“Van Control”

(I’m re-posting a Facebook comment here, because it might be useful in the future. All snark has been preserved, because I’m sick of this crap.)

The post:

When a 64 year old white man kills 58 and wounds 500 in fifteen minutes from 1200 feet with a knife, I will absolutely call for knife control. Until then, you've made the world's shittiest point.

The response:

A van killed 86 people in less than 3 mins, van control anyone????

The comment:

Oh, you sweet, sweet man. You’re obviously new here.
Continue reading


That Texas Open-Carry Law

The Texas Legislature passed HB 910, which amends current law to allow open-carry of handguns. All that is left is for Governor Abbott to sign it.

Someone asked the following question in what became a very strange Facebook thread: Can a business ban people who are open-carrying guns under Texas’ new law? The short answer is yes, they can.

To delve a bit more, currently § 30.06 of the Texas Penal Code (yes, I do find that hilarious) allows businesses to prohibit people with a CHL from concealed-carrying on their premises, referring to it as “trespass by holder of license to carry concealed handgun.”

Via ar15armory.com

Click to embiggen (via ar15armory.com)

HB 910 (PDF of the final version here) amends § 30.06 to remove the “concealed” language, because it appears that, assuming the governor signs the bill, the state will now simply be licensing people to carry handguns in public, concealed or not. Continue reading


What I’m Reading, October 7, 2014

My day at the gun nuts’ confab: Blunt talk, high drama and mass paranoia, Alexander Zaitchik, Salon, October 7, 2014

Earlier that morning, a speaker had flattered the [Gun Rights Policy Conference] crowd by calling them “the most sophisticated gun-rights gathering in the country.” This is probably true. It’s also telling. All of the room’s combined political experience, intelligence and savvy still does not add up to the ability to grasp how America’s largely unregulated gun trade has become a public health crisis, or why background checks and other common-sense measures poll so well. The gun-rights movement continues to see background checks through the same paranoid prism it sees everything else: the threat of door-to-door gun confiscation.

Why I will no longer speak on all-male panels, Scott Gilmore, MacLean’s, October 4, 2014 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, June 4, 2014

Insomnia Cured Here [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)], via FlickrThe NRA’s Frankenstein monster, Mano Singham, Freethought Blogs, June 3, 2014

The Frankenstein story is a morality tale that gets played over and over again in political life. A group (a government or political party or other organization) covertly supports and encourages extremists in order to achieve their own goals, thinking that they can control their surrogates and rein them in after they have served their purpose, only to find that the group has grown beyond its control and is determined to continue on its own path and in order to do us, turns against its own creator.


Things are so bad that the extremists are spawning even more extreme groups. The recent spat between the NRA and the group known as Open Carry Texas is a case in point. The NRA has been promoting the idea that people have the right of completely unbridled ownership of guns and to carry them anywhere at any time. The OCT took them at their word and its members went into a Chili’s fast food restaurant toting large semi-automatic weapons, freaking out the regular customers and this resulted in them being asked to not bring their guns into the store again.

This episode resulted in such bad publicity that the NRA, of all groups, has issued a sharply worded admonishment to the OCT telling them to cut it out. But OCT has turned on the NRA, accusing them of betraying the rights of gun owners.

*** Continue reading


I Know that the Vast Majority of Gun Owners Are Very Responsible

It’s just that the ones who aren’t ought to make us all very nervous.


Just Because You Think the Second Amendment Says You Can, It Still Doesn’t Mean You Should

By Lucio Eastman (Free State Project - PorcFest 2009 - Open Carry) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsYou might have a Second Amendment right to carry a gun into a restaurant, but others also have the right to call the police on you. I certainly have the right to state my opinion that you are a jackass. The following happened in Fort Worth

Let’s all take a moment to pity Open Carry Texas. The armed freaks who enjoy parading around terrorizing the public because they can are once again playing up their victim status after frightening the staff of a restaurant so badly that employees locked themselves in a freezer to protect themselves.

Thursday night, the “peaceful” and “non-threatening” group barged into a Jack in the Box with their usual heavy armaments, striking fear into the staff.

On multiple occasions in the past couple of years, I have heard people explain the difference between carrying a rifle in a manner in which it cannot be easily fired, as though this somehow makes it better that someone decided to stroll down the street with his definitely-not-for-hunting rifle (and I say “he” because it seems like it’s always a “he.”)

What is never explained is why I should trust the guy standing there with an arm cannon that is not in a firing position, simply because at that precise moment he isn’t holding it in a way that it could be fired. I know it doesn’t take long to move it into such a position—it wouldn’t be very useful otherwise—and that makes it impossible to tell the difference between a “good guy with a gun” and a “bad guy.” Continue reading


This plan may have backfired

From the “scaring kids for Jesus” department comes this tale out of Middletown, PA:

County prosecutors have begun an investigation into a church function where members of a youth group were tied up and blindfolded as part of a lesson in religious persecution.

Fran Chardo, First Deputy District Attorney of Dauphin County, said there could be consequences if teens didn’t know what was going to happen, and didn’t agree to be a part of the event at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in Lower Swatara Township.

“It’s actually quite serious,” Chardo said. “False imprisonment of a child, someone under the age of 18, is a second-degree felony punishable up to 10 years on prison.”

ABC27 News has learned that an off-duty police officer acted as one of two kidnappers who raided the Wednesday night meeting. The gun used by the officer in the fake raid was unloaded, but real.

Taurus .357 Magnum by SoulRider.222 on FlickrI was once involved in a church youth group skit involving a real, loaded gun, but I’ll get to that.

Lower Swatara Township police began their own investigation when the mother of a 14-year-old girl complained that her daughter, a guest of a youth group member, had her legs bruised during the event.

The teen told abc27 News she thought she was going to die when the men burst into the room, put pillow cases over some of the people’s heads and led them into a van.

“They pulled my chair out from underneath me and then they told me to get on the ground,” she said. “I was the first person to go into the van. I had my hands behind my back they said ‘just do as I say and you won’t be hurt’.”

The teens were taken to the pastor’s house, where it appeared he was being assaulted. Eventually, she said the adults in charge revealed it was a staged event.

“They heard me crying,” she said. “Why not right then and there tell us it was a joke, when you see me crying?”

Pastor John Lanza said the lesson was a surprise “to secure the shock value of it and make it much more real.”

“There are people in other countries that live under this environment on a regular daily basis,” Lanza said. “They’re not warned that their persecutors are coming in.”

Church officials said the exercise has been done before and they would not shy away from doing it again, but would tell parents first. They added that they never had any indication that the teen was in such distress.

“I’m pretty sure she was laughing at some point and having fun with the other students,” youth pastor Andrew Jordan said. “I can’t confirm that, but that’s what I’ve heard from friends of hers that were there.”

Because there is no better way to teach American teenagers how people elsewhere in the world are traumatized than to traumatize them. Not to quibble with Pastor Lanza, but it does not sound like these children were “warned that their persecutors are coming in,” either. They were just told it was all fake after the fact. I’m sure it was no different than a fraternity prank, right?

Whatever the rationale for this, I hope someone high up gets something more than a slap on the wrist. After all is said and done, these are the adults that these kids are supposed to trust–to rely on for guidance–and this is how the adults treat them? Plus, the whole point of the exercise, by the pastor’s own admission, is to scare the kids, so how does he also suggest they were having fun?

Here’s the deal, Pastor Lanza, either you succeeded in your goal of scaring them (“to secure the shock value”), or the kids were having fun with it. There really is no middle ground here. Either way, you are one sick puppy, pastor.

It puts my loaded (with blanks) gun experience in perspective. Rewind to my high school days, circa 1992. To act out the “full armor of God” bit from Ephesians 6:10-18, my youth director had me put on some baseball catcher’s equipment (to represent the armor) and gave me a .357 loaded with blanks (to represent prayer.) We acted out a skit where a bully was tormenting me, and an angel equipped me with the titular armor. The armor protected me from a bully (played by one of my friends) and the “prayer” took his ass out. I fired slightly to his right (my left), because a tiny bit of common sense and human decency must have crept into my brain in that moment.

But at least no one put a bag over my head and kidnapped me.

(h/t to sinidentidades for the story)

Photo credit: Taurus .357 Magnum by SoulRider.222 on Flickr.