Gunsense Hashtag

#Gunsense is really only a hashtag used to bring attention to a topic of discussion. It is an interesting phenomena, use the hashtag #Gunsense in any context regarding what is frankly “gun sense” (a reasonable and open discussion in dealing with the very real and undeniable problem in this nation regarding too many, too powerful guns in the hands of too many unqualified, untrained and unhinged people with too few safeguards in place to mitigate the problem) and a cadre of twitter trolls will descend upon your timeline with insults, smears, harassment, false studies, false facts and utter contempt for you daring to use that hashtag.

When you view the accounts of these trolls, you often see avatars and backgrounds of weapons of death, patriotic symbolism, bios with terms “constitutionalist”, “molon labe”, “second amendment”, “conservative”, “patriot”, etc” followed by timelines almost completely devoted to one subject and one subject only, guns.

You also see attacks on anyone who brings up “Gunsense” and as if almost from a script, they use the same tired and previously debunked studies, positions, idiotic memes and of course groundless and baseless insults towards the character of those citing #Gunsense. They insist falsely that all who use the hashtag are “gun-grabbers” uninterested in compromise because they won’t give in completely to the views and lunatic extreme fringe position they hold regarding guns. They go after Moms Demand Action and particularly Shannon R Watts for having the audacity of caring about innocent victims of gun violence and wanting a discussion and action taken to mitigate the problem.

They will harass, insult, annoy, tease and bully you to the point where you simply block them. Then they will turn around and announce to the world that you are a coward for not sitting back and allowing them to harass, insult, annoy, tease and bully you. They take pride in being blocked by Shannon R Watts. They see it as a badge of honor.

So let’s examine this small group of armed unapologetic unreasonable compulsive armed gun owners afraid of a woman and women who want better gun control.

Who are the real cowards here? Why should anyone give a rat’s ass about these bullies who are stood up to or ignored by the population? Who are these idiots and what (if anything) do they base their positions on?

To counter and argue against a whole host of academia who study as best they can the issue gun violence (as best they can because NRA lobbying efforts have successfully cut funding from Congress to the CDC to study this issue) from Harvard and a multitude of peer reviewed statisticians and researchers, they will almost always use John Lott.

Who’s John Lott? A totally debunked and discredited researcher paid for and supported by the gun manufacturing lobby (shades of climate change science here). John has a supporter in social media who stands for and validates his work by the name of Mary Rosh. Who’s Mary Rosh? Well, she’s John Lott’s alter ego. They are one in the same. Why would a valid and self assured researcher create his own support group? Sounds similar to tactics used by Sarah Palin on FaceBook and Twitter.

Check this link from Media Matters that goes many of the full and validated stories regarding John Lott, his admittedly flawed research design and him creating the account of Mary Rosh to defend him.

If John Lott is the best the anti #Gunsense side can provide regarding the research of gun violence then they have nothing in science to help them.

Of course the anti #Gunsense group will project the obvious failings of John Lott on those who actually use validated and proper research techniques regarding sample sizes, demographics, multi-linear regression tables etc to do their studies and make their conclusions. However if their conclusions counter those of the anti #Gunsense crowd, they have to be wrong and not worthy of any consideration.

The anti #Gunsense crowd like to say that it is the sole and only objective of “Gunsense” to take all the guns away. They call them and even President Obama “Gun Grabbers”. While it is true there are many out there who do in fact want all guns taken off the streets, they don’t come anywhere close to the majority of those who advocate #Gunsense. Fact is all #Gunsense wants is real and universal background checks, elimination of certain weapons that clearly aren’t justified on the streets of our country, licensure for those who want to carry weapons on the streets to ensure they know what they’re doing with their guns much like what we do with motor vehicles. However the anti #Gunsense group always comes back to the second amendment on that argument. More to come on that issue as this rant continues, but first: The reality of the situation is that many who advocate #Gunsense, myself and over 70% of the members in the NRA are in fact armed and see no fear in our weapons being “grabbed.”

Further, the “Grabber in Chief” President Obama, in his only action regarding gun ownership in this nation actually expanded it. He signed into law the right to carry handguns in National Forests and Parks, a right that never existed before. Again, the anti #Gunsense crowd work from a false premise. I for one fault President Obama for not using his bully pulpit more to advocate more to Congress and nation that better gun control measures are long past due. But that’s just me, he’s still the President.

As to the United States Constitution, the anti #Gunsense crowd, who seem to think the entire constitution, from preamble to the last line of the last amendment consists of only nine words “the right to bear arms shall not be infringed” and will always cite the Heller decision.

They also cite that due to “stare decisis” it is settled law and cannot be undone. What is “stare decisis”? Essentially it states that established settled law cannot be changed or overturned unless new previously unheard or unknown facts are brought before the Justices. Both John Roberts and Samuel Alito swore to the Senate during their confirmation hearings they would abide by stare decisis in all their rulings.

Prior to Heller it was the position of the Supreme Court of the United States that due to the phrase “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” that the right to bear arms in this country per the Constitution was a “group right” not an individual right. Over two hundred years of SCOTUS decisions based on prior court rulings, the notes and diaries of the founders and the history of the writing of the amendment, the Federalist papers etc found that to be the fact. Nothing new was introduced in Heller, no new facts, no new history. In fact Scalia acknowledged that, but he, Alito, Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas violated stare decisis and for the first time ruled an individual right to own a gun is protected in the Constitution.

However, what the anti #Gunsense folks refuse to acknowledge is that in his majority opinion (keep in mind each word, each phrase of a written opinion carries weight of law) Scalia himself said that although individual ownership is now guaranteed by the Constitution, the government maintains the ability to regulate it. To quote Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in Heller, (the current law of the land):

“The Second Amendment right is not a right to keep and carry any weapon in any manner and for any purpose. The Court has upheld gun control legislation including prohibitions on concealed weapons and possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, and laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. The historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons supports the holding in United States v. Miller that the sorts of weapons protected are those in common use at the time.”

Of course, an anti #Gunsense troll explained to me that the Court’s often get it wrong, even Scalia. Not sure how to take that other than the troll had no fucking argument to make.

Per Heller, guns can still be regulated. The major focus of #Gunsense is regulation of guns to keep the community safer. The anti #Gunsense folks have nothing; no validated studies, no law, no reason, no logic, no morality to counter the desire of #Gunsense. Only rhetoric, insults, selfishness, anger, paranoia, memes and bullying tactics. They don’t want to reasonably sit down and debate the reality of the situation and come to a reasonable accommodation and compromise for all of those involved, they only want it their way period.

In preparing this rant I pondered whether or not to identify the anti #Gunsense trolls I and many have had to contend with on Twitter. However, in much the same way as terrorists, trolls often merely aim for notoriety and attention. They simply want to be heard, not involve themselves in mature and reasonable dialogue. Thus, they troll, they insult, harass, annoy, threaten, bully anyone so that they themselves can be notice. So I won’t name them. Besides, they’ll identify themselves.

My only advice, and this is strictly your call, don’t feed the trolls. Ignore and block. You’re not a coward; you’re merely not wasting your time with someone who wants to waste your time. If someone wants a reasonable discussion of the issue with them, they’ll present themselves that way and won’t go into insults, belittling and threats to counter your points. They’ll show restraint and reasonableness, as should you.

The issue of proper gun control, proper #Gunsense is too important for the lives, wellbeing and security of our friends, families and ourselves to waste time with trolls.

If they’re afraid to have a mature conversation with you, they have nothing of value to offer. Ignore and block them.

If interested, here are some links that can help you educate yourself over the reality of guns in this nation:

Heller Decision:

Harvard Injury Control Research Center:

Right to Carry Gun Laws Linked to Increase in Violence (Stanford):

FBI Study discredits “Good Guy with a Gun” argument (summary and actual study):

What happens to the brain when exposed to lead residue on the firing range:

Universal Rights – a personal opinion

You can’t avoid it. Any discussion about the law, religion, government, society, economics, anything causes someone at some point bringing up the terms “Rights”. When you discuss Rights in of themselves you get varied degrees on where they come from. As Americans, especially those who don’t look far beyond a narrative of our own history talk about the “God Given Rights” that the founders inscribed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Some will parse that a bit and will cite “Natural Rights”.

On one twitter thread I was involved in regarding gun control, my worthy opponent didn’t want to go so far as to say Rights came from God but instead from Man evolving from the Neanderthal who developed a “genetic sense” of rights. An interesting take on the subject and certainly got me thinking. He was adamant though. Rights are absolute and constant and cannot be abridged and constitutions and laws don’t create rights, they merely acknowledge they exist and that even if they do not exist in any legal document, no man has any right to violate them.

Well the concept of Rights predates our revolution, going back literally thousands of years. If you believe in a Deity or Deities, you’re apt to believe that is where they come from. If, as my friend above tried to explain, they are essentially genetic, then you would expect some consistency in those Rights throughout time and region. Indeed there is some consistency, but not complete consistency. When you look at various cultures in various regions at various times, the concept of Rights do differ. Are they evolving? Perhaps, but if that is the case, then this rules out any single Deity or Deities providing them for they would be absolute and unchanging.

I reject the concept of God given rights and I’m not willing to accept the proposition of “natural rights” either. Full disclosure, my major was Sociology, so I look to culture in determining how societies came to exist and develop. I believe that the concept of “Rights” develop among societies over time depending on the physical and social environment where they exist. They also depend on the perceived necessities of the time, place and region.

At our founding, Europe was in the grips of the Enlightenment. An important aspect of the Age of Enlightenment was the belief that man had greater control and influence over life and environment than previously thought or tolerated by the strict teachings of the Church. Man had the ability of expansion of thought, creativity and doing better and being greater. God was still involved in many ways, but man had a say too. Humanism was coming to fruition. In the Colonies, a bigger rift was developing between the colonists and the mother Country ruled by a God anointed Monarch who saw his authority as a Right given him by God, family and class; as well as an English Parliament who saw their right to control the colonies, to ensure the Mother country’s wealth and prosperity. By that I mean the upper wealthy elite classes of society. Their rights were truly God given.

Back in the Colonies, a class of some ruling elites and influential businessmen were seeing their rights being infringed upon by the Crown and nation of elites abusing their rights over the colonists. The rights were conflicting. The founders enumerated their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they felt were being denied by the Crown and Parliament who were asserting their right of privilege over the colonies and colonists, who were by divine right, subservient to them. Since the colonies didn’t have a standing army, only militias and Great Britain had the greatest Navy and armed forces in the world, the colonists felt they had a right to have the arms necessary to ensure their right of freedom in opposing the Crown exercising their right to keep control over their colonies.

Let us not forget, the only rights being discussed and enumerated during this time were those of the White Male property owners. Owning property gave you rights. If you didn’t own property, you really didn’t have or deserved any particular rights. Rights were determined by socioeconomic class, race and gender. There was, even in the enlightenment, a caste system of rights. After the revolution and ratification of the Constitution, where the rights were enumerated, they were geared towards the white property owners and nobody else.

Over time as the country grew and more of her inhabitants became organized and began to demand things, rights were expanded and new rights were expressed to meet the needs and challenges that presented themselves as our American society developed. We remained a class society; however the lower classes weren’t going to sit idly by while their desires were left unfulfilled or acknowledged. The upper classes knew their rights could be endangered and lost if some token of reconciliation wasn’t given to those they depended upon to grow their personal wealth and influence, so things evolved. As the lower classes became larger, more educated, more self aware and more cognizant of where they stood, their desire grew as did their demands for recognition and their “natural rights” which really amounted to desires.

I don’t believe there are universal rights that came from the dawn of man or society; I believe that rights are nothing more than identified “desires from the masses” that the societal system eventually permits and recognizes to keep order. Our Constitution didn’t enumerate long existing “rights” per se; it codified desires of the masses and called them rights. Over time those desires/rights were expanded to others in the nation in order to keep order.

They’re not God given, they’re not natural, they’re societal. As the world changes and desires/rights conflict, we need to step back and determine where the greater societal right/desire exists to maintain order, structure, growth and peace.

An environment of open warfare, wilderness, need to provide for yourself and family created a desire, later codified as a right to bear arms. Over time a standing army has been created as well as police. Wilderness has given way to cities and towns. Since crime is ever present, the desire to have guns, as well as a rather paranoid view of tyrannical government is seen as a right that is absolute and shall not be infringed upon, even if it endangers the rights of other to not be killed by guns in the wrong hands.

Those who claim a right to own guns conflicts with those who claim rights to live in safety. The two rights/desires conflict. Which is more important?  Where is the compromise? If you hold to the paradigm of “rights are absolute” you will be hard pressed to come to a good solution because your rights are more important and absolute than another person’s rights.

If we can step back and replace the term rights with the term desire and accept that compromise is needed to maintain peace, structure, growth and society perhaps a solution beneficial to both sides can be found.

It’s not a popular or safe position to advocate, but in my humble opinion, rights aren’t guaranteed because at times they do conflict.

Rights must be massaged, as they have over history to keep society growing as the environment and desires of people change. Some rights do trump others and we need to accept that and come to a compromise that benefits the greater number of people and ensure their needs, their desires, their rights are protected and expanded for the betterment of our entire society, not just the angry and spoiled few.

Again, this is just my view as is my right to express and yours to accept or reject or debate as you wish.