In the recent past, politicians signaled their support for gun rights by having themselves photographed out hunting pheasants or geese, dog close at hand. Now it's military style firearms, in the cultural context of school shootings and rightwing groups showing up armed at Statehouses across the country. The old imagery was compatible with the democratic ideal that guns have a legitimate purpose, but they have no place in creating an atmosphere of political intimidation. The new imagery is very much about attacking the ideal of free debate absent any hint of physical threat.

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The images that seem to trigger leftists are all of those that represent a rejection of leftist ideology... which keeps growing in its extremes.

The images that seem to trigger rightists are all those that represent a rejection of American founding principles enshrined within the constitution and original founding documents.

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Alright, Charlie, I made a few observations about your "Dispatches" yesterday, one of which involved the pic of Thomas Massie and his All-American family which you re-upped today. As usual, my filter was turned on. My language was PG. I was on my best behavior. That was yesterday. This is today. Consider my trigger pulled, and feel free to delete this post when I'm done. Probably wouldn't blame you.

Thomas Massie indeed is not a serious man, any more than those in the pics following his festive holiday image are serious men (or women). But he is also not a "clown". What he is, is an Asshole of the Absolute First F**king Order, the kind that stinks up our entire nation with its odor of cravenness. And you can go ahead and hang that description on Cruz, et. al., right on down the line to the common, every day, non-officeholding lay-practitioners of this reprehensible bullshit.

Considering that the son of a bitch knows exactly what he is and does not care in the least (re: his 2017 quote), I should probably amend that description to: Asshole of the Absolute First F**king Order with Oakleaf Clusters, or something. Maybe even with a cherry on top, since he holds a seat in Congress from my once beloved home state (see yesterday's comment). Hold the cherry, but ditto for the rest shown today and all their ilk, wherever they may hail from.

And the fact that this cretin doesn't live under a rock, though that is a much more suitable habitat for him than the one he currently enjoys, and was no doubt aware of the four dead students waiting to be laid to rest just a stone's throw from my neck of the woods, along with the injured survivors and ruined lives attendant to the actions of a f**ked up juvenile cretin with a pair of full grown f**ked up cretin parents, and the stench only becomes orders-of-magnitude more foul.

Full disclosure: I own firearms. A fair number of them. Each purchased, beginning with my 1st Sweet 16 more than 50 years ago, for a specific purpose. Not an AR, AK or A-anything in the lot, which says something pretty clear about what my purposes are. Not even a semi-automatic of any kind, save one small and easily concealed & carried .380 pistol. I've long held a CPL, and I do use it for its intended purpose: self-defense while away from my home. But if you met me on the street, you'd never know I was "carrying", since even though open carry is, unfortunately, legal where I live, I feel no need to "flaunt", or to intimidate. (And open carry of a sidearm by one merely wishing to protect himself from the worst of possibilities is a foolish tactical move anyway.)

I wish no one any harm in this world. Truly. But I'd like to see what this tough-guy wannabe's reaction would be if he were to hear (and feel) the angry buzz of a bullet passing him by only a few inches away. (Though not fired at me, this is something I've experienced twice.) Even more odor from soiled shorts, perhaps? But then again maybe not. After all, there's a certain Republican Congressman from La. who has personally experienced exactly what I will mention below, though not to that ultimate extreme, and as far as I know he hasn't been inclined to speak out and call BS on anything like this stinking BS. Some of these bastards really are tough, I guess.

But I'd be more interested in seeing his - and every iron packin' member of his oh-so-Norman Rockwell family - reaction to a different scenario, one much safer than the example above, since the bullet (or bullets) would have already been spent.

Stand them all around a table in a morgue and let them see up close for themselves the actual reality of what happens when a high velocity, small diameter led and copper projectile is interrupted in its travels by human flesh and bone. Especially if it's interrupted by a child's flesh and bones. The only thing that could be more exemplary of this particular law of physics is if they could observe the result immediately after it occurred, as large quantities of blood and rent flesh have a unique odor all of their own. (Used to be an EMT-paramedic in another life long ago. But if you've never experienced this - and I hope you never do - you'll never completely forget it.)

As I said, it might not make a difference. Maybe he and all of his All-American little clan really are tough as nails, right down to the littlest one seated on the couch between good ol' Mom and Dad. I'd just like to see that for myself, is all. I'd like to be standing there with them, just so I could ask them "Are you sure you're all ok with this? Because this is what, in the end, all your g'damned assholery is promoting. So, just take a real good look. Just so you're sure."

Yeah, ok, this one triggered me. Probably in no small part because of those recently murdered young folks. So, I suppose that POS grinning with his manhood in his hands can take some satisfaction in that. But I hate to tell him there's a difference between being triggered occasionally and being owned. And he and his kind don't own me and never will. Not because I'm not a Lib (I'm not), but because I'm not an asshole. I'm a pretty normal guy with a normal sense of right and wrong. And this kind of thing is just wrong. Beyond wrong. Period. And there's nothing political about that.

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I think the lefty brain is incapable of understanding the bigger picture of anything causing them an emotional trigger... and they have such a large inventory of things that cause them an emotional trigger that they are largely incapable of understanding the bigger picture of almost everything.

The gun display symbolizes a call for individual freedom and independence... that's all. This is the primary principle of classical liberalism that our so called liberal progressives (wrong label) have clearly fallen out of favor with and instead opine for the primacy of the collective. Also note that nobody in the photos are wearing CCP virus fear masks. That is yet another of the same display symbolizing a call for individual freedom and independence. And also triggering to the political left brain.

Another possible triggering photo would be the family all sitting in a big Ford F350. I know most of my left of reason friends will have to Google to see what this vehicle looks like. So let me help save the time... https://www.motortrend.com/uploads/sites/5/2020/12/2021-Ford-F-350-Super-Duty-Limited-6-7L-Powerstroke-4x4-42.jpg

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We own all of this because we never reinstated the 2004 AWB, and since then assault weapon ownership has skyrocketed alongside political polarization. Since like 2015, regular dude-bros can buy an "AR pistol" that can bring AR/AK barrel lengths down to as low as 5.5" (see Maxim PDX/Springfield Saint PDW) for concealability without the need for a background check due to leniencies in the law. We're talking backpack-sized "pistols" that fire rifle rounds like 7.62x39mm and .300 BLK (I happen to own a few myself). The rounds these "pistols" carry will go right through the standard level iiia+ NIJ vests that cops wear, and now more and more line officers have to equip themselves with ballistic plates that can stop rifle rounds while keeping a "patrol carbine" in the car due to the new realities of the threat environment they face. The shootings in Boulder, Dallas, and even the old North Hollywood shooting from the 90's are all good examples of what officers on patrol are likely to come up against in the future as deadly firepower and political violence both proliferate. The sad part is, at this point I don't see how you put the genie back in the bottle with new gun laws without setting off another 100 or so Waco/Ruby Ridge-style incidents, especially after we've seen how amped up the Bundy Ranch crowd gets over things as light as cattle seizures, wildlife refuges, public looting, and vote certifications. Buckle up folks, it's going to be a wild decade!

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Gun fetishes: The one form of kink-shaming the left *does* want to demonize lol

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Those were some ugly guns, btw.

Eh, at least they're not hiding their brutality.

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Those guns are dick pics, Charlie! And as a liberal and a comedian, I want to apologize for the snowflakes at MSNBC for not taking the joke. It wasn’t even a joke tho! It’s an apt comparison!

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I was talking to my son this weekend and he was 7 years old when 9/11 happened. He remembers being scared but hopeful because the USA was united in our patriotism. He told me as a 27 year old now, he doesn't want to have children because why would he bring a child into this world, especially in this country where he/she could be killed in school, or be persecuted for being gay, or be more likely to be born only a little above poverty. He isn't hopeful now and that saddens me. He votes but he has NEVER voted for a single republican or democrat. He doesn't like either party and is an independent. It is sad that he doesn't feel like there is much to be hopeful about. What a crappy legacy he is getting from mine and my parents generation.

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We are in so deep.....it is hard to imagine how we escape the inevitable.

I will say it until I am blue in the face, this didn't start with Trump. He purified it, made it into an art form, but he didn't start it. Limbaugh and his accolades were the gasoline poiured onto the embers that were always there. (racist, xenophobes, nutjobs are not new) The Republicans were always kinda okay with the wink and nod toward their fringe. As long as their political objectives were being met, they could ignore that deeper crazy. We are paying that price now. Power is everything to the R's, no matter how it is acquired.

I still think we still fail to accept how damaging it was for many angry, ignorant, barely bipedal people who listened to that horseshit spewed across the radio for decades, then followed by the horseshit spewed across the internet, the horseshit spewed by Fox and every rightwing wannabe that followed. The crazy is deep. I fear for our future as a country......

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I looked up life-expectancy numbers for the year of my mother's birth and for the year of her father's birth. For my mother, it was the mid-50's. For my grandfather, the low 40's. Surely the success of the science of public health in increasing longevity ranks as one of the greatest achievements in the history of the world.

When Senator Johnson opens his mouth to attack Dr. Fauci, I cannot escape the feeling that he is speaking for a revolt against human intelligence itself.

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Charlie? How long has it been since you woke up with a lack of insane topics and went, "what should I write about today"?

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Thanks, Charlie, for bringing up Arendt and tying her writing to the present.

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Thomas Massie's photo, as Charlie rightly points out, was tweeted with no purpose in mind other than to trigger people. It may appeal to about 3% of Twitter users who aren't bots, but there is no substantial constituency for such an image; there is, however, a constituency for people who like that such an image will piss off the people they hate. When it comes to rather loathsome performative displays like this, or even things like goofy white supremacist rallies, which also lack a substantial constituency but are excellent triggers, the question is how to handle them, and I'm not entirely sure how, but I'm inclined toward simply ignoring them. Like completely. Trolling abhors a vacuum.

It is very tempting to send Thomas Massie a Tweet back that he'll never see. It's tempting to retweet it along with a snappy critique of the image. But I don't think doing either is helpful, especially retweeting. When we see people acting like assholes, especially on social media where personal interaction is absent, it is sorely tempting to call them out; the only problem, though, is that is exactly what they want you to do. If Massie had any shame, that image wouldn't be on his Twitter feed. Engaging these people on social media just magnifies them beyond any degree they're worth. Much of their engagement, their likes, is driven by bots. Some of us get off on others' approval of our social media feeds, and some of us are broken individuals like Massie who get off on pissing people off with our Tweets.

We need to figure out how to come to grips with the people who have always been among us, but were rightly obscure and irrelevant before the advent of social media. If Massie sent this Tweet and no one reacted, what lesson would that impart to him?

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Keep it up! Call them as you see them - d*** pics indeed - and shame on the rest of his family for joining in that repulsive photo.

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