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Hullabaloo


Thursday, November 19, 2015

 
Dead people don't care if the bullet that killed them came from a terrorist's gun

by digby


Ok, we're really starting to lose it now. Trump isn't ruling out special ID cards for Muslims and is saying.

"Certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. We’re going to have to do things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

The right has officially gone nuts.

I wrote about one aspect of their lunacy for Salon today:

Conservative media figure Erick Erickson is having a bad week. He is usually one of the swashbuckling right wing keyboard warriors ready to grab his gun and threaten any tin-horned agent of tyranny who looks at him sideways (He once even threatened to shoot any federal census worker who came on his property.) But in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks he forgot himself and admitted that he was too afraid to attend the opening week-end of the new Star Wars movie. His quote was:
I’m really glad I didn’t get tickets on opening day to see Star Wars. Seriously.
I have no confidence in this Administration to keep us all safe, particularly in light of President Obama’s statement today that there’s really no way to stop this stuff.
There are no metal detectors at American theaters.
I think I’ll wait till Star Wars is less a threat scenario.
This quote was captured all over the internet, but Erickson has since removed the passage about “metal detectors.” This is because real right wingers don’t need no stinking “metal detectors” — they pack heat wherever they go and stand ready to shoot the gun out of the hand of any lily-livered coward before they can even pull the trigger. This is, after all, the standard line we hear every day in the wake of America’s ongoing death and mayhem by gunfire.
Erickson got caught with his pants wet and has had to backtrack. He now says that he is not afraid to go to the movies because he will be carrying a gun and assumes that others will too. If that’s true, a lot of people should rethink their plans to attend Star Wars. With theaters full of armed men who are quivering in fear and ready to fire at the first loud noise, does seem wise to avoid that situation. Those fellows are dangerous even when they aren’t on edge from terrorist attacks that happened on other continents.
We are all aware of the horrifying mass shooting in the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012, and the equally horrifying mass shooting in the movie theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana, earlier this year. And I’m sure many people recall the shooting over someone texting in a theatre in Florida in 2014. Then there was a mass shooting in a movie theatre in Antioch, Tennessee  and this shooting in a Philadelphia movie theatre over someone laughing too loud. And there are likely other incidents of gunfire in movie theaters we haven’t heard about, such as this one from last month, which luckily didn’t kill anyone:
The Salina Journal reports the theater was evacuated Friday after the handgun went off in the man’s pocket, hitting him in the upper leg. Tim Coleman says he was sitting nearby when he heard a pop, smelled gunpowder and the man said “Oh my God! I shot myself.”
It’s fair to say that we are already taking our life into our hands when we go to the movies. We live with this danger every single day in America.
Erickson is not frightened, however:
After the “Dark Knight Rises” shooting, I was perfectly happy going on to the theater opening weekend. It was one nutter in Aurora, CO. But now we’re dealing not with crazy people, but with zealots who want jihad. There’s a big difference.
Actually, there’s no difference at all to the dead people. I doubt it makes any difference to their families and loved ones either. Dead is dead. And in America, we have a yearly body count of over 30,000 people dying from gunfire. They are killed everywhere — in their homes, in their workplaces, at movie theaters, in their cars, at school, in grocery stores, in church and just walking down the street. And not one of those dead people are any less dead because they weren’t shot by a jihadi terrorist.
This argument that we might be allowing some secret jihadis into the country so they can shoot Americans in movie theaters would just be another absurd comment if it didn’t feed the irrationality that suffuses our politics and distorts our policies in ways that really do make us less safe. The terrorists did not take over our government and put us all in Sharia reeducation camps when they flew airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They didn’t overthrow the government of Spain when they killed hundreds in the Madrid bombings in 2004 or the London Subway bombings in 2005. India’s government did not become a fundamentalist Islamic state after the terrorism in Mumbai. France will not become part of the caliphate as a result of the Paris attacks last week. These terrorist attacks, even the truly sophisticated ones like 9/11, are terrifying acts of violence but they are not existential threats.
The American people show every day that they have an amazing ability to carry on with their lives even in the face of random daily gun violence that can come out of nowhere and kill them in the most mundane of human activities. They put up with yahoos who insist that the “freedom” to own a gun is more important than their freedom not to be killed by random gunfire. One of the leading Republican candidates for president, Dr. Ben Carson, recently said so explicitly:
“I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”
If we want to get some perspective on this issue in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, we can follow President Obama’s advice after the last large mass shooting in October and compare some numbers:
If what we are concerned about is public safety it would seem that our priorities are somewhat skewed.
But then the right is irrational in a number of ways in this debate. While they are fulminating about the threat of widows and three year old Syrian refugees coming to kill us in our beds, they are so rigid and dogmatic about their right to own guns that they not only believe the slightest restriction would be more devastating than a body riddled with bullet holes, they insist that even terrorist suspects must be allowed to own guns. We can torture them, imprison them indefinitely and kill them with no due process but by God, no one shall infringe a terrorist’s constitutional right to bear arms.