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Seventeen children are dead after yet another school shooting, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooter used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle, and carried multiple magazines with him. It's time again for the thoughts and the prayers, for the ritual Fox News/NRA condemnations of "gun free zones," for the conspiracy theories and harassment of grieving parents by crazy people who read online that they're merely "crisis actors," and for the predictable Republican explanation that guns aren't the problem, mental health is the problem -- followed, after a decent interval, by calls to cut Medicaid and other help for mental health. And of course it's time for the usual surge in sales of semiautomatic rifles, because gun sales almost always spike after a mass shooting.


Donald Trump is doing his part in The Narrative:

And for once, Trump is at least slightly right: Of the shooter, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school for unspecified disciplinary problems, a former classmate said he was "a troubled kid" who liked to show off pictures of his gun collection and liked to joke about shooting up the school, saying he "knows the layout of the school" and "he could pinpoint where the kids would be" since he'd participated in drills with them:

The accused shooter's social media postings also were full of guns and violent fantasies, CNN reports. In YouTube comments, he had written

"I whana shoot people with my AR-15" (sic), "I wanna die Fighting killing shit ton of people" and "I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people."

And of course there were the mandatory Instagram posts showing him pointing guns and wearing a bandanna over his face. Others who knew him before he was expelled described him as becoming increasingly frightening, getting suspended from school, and being generally "weird." One former classmate told the Washington Post,

I think everyone in this school had it in the back of their mind that if anyone was supposed to do it, it was most likely gonna be him[.]

Jim Gard, a math teacher who'd had the shooter in his class last year, recalled that the administration had sent the kid's teachers a note telling them to watch out for behavior problems:

“I don’t recall the exact message,” Gard said, “but it was an email notice they sent out.”

“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” Gard told the Miami Herald. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

So yes, plenty of warning signs. But there's one little problem with Donald Trump's advice for people to report "bad and erratic behavior" to the authorities: It's perfectly legal in the USA to post pictures of yourself posturing like Rambo with all your guns, and to have violent fantasies, and to fetishize firearms and wiping out cops. Heck, if you write a crappy novel about a lone lover of liberty wiping out agents of an unjust tyrannical government, you can sell it on Amazon yourself and make a tidy side income. Get together with a bunch of like-minded gun humpers and try to ram cops at a roadblock, and you can even become a genuine folk hero.

Mr. Trump didn't exactly clarify what "authorities" were supposed to do about reports of bad and erratic behavior that don't rise to the level of an actual crime. Threatening behavior can be investigated, but prosecution can be iffy -- even of fairly specific online threats. Simply being a violence-obsessed asshole who talks about wanting to kill people in general isn't a crime. If it were, some guy who fantasized about protesters having to leave his rallies on a stretcher and who made shooting gestures while talking about what should happen to Bowe Bergdahl probably wouldn't be president.

The Florida shooter purchased his gun legally and, since he had no significant criminal history, passed the required federal background check, so under US and Florida law, he was entitled to be a well-regulated member of the militia.

Because the Florida legislature is a wholly owned subsidiary of the NRA, virtually the only gun regulations that count are the federal ones; state laws on guns are among the most generous in the country. As the Giffords Law Center points out, there's no state requirement to register or license a gun except for concealed-carry permits for handguns, which state law says must be issued to anyone who meets minimal qualifications -- and in this case, concealed carry isn't even a concern. The only real restrictions on guns prohibit convicted felons from having them, and even those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence can legally own guns -- and even get a concealed carry permit after three years have passed. (In accordance with federal law, firearm possession is prohibited for anyone with a current protection order against them for domestic violence, stalking, or cyberstalking -- again, that wouldn't apply to the Stoneman Douglas school shooter.)

Florida has no state restrictions, of course, on the sales of assault-style semiautomatic rifles (a category of weapon gun-humpers insist doesn't even exist), nor any limits on high-capacity magazines, so a would-be mass shooter can get lots of shots off before having to switch out a spent magazine -- which is often when a gun will jam or a bystander has a chance to tackle the gunman.

Oh, and one last, fairly important problem for Trump's insistence that we all need to be vigilant and report dangerous-seeming weirdos to the authorities: Unless someone has been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution or "adjudicated as mentally defective," there are no restrictions on firearm possession, and even after release from an institution, the appeals process is very friendly to someone wanting a gun. And to top it all off, the state in 2011 prohibited local governments from passing their own restrictions on firearms, to keep big-city liberals from destroying the sacred Second Amendment.

At the federal level, a number of Democrats are once again calling for a return of the federal assault-weapons ban, as they did following the Las Vegas massacre. California Senator Dianne Feinstein pointed out on Twitter that the bill she introduced in November is ready to go, should anyone want to do something about the preferred armament of mass shooters.

As for current laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, Mr. Trump's budget proposal calls for $12 million in cuts to the federal instant background check system used in firearms purchases, because of course it does.

As for those who fret that it's too soon to "politicize" yet another mass shooting, we'd refer you to Barack Obama's statement following the 2015 shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon:

Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this [...]

And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic [...]

This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives. So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense. [emphasis added -- ed.]

TL;DR version: You're damn right this is politicized. These weapons are out there, with very few restrictions on who can own them and how many rounds they can fire, because the gun lobby has pushed politicians to make them readily available. There's a lot of money to be made selling these things, and by selling the fear that the government will take all guns away if any restrictions on guns ever pass.

And so we type this same piece again and again, and we tweet out, again and again, that Onion headline: "‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens."

Also, about that:

We need to be a lot angrier at how routine this has become. We need to take action to make sure this routine changes. It won't be easy, but we have to make it harder for satire to become real life. Hug your kids. Call your representatives and senators. ELECT DEMOCRATS.

You have our permission to skip this morning’s tithe to Wonkette and throw some money at Everytown for Gun Safety, Gabby Giffords’s Americans for Responsible Solutions, Moms Demand Action, and the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. Be safe.

[CNN / WaPo /Giffords Law Center / CNN / HuffPo / The Obama White House archives]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.


Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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