Denying the obvious

I suppose it’s understandable that last Friday’s tragedy would spark all sorts of of-the-wall responses in the national policy debate. People of all points of view are hurting and wanting to say something useful. It’s been almost like a national brainstorming session in which all kinds of ideas have been tossed around.

This morning’s editorial page in Raleigh’s News & Observer is a microcosm of our unruly discussion — with rational voices calling for modest efforts to regulate dangerous weapons and others grasping desperately for some other path that avoids this obvious solution. 

In a rather remarkable bit of uninformed obliviousness, the N&O’s designated conservative columnist says the killings in places like Newtown are occurring because not enough people go to church or listen to the Pope. This would be news to the inhabitants of countries like England and Japan who have hardly any guns, murder or churchgoers. 

One well-meaning letter writer says we need to provide teachers with grizzly bear spray. Okay….interesting.

And, of course, there are letters parroting the official line emanating from the pro-gun camp–i.e. the problem is simply that not enough people are armed. You know this rap: All we have to do is make sure all our kindergarten teachers are packing heat and soon those mentally-ill, assault-weapon-toting young men in black with a suicide wish will think twice (or at least get gunned down earlier after they’ve only killed a few kids).  

But, of course, this is madness. The United States already has more guns per capita than any country in the world. The next closest country, Yemen, isn’t even close. If guns are the solution it sure as hell doesn’t seem to be working.

Here’s the plain truth: America has no more crazy, murderous people than any other country. What we have is an access problem–a system in which troubled souls can obtain military-grade weapons virtually at-will. Will stopping this prevent all mass murders? Of course not — not anytime soon anyway.  But there can be no doubt that making it harder to obtain an assault weapon will prevent some of these events. 

This is not about infringing on the Second Amendment; it’s about giving effect  to the entire amendment — both the part about keeping and bearing arms and the part about a well-regulated Militia. At a minimum, it seems that we ought to be able to agree that people like Adam Lanza have no business being a part of that militia.


  1. Frank Burns

    December 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Risk to the public needs to be a consideration and automatic weapons pose a big risk to innocent citizens. We cannot rely upon good operator judgement any more with these weapons and they should therefore be banned. In addition we need to correct the problem and risks that the mentally ill pose to the citizens. This will mean that we need to tell the ACLU to go fly a kite.

  2. James Protzman

    December 19, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Last comment of the year for me:

    I used to read Progressive Pulse several times a day, and comment often. Then Frank showed up, after having been banned from BlueNC. At first his inane ramblings were familiar and amusing. Then just familiar. And now, I’m sorry to say, they are intolerable.

    Sorry, guys.I know you have to permit all voices, as well you should. Just know that many people will put up with only so much ignorance before they move on.

    A friend admonished me recently, saying that it was important to try to understand how the other side thinks. That may be true, but I am sad to say … it is simply too painful. It destroys my faith in the possibility of human enlightenment.

    Happy holidays to all.


  3. Rip

    December 19, 2012 at 10:52 am

    It’s clear that Frank Burns could give up hope of owning a gun if stricter mental health guidelines come into play for ownership….as I hope they do.

    I’m with James Protzman, life’s too short to put up with blithering idiots….bye.

  4. david esmay

    December 19, 2012 at 11:23 am

    James and Rip, sorry to see you go, I for one cannot, because poking FrankAlexDougFrances in the eye with the truth is a major inconvenience to his/their agenda, also endlessly entertaining. Every day that he/they spout their insipid one dimensional right-wing rhetoric, is a day that exposes the right’s narrowness of mind, lack of depth, the absence of compassion for their fellow man, and the fact that history and evidence contradicts their assertions.

  5. Frank Burns

    December 19, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Every day that a left winger takes their football and quits the playing field, is another stark reminder of how they want to control free speech and when they cannot, they leave out of frustration in not being able to defend their position.

  6. James Protzman

    December 19, 2012 at 11:45 am


    Your well-made point has me reconsidering my resolution. Maybe some tech whiz can come up with a magical digital spray to mask the Ferret Face… allowing the rest of us to visit without having to wade through the miasma. Something like this, for example?

    Let’s all pitch in and fund the development of a cloaking device!

  7. Frank Burns

    December 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I have a poem that I can provide as well. I wrote if for somebody else, but the sentiment applies to any leftwinger with no tolerance for others.

    The angry man

    Anger, spite and venom.
    Twisting and writhing like a snake.
    Bitter, small minded attacks.
    Intended to quell open, honest dialogue.

    The bile comes forth
    Pent up from the pressure.
    Of trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
    Still it doesn’t satisfy.

    How dare someone offer an opposing view.
    It punctures that protective cocoon.
    Built over a lifetime, layer upon layer.
    That gives the illusion of safety.

    Hurry close the door, stop that thought!
    Crush that idea and bury it six feet deep.
    Cover it with rock and steel.
    So that it doesn’t seep back out.

    Despite his efforts, the thought returns
    And persists.
    And the anger remains, worse than ever.
    Eating at him like acid.

  8. david esmay

    December 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    That is some really bad poetry and I’m not angry. Try some Ginsberg or William Carlos Williams. Conservatives don’t make good poets, not enough intellect or vision.

  9. Chris Patrick

    December 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Frank Burns’ poetry stated, “That gives the illusion of safety.” Speaking of illusions of safety it is time to reconsider the Second Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment showed that old ideas can eventually prove outdated and be removed and the Twenty-first Amendment showed that previous experiments can cease as well. You can talk all you want about how inviolate the right to bear arms is, just because its been attached to the Constitution for so long, but it, like all things that exist, is not timeless. The issue here should no longer be this endless bleating back-and-forth— there is no need for it. The tyranny of the majority will eventually side with ridding this country of the Second Amendment; if one shot up elementary school wasn’t enough, then some number must be sufficient.

    All the tired pro-gun arguments hold no water after last Friday. Either pro-gun advocates recognize the handwriting on the wall and join the discussion to prolong their ‘right’ to stockpile and play with instruments of death, or they can act like petulant children who want their toys without responsibility and the adults can sit at the big table and decide their fate for them.

    That being said, I don’t get what was so odious with Frank Burns’ first post in this thread. He brought *something* to the table— he made it clear automatic weapons can be banned with his permission and he’s right that mental health concerns in this country need to be addressed. What am I missing?

  10. Frank Burns

    December 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    In my opinion we can restrict the military grade automatic weapons from the public without touching the 2nd Amendment. As you say, part of the solution that must be addressed are protecting the public from the mentally ill. Every single mass killer has been somebody with a mental illness. The public needs protection from them as well. I’m not sure myself what sparked the outrage from those nattering nabobs of negativity. I reckon they don’t appreciate conservatives giving their opinions.

  11. david esmay

    December 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Here’s what is outrageous Frank Naboob, you make, in a rare moment of clarity, a statement that makes sense, restricting automatic weapons/assault rifles and follow it with a flippant attack on the mentally ill and the ACLU, you just can’t hold back the crazy. You are a simpleton in a complex world.

    so much depends
    a red wheel
    glazed with rain
    beside the white
    William Carlos Williams

  12. Frank Burns

    December 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I told the truth and apparantly you can’t handle the truth. In every single case of mass shootings, the perpetrator had some mental deficiency, or defect. Society needs protection from them as well as the automatic weapons. The ACLU is part of the problem.

  13. Jack

    December 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Mental illness is a quick and easy way to give people an answer to why such a tragedy as Sandy Hook happen. Once the “mental illness” explanation is floated and has been confirmed by all the talking heads on the news outlets a collective sigh of relief is made by the people.

    Blaming such tragedies on mental illness is a disservice to people who truly have mental health issues. Frank and others of his ilk like to point at groups of people and make accusations that seems to explain why the world can be such a bad place at times, thing is, people who enjoy doing such finger pointing are the ones that further the tragedies in the world.

    Yes, I understand the irony of what I just said. But at least I’m aware of that irony.

  14. Frank Burns

    December 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I will try to re-phrase what Jack just stated so that I can understand it. So in Jack’s view of the world, we should avoid speaking the truth (pointing fingers) since speaking the truth furthers the risk of more mentally ill people killing innocent people.

    Wrong approach. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist won’t make it go away.

  15. DA Stoller

    December 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Is it too much to ask that we at least attempt to make it more difficult for mentally unbalanced individuals to obtain guns? Do we believe the second amendment has no limitations at all? Extending criminal background checks to every sale of a weapon is a reasonable start, but background checks only discover what has already happened in the judicial system, not what is likely to come. If we can reaquire psychiatric evaluations for employment in hazardous jobs, and require those evaluations in order to be ordained clergy, is it too much to ask that anyone buying a gun have a psychiatric evaluation, and that a permit to carry a concealed weapon be conditioned on periodic repeat evalutions, say every four years, like an eye exam for a drivers license? Of course we can’t stop them all, but if we could stop the slaughter of just tweny innocent children, wouldn’t it be worth it the effort?

  16. david esmay

    December 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Frank in a normal person’s view of the world you are considered to be a “mental deficient”. Most people who suffer from mental disorders are not a danger to themselves or society, in fact most murders are committed by people not considered to be mentally ill. There is nothing truthful in anything you say.

  17. Frank Burns

    December 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    DA Stoller,
    Yes, you are correct and your suggestions are good.

  18. Jack

    December 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    As usual Frank you’ve missed the point.

  19. Chris Patrick

    December 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Even the president agrees that mental health access needs to be addressed. Quit clutching your pearls and just accept that the discussion needs to be had. Mr. Burns might lack tact, but he is closer to the mark than just presuming all’s right in the world of mental health in this country. To me, this was the only elementary school needing to be shot up to discuss any and all possible avenues to minimize future risks of this happening again. I even accept the points raised in this article as worth discussion: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/feminist-current/2012/12/what-about-men-masculinity-and-mass-shootings

  20. Frank Burns

    December 21, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Indeed, just clutching those pearls won’t accomplish much. We do need to ban the assault automatic weapons due to the high risk they impose on the public but the solution has to include protecting the public from the mentally unbalanced. Somehow we have gotten too permissive with them living among us instead of being in institutions. Are we placing too much reliance on medications? Is it proper to trust the patient to take his medications?

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