The Clintons’ Dominance of Democratic Politics Is Over—And They Will Not Be Remembered Fondly

Self-inflicted wounds, an out-of-touch candidate and a party more concerned about Wall Street than the working class sealed the Clinton campaign’s defeat.

Source: in these times

Author:kathlene Geier

Emphasis Mine

In the aftermath of a political catastrophe as devastating of the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, you’ve got two choices. You can blame the elites or blame the people. I’m gonna go with the elites.

Many liberal journalists, however have taken the opposite view. To paraphrase Bertolt Brecht, in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss, they have demanded that we dissolve the people and elect another. The Clintonistas have attempted to pin the blame for this fiasco on the voter groups they detest the most: the white working class, the millennials, and the Left. Clinton supporter Jill Filipovic opined that Hillary was too good for us: “Sorry America, you didn’t deserve her,” she tweeted. Many other Clintonites in the media concurred. To Virginia Heffernan, Hillary Clinton was not just a candidate. Instead, she “is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself” who “did everything right in this campaign… She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second.”

But outside the pro-Clinton media bubble, ordinary Americans had a far less rosy view of Dear Leader Hillary.

Clinton came within striking distance of winning this thing; that much is clear. Normally, when, like Hillary, you begin your campaign with approval ratings that are already under water, and you’re also running when your own party has held the White House for two consecutive terms, I’d say it would be an uphill climb to victory. On the other hand, Hillary was running against Donald Trump, a man who, at the time of the election, was despised by even more people than she was. Against a normal Republican like McCain or Romney, Hillary probably would have lost decisively. But against Trump, she was the odds-on favorite. The polls were tight but they almost always showed Hillary in the lead. And it ended up being a close, and therefore winnable, election. The margins were close enough that a competently run campaign could and should have put Clinton over the top.

(N.B.: Clinton won the vote 48-46, about where the polls were…)

What we saw instead was gross political malpractice on the part of Democratic Party elites generally and Team Clinton specifically. Yes, factors outside of the campaign’s control, ranging from the Comey letter to racism, sexism, and more, surely contributed to her defeat. But it’s also become clear that a series of fatal miscalculations and spectacular strategic blunders by the party and the Clinton campaign is what ultimately sealed their candidate’s fate.

Here are some of them:

1. This one isn’t so much why-Hillary-lost but why-the-Democrats-lost: the Clintons did the most thorough job of clearing the Democratic primary field of any candidate in modern history. They threw their weight around and made certain that they had endorsements and support from just about every major donor, party official, party organization, and interest group organization (such as labor, reproductive rights groups, environmental groups, etc.).

The Clintons have a history of punishing perceived disloyalty, so it’s easy to see why these groups knuckled under. Every potential candidate stayed out except Bernie, who shocked everyone when what was supposed to be a protest candidacy turned into a major threat. But if the primary process had been open and competitive, we almost certainly would have ended up with a stronger and more popular candidate. I don’t know who that would have been–maybe Elizabeth Warren, maybe Joe Biden, maybe Sherrod Brown, maybe Kirsten Gillibrand, maybe someone else. In any case, the party, and the country, would have been far better off. Democratic Party elites share the blame here, because they never challenged the Clintons’ attempts to ensure a coronation.

2. Clinton also shot herself in the foot by her own arrogant behavior. Setting up the private email server at the State Department, making those buckraking Wall Street speeches, refusing to cut her ties to the Clinton Foundation (and thus avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest)–all of those were Clinton’s freely made choices, and as such they were completely avoidable.

Yes, the email scandal was a load of bunk, but why in the world would she make the stupid decision to set up a private server in the first place, which gratuitously provided endless rounds of  ammunition for her many political enemies? She knew she’d be running for president again, and it’s not like the right hasn’t been hellbent on destroying her for, oh, the past quarter-century or so. It’s worth pointing out that President Obama has had the discipline and smarts to avoid that kind of self-destructive behavior. He and his administration never gave off the faintest whiff of scandal, which is why his enemies were never able to bring him down, try as they might. Seriously, what was Clinton’s excuse here?

Every one of those dangerous misjudgments was a self-inflicted wound that never stopped bleeding, and confirmed the well-founded perception that Clinton was entitled and out of touch. That Clinton never seemed to learn from her past was an ominous sign that her presidency would have been chockful of similar misadventures. After decades of Clinton drama, the public was weary, and no wonder.

3. Relatedly, when Hillary made these foolish decisions, why didn’t the people around her stop her? And that points to another reason why she lost: the mediocrity of her advisers and campaign staff. The Clintons, who seem to prize loyalty over competence, have a long and troubling history of surrounding themselves with extraordinarily unsavory people–sleazeballs and hacks like Mark Penn, Lanny Davis, and Dick Morris, to name just a few. This time around, there weren’t any members of Team Clinton who seemed quite that clownish, so I assumed the personnel decisions were wiser. From the outside, the campaign look professional and competent. But as we’ve been discovering, that perception belied the reality.

4. There is also abundant evidence that Clinton’s campaign royally screwed up its strategy and badly misallocated resources. Clinton won the popular vote by over 2 million votes yet lost key Rust Belt states by razor-thin margins. Clinton’s much-hyped, data-driven get-out-the-vote operation was a shocking failure. Working with outdated voter lists, it mistakenly targeted large numbers of Trump voters. In Michigan, state and local officials “were running at roughly one-tenth the paid canvasser capacity that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had when he ran for president in 2004.” In states like Ohio, Team Clinton’s efforts neglected traditional Democratic constituencies like African-Americans in favor of targeting far less favorable demographics like upscale Republican women. Clinton did not appear in Wisconsin, a state that she lost, after the primary in April, and neither did Barack or Michelle Obama. One Clinton official admitted that the campaign didn’t do more in some states where they knew were vulnerable because they were too busy playing mind games with Trump: they believed they “could keep Trump away—by acting overly confident about their chances.” Heckuva job, Team Clinton!

5. Theda Skocpol has cited another factor in Clinton’s loss: the Democrats’ lack of organizational infrastructure in non-urban areas. The GOP has a strong organizational base in these regions, including get-out-the-vote efforts run by the Christian right, the NRA, the Koch organizations, and the Republican Party itself. But the Dems have let their own party organizations wither on the vine, and the unions which were once the Democrats’ stronghold in the critical Rust Belt region have declined dramatically. When it comes to getting voters to the polls in rural areas, the Democrats are now at a tremendous structural disadvantage. To be sure, this a party-wide, rather than a Clinton-only, failure. But Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama bear strong responsibility here. Each them served for two terms but showed little interest in building the party.

6. Finally, perhaps most consequential of all was the campaign’s failure to advance a strong economic message. Team Clinton’s central strategy was not to mobilize the base, but to appeal to crossover voters. That irrepressible Clinton instinct to triangulate reared its ugly head one more time, and the result has been a world-historic catastrophe. Clinton’s ads and messaging stressed the Trump’s déclassé boorishness rather than a populist economic message that would have resonated with working class voters of all races. But the votes of Republican college-educated women they were chasing never materialized, while turnout and Clinton’s vote shares among African-Americans, Latinos, millennials, and working class whites were significantly down from Obama’s in 2012. In stroke of bitter poetic justice, the fruits of Clintons’ own long-ago policies came back to haunt them. NAFTA and other Clinton “free” trade deals devastated the Rust Belt and created the ravaged communities and the despair that compelled many working class voters in those areas pull the lever for the despicable Trump.

A post-election report by the pollster Stanley Greenberg confirms that Clinton’s decision to shun a progressive economic appeal was a fatal error. Greenberg found that “polls showed fairly resilient support with white working class women, until the Clinton campaign stopped talking about economic change.” When the Greenberg team tested a Democratic message attacking Trump for his character vs. a message “demanding big economic changes” and attacking Trump for “supporting for trickle-down and protecting corporate special interests,” they found that the economic message “performed dramatically better,” particularly among key voter groups like millennials, white unmarried women and white working class women.

(N.B.: see https://charlog.blog/2016/11/29/the-frame-is-the-name-of-the-game/)

The election is over, and with it, so it is the Clinton’s quarter-century long domination of Democratic politics. And so lately I’ve been thinking about the Clintons’ historical legacy. It’s not a pretty picture. The neoliberal economic policies of Bill Clinton, which Hillary strongly supported–free trade, deregulation, the obsession with deficit reduction–led to soaring levels of economic inequality, flat or declining wages for most Americans, and record low rates of labor participation. The Clinton crime bill ruined countless lives, especially black lives. Welfare “reform” immiserated poor families and led to a dramatic upswing in rates of extreme poverty. Under the watch of Presidents Clinton and Obama, the Democratic party at the state and local level was allowed to slowly die away. Today, the Democratic party as an institution is probably weaker than it’s ever been at any time in its long history. The Democrats now control none of the three branches of government and only 18 governorships and 13 state legislatures.  In the weeks leading up to the election, many political observers were confidently predicting an historic Trump defeat followed by a meltdown of the GOP. But–plot twist!–it’s the Democratic party that has collapsed into a smoking heap of rubble.

Team Clinton repeatedly reassured us that Hillary was the most highly qualified and most hyper-competent person evah! to run for president. They possessed the unshakeable conviction that they, the best and the brightest, could not possibly fail–so much so that on election day, her aides prematurely uncorked the celebratory champagne. So extreme was their recklessness that they actually wanted to run against Trump. Out of the outrageous hubris, complacency, and incompetence of Hillary’s presidential campaign came the Clintons’ horrifying parting gift to America: President Donald Trump. This is where the Clintons led us. Trump’s election, and the nightmare to which America is awakening, is on them. And it is unforgivable.

I suspect that history is not going to look kindly at Bill and Hillary Clinton. No, not very kindly at all.

Never has independent journalism mattered more. Help hold power to account: Subscribe to In These Times magazine, or make a tax-deductible donation to fund this reporting.

Kathleen Geier is a writer and researcher who has written for The Baffler, The Nation and The Washington Monthly.

See:http://inthesetimes.com/article/19674/hillary-clinton-democratic-party-neoliberal-trump

Pres. Obama: Republicans Are “Insane” For Letting Terrorists Buy Guns

Source: Occupy Democrats

Author: Colin Taylor

Emphasis Mine

President Obama had some harsh words for the Republican refusal to pass a bill that would prevent suspected terrorists on the FBI’s no-fly list from purchasing weapons, a move that was derided by the New York Times as a “cowardly vote.” Indeed, it is a truly bizarre set of events that sees the Republican Party inciting hate and fear against refugees from Syria over national security concerns, but then refuse to deal with the recklessly lax laws that allows terrorists like the San Bernardino shooters to legally purchase assault rifles, armored vests, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Every single Republican except Mark Kirk (R-IL) voted against the bill, just a week after House Republicans passed a bill to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in America.

This weekend, our hearts are with the people of San Bernardino—another American community shattered by unspeakable violence. We salute the first responders—the police, the SWAT teams, the EMTs—who responded so quickly, with such courage, and saved lives. We pray for the injured as they fight to recover from their wounds.

Most of all, we stand with 14 families whose hearts are broken. We’re learning more about their loved ones—the men and women, the beautiful lives, that were lost. They were doing what so many of us do this time of year—enjoying the holidays. Celebrating with each other. Rejoicing in the bonds of friendship and community that bind us together, as Americans. Their deaths are an absolute tragedy, not just for San Bernardino, but for our country.

More broadly, this tragedy reminds us of our obligation to do everything in our power, together, to keep our communities safe. We know that the killers in San Bernardino used military-style assault weapons—weapons of war—to kill as many people as they could. It’s another tragic reminder that here in America it’s way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.

For example, right now, people on the No-Fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane. If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. And so I’m calling on Congress to close this loophole, now. We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but—at a bare minimum—we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans.

Today in San Bernardino, investigators are searching for answers. Across our country, our law enforcement professionals are tireless. They’re working around the clock—as always—to protect our communities. As President, my highest priority is the security and safety of the American people. This is work that should unite us all—as Americans—so that we’re doing everything in our power to defend our country. That’s how we can honor the lives we lost in San Bernardino. That’s how we can send a message to all those who would try to hurt us. We are Americans. We will uphold our values—a free and open society. We are strong. And we are resilient. And we will not be terrorized.

It is a truly insane set of circumstances that sees the Republican lawmakers in Congress so beholden to the financial and political support of the National Rifle Association that they refuse to pass any law that would make it mildly inconvenient for people to purchase guns, let alone any real restrictions that would impede either the mentally ill or suspected terrorists from acquiring the deadly weapons used in mass murders every day this year. The right wing sees threats in the faces of desperate women and children and security in the idea of an assault rifle in every home. It is a disturbed and twisted worldview that is not appropriate for governing a civilized nation.

See: http://www.occupydemocrats.com/pres-obama-republicans-are-insane-for-letting-terrorists-buy-guns/

 

Guns rarely used for self-defense in US

Source: Yahoo News

Emphasis Mine

Washington (AFP) – Contrary to what the gun lobby argues, personal firearms in the United States are rarely used for self-defense, a gun control advocacy group said Wednesday.

In an analysis of FBI and other federal government data, the non-profit Violence Policy Center said Americans are far more likely to hurt themselves or others when handling a lethal weapon.

In 2012, it said, only 259 “justifiable homicides” involving a private citizen were reported, compared to 8,342 criminal homicides committed with a gun.

Put another way, for every justifiable homicide involving a gun, 32 criminal homicides carried out with a firearm occurred. And that does not take into account “tens of thousands” of gun-related suicides and unintentional shootings.

The influential National Rifle Association contends that “guns are necessary for self-defence,” said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center in Washington.

“But this gun industry propaganda has no basis in fact,” he said in a statement.

“In fact, in a nation of more than 300 million firearms, it is striking how rarely guns are used in self-defense.”

On its website, the NRA carries a running list of incidents in which it says firearms were successfully used in self-defense — in one case against a house intruder crawling through a doggie door in Texas, in another case against a “rabid fox” in Massachusetts.

Mental Illness And Guns Have Created A National Epidemic

Source: National Memo

Author: Mary Sanchez

Before day’s end, 86 Americans who were alive yesterday will be dead from gun violence. One of us dies from a bullet every 17 minutes.

That statistic lends a certain futility to the anguished plea of Richard Martinez: “Not one more!” He made this appeal after losing his only son, Chris, in the shooting rampage last weekend in Santa Barbara, California.

On Tuesday, Martinez led more than 20,000 people chanting “Not one more!” at a memorial rally, and the slogan has since become a trending Twitter hashtag.

But in the three days between his son’s death on Friday and the rally, more than 250 Americans died from bullets. Let me tell you about one. Isaac Sims, 26, died during Memorial Day weekend in my hometown, Kansas City.

Police had been called to his family’s home after Sims fired shots, although he injured nobody. After a five-hour standoff with police, Sims emerged from the house brandishing a rifle and was shot down by police.

Sims’ death might appear utterly unrelated to the mass murder in Santa Barbara, but they do possibly share a common thread: mental illness.

I say “possibly” because there’s a lot we don’t know about Sims. What we do know is grimly familiar. He did two tours in Iraq, and in the week prior to being shot by police, he’d sought help from the local VA for what his family says was PTSD. There wasn’t bed space. He was told to wait 30 days. Treatment had been ordered for Sims through a special court set up for veterans; he’d pleaded guilty to domestic assault.

The circumstances of his death raise the question of whether suicide was a motive. An estimated 22 veterans commit suicide daily. Had the despondent Sims, a trained marksman, wanted to harm someone else, he could have done it. But he was the only one who died that Sunday.

What if, when Sims approached the VA for help, a trained counselor had asked him whether he had firearms at home? What if, based on how he answered that question, he could have qualified for immediate admission to the hospital? Would he be alive today?

What if the sheriff’s deputies sent to visit Elliot Rodger, the Santa Barbara gunman, a month before his shooting spree had asked about his access to firearms? They had been sent to check on his well-being, prompted by the concerns of his mother and his therapist over videos he had posted. But in the 10-minute check, they didn’t watch the videos or enter his apartment.

Would it not have made sense for the deputies to determine what kinds of guns and ammunition he had access to?

Yes, it would have. At the very least, it might have been one way to assess his susceptibility to committing deadly violence. We actually don’t have good measures for predicting who will commit mass violence. That’s a subject that needs to be studied more.

And yet it is the kind of reasonable inquiry that the National Rifle Association conflates with privacy invasion, with an infringement on Second Amendment rights. Twenty years ago, the NRA began fighting to keep Congress from funding studies about gun deaths because initial research showed that having a gun in the home is linked to increased risk of homicide. Now, 19,000 Americans kill themselves with a gun every year. That’s an epidemic. But Congress idles, fearful of an NRA backlash.

Richard Martinez gets it. He understands that something can be done, and one of the signature moral failings of our Congress is that it has done nothing. Out of fear.

“Where is the leadership? Where is the friggin’ politicians that will stand up and say, ‘We need to do this. We’re gonna do something,’” Martinez pleaded to CNN.

He’s right. A few days before his son died, members of Congress waffled on moving forward with a bill that would have made it easier for people to be hospitalized for mental health care, sometimes even against their will.

Yes, each story of a gun-related death is complicated, with its own nuances. Solutions are not simple. But the recurring storylines cannot be ignored. In massacre after massacre, a severely troubled assailant is found to have acquired his guns and ammunition legally.

Solving this problem is not simply a matter of enforcing the laws “already on the books” more rigidly. We need to look deeply, scientifically, at our current gun laws and change them. And get ready, because the NRA will fight to the end to stop us.

(Mary Sanchez is an opinion-page columnist for The Kansas City Star. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or via email at msanchez@kcstar.com.)

Emphasis Mine

 

See: http://www.nationalmemo.com/mental-illness-guns-created-national-epidemic/?utm_source=NM+Master+Subscribe+List+May&utm_campaign=3dac0d5799-June_3_20146_3_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5d7b7335d7-3dac0d5799-145597001

America Is Exceptionally Dumb When It Comes To Guns

Source: National Memo

Author: Cynthia Tucker

While Americans typically laud our national “exceptionalism” — a sense that the trajectory of history has bestowed greatness upon the United States — there are a few of our distinctive characteristics that don’t deserve celebration. On the subject of firearms, for example, the United States is exceptionally irrational. No other nation has set guns aside as an object of worship.

We have let a blood-soaked gun lobby dictate our laws and regulations on firearms; we have passed “stand your ground” laws that allow violent and angry men to murder unarmed people; we have given the mentally unstable the ability to buy military-style assault weapons with which they wreak havoc on crowds. Last week, Georgia governor Nathan Deal signed a bill into law that would allow denizens of his state to carry firearms into government buildings, bars and, God help us, churches.

In addition, we have allowed the gun lobby to suppress research into the public health consequences of our firearms-worshipping culture. Indeed, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) — running in a crowded GOP primary for a U.S. Senate seat — has recently reversed himself, going back on an earlier pledge to support such studies. It hardly gets any loonier than that.

In the 1990s, the National Rifle Association successfully stymied public health researchers who wanted to study the causes and consequences of gun violence. According to ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, “funding for firearms injury prevention activities dropped from more than $2.7 million in 1995 to around $100,000 in 2012.”

However, after the Sandy Hook atrocity in December 2012, it appeared that the dead bodies of 20 small children — and six adults — might be enough to finally restore some sanity to the national conversation. President Obama issued a presidential memorandum ordering the CDC to “research the causes and prevention of gun violence.” The National Rifle Association didn’t immediately object, since it recognized the fraught politics of that grief-laden moment.

Some of the NRA’s supporters, too, were muted, seemingly willing to consider modest measures to improve public safety. Kingston was among those willing to support more research on gun violence, saying, “Let’s let the data lead rather than our political opinions.”

 

The gun lobby clearly fears that science will discover that guns are dangerous and that, well, more guns are more dangerous. (To quote that famous philosopher Stephen Colbert, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”)

At a Savannah, Georgia, gathering shortly after Sandy Hook, he said: “You have to be a pretty sick person to squeeze a trigger on a human being, particularly unarmed children at a school. I think if we focus and keep beating up on the weapon as the problem, we are missing the big picture of mental health that we can come together on as Democrats and Republicans. I spoke with the head of the CDC last week. I think we can find some common ground.”

But Kingston now finds himself in a GOP primary in which some of his right-wing opponents have tagged him as a RINO (Republican In Name Only), despite his solidly conservative credentials. That has left him desperate to court the crazies among his constituents, lest the “fire-at-will” crowd doubt his fidelity to the notion that every American should own his own shoulder-fired missile launcher.

So Kingston has dutifully signed up to block Obama’s request for CDC funding for gun violence research, telling ProPublica recently that “the president’s request to fund propaganda for his gun-grabbing initiatives through the CDC will not be included” in the next appropriations bill.

That means that some of the questions we desperately need answered won’t get the inquiry they deserve: Do background checks deter gun violence? How many mass shooters had a detectable mental illness? What is the link between suicide and gun ownership? Even Kingston’s question about a possible link between violent video games and mass shootings won’t be studied.

That’s just nuts, a reminder of our willingness to be exceptionally dumb about some things.

(Cynthia Tucker, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.)

Photo: USDAgov via Flickr

 

Emphasis Mine

See:

The Science of Guns Proves Arming Untrained Citizens Is a Bad Idea

Source: Scientific American

Author: Michael Shermer

(N.B.: Consider the source)

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31,672 people died by guns in 2010 (the most recent year for which U.S. figures are available), a staggering number that is orders of magnitude higher than that of comparable Western democracies. What can we do about it? National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre believes he knows: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” If LaPierre means professionally trained police and military who routinely practice shooting at ranges, this observation would at least be partially true. If he means armed private citizens with little to no training, he could not be more wrong.

Consider a 1998 study in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery that found that “every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” Pistol owners’ fantasy of blowing away home-invading bad guys or street toughs holding up liquor stores is a myth debunked by the data showing that a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense. I harbored this belief for the 20 years I owned a Ruger .357 Magnum with hollow-point bullets designed to shred the body of anyone who dared to break into my home, but when I learned about these statistics, I got rid of the gun.

More insights can be found in a 2013 book from Johns Hopkins University Press entitled Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis, edited by Daniel W. Webster and Jon S. Vernick, both professors in health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In addition to the 31,672 people killed by guns in 2010, another 73,505 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal bullet wounds, and 337,960 nonfatal violent crimes were committed with guns. Of those 31,672 dead, 61 percent were suicides, and the vast majority of the rest were homicides by people who knew one another.

For example, of the 1,082 women and 267 men killed in 2010 by their intimate partners, 54 percent were shot by guns. Over the past quarter of a century, guns were involved in greater number of intimate partner homicides than all other causes combined. When a woman is murdered, it is most likely by her intimate partner with a gun. Regardless of what really caused Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius to shoot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (whether he mistook her for an intruder or he snapped in a lover’s quarrel), her death is only the latest such headline. Recall, too, the fate of Nancy Lanza, killed by her own gun in her own home in Connecticut by her son, Adam Lanza, before he went to Sandy Hook Elementary School to murder some two dozen children and adults. As an alternative to arming women against violent men, legislation can help: data show that in states that prohibit gun ownership by men who have received a domestic violence restraining order, gun-caused homicides of intimate female partners have been reduced by 25 percent.

Another myth to fall to the facts is that gun-control laws disarm good people and leave the crooks with weapons. Not so, say the Johns Hopkins authors: “Strong regulation and oversight of licensed gun dealers—defined as having a state law that required state or local licensing of retail firearm sellers, mandatory record keeping by those sellers, law enforcement access to records for inspection, regular inspections of gun dealers, and mandated reporting of theft of loss of firearms—was associated with 64 percent less diversion of guns to criminals by in-state gun dealers.”

Finally, before we concede civilization and arm everyone to the teeth pace the NRA, consider the primary cause of the centuries-long decline of violence as documented by Steven Pinker in his 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature: the rule of law by states that turned over settlement of disputes to judicial courts and curtailed private self-help justice through legitimate use of force by police and military trained in the proper use of weapons.”

This article was originally published with the title Gun Science.

Emphasis Mine

see: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gun-science-proves-arming-untrained-citizens-bad-idea&WT.mc_id=SA_CAT_BS_20130510

He was able to buy a gun!

The first issue which must be addressed in this tragedy is why Jared Loughner – with a history of mental illness  – was able to walk into a store and – with no background checks – buy a gun.  In addition, he was – thanks to the expiration of the assault weapons law in 2004 – able to buy an extended magazine holding thirty rounds of ammunition, which he emptied on the victims.   In Canada, for example, there is a 28 day waiting period before one can purchase a handgun.  No one needs thirty rounds in any weapon to hunt animals, nor do they need thirty rounds for self protection.

The claim that “people kill, guns don’t”, does not excuse allowing an unstable or unqualified person to buy or own a gun.