Late Sunday ReadsPosted: July 26, 2015
Sorry this is so late. JJ’s mother-in-law passed so she will be taking the week off. It’s my turn today to fill those big shoes! However, my A/C went out yesterday afternoon late. I thought it was only struggling to keep up with the heat when I left for a cocktail hour gig. When I got home from that gig last night, I opened the door on a very hot home and three very miserable animals. It was obvious that the A/C wasn’t just struggling. It was pretty dead. I spent the night trying to get to sleep and only did so at about 4am with the help of Benadryl. Fortunately, I got some relief at 8 am when the owner of the local repair shop got to me and fixed it quickly! I was lucky to meet Julian Marin at my local watering hole awhile back because he ended our suffering here at the KatHouse. I went back to sleep and didn’t get up until around 2 my time. Fortunately, it’s a bad capacitor that’s still under warranty. It turned out to be a quick fix.
So, I’m not letting this mass shooting in Lafayette go for awhile. Several things stand out to me. First, the killer was a rabid misogynist who went on Talk Radio shows screaming about the Biblical roles of women. It shouldn’t be lost on any one that he chose an Amy Schumer movie which was going to have a larger than normal number of women in attendance and that a solid majority of his victims–including the dead ones—were women. Second, there are mass shootings in New Orleans all the time. Gun Violence is a near every day occurrence here and many victims are innocent children playing in the street and elderly people sitting on porches. Where is the national news media on those instances? Third, Louisiana’s gun laws are among the loosest in the country and our deaths attributable to guns are the second highest. Our governor is eager to show the NRA and the state his gun fetish. His policies of disabling whatever few gun laws the state had are exactly why these kinds of problems happen. He can pray to his imaginary friend as much as he wants and focus on the victims. But, he needs to realize that the blood of every gun victim in this state–since he’s started disabling the few reasonable restrictions that we’ve had–is on his hands. If he and others only say “no one could imagine” then he and those others join the ranks of the deliberately avoiding the obvious club.
A governor issuing a call for prayers in the wake of a fatal mass shooting is almost boilerplate by now, but what good does it truly do? Prayers will not pull the bullets out of those people, nor repair their flesh. The frequency of these terrible events has somehow numbed us, and the lack of political courage on the right (and at times, on the left) to do anything to stem the flow of guns into our country is staggering. But can it help, somehow?
“Prayer in these moments serve two basic functions in my opinion: one as a sincere attempt at showing sorrow and hoped for comfort for the deceased, and second, as a hope the violence will stop,” Butler told me. “However, these prayers, while sincere, tend to be diffuse, non focused, and often are not prayers that are about the root cause of the situations: usually people’s actions, changes in gun laws, or repentance—sorrow for being a part of a culture that promotes the violence. Personally, I think it is more about soothing of those who have lost loved ones, and a way to forget the real issues at hand that need to be addressed.”
Jindal is asking us to comfort ourselves in this moment, which sounds right. There he was in Lafayette on Thursday night, recommending prayer as the first recourse and saying,“We never imagined it would happen in Louisiana,” and expecting to be taken seriously. Having now suspended his presidential campaign, he’s going back to being just the governor of the state with perhaps the nation’s weakest gun laws and definitely its worst gun violence. Jindal uses guns as campaign props, frequently touting his hunting acumen, A+ grade from the NRA, and enthusiasm for firearms in speeches, interviews, and in his Twitter feed. “In Louisiana and all across America,” Jindal told the CPAC audience in 2012, “we love us some guns and religion.”
Both came into play on Thursday night in Lafayette. But comforting people after mass shootings, by definition, makes them comfortable after mass shootings. Praying may make you feel better in the moment, but Jindal is essentially asking that citizens do nothing to solve the actual problem of gun violence. People can talk to God if they want, but someone had better be calling Wayne LaPierre at the National Rifle Association. A few members of Congress, too.
As Slate writer Jamelle Bouie noted Thursday night on Twitter, we live in a country willing to accept dozens of murdered children—in a tony Connecticut suburb, no less. Also, we seem to be able to swallow a child and five others being killed in an assassination attempt on a sitting member of Congress, Gabrielle Giffords. Urgency on this issue seems to be out of style, but I’d think that perhaps even out of sheer boredom, this nation would not simply shrug its collective shoulders in grief and resignation for nearly a hundred times in the last several years, and join those actually trying to make our national gun policies make sense. In the absence of any faith that can be done, it will take work.
The words “well-regulated militia” are always the ignored parts of the second amendment when you’re around the gun nuts. Their answer to gun violence is always more guns. Let me ask you something, if you saw a child throwing rocks at other children in a playground would you give those other children rocks and expect the problem to be solved? And, what would you think about arming every one in a dark crowded theater then calling for a virtual shoot out at the OK Corral? Certainly, responsible gun owners know that kind of environment is not likely to produce a positive outcome. However, white male apologists like Rick Perry always blame mental illness and are blaming “gun free zones”. It’s never about the issues of right wing extremists and their racist, misogynist, radical christianist screeds. It’s always about mental illness and not enough guns.
Rick Perry said in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, earlier this week shows why gun-free zones are “a bad idea” and said he believes people should be able to take their firearms to the movies.
“I think that it makes a lot of sense to send a message across this country,” Perry said when asked by host Jake Tapper if the former governor believed a way to prevent such violence would be to allow moviegoers to take guns inside. “If we believe in the Second Amendment, and we believe in people’s right to protect themselves and defend themselves, and their families.”
John Russell “Rusty” Houser on Thursday shot 11 people, killing two, in a theater using a handgun he legally purchased from a pawn shop, authorities have said. Houser, who authorities say had a history of legal and mental problems, then turned the gun on himself.
“I will suggest to you that these concepts of gun-free zones are a bad idea,” Perry said. “I think that you allow the citizens of this country, who have appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded, know how to handle and use firearms, to carry them. I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there’s as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette.”.
Perry said shootings in gun-free zones like movie theaters and churches — such as the one in Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of a racially-motivated bloodbath that killed nine last month — happen because of a failure to enforce existing gun laws. He said current laws should have prevented Houser from obtaining his gun.
“I think we have the laws in place. Enforcement of those laws is what seems to be lacking, both in Charleston and here in Lafayette, Louisiana,” he said. “We see individuals who are obviously mentally impacted. These are individuals who I think that somewhere, somebody didn’t do their job in the standpoint of enforcing the laws” that are already on the books.
Governors like Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry aren’t about enforcing laws already on the books. They are about eliminating them and installing some Hollywood version of the Wild West in every state in this country. Blogger Julian Drury discusses the steps Jindal’s taken to appease the NRA and to remove any sensible gun regulation. Remember, even the constitution uses the worlds “well-regulated”.
Why does New Orleans have so much gun violence? Yes, many nuances and history of gangs and crime are to be taken into account. City crime is always complex to certain degrees. Yet, one of the major contributing factors in Louisiana is the fact that the availability of guns is much higher than in states like New York, Illinois, and California.
Louisiana has one of the most lax gun laws in the country. Gun sales are hardly regulated properly. You can buy a gun at a pawn shop quickly, provided you are 21 years old and have a Louisiana state ID. If that doesn’t work, well there are the gun shows that Louisiana has held.
The gun show loophole is problematic, and allows anyone to buy military grade firearms without proper background checks. As long as the cash is in hand, many retailers at these gun shows will sell guns if the buyer has proper ID or not.
Now who would show up to a gun show with thousands of dollars in cash, and not want a background check? Hmmm? Criminals, perhaps?
Then factor in Bobby “Louisiana Loves Guns” Jindal, governor of the state, who seems to sit deep in the NRA’s pocket. Under his terms in office, Jindal has regularly weakened gun safety regulations, and often appears at gun stores during his campaigning, to have pictures of himself with whatever the shop’s biggest rifle is.
In 2013, Bobby Jindal signed six gun laws. Most of these laws made it easier for criminals and mentally ill people to obtain laws. He should’ve known he was setting the state up for more mass shootings but as usual, he’s more concerned about things that would contribute to his presidential ambitions. He did sign bills into laws to increase the ability of state and federal agencies to share information on people who should not have access to guns. However, the gun show loop hole alone means that nothing will ever be done with that information. The Lafayette shooter is perhaps a textbook example of some one that should not have access to guns, yet he legally acquired one.
The most discussed piece of legislation in the batch signed Wednesday was House Bill 8by state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City. The new law will enforce penalties on the intentional publication of the personal information of concealed handgun permit holders.
Citizens face penalties of up to six months in jail and $10,000 for those who “intentionally disseminate for publication” the personal information, such as names and addresses, of permit holders. Law enforcement or public safety employees who share such information will face up to six months in jail and a fine of $500.
Thompson, who helped found the pro-gun group Defend Louisiana this year, said the legislation was introduced largely as a reaction to the publication of New York gun permit holders’ names and addresses by The Journal News last year. He said permit holders’ lives and property were put at risk by the release and he wants to ensure such publication will be penalized in Louisiana.
“It is a great day in Louisiana and across this nation for those of us who refuse to give an inch when it comes to defending our right to protect our families and we will stand strong in the defense of the Second Amendment,” Thompson said Wednesday.
“Responsible, law-abiding citizens should not be villainized simply because they are concealed carry permit holders,” he added.
The bill received significant push-back from journalists, including Baton Rouge Advocate Executive Editor Carl Redman and Louisiana Press Association Executive Director Pamela Mitchell. Penalties will not be imposed if the permit holder had approved the information release or if it was already in the public domain. Publication would be allowable if the permit holder committed a felony involving a gun or if the information is subject to a court order.
Bobby Jindal says “Lousiana Loves us some guns”. That’s not exactly obvious to any of us that live in a city where gun violence costs many lives every day.
“We love us some guns,” Bobby Jindal once said of his fellow Louisianans. Two of them were killed, and nine others wounded, on Thursday night when a man walked into a movie theater in Lafayette, sat for a while, and then fired more than a dozen rounds from a .40 caliber handgun.
“We never imagined it would happen in Louisiana,” Jindal said afterward, though the state has the second-highest rate of gun deaths in the country, more than twice the national average. Louisiana also has some of the laxest firearm regulations, for which Jindal bears much responsibility. During his eight years as governor he’s signed at least a dozen gun-related bills, most intended to weaken gun-safety regulation or expand access to firearms. One allowed people to take their guns to church; another, into restaurants that serve alcohol. He broadened Louisiana’s Stand Your Ground law, and made it a crime to publish the names of people with concealed carry permits. At the same time Jindal has pushed for cuts to mental health services.
Jindal treats guns not as weapons but political props. On the presidential campaign trail he’s posed repeatedly for photos cradling a firearm in his arms. “My kind of campaign stop,” he tweeted earlier this month from an armory in Iowa. After the Charleston massacre, he called President Obama’s mild comments about gun violence “completely shameful.” The correct response then, according to Jindal, was “hugging these families,” and “praying for these families.”
The gunman who opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater should not have been allowed to legally buy the gun he used to kill two people and injure nine because of his mental history, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday.
Shooter John Houser “should have never been able to buy that gun,” Jindal told NBC News. “That should have never been able to happen.”
Houser had been involuntarily hospitalized for mental conditions in Georgia and denied a concealed weapons permit in Alabama in 2006 because of a domestic violence complaint and a previous arrest connected to an arson plot.
Jim Cavanaugh, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and now NBC News security analyst, said those red flags should have kept Houser from buying a gun in any state.
“If he’s adjudicated as a danger to himself or others, or not able to handle his affairs due to his mental capacity, he is also barred from having a firearm,” Cavanaugh said.
Still, Houser was able to legally buy a Hi-Point .40-caliber handgun in Alabama in 2014. And that is the gun he used to fire more than a dozen shots into a Thursday night movie audience of about 25 people before killing himself, officials said.
It is unclear whether officials in Georgia filed records about Houser’s involuntary hospitalization, which would have been funneled to the FBI’s database and therefore surfaced during a background check in any state, according to The Associated Press.
“Obviously somebody with this kind of history should have never been able to buy a gun,” Jindal said, noting that Louisiana laws would have prevented Houser from legally buying a gun.
In order to acquire a concealed handgun license in Louisiana, an applicant must “not suffer from a mental or physical infirmity due to disease,” according to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. But private owners and gun show sellers aren’t required to perform background checks to determine the mental health and arrest history of prospective gun buyers.
In the immediate wake of the shooting, Jindal, who is running for president and is generally known as pro-gun (the NRA last gave him an “A+” rating), declined to speak on gun policy, saying he wanted to give Lafayette a chance to grieve.
Authorities have yet to determine a motive for why Houser chose to attack people at the showing of “Trainwreck,” why he chose to target Lafayette and why he picked a Thursday evening.
So, let me address the mainstream media and police confusion about Houser’s “choices” of victim. These are the same groups of people that rarely address the daily violence against and murder of women by the men in their lives. This is from a blog that tracks and monitors male misogyny called “We Hunted the Mammoth”. The author is David Futrelle.
Police in Lafayette, Louisiana are evidently struggling to understand why the outspokenly misogynistic, racist and anti-Semitic John Russell “Rusty” Houser murdered two women and wounded 9 other moviegoers at a showing of “Trainwreck,” a film written by and starring Amy Schumer, a feminist comedian with a Jewish father, known for joking frankly about sex.
[For more, see my latest post on Houser: “Did right-wing attacks on “Trainwreck” inspire John Russell Houser’s shooting rampage?”]
Col. Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, wondered aloud about Houser’s motives at a press conference:
Why did he come here? Why did he do that? … We may not find a motive.
It seems to me that Houser’s likely motive is staring them in the face.
Because it turns out that Houser was pretty well-known, at least to regular viewers of one local TV talk show in Columbus, GA, as an angry right-wing fanatic who hated women. As one former host of the show recalled,
He was anti-abortion. … Rusty had an issue with feminine rights. He was opposed to women having a say in anything.
Houser evidently appeared on the live show dozens of times as a “gadfly” whose appearances “would generate calls.”
When Houser’s career as a loudmouthed crank on local TV apparently came to an end years ago, he moved to another medium, leaving a long trail of hateful comments on assorted websites, many of them openly praising Hitler and talking ominously about the future of what he saw as a deeply “immoral” culture.”
When news emerged that a middle-aged white man in Lafayette, Louisiana opened fire at a showing of the Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck, I immediately had this sinking feeling that the movie choice wasn’t a coincidence—that this was, like theElliot Rodger and George Sodini killings, an act of rage at women. While Trainwreck is a fluffy rom-com, it’s also a popular topic of chatter in the feminist-sphere, and therefore likely to be noticed by the seething misogynists who monitor the online activities of feminists with unsettling obsessiveness.
That fear is now moving from the uneasy-feeling column to the likely-possibility column, with Dave Weigel of the Washington Post reporting that alleged shooter John Russell Houser was a rabid right-winger—he even went to one of those unranked conservative Christian law schools—who had particularly strong anger towards women for their growing independence and rights. Former talk show host Calvin Floyd had Houser on as a frequent guest, knowing that his off-the-wall opinions would generate audience interest: “The best I can recall, Rusty had an issue with feminine rights,” Floyd said. “He was opposed to women having a say in anything.” Houser also had a history of domestic violence.
It would be nice, as Jessica Winter argued in Slate after the Charleston shooting, if this country could have a grown-up conversation about gun control in the wake of crimes like this. Instead, we’re just going to hear a bunch of ridiculous rhetoric about how more guns will fix this problem, as if Lafayette isn’t one of those parts of the country where every and their poodle is packing heat. But since that’s not happening, maybe we can talk about the continuing role that misogyny plays in the relentless drumbeat of gun violence in this country.
My colleague Ben Mathis-Lilley noted today at Slatest, there were 14 other gun-based murder-suicides in the past week in this country, resulting in the loss of 36 lives. If you look down the list of the killings, an unmistakeable pattern pops out: “shot and killed his 37-year-old wife… shot and killed his ex-wife… shot and killed his 62-year-old wife… shot and killed his 23-year-old girlfriend…” and so on. Most of these killings involve men killing women that they were in a relationship with, had lost a relationship with, or likely wanted a relationship with, but were rejected. This last week also featured a bizarre story of a woman who not only survived beingkidnapped and raped by a man but also saw her boyfriend and a random other man killed in the rapist-murderer’s rampage.
So much of this stuff seem clear to us and it escape our policymakers, the police, and the media who are co-conspirators in the gun deaths that impact so many women and racial minorities on a daily basis. I can only shake my head at the amazing lack of self evaluation by those basking in the glow of white male christianist privilege.
The day after the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine people in a church June 17, Jindal said it was not the time to discuss gun control but rather an occasion for prayer and hugs.
Jindal officially announced his entry in the campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination a week later, but he was regarded as a candidate for months before then — and it was in that light that he was asked to respond to President Barack Obama’s suggestion that the Charleston tragedy fit a distinctly American pattern of firearms violence that should be addressed.
Jindal characterized Obama’s comment as a “completely shameful” attempt to “score cheap political points.”
In the hours after the Lafayette shooting, in which a gunman fatally shot two women and wounded nine others before taking his own life, Jindal again said prayers and hugs made for the appropriate response.
“There’ll be a time; I’m sure folks will want to jump into the politics of this,” he said. “Now is not the time.”
That didn’t prevent gun control advocates from landing on Jindal with both feet. The New Republic accused Jindal of enabling gun violence in Louisiana — a state with one of the highest rates of firearms violence and least-restrictive gun regulations — citing his enthusiastic pro-gun record and support for legislation that permits guns in churches and creates lifetime concealed-carry permits. In the Daily Mail, commentator Piers Morgan was particularly vehement, saying the blood of the victims was on Jindal’s hands.
But such attacks are unlikely to faze Jindal, said Bernie Pinsonat, a veteran Louisiana political pollster.
“That’s like throwing him into the briar patch,” Pinsonat said. “Democrats or anyone else who is anti-gun, they’re not voting for Jindal anyway.”
Like some one on Twitter said, once you allow a mass murderer to come in and gun down innocent children and you can still do nothing as a policymaker but talk about more guns and prayers, you’ve pretty much lost the battle to the gun industry. You’ve also conceded to the moral high ground to greed and political ambition.
What’s on you reading and blogging list today?