And The Winner For The Dumbest Comment Made (So Far) About Guns Is Rick Santorum.

It’s time for me to issue a challenge to all my GVP friends: Which politician has said the dumbest thing about gun violence?  I don’t want to wait until next November because, frankly, some of these guys say things that are so dumb that if we waited another ten months to announce the results, the list would stretch from here to the moon.  Or at least from here to Fairfax, VA, if you know what I mean.  So what I’m going to do is post a dumbness comment whenever a particularly stupid thing comes out of one of the mouths of the clowns who actually believe they should be elected to lead the Free World, or whatever we are calling ourselves these days.  And the dumbest remark I can come up with right now popped out of the mouth yesterday of Rick Santorum, who is evidently still running for President, at least this is what he claimed he was doing in an interview on MSNBC.

When Santorum ran against Romney for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012, most of his campaign rallies were held at Evangelical churches and other conservative Christian conclaves because he spent his entire Senate career talking about nothing except ‘family values,’ which basically meant being the loudest anti-abortion voice in the U.S. Senate and really nothing else.  Since Trump has been married three times, I guess that Santorum figures the Evangelical, or at least the white Evangelical vote is up for grabs, so why not pitch the family values message again and, in the process, make sure to remind everyone that you are pro-gun?

santorum              Actually, I think the MSNBC co-host, Mika Brzezinski kind of got it wrong when she started off by telling Santorum that she thought he was a ‘smart guy,’ although maybe she was just being polite.  Anyway, she then asked Santorum, who had challenged American Muslims to confront extremism within their own community, how come he wasn’t challenging white men to come forward since it was white men who were ‘wreaking havoc’ with mass killings virtually all the time?

And here came Santorum’s response which I am nominating as the dumbest statement on guns that I have heard this year.  It all gets back to family values, according to Rick, and the fact that most of the crimes involving guns are caused by people who come from broken families headed by single Moms.  I’m paraphrasing slightly, but the bottom line is that what Santorum refers to as the ‘inanimate object,” a.k.a. the gun, has nothing to do with gun violence. It’s all about those kids from broken homes who don’t get proper guidance, a problem that Santorum claims he has been working on for ‘many years.’

Now let’s be honest, Rick.  When you were in the Senate, you didn’t get an A+ from the NRA for the way you voted on gun control because you had any interest at all in curbing deaths and injuries caused by guns.  In fact, according to you, none of the 100,000 gun deaths and injuries had anything to do with guns, it was and is because of the breakdown of the family, something that can only be reversed if we all pledge to adhere to your nostrum of ‘family values,’ whatever that means or doesn’t mean.

What really makes Santorum’s answer so embarrassingly dumb is not the fact that he didn’t answer the question.  It’s the fact that he didn’t answer the question by shifting the discussion to where he feels most comfortable, namely, reminding us that every social problem can be solved if we just had Ozzie and Harriet sitting in every American home.  Santorum continues to pretend that the definition of a ‘family’ can only be based on a concocted fantasy that certainly doesn’t exist today and probably never really existed at all. The truth is that gun violence comes in many different forms and grows out of many different social circumstances but it always starts with a gun.

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Want To Produce A Video On Offensive Comments About Guns? Just Listen To Carson, Trump, Fiorina, Bush, Et. Al.

Last year a photographer named Dana Spaeth-Williams put out a three-minute video consisting of a bunch of stills of kids holding placards which together delivered a standard and benign series of statements about the risk of guns.  Nothing that was said on the video hasn’t been said on thousands of other YouTube videos, none of the portraits of the children were inflammatory, provocative or anything like that.  The music was spare and haunting, the black-white contrast was artistic as could be; the video was as much a work of art as it was a political statement about gun violence today.  Evidently the video was also posted on Yahoo, AOL and MSNBC.

oregon                To date the YouTube video has been viewed 32,115 times, which isn’t a game-breaker for YouTube by any means. It has also attracted 263 comments and garnered 337 ‘likes’ and 158 ‘dislikes;’ again, numbers which indicate that neither the pro-gun nor the anti-gun crowd is responding to the video in droves.  Nevertheless, Ms. Spaeth-Williams has produced another video, again with a lovely musical background, which is simply a series of comments that were made about the original video since it went live.  To sum up, the comments are about as nasty, ugly and (it goes without saying) stupid as they can be.  As much as we like to think we are an educated, advanced and cultured society, there are certainly some among us who still believe they can contribute to a conversation by saying the worst, most profanity-laced rants, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the topic at hand.

The second video states that the comments were culled from “thousands” of comments received from pro-gun extremists, and while I didn’t look at comments on Yahoo, AOL or MSNBC, I did read all the postings on YouTube which, I assume, would have been similar to what appeared wherever the video could be seen.  Were there lots of loony, nasty and indecipherable comments?  Of course.  Did some of the bloggers compete with one another to see who could say the nastiest, coarsest things?  Of course.  Did many of the most ‘extreme’ comments appear to be the work of teen-agers who love to say on the internet what they can’t say out loud in their 7th grade class?  Of course.

But what I found most interesting were the numerous comments that were positive, favorable and not just a quick pat on the back, but often contained serious efforts to talk about the content and impact of the video’s message, along with its clear attempt to be considered as a piece of art. In fact, I don’t recall seeing as many thoughtful and respectful reactions to any other gun-control message that has been posted online, which only proves once again that if you elevate the level of your content, you tend to elevate the level of people who respond.

Did the crazy, loony and offensive pro-gun comments upset me?  Not a bit.  Comments like “You left wing libernuts should be the first ones in the encampments like the Jews”  don’t bother me because the guy who wrote it talks to the same two or three people every day and nobody really cares what he thinks or says. Meanwhile, a guy who says the same thing to CNN is favored by nearly one out of five likely national Republican voters to be the next President of the United States. Can I really blame some poor, pathetic shut-in sitting in front of his computer all day making anti-Semitic rants when Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon no less, dismisses criticisms from a leading Jewish civil rights organization as “foolishness?” But we all know that Jews = Liberals so what does Carson stand to lose?

Hey Dana, want to make another video containing extreme and offensive statements about guns? Just splice together the words of Carson, Trump, Fiorina, Bush and all the other Republicans who have decided that protecting the 2nd Amendment is the most important problem facing America today.

 

Why Not Let The NRA Protect Us From Ebola?

Last year you may recall that the self-certified ophthalmologist, Rand Paul, derailed the nomination of Vivek Murthy to become Surgeon General because Murthy actually believes that guns are contraindicated to good health.  Now it looks like the nomination may go forward again, and to rev up support for Murthy, the States United campaign and MSNBC put out a statement blaming the NRA for a possible Ebola crisis in the United States, the logic being that any lapses in the CDC’s response to Ebola can be blamed on a lack of leadership, which can be blamed on the Senate’s failure to confirm Murthy, which can be blamed on the NRA.

Not one to ever back down from a good argument, the NRA called the charges against them “outlandish,” and went on to say that “gun control supporters will use any human tragedy to advance their anti-gun and anti-NRA agenda, no matter how ridiculous and desperate it reveals them to be.”  So what Philip Cook and Kristin Goss call The Gun Debate once again becomes the gun argument with both sides appealing to emotions and fears rather than evidence-based information, aka, facts.  The fact is that there’s no connection between an airport security guard who didn’t check a boarding pass and the absence of a Surgeon General in Washington, DC.  There‘s also no connection between Vivek’s views on gun violence and whether Americans need to protect themselves from crime, terrorists or anything else with guns.

      Vivek Murthy, M.D.

Vivek Murthy, M.D.

Speaking about terrorism, yesterday I received an email from a company marketing a product which appears to be a “must have” accessory for my AR-15.  It’s a handy little gadget called a Field Survivor Tool that stores in the rifle handgrip and allows me to adjust my sights, tighten the rails, fix the ejector, clean the bore and gas key, all for only $79.95.  And what’s really important about this little gizmo is that, according to the manufacturer, it’s “the one tool necessary for every AR to keep you safe in COMBAT or in play at the range.”  Combat?  I bought an AR so that I could go into combat?  I was drafted in 1968.  That’s when I would have gone into combat.

On the other hand, maybe there’s a new definition of combat that, like many millennial cultural expressions, has passed me by.  Take a look at the website of the Michigan Militia, some of whose members were interviewed by Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine and I quote from their Home page: “We are on yellow alert, which means a situation is probable. This is due to threats from ISIS and a completely unsecure border.  There are reports that some form of attack is imminent on the Southwestern border.  Check your gas tanks and water containers.”  What are they planning to do?  Drive from Michigan to the Rio Grande to protect the homeland?

But you don’t need to cross the United States to get into combat.  It’s a situation that could flare up at any point during the day.  Here’s some advice from Ted Nugent, who avoided military service but knows a good combat situation when  he sees one: “Those who carry guns had better gun & ammo up no matter where you go, carrying at least 10 spare mags or 10 spare speedloaders because the allahpukes are confident they will once again methodically slaughter walking cowering whining cryin helpless sitting ducks capable of zero resistance.”  Gun and ammo up and don’t forget the handy Field Survivor Tool for just $79.95.

Want a brilliant satire on current gun culture?  Take a look at this video produced by a kid from Texas named Ike Stephens.  He’s a gun guy for sure, but he knows a good marketing pitch when he sees one.  And with all due respect to advocates for gun control like States United, what they seem to miss is there are lots of grownups out there who really wish they were still kids but can pretend to be soldier-boy using real guns.  How do you connect concerns about gun violence to those kinds of folks?  Because if Ebola did start ravaging the United States, I guarantee it would re-start the demand for AR-15s.