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“Guns Are Cheaper At This Tennessee Store If You’re A Christian”: What Better Way To Honor Victims Of A Mass Shooting Than With A Big Gun Sale

Christians who are looking a good deal on a gun need look no further than Frontier Firearms. The Kingston, Tennessee liberty-defending establishment began offering 5 percent discounts last week for anyone who says “I’m a Christian” before purchasing a new handgun.

The rebate was announced shortly after the tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon earlier this month—where the shooter allegedly asked his victims if they were Christians before shooting them.

And what better way to honor victims of a mass shooting than with a a big gun sale?

“If Christians are going to be targeted, we need to protect ourselves,” owner Brant Williams said when the discount began. He, and Frontier Firearms vice president Eric Parish, characterize the mass shooting as religiously motivated, citing reports that shooter Chris Harper Mercer asked students about their faith before killing them.

“I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, or Republican, an Independent, the Green Party, I don’t care what party you’re with. But to say that that shooting right there had nothing to do with religion is ludicrous,” Parish told the Daily Beast. “What if someone had done the same thing and they only shot them if they were Muslim? Would the President react differently?”

Parish alleges the sale, now extended until the end of the month (so hurry!), is no longer reserved for just Christians—or people who say they are Christians— but any and all people willing to declare a religion prior to buying a new weapon.

If a customer said they were Muslim, would there still be a discount. “Of course,” according to Parish, so long as they didn’t also say they were an extremist planning a mass shooting. Obviously.

“Religion was a part of this country’s founding, you know religious freedom. And that’s what it’s about,” Parish said. “Being able to say ‘hey I’m this,’ without getting shot in the back of the head because of it.”

Frontier Firearms has gotten their fair share of colorful commentary from customers who do not appreciate the creative sale. “FUCK YOU, you fucking fear mongering opportunistic scum wads!” wrote one thoughtful potential customer. “You fucking gun idiots make me sick. BTW the Oregon shooter was a Conservative Republican… he was one of you. BTW the bearded fool is he the owner? He looks like a JEWBAG.”

Not exactly the armed, kumbaya  Parish was hoping for.

Despite Parish alleging that the store is welcoming any and all faiths, Frontier Firearms’ owner is promoting his own Christian Carry Pins which as the name suggests read: “I am Christian and I carry.” They are $5.00 each which is way less than the 5 percent customers would save on the new guns they buy. Semi-automatic pistols are available at Fronteir Firearms for as low as $408.

“This is America,” Parish said. “And I’m still pretty sure you can pick what your religion is without being persecuted for it.”

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, October 13, 2015

October 19, 2015 Posted by | Christians, Gun Control, Mass Shootings | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“This Callous Arrogance Is Nothing Short Of Staggering”: Carson Eyes Guns In Kindergarten, Boasts Of His Imagined Bravery

In the wake of the latest mass-shooting, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson appears to have been thinking a bit about gun violence, and the often ridiculous candidate has drawn some curious conclusions.

For example, Carson said yesterday that if he had a child in kindergarten, he’d feel better knowing there were loaded firearms in the classroom. “If the teacher was trained in the use of that weapon and had access to it, I would be much more comfortable if they had one than if they didn’t,” the GOP candidate said.

Last night on Facebook, Carson added, “As a Doctor, I spent many a night pulling bullets out of bodies. There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking – but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away. Serious people seek serious solutions.”

To date, the retired right-wing neurosurgeon has offered no solutions, serious or otherwise, to combating gun violence. On the contrary, he’s begun rejecting solutions he used to support.

But Politico flagged Carson’s comments on Fox News this morning, where the GOP candidate was in rare form, first complaining about President Obama traveling to Oregon to meet with grieving families and a recovering community, then indirectly criticizing the victims of the mass murder.

Asked what he would have done had a gunman walked up to him and asked him to state his religion, Carson said he would have been more aggressive.

 “Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me, I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all,’” he told the hosts.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

It’s genuinely shameful how common comments like these are. After the massacre in Charleston, S.C., a Republican state senator complained he wasn’t satisfied with how the victims reacted to the gunman. After the massacre in Aurora, Colo., a Republican U.S. congressman complained that the victims should have been armed so they could shoot back. After the massacre at Virginia Tech, National Review published a piece admonishing the victims. “Where was the spirit of self-defense here?” John Derbyshire wrote, adding, “[W]hy didn’t anyone rush the guy?

And now we see Ben Carson thinking along the same lines. He didn’t directly chastise the victims in Roseburg, Ore., but by explaining how brave he’d be towards the gunman, Carson was effectively complaining that the real-world victims should have displayed the kind of imaginary courage the Republican candidate described.

For a man seeking national office, this isn’t acceptable rhetoric.

It’s so easy – too easy, in fact – for anyone to imagine what they might do when faced with a life-threatening crisis, but until someone is confronted with such a nightmare, he or she should keep their bravado fantasies to themselves.

A madman entered a community-college classroom and began shooting people. Ben Carson, from the comfort of a television studio, wants to tell us about how heroic he’d be under the same circumstances.

But here’s the unfortunate truth that the unhinged candidate fails to understand: he has absolutely no idea how he’d respond to such a crisis. Almost none of us do.

Carson probably didn’t intend to insult the victims, indirectly blaming them for failing to meet his standards for bravery. But imagine being the parent of one of the young people killed in Oregon last week, and seeing a presidential candidate talking about how he graceful he’d be under fire – unlike those who actually faced the nightmare and were shot.

Carson’s callous arrogance is nothing short of staggering.

Who knows, maybe Carson’s rhetoric will resonate with Republican primary voters, who’ll cheer his latest comments. But to my mind, this represents a new low for the GOP candidate, one devoid of compassion and basic human decency.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 6, 2015

October 7, 2015 Posted by | Ben Carson, GOP Voters, Gun Violence, Mass Shootings | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“This Is Why The Gun Nuts Win”: An Oregon Sheriff’s Nutty Conspiracy Theories Explains The GOP’s Impotence

Mass shootings and gun-crazed conspiracy theorists: Our country is swimming in an abundance of both, so it was just a matter of time before the two collided, not on the shooter side of the equation but on the law enforcement side.

John Hanlin, the sheriff of Douglas County who has been in charge of the police response and investigation of Thursday’s shooting at Umpqua Community College, has fallen under media scrutiny because he’s left an eyebrow-raising trail of gun nuttery that shades into conspiracy theorist territory. His past behavior calls into question not just his own office’s ability to handle this case responsibly, but tells us a lot about why it’s so hard to even begin to have a reasonable conversation about guns in this country, much less move towards sensible policies to reduce gun violence.

Conservatives aren’t lying when they say they need guns to feel protected. But it’s increasingly clear that they aren’t seeking protection from crime or even from the mythical jackbooted government goons come to kick in your door. No, the real threat is existential. Guns are a totemic shield against the fear that they are losing dominance as the country becomes more liberal and diverse and, well, modern. For liberals, the discussion about guns is about public health and crime prevention. For conservatives, hanging onto guns is a way to symbolically hang onto the cultural dominance they feel slipping from their hands.

This comes across clearly in the letter that Hanlin wrote to Vice President Joe Biden in 2013 where he asked that the administration “NOT tamper with or attempt to amend the 2nd Amendment” and where he threatened ominously, “any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the president offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Douglas County Oregon.”

Despite all the attempts at formal, legalistic language, Hanlin is clearly writing more in a mythical vein than he is actually addressing any real world policy concerns. His absolutist language about the 2nd amendment ignores the fact that there are already federal and state regulations on guns and who can buy them. More disturbingly, his posturing about open rebellion against the federal government evokes the conspiracy theory-mindset of the hard right, the kind of paranoid hysteria about federal power that led to so much violence during the Clinton administration, from shootouts at Waco and Ruby Ridge to the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City. This is not a letter from someone soberly assessing the pros and cons of proposed regulations on firearms. This is the letter of someone wrapped up in childish fantasies of revolution.

In case there is any doubt about this, Hanlin also, at the same time, used his personal Facebook page to promote the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shooting was a “false flag” operation meant to give cover to the federal government gun grab that right wingers have been warning us for decades is coming any day now.

It’s not just Hanlin. Guns are generally talked about in right-wing circles in these mythical terms. And because a gun isn’t just a gun to conservatives, but a symbol of all they hold dear, having a reasonable conversation about gun control has become impossible. To liberals, it’s about keeping guns out of the hands of people who misuse them. But to conservatives, it’s clearly about stripping away their very sense of identity, which is naturally going to be a touchier subject.

That’s why Republican politicians would rather say the dumbest, most offensive things possible after a mass shooting than even entertain the possibility that guns might need a teeny bit more regulation. Jeb Bush is getting a lot of grief for saying, in the wake of this latest shooting, that “stuff happens, there’s always a crisis,” but there’s not much else he could say without running the risk of losing the primary. To dare suggest that guns, which have become this precious symbol of conservative identity, could be anything but pure and good and wholesome is just bad politics for a Republican. You might as well wipe your shoes with the American flag in their eyes.

This is also why Mike Huckabee went with the baldly ridiculous route of saying, ““Seven hundred people a year get killed because somebody beats them up with their fist,” as if that’s comparable to the 11,000 people who are murdered by guns a year. The point of this rhetoric is to distract from the fact that guns were invented for the sole purpose of killing. Instead, Huckabee is invoking the framework where  the gun is actually a symbol of all that conservatives hold dear instead of what they really are, which is weapons that have no use outside of being weapons.

Squaring the emotional attachment to firearms with the real world fact that guns are weapons that kill innocent people causes too much cognitive dissonance, and so the pleasant fantasy is chosen over the hard reality. For gun victims, however, there is no fantasy, but just the gruesome fact that guns are weapons that can deal death with a minimum amount of effort from aspiring murderers.

 

By: Amanda Marcotte, Salon, October 5, 2015

October 7, 2015 Posted by | Gun Control, Gun Violence, Law Enforcement | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Mass Shooting Talking Points”: Conservative Media Use Oregon Community College Shooting To Revive “Gun-Free Zone” Canard

In the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, conservative commentators instantly referred to the school as a “gun-free zone,” falling back on conservative media’s go-to mass shooting talking point.

At least 10 people were reported killed, and many others injured October 1 during an Oregon community college mass shooting, and as facts concerning the shooting remained scarce, media figures immediately made references to the campus as a “gun-free zone” on CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, the Drudge Report, and other conservative websites.

But these references of “gun-free zones” represent a red herring because they rely on the assumption that more people carrying guns would stop mass shootings, when in reality there is no evidence to support such claims.

The overwhelming majority of mass shootings actually occur where guns are allowed to be carried. And according to an analysis of 62 public mass shootings over a 30 year period conducted by Mother Jones, not a single shooting was stopped by a civilian carrying a firearm. Mother Jones also found that gunmen do not choose to target locations because guns are not allowed, but rather other motives typically exist for choice of location, such as a workplace grievance.

As Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes explained in a commentary for The Trace, the idea that “gun-free zones” attract mass shooters is based on the faulty assumption that the shooters are “rational actors”:

Perhaps the most glaring flaw in the argument against gun-free zones, in the context of mass shootings, is its underlying assumption that shooters are rational actors. Lott himself admits that about half of criminals who commit mass shootings have received a “formal diagnosis of mental illness,” yet his model requires them to act precisely as we know they don’t: as hyperrational, calculating machines, intentionally seeking out gun-free environments for the sole purpose of maximizing causalities.

In reality, many shooters target a location based on an emotional grievance or an attachment to a particular person or place. An FBI study of 160 active shootings (defined as a shooter actively attempting to kill people in a populated area, regardless of the amount of fatalities) between 2000 and 2013 — including the high-profile mass shootings in Tucson and Aurora — shows that of the shootings that occurred in commercial or educational areas, the shooter had some relationship with the area in 63 percent of the cases.

 

By: Timothy Johnson, Media Matters for America, October 1, 2015

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Conservative Media, Gun Free Zones, Gun Violence, Mass Shootings | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“The Difference Between Three Dead And Four Dead”: Here’s Why No One Can Agree On The Number Of Mass Shootings

Depending on where you get your news, Thursday’s shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, was the 294th mass shooting, the 295th, or the 45th school shooting of the year. As Dave Cullen wrote in New Republic, news outlets will get the facts wrong in the immediate aftermath of an attack, but the conflicting news reports point to a more serious problem in America’s discussion of its gun problem. Gun control advocates rely heavily on the shocking numbers to make their case, but statistical discrepancies allow opponents to easily undermine the arguments. There’s no case to be made when everyone gets to view the evidence on their own terms.

The confusion stems from varying governmental categorizations. There are mass murders and mass killings, active shooters and serial killers, mass shootings and mass public shootings. For instance, Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced website that many news outlets use, defines a mass shooting as one with “four or more people shot in one event.” In other words, they include incidents in which four people are wounded, but no one is killed. Accordingly, the database considers the Umpqua shooting the 295th mass shooting of the year.

The FBI, by contrast, doesn’t have an official definition of “mass shooting” on the books, but in 2014 defined a “mass killing” as one with three or more fatalities in a report about active shooters—“an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area,” like at Columbine or Newtown. Using the three-fatality threshold, the Oregon shooting is the 54th mass killing of 2015. But in July, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) defined a mass shooting as a homicide in which four or more people are killed with firearms—a definition based on the FBI’s definition of a “mass murder” as opposed to a “mass shooting.” Under that definition, the Oregon shooting is the 32nd such incident in 2015.

The conflation of “active shooter,” “mass murder,” and “mass shooting” has allowed the gun lobby to discredit statistics that point to the need for further control. The 2014 FBI report showed that active shooting incidents were increasing, but the NRA and other groups complained that this did not necessarily mean mass shootings were also increasing. Opponents of gun control can claim, like Jeb Bush did on Friday, that “stuff happens,” implying such incidents are just a fact of modern life.

Similarly, Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox has said that the inclusion of statistics from the FBI’s “active shooter” report gives the false impression that incidents are rising when they are not. “A majority of active shooters are not mass shooters,” Fox told Time. “A majority kill fewer than three.” On Friday, Fox wrote in USA Today that “media folks reminded us of the unforgettable, high profile shootings that have taken place over the past few months, hinting of a problem that has grown out of control… as if there is a pattern emerging.”

Fox is correct in pointing out that “active shooters” and “mass shootings” are not the same thing. But other statistics, including a Harvard analysis, show that mass shootings—in which four people were killed—have increased in frequency. The July CRS report also indicated that mass shooting incidents are also becoming deadlier.

Of course, no matter which definition—and which statistics—you choose, America’s gun violence is appalling. The difference between three dead and four dead might be statistically significant, but is morally negligible. Just hours after the Oregon shooting, a man shot dead his wife and two others, and injured a fourth person, in North Florida. On Friday, five people were shot outside a Baltimore shopping center. The Mass Shooting Tracker total is now at 297.

 

By: Gwyneth Kelly, Reporter-Researcher at the New Republic, October 2, 2015

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Gun Lobby, Gun Violence, Mass Shootings | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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