Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dear Asshole

You are a repugnant human being.

I think carrying guns to protests is entirely counterproductive. Indeed, I'm not sold on the general virtues of protesting, which worked for Gandhi and the civil rights marcher, but has a dismal track record on other concerns. But I think people have a perfect right to do it, including with guns, though I also think the secret service is within its rights to ensure that they don't have a sight line on the president.
But the hysteria about them has been even more ludicrous. Numerous people claim to believe that this makes it likely, even certain, that someone will shoot at the president. This is very silly, because the president is not anywhere most of the gun-toting protesters, who have showed up at all sorts of events. It is, I suppose, more plausible to believe that they might take a shot at someone else. But not very plausible: the rate of crime associated with legal gun possession or carrying seems to be very low. Guns, it turn out, do not turn ordinary people into murderers. They make murderers more effective.
Remember, Megan totally participated in a protest for something she doesn't remember once in college, so she knows what she's talking about. And the passionate emotions whipped up in protests, where people who hold perhaps slightly more extreme beliefs than most can be found, in no way argues that LOADED FIREARMS are not a good thing to have at them. But hey, if the hippies outside the '68 Dem convention in Chicago had been armed they could have shot back, right?
Megan knows what eliminationism is, even if she wouldn't recognize the word. She reads Red State and Dan Riehl, she knows full well that "jokes" about shooting liberals, which means anyone who disagrees, are quite common on the right, and that the paranoid fantasists of the right have already begun to shoot people, like cops in Pittsburgh. Having been to a tea party my own self, I can tell you there are people there with whom simply making eye contact can be a risky, and frightening, thing. But Megan thinks she wouldn't be at risk, so it doesn't worry her. Besides which, she'll never go to one of these protests or town halls, that's what a journalist would do.
Instead she goes back to showing that while girls aren't bad at math, she is.
So perhaps unsurprisingly, when offered the opportunity to put some money down on the proposition that one of these firearms is soon going to be discharged at someone, they all decline.
Remember the Cheney Doctrine, Megan? The one which helped you think of the Bush Admin as a good daddy after they almost got you killed? Saying that bringing LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public events where there are already police officers and maybe even Secret Service agents providing security for one and all is a bad idea that increases the chances of violence does not equal saying these things are guaranteed to happen. But an increase from, say, 1% to a 10% chance is very significant, and worth concern. Further, Megan is blithely assuming that because she's in ideological agreement with these GUN NUTS they are reasonable people who were simply doing some fashionable accessorizing. After all, there's countless legitimate reasons to bring LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public events monitored by law enforcement.
Megan? Guns are built to shoot bullets. That is what they are used for, that and to threaten others with the possibility of being shot. What's the "political" message these GUN NUTS are sending? That if we extend health coverage they'll shoot the newly insured?
They're bringing guns because the people Peter used to work with have done a bang up job of scaring them shitless. They think ACORN will physically attack them because some black guy got pushed after helping to push someone else. They think a simple measure to give people more control over the end of their life is an effort to kill their parents. They think Obama was born in Kenya. These are not reasonable people, Megan. You don't bring a gun to a debate, unless you are unwilling to accept that your ideas might prove lacking, or utterly, completely, wrong, and want a penis extension to grab and point in the face of those who can out think you.
By simple fact if there are loaded firearms in a location the chances are significantly higher that they will be used. This is not complicated. When those weapons are in the hands of people who hold extreme, irrational beliefs and who appear to be emotionally unbalanced, the chances are even greater. And as people like you, Megan, justify this behavior it becomes more likely that more people will bring more weapons to more town halls, further increasing the possibility of violence.
This blithe, stupid, shallow, fucking asshole move of a bet is a non sequitur, Megan. To begin, you're trying to get someone to potentially profit off of gun violence. We, on the left, leave that to the gun makers. Then there's the weaselly qualifications you attached which Susan covered, basically saying that anyone who does use a weapon is breaking a law, and therefore not a law abiding gun owner and not part of the bet, which is to say you're loading the dice, Megan. The issue, you stupid asshole, is not whether it is certain to happen, but that it now could happen.
But she's actually got something more offensive to say, you have to see it to believe it.
I suspect that, like the notion that Obama is not a US citizen, or that George Bush either planned the 9/11 attacks or allowed them to happen, this is for most people what Julian Sanchez calls a symbolic belief. They don't really believe that these people are thugs intent on murder--not in the sense that they have, with careful thought, arrived at a conclusion that they are willing to defend vigorously. But it is pleasurable to tell yourself you believe terrible things about your enemies, and so you don't examine the thought until someone says, "Well, how about $500 on it, then?" and you think about how much it would hurt to lose $500 on, and realize that you don't actually have any reason to believe it's all that likely.
Unfortunately, these sorts of fun pastimes are horribly corrosive to civic society.
No, I don't think she's aware of the irony of her closing line. I do think she's aware of the incredibly dickish nature of what she said, and thinks she's being clever by couching it in not directly aggressive language. Megan just equivocated fearing gun violence from these armed extremists with being a birther or truther. If you're afraid of being shot by the kind of mentally unbalanced person who feels a need to bring a LOADED FIREARM to a peaceful public discussion, you're a paranoid conspiracy theorist. (Though she, of course, went on to defend deathers in her WaPo chat, as we'll get to later.)
Megan once counseled preemptive violence against those with whom she disagreed because someone told her those people were bad. She claims to have sobered up since then, not that she even admits to what she actually said, but she can't see where someone might, now, be of a similar mindset. She's a fucking moron, and I need to stop talking about her for the moment.


Dr Zen said...

No offence, but you do realise that those of us in the rest of the world look at Americans and just shake our heads? There isn't another place on the planet where a commentator would suggest that it isn't a terrible idea to have angry nutters at demonstrations with weapons that can hurt others. Of course, for us Brits, we reserve that for the police.

blivet said...

By the way, see this for a nice precursor to the 2x4 post. Our muse clearly believes that disagreements are best settled by physical violence.

clever pseudonym said...

Too bad the link to the WaPo isn't good anymore; we can't see what made poor Megan so angry. But remember, this was less than one year after 9/11, so she was still vewy, vewy upset. Hearing the WTC collapsed from the Upper East Side (or was it West? Fuck it. I don't care) left her shell shocked and wearied from war.

Anonymous said...

this is it, via the wsj link

For a card-carrying liberal, I was surprisingly unapologetic about our decision. Why should I sacrifice our daughter's future to an abstract principle? I wasn't up to battling the school system about class size, curriculum and extracurricular activities. And by the time any changes could be made, our daughter would have already missed out on a vibrant education

that's it, apparently. wow.

Anonymous said...

ok - you google that text, you get what is apparently the whole text:

My Public Spirit Stops at My Daughter

My daughter began private elementary school this year. Our decision to pay for something not everyone can afford immediately raised painful questions of social and economic class. . . .

Our local public elementary school ranks near the bottom of the Anne Arundel County system. Its test scores confirm the stories I have heard from discouraged neighbors: Their children, who had adored nursery school, soon came to dread kindergarten. They were bored by repeating material they had already learned. They wanted to stay home.

The test scores combined with these stories persuaded my husband and me to start looking into private schools for our daughter.

My mother-in-law didn't approve. She said it wasn't right for us to send our daughter to private school. If we kept her in public schools and worked to make the system better, everyone would benefit -- including people who don't have the option of sending their kids somewhere else.

For a card-carrying liberal, I was surprisingly unapologetic about our decision. Why should I sacrifice our daughter's future to an abstract principle? I wasn't up to battling the school system about class size, curriculum and extracurricular activities. And by the time any changes could be made, our daughter would have already missed out on a vibrant education. . . .

Private education doesn't square so well with my liberal, communitarian ideals. But with the state of our public school, I wouldn't dream of educating our daughter any other way.

Perhaps Megan is there to make Andrew look restrained.

M. Bouffant said...

Our muse clearly believes that disagreements are best settled by physical violence.

A succinct distillation of the glibertarian philosophy. And once they realize they aren't so damn special & there's always a bigger bully around, well, they get a gun.