Commentary: Gun Laws

Gun Laws Journalism People Policy & Law Politics

Annapolis

Fifteen years as a newspaperman taught me a few select things. One is this: It is the god-given right of every American to resent or even hate his local newspaper. Indeed, it is our birthright to hate any and every news organization, print or broadcast. It is not certain that you will avail yourself of that right, or that you will invoke it consistently if you do, but it is there for you whenever life doesn’t go the way you want. Your hometown newspaper will highlight your most embarrassing utterance at the PTA hearing or detail your company’s bankruptcy, just as it will at some point ignore your daughter’s performance in the school play or miss the zoning hearing at which a porn shop is dropped a block and a half from your son’s middle school. It will herald some political views you abhor and denigrate some politicians you wish to cheer. It will spell your name incorrectly when you are named the Rotarian of the Year and dox you with precision when you are cuffed and processed for...

Read more
Drug War Gun Laws Policy & Law

The endgame for American civic responsibility Pt. III

Note:  These essays were, of course, written before St. Louis County prosecutors and Ferguson police relented and revealed the identity of the officer sho shot and killed Mr. Brown.  Both the cost to their credibility in the delay inherent in their delay and to the civil peace of that town remains relevant, however.  Moreover, the problem with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies nationally trying to maintain anonymity in such incidents is on the rise. So the essays stand as argument,  regardless.  – DS   August 14, 2014 Mr. Thomas Jackson Chief of Police Ferguson, Missouri   Chief Jackson: Regard this as an open letter in light of your department’s unwillingness to properly identify the officer involved in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in your jurisdiction this last week. Understand that I am someone with a high regard for good police work.  I covered a large municipal department for a dozen years and spent that time writing in detail on...

Read more
Drug War Gun Laws Policy & Law

The endgame for American civic responsibility Pt. II

Seven years later, from the Baltimore City Paper of February 12, 2009, as the militarization of American police work continued apace, infecting not merely the federal agencies so much less accountible to individual jurisdictions, but municipal police departments that claimed to be directly in the service of specific communities: Police work, it is said, is only easy in a police state.  So welcome to the city of Baltimore, where a police officer who uses lethal force and takes human life is no longer required to stand behind his or her actions and suffer the scrutiny of the public he or she serves, where the identity of those officers who use lethal force will no longer be known, where our communities are now asked to trust in the judgment of those who clearly don’t trust us. A 61-year-old Baltimorean is dead, shot by a Southeastern District Officer Feb. 17. His death may well be a reasonable, if tragic outcome. It may even be good police work, though any veteran city prosecutor will...

Read more
Drug War Gun Laws Journalism

The endgame for American civic responsibility. Pt. I

I’m going to write something fresh about Ferguson, Missouri, and the once-extraordinary notion that law enforcement officers — uniquely authorized, trained and armed as they are to use lethal force against American civilians in peacetime as is necessary to serve the commonweal — need not be identified when they have in fact taken a human life.  The notion that police officers are entitled to anonymity after such an action is not merely anti-democratic; it is, in fact, totalitarian.  The idea that a police department, with all of its resources and sworn personnel, might claim to be unable to protect an officer from retribution, and therefore employ such anonymity to further protect the officer from his citizenry is even more astonishing.  And any police agency showing such institutional cowardice which might then argue its public should continue to come forward and cooperate with officers in police investigations and to trust in the outcome is engaged in little more...

Read more
Gun Laws Policy & Law

Doubling down

Among many, many others of similar passion: pat stevens [email protected]  david simon, I hope a black guy punches you right in the fucking face just for being white.. Michael Bailey [email protected] David Simon A Jewish man… “One less Jew to answer, One less Jew (cont) Willy Scanlon [email protected] @7sMRD313 Then David Simon should leave for Israel with the rest of the Fucking Jews who think that they own this country.   Robert Aguilar Jr. [email protected] David Simon can take the first Asiana flight the fuck out of here too!! My actual words: “Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.” *        *        * Some random moments in my lifetime when I have been intensely proud of my country: 1.  “Ich bin ein Berliner” and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” 2.   The arrival of U.S. carriers off the shores of Indonesia after a devastating tsunami. 3.   Standing...

Read more
Gun Laws Policy & Law

Comments on Martin-Zimmerman. To reiterate:

If you go to the original post on the verdict itself, entitled “Trayvon,” you will find more than five hundred posts in which all of the issues regarding the case were debated to the point of repetition over more than 48 hours, after which, as every new comment in the last several hundred had already been addressed, we closed the comments to preserve the give-and-take of the debate — debate becing one of the fundamental goals of the website. The dynamic is explained in greater detail in the subsequent and concluding post, “Trayvon: Calling It.”  Commentary on that post is naturally being limited to a discussion about the debate dynamic here.  A third post stands only as a corrective to the false claim that I was exhorting anyone to riot, and that the reductive medium of Twitter was being so utilized.  Commentary there is being limited largely to a discussion of the claim and the uses or misuses of Twitter. If you have a point to argue about the issue...

Read more
Gun Laws Policy & Law

More proof that twitter sucks. (Updated)

A new top to this, apparently:  A reader has informed me that Mr. Podhoretz has apologized for the mischaracterization of the quote.  That was manful, and direct.  So while this post remains as a means of reaffirming the actual intent of what I wrote, it should be acquired henceforth with the knowledge that Mr. Podhoretz appears to have been unaware of the full context when he tweeted.  Mr. Kurtz remains in the wind, but due respect to Mr. Podhoretz. *       *       * Willful stupidity or rank intellectual dishonesty?  With these two fellows and their output, there is really no third choice that can be legitimately considered:              John Podhoretz [email protected] David Simon says he would have thrown brick at courthouse if he were a person of color in FLA. Why shouldn’t he attack it as a white guy? HowardKurtz [email protected] Ugh: Wire’s David Simon: If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford...

Read more
Gun Laws

Trayvon: Calling it

Went to dinner last night and I’d managed to winnow the comments down to a dozen or so.  Came back and we were back in the hundreds.  Moreover, I read through all of them and, without exception, they are entirely repetitive of arguments that have already been given a full ride. This is understandable in that many fresh posters are not inclined to review pages and pages of previous commentary, but such brutal repetition nonetheless impairs the commentary as a standing document.  Anyone reading at this point will be distracted to find nearly every aspect argued at multiple points. So as with the previous debate on the NSA that generated so much commentary, there comes a reasonable point at which we have to acknowledge that the back and forth is taking us nowhere new. I’d like to genuinely thank the great majority of you for your interest, your passion, your honest rhetoric and your willingness to seriously engage with all facets of this case and the large issue of stand-your...

Read more
Gun Laws

Trayvon

You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead. In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all.  And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary. If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve.  I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own. Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American...

Read more
Gun Laws Politics

Dead children and monied politicians.

What is left to say? A sane man’s contempt for the United States Senate must now be certain and complete. Given the inertia on even the most modest legislative response to the mass murder of schoolchildren, those still credulous enough to believe that our governance is representative of popular will are either Barnum-sized suckers, or worse, tacit participants in tragedies soon to come. An entrenched collection of careerist incumbents, chosen and retained through their singular ability to gather cash from money troughs over six-year intervals — and the unrestrained ability of capital to keep those troughs constantly full — none of this is worthy of any intelligent citizen’s respect or allegiance. Never mind that the higher house of our bicameral farce is one in which 40 percent of the American population choses 60 percent of the representation; that millions of New Yorkers or Texans, say, are represented and served to the same degree as thousands of Montanans...

Read more
Gun Laws Journalism

Addendum: The National Review and the deaths of schoolchildren

In the discussions that have followed the Newtown tragedy, I thought myself ready for just how much abstraction and distraction would be offered so that we might avoid focusing on the actual metallic instruments that fire actual projectiles that end actual lives. I’d heard it all before, and I assumed I’d hear it all again.  But no, I just encountered this essay, authored by Charlotte Allen. For real. Are the seeming adults who claim to be in command the National Review so committed to the ideological that they are ready and willing to twist childhood, or the culture and purpose of a classroom, or even the benign and essential role of the grade-school teacher, into something altogether hideous? Read the Review and weep for our pathetic, feminized educator class, devoid of any shred of warrior ethos.  Oh, those ineffectual teachers, thinking they were there to teach young children, when so much more was clearly called for.  They went like Jews to the ovens — unready...

Read more
Gun Laws Policy & Law

Newtown, Conn.

  I’ve sat facing my computer a few times since those school children were massacred, attempting on each pass to write something that expresses anything honest about the slaughter, about this horror show that we call modern, post-millenial America.  Elsewhere, I have read the words of people who are so devastated by this event that they cannot think of what to say, or who to blame, or how to bring our country to some better place.  As if words or ideas are no longer sufficient or useful against something as elemental to our society and culture as firearms. For me, this isn’t the problem.  For me, the struggle goes to an opposite extreme.  Each time I start to write about this tragedy, my head begins to hurt.  And too soon, I sense that all of the contempt and bile I feel for America’s continuing worship of the gun will pour out onto the digital page,  that any meaningful argument I hope to express will be lost in my low regard for those in my country —...

Read more

Send this to a friend