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On Friday, Dara Lind (Vox job description: “Jetpack Comandante“) wrote on Donald Trump’s recent interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe in which he said this about the attack on Umpqua Community College last Thursday: “…oftentimes this happens…you know, we sort of saw that about him, it really looked like he could be a problem but it’s often hard to put someone in an institution for the rest of their lives based on the fact that he looks like he could be a problem” . . .

You know, it’s not politically correct to say that, but you’re going to have difficulty, and that would be for the next million years you’re going to have difficulty. People are going to slip through the cracks and even if you did great mental health programs, people are going to slip through the cracks! […] you are going to have difficulties. You’re going to have difficulties with many different things, not just this. And that’s the way the world works. And by the way, that’s the way the world always has worked….

Naturally, Ms. Lind found this answer beyond the pale, comparing it to an article written by The Onion (does anyone still read The Onion? The news media is doing such a good job at self-parody nowadays as it is.)

She avers:

If your only option is to try to regulate people and predict what they will do, Trump is right: There really is no way to prevent mass shootings. Where one might disagree with him is whether more strictly regulating people is really easier or more acceptable than more strictly regulating guns. (Emphasis added.)

Now, I’ve got no brief for The Donald generally, but Ms. Lind’s is simply wrong. When the rubber hits the road, gun control laws have never really been about controlling guns. That point is so important, and yet so often elided in the current discussion, let me repeat it:

Gun control does not regulate guns, gun control regulates people.

The emphasis in the phrase “gun control” should always be placed on the word “control”: controlling people who may be engaging in a behavior that, by itself, doesn’t actually harm anyone else. We’ve tried it before with alcohol. We’ve been trying it since before my own father was born with narcotics. We’ve even tried it with laws about sexuality.

Somehow, we always seem throwing our hands up in frustration and walking away from such laws because, at the end of the day, they don’t actually stop people from getting the products, services, or relationships that they actually want. And the hammer of government punishment always seems to come down hardest on the smallest, weakest, poorest members of our society, who weren’t actually hurting anyone else.

So it is with gun control; and sexuality control; drug control; alcohol control. And yes, I’m going to go there — abortion control, too. Lest you think I’m exaggerating, allegedly educated people on the far left are now using the rhetoric of the failing War on Drugs and the long-since-abandoned War on Alcohol from the early 20th century. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

If it was about the act or the object, the advocates of control would have been concerned a bit more about helping the people who were engaging in these acts of heresy. But it never is; instead, the hammer of the state is brought down the hardest on the easiest targets it can find: the weakest, poorest, and marginalized members of our society.

For instance: it is not guns that are threatened with life-altering arrest and imprisonment due to an innocent mistake. Instead, it’s people like Shaneen Allen, who had the book thrown at her because she made the mistake of assuming that her license to carry firearms applied in New Jersey, just like her driver’s license.

It’s not guns that get arrested for honestly trying to follow the law — instead, it is people like Vincent Brescia, who had a gun stolen out of his car, reported it to the police as required by Connecticut law, and for his efforts was arrested for second degree reckless endangerment.

It is not guns that have to engage in litigation lasting years to win their ability to exercise a right putatively protected by both state and federal constitutions in the privacy of their own home; instead, it is people like Josephine Byrd, who, living in public housing, wanted to buy a gun for self-defense, but whose lease agreement — drafted by gun control extremists in the Wilmington Housing Authority — barred her from keeping a firearm in her own home.

No, Ms. Lind’s argument fails here because, knowingly or not, regulating people is exactly what gun control is about. It’s the sort of rookie mistake that makes me wonder if she’s spent a bit too much time in a left-wing echo chamber, talking only to people who share the same worldview, never seriously considering any challenges to that worldview.

Oddly, that brings me back to the question I raised earlier: I, for one, still read The Onion on occasion. And Ms. Lind’s piece reminded me of an article published in T. Herman Zwiebel’s magnum opus earlier this year: “College Encourages Lively Exchange of Idea.”


DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

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  1. “the hammer of the state is brought down the hardest on the easiest targets it can find: the weakest, poorest, and marginalized members of our society.”


    Add the people enforcing laws inability to use discression in applying the law because hammer the weakest generate revenue.

    • Is it revenue? Or, control? Or frequent flyer miles? Something else?

      How do we score cops or prosecutors? Isn’t it on arrests and convictions, respectively? It’s really hard to score an individual cop or prosecutor on maintaining the peace in a community; you have to do it on something that you can count. The cop or prosecutor doesn’t really get measured on the number really bad-guys he puts away for how long; he scores on tick-marks.

      So, how do the gun licensing laws of, e.g., NYC or DC work? Basically, they put the cost of a gun-in-the-home (you know, Heller, McDonald) beyond the economical reach of the working-poor or those on public assistance.

      A minority single mother in either of these jurisdictions could probably find someone to instruct her on the safe use of her gun; perhaps a vet. She could probably find a gun at a discount on the black market; and a box of cartridges. But then, she would be obliged to jump through the bureaucratic hoops of her municipal registration and licensing scheme. Formal training by a certified instructor; range time; fees; trips to the Police Department’s desk, more fees.

      What are her choices:
      – remain disarmed of her fundamental Constitutional right;
      – put the kids on peanut-butter for a year and save-up her money;
      – buy and keep a black-market gun with no papers – hope she will never be caught.

      The police department and prosecutor’s office are only too delighted to let her take her chances. Perhaps some domestic disturbance or pot warrant will bring the cops to her door. They might find the gun; easy possession charge. Easy plea-bargan leading to probation or a short jail stint. Now, she’s a felon. Her chances for a good job requiring a background check are eliminated. If she had a job, she’s lost it by now. And she won’t likely get another job for a long time. No matter; they have scored points. Get enough points and you get a promotion. Moreover, it’s great sport.

      What’s the difference here between bear-baiting and Black-baiting? Is this the new incarnation of No guns for Negros?

  2. When America goes away (those saying it won’t or can’t have a large set of poeple amongst them that are working moment to moment to do just that) you will need a gun, and their authority to b_ tch about it will sunset looong before then. If we are overrun in a domestic war w/china or mexico (again, those that say it can’t, won’t, or isn’t happening, contain a large set of people that are concertedly working moment to moment to ensure its happening) YOU WILL NEED A GUN, and those who are b_tching about it now better be f-ing silent then. S I L E N T. (they should practice now).
    If they want to get rid of guns, they should start with foreign countries (not the US) if successful, they should rid the universe of guns, then their own, then come ask me for mine, and i’ll tell them to go F themselves, and I’ll make sure they’re not slow.

      • Not only “how do they like being overrun”, but the Paris shooters, all two of them, held an entire city at bay in “cower in place” mode for what, a day and a half, with AKs bought on the black market at Calais? What happens when there are three? Or a dozen?

  3. Sure, you can go there, but I vehemently disagree with your statement that “abortion control” comes down hardest on the members of society “who weren’t actually hurting anyone else.”

    I agree that it might be similar to drug and alcohol prohibition in that it’s somewhat difficult to enforce. But to blithely treat as fact the idea that abortion doesn’t actually hurt anyone is very similar to gun grabbers acting like their proposals are simply “commonsense”. Personally, I don’t believe either claim.

    • I agree. As much as i understand the pov that RF is suggesting, in my opinion it is the lack of abortion control that comes down hardest on what is the weakest of all classes of people – the unborn. They have zero chance to defend themselves and the worst part is that it is their mothers (dupes or otherwise)

  4. Gun control and gun bans don’t ban guns, they just consolidate them into the hands of the elite. The same elite they cry about being too brutal, too rich, and too out of touch. Supporters are useful idiots.

  5. There is an anti gun rant about “knife launchers” on that onion page that was apparently written by Rob Reiner.

  6. Trump has solidly backed up on the 2A like no other candidate. Fact. He is hard to fault as he doesn’t mince words. I view this as a very good thing. The young woman writes young, she will one day look back when wisdom comes on her. But for now she’ll have to accept being schooled.

    • Really? While Scott Walker is no longer in the race he did do a very public signing of a bill expanding gun rights in Wisconsin right after the Charleston shooting incident when he was a candidate. It’s easy for Trump to talk and he was merely mimicking Jeb Bush but talk is not action. Scott Walker not only talked the talk, he walked the walk but it seems that angry voters just want to hear angry words instead of paying attention to solid conservative action.

    • By “solidly backed” you mean “he said the things I want to hear in order to vote for him” then you’re absolutely correct.

    • You might want to do some digging on your new mesiah’s history.

      He was in favor of gun control.
      He was in favor of “assault weapon” bans.

      All that changed sometime before he got into the race. Call me a cynic, but it sounds like playing to the crowd.

      • Trump’s worth maybe a few hundred million by most honest accountings. His holdings are a byzantine rat’s nest, he uses BK as a method of self-enrichment. He’s a self-made success, just like every other rich kid who started with a pile of daddy’s money.

        That said, we’ve reached the point where people are so sick of the political class, dopes like Trump are actually attractive to the voter.

    • Ted Cruz is very solid on constitutional liberties, including the 2nd. And, unlike Trump, he always has been. Maybe Trumps recent change of heart on guns is real. I might give Trump the benefit of a doubt if he can fix some (in my opinion) more urgent problems (and if Cruz cannot get the nomination). But I would say that Trump isn’t the strongest of the candidates on firearms freedom.

    • Backed up? I think the term you were looking for is back pedaled.

      Trump’s all talk. All he’s done lately is speak differently from his anti-gun pronouncements of the past. Others, like Cruz, have been fighting for gun rights all along.

  7. Thank you so much for “going there” on abortion. The rights delusions of eliminating abortion from society so perfectly mirror the lefts stance on guns it’s amazing me either one can speak on both subjects without creating some universe destroying paradox.

    • Ya, the paradox of being a POS person who would kill an unborn human being (if that’s you, don’t bother claiming that there’s a chance you value my, or my family’s ) life. AND being a POS gun-grabber who also has no hope of convincing me and mine that our lives mean anything to them.
      FU stupid

      • Holy cow, your an idiot and the amount of hypocrisy coming off your post would choke an elephant.

        This is a simple equation, if a woman wants to get an abortion it is her right, if you want to own a gun it is your right.

        You Mr. Asshole do not have the right to keep your gun a decide what she can do with her body.

        Go back to the 1800’s and leave the rest of us alone…

        • Speaking of the 1800s: your grasp of basic biology and genetics appears to be stuck there. An abortion has nothing to do with a woman’s body – unless the unborn human being that is murdered happens to be a female.

        • I have a strict policy, I’m an a-hole until I’m right, and then you are.

          Even if you are a moron, you cannot deny that an abortion, by definition, is a woman claiming that she made a choice

          A. N. D. B. L. O. W. N. I. T.

          So a living human being (yes I get to decide for myself what that is) gets to be killed so that she does not have to suffer the consequence of her choice. If a human being is a choice then NO I CANNOT TRUST HER TO NOT TREAT ME LIKE A SIMILAR ‘CHOICE.’ AND I AM NOT INTERESTED IN PROVIDING HER ANY MORE CHOICES OR COMFORT FOR HER PREVIOUS CHOICES.



        • Yup Joe Dirt, “you get to decide”, for you nobody else (actually, it’s all up to her).

          Don’t like abortion, don’t have one.

        • That’s right, that’s what we’re arguing over, does the choice mean anything? I contend it does. Again, like homosexuality, drugs, weapons, argued here; these things are not new, human history and interaction have already assigned these things their value-due.

    • You clearly live in a moral vacuum. If you outlaw abortion there will still be those who are willing to break the law and do the deed just as there are individuals who will commit other forms of murder despite the law.

      • If Abortion isn’t the definition of an attempt to live in a “moral vacuum” then I argue that one does not exist. There are not greater forces or factors to be weighed.

    • Wholly eliminating isn’t possible. But, we can certainly reduce it from the hundreds of thousands of operations performed annually.

      Think about it. Gun rights are practiced by any and everyone with minimal skills required. Abortions need to be carried out by doctors or trained clinicians. Revoke the licenses of abortion doctors, and the rest will fall in line. There will still be back alley abortions done, but the danger of such operations would keep most away from them.

      The downside to this, and why I think the left is so supportive of abortion, is that the population of the US would skyrocket of abortion were outlawed. Millions have been aborted since roe v wade. Imagine our population if they’d all been born.

      How would these people lean? Probably independent or republican. Why would they gravitate towards the party that would’ve allowed them to be killed en utero?

    • Making abortion illegal will certainly not eliminate abortion; rather, it will merely put it on par with all other forms of murder, which still happen, despite being illegal.

      • Don’t even put it on-par with ‘murder’. Just for a f-ing second deal with it by acknowledging the level to which stupid f-ing POS’s stoop to further it.

        RJ Reynolds and several other tobacco companies have paid BILLIONS of dollars (each) in settlements because their products “kill” some of the people that use them. (After already providing Trillions of dollars in tax generating production and revenue).

        A SMALL FRACTION OF THAT MONEY (still many many millions of dollars) has been given to Planned Parenthood [also selling baby parts to raise needed cash for Lamborghinis] (and likely other abortion providers get other monies) to literally KILL nearly half of the people who walk through their doors.


    • Joe,

      I see a lot of commonalities in the political, social, and legal tactics used by the opponents of both abortion and guns in this country.

      One hardly has to love abortion to make note of this fact, and learn from it accordingly.

      Of course, people prefer screaming about THAT issue without thinking even more than they do about guns…

  8. I don’t like abortion, I don’t like drugs either, but how’s that war on drugs going? No prohibition in this nations history has worked, none ever will. Like it or not gun control and anti-abortion are in the same boat. Both are political third rails with polarized sides that split the country. Both have Supreme Court rulings that make sweeping legislation impossible. Both are high and mighty morality crusades.

    Republicans understand the absurdity of gun control and are beginning to slowly come around on drugs. Yet it’s the same dog and pony show on abortion. I have to sit and listen to a candidate who I am going to vote for pretend they’re going to outlaw abortion even in cases of incest and rape. It’s a total farce and people lap it up, just like the libs wet themselves for Obama’s self-righteous indignation over gun control.

    • Mushy head people like to equivocate on different argument to attempt to gain coalition on broken crap.

      FU – Abortion = Symptom, not the problem. The problem = lack of personal responsibility, lack of honesty in dealing with the FACT of where babies come from.

      Guns are not the same thing (not even close). Guns are about individual sovereignty. Our existence together only momentarily falls between a set of borders and laws. Law rests solely on the coalition of incorporated Societies and that is tentative and requires bolstering moment to moment by the exhibition of similar values and priorities. These are often called mores and norms, or ethics. Without them, everyone else is just a wild card to another individual and Society does not work and (instead of doing your daily routine) you will wake up under a tree and [after finding yourself having survived the elements the night before] rise and attempt to protect the days forage and hunt, desired mate, and (perhaps) resultant offspring. [J.M. Thomas R., TERMS, 2012] If you don’t think so, it’s only because you’re not keeping up with current events. This goes on daily in our southern borders with Mexico, in Africa, on the beaches of Europe.

      • No seriously shut up now, you have no fucking clue about the any
        “State of Nature” philosophers and your pseudo religious babel is getting on my nerves.

        You have contradicted yourself in everyone if your senseless and and pointless post.

        IF the individual has sovereign rights over themselves then abortion is just fine. If the norms established by a group/body politic can overwrite that sovereign right then you loose your ability to have a gun too.

        this is kindergarten level shit and you just don’t get it…

        • IF the individual has sovereign rights over themselves then abortion is just fine.

          And what of the sovereign rights of the human being that is murdered via abortion?

          this is kindergarten level shit and you just don’t get it

          Yes, your failure to grasp biology and genetics, or your willful ignorance thereof, is indeed kindergarten level.

        • You wished I strayed over to religious argument (for the record, my religious beliefs abhor it too). But I didn’t, what is kinking your turd is that I am only applying logic, and you are not effectively arguing against it.

        • Joe diRt, so those “aborted” baby chickens we all eat for “scrambled eggs” are somehow different with your love for all life or whatever.

        • Even Joe Dirt would tell you that you don’t (if you can help it) eat fertilized eggs. But thank you for playing.

  9. The problem with the solutions being offered, whether more gun restrictions or more treatment for mental illness, is that they depend on someone else to make them happen and make you safe. Just because we can’t predict who will commit murder doesn’t mean the solution is to make guns harder to get. The best response to a violent situation is immediate and overwhelming violence. In Oregon, the killer walks into a room that contained numerous young men who are as close to their peak physical capabilities as they ever will be. Chris Mintz responded to the attack and might have stopped it if someone else had stepped in, too. Think of what happened in Norway a few years ago. A man just walked around young, healthy people and killed 70 of them. Why didn’t anyone attack him? Why didn’t anyone throw a chair at the Oregon killer? I have no idea how I would actually respond, but I like to think that even if I were unarmed, if someone — having just killed several people — is now pointing a gun at me, that I would say “screw it” and charge him. I’m probably going to get shot either way. But maybe I flatten the guy. And if more people thought that way, becoming situationally aware, more willing to act upon hearing gun fire rather than hide behind a desk, be more ballsy, that has a better chance at stopping mass killings than either mental health treatment or gun control.

  10. We need to promote the truth that law does not change behavior or fix problems. Law has one purpose, and one purpose only: justice. You do a bad thing to someone else, you get punished for it. That’s it. No controls over society, no regulation of inanimate objects, no manipulation of societal norms. The entire point of the law is to administer justice in proportion to evils committed, and the notion of using it to change anything about the world is as dangerous as it is naive.

    • Exactly. Freedom is scary. People do things you don’t like when they have freedom. In the end you cannot legislate morality. People follow their own internal compass regardless of laws. Making something illegal has never stopped people. It is estimated more people drank and more alcohol was consumed under prohibition than before. Laws exist to setup guidelines for acceptable behavior and punitive measures for people that step outside those guidelines. Here’s the rub. Who gets to decide those laws? It should be the majority, you know since we’re not living in isolation. With all that in mind, the best way to change demand for a product or service is to change the underlying desire for the thing. Saying “abortion is illegal now so stop” would do about as much to stop them as saying “drugs are illegal now, so stop”. I personally think abortion is morally bankrupt. But banning a symptom of a morally bankrupt society would not fix the society.

  11. I don’t understand how these people can be so close and yet so far.

    “If your only option is to try to regulate people and predict what they will do, Trump is right: There really is no way to prevent mass shootings.”– Dara Lind

    Ms. Lind stated in black-and-white that you cannot “regulate” people. If you cannot “regulate” people who wish to commit mass murder, neither can you “regulate” people who wish to acquire firearms. Thus there is no point to “gun control”.

    At best, this is yet another example of a gun-grabber’s hysteria. At worst, it is a sinister endeavor to disarm the masses for who knows what evil plan.

  12. I was talking to a colleague the other day and she said she’d like to buy a firearm but because she lives in public assisted housing she can’t. I stated how it was illegal to bar someone based on that fact and referenced the Byrd case and how the Wilmington Housing Authority had lost the case.

  13. You know, she was saying the exact same thing when we were in High School. 10 years ago. Although back then she at least seemed to believe in the live and live philosophy that liberalism claims, now I guess she’s graduated from the socialist finishing school that is the american university system and, like most modern liberals, ain’t got time fo dat hippy stuff, there’s an agenda to push.

  14. Abortion = Murder. Killing another human being no matter their stage of development or faculties is murder. Just because they are temporarily living inside their mother doesn’t make them any less human. There is no comparison between abortion and drug control. Murder has always been illegal in God’s eyes. If we are for guns to protect human life then we should be for protecting life in the womb. Going to an abortion provider (real drs. don’t perform abortions) is the same as hiring a hit man to murder someone. It’s an American holocaust.

    • Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. — Genesis 38:24

      • nice religious argument. not sure for what? total abortion? do the mom + the kid?

        It’s fun to try to skirt past it (no pun intended) but can we stick to a basic argument until resolved. That being, is anyone here arguing that Abortion is a good thing? If so FU.

        If not, stop cheering for it.

  15. Want to stop gun violence, kill everyone. That will work and is as STUPID an idea as ever. What is so hard to understand about “Supreme law of the land” and “shall not infringe”? Gov Chris Christie is an A$$. He is guilty of treason for allowing the Holocaust, excuse me, Constitutional violations. As President I will make sure he faces Federal charges. The only gun control law there should be is that criminals can’t have any firearms. No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.


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