone…

    (I understand the risks and the negative externalities, yet I still prefer people to be armed.)

  9. January 15th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Marla Singer said:

    (obviously, I know there are many small anti-gun groups, I’m just not aware of anything prominent and somewhat powerful on national stage…)

  10. January 15th, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    High Arka said:

    Arguably, the media and Congress are a prominent, powerful anti-gun group. Considering the level of weaponry humans have developed, and that employed by governments on a day-to-day basis, the comparatively tiny number of single-carrier, hand-borne projectile weapons that adults who haven’t run foul of the medical or legal profession can obtain are nothing.

    “Handguns” are the next destined target for population disarmament, because their concealment–like the unanimously banned silencer–could allow private citizens to theoretically conceal weapons from government agents. They wouldn’t accomplish anything revolution wise, but they do make it a little less cost effective to insulate low-level shock troops against fear of resistance. The SWAT officer who can’t immediately assess “empty hands” as “no real threat” experiences a slight drop in cleanup efficiency, so it’s best if peasants are permitted to own only weapons visible from a distance.

  11. January 16th, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Marla Singer said:

    Oh, snap. I didn’t think of that ;(. Leave handguns alone too then :).

  12. January 17th, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Michael Dawson said:

    FWIW, I don’t buy the argument that an armed population scares the overclass. I think the counter-argument — that pistol packing proles fear and shoot each other in ways they would otherwise not — is more plausible and historically proven. Who wants to argue and parlay much, if you always have to wonder when you’ll be seeing the bad end of a Glock? And who needs Mano Blanco when everybody watches the nightly street crime report known as “local news”?

    Besides, this ruling class doesn’t have much of an issue winning any possible shootout, overt or covert. It is history’s most heavily and fancily armed regime. And, of course, shooting down the Black Panthers was a great deal easier than getting rid of Dr. King.

    I think the rare times when the masses have scared the masters have arisen at moments of informed and organized social movements. The last instance in the USA was the Sixties. I think those moments are harmed, not helped, by the cowboy self-defense mentality.

  13. January 17th, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Marla Singer said:

    This is all true, and being armed provides some sort of psychic comfort only in the even of an all-out confrontation (in anything short of that, clearly the state weaponry wins). And of course, let’s not forget Vietnam and countless other insurgencies that were able to do serious damage with little more than handheld guns.

    But the much more general reason I think the fight over gun control is pointless is that approaching it this wayobscures the fact that obsession with guns is largely a symptom of the powerlesness and alienation they experience, and that’s an easy sedative, not that different than buying anything else to satiate an inner emptiness.

    That’s why I think even the scariest gun nuts probably deserve and need compassion the most – after all, they fear many the same things we do, even if they don’t articulate them the same way. ‘Fighting them’ achieves nothing. Instead, they should be approached as allies.

    The NRA reports adding 250,000 new members since the CT shooting. And to be honest, I sort of sympathise and might join myself. The annoying liberal elites are not just a far right invention – I know personally the type, and to be honest I would rather have a drink with a redneck than a militant soccer mom hellbent on fighting the unwashed gun-totin’ monsters. I’ve had plenty of friends complain about how much the armed rednecks hate them, and then spill some awful slur describing the ‘masses’ in the exact same sentence and not see the problem of thinking that way…

  14. January 17th, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Michael Dawson said:

    My sense is that a genuine “national dialogue,” if such a thing were possible, would be rather different than the stereotypical “sides” we see in the media, at least on the anti-gun side of things. I don’t buy the idea that all or even most who say they want limits are liberal elitists.

    But actual, on-the-streets liberalism is exactly what the corporate media and the “Democratic Party” are unwilling to depict.

  15. January 17th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Marla Singer said:

    Right, exactly – most of gun owners have no problems with fixing the obvious problems in the flow of weapons abd support restricting access to firearms through better background checks etc. This poll made the rounds in the news recently and clearly shows that: http://www.businessinsider.com/nra-and-gun-control-poll-gun-owners-colorado-theater-shooting-batman-2012-7

    The media portrayal of the “gun debate”/culture war probably has nothing to do with the actual positions helf by actual people on the ground. But pitching it this way makes for a good sideshow, and any non-essential policy controversy that captures the energies of the gullible liberals/republicans is a good controversy, right?

  16. January 17th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    diane said:

    One thing is sure, re the guns debate, the voiceless will be penalized and tracked (even more than before) as if they were the predators running the show.

    While not acknowledging the acronym, SSI (Federal Supplemental Security Income), for those with Mental Illness , and required to look to the Federal Government in order to stay alive – a category which increasingly encompasses the poor (1) and those discriminated against in the Work Place (2) for their age and experience [read, we don’t want no stinking life long experience interfering] – Obama et al have made it quite clear they want to further hone the list of State Wards who might take issue with that State for the absence of a safety net versus the medication and targeting they are now forced to endure if they want a roof over their heads.

    Anyone with a working mind, can ascertain that with the listing of actions to be taken, for instance at a 01/16/13 Atlantic piece, titled, Here Are Obama’s 23 Executive Actions on Gun Violence (theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/01/obama-executive-actions-gun-list/61075/ add a www), or an ever so slightly more honest (to my mind) reading of the, 01/17/13 LA Times piece ( latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-guns-background-20130117,0,238139.story , add a www ), titled, Background check system for guns deeply flawed:

    Federal agencies are supposed to turn over any relevant records — for instance, names of … those judged mentally ill

    What should interest people is that Aspergers, which I believe has been removed (or is soon to be removed) from the $APA$’s (American P$ychiatric A$$ociation) mental illness category, an ailment which has been far more connected to mass shooter syndromes, is likely rare (if not non-existent) on the SSI database, since it seems to massively cluster around tech savvy (Aspergers has been quite normalized in Silicon Valley, the Home of the most concentrated toxic SuperFund sites in the U$), economically sound white families.

    That is not at all to attack those whose children may have a disease which is likely environmental, it is only to say that those with no economic resources are being maliciously, unrelentinly, targeted.

    (1) per Marcia Angell’s piece, The Illusions of Psychiatry (nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jul/14/illusions-of-psychiatry/?pagination=false , add a www to it):

    As low-income families experience growing economic hardship, many are finding that applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on the basis of mental disability is the only way to survive. It is more generous than welfare, and it virtually ensures that the family will also qualify for Medicaid.

    (2) A personal anecdote, regarding age/experience discrimination, I know someone who was told to apply for SSI, by a Silicon Valley, California State Rep’s intern, when they questioned that intern they spoke to as to why their REP had not addressed the age/experience discrimination, in Silicon Valley, California. Putting that through a fine sieve: in other words, that intern totally disregarded the question …and suggested the person be treated as Mentally Ill ™, ..in order to make ends meet .

  17. January 17th, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    diane said:

    (very sorry, unrelentingly, not “unrelentinly.” )



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