Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Books and Guns


We live in a country where some states ban books but do not ban selling weapons of mass killings to teenagers.

Texas, for example, is among the leading book-banning states. In addition to being a state that doesn't ban teenagers from buying AR-15s, Texas is also in the top ten states with the most school shootings.

As far as I know, no teenager has committed a massacre holding a book in his hands.

Try explaining this to someone from another country.

US mass shootings:


Anonymous said...

Some people fear knowledge and truth more than they fear bullets and death. Funny thing about these conservative religious and "liberty" folks, they're the first that will attempt to impose their will on the rest of society.

Dave Miller said...

I think the books/guns analogy is weak. Because there is no Constitutional right to books.

Perhaps a better example and one that tracks pretty closely is this...

The 2nd Amendment states this... "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The 14th Amendment states this... "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges [such as voting] or immunities of citizens of the United States..."

Both of these amendments prohibit the infringement or abridgment of rights. The rights interpretation of that in the 2nd Amendment is that this includes even registration and/or background checks. To many, your citizenship guarantees your right to walk into any gun store, anywhere and buy a gun, without restrictions.

What is a shame is that they refuse to support that level of access and interpretation for voting rights.

Mike said...

We have book banners trying to get on our local school board. So far we have fought them off.

FYI: Good read today...

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave M. I know there is no "right" to books in the Constitution. The comparison is to show how ludicrous this is.

We banned AR-15 weapons in the past; we can do it again. Why don't we?

The Prophet Dervish Z Sanders said...

Right wing extremist tRumpers love to incite riots and extreme violence wherever they go. We need to wipe them out legally whenever we see one. The latest example we can see is the Monterey Park shooting in California.

It is looking more and more that the gunman was highly likely a tRumper, when you see what he was like. The Los Angeles County Sheriff found huge stashes of illegal firearms at his home. And people who knew him say he had a very hot temper; one could say he got triggered easily if someone lit his extremely short fuse.

These are your typical tRumpers: violent lawless asswipes who encourage extreme violence. And every one of the GOP members in offices are just like that.

Les Carpenter said...

Derv, these folks are disillusioned suffering individuals. They are reacting to phenomenon in the ways they have been conditioned by their environment. Parents, schools, the workplace, and American culture in general, etc. In reality they are just like us. Just suffering more in the samsaric reality they've created for themselves. They actually need understanding and compassion. As well as some serious therapy.

skudrunner said...

Derv, So an elderly Asian man kills Asian people and he is a trumper. Your reasoning skills need improvement or maybe a path back to sanity can be found.

Wish everyone on the East Coast a safe and warm couple of days because it looks like the endless winter will continue.

Craig said...

there is no Constitutional right to books.
The Supreme Court has ruled giving boatloads of cash to political campaigns is 'speech', protected by the 1st amendment. So, what's a book?

Shaw Kenawe said...

I'm on the East Coast -- one street up from Boston Harbor. About as eastie and coastie as one can get.

So far this winter, we've had 3 inches of snow -- nothing, really, for us in the Northeast.

Today it's raining. That's it.

Dave Miller said...

Graig... yeah, I know... but???

It is weird that boatloads of cash is protected, but Catcher in the Rye, not.

Yesterday I went to get my hair trimmed up. I had a 50ish Vietnamese guy doing the work. We had a great convo that eventually turned to books. He shared how happy he was that public schools here forced him to read books like "Lord of the Flies" and the "Scarlet Letter".

He said normally he'd never look for books like that, his teachers forcing him to read them changed his life.

It was such an encouraging conversation.

Sadly, I wonder if those types of conversations will be consigned to the ash bins of correctness.

Shaw Kenawe said...


"...there is no Constitutional right to books."?

"The Supreme Court has ruled giving boatloads of cash to political campaigns is 'speech', protected by the 1st amendment. So, what's a book?"

A book, in some people's mind, (See DeSantis, Ron)is a dangerous thing -- good ones make people THINK and QUESTION what they know or what they THINK they know. In a society with extremists on both ends of the political spectrum, that's seen as dangerous.

I think about this a lot: The 2nd Amendment is sacrosanct to lots of Americans. They don't want ANY restrictions whatsoever on anything involving personal ownership of firearms, no matter the consequences to society.

What they're saying is that the carnage we witness year after year is WORTH IT so that their inalienable right to own weapons of mass killing is never questioned. (REMEMBER! In 1994, Congress adopted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which made it generally “unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess” a semiautomatic assault weapon. But since that law expired in 2004, there have not been any national laws regulating this type of rifle.) So we DO know that we can do and DID do something about assault weapons in our past.

The leading cause of death for American children is firearms. Suicide is the leading cause of firearms deaths. We lead the entire planet on deaths from firearms.

When the assault weapons ban was in effect from 1994 - 2004, the number of mass shooting dropped, BUT: "Breaking the data into absolute numbers, between 2004 and 2017 – the last year of our analysis – the average number of yearly deaths attributed to mass shootings was 25, compared with 5.3 during the 10-year tenure of the ban and 7.2 in the years leading up to the prohibition on assault weapons." SOURCE

CONCLUSION: We live in a country that accepts these death rates because powerful people and unreasonable people believe the carnage it worth it so that we can have millions and millions of guns in circulation.

Other developed countries have problems such as the breakdown in families, drug addiction, lack of affordable and available mental health care, social media addiction, etc. THOSE COUNTRIES DO NOT HAVE THE NUMBER OF GUNS IN CIRCULATION THAT WE HAVE NOR THE CASUAL AVAILABILITY OF ASSAULT WEAPONS.


Here's a discussion on the subject.

Read the back and forth to understand why, for now, we will not end the carnage. There are too many people who believe these terrible deaths are the price we MUST pay to honor the 2nd Amendment. (PS The Constitution has had 27 amendments. This problem CAN be solved. But I'm afraid my fellow Americans are too frightened and selfish to do so.

Shaw Kenawe said...

More from the Ohio Capital Journal linked above:

"Saving hundreds of lives

We calculated that the risk of a person in the U.S. dying in a mass shooting was 70% lower during the period in which the assault weapons ban was active. The proportion of overall gun homicides resulting from mass shootings was also down, with nine fewer mass-shooting-related fatalities per 10,000 shooting deaths.

Taking population trends into account, a model we created based on this data suggests that had the federal assault weapons ban been in place throughout the whole period of our study – that is, from 1981 through 2017 – it may have prevented 314 of the 448 mass shooting deaths that occurred during the years in which there was no ban."


"...President Biden’s claim that the rate of mass shootings during the period of the assault weapons ban “went down” only for it to rise again after the law was allowed to expire in 2004 holds true.

As the U.S. looks toward a solution to the country’s epidemic of mass shootings, it is difficult to say conclusively that reinstating the assault weapons ban would have a profound impact, especially given the growth in sales in the 18 years in which Americans have been allowed to purchase and stockpile such weapons. But given that many of the high-profile mass shooters in recent years purchased their weapons less than one year before committing their acts, the evidence suggests that it might."

Les Carpenter said...

Shaw, i personally find the use of verbiage like weapons of mass killings offensive. Why? I used to be a hunter and one who enjoyed target shooting. Until i realized i had outgrown enjoyment of hunting other life forms and spending money on lead bullets just to confirm my aim.

My point being this... i believe the vast majority of gun owners are, just like me. And the vast majority are just as concerned as we are over gun violence and mass shootings. They too want it stopped.

It's these folks you want on our side as we work to influence thinking on the issue of gun violence and how society can best reduce the violence and carnage. So maybe its worth the effort to seek first to understand and then to be understood.

The outliers in the gop do not represent the vast majority of firearm owners. The problem is the NRA and those corporations whose interests can be found in the wealth created by the sale of firearms, ammo, and associated paraphernalia.

We have, as a nation, reified age old perspectives originally codied in the 18th century. The flow and energies of life change over time. It simply takes more time for some to adjust. It's as our job to help them accept changing realities. Nit attempt to force it down their throats.

Craig said...

Shaw and Dave, My only point was that books, the written word, are by definition protected under the 1st amendment. A gentle pushback to Dave who said, I think the books/guns analogy is weak. Because there is no Constitutional right to books. Maybe I wasn't clear or came off as sarcastic. For that, I apologize.
To be clear, There are limits to free speech, incitement, defamation, fraud, obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, and threats. To ban a book from a public or public school library
one better have a damn good reason and clearly fall under the limitations.

Because Holden Caulfield used words like goddam or ass or some think he's a commie that the book should be pulled, should raise some 1A red flags. If a local PTA wants to restrict access to it, whatever, their loss. What we're seeing now is govs and state legislators mandating removal of books that accurately portray our history of slavery, Jim Crow and racism from libraries because it might upset white kids and teach them to resent their whiteness and teach black to be victims. Like that's actually happening. Or, a book that acknowledges the existence of gay or trans. These are clear instances of government restricting the right to free speech. Exclusively from a party constantly whining about "the Left" curtailing free speech and "cancelling" because a private venue thinks its bad business to platform bigots, misogynists, homophobes and nazis. Free market for me, not for thee.

Shaw, I'm with you on guns. I'd go further. We may have a right to guns but it doesn't come from the constitution. The 2A clearly refers to a well regulated militia at a time when there was fear of a standing army. The body of the constitution spells out who has power over militias.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 16:

[The Congress shall have Power . . . ] To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; . . .

Restrictions on personal firearms stood for over 200 years and hadn't been challenged since 1939 where restrictions were upheld in U.S. v. Miller. Then in 2005 the "originalists" on the Roberts court found a right to pack heat and first clause of the Second Amendment that references a “militia” is a prefatory clause that does not limit the operative clause of the Amendment. That's some fancy parsing.

Sorry for rambling, but that's where I'm coming from.

skudrunner said...

Leslie, You actually wrote a sane post and one in which I agree. I own a few guns and went to the range today with some friends. I gave up hunting decades ago because I was not interested in eating what I shot anymore and would rather buy it cut up at the store. I don't fish for the same reason, it is cheaper and easier to buy it on ice.

I gave up my NRA membership many years ago, not because I don't support reasonable gun ownership but because I don't support many of the stances the NRA takes so I will not support them. I feel the same about supporting any political party because they don't support my beliefs. I do wish I had the courage to not pay my taxes for the same reason but that may not turn out well.

I would like to see the country offer the same assistance to the unhoused and poor that they offer border crosser's. It is coming to the point where we have more people in the country who crossed the border and we are supporting as the number of unhoused we are not supporting. Guess that's OK with some.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Craig Thanks for the clarification. I'm in agreement with you.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Les, I used the term "weapons of mass killings" to describe assault weapons. I certainly didn't mean it to include people who hunt or who use their firearms responsibly.

Military generals and police chiefs are against having those assault weapons on the street. It's not just me.

I'm in agreement with you on what you wrote.

I have nothing but respect for the journey you're on. Very few people would attempt to look at their beliefs and question them at the point you are in your life. The Way of the Buddha is certainly, IMO, an excellent way to sort out and question our long held ideas and beliefs. You're teaching me every time you post here.

Thank you.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skudrunner, I respect you for your choice to act independently from the crowd and be an independent thinker on the subject of the NRA.

As for the issue of immigration, please remember that Democrats have tried in the past to put together legislation that addresses that. The GOP did not cooperate. Both the Dems and the GOP, when they've had both house of Congress and the Executive Branch, have done nothing.

Do you ever question why?

skudrunner said...

Immigration reform should not be that hard and W tried to pass immigration reform but was blocked by his own party. Both parties use immigration reform and immigration as a weapon against the other. No matter what they need to enact an clean bill law where a bill can only contain things pertaining to that subject and not tag on other items. I don't think that will ever happen because the current system allows unrelated pork to be passed that otherwise would not.

The vast majority of people don't know what is contained in a bill and most elected elite don't read them just the synopsis from their aids.

The answer to your question because it is easier to blame the other party than to do their job. The democrats wanted to attach immigration reform to the 1.7 trillion climate bill but it didn't get added so now the democrats can say the republicans turned down immigration reform. Again, clean bill reform.

Dave Miller said...

Here's a great read on the problem of banning books and the inability of the mostly southern political leaders to define CRT, which they use as a basis for those book banning hopes and dreams.

Dave Miller said...

The key is in your comment Skud. I agree with Shaw that in fact, the Dems also shoulder some of the blame, but your "W tried to pass immigration reform but was blocked by his own party." is an important part of the story.

The GOP did the same recently on the Senate plan negotiated between Sinema and Tillis.

And now, the House GOP cannot even pass their own plan they promised to their voters.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"From abroad, the mass shootings in the US seem like a preventable illness. Two friends in the UK independently told me “if Americans don’t want to fix the problem, I can’t feel sorry for them.” It gave me pause." Richard Engle

Les Carpenter said...

Thank you skud. For elaborating in your posistion in response to the question asked. Your points have merit. And, you sound bipartisan. Thank you again.

Les Carpenter said...

Thank you Shaw. And know this, i've been taught by you something each time i've visited here... Which is regular.

Les Carpenter said...

Until society in the USA focuses on the true underlying cause of our national disgrace, and stops focusing on the symptoms, not much will change.