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Pierce writes: "Over the weekend, a woman and her daughter were shot to death in Des Moines. The local news reader said that Des Moines police 'were confident' that the murders were not part of any 'larger action.' Do we really have to be reassured that this unfortunately too-commonplace scenario in American life - something that simply is part of the price we have to pay for our Second Amendment freedoms - has nothing to do with terrorism?"

Firearms. (photo: Getty Images)
Firearms. (photo: Getty Images)


Is There Room Under the Bed for All 320 Million of Us?

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

26 November 15

 

Terrorism need not force its way into every discussion—there's enough to be afraid around here already.

ver the weekend, a woman and her daughter were shot to death in Des Moines. The chief suspect is the husband and father. One more domestic dispute gone to gunplay and murder because there was a firearm handy. I heard about it in the shuttle van on the way to the airport. The local news reader said that Des Moines police "were confident" that the murders were not part of any "larger action."

Damn, I thought, has it come to that? Do we really have to be reassured that this unfortunately too-commonplace scenario in American life—something that simply is part of the price we have to pay for our Second Amendment freedoms—has nothing to do with terrorism? Do journalists, even the ones who simply read copy for a living, feel obligated to provide that reassurance? Is there room under the bed for all 320 million of us?

I accept that things changed after 9/11. I take off my belt and shoes at the airport just like the next guy, unless, of course, I luck into the blessed TSA Pre-Check line, for which I regularly thank Big Government Jesus. But I don't accept, and I never have accepted, the fact that "everything" changed on that awful day, let alone a week ago in Paris. I don't think "Eeek! Terrorists!" should invade every institution of daily life in this country the way it has. I don't think local news stations have any business constantly running B-roll of Paris while the local "security consultant" waxes on about the old boogedy-boogedy. And I certainly don't need any more evidence that America is a gun-addled violent place, and that it became such quite on its own.

Also this weekend, there was a mass shooting at the Bunny Friend Playground in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans. Seventeen people were shot, none of them fatally, thank god. Here's some of what we know.

Witnesses saw a man with a silver-colored machine gun flee toward Louisa Street. Gunfire continued in the park after he left. It is the largest mass shooting in New Orleans since the Mother's Day second-line of 2013. Between then and now, the shootings that injured the most people took place on Bourbon Street, June 29, 2013, where 10 people were shot, one of whom died; and on Burgundy Street, August 10, 2014, where seven people were shot, two fatally.

​A "silver-colored machine gun."

In an American city.

Good thing the guy wasn't Syrian.

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+62 # Thomas Martin 2015-11-26 18:12
We're parsing and obfuscating "terrorism" in a political way, aren't we? Can we deny that the woman and her daughter who were murdered in Des Moines didn't feel terror when they were being shot? Can we deny that in our country domestic crime like this is the norm? I think "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
 
 
+38 # Cappucino 2015-11-26 19:57
You are absolutely right. Death by domestic violence IS THE NORM.For one thing, the facts back it up. For another, I've had several conversations with police seargants, and that is exactly what they say. The overwhelming majority of the time, murder has nothing to do with random violence. Maybe all the yapping about terrorism serves another purpose-- focusing on the rarest events helps us to deny what violence really means 99% of the time.
 
 
+43 # Emmanuel Goldstein 2015-11-26 18:47
In this country there is more than one mass shooting (defined as 4 or more people shot) PER DAY. If that isn't domestic terrorism, I don't know what is. Yet it's rarely described as such in the news media. If it were, people would understand that we're at far greater danger from our fellow citizens than we are from any foreign terrorists.

Problem is, such a realization could lead to an even greater police state than what we already have. What to do?
 
 
+13 # lewagner 2015-11-26 20:21
Quoting Emmanuel Goldstein:
In this country there is more than one mass shooting (defined as 4 or more people shot) PER DAY. If that isn't domestic terrorism, I don't know what is. Yet it's rarely described as such in the news media. If it were, people would understand that we're at far greater danger from our fellow citizens than we are from any foreign terrorists.

Problem is, such a realization could lead to an even greater police state than what we already have. What to do?

The police THEMSELVES have killed (as of today) 1073 people http://killedbypolice.net/ That's only 3 a day, so I guess it's not quite "mass killings", not yet. It's still "quite a few", I'd call it, even "too damned many".
There are about a million police in the country, roughly ... can you imagine if we had some statistic that a million Syrian refugees had killed 1073 people, or a million Vietnamese refugees had killed 1073 people? People would be ALL bent out of shape.
But when it's police, well, let's call for gun control to make the country "safer", and give the police the power to control the guns. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
Whatever. Start racking up the anonymous red thumbs, RSN.
 
 
-34 # MidwestTom 2015-11-26 21:31
Another day just passed where noNRA member shot anyome.
 
 
+12 # ronjazz 2015-11-27 08:52
Quoting MidwestTom:
Another day just passed where noNRA member shot anyome.


How do you know he wasn't int he NRA? You don't, so you're just pulling the kneejerk rightwing idiocy out.
 
 
+1 # Working Class 2015-11-27 19:27
Hey Tom - since you seem to have an answer to everything I was wondering can you explain to me why the NRA won't allow attendees to a NRA meeting where NRA officials are speaking to carry guns? I was just wondering what they know that you, and those like you, don't know.
 
 
-6 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-27 22:14
Working Class...what liberal bullshit! The NRA was told to not allow firearms at one site ( and one only if I remember correctly ) because the owner of the facility had a "no guns policy". Do a little research before making such a stupid comment.
 
 
-1 # kalpal 2015-11-29 06:54
You mean to say that all other meetings of the NRA's executive committee and voting membership allow all guns to be carried in by one and all? Surely you jest.
 
 
-1 # kalpal 2015-11-29 06:51
The NRA will nonetheless encourage and incite more gun ownership under the ludicrous notion that more guns equals less gun violence.
 
 
0 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-30 18:02
There is nothing ludicrous about it kalpal. That statement is an absolutely proven fact. Violent crime is way, way down and gun ownership is at record levels. Check the Justice Dept. website or even the FBI.
 
 
+34 # RGV.REG 2015-11-26 19:05
I think the real question to be asked is, "What is going on with so many people... that they are willing to pick up a gun and shoot others?"
Where's all the good paying jobs?
Where's all the benefits of living in the US... especially when there is so much poverty... while the rich get richer?
Then again, isn't that just what the US is doing all over the world? What an example!
 
 
+1 # kalpal 2015-11-29 06:59
Wrong question. Why are so many deranged Americans willing and anxious to commit murder and mayhem? Who incited them to take such actions? Why are they uniformly of the underclass known as the Right Wing?

Surely you can point out all the upset PhD's who took matters into their own hands and murdered a few random Americans with whom they had visceral disagreement after listening to left wing radio or watching liberal pundits scold everyone who disagrees with them?
 
 
-78 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-26 19:18
Interesting commentary but it ignores one simple huge fact...crime committed with a gun has absolutely NOTHING to do with the 2nd Amendment. And each day in America lives are saved, crimes stopped, and criminals arrested simply because of law abiding citizens with guns...mostly without a shot being fired. I notice that Mr. Pierce doesn't have a clue or an idea about how to get firearms out of the hands of the criminals. And right now the liberal party is trying to make a law saying that people on the terror watch list can't buy a firearm...as if we don't know that the list is a joke with honest people on it and knowing that no one on the list has ever been charged with anything. That's not the America we want, now is it?
 
 
+29 # julieziesman 2015-11-26 19:33
But many are willing to refuse refuge to Syrians who have been terrorized and are not on the terror watch list. The excuse is but what if just one of them might slip by. However, we cannot refuse weapons to those who are on the terror watch list because it will deny them their 2nd amendment rights. Paranoia has thrown reason out of the window.
 
 
+49 # Henry 2015-11-26 19:54
Quoting skylinefirepest:
Interesting commentary but it ignores one simple huge fact...crime committed with a gun has absolutely NOTHING to do with the 2nd Amendment. And each day in America lives are saved, crimes stopped, and criminals arrested simply because of law abiding citizens with guns...mostly without a shot being fired.


The America I don't want is the one where everybody HAS and IS CARRYING a gun at al times because really the same reason a bunch of jokers have trucks with 50 inch wheels, and a bunch of guys are meditating on their own "private parts" 24 hours a day or the boobies of every woman under 65 years old. The America I don't want is the one where people who think Ben Carson is in any way NORMAL upstairs, or upstanding, and THOSE people all have guns. Or the America where junior wannabe police hangers-on all have guns, or the America where the booze-swilling slobs all have guns. Or an America where the fake "Christians" who like to parade their "religion" all have guns. Or an America where the ever-swelling numbers of mentally wounded men have guns that breed like vermin in the sound room of Rush Limbaugh's narcissistic rambling. Or the America where the actual terroristic CRIMES are preceded by dress rehearsals in the form of movies and the susceptible and insecure all have guns. Those Americas.
 
 
+15 # reiverpacific 2015-11-26 21:13
Quoting Henry:
Quoting skylinefirepest:
Interesting commentary but it ignores one simple huge fact...crime committed with a gun has absolutely NOTHING to do with the 2nd Amendment. And each day in America lives are saved, crimes stopped, and criminals arrested simply because of law abiding citizens with guns...mostly without a shot being fired.


The America I don't want is the one where everybody HAS and IS CARRYING a gun at al times because really the same reason a bunch of jokers have trucks with 50 inch wheels, and a bunch of guys are meditating on their own "private parts" 24 hours a day or the boobies of every woman under 65 years old. The America I don't want is the one where people who think Ben Carson is in any way NORMAL upstairs, or upstanding, and THOSE people all have guns. Or the America where junior wannabe police hangers-on all have guns, or the America where the booze-swilling slobs all have guns. Or an America where the fake "Christians" who like to parade their "religion" all have guns. Or an America where the ever-swelling numbers of mentally wounded men have guns that breed like vermin in the sound room of Rush Limbaugh's narcissistic rambling. Or the America where the actual terroristic CRIMES are preceded by dress rehearsals in the form of movies and the susceptible and insecure all have guns. Those Americas.

You just described what you've got, sadly.
 
 
-42 # MidwestTom 2015-11-26 21:35
I want a America as it was before Johnson's war on poverty, which has been TOTAL failure, destroyed family structures, and created Uncle Sam's Plantation (see the book).
 
 
-28 # MidwestTom 2015-11-26 21:40
How to reverse the family destruction and attack the single mother culture? Pay young girls living in households below the poverty line to NOT get pregnant. Start paying $35/month at the age of 14, and slowing increase the payment to $140/month by the age of 18, and $200/month by the age of 21. If they get pregnant they lose the income. Total cost for a nationwide program would be about $3.5 to $4.5 Billion. The societal benefits would far out weigh the cost.
 
 
+12 # LtDan65 2015-11-26 22:29
Quoting MidwestTom:
I want a America as it was before Johnson's war on poverty, which has been TOTAL failure, destroyed family structures, and created Uncle Sam's Plantation (see the book).

Tom (Me being glad to be FROM the midwest). Yes it would be so much better to let people starve and die in the streets from lack of ability to buy food or health care (republican't health care = "Let the buggers die). Your genius idea to pay girls to not have babies, at $35-140 per month... what rwnj sourced thatinanity? Or, were you trying to be funny?
 
 
+23 # Texas Aggie 2015-11-26 23:28
"before Johnson's war on poverty" when minorities knew their place and didn't try to pretend to be as good as "real people," when "wimmin" weren't uppity and demanding equality and equal pay, education and other rights that only apply to men, when no one talked about it when you beat up your wife, and all the rest of the dysfunctional society that was prevalent then.

Face it. That's what the right wing wants to return to.
 
 
+16 # backwards_cinderella 2015-11-27 06:42
We HAVE that America. Thanks to Reagan, Gingrich, austerity, welfare "reform", endless war & endless economic depression for those of us at the bottom. It's a WONDERFUL life.

Me, I want the America back that Johnson created. I want our safety net back. I want a future for us poor folk on the bottom & taxes enforced for those on the top.
 
 
+3 # ronjazz 2015-11-27 08:55
Quoting MidwestTom:
I want a America as it was before Johnson's war on poverty, which has been TOTAL failure, destroyed family structures, and created Uncle Sam's Plantation (see the book).


What a sad pile of dung you've puked up. If all you have are lies, you must be conservative.
 
 
-2 # kalpal 2015-11-29 07:01
So you are willing to support systemic racism and a 90% marginal tax rate?
 
 
-20 # economagic 2015-11-26 19:59
Oh, bullshit.
 
 
+15 # Texas Aggie 2015-11-26 23:08
Speaking about clueless, your bit about law abiding citizens with guns (like the guy mentioned in the article) stopping crimes is a neat talking point, but no one has ever been able to show that it happens in reality.

"crime committed with a gun has absolutely NOTHING to do with the 2nd Amendment. "

And for the low level intellectually challenged, the 2nd amendment has EVERYTHING to do with gun related crimes. Because of it and the gun nuts that push it, the only people in the country who can't obtain a gun are in jail. Everyone else either can just buy one at the local gun store or on line, no questions asked, or get someone else to buy one for them. Normal countries that are inhabited by normal people don't have ready access to firearms so their level of gun related crime is a lot lower than in the US.
 
 
0 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-27 22:11
Wrong on every count, aggie, but then I don't expect to get honest answers on this extremist site. The facts are actually out there and easily found unless you're a liberal fanatic and unwilling to read anything that doesn't advance your liberal fantasy.
 
 
+5 # ronjazz 2015-11-27 08:53
Quoting skylinefirepest:
Interesting commentary but it ignores one simple huge fact...crime committed with a gun has absolutely NOTHING to do with the 2nd Amendment. And each day in America lives are saved, crimes stopped, and criminals arrested simply because of law abiding citizens with guns...mostly without a shot being fired. I notice that Mr. Pierce doesn't have a clue or an idea about how to get firearms out of the hands of the criminals. And right now the liberal party is trying to make a law saying that people on the terror watch list can't buy a firearm...as if we don't know that the list is a joke with honest people on it and knowing that no one on the list has ever been charged with anything. That's not the America we want, now is it?


Wrong on every point, of course. The 2nd Amendment is the ONLY reason that gun crime is the highest int he world in our sick, sad country.
 
 
0 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-27 22:09
Ronjazz...what a piece of crap answer. You obviously don't have a clue about firearms and their criminal use and their life-saving use. And, of course, you're not aware that we don't have as much gun crime as many other countries. There are countries on this planet that you're taking your life in your hands simply to visit.
 
 
-1 # kalpal 2015-11-29 07:00
So you disagree with the Australian solution?
 
 
+21 # kando@ltidewater.net 2015-11-26 19:26
I don't know about you guys, but I can only improve things in my own surroudings, my own community, my own town maybe. Maybe the problem we have is a problem of scale. I don't know what I/we can do about the United States. But I know we can change things for the better one citizen, one collaboration at a time.
 
 
+6 # economagic 2015-11-26 20:20
"Think Globally, act locally" (attributed variously to Rene Dubos, Jaques Ellul, Patrick Geddes, David Brower, and others).

"Be Here Now" (Baba Ram Dass).

"I and Thou" (Martin Buber).

"Small Is Beautiful" (E. F. Schumacher).

"Breakdown Of Nations" (Leopold Kohr, Schumacher's friend and mentor from whom he got the idea that bigness can be a problem in and of itself).

The last four are book titles; the first is a free-standing quote, the provenance of which is uncertain.
 
 
+20 # reiverpacific 2015-11-26 19:41
Even in tiny, progressive Scotland, my home country-, where the police don't carry guns and they are very hard to get for the average punter, there was a mass school shooting of sixteen in the small town of Dunblane in 1996, so if someone is REALLY determined anywhere, they can become lethally equipped in many ways. Also Norway, of course Australia -any country really.
Still, it's not a conscious part of a child or teenager's milieu nor in adults unless they participate in the very brief, highly-regulate d hunting season or clay-pigeon shooting.
But when it's part of cradle-to an all-too-early grave inculcation into the consciousness, a rite of passage for many young (especially) men, arms available from supermarkets to specialty retailers, what the Hell do you expect.
Add to that toxic mix, a frothy-mouthed- raving arms promoter like Wayne La Pierre, abusing and manipulating the Second Amendment from another age, that refers to single-shot flintlock-armed "Well controlled Militia", currently military-grade weaponry widely-availabl e to any nut-job with an axe to grind, it's a wonder so many "normal" people make it to maturity!
This was well before 9/11.
I recall a former associate sharing his original, antique Winchester, the model which he told me was one of the very first repeating rifles, which he treasured and kept in full working condition, even taught me how to shoot it (did pretty well too) -that I can appreciate, as I collect antique knives from many countries.
 
 
0 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-28 12:14
Reiver, you mention the flint lock era as being pertinent to the 2nd Amendment...as if written notes delivered by horseback is pertinent to the first amendment! Our forefathers were immensely smarter than the group of idiots currently running our country into the ground. They knew that we would keep improving and the sporting rifles of today are equal to the cellphones of today!
 
 
+11 # turnoutthelights 2015-11-26 19:43
Perfectly summarized. No more needs be said until tomorrow and the next day and the next day ad nauseam until Congress grows some balls.
 
 
+12 # wrknight 2015-11-26 21:29
Congress growing balls is like the Mississippi flowing upstream.
 
 
0 # cavewoman 2015-11-27 15:47
You know, it did that once, in 1811 - 1812. The largest of the New Madrid Earthquakes (8.8 Richter) which rang church bells in Boston, caused a reverse flow in the Mississippi river which created Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee.

So it could happen though not likely;if it did Memphis, St Louis, Vicksburg, Natchez and a number of smaller towns would be destroyed.
 
 
+29 # Citizen Mike 2015-11-26 19:48
The NRA is a terrorist gang! Pass it on...
 
 
+15 # elkingo 2015-11-26 20:06
What is it in American culture that makes it so distinctively homicidal? That is the question and I never see it addressed. Yes Charles, the American situation is terrifying enough. I think the root cause is capitalism.

And here's a related matter, about "exotic" terrorism. We always hear "there is no credible threat to our city at this time". For Christ's sake, when has there ever been a "credible threat" about these things? 9/11? Paris? These bastards don't make "credible threats". That's part of their basic strategy.
 
 
+13 # wrknight 2015-11-26 21:44
Quoting elkingo:
What is it in American culture that makes it so distinctively homicidal? That is the question and I never see it addressed. Yes Charles, the American situation is terrifying enough. I think the root cause is capitalism.

The real cause is a combination of hate, anger and lack of self control. Carrying a gun gives one a false sense of security and inhibits one's self control in the heat of passion.
 
 
+6 # m... 2015-11-26 20:09
If we use 9/11 as the starting line (and all before as just 'warmup' to the 'big hot' we now assume as day to day life and news)... and if there are to be winners and losers... by just about any measure outside of Body Counts and Corporate Profits---- WHO is winning..?

Anybody?..... anyone at all..?.... feel free to speak up...
 
 
+7 # Texas Aggie 2015-11-26 23:22
On the comments equating much of the domestic murders to terrorism, they don't fit the definition of terrorism. A terrorist kills people and/or destroys things in order to scare the common people into doing something the terrorist wants them to do and which normal people would ordinarily not do. The are basically political crimes. Domestic killings like the one mentioned in the article don't fit the definition of terrorism.

Terrorism would be something like the kid who shot the people in church, or the guy who killed several women in CA because he couldn't get laid, or the guy who shot up a Sikh church in MN, or the kids who shoot up a school because they are sick of being bullied. Crimes of passion are rarely examples of terrorism. Crimes against members of a group that the killer hates are indeed terrorist crimes. By that measure most of the terrorist acts in the US are by RWNJ who have been aided and abetted by the NRA. The rest are mostly by RWNJ without benefit of the NRA, like Timothy McVeigh or any of the people who have been arrested with pipe bombs in their trailers.
 
 
+5 # Shades of gray matter 2015-11-27 00:09
How do we know that no card carrying, gun totin', rootin' tootin' NRA member shot anyone today. Or gun nut not willing to pay dues? As long as government agencies refuse to actually protect us, I favor the right to bear defensive arms, militias notwithstanding . But those assault weapons, WMDs actually, should be removed from civil society, no?
 
 
-5 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-27 12:39
Shades, a question if you will...what are you calling an assault rifle?
 
 
+1 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-27 22:04
Totally amazing. I ask a simple question and the mental giants on here don't answer my question and give me red marks. Seems to me that you dudes and dudettes simply don't know.
 
 
-1 # kalpal 2015-11-29 07:03
Any rifle that might be used to assault anyone?
 
 
-2 # Shades of gray matter 2015-11-28 01:48
skylinefirePEST : I'm using the generic term "assault weapon" that is used in the national dialogue by MOST participants in that discussion pro or con. You know, the military bullet spraying weapons of mass mutilation, megadeath. And your point would be? Make your momma proud and say something here sensible, compassionate, and appropriately modest. C'mon. You can do it. You know what "appropriately modest" means, right? Did you get off on the Colorado shooting today? The "Support Our Cops" guys always seem to want the police facing savages with ASSAULT RIFLES. Why is that?
 
 
-1 # skylinefirepest 2015-11-28 12:22
Shades of gray...wow, what an appropriate name. The so called semi-automatic "assault rifles" of today don't "spray" bullets and are medium powered...but then I usually don't expect you froth at the mouth liberals to know that. The cops of this country do NOT always have true assault rifles, in case you were not aware of that. Your other little piece of comment is correct though... "You know, the military bullet spraying weapons" Yes, the military does use true assault weapons but they are not generally available to the public except with an expensive license from the gubmint. So bluntly put, your use of the term "assault weapon" is not accurate and since you appear to be aware of that it makes your comment fraudulent!
 

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