Friday, April 15, 2016

Firearm Derangement Syndrome

I was watching Samantha Bee gyrating on my TV the other night, dressed an a homemade Eagle costume festooned with plastic guns and made to resemble an NRA mascot. It was one of those Bones and Tambo moments.

She had just finished telling us you could now buy guns on TV and not telling us you still had to go through a Federally licensed gun dealer and complete the transaction including any waiting periods and background checks just as though you'd bought it from his stock.  Guns on TV!  Oh so shocking and when the demo includes using a watermelon as a target, you just know people who own or buy guns are all dreaming of mass murder.  You just know and because you just know, most anything you say that furthers the cause of angry prejudice is just fine. Empty mockery, slander, malicious stereotyping -- no less revolting than a minstrel show done in blackface used to provide.

One of those moments. Do I call it an epiphany? Do I trot out the fable about straws and camels or is it just one of those cases where the weight of facts finally prompts you to admit that your sense of belonging to a group or movement  has been making you lie to yourself?  These people are as crazy as a Trump, I said to myself as I made the decision. These people are no more honest than Fox News.

I'm joining the NRA.

I wonder if the gun control extremists aren't becoming their best recruiters. Yes, I've been laughing at them for years for their constant twisting of every proposed morsel of regulation into a rabid attack on our God given right to own and wave any kind of firearms, but I've been long troubled by their opposition's growing use of false figures, deliberately misleading terminology and refusal to acknowledge existing law and precedent.  All of a sudden, I'm beginning to see that as more than just enthusiasm.  I see it as part of the escalating zealotry and extremism that is prompting what I used to call the Left to cut a swath through the law, the truth and reason to get to the demons they alone see and justify it by the sanctity of the cause. It's become so universal to identify any skepticism about the details and particulars and assumptions of anti-gun crusades with the NRA, one might just as well join them and get the magazines.  They have interesting articles.

A Connecticut judged ruled Yesterday that a lawsuit directed at Bushmaster Firearms International seeking damages for the rampage shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School 5 years ago could proceed.  Much has been made of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that protects arms makers from liability in such cases as this, where the legal product was sold legally but subsequently stolen and used to commit murder by a third party. Much will be made of it because Bernie Sanders voted for the PLCAA  and Hillary Clinton did not. This alone may be enough to shift my support to Bernie because I'm angry as hell and I'm just not going to sit still for any more furious and fatuous crusades.

Since Bushmaster broke no law or regulation culpability or "wrongfulness" in this case can only refer to some offense that has nothing to do with the law. It can only be based on some kind of moral offense involved in selling guns and that's going to be very hard to sell to a jury.

“The Superior Court has subject matter jurisdiction over a wrongful death action where the injury arose out of conduct by the defendants,” 
The magic is in the word "conduct."  it puts all conduct into the same box thereby enabling opportunists to sue anyone for anything they had nothing to do with, much less liability for. It's new. No one sued Bruno Magli for selling OJ his shoes, much less the company who made the knife.  It's a precedent not only dangerous to law and justice, but to civilization,  and in this specific case it shifts blame from the adult who allowed a deranged child access to a weapon and trained him to use it.

Is this organized campaign based on passing the very real blame to someone with deep pockets but no legal culpability in order to inhibit the importation, manufacture and sales of firearms in the US?  I think so.  I think, as do most Americans, that this is wrong and who else agrees that has any influence?  Bernie Sanders perhaps, the NRA for sure, crazy as they are about so many other things.

The lies about selling "weapons of war" are all the more poignant when one realizes that the 2nd amendment specifically references the idea that we need to keep weapons of war available to the public. The plaintiff's lawyers are going to have a hard time propping up the idea that it's immoral to sell the Bushmaster AR-15 because it''s "military" in light of the fact that it isn't. Morality is in the eye of the plaintiff in this case and the plaintiff alone if I read public sentiment accurately.  One of the pitfalls of moral outrage is to think, since you tend to associate only with other zealots, that most people agree with you.  We shall see.

It's appropriate to look at how a legal precedent will affect future court decisions and if it transpires that Bushmaster is held liable for wrongful death without doing anything wrong, then  the manufacturer of anything can be held liable through no actual fault of commission or omission of his own.  Is it appropriate to think about how giving the finger to the constitution and centuries of law might be a bad precedent when that constitution is already under assault by Christian supremacists?

It's not the only about this jihad, there are so many other crusades billing themselves as "liberal" having to do with ignoring evidence, accepting some evidence without question and  ignoring other evidence based on prejudice alone, there are efforts to presume guilt when it involves certain categories of people and  other complaints sufficient to cause me not to  follow the noise and revel in the rage of the mob, but I'm taking it step by step.  Today it's the NRA tomorrow it may be the people who want to tell me what I think because of my skin color or what I can say because of my ancestry. Small steps on a long, long ladder.

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