Two weeks in row Cathy decides to highlight abuse claims (MIT and Depp) and cherry picks information to support her viewpoint, which is her prerogative with the piece. This breakdown https://www.readthepresentage.com/p/johnny-depp-amber-heard?s=r lays out what the trial was about. This is about what happen between Depp and Heard. As for the MIT story, I know you guys really like Bari Weiss but she continues to do PR journalism for her pet causes. At some point I feel like you are going to say 'what happened to Bari Weiss' when it was clear all along. Just thought some other perspective would be helpful

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Joan, I am absolutely open to the possibility that I am wrong, but Michael Hobbes is an extremely bad-faith player who is simply not a credible commentator. I previously broke down one of his "debunkings" for Arc Digital. https://www.arcdigital.media/p/nothing-to-see-here?s=r

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Thanks, I read your piece and appreciate knowing his background. I do think some of his points have merit and they have been stated by other sources.

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I agree with all of that. I just don't think supporters of those measures have articulated them clearly. There's a lot of right wing media noise to cut through. I have talked to more than one gun maniac who really does believe that the Democratic party's goal is to confiscate all guns.

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Something worth noting when discussing the term 'well-regulated'

"One of the biggest challenges in interpreting a centuries-old document is that the meanings

of words change or diverge.

"Well-regulated in the 18th century tended to be something like well-organized, well-armed,

well-disciplined," says Rakove. "It didn't mean 'regulation' in the sense that we use it now, in

that it's not about the regulatory state. There's been nuance there. It means the militia was

in an effective shape to fight."

In other words, it didn't mean the state was controlling the militia in a certain way, but rather

that the militia was prepared to do its duty."


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Please do not ever refer to Jordan Peterson, ugh. He has zero credibility.

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After reading through many of the comments today, some things are clear:

1) There is nothing that says that weapons cannot be regulated and past legal practice and precedent have demonstrated repeatedly that even enumerated rights have limits and are subject to legal limitation. Indeed, for the last several decades, you have needed a special license to purchase and own automatic weapons;

2) There is no real need (versus want) for many of these weapons and any of a number of less powerful or lower capacity weapons would serve just as well for home or personal defense;

3) Most of the "arguments" against gun control are weak at best or are logical fallacies.

As Travis points out, it is entirely possible to confiscate these weapons in a technical sense--the armed forces have worked it out and practiced it in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. As he has also pointed out, the "patriot's" weapon of choice is also probably NOT the best weapon for the job they think they might have.

What is lacking, of course, is the political will to do these things. That is what is usually lacking in a lot of things in this country--even things that a majority of the population would support.

So the REAL question is: How do you build the political will for it? How many people have to die before that happens--IF it ever happens? We watched a million Americans die while people were unwilling to wear a cloth across their face or observe social distancing--usually not because of NEEDS but because of WANTS.

We seriously need to reconsider the balance between the individual and the communal in this country because it is hugely out of whack.

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The acceptance of so much death - even in your top paragraphs - is further evidence that all of America has gone nuts. The capitulation - compromising away our children and loved ones lives bc "we can't stop it" - is further evidence of collective insanity. Every other country - has figured it out. That a majority has surrendered to vocal/ loud minority (less than 6% own more than half of all guns in America) - is half the problem.

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May 30, 2022·edited May 30, 2022

This article shows the challenge of our discourse, that I often do see on the Bulwark – former Republicans can't take the Republican position because it's now crazy, but they can't quite let go of Republican talking points or point-of-view. Both sides-ism. This article says the Republican position of "zero restrictions on guns, the more guns the better" is too extreme, but then also the "Zero guns like Democrats are proposing won't work either." (I don't see serious Democrats proposing this beyond tweets.) So it's a "discourse problem" and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

C'mon. There's a MASSIVE room between total abolition and heavily arming every American from birth (even in the womb?). No, restrictions or punishments will NOT prevent all massacres. Would it be OK if it prevented 20%? 50%? 90%?

The focus on these mass shootings distracts from the real problem this country has with nearly all guns and gun culture, whish is unique to the US:

+ Police now see every interaction with anyone as a potential for being shot. So they over police and are too quick to kill.

+ Guns kill hundreds a year from misuse in the home – like toddlers shooting toddlers because parents left a gun out.

+ Normal non gun-fetishists live in fear of shootings every day (like cops). This stress likely has a toll, as there's a proven toll from the stress of being poor.

+ In a poll last week 75% of Black folks said they are afraid of being gunned down. This is not healthy.

+ Consider how much we spend on hardening schools, sports stadiums, airports, etc. Paying useless school resource officers.

+ When we constantly hold up the 2nd amendment and its "right to bear arms" and justify it with messages around "protecting against the tyranny of government," where does this lead with 500 million (or whatever) guns and assault rifles? It leads to January 6th and the Republican dude asking Charlie Kirk "When do we get to use the guns?" If Trump loses the 2024 election, do we really think noone will use the guns?

Finally, Young says this isn't about a broken culture. Sorry, I'm on the JVL dark side on this one. Why do so many Americans feel they need guns to protect themselves? What are they afraid of? What message does it send, or values does it reflect, when politicians make getting a military killing machines easier than getting a beer? Or Sudafed? Why do so many Americans fetishize and collect guns, a machine with the sole purpose of killing other humans? Is this healthy? Is this normal in the UK? Australia? Japan? Gun sales skyrocketed when a black man was elected president. What in the psyche of gun buyers drove this surge?

The culture is broken when columnists write that "the gun issue is just too hard to do anything about." They might not see the little kids as sacrifices...but they do need to recognize that the kids' deaths – and the shootings of more than 100,000 people a year and fear in the general populace – are collateral damage to the gun fetishists, a lack of political courage and our flawed constitution. Just once I'd like to see someone finally be honest and just say "Look, kids and people in grocery stores and concerts and nighclubs and churches and synagogues are gonna die. Accept it. It's America. This is who we are."

I see below how Cathy says basically, "I do support some restrictions, but they likely won't do any good." Imagine what message this sends to people. We see kids and worshippers and shoppers getting slaughtered but it's just not worth trying to stop it. What message does that send to kids? Survivors? This country is altogether too comfortable throwing humans away. And then rationalizing that value away.

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I have two suggestions for mass shooters:

- A new service that would be something of a cross between the national guard and Air Marshals. The idea would be for ordinary citizens to join this service and get trained up on firearms with the understanding that they would go about their daily lives being armed. If say 1% of Americans were in this service, then on the average at your typical mass shooting at Wal Mart, Kroger, or a school, there would be a high chance of a trained, armed person being present and ready to dispatch the shooter. Additionally perhaps we could study other methods that Israel uses to detect and dispatch Palestinian threats.

- Second, a suggestion is to transform public schools to roughly mirror small religious schools in which the parents are intimately involved in the running of the school and their child's education. The schools know the parents and the children intimately and involve the parents quickly if any problems arise.

The mission of schools would have to change to a family and values orientation in addition to academics. Schools could introduce tuition-supported classrooms to enable parents to opt for classrooms with smarter teachers and better supports overall. And of course states could raise sales taxes in order to fund additional social supports thus allowing schools to dramatically increase intimate involvement with parents and pursuing of mental health services as needed.

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Re: Massie Family Christmas card photo

This phrase came to mind: “The family that slays together, stays together.”

By no means do I wish to suggest that the Massie family would ever use their guns for any illegitimate purpose. I’m sure they wouldn’t.

But the photo is meant to suggest that any kind of gun control legislation is unnecessary, which is far from true…..

What a ridiculous photo!

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Personally, I think celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace with a family! photo of weapons that can kill dozens in mere seconds is blasphemy. Another point is that several have mentioned that only 9% of the population sees a need to have military grade weapons. One estimate is 20 million AR-15s in private hands. One of the questions is why do they have a need for weapons that will kill scores of people in seconds. Has absolutely nothing to do with sports or hunting.

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I read this newsletter twice - trying to find sense. Thought maybe it was there somewhere and I missed it in my first reading. Nope. Cathy Young's takes are always well thought out and nuanced - but I think this one is just...beyond-the-pale terrible. (Trying to use civilized words here).

I wanted to write a long rebuttal - and then found one in the words of Fareed Zakaria - who said everything exactly as I wanted to. So - I reproduce it here.

""For me, the most gut-wrenching aspect of this shooting, as well as all the others, is that what needs to be done is so blindingly obvious. Let me make some points about it that I have made 10 years ago after the Newtown massacre.

The most important fact to know about America's gun violence is that it is off the charts compared to any other advanced country in the world. According to estimates by the University of Washington, we have eight times the rate of gun homicides compared to Canada, 50 times compared to Germany, 100 times compared to the U.K., and a staggering 250 times compared to Japan.

So when people talk about the mental state of the shooter, just keep asking yourself about those numbers. Do we have 50 times the rate of mentally disturbed people as Germany? Or is our level of violence in movies and video games 250 times more than that watched and consumed... in Japan? Obviously not.

So what explains our exceptional rates of gun killings? Well, there is one area where we are exceptional, the number of guns that are easily available in America.

With 4 percent of the world's population, we have almost 50 percent of the world's guns. There are more guns in people's possession than there are people in the United States.

It's easy for an 18-year-old in Texas to buy AR-15 style rifles whose designed purpose is to kill human beings with deadly speed.

Gun control works. Japan, Germany, Britain, and Canada all very different countries and cultures, but they have one common thread, strong gun control laws, and that has one common result, low gun violence.

Ten years ago... ...I mentioned an incident that took place in China that's also worth repeating.

Just hours before the Newtown shootings, a mentally disturbed man entered a school in China's Henan province. He tried to kill as many children as he could. He injured many, but he did not kill a single one because the only weapon he could get his hands on was a knife.

I will keep saying this. We know what would work. There has rarely been so much evidence pointing in one direction if all of us were just willing to open our eyes."

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Cathy, I feel that I owe you this. You put your hand in a hornets nest. You meant to be helpful, but you ran into a lot of folks that are done with the killing of innocents. Don’t be discouraged. Let’s stop treating these murders like “oh well, what can you do?” We can do a lot if we band together. Take care.

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May 30, 2022·edited May 30, 2022

The choice comes down to whether we're going to live with more school shootings or more Wacos and Ruby Ridges. If you *don't* make assault weapons illegal, we get more school shootings. If you *do* make assault weapons illegal, you risk more Wacos. The difference between a Sandy Hook and a Waco is that the Branch Davidians had a choice. The school kids do not. I'm in favor of more Wacos over school shootings personally, but that's just me. The 2A community has been indifferent enough to the deaths of children where I'm just fine seeing more Randy Weavers or David Koreshs getting their families either arrested or blasted by feds. They don't give a fuck what happens to our families, why should we care about theirs? Ban assault weapons and let the state police deal with these assholes when they decide not to turn them in for a tax break. Serve warrants on their asses.

These "law and order" gun-lovers set the precedent with the war on drugs, the war on immigration, and the war on abortion. Lets see how they like dealing with the heavy hand of the law when the law goes against "their way of life." If they can use the state to confiscate *my* drugs and put me in prison, then we can use the state to take *their* guns and put them in prison. They *still* have a war on drugs going folks. They are right now in this moment throwing people in jail for drugs, but we can't do the same for assault weapons that kill children not old enough to even try said drugs??? Fuck em people. They don't care when cops shoot up a citizen on a drug warrant, why should we care if the same cops shoot up a citizen on an assault weapons warrant? Hey, maybe there will be some upshots. Maybe once its *their* people getting shot on house raids for guns we'll finally see some conservative demand for police reform! It's a win-win! You get rid of the assault weapons *and* you finally get conservative votes on police reform once there are enough Ashlii Babbitts and LaVoy Finicums.

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Honestly, if quoting Jordan Peterson is the best you can do, I wonder if it means something else. There are dozens of prominent people who have said the exact thing that Peterson has in this example. Peterson has been so thoroughly disgraced that no amount of intentionally quoting him is going to resurrect his rightfully tarnished reputation.

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I have avoided the D/H mess because it held no interest for me and there seemed to be significant culpability on both sides. However it deserved treatment by a serious person with no axe to grind. Interestingly, Ms. Young has established mutual culpability.

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"For instance: the non-firearm homicide rate in the United States in 2020 (1.96 per 100,000 people) was nearly twice as high as the total homicide rate in the United Kingdom (about 1 per 100,000). In other words, if we eliminated all the firearm homicides and none of their perpetrators used substitute methods, we’d still have almost twice as many murders as England, relative to the population. "

And yet we would likely have substantially fewer murders and gun suicides. This is a red herring. The idea is not to eliminate murders, suicides, or mass shootings (which, given human nature, is an impossibility) but to reduce them. The idea isn't to beat some other country's numbers as though we were in some bizarre and macabre contest, it is (again) to improve the situation we find ourselves in.

We have far too many guns.

We have a culture that fetishizes guns and violence and that plays a larger role in the mythology and narrative of who we (we being America) are.

We have a lot of angry people and a lot of mentally unstable/ill people who don't get diagnosis or treatment or counseling (mostly because they cannot afford it and there is a societal onus on it).

It is a bad mix.

It doesn't help that one of our major political parties is all in on grievance, anger, payback, and guns--that it talks in terms of existential threats that can only be addressed by 2nd Amendment means. Which indicates that they don't understand the 2nd Amendment.

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As of 2022 there are 120 guns for every 100 Americans.

62% of American adults (18+) own NO guns at all.

This brings me to what is the central conflict here and is never discussed. The 62% of Americans who are not buying guns is an irresistible market for gun manufacturers, distributors and marketers.

In the end this is the where the fight is really happening.

The market for guns has been saturated and any one who wants a gun (or nine) has one. Political campaigns that promote the idea that "they are comin' to git yur guns!" increase gun sales as well as motivate voters (even voters who don't own guns but want that option in the future.)

Pew research indicates that while the number of gun non-owners is high about a third of them could be "motivated" to buy. This ties into the perennial right wing "fear" campaign about crime even though crime rates have declined. Again expanding market share is the real driver.

So Republicans have taken the side of manufacturers and Democrats (as always) see regulations on the market as the path forward.

There is no threat to the 2nd Amendment. There is no realistic pathway to gun confiscation. So the question really comes down to how easy or difficult do we want gun ownership to be. Who do we want to bear the burden of these regulations? Gun owners? Manufacturers? Distributors?

We already know that every other constitutional right can be regulated and judicial exceptions to those rights are created all the time. The 2nd Amendment alone stands absolute.

At this point the cow has already left the barn. The sheer number and scale of guns already in circulation means that more regulations at best will simply affect those consumers entering the gun market and at worst just further expand the black market demand in guns which is already a significant problem and the gun manufacturers will still always get their cut of the profits.

And we can (and should) do background checks till the cows come home but they will do very little to keep guns out of the dangerously mentally ill without a complete psychiatric evaluation of each and every prospective gun owner.

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