Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Hate and guns

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  • Moz, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    strategic support to Australia's minuscule Shooters Party,

    You might note that while they're still small, they have members in NSW parliament so we have allowed "recreational shooting" in state parks and there is fighting about allowing it in national parks. The restrictions are laughable, and there are problems with idiots carrying brand new rifles in using their brand new 4WDs and shooting at "things". No deaths yet AFAIK, but as in NZ it's only a matter of time.

    Also, with the graphs... if you're going to count every locked-up-in-a-government-building firearm as "owned by a Swiss citizen", you really should count every single firearm held by US law enforcement and probably the military as well (although that would also dramatically increase the number of firearms in countries who have US bases, like Germany and Australia).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    And I think John Howard needs to pay a visit to the US again.

    With all due credit to Howard's actions in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre, the idea that he carries some kind of charismatic influence with the residue of his natural US allies is a joke. This is the guy who was demonstrably awkward with the Clintons at the time of their Australian visit. Jeanette Howard, who would have been one of the most hands-on Australian PM's wives in living memory, had a notably frosty interaction with Hilary.

    Whatever political capital he built up during his enthusiastic mini-me phase with Dubya at the time of the Iraq invasion won't count for much with the currently shambolic GOP. While Australia's example in turning around its gun culture frequently comes up in online US discussions, positions are now so entrenched that the standard response goes something like "I couldn't give a shit what happens on Airstrip One."

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Moz,

    You might note that while they're still small, they have members in NSW parliament so we have allowed "recreational shooting" in state parks and there is fighting about allowing it in national parks.

    Upper house only, much like Fred Nile and the onetime dregs of Pauline Hanson's One Nation. I'd suggest that's more a reflection of NSW's convoluted electoral laws - and compulsory voting - than of any genuine reflection of the popular will. Journalist and documentary maker Jenny Brockie described meeting Shooters Party voters who genuinely believed that the Australian Constitution guaranteed them the right to bear arms (it doesn't).

    Presumably they were related to the guy she once filmed raising unintentional laughter in a suburban Sydney court with a loud "Objection your honour!" Because he'd seen it on an American TV show he'd figured it was legit in Oz.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    downplaying the NRA’s influence is empty hypothesising

    Sadly you are almost certainly right. But still, leadership is essential. Obama repeating the same "isn't this terrible" speech hasn't been that. And I doubt Clinton will dare do anything much on any topic. Her comments today were quite carefully worded to not offend the NRA.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    the idea that he carries some kind of charismatic influence with the residue of his natural US allies is a joke

    I meant more to hold a seminar or two with gun reform lobbyists.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    hold a seminar or two

    Thats your suggestion? And dont hold the NRA culpable?
    Man, you are as soulless as that society/country that thinks it can be made "great again" when it is so obviously in decline.
    christknows how any decades thats going to drag on for...

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Sadly you are almost certainly right. But still, leadership is essential. Obama repeating the same “isn’t this terrible” speech hasn’t been that.

    Dude, with all due and insincere respect, I’m happy to give you a one-on-one seminar on how the Constitution of the United States was constructed to separate the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

    And if you think the GOP gives a deep fried rat’s arse what Obama thinks about anything – let alone gun control – you really haven’t been paying attention for the last nine years.

    Meanwhile, if you want to know what happens to Republicans who get on the NRA’s shitlist – ask Richard Lugar, whose impeccably conservative record was terminally blotted in the gun industry’s eyes by his support for an assault weapon ban and voting to confirm Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor and Kagan over their objections. Do you think the NRA endorsed his primary opponent, and ran hundreds of thousands of dollars in attack ads for the shits and giggles?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hmmm. The Howell thing gets murkier:

    Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said on Twitter that Howell told an officer during his arrest on weapons charges that he wanted "to harm Gay Pride event."

    But she provided no specifics and at a press conference three hours later, Lt. Saul Rodriguez suggested the tweet may have been born from a miscommunication.

    In a tweet Sunday evening, Seabrooks said, "Tweet should have read: Howell was going to event. He's now being held in weapons & explosives charges."

    And he's gay or bi according to associates, so could plausibly have been just waiting on a friend to go to the Pride parade with. So ... maybe he was just driving around with recently-purchased assault rifles and explosives? Weird.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin, in reply to Martin Brown,

    I had to renew my firearm's licence when I was back home last year (easier to renew than let it expire) and the process still required interviews of a close friend, family member and myself. I went to the police station on the day I arrived, which was a bit surreal having just flown across the world. It was all very relaxed but still enough for them to have a good chance of determining if I was a risk.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Inconsequential Act party leader's reactionary response that refugees should have to swear allegiance draws a flood of tweets about what #NewZealandValues might actually be.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    As an American living in NZ since 1978, I 'look in' to the place of my upbringing, and think that in many ways the problems of US society are incorrigible, unable to be reformed. There is no going back - the issues are too intractable - the social, financial, political/governmental and the legal systems too complex. The place is too big. It is not simply the will of the regulators, but in many ways the will of the people. They're a paranoid, protectionist society and they seem to like it that way. It's a requirement of the military-industrial complex - and most Americans don't yearn to emigrate overseas to escape the violence because they like being part of the most powerful nation on earth - leader of the free world, home of Hollywood, Wall Street, the NFL and all that jazz. They stopped manufacturing cars and shoes and lawnmowers long ago, but warfare and weapons manufacturers remain mainstays of the US economy.

    They have become so accustom to dog-eat-dog in the private sector environment (and bear in mind that sector has morphed into providing many of what used to be government services/institutions) that taking dog-eat-dog to all the streets (as opposed to just the ghettos as it was in my time there) is kind of a natural progression. The NRA position on all these mass shootings is that if every American were packing a gun, then that shooter would have been stopped much earlier. I suspect that's where US society will go. It's not pretty and you couldn't pay me to move back there - but that's the only future I can imagine. It's gone too far - just as has the prison system there, just as has the financial system there, just as has the legal and insurance system there - all irretrievable, unreformable.

    It's likely why Trump's 'Make America Great Again' slogan has a certain resonance - lots of folks would like to turn the clock back, but not quite far enough back to admit their real history - starting with the massacre of the indigenous peoples in settling that 'Great' nation. Mike Moore's latest documentary hits on a lot of these subjects. He ends on a message of hope, but I don't see it.

    When Sandy Hook happened I thought maybe that school community would look at themselves - look at the weapons they all had in their own homes. Make a decision for all parents and teachers to all bring all of their guns to the school playground and pile them up in a heap - and say to the American people .. why do we have all these weapons in our neighbourhood; who are we protecting ourselves against and how can we help them in order to help ourselves. But they didn't.

    America and Americans are armed and ready. That's the way of their world. The best thing we can do is do everything we can not to covet their lifestyle and not to mimic their institutions or their society.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Martin Brown,

    The process for obtaining a license is stringent and high quality. However there is a problem in that a license lasts for ten years and there are no further checks on a person's suitability during that time unless the person comes to the attention of the police in circumstances which would make them want to check.

    The cuts to license testing which Mountain Safety are implementing now will reduce the number of locations where people can sit the test. Making it more difficult for people in some areas to access the safety lecture and the test. This may have the consequence of more people using firearms without a license.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Martin Brown,

    some time ago when a colleague/friend applied for a license I was interviewed by police seeking my opinion on his suitability, as were others including of course, his wife. Maybe no longer so stringent. Don’t know.

    A friend was inheriting an old family heirloom and applying for a gun permit and I was interviewed as a character reference last year. I was quite impressed, they asked about his mental health, who else lived in the house, what I knew of their mental health, whether there was any whiff of spousal abuse etc etc

    I'm not sure what else you can do, perhaps contact family doctors (so they know to make that call if things are looking bad)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    This is a bad morning. I'm a straight man, but the location of the Florida massacre – a gay club – makes me think not only of the gay friends who found their identities in such places, but of the things that are culturally important to me that were forged and founded in gay clubs of yore.

    I had the same sort of feeling when this idiot was busy planting bombs in the same general areas I was regularly hanging around at the time. You don't need easy access to assault weapons to carry out deranged hate crimes, but it certainly helps.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    The USians I've conversed with of late on the net make it clear that many of them are completely divorced from reality on the issues around guns.

    Like, they see news like that and imagine themselves being trapped in a shootout in a public building, like it's totally going to happen to them too. In a country of 324 million people. That their only defense is owning and carrying a gun at all times and also that the state wants to take their gun away from them so they need to buy more and bigger guns right now!

    It's a thing, people concerned about their family suddenly turning into gun nuts and driving themselves broke buying up an armory. Seen it a few times.

    Chatted with a guy whose spouse wants to move to NZ to get away from the violence, but he can't imagine not being allowed to carry his pistol everyone in case it all went down one day. Because he's scared to go out in public without a firearm. Fox News for you, I imagine, but there it is.

    That's not strictly sane, statistically his gun is the most dangerous one to him by a hundred times, but still vastly less dangerous than his car, which is another big step down from his cheeseburgers, but that's how a whole bunch of US citizens live their lives. Guns so ever-present and dangerous that you have to have one, or two, or ten, or you'll be the next victim.

    And then, obviously, that generates a huge well-funded gun lobby whose real job it is to drive up gun sales at every opportunity (not really a gun-owners lobby, but a gun-shop lobby). So it's not that they're afraid of the NRA, it's just that the NRA pays them well to talk up political threats to widespread gun ownership, because that sells more guns.

    Which gets us into the thing where you have a mass shooting and the political right there talks up how "we can't let this hurt our 2nd amendment rights" and up go gun sales because people are terrified and believe that widespread gun ownership is the solution to that fear, because that is what Fox News constantly tells them, which is like half the country.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to andin,

    Thats your suggestion? And dont hold the NRA culpable?

    Well, it's something he could do specifically. A change of political tactics is clearly required, but if I knew what that involved I wouldn't be running a little PR company in NZ.

    And of course the NRA is culpable. But it doesn't take anyone anywhere to just say on the internet 'aren't they evil but they are too powerful so nothing can be done'. Of course they are evil. They need to be beaten. Someone somewhere must have an idea about how that could be done, and the leadership skills to make it happen. Don't know what or who that would be of course.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to ,

    It’s hard to know how many of them had firearms licences, but it’s safe to say they acted irrationally, some of them where mentaly unwell and each of them
    had access to at least one gun.

    Is it reasonable to say that when suitably inadequate gun controls meet a suitably inadequate mental health system, something like the USA emerges? Or is there more to it?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to izogi,

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    downplaying the NRA’s influence is empty hypothesising

    Sadly you are almost certainly right. But still, leadership is essential. Obama repeating the same “isn’t this terrible” speech hasn’t been that.

    I think you're wrong on that.

    There is a section of the US population that will never be convinced that any kind of gun control is good but Obama has pretty carefully been avoiding engaging with them.

    Instead every speech has been targeted at the middle. Not ever suggesting preventing people owning guns but always defining guns in the same terms as driving a car. Effectively laying the groundwork for a set of laws that makes it safer to own a gun. He's done that knowing full well that he cannot make any of those laws in his term. And also knowing full well that because the US middle is weird by any normal standard that the process will be slow.

    But just like improving the safety of cars and just like regulating smoking he is setting the stage for a discussion of sensible controls.

    And part of that is highlighting each and every time guns are used inappropriately.

    Obama won't get credit for the eventual change in gun licensing and regulation but he is setting the stage for it to happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    I agree Bart, he is doing what he can given that the US is the largest free range asylum in the world.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Angela Hart,

    the US is the largest free range asylum in the world

    It's also worth remembering that the US is really really diverse. Sure the gun nuts make good TV - but there are thousands of towns with strong gun control regulations - they don't make the news because they are boring and moderate.

    There is a large number of people in the US for whom sensible gun licensing is just reasonable and they don't feel threatened by it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Reckon we should just send Matthew over there to solve it, eh.
    Coupla seminars, that sort of thing. Shouldn't take long :-P

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    there are thousands of towns with strong gun control regulations – they d

    must be helluva confusing for people who travel around the country, figuring out and complying with local regs

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    there are thousands of towns with strong gun control regulations - they don't make the news because they are boring and moderate

    How does that work? Given the constitutional stuff, to what extent can a town or municipality in the USA get away with regulating guns?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    *shudder* As I've pointed out elsewhere today, more than once, this is shit my father didn't have access to when he was a solider fighting honest to God Nazis in a real war.

    And yet it's still nowhere near sufficient to 'overthrow a tyrannical government', as those who think they have a copyright on the 2nd Amendment would have us believe.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

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