CSotD: Same Song, Same Dance, Same Deaths

Letting Dave Whamond lead off, despite a couple of hesitations. One is about the connection between the shooting and football, but my main quibble is with “How could this happen?” because, come on, who’s surprised anymore?

Which is his point, so he should have reworked it. He does make up for it with the looks of horror on their faces, because we keep being horrified but we’ve stopped being surprised, which seems contradictory but really isn’t.

When JFK was assassinated, we were horrified, surprised and shocked, and when it emerged that Oswald had bought his rifle by mail order, laws were passed to end gun sales by mail. Not only that, but Westerns and cop shows on TV were markedly toned down to reduce the gunfire and killings they brought into American livingrooms.

It’s still horrifying, but it’s no longer shocking or surprising. It’s as if we lived on a busy highway and people’s dogs kept getting run over. We’d be horrified by each sad carcass, and we’d realize that the only ways to prevent it would be to enact leash laws and lower the speed limit on that stretch of road.

If someone argued that dogs would still get loose and people would still speed, we’d say, “We know we can’t stop it entirely, but we can certainly lower the frequency with which it happens.”

We love our cars, but we’ll act if we see them running over our dogs.

As horrified as we were when JFK was killed, and when Columbine happened, and when Parkland happened, and when Las Vegas happened, and on and on … well, it wasn’t happening right now, right in front of us.

We hate cancer in a kind of abstract, noble way, but it’s different when it happens to someone you love.

That’s how we feel about gun violence.

My point about football seems clearer in this Christine Sharp commentary, because she makes a connection between the parade and the shooting that doesn’t hold up.

In the Las Vegas shootings, the murderer took advantage of a concert, but it wasn’t the fault of the concert promoters. Similarly, we don’t blame the Boston Marathon bombing on foot races, nor has anyone suggested we rethink Lunar New Year celebrations because of the shootings in LA last year.

From everything that has emerged so far, the shooters in Kansas City weren’t seeking fame or to make a political point, but, rather, were a couple of street punks with personal grudges. They both showed up for the parade and ran into each other.

That sort of thing happens at block parties all the time. The crowds aren’t as large, so fewer people get hit with stray bullets. But there’s even a term — “mushrooms” — for little kids who pop up in the wrong place at the wrong time and wind up getting shot..

Clay Jones used the popular meme based on Travis Kelce shouting at his coach, Andy Reid, in frustration during the Super Bowl. He’s right that more guns don’t mean fewer shootings, and he’s right that the MAGAts and gun nuts aren’t gonna buy that obvious point.

But I would have found another way, because Reid was in the midst of the chaos and comforted a frightened kid instead of running away himself.

The message is correct, but the staging is wildly inappropriate.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Andy Marlette — Creators

Bill Day

We’re a month and a half into the year and we’ve already had 49 mass shootings, this Jacksonville TV station reports. Or, to put another way, we’ve had 49 mass shootings over the past 46 days.

I specify the source of that story, because the KC shootings happened a day after the sixth anniversary of the shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

You remember that: It was then that we said “never again!”

Well, it was one of the times when we said never again. We seem to have said that a lot, but, as Marlette suggests and Day specifies, the gun nuts in Florida seem to have forgotten those murdered children, and the 49 slaughtered in 2016 at the Pulse nightclub, because their legislature is in the process of rolling back their gun laws further, to make sure everyone has plenty of firepower.

Those who propose common sense laws there appear to be in a nearly-helpless minority.

And it ain’t like Missouri is leading the way in fostering sensible gun regulations, either.

Nick Anderson suggests that there might be a connection between our lax gun laws and our frequent gun murders, but it’s hard to tell. He limits it to “developed countries,” which leaves out Somalia and similar places.

Gosh, you can’t draw First World comparisons, because after mass shootings in places like Dunblane and Christchurch, they pass restrictive gun laws and totally skew the statistics.

Still, Deb Milbrath says, we could make an effort, though at least the gunmakers are happy.

And, as Paul Fell says, if the people with the guns are happy, who cares about the unarmed ones?

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Matt Davies

Rob Rogers

Matt Davies asks the lawyer’s question, “Cui bono?” and we know who benefits from the proliferation of weapons, so Rob Rogers makes a suggestion, in keeping with the recent conviction of a careless parent for arming a child she knew had mental issues and had threatened a mass shooting he then carried out.

However, one way we know who benefits is that, in 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which made it very hard to bring civil suits against gun manufacturers or sellers by victims of gun violence and their next of kin.

It’s not absolute, as the Giffords Law Center points out, but it’s a sign of whose side the Majesty of the Law takes, and of the gaping holes in what legislation we have, which is why we keep reading that a gun used in a shooting was legally obtained, like the one used to shoot Rep. Giffords and kill six other people.

Steve Brodner quotes the president, but I’ll quote Lenny Bruce: “The truth is what is, and what should be is a fantasy.”

Scott Dooley and Jason Chatfield wrap things up with what is rather than what should be.

Weeping doesn’t matter. Voting does.

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Same Song, Same Dance, Same Deaths

  1. The other answer to the cui bono question is the people who are counting on their armed base to ensure they keep power regardless of what voters say.

  2. Seven people died as a result of the Tylenol poisonings in 1982. Result: Tamper-proof everything, except toothpaste, for some odd reason.
    Richard Reid – unsuccessfully – tried to blow up a plane by packing his shoes with explosives. Result: Everyone who wants to board a commercial aircraft in the U.S. must remove their shoes.

    Meanwhile. people are getting mowed down every day by firearms in the U.S., 49,000 in 2021, according to the Pew Research Center. Result: Nothing changes. We add more guns to combat the problem. A nation of victims, and a nation of armed and equally fearful combatants.

    1. Exactly.
      A little kid gets hurt playing with a toy. Guess what? You won’t see that toy on the shelves anymore.
      Little kids get gunned down en masse. “Eh, what’re you gonna do?”

  3. Thanks Mike for making a big issue of the absurd gun violence.
    I wish the gun freaks were literally (not figuratively) ‘shooting their mouths off’. We had a neighbor who bragged he had 1,600 rounds of ammo in his garage and warned us to stay away from him at the grocery store ’cause he was always ‘packin’. Welcome to america where violence and insanity are requisites to be part of the rtwingnut crowd.

  4. I’m not sure those first two were actually meant to imply the shooting happened because it was a football event so much as they were both making the same joke of ‘mass shootings are one of America’s biggest passtimes’, unless there was some accompanying commentary saying otherwise.

  5. Thanks for recalling and quoting the great Lenny Bruce. Similarly, as someone much pithier than me said, “In theory, theory and reality are the same. In reality, they aren’t…”

  6. Recently found out a guy I used to know who moved to Vegas to play poker professionally — big guy, big talker — allegedly told a visiting friend he could take care of himself because ‘he was packing.’

    Shocker: dude was gunned down in a shootout in a mall parking lot in the middle of the afternoon after an supposed road rage incident. Of course the actual details will never be known because the assailant was an ex-cop who claimed self-defense, so any charges will likely be dropped, and the case dismissed.

    It was the most pointless, most American, of deaths: A wild west shootout over nothing.

  7. Tennessee lawmakers want to ban the sale of cold beer in order to cut down on drinking and driving! If only Tennessee lawmakers could give a thought to gun violence.

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