Upon shooting politicians

If I was outraged when Congresswoman Giffords was shot, surely it behooves me to ask myself how I would have felt had G. W. Bush been shot when he was president. What Americans are supposed to believe is that if they dislike one elected official, they should work to elect another. But what if you think the official you dislike is single-handedly taking your country down the toilet? The fact is that I would have liked it A LOT had Bush been killed. The only thing I would have liked better had been if his entire cabinet died with him because it wasn’t Bush the man whom I cared about but the policies of the Bush administration.

But what of those today whom—benighted though they appear to me—see Obama as being as evil as I saw Bush? I could say that nearly all of the harm Obama is said to be doing will almost certainly be overturned after the next election, whereas George Bush left generations in debt, started two unnecessary wars, and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands. If I explained this to the Obama haters, would they be likely to agree that the politicians I want to see dead are worse than the politicians they want to see dead? But of course, when hell freezes over.

It’s almost a moot argument anyway because the odds of killing a president—much less a president and his cabinet—have gotten harder over the years (JFK was riding right out in the open through the streets of a city that largely despised him). Senators and Congressmen are another matter though. Any of us could kill one just by checking our local newspaper to see when she’s scheduled to appear at a nearby event, and showing up to shoot her. Imagine how scary this must make it for elected officials who support abortion, gun control, healthcare reform, or any other issue that makes the right lather.

But do right-leaning politicians not have just as much to fear from the left? Probably not. That’s an politically unpopular opinion, of course, but political popularity isn’t related to truth but to the desire to win elections. As nasty as the left can be, I don’t recall them putting crosshairs on opponents’ districts, threatening to exercise their “second amendment option” (for non-Americans, that’s the amendment that has to do with gun ownership), or talking about taking their opponents “out.” Neither do they have rabid radio talk show hosts egging them on 24 hours a day.

Be that as it may, if one side of the governmental aisle feels itself in danger of being assassinated, then it’s reasonable for the other side to get uneasy too, so the most outrageous rhetoric will no doubt be toned down, at least by the politicians themselves and at least until the next election, because if there’s one thing we can trust our elected officials to do, it’s to take care of themselves first, and that’s true of the right and the left. After all, it’s not their lifelong government subsidized healthcare they argue over; it’s ours.

For those who care, the Glock in the photo is similar the one used in Tucson but with a laser scope. I chose this photo because it also shows an extended clip similar to the one used by Loughner. Four extra clips are also pictured.


The Tusk said...

Regis, I'm told is retiring because ABC wanted him to take a paycut. He reportedly is making 20 Million a year.

ABC broke a big part of the Union this year and bought out many who will lose their job this coming March and April. Some were already let go this December.

Your comment it's our healthcare not theirs is so spot on. I feel the same way at what used to be the safe bet. Take a Job with Networks they are organized and you will make a nice living with some 401 retirement, health benefits. All gone now... All gone... If Seinfeld gave a little back, NBC would have staff, If Regis gave a little back, ABC would have staff.

If the Union lawyers were in bed with the talents lawyers instead of the corporate lawyers the common folk would have the ability to make a living wage.

I thought the more pressing news today Snow would be Jack LaLane.

RNSANE said...

I'm not for shooting any of them although I think so many politicians have really screwed the country. I think a lot of them deserve jail sentences though that will never happen. What they often do while they are in power is so destructive to our country and costs us billions of dollars and the loss of so many lives.

Kay Dennison said...

I don't believe in killing people at any time, Then again, I think of the shooter in Tucson and can think of no good reason he should continue to take up space on this over-crowded planet. I feel the same way about Charlie Manson et al. Sue me.

Snowbrush said...

Kay said: "Sue me."

Well, okay, Kay. I WILL! Boy, are you going to be sorry.

The Tusk said: "If Seinfeld gave a little back, NBC would have staff, If Regis gave a little back, ABC would have staff."

I would just ask why pick on them? True, they're grotesquely overpaid, and that runs up advertising costs, which in turn runs up product costs, but they're hardly the only ones who are overpaid at the networks. A better idea (I think) would be for everyone to say "Screw you" to the networks, and go over to PBS where they might actually learn something and even be inspired by wonder and beauty.

RNSANE said: "I'm not for shooting any of them..."

Who then--anyone? I'm tired, so I'll make it easy on myself by going for an obvious example. If someone had assassinated Hitler the day he became chancellor, millions of lives (trillions if you include the nonhuman lives that were lost because of him) would have been saved. A true pacifist would say that he or she would never use any amount of violence against anyone for any reason, so I know you're not a true pacifist because you favor prison terms, so I guess I don't really know exactly how far you would go here. Maybe you were just talking about democratically elected politicians, yet Hitler did enjoy tremendous popular support, at least for a few years.

Marion said...

I'm with Shakespeare: "The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers..." From: Henry VI, part 2

I own a gun, but then everyone I know owns a gun and we're all law-abiding citizens. Guns don't kill people. People kill people.


The Tusk said...

Snow says "...go over to PBS where they might actually learn something and be inspired by wonder and beauty."

On the topic of pay, I actually work for PBS at Lincoln Center, where there is in New York the strongest Union and no-one is complaining about what they have saved in Annuity from there, which has remained protected from the crush of the markets in the past few years. In the past 20 years the people who have worked there have 6 figures saved. The Union for PBS at Lincoln Center for Live at The Met and Live from Austria for New Years Eve pay three times what Fox would pay and Twice what ABC and NBS Pays for staff. You can also see the expertice in the production at Lincoln Center, the hire the best pay the best and the programming is the best. To me it is Socialism at it's ultimate. One family should be thanked for there foresight and that is the Astor family. Event they though are not without the internal infighting, which is a shame. One family which I also think should be said thank you to, is the Whitney family, but I won't go there yet. Even though in there past they have taken, it seems over the past 100 years they have made good on there return.

The Tusk said...

When I think there was a shooting, I immediately think Camera Shoot, and somehow I missed the work.

I hear know it may be illegal to text and walk at the same time.

Maybe there will be a law on the books that you can't look pretty and go out in public, that being a distraction as well. How many men have been in a car accident, because they caught a glimpse of the wind blowing up a mini-skirt?

Or on Fire Island, an old flame walking down the street being flamboyant. This last sentence was a difficult one to sell. It may be too local to Long Island for anyone to understand it's rainbow flag related.

Bernie said...

I am so tired of people saying guns don't kill people, people kill people. Well they couldn't kill anyone with a gun if they didn't have such easy access to them. Who wants to take their children or grandchildren into a restaurant for lunch only to see someone walk in carrying a gun.....what is wrong with this picture. Guns are not the answer neither is violence. What happened in Tuscon was horrible, what happend in Columbine was horrible as what happend in Texas.....when are people going to learn. They are against health care, a plan that helps those in need who seriously need health care yet they are out promoting their guns......where are those who have common sense hiding......:-)Hugs

Snowbrush said...

I think you've got a point, Bernie. Machine guns, flame throwers, and hand grenades don't kill people either, but who would want to legalize them? Well, some people would, no doubt, at least in the case of automatic weapons. They would argue that they might need to protect themselves during a riot or else overthrow the government, and therefore a simple pistol or rife wouldn't be adequate. It comes down to which is the greater risk, people going about with machine guns in their cars or the need to fight off rioters or overthrow the government.

Natalie said...

I am with Bernie on this one. GUNS ARE A WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Wise up, America. Cultural beliefs or not,religious beliefs or not.....


Christy said...

A comment I heard the other day seems to fit the health care debate. If the Republicans had come up with the health care they would be all for it. Since they didn't, they are jealous and are just trying to make themselves feel better.

The Blog Fodder said...

I think seeing Bush and Co in jail for 30 years would be more satisfying than having then shot.
And yes, the left has far more to fear from the right. Liberals tend to play by the rules. The Right plays to win at any cost. There are no umpires.
Presidents are only shot when they are a danger to the establishment.

Lee Johnson said...

Cars don't kill people. Distracted & drunk drivers kill people. I always wonder where the car-ban advocates are each time a particularly tragic drunk-driving accident occurs.

Murder and violent crime rates are down over the last 20 years, while gun ownership and concealed carry rights have increased. I'm not sure it's valid to correlate these two statistics, but it certainly doesn't hold to argue the opposite correlation.

Violence is a psychological and cultural problem. You can look to Britain for an example of a nation which thought they could eliminate crime by eliminating guns. Gun related crime went down, but overall violence stayed the same. Criminals turned to knives or simply bought guns on the black market. Since banning guns worked so well, they've since had to ban the sale of steak knives to people under the age of 18.

Clearly the solution to crime is to ban guns, just as the solution to drug use is the war on drugs.

Regarding the original post, the only thing more terrifying than President Bush would have been President Cheney. If there were such a thing as left-wing assassins, that thought alone would have given them pause. :)

As an outcome for the Tuscon tragedy, it would be nice to see everyone in politics take the hate rhetoric down a couple notches. It would also be nice to see certain delusional TV personalities-for-hire get shamed off of the air waves .. but that's probably too much to ask for.

Snowbrush said...

Lee said: "Cars don't kill people. Distracted & drunk drivers kill people."

True, but is it fair to equate cars with guns? Cars are considered essential almost everyday by almost everyone for practical reasons, whereas guns are only considered latently essential by those gun owners who want to be prepared to fight off criminals, live off the land, or overthrow the government. Also, cars are being made ever safer, whereas the gun lobby consistently opposes efforts to make guns safer.

Lee said: "You can look to Britain for an example of a nation which thought they could eliminate crime by eliminating guns. Gun related crime went down, but overall violence stayed the same."

Take a look at the comparative murder rates though, Lee, remembering that most U.S. bought guns actually kill people who live outside the U.S.

"United Kingdom murder rate: 0.01 per 1,000 people

"U.S. murder rate: 0.04 per 1,000 people"

From: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

Lee said: "they've since had to ban the sale of steak knives to people under the age of 18."

Clearly, you need to be 18 to eat steak. I wonder how they're handling the sales of ice picks and box openers, both of which would offer some advantages over steak knifes. That said, killing even one person with a knife poses both physical and psychological difficulties; killing a lot of people requires immense luck and determination; and accidental stabbing deaths are rare. I don't have mortality figures for bullet wounds versus stab wounds, but I would guess that few people who get into knife fights intend to kill their opponents and they are probably less likely to inadvertently do so.

Lee Johnson said...

Well, cars and guns are similar in the sense that they are both tools. The car's intended use may be more wholesome and harder to pervert, but I don't consider target practice, hunting, or self defense to be unwholesome. (I understand that some opinions differ on this.)

On making guns safer .. I have to agree with the gun lobby. If it doesn't fire unintentionally when you drop it, then there's not much to be done for it. I've never seen a gun safety device (California now requires a whole laundry list of them), which *actually* makes them safer.

It's important to look at the rates before Britain's gun ban to see if it had any affect. From Wikipedia,in 1990 England/Wales murder rate was .0109 per 1000 and the U.S. murder rate was .0904 per 1000. So, the U.S. murder rate has fallen significantly during the last 20 years. The British banned handguns completely, and it had no affect on their murder rate. Overall crime in Britain is actually slightly higher than it is here (85.5 incidents per 1000 compared to 80 in the U.S.) based on your NationMaster.com site. Crimes against person (such as mugging) increased after the handgun ban and you are still more likely to be mugged on the street or robbed while you're at home in the UK than in the U.S.

The point was really about the ineffectual nature of most bans. Sweeping national bans usually occur as a knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy. The British banned handguns after a school shooting and Australia after a massacre at a tourist site. These are time periods when countries are prone to made bad decisions (the Afghanistan War), and politicians cash in to leverage public opinion for some political wins.

My problem with gun control is that it tends to go overboard and it's rarely backed by evidence. If someone had a specific policy that they could prove would reduce crime (not just redistribute it), and had measurable expectations for the outcome I'd be all for it.

Unfortunately, what we end up with is something like the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban, which mostly banned certain cosmetic features from a class of civilian rifles that are almost never used in actual crimes anyway.

Good point on the icepick loophole. I haven't seen one of those used in a crime in a British police drama yet, so maybe it hasn't reached national consciousness. :)

Snowbrush said...

Those are interesting statistics about British crime rates. Apparently, they banned guns to little avail since they had few murders anyway. Here, we do have a great many murders (though not in Oregon, thank goodness), and guns are the weapon of choice. To say that if a person didn't have a gun, he would simply use a knife isn't apparent to me given the limitations of knives.

You are right, of course, in that politicians often make bad choices, especially when they're under pressure to fix a problem in short order.

Lee said: "If someone had a specific policy that they could prove would reduce crime...and had measurable expectations for the outcome I'd be all for it."

You appear to be calling for scientific testing, and I don't see that this is realistic. I would instead favor what might be considered common sense measures such as banning high capacity magazines, just as we already limit access to machine guns and various other weapons that have immense destructive capabilities.

Stafford Ray said...

As an observer who does remember exactly where he was when Kennedy was shot, and most of whose heroes are black American musicians, add Barney Kessel (Jewish) Stan Getz (probably Jewish) Joe Pass (probably Atheist) plus hundreds of others, white brown and brindle, I do wish America, the home of Jazz very well.
However, I observe with anguish the gap between the ieal of free speech and the sometimes deadly venom that it generates.
Then there is Democracy, a word shouted at the world, but its rules ignored at home. Democracy is a processd where every one votes and a ruling party is formed. Those whose vote did not elect a member, respect the wishes of the majority and support their government, presenting alternative policies and at the next election, sn alterntive government.
Is that what Americans really believe? Most do, but the gun culture is deeply embedded and everyone in office is a target, the good (Martin Luther King) the bad (Lee Harvey Oswald) and the ugly... strike that. I just looked in the mirror!
Policies don't bring much change in the short term, but expectations raised by political promises and the vitriol that passes for debate and comment has eroded public respect to the point that all politicians who stand for something must feel threatened!

The administration is too isolated ann too powerful for the great nation of America's long term health!

Stafford Ray said...

Here I am back again. I quote you; "But what if you think the official you dislike is single-handedly taking your country down the toilet?" and point out that no matter who you are or what you do, there is always someone who believes you are 'taking your country down the toilet'.
The remedy, as I intimated last try, is to take direct power from the admistration so there cannot be a Dick and Don'Shock and Awe' show unless it has the support of Congress!
rre your comment on walking on water, my blog today, there is a guy here who invented a 'speed bump' that squashes down if you hit it at low speed but stays stiff if hit at speed. That seems a great application for the liquid you mentioned.

Snowbrush said...

Stafford, my father loathed speed bumps. When he became quite old, he moved in with us, and I invariably took him along when I ran errands. Not wanting to be a hindrance, he would all but run along behind me, and one day he tripped over a speed bump and banged himself up pretty good. I've since awaited a movie about the incident which would naturally be entitled "The Revenge of the Speed Bumps."

C Woods said...

As someone else pointed out,, every time I secretly wished someone would bump off W, the thought of President Cheney (chills go down my spine just thinking about that possibility) cured me of that notion immediately.