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Every day, I come across a new article that takes the crown for “dumbest thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.” Today’s entry comes from Mischa Livingstone, a Scottish film director who teaches at an art institute in California. On his blog, he wrote a piece about gun control that fit nicely into that category. . .

Mischa opens in as anodyne a way a possible:

Let’s talk about guns.  It’s all the rage. Everyone is doing it.  Hand guns, assault rifles, high capacity magazine clips. It’s very exciting and a quick “gun store online” Google search yields a bounty of “Shoot now pay later!” results (179 million).  So many choices.  So much to discuss.

Those are 49 words he could have done without. And yes, the “dumbest thing” category includes poor editing as well as gun-related idiocy.

It’s all very American to be sure, this ultimate freedom of ownership, freedom being the big issue. Google “Freedom in America” and you get a whopping 1 billion plus results.  Compare it to “Freedom in the UK’ (483 million), “Freedom in France” (106 million), or “Freedom in Syria” (88 million) and you see a clear disparity. Granted, these are not scientific results, but like it or not Google has become the measure by which we quickly evaluate a topic’s worth.

Clearly not scientific, and I don’t, in fact, like it. Especially since most of the articles related to France would be in, you know, French, where the translation of ‘freedom’ is liberté. And here’s another news flash: in Syria they speak Arabic. So searching for an English word is kinda useless there, smart guy.

But the point he’s trying to make isn’t that we like the word “freedom,” but that the word is loaded (pardon the pun) in relation to guns.

Gun ownership inevitably comes up in any discussion of freedom in the US, umbilically linked to what it means to be American. Guns are part and parcel of the American myth, wrapped up in the entrepreneurial, brash, optimistic if a tad naïve and lacking in history, image of Americans that is stereotypically upheld by others.

Actually, yeah. Considering that whole American Revolution thing, I’d say gun ownership is a pretty historically accurate part of the American idea of freedom. We still tell our kids the story of Paul Revere’s ride, warning the colonists that the British were coming… to raid the armory and take their guns away. A call that was answered by armed militia, and resulted in the Revolution. It’s a pretty big moment in our history. But I guess Mischa just wants to skip over that part and label it “naïve”.

We talk about guns, although who can blame us?  We do live in the shadow of many a brave soul known for their conquering nature.  And what are guns if not a symbol of our subjugation of others?

I’m going to have to stop him right there. This is the mindset that people who’ve never held or fired a gun develop — guns are scary tools of intimidation that are only used to terrorize innocent victims. They never see guns as a means for self defense. They never see guns as a means to put food on your table. And they never see guns as a means to preserve our “free state” against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Through the hoplophobic fog in which they live, they only see the negative and turn a blind eye to the positive benefits of an armed populace.

The Trail of Tears is a story of subjugation at the point of a gun, and would fit the author’s narrative nicely if viewed narrowly. But in context, it’s a story that reenforces the idea that a disparity of power between the government and its citizens never ends well for a disarmed population.

So Livingstone has clearly made himself known —  guns are evil incarnate. What’s next?

I propose a new myth, of my own creation. In this tale a gun-toting Ichabod builds a wall around himself, built entirely of firearms. He calls his wall Freedom and protects it from all who dare approach. As his wall grows, so declines Ichabod’s sense of others, for they are obscured by his dedication to his own freedom. Finally, Ichabod is crushed as his self-imposed prison collapses, barely noticed by the rest of the world that has long since moved on.

Ah. The oft-repeated stereotype of gun owners as reclusive nutjobs. Good to see that one still alive and well. But the final image in this “myth” that the author wants to plant in society is one in which the guns — those inanimate objects with no morality of their own — lead to the downfall of the nation. It’s not the people using the guns that are the cause, but the guns themselves.

I’d cite the declining murder rate to counter the author’s argument, but who am I to argue with an art school professor? I mean, I’m just a risk analyst who used to provide data for the Department of Homeland Security. It’s not like I did any analytical work for anyone important.

The standard liberal mindset is that the newest opinion is almost always the one to follow. Which explains the abundance of fad diets pretty nicely. Just because an opinion is new, though, doesn’t automatically mean that it is better. Just like that old 1970’s lathe in the machine shop that keeps turning out perfect products every time, sometimes the old ways are the best. Sometimes. This being one of those time.

So what’s this obsession with the past? And why must we cling to outdated ideas simply because the constitution and its amendments say so? No wonder the country is stagnating.

There’s a reason that the Founding Fathers decided to enumerate these specific fundamental civil rights. When the English government denied them to the colonists, it sparked a bloody (in both senses of the word) revolution. These were civil rights so basic that they initially considered them obvious to anyone with a brain, but wrote them down anyway to be sure they’d never be infringed.

So, if the United States is so backwards, what shining example does Livingstone hold up for us to follow?

China did it. […] Other countries would be advised to follow suit, the US among them.

Right, because I totally want to live in a country where train derailments that result in mass casualties are only investigated after an attempt to bury the entire accident site fails. That’s a caring government right there, a fine place to live.

But the passage that had me smacking my head against the keyboard the most was the author’s assertion that supporting the Constitution is, yes, un-American.

This, I fear, is what is happening as we rage on about our freedoms and liberties. We toss these terms around, hell bent on protecting the tired catch phrases of the past rather than committing ourselves to a healthy future. All this talk about 2nd amendment rights, civil liberties and what our founding fathers meant is so mired in yesteryear as to be profoundly un-American. I thought this was a nation of innovators and forward thinking individuals.

Let me rephrase that statement:

All this talk about [first, second and fourth] amendment rights, civil liberties and what our founding fathers meant is so mired in yesteryear as to be profoundly un-American. I thought this was a nation of innovators and forward thinking individuals.

That’s better. I wonder if the author would still agree with his own assessment of the situation now.

This is what drives me insane: it’s the cognitive dissonance in the argument that gun control advocates present. They rally behind the Bill of Rights when it suits them, but want to rip it to shreds when it’s inconvenient or involves something they don’t understand. They want to have their cake and eat it too, and they don’t see the tiniest problem with that. Excuse me while I try to cleanse the stupid out of my brain with a little whiskey.

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  1. I like how idiots with no understanding or knowledge of guns or gun laws like to mouth off because they have this delusional self-perception of being enlightened and entitled to an opinion (and since they have an opinion, it must be right….. right?)

    We need an way to silence these ignorant pontificators.

    If women can say: “My body, my choice” what can gun owners say?

    • We already do; it’s called STFU. It goes by other guises this poot may know better, like “pay up and be our the door before I can can get around this counter, Mouth Fulla Teeth”, or – you don’t need my help! You know the drill.

      Either Mister Sweater had a perfectly good country or… wait, he didn’t, because he came here. Prettier chicks that put out more, whatever. I’m not in your country puking on your goddamn haggis, MATE; I’d appreciate you do the same about our guns. Speaking of, I’m about to clean mine. WANNA WATCH?

      • He’s only Scottish by birth. He was raised in Israel. What is this with Jewish guys who love guns for Israelis, but not for Americans. I’m convinced they have a sense of being vastly outnumbered here, which means, ipso facto, they don’t identify with “us.” Am I wrong, RF?

  2. “All this talk about 2nd amendment rights, civil liberties and what our founding fathers meant is so mired in yesteryear as to be profoundly un-American. I thought this was a nation of innovators and forward thinking individuals.”

    Yeah, those backward-thinking founding fathers of yesteryear – how dare they document our God-given rights and make them the law of the land! And the American Revolution, the War of 1812, WWI, WWII – all so un-American! Why, there’s nothing more un-American than fighting wars to establish & keep America! Tyranny of government & infringing on our rights – now that’s American! Why can’t you brash, subjugating-of-others, Constitution/Bill of Rights-clinging neanderthals understand that???

    • Never mind that Americans with guns saved the UK in World Wars I and II. Let’s not look backwards at that un-American act.

      • You mean “never mind that the U.S. provided the country in which he was raised, and of which he is a citizen (Israel) with the world’s most powerful military shield, billions a year for weaponry, and all the ordnance they needed in the ’73 war, putting ourselves temporarily at risk in Europe due to low stockpiles, which were gutted due to shipments to Israel.

  3. Why do foreign non-citizens think they have any ability to attack the country they currently live in just because they don’t like certain parts of it?

    You moved here on your own volition, go ahead and move back out if you don’t like what it is, don’t change it to be like your old home.

    • The cooze is so much better. They fall for the accent. And they care if American boys brush their teeth, but not him. PLEASE don’t ask for this explanation again. YES, there WILL be a test.

  4. Guns are a tool. In one set of hands, they support oppression. In another set of hands, they foster and ensure freedom from same. The thing that absolutely amazes me is that the anti-gunners have no idea that our concept of freedom isn’t necessary singular. I am not free unless we ALL are free (within the boundaries of our nation, at least). Fighting for natural rights is to give every person a choice. Own guns or don’t. Your choice. Your freedom of choice.

    It’s a lot like people who want censorship of media because they don’t like some element on it. That is not freedom – that is dictatorial expression. Freedom means you have the choice of an on/off switch. The choice to buy a product or not. The capability to defend yourself or not. Freedom to choose.

    There is nothing on earth I hold more dear than our American experiment in freedom. If that makes me anachronistic, backward looking, or naive, so be it. One day people will get it (again) and we will not be so reviled when one of us pulls their ass out of the fire, not so it saves ourselves, but because it saves us all. It is a shame the antis don’t understand that. Our “selfish” fight for our own freedom is the only way to ensure theirs, as well.

    • +1000. Every American should spend enough time in a foreign land that they wear out a pair of shoes. See how terrible our liberty is.

  5. How about “Keep your laws off my (guns/liberty)!”. I always find it interesting when people like this guy and that poop head Piers Morgan like to comment and lecture Americans on how to run our country.

  6. So why isn’t he living back in Scotland if he hates guns so much? I do love these people that talk about the wonders of European Statism, yet come here to live. Why did you leave if it’s so great back home?

  7. Well, as long as we’re celebrating national culture, how about a big cheer for Scotland. First the Scots win their freedom from England. Then they bankrupt the country. Then they sell the country back to England to pay off their debts. Yes, that’s what they did.

    So here’s my advice to Mousy, oops. make that Mischa. Put on one of the Scottish dress things, bend over and take it like a man.

    • Careful! Don’t be disrespectful of kilts! I actually own a tactical kilt that I wear to the range sometimes. It is a pretty good icebreaker.

      Scotland had a couple of shots at true freedom. They were once a glorious, proud, and magnificently violent people. Till they because English. Sad story.

      But at least the kilts rock. And the whiskey.

      • And said kilt would be “tactical” because… WOW! JESUS!! Look how much American Pride got in the way, like the things we wear get in the way. Unlike the brilliant tactical kilt!

        • LOL. Tactical kilt was something 5.11 came up with last year as an April Fool’s joke. But then they offered it for sale as a test, now stock them in multiple colors. Totally silly, but a great comment on the whole tacticool thing. I usually wear mine when I am shooting my Swedish Mausers or my M1 Carbine, which is about as “tactical” as I get.

          But damn, in the desert it is actually truly cool, as in temperature. Also helps that I’m a below knee amputee. Fellows at the range have no idea how to take it all.

        • As Lord Kitchener once observed about the kilt,

          “The finest uniform ever devised for both fornication and diarrhea”.

      • There is a theory-to which I subscribe, being of Scots descent-that the entrepreneurial Scots with initiative emigrated, leaving behind the nation of socialists we see today.

    • Apparently Ralph, you’ve never had a women perform a kilt check on you. All I’m saying is the kilt has it’s uses.

      • I once met a Scotsman in a bar in Key Biscayne where we were both downing Hurricanes at a record pace. I asked him to say something in Scottish. He thought about it for a second and then said, “Captain, she canna take anymore. You’re going to blow up the ship!”

        • We tend to be smart assed when we have a few drinks. Or when we’re sober. Or on a Tuseday. Or…….

  8. So we’re supposed to listen to a Scottish film director who teaches at an art institute in California? I’m very sorry, sir, but that’s four strikes – one more than you’re allowed. You’re out. Go back to Scotland & don’t return.

  9. Hey man, I’m fine with being a reclusive nutjob. In fact, I’d be damn happy if I COULD be a reclusive nutjob and all these friggin’ statists would mind their own damn business!

    And all this nonsense from a Scotsman, no less. I guess all the Scots who hated oppression migrated to America long ago and left Scotland to the weenies.

    • Bingo! And the Irish, Jews, Finns, Swedish, Norwegians, Jews, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians… the Sengelese, Nigerians, Rhodesians… so many, many people who chose to flee to another land in search of freedom from oppression. Hell, we aren’t a melting pot – we are a breeding ground for the stubborn, brave, and dreamers. God I love this country! Freedom (what little is left) is damn messy sometimes, but what a great thing that chaos is.

      • A person converted to dependency on government for their food and housing is not a free person. We are easing into becoming an unfree people.

  10. Let’s see – a film director offers up his opinion on firearms, criminology, law, and the political philosophy of self-defense. What could go wrong?

    Why don’t we just throw in tips on assisted delivery for large farm animals and Swahili verb conjugation for good measure?

  11. Not the first time I’ve seen a Progressive accuse Americans of being un-American. That’s pretty bold, even for them, but they are indeed pushing it.

    Happy May Day, er, I mean 4th of July comrade, er, I mean fellow American!

  12. rtempleton should be along in a moment to inform us that this guy is right, we are all a bunch of right-wing nutjobs, and that Israel sucks.

  13. “And what are guns if not a symbol of our subjugation of others?”

    Uh, Kind of got this part backwards, doesn’t he?

    Maybe the paper hired him cause hiring the handicapped got them points with the EEOC?

  14. Livingstone probably has a nice cache of guns and ammo at home. These people are nothing if not hypocrites. After all, when you speak your mind against the loons you need to protect yourself, no?

  15. In 2011 I finally lived my dream of going to Scotland. Walking into Edinburgh Castle was like bathing in Awesomeness! Besides never being taken by force (200 foot cliff on 3 sides, 2 portcullises, and a single approach up (ie- kill zone), the main hall was a feast of weapons… At least 500 claymores, baskethilts, dirks, targes, racks of flint lock pistols, mortars, etc.

    How this dew-drop can forget the reason Scotland has any self identity is because of the weapons they used to protect their freedom from the Sassenachs is beyond me.

    • I had the same feeling climbing to the castle. At the very top there is a small room with memorial plaques to Scottish war dead. The hard austerity of the room had a martial feeling I will never forget.

      • Plus Mons Meg.

        Just looking at the sheer size of a claymore is awe-inspiring. Picking one up is not for the weak. Wielding it in battle would be something else all together.

        If you ever make it back and get time, try climbing to the top of King Arthur’s Seat. It gives you a tremendous view of the castle and the town.

  16. I’m little disappointed you used as “Typical Gun Grabber” an “Artiste” and “Film Director” * who grew up in Scotland under Socialism, now living in the black hole of snarkiness San Francisco, and teaching sucking students in for one of the most “Useless Degrees” in the American Economy. “The Academy of Art”. How a guy like that gets a faculty position is the bigger question.

    While he may a typical “tool” of the political left, he’s not the money guy like Soros, or the political hacks either in Pelosi, DiFi’s or Barbara Boxer’s electioneering offices commonly called local House and Senate office. He doesn’t even rise to the level of NGO hack like the Brady Campaign, et al.

    You know, he can’t vote and may not even have a valid green card. His inability to read and form a coherent thought on History, law, philosophy and the law of unintended consequences is not just “suspect” it is beyond doubt.

    Probably a really good walking add for why you should prevent your kids from using illegal drugs.

    —- Disclosure: I live 5 miles east of Berkeley, and am eternally grateful to my Scottish ancestors that left Scotland, Wales and England in 1648 for these blessed shores. As far as I can tell we fought in 5 wars before the Revolutionary war, survived our homes being invaded by both Quantrails raiders and Union Cavalary on burn & murder missions of Farmers, just barely, on the Missouri Border BEFORE General Order 11 was implemented, (yes I have first person letter of both) and we have fought pretty much in every conflict this country has ever been in. We in this family all will stand with our American Jewish Brethren who know better than any, the perils of being disarmed by a malfeasant political class. — Molon Lave — carry on.

  17. “They never see guns as a means for self defense. They never see guns as a means to put food on your table. And they never see guns as a means to preserve our “free state” against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.”

    You left out “Shooting guns is a healthy, safe, fun, family friendly pastime.”

  18. Nick:
    One of the reasons I read your posts is your background. Given what you did and don’t do now as a risk analyst makes me believe you a whole lot more than our government. Thanks for all you do in keeping the data straight and honest.
    Keep up the good work.

  19. Mischa Livingstone is an Israeli/American director/writer. He left Scotland as a young child and was raised in Israel. After performing his military service in Israel he move to the US, attending UCLA and working primarily in the US. Actress Sarah Rue could stand being married to him for about six years, after which she apparently needed a better class of Hollywood. Mischa had no problem pointing guns at Palestinians for a time, I note. He didn’t come to the US for any reason than the opportunity we provide, yet another ungrateful immigrant who thinks he has a better idea for a Constitution than our supposedly outdated version.

    “And what are guns if not a symbol of our subjugation of others?”
    -He ought to know. He served his time holding a gun for a nation that was built, and recently, by the gun. Nothing wrong with that, but his hypocrisy is remarkable.

    “the American myth….optimistic if a tad naïve and lacking in history”
    From colonists to revolutionaries to soldiers, it is hardly a myth. When Jacob Riis, emmigrating from Holland in the 1850’s, got off the boat in New York, he spent most of his money to buy a revolver. A sane, educated man famous for writing “How the Other Half Lives,” we can assume the purchase was practical. Eleanor Roosevelt loved shooting her pistol in the White House basement, and late in life carried a pistol to defend herself. MLK carried. Nancy Reagan carried. Chicago and LA today? Myth?

    “As his wall grows, so declines Ichabod’s sense of others….”
    -What a silly bit of prat.

    “And why must we cling to outdated ideas simply because the constitution and its amendments say so? No wonder the country is stagnating.”
    -Yep. That’s why he’s hustling in California, not Tel Aviv, eh? Things are so stagnant here. As for the outdated ideas, the US (and Israel….) has never had more criminals or more violence. The gun has not become less valuable as a citizen’s right, but rather more valuable. Ask an Israeli or a grandma in South Central.

    “I thought this was a nation of innovators and forward thinking individuals.”
    -He’s looking for innovation and forward thinking…and yet he missed it completely. It’s right in front of his nose, but he missed it. A people safe with guns is a responsible people, and the rare abuses point out most effectively who needs to be taken out of the community. All the while, the tyrant and the bully is kept at bay.

    • The issue with many new immigrants, is they have no sense of history of this country. What little they know is wrong or no understood well and they want to immediately impose the regime from where they came from without understanding what the USA is all about.

      • Agree. And they think when we immigrated we left our history in the old world behind, were unaware of the failings of a royalist state, and had brought no books with us. They don’t understand the level of education of the founders, and their reflection upon the failings of their native lands. Germany without US military support or Israel without US taxpayer and donor support, either would have faced disaster. But we’re the blind ones?

    • I laughed at that one too. then I realized that this is my new name for the expensive thingie that holds my 2 mags together for my H&K 91.
      Magazine clips!

    • It sounds like the latest CYA linguistic tactic for the ignorant gungrabbers. If they can’t tell a magazine from a clip, they will use both terms together as some sort of compound term, and hope they will be considered at least partially right.

  20. I consider any foreigner that works in the US that speaks disparagingly of the US well enjoying the pay and perks should be deported.

    Throw in a few of illegals to carry their bags and you get a double dose of house cleaning.

  21. I mean, I’m just a risk analyst who used to provide data for the Department of Homeland Security. It’s not like I did any analytical work for anyone important.


  22. Dude looks like a homeless drug user. And that’s the level of respect I’m going to show him. The same I would for any homeless drug user.

  23. These Brits need to shut the fuck up about our Constitutional rights, since they have no concept for them (don’t give me that “unwritten constitution” bullshit), since they are just subjects of the Crown. That’s all they are, and all they’ll ever be.

    Listen up, you pasty pansies, get back to us when you dump the royals and write a real constitution that enshrines your basic human rights and ditch that stupid rule letting criminals sue their victims for defending themselves.

  24. Did he really compare us to CHINA for freedoms? Communist China? “Tiannamen Square” China? “Great Firewall of China” China? What the holy balls ass hell possessed him to think that comparison was going to help his argument?!

    Even back when I was an anti-gunner, that would have seemed like a moronic statement.

  25. OT, but, Paul Revere never shouted the legendary phrase later attributed to him (“The British are coming!”) as he passed from town to town. The operation was meant to be conducted as discreetly as possible since scores of British troops were hiding out in the Massachusetts countryside. Furthermore, colonial Americans at that time still considered themselves British; if anything, Revere may have told other rebels that the “Regulars”—a term used to designate British soldiers—were on the move or “The Red Coats” are coming. One more fun fact, According to the CIA, Paul Revere founded the first patriot intelligence network on record, a Boston-based group known as the “mechanics.”

  26. The statment that guns are a symbol of subjugation tells you all you need to know about what is wrong with this guy.

  27. The right to bear arms is not only about freedom, it is also very much about responsibility.

    Mischa, say it with me RESPONSIBILITY.

    The responsibility to protect yourself and your family when no one else can or will.

    The responsibility to put food on the table for yourself and your family, when other means are not available.

    The responsibility to defend your country when called.

    I am a recovering liberal, what finally pushed me away from liberalism is the belief that “someone else” will bear the responsibility. One day I had a sobering realization that the only person who cares for myself and my loved ones is me.

    And that was the day I became a Libertarian.

  28. Hey Nick, I’m going to stick my neck out on this one to defend Mischa. I’ve known Mischa for a number of years and can you tell you he’s a good guy and – most importantly – a funny guy. What you are missing about this post is his tongue in cheek tone. When he says; “what our founding fathers meant is so mired in yesteryear as to be profoundly un-American” he is joking. Same when he mentions the Google search for “Freedom in Syria”. Trust me, I’ve spent time with him at parties and can assure you if you met him you would see the humor [and sarcasm] come though and, frankly, I think you’d like him. He just likes to push buttons with his humor. But he’s not the idiot you think he is. Anyway, that’s my two cents. Take care.

    • If it was supposed to have been satire, he should have said so. The scary thing is that there are actual anti-gun nuts who are that bleeping stupid.

      • So, then my guess is that you can’t take sarcasm….
        What a shame that is. lol
        You don’t make a joke and profoundly yell, “that’s a joke, that’s a joke”
        What would be the point of the joke?

  29. Some of us have ancestors who appeared on this continent before the Limeys were given the boot. Our ancestors left “the old sod” because they were pretty fed up with the way the Limeys and their bootlickers were doing things and treating people. Not a few of those who up and left Britain in those early days of America were Scots – who, it should be known, were given a particularly raw deal by the Sassenach, including total disarmament, with a death penalty for being found carrying arms, wearing a tartan or kilt, or playing a bagpipe.

    In other words, many of our forebears didn’t want to live the life of the crumpet-nibbling pantywaists in Merry Olde England who believed that their rights were whatever scraps and leavings of liberty given to them by some inbred, jug-eared, malodorous, snaggle-toothed, cousin-humper descended from a farcical aquatic ceremony involving a waterlogged tart lobbing a magical scimitar at some random yob clad in prissy tights whilst prancing through the countryside.

    I find it endlessly annoying that the Brits think that we should emulate them – in any way. Their food is wretched, their beer is warm, their women are loud, nasty drunks and their culture emasculated. Why would any sane nation want to emulate Britain or their culture?

    So when some Brit starts to lecture me on how we’re so savage because citizens can own guns, I tell them to simply leave my country. There’s no reason for us to put up with their unctuous twaddle now any more than 230+ years ago. If he doesn’t like it here, he’s entirely free to leave and never return.

  30. Interestingly: google France Liberte (with or without accent) and you still get less hits. 67 million. Which still means nothing, but clearly arguing that the language searched makes a difference may or not hold true. Liberte en France, the direct translation of liberty in France, brings the total down to 26 million…

  31. You know what pisses me off? This assclown has a captive audience. Granted, it IS at an art institute, IN California, but educators should be more professional than this. Whether he’s joking or not (and he didn’t indicate if he is), he’s talking to students; people who are in there to learn.

  32. “[W]hy must we cling to outdated ideas simply because the constitution and its amendments say so?”

    Yes. We must “cling to outdated ideas” simply because the constitution and its amendments say so!

    When does he think Liberty became an “outdated idea?”


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