Uvalde and the American Condition

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, May 26, 2022.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Since I never claimed the increase in school shootings were the result of any ban or expiration thereof - this strawman is yours. Thus I will leave you to argue with yourself on this.
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  3. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    It seems it's not only the buying of guns that need better enforcing in the USA.
    If only the public were more mature and responsible they could leave the caring gun compaines and gun stores to sell a broader range of guns.

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    Last edited: Jun 1, 2022
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Sure there is: it will happen near somebody who has access to guns.
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Which is everywhere.

    If we could have the same regulations and requirements as Switzerland I'd be fine with that. That's never going to happen here however.
  8. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    You have to question the sanity of people who make guns which look like they are made from childrens building blocks

    I do recall a child who was shot by police for pointing a "LOOKED LIKE A GUN" which WAS actually made with LEGO blocks

    Cross LEGO blocks off from list of toys to give children

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  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That is true in the US. It is not true in the rest of the world. Thus we have a solution to the problem that has been proven dozens of times.
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Yes, we know that if there are no guns, there will be no gun shootings. However, as you've said, you aren't suggesting that all guns be banned.

    Therefore, to be practical, we have to take into account our voters, political system and Constitution. School shooters tend to be under 21. Mass shooters in general have a median age I believe around 33.

    They also tend to be overwhelming male. Should we take that info into account? We have 19 mass shootings per year (on average) and therefore we have 19 mass shooters out of 350 million citizens. Should that also be taken into account or not?
  11. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Yes by all means be practical
    Who obviously keep you in your job, so forbidden to upset them
    Again keeping politicians in their jobs so no change allowed
    Been changed before, so is possible to amend again?
    Only in the context of an acceptable level would be zero
    Identification of 19 out of 350 million, not feasible
    Banning 350 million from owning guns, much more so

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  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The U.S. Constitution is one of the harder (hardest?) to amend. Of course if only zero is acceptable you've already lost the battle. How many mass murderers is acceptable, how many fatal traffic accidents is "acceptable"? None are acceptable but they will never be zero.

    It's true, zero school shooting is the only thing that is acceptable long-term. Or rather zero school killings since bombs are no better. Making schools a fortress would do that but that's no real solution either.

    You can disregard the voters, Constitution and political system if you like but you won't be making serious proposals either. I could say "If the U.S. were Switzerland we wouldn't be having these issues" however the U.S. isn't Switzerland.
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Yes, there are millions of guns out there. But with these mass shootings, it often turns out the gun(s) were recently purchase, often after the intent to commit a mass shooting has already formed in the shooter's mind.

    Making it just a bit harder to buy a gun and ammunition, especially if you're mentally unstable, could well have a significant impact on the frequency of these mass shootings.

    Of course, in the grand scheme of things, deaths due to mass shootings are a drop in the ocean of gun deaths in the United States. Gun suicides and gun accidents alone account for far more deaths every year. And that's before we even get to other forms of gun crime.

    The United States is an obvious outlier when it comes to gun homicides, among developed nations. Sensible and obvious measures would reduce gun deaths - even if you insist on keeping your holy Second Amendment. There is a lack of political will to do anything about this, and quite obviously there is a partisan split on this issue. Enough Americans apparently think that unrestricted access to guns is more important that saving lives. While that remains the case, US lawmarkers will continue to do nothing to address the problem, except perhaps some minor fiddling at the edges in a weak attempt to placate some voters.
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I agree with your assessment. If I was born in Australia I probably wouldn't be planning a move to the U.S. As it is I was born here and I'm not planning a move to Australia but I would plan a visit if it wasn't such a long airplane ride (bad back).

    My ex-mother-in-law came from a large family and I think she was the only child not born in Australia.

    I read somewhere that if you make more than $120k a year you are probably better off in the U.S. and that if you make less than $80k your quality of life is probably better in Australia.

    That's all subjective but I'd have little problem with living in Australia (just as I have little problem living in the U.S.) I'd have a problem living in many parts of the U.S. and thankfully it's easy enough to move around to find an environment that you prefer.

    For me that's the West but I grew up in the Southeast but left after college. I'd also have no problem if we didn't have the 2nd Amendment.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2022
  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'd also have no problem if alcohol drinking was banned or greatly reduced. That's what a civilized country would do. How would that go over in Australia?

    I thought California had pretty tough gun laws but I see that Washington State's laws are tougher (apparently). You have to be 21 to buy a semi-automatic rifle and you have to show that you have completed a safety course.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2022
  16. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    No doubt somewhere a US gun maker is working on a gun made of hard candy that fires real bullets. I hoping that sounds silly.

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  17. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    It possibly could be a candy maker fallen on hard times due to many people being told to cut down on sugar intake or gun maker with a "How sweet it is" ad campaign ready to roll

    Silly? na both would be par for Americans

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  18. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Not in the civilized world.
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    What It's Worth

    I need people to understand, this is what it's worth:

    IIliana Treviño, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary School, lost her best friend, Amerie Jo Garza, in last month's mass shooting at the Uvalde, Texas, school.

    According to IIliana's mother, Amerie, 10, would protect IIliana, 11, from school bullies. After visiting Amerie's memorial last week, Iliana's heart rate spiked. Her mother rushed her to the hospital, where doctors told her IIliana had been on the verge of having a heart attack. More than a week later, she remains hospitalized.

    "I think it's just from a broken heart that we need to work on healing," Jessica Treviño, 40, tells PEOPLE, adding that her daughter had no previous medical issues that might have predicted this.

    "Everything just broke her in half, and she feels the fear of being bullied again," she says.

    On the day of the shooting, Illiana escaped physically unscathed after the gunman walked past her fourth grade classroom. But Amerie was shot as she tried to dial 911 on her cell phone, according to Amerie's grandmother, Berlinda Arreola. When Illiana saw Amerie's face on the news as one of the fatal victims, "she just started screaming and crying," Jessica tells PEOPLE.

    (Grossman Kantor↱)

    The American condition: This is what it's worth.

    As the tale of the Uvalde massacre continues to get unimaginably worse, remember please that this does not move our hearts enough to do something useful toward confronting this absurd violence.

    We are burying first love side by side in order to fulfill our living pretenses of honor and dignity; the massacre has already claimed another victim, Joe Garcia, who died of a heart attack after his wife, Irma Garcia, was slain; Illiana Treviño spent a week in ICU before being transferred to another hospital, where she continues recuperating.

    Grief and fear are destroying our children, and this doesa not move our hearts. People make excuses, play cheap rhetorical games; this is what the run-around is for, and also why it is so easy. It's not simply a question that enough Americans are okay with these outcomes; these are the sacrifices far too many believe are owed, to Liberty, or God, or maybe even their own selves.

    There is the massacre itself. There are questions about how any shooter comes to take it so far. The ease of acquiring such weaposn is almost unbelievable. The police are an indictment of our prior failures to do anything useful. These are all part of our American condition. A husband has died of a broken heart; an eleven year-old best friend has nearly followed. The infliction continues, and it does not move our hearts sufficiently that we might grant relief. These victims are oblation, symbols of a miserable American condition.


    Grossman Kantor, Wendy. "After Visiting Friend's Memorial, Uvalde Survivor, 11, Was Hospitalized After Nearly Suffering Heart Attack: Mom". People. 9 June 2022. People.com. 13 June 2022. https://bit.ly/3Qgd56G
  20. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    For that it's worth...

    The problem with an issue like this is that it is similar to Sally Struther's emotional plea on TV to "please, please save these animals" while sobbing and showing pictures of cute puppy dogs in an ad for the ASPCA.

    Everyone agrees that we would not like cute puppy dogs put to sleep because no one wants to adopt them.

    The merits of gun control vs no gun control vs considered gun control shouldn't rest on telling personal stories of the victims. People die in traffic accidents and we either make changes (seat belts or reduce speed limits) or we do nothing if it will not be effective.

    We don't talk about each of the victims and how many children they left behind and how their daddy isn't going to be there for their next birthday.

    We also don't call cars "modern killing machines" or "vehicles of mass destruction" even though traffic accidents cause more deaths than gun violence.

    An AR-15 is a rifle, not an "assault" rifle or a "weapon of war" and it's not valid to describe how destructive it's bullet is. It's a gun. It's as destructive as any of rifle firing the same round. There purpose it to kill (human or animal) and once dead it doesn't matter how "destruct" the bullet was. That's the point.

    Two thirds of gun homicides are suicide. That's only about half of suicides but that's the statistic. Less than 1% are mass shootings and most of the rest are inner city shootings.

    Most schools aren't being attacked. Most gun owners are responsible. Very few people actually shoot up schools and it's pretty random which is why it has been hard to stop.

    We aren't going to become Australia where there wasn't a big gun culture to begin with and before the "ban" there were only 1.2 million guns. We have about 400 million guns, do have a gun culture and do have the Constitution (fairly interpreted or not) to deal with.

    Suicides don't really change much when you take away guns. Some suicide is delayed for another day but rates stay about the same which is also the case in Australia and elsewhere.

    What is missing is perspective and facts as I've just laid some of them out. Whatever changes are to be made, if any, need to address that and not the way it's going so far IMO.
  21. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member


    Nice take. But you forgot add that "The only thing that stops a bad with gun is a good guy with a gun". Surely we need MORE guns, to fix this problem, right?

    You might say, oh Neddy, that is a straw man. No one in their right mind would suggest that the answer is more guns, arming teachers, or making sure every child has a gun for personal protection, etc.

    Have you seen the political landscape these days? That is what they are saying. And by "they" I mean...
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I don't care what the political landscape is or what slogans some people are using. Talking about "assault weapons" is a slogan as well.
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Not Unfamiliar

    Michael Hobbes↱ observes, "This is about Sandy Hook but it could be about anything. There's a sick pattern to conspiracy theorists simply deciding that someone 'doesn't seem honest' or that totally normal details 'don't add up.'"

    It has to do with Elizabeth Williamson's↱ article for Slate:

    When we spoke, I asked her whether she doubted Sandy Hook because first grade children being murdered in their classrooms was too hard for her to face. "No. I just had a strong sense that this didn't happen," she said. "Too many of those parents just rub me the wrong way."

    She judged the parents as "too old to have kids that age." She found their clothes dowdy, their hairstyles dated. Where were their "messy buns," "cute torn jeans," their "Tory Burch jewelry"? She mocked their broken stoicism. Their lives had fallen to pieces, but in Watt's mind they seemed "too perfect," and also not perfect enough.

    The slug title runs, "Shooting at Uvalde: A conspiracy theorist explains why she says no kids were ever killed." The actual headline says, "'Prove to the World You've Lost Your Son'". It's something someone once said to a parent whose child died in the Sandy Hook massacre.

    Kelley Watt, a.k.a., "gr8mom", is a grandmother who says her "whole life has been about kids", that her biggest regret is not being a schoolteacher, has a website laden with photos of what she considers "Beautiful Children", and also claims, "Sandy Hook is my baby."

    She judged the parents as "too old to have kids that age." She found their clothes dowdy, their hairstyles dated. Where were their "messy buns," "cute torn jeans," their "Tory Burch jewelry"? She mocked their broken stoicism. Their lives had fallen to pieces, but in Watt's mind they seemed "too perfect," and also not perfect enough.

    Watt had read widely about the shooting and the families, choosing from each account only the facts that suited her false narrative.

    She brought up Chris and Lynn McDonnell, parents of 7-year-old Grace, a child with striking pale blue eyes who liked to paint. Lynn McDonnell told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Grace had drawn a peace sign and the message "Grace Loves Mommy" in the fogged bathroom mirror after her shower, leaving traces her mother found after her death. She described the abyss she felt upon seeing her daughter's white casket and recalled how she, Chris, and Grace's brother, Jack, used markers to fill its stark emptiness with colorful drawings of things Grace loved.

    Watt mocked this reminiscence in a singsong tone. "'Ohhhhh, Grace. She loved loved loved loved loved Sandy Hook, and we're glad she's in heaven with her teacher, and she's with her classmates, and we feel good about that,'" she said. "'She had a white coffin, and we busted out the Sharpies and drew a skillet and a sailboat.'NOBODY CRIED," she barked.

    Watt's feral lack of empathy astonished me. Watt a few minutes earlier had boasted about her son Jordan's voracious reading habits and how well her daughter, Madison, played the piano. If Watt's children died, wouldn't she also speak highly of them and their gifts?

    "No. This was to build up the sympathy factor," she said. "I think they're people with a gun control agenda.

    "If Jordan died, I wouldn't be in Washington lobbying," she added.

    It's one thing if Williamson turns to make the point that Watt, whose life is about children, ignored her own, "obsessed with saving families from imagined government plots while her own family unraveled around her." And such results are indeed their own tragedies; Watt laments, "Oh, my God, yes. I have so much guilt."

    But what stands out about both Williamson's article and Hobbes' twittery is that what in some ways feels like it should be extraordinarily distal and even nearly impossible is actually something very proximal and observable and accessible: We see similar attitudes and behaviors, hear common stories, and even make easy excuses, in our own lives. We might consider her behavior vicious and even extreme, but it is not nearly so rare or isolated or extraordinary as we so often pretend.

    Watts' excuse, for instance, "Too many of those parents just rub me the wrong way", is not really so far from complaining that "paternalism and condescension"↗: Just like we are to excuse white supremacism because people who believe in equality are too paternalistic and condescending, grieving parents whose circumstance becomes symbolic of what someone disdains just rub that one the wrong way. And in its way, Kelley Watt is not unlike a conservative lamentation from over a decade ago↗, that one "purports to discuss liberal contempt for conservatism, then simply concludes 'of course we have contempt for them, they're a bunch of fuckin' idiots'." The way that line was supposed to work, once upon a time, is not how it has worked out over time; what the other described; it's a weirdly subtle joke, because Kelly Watts' career as a right-wing conspiracist precedes even Sciforums, and shows relationships between what seems mundane conservative politicking and the rightist extremism we are so often expected to pretend is an entirely separate phenomenon of mysterious origin.

    Watt's children were barely in grade school when a neighbor urged her to join a battle against the passage of Oklahoma House Bill 1017, aka the Education Reform Act of 1990. The proposed overhaul, including new curricula and testing standards, would cost more than $500 million over five years, funded through a tax increase. "I didn't even know property taxes funded the schools," Watt said, but the cost wasn't the problem. She believed the reforms masked the government's true intent: "dumbing down the population," asserting control. She threw herself into the campaign, speaking at meetings, picketing, making phone calls late into the night. She lost; the bill passed. But the campaign "changed my life," Watt said. "I kept going and going."

    Watt exposed what she claimed were examples of social engineering in reading texts, math problems, even the free lunch program. Her group campaigned to ban a book titled Earth Child and its corresponding science curriculum, saying it taught children to worship "Earth above humans." She compiled stacks of "research," pressing it on PTA parents and local politicians, hand-delivering it to the Tulsa World newspaper and the city's three network affiliates. She grew enraged when ignored, ringing people in the middle of the night and turning up at their offices and homes.

    "Every education reporter during that era remembers her," Ginnie Graham, a Tulsa World writer who covered education at the time, told me. Well-spoken and fashionably dressed, Watt came off at first "like any active PTA mom," Graham said. "But it didn't take long to uncover more conspiratorial thoughts."

    The long story short is that the family business went under, the family fell apart, and some time later, Watt met Duke, who hired her to clean his house after chatting politics in a pub, and they started dating and moved in together. She explains things in terms near to platitude: "When you're poor, you have more time to do stuff. You clean two or three houses a day, and you have a lot of time left over." And while there is much to "seeking truth, seeking justice", she at least pretends to feel guilty about what it means "to persevere, be determined, and stick to your guns".

    "Watt's children were barely in grade school," Williamson explains, "when a neighbor urged her to join a battle against the passage of Oklahoma House Bill 1017, aka the Education Reform Act of 1990." By the time of the Sandy Hook massacre, Watt had run in rightist-crackpot circles for over twenty years.

    "This is about Sandy Hook," Hobbes wrote, "but it could be about anything."

    Creationism, diversity, human rights: Watts' political fervor was never far from the conservative mainstream. In more recent years, rightists have made much noise about common core; these days it is Critical Race Theory, gender, and wokeness. Throughout, consider the range of people for whom the problem with "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" has to do with church and religion, but worry that we shouldn't be so quick to call such obligation of women sexist. The boundaries describing the difference between respectable conservative pretense and right wing fanaticism have almost completely eroded; it's the difference between the years spent fuming over make-believe complaints about education and years spent harassing the parents of murdered children. As Williamson tells:

    Hours after the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead, it began.

    "I'm sorry but I have to say it," one poster wrote on a far-right message board. "We have to have another false flag shooting, killing small children."

    "Those directing false flags know the emotional response from the Buffalo shooting is wearing down for the sheep," another person posted online. "So they did another one in Uvalde Texas to reinforce the response. Don't be fooled. False Flag season is here."

    This script could have come from 10 years ago—and in fact, some of the same people spreading lies about Uvalde have been doing it for a decade.

    No, that one isn't sorry to say it. They carry on this way because they can, because for decades, people have been willing to make excuses for them. It might not have always been clear, i.e., thirty years ago, just how awful these people were, but we've also had thirty years to learn.

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