How Do We Keep A Law-Abiding Gun Owner From Doing Something Crazy With A Gun?

In the aftermath of Orlando and Dallas, Gun Violence Prevention advocates find themselves coming face-to-face with the veritable elephant in the living room, namely, how to prevent someone from using a gun who acquired the weapon legally?  Expanding background checks to private transaction, a worthwhile goal, wouldn’t have made any difference in these two tragedies at all. For that matter, instituting a permit-to-purchase requirement for handguns or highly-lethal assault rifles also wouldn’t have prevented either shooter from getting his hands on a gun.

dallas           Of course Gun-nut Nation has a ready-made answer to this problem, consisting of eliminating all ‘gun-free’ zones and convincing every ‘law-abiding’ citizen to walk around with a gun. So even if a law-abiding citizen like the Orlando shooter yanked out his AR and started shooting up a club, there would be a few armed citizens in the crowd who would immediately respond and bring things under control.  If you actually believe that there’s any truth whatsoever in the previous sentence, do me a favor, okay?  Go lay brick.

Now back to reality.  The problem we face in this respect is both very simple and very complicated.  It’s simple because what we are looking at is an aberrant form of behavior which every year costs more than 30,000 Americans their lives and another 60,000+ Americans their health because gun injuries happen to be the most medically devastating injury of all.  That’s the simple part.

The complicated part is that trying to control or (God forbid) change human behavior through imposing new rules or regulations can work, but only if the rules reflect a collaboration of a large and diverse group of stakeholders, all of whom agree that something needs to be done.  Who had to jump on the bandwagon to cut the fatality rate from auto accidents? Try government, manufacturers, insurance companies, school systems, law enforcement, and most of all, the driving public.  Can you imagine a similar conglomeration of stakeholders sitting down to come up with a set of comprehensive mandates to make it more difficult for Mister Average Joe Gun Owner to do something stupid or destructive with his gun?

And even if you could convene these relevant participants, and even if they could produce some new mandates that might alter the current regulatory environment in a positive way, how could such changes create any kind of barrier to a law-abiding individual who wants to own a gun? Which is why I said above that the Gun Violence Prevention community is looking at an elephant in the living room when it comes to figuring out how to prevent an otherwise harmless-looking and harmless-behaving fellow from taking his gun and going to the extreme.

But I also have a suggestion that might actually make a difference in terms of identifying the elephant and bringing him under control.  And it’s a suggestion that doesn’t need any mandates or regulation at all, just the ability of some concerned individuals or organizations to communicate the following idea.

And the idea is based on what appears to be one thing that most law-abiding, mass shooters have in common before they committed their dreadful acts, namely, that in the run up to their destructive behavior, they divulged their plans to at least one other person who then made the conscious decision not to intervene.  This was true of the shooter at Charleston, true for the shooter who walked into The Pulse, certainly true of the shooter at San Bernardino, I suspect it’s true of so many more.

What we really need is messaging which tells people they need to get involved and alert others if they learn that someone is planning to use a gun in a harmful way.  Conversations, Facebook posts, emails, I don’t care how the possible mass shooter announces his plans.  If you know a gun owner who tells others that he’s going to do something ‘big’ with his gun, don’t just dismiss it as a harmless gesture.  Ask yourself whether you want to be around if and when he moves from words to an act.

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Some Gays Think They Need To Protect Themselves With Guns. I Don’t Agree.

One of the things I like about July 4th is that everyone’s out there having a good time.  So I am going to have a good time, too.  And since what I enjoy doing more than anything is writing, I spend part of the July 4th holiday writing something that I know will piss some people off. Which is why I usually go after something having to do with Gun-nut Nation because it’s so easy to piss them off.  And today I’m going to go after a subset of Gun-nut Nation, which is the queer Gun-nut Nation, a.k.a. a phony little group known as the Pink Pistols, and I’m not going to be either polite or politically-correct in what I’m going to say.

guns gays           I think it’s a tremendous step forward that an alliance is forming between the Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) community and LGBTQ.  If nothing else, I hope it will allow me to stop spelling out the GVP acronym as this alliance matures and grows.  But as I have said previously, the strength that LGBTQ brings to the issue of gun violence isn’t just one of numbers, it’s much more one of organizational experience and smarts.  When it comes to changing hearts and minds about a serious issue, LGBTQ has been there, done that, more times and in more places than I could ever know.

But the bad news about this alliance is that once attention starts getting paid to the issue of gays and guns, you can be sure that everyone will try to get in on the act.  And the curtain was first raised by an article in the Washington Post which discussed the emerging GVP-LGBTQ connection but made a point, in the interests of course of fair and balanced journalism, to mention some LGBTQ ‘activists’ who have ‘vigorously embraced’ gun rights.  Four days later, WaPo ran a second, full-length article on a gay guy in Philly who has organized a Pink Pistols chapter with the help of a certified, NRA pistol instructor who also happens to be gay.

So I took a little time to read up on the Pink Pistols, in particular their 25-page organizational manual which tells you who they are, how they got started and what they hope to achieve.  And what they hope to achieve is a national movement that will respond to the ongoing anti-gay violence suffered by the LGBTQ community by getting every member of that community to walk around with a gun: “We are dedicated to the legal, safe and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community.”

This is a complete load of crap and because it’s a holiday weekend I’m being polite.  Sorry, but being ‘safe and responsible’ with firearms is an oxymoron that Gun-nut Nation has been trotting out ever since the issue of gun violence was first raised, and if you want to believe it, go right ahead.  You can also believe that Martians really did land at Area 51 or that Donald Trump will build a wall.

But the agenda of Pink Pistols doesn’t actually bear on facts or the truth, it’s nothing more than a warmed-over enchilada to get another non-gun population interested in joining and supporting the NRA.   Because if you take the trouble to read their manual you’ll discover that the only training they recommend is the NRA “Refuse To Be A Victim” course, which happens to be a course that doesn’t cover anything having to do with guns at all.  It’s basically a little seminar that builds on the idea that we are all vulnerable to crime, but the issue of crimes against the LGBTQ community isn’t mentioned once.  What a surprise.

Want to read something serious and honest about gays and guns? Take a look at the LGBTQ news blog The Advocate and, in particular, the article on ‘Gays and Guns,’ along with John Feinblatt’s commentary on what Orlando meant to him. Then have a safe and happy holiday – GVP/LGBTQ will get it on!!!

Gays Meet Gun Violence Prevention On August 13 — Be There!

Now that an alliance is emerging between the Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) community and LGBTQ, I think my friends who advocate for stronger gun regulations need to whether the regulations they support will really meet the needs, expectations and goals of both groups.  Because the good news is that this alliance merges the talents, energies and experiences of LGBTQ and GVP, but the issues faced by my gay gender friends were and are different than the agenda currently on the plates my friends who advocate for more regulations of guns.

gays against guns           The fact is that LGBTQ folks faced not only de-facto discrimination in past years, but in many cases had to confront legal discrimination as well. Want to marry someone of the same gender? It couldn’t be done.  Want to give a same-sex partner legal claim to your property or your estate?  It couldn’t be done.  Want to bring a child into a household comprised of two gay women or men?  Couldn’t be done.

So we aren’t talking here about the terrible inconvenience of driving to the local gun shop in order to complete a private sale or transfer of Uncle Ted’s old shotgun; we aren’t forcing anyone to sit through a couple of hours of tedious lectures in order to qualify to walk around town with a gun; we aren’t even saying that the Glock in someone’s pocket can only hold 10 rounds.  The NRA prides itself on being America’s ‘oldest’ civil rights organization, but their concern for civil rights and equality never addressed the inequality that dogged life-styles of men and women who happen to be gay.

In fact, there happens to be a gay, gun-rights organization out there called the Pink Pistols, which claims to have 45 chapters nationwide with more ‘starting up’ every day.  The Pittsburgh group has 39 members, the New York City group claims 223, in Dallas there are 106 folks who have signed on; actually these are all folks who have joined Pink Pistol groups on Facebook – who knows how many of them actually own guns?  Of course the national organization felt compelled to issue a statement after Orlando and of course felt equally compelled to use the Orlando tragedy to promote the ‘armed citizen’ nonsense that has become the basic talking-point of the NRA.  But I’ll give these folks some credit for coming up with a new twist on the stupidity and recklessness of armed, personal defense, namely that in localities that prohibit mixing guns and alcohol, exceptions should be made for ‘designated’ concealed carriers of guns.  Okay, now let’s get back to reality.

And the reality is this:  On August 13 there is going to be a big rally in Washington, DC that will cement the alliance between Gun Violence Prevention and LGBT. It’s being billed as an event to promote LGBTQ Equal Rights and Realistic Gun Law Reform and there are already 25 national gay-rights and GVP organizations signed up in support.  One of the gay groups, Gays Against Guns, formed directly after the Orlando massacre and marched in New York’s Pride parade.  Move over Pink Pistols, your concerns about gun rights just won’t fly.

The August 13 event is the brainchild and handiwork of a gay activist, Jason Hayes, who bills himself as a ‘celebrity hairstylist’ and lives in New Jersey but he’s a lot more than that.  Jason has brilliantly tapped into a wellspring of emotion and LGBTQ desire to promote yet another fundamental change.  And the LGBTQ community knows something about change.

But I want to what I said up top, namely, that LGBTQ folks come to this struggle with a very clear understanding of what inequality means, whereas on the GVP side the issue of ‘rights’ is what we always hear from Gun-nut Nation, rather than the other way around. So we need a meeting of the minds before August 13th and we also need as many minds as possible to meet on what will be an historic day.

If You Think The Sit-In Over Gun Violence Ended Last Week, Think Again.

There’s a new group on the Gun Violence Prevention landscape called Rabbis Against Gun Violence, and they have engineered a clever event today that deserves some attention. Actually, it’s a series of events they are calling a Sit-InTo Disarm Hate, and it is an attempt to carry forward the direct action of the House of Representatives sit-in last week to the district offices of Congressional reps, many of whom will be back home for the July 4th break.

rabbis           Here’s the way it’s going to work. First you print out a sign. Then you share it on whatever social media platforms you use (and of course personalize with a pic,) then tweet it to: @RabbisAgstGunV and use the hashtag #DisarmHate. Then contact the Rabbis group on their website and they will help you coordinate or join an event.

It doesn’t really matter whether you are by yourself, or it’s just you and a few other folks, or maybe it’s an anti-violence or anti-hate group that is looking for something to do.  The bottom line is that in many, if not most cases, you’ll be sending a message to the home office of an elected representative that they may not have ever received before.  And you are also telling your rep that when he or she goes back to DC, the possibility of more direct action looms ahead.

Because the truth is that this issue is not going to fade away.  We have reached a tipping-point because for the first time a grass-roots effort to promote an end to gun violence is beginning to take hold.  And if nothing else, what Orlando demonstrated beyond the shadow of any doubt is that something has to be done.  And it’s not just a question of ‘fixing’ this or ‘fixing’ that; serious and substantial changes have to occur.

I’m kind of an old-fashioned guy so the idea that religious groups should spearhead political change isn’t how I was brought up to think.  Religion was religion, politics was politics, the two didn’t usually intersect. But it was the Civil Rights movement that started in the 1950’s which changed all that, and the rabbis who have put together this new group to confront gun violence are acting in a tradition which now goes back more than sixty years.  Remember the Selma Bridge march in 1965?  One of the marchers was a Rabbi named Abraham Heschel, who was an admirer and confidante of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and it was his leadership that forged a Jewish commitment to civil rights that remains strong to this day.

Now it turns out that a member of the group’s Executive Committee, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, attended the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, which happens to be where Dr. Heschel taught from 1946 until his death in 1972.  So the mission and work of this new group flows directly from the previous generation of Jewish rabbinical activism and is reflected in the group’s founding statement that “we are rooted in and inspired by Jewish values, teachings, texts, history and traditions,” which if it isn’t rooted in Heschel’s life and work, I don’t know what is.

The NRA loves to advertise itself as America’s oldest civil rights organization. But I’m beginning to think that maybe, just maybe the attempt to link guns to civil rights may be about to take a different turn.  Because when you stop to think about it, isn’t it everyone’s civil right to live a life free from violence and physical strife?  And aren’t we actually advancing a civil rights agenda when we call for an end to violence caused by guns?

I hope this new group Rabbis Against Gun Violence continues to flourish and grow.  I wish them and their supporters on June 29th a zissen tag, which means a sweet day.  What they are doing needs to be done.
 

Glenn Kessler Checks Chris Murphy’s Facts And Gets It All Wrong.

Just when it appears that the Senate may do the right thing and actually vote some kind of gun law, we are treated to an attempt by, of all publications, The Washington Post, to cast aspersions on the chief sponsor of the bill, Senator Chris Murphy, by subjecting his comments about gun violence and AR-15s to the so-called ‘fact checking’ process conducted by Glenn Kessler, who often writes for WaPo about guns.  I have had differences with Kessler in the past, but this particular effort reveals him to be a liar or a jerk or both, and if Jeff Bezos ever decides to throw Kessler out, he can run right down to Fairfax and work for the NRA.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Kessler begins by taking Murphy to task for saying that states with more gun-control regulations have less homicides, and since Murphy referred to gun ‘homicides’ and not overall gun deaths, his statement, according to Kessler, contained ‘significant factual errors.’  And the great error, according to Kessler, is that by linking gun-control laws to homicides, Senator Murphy completely overlooked the fact that some states, particularly the Western states, have few gun laws and few homicides, but have higher rates of suicide.

To state, as Kessler does, that Murphy’s linkage between gun control and homicides is not factually based is a disingenuous and underhanded way of casting doubt on the value of gun regulations in general, hence, should cast doubt on Murphy’s current attempt to strengthen gun laws.  Hey Glenn, let’s cut the bullshit, okay? There is no doubt that states with stiffer gun laws tend to have lower rates of gun homicides and gun violence in general, and the fact that Western states have lax gun laws and few gun homicides is basically irrelevant because Western states, in case you want to take the trouble to check, also don’t have many people.  So in the overall scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter what the gun violence rate is in Idaho or Montana, understand?  No, of course Kessler won’t understand.

Kessler’s second attempt to smear Murphy is to cast doubt on his claim that there has been a ‘massive’ increase in mass shootings since the assault-weapons ban ended in 2004. This claim is also judged by Kessler as containing significant errors, or to quote Kessler, ‘problematic.’  And what does Kessler reference to disparage Murphy’s statement about the use of assault rifles in mass shootings?  A report published that covered all mass shootings between 1976 and 2011 which found that assault rifles were only used in 25% of mass shootings whereas handguns were the weapons of choice in nearly two-thirds of these attacks.

I’m going to spend a little more in responding to Kessler’s stupid and nonsensical garbage because, obviously, the issue of assault rifles is in the forefront of the current debate. In fact (hey Glenn, note the use of the word ‘fact’) the report used by Kessler defines a ‘mass shooting’ as any incident resulting in the death of four or more people, most of which happen to have been family-connected, domestic events. What in God’s name do such events have to do with gunning down 70 people in a movie theater, or 26 people in a public school, or 100 people in a club?  Nothing.  And guess what weapon accounted for almost 100 deaths at Aurora, Sandy Hook and Orlando?  Furthermore, Kessler’s ‘evidence’ aggregates data beginning in 1976.  Hey schmuck, did it ever occur to you that AR-15 rifles weren’t even sold on the commercial market until 1980 and didn’t become popular until the 1990s?

In writing about guns, I try to maintain a relatively civil and respectful tone, even when I am confronted by something that comes out of one of the crazy mouths representing Gun-nut Nation (read: NRA.) So I apologize for the tone of these remarks.  But my apology is aimed at my readers and not at Kessler or his employer.  His attack on Senator Murphy is shabby journalism at its worst – the absolute worst.

 

Why Do Law-Abiding Gun Owners Deserve 2nd -Amendment Protection? They Don’t.

Ever since the first gun-control law, GCA68, was debated beginning back in 1963, the NRA has trotted out the notion of the ‘law-abiding’ gun owner for all the world to see.  In fact, the terms ‘law-abiding’ and ‘gun owner’ are so much part of the gun lexicon that we might actually think of them as a single word. And the reason the term is so ubiquitous in Gun-nut Nation is because, remember, it’s not guns that kill people, it’s people who kill people, and the law-abiding gun owners wouldn’t dream of using their guns to do anything in an illegal way.

2A            But the problem has come up in the last several days and no doubt is being bandied about on Capitol Hill as negotiations towards some kind of new gun regulation moves ahead, because until the moment he began pulling the trigger and ultimately killed 49 patrons inside a gay nightclub, The Pulse, the deranged shooter in Orlando was as law-abiding as you or me.  In fact, he was so law-abiding that the FBI interviewed him twice and sent him on his way. Which makes it rather difficult to assume that just because someone is law-abiding to the point that they can legally own a gun, this in any way guarantees that they would never use the weapon to harm themselves or someone else.

But let’s remember, of course, that we are country of laws, and if we ever forget, the NRA and Gun-nut Nation are quick to remind us that one of those laws guarantees the right to own a gun.  And while the NRA was willing to bend a little on this issue back in 1968 and agree that the 2nd-Amendment right to gun ownership could be suspended in the case of anyone who broke certain kinds of laws (like laws prohibiting murder, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault,) they weren’t about to give government the right to prohibit gun ownership except in cases where it had been shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that giving a gun to certain individuals was a virtual certainty that these individuals would use the weapon in an unlawful and harmful way.

Accordingly, the NRA routinely fought and still fights against laws that would keep guns out of the hands of people engaged in, but not convicted of a crime stemming from a domestic dispute; they refuse to extend gun prohibitions to most misdemeanor convictions even though such convictions are usually felonies that have been pleaded down; they line up foursquare against removing guns from at-risk individuals unless they have been ‘adjudicated’ mentally ill; and whenever a sensible measure to curb gun access is proposed, they can be depended upon to always roll out the stupid and senseless ‘slippery slope’ argument about how today’s gun regulation will become tomorrow’s gun confiscation, et. al.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m as mindful as anyone about the importance of Constitutional guarantees.  And when it comes to trampling on civil liberties or citizen’s rights, the record of liberal Presidents isn’t exactly spotless in this regard.  Recall a certain President who intervened in a legal strike and seized the steel mills in 1952?  Remember those camps in California where more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent were interned during World War II?  These weren’t the actions of some right-wing Yahoos, they were deliberate policies of two liberal Presidents named Truman and FDR.

But the problem with gun violence is that using the issue of Constitutional protections every time gun-control legislation is discussed, is to forget the forest and only focus on the trees.  When states like Florida do not allow intervention by law enforcement while someone gets licensed to own and carry a gun, they are guaranteeing that the Pulse shooter will ‘slip through’ the licensing process because, after all, he’s a law-abiding citizen and every law-abiding citizen should be able to walk around with a gun.  And in case you’ve forgotten, the ‘good guys,’ are the guys with the guns.2A

When Is An Assault Rifle Not An Assault Rifle? When Rush Limbaugh Says It Isn’t.

So now we have it on authority from none other than Rush Limbaugh that the post-Orlando calls to ban AR-15 rifles are nothing more than another attempt to use a shooting incident to disarm law-abiding Americans because – get this – the shooter in Orlando didn’t use an AR-15.  And since he didn’t use an AR-15, according to Rush, there’s no earthly reason why the AR-15 should be banned from public sale.

mcx           In all the writing on guns that I have done (nearly 600 columns on my own website and nearly 200 columns on Huffington Post), nothing enrages the Gun Nut Gang more than when I use the term ‘assault rifle’ in talking about AR-15s or, for that matter, anything else.  Because the ‘assault rifle’ has become something of a sacred totem in Gun Nut-land since it’s a way of quickly figuring out whether someone is in favor or opposed to guns.

According to legend, i.e., the totally fictitious story created by the NSSF and circulated by the NRA, the term ‘assault rifle’ was invented by one of America’s chief gun grabbers, Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was the chief author of the 1994 law that temporarily banned certain types of rifles which should have been and are now once again allowed to be owned by so-called ‘law-abiding’ gun owners.  Sooner or later I’ll get deeper into the issue of what ‘law-abiding’ means or should mean, but for the moment let’s just say that if you are against ‘assault rifles,’ this makes you a bone-fide member of the gun-grabbing contingent, because everyone knows that it’s against the law to own an assault rifle, and gun owners are all law-abiding folks.

Why is it against the law to own an assault rifle?  Because according to legend, an assault rifle is a full-auto weapon, it keeps on firing with only one pull of the trigger, whereas all those look-a-like assault rifles are plain, old semi-automatic guns, one shot each time you pull the trigger, which have been around since God knows when.  Which is what makes an AR-15 a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ which means that it’s no different from any other ‘sporting’ rifle except that it’s more ‘modern’ because it looks like a modern military gun.

This is all total nonsense, by the way.  The fact is (note the use of the word ‘fact’) that the military uses what is referred to as a ‘selective fire’ gun, which means that it can be shot full-auto, semi-auto or three-shot bursts.  But the fact (there’s that word again) that fighting men and women have the option of using their battle weapon in semi-auto mode should tell you that one trigger pull, one shot, is an acceptable and often necessary way for how the military gun will be used.

If it were the case that today’s standard military rifle, now known as the M4, could only be fired as a full-auto weapon, then perhaps Gun Nut Nation’s anger over the alleged misrepresentation of the AR-15 as being an ‘assault weapon’ would have some basis in truth.  But when the NSSF says, for example, that an assault rifle can only be fired in full-auto mode, they are talking about a military weapon that is no longer being used by the military at all.  To follow their logic and their distortion of the facts (there’s that word again,) the NSSF would have to say that when a soldier selects semi-auto, he’s now carrying a modern sporting rifle into the field.  Carrying what?

The truth (another dangerous word) is that the folks who create talking-points for Rush Limbaugh and all the other apologists for gun violence don’t really care whether a gun shoots one shot or one hundred shots every time the trigger is pulled; what they care about is that Gun Nation doesn’t stop buying guns. And the one way that would make it most difficult for people to buy guns is the simplest way of all: get rid of the guns.

 

Trump, Orlando And Gun Violence: It’s Not About Hatred, It’s About Fear.

I never thought that polls would tell us very much this early in a Presidential campaign, but what we see over the next week or so may prove to be a serious litmus-test for the remainder of the year.  Because if Street Thug’s numbers go up, we’re are in for a rough five months; if his numbers stay the same or continue to drift downward, he may have finally shot his wad. And what I’m referring to, of course, are his comments about Muslims and immigration following the Pulse attack.  Because if nothing else, he appears to be building his entire campaign on one issue and one issue only, and that’s the issue of fear.

trump2           First, what he is saying about immigration simply isn’t true.  We haven’t even taken in the 10,000 Syrian refugees we agreed to receive, other countries (e.g., Canada) have taken in many more.  We aren’t being ‘overrun’ by Muslim immigrants any more than we are being overrun by anyone else.  And the idea of ‘building a wall’ is this year’s substitute for the 2008 riff, ‘drill baby, drill.’

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that if this desperate attempt by Street Thug to capitalize on fears engendered by Orlando falls flat, then we can all just relax and put November 8th out of our minds.  This guy is a threat, he’s a menace, and he needs not just to be beaten, he needs to be beaten bad.  But I’d rather try to figure out how to whup him when I have to look back over my shoulder to see his ugly mug, rather than letting him look back over his shoulder at me. Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself.

Want to know why Trump so dearly loves the 2nd Amendment and never tires of reminding his audiences about the enduring value of walking around with a gun?  Because public opinion polls show that all those guns that were bought by the public since Obama took office were bought because of fear; fear of crime, fear of terrorism, fear of having the guns taken away, fear of God knows what.  And fear is a very powerful, very compelling emotion. And when it comes to a politics, fear can trump facts and insight every time.

The first witness who testified in 1963 against Eichmann in Jerusalem was an old friend and academic colleague, Professor Salo Baron.  And when he was asked to explain the extraordinary degree of violence represented by the Holocaust, he answered that the murder of 5 million Jews was based on fear, or what he called the ‘dislike of the unlike.’  Most of the comments coming out of Orlando are linking the ‘hatred’ of the LGBT lifestyle to this incredible act of gun violence, with the former seen as the causal emotion behind the latter event. And this may be true, but let’s step back for a second and see how this will play out in the Presidential campaign.

In his appearance at St. Anselm’s College, Street Thug specifically disavowed prejudice against gays.  He said, “Our nation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando’s LGBT community,” and I guess that includes him as well.  But he then went on to make one false statement after another about Muslims and immigration, with the intent of making sure that everyone knows that only a ‘tough’ guy like him understands and can respond to our fears.

Mass shootings make us afraid.  We become afraid to go to public places, we get afraid of letting the kids hang out at the mall.  And calling for a ban on assault rifles doesn’t necessarily respond to those fears.

Gun violence is a terrible kind of violence, but people fear violence more than they fear guns.  So to keep Street Thug out of the Oval Office, we have to come up with ways to help people deal with their fears.  Otherwise, they’ll just go out and buy another gun.