Tag Archives: logic

At which point I am (not) surprised that we will continue to not ban assault weapons

21 Mar

Sometimes I am left wondering about the overall sanity of this country.

I just read an article in The New York Times about the ongoing attempts of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is pretty much my hero, to reinstate the ban on assault weapons that W. let expire in 2004.  Her journey, according to the article, ended on Monday when she stormed from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office after he informed her that the ban would not be included in a gun-regulation measure that is to hit the Senate floor in April.  The conversation surrounding this ban catapulted into mainstream conversation after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut this past December that left 20 young kids dead along with 6 staff members as well as the killer, Adam Lanza.  You can watch a rather moving report about recent information that was released concerning the mass shooting here, presented by Rachel Maddow.  Beware.  This is not happy-making.

Anyway, the point of all this is that this bill on assault weapons had basically no chance of passing.  None whatsoever.  Despite support by both President Obama and Vice President Biden.  Honestly, I just don’t understand what the big deal is.  Banning assault rifles does not mean people can’t hunt.  It does not mean people can’t protect themselves and their families.  It does not mean people can’t collect some of the other hundreds (thousands?) or kinds of available weaponry.  It simply means that people won’t be able to legally purchase a gun that would then allow them to walk into an elementary school (or a movie theater, or a mall, or a high school) and kill dozens of people in mere minutes.  I mean, to me, and maybe I am just being crazy here, that doesn’t seem like such a big thing to give up.  Like, at all.  So here are a couple of arguments (okay, maybe just the same argument) that I read a lot and hear a lot and that I think are stupid.  So I am going to talk about them.

Argument:  It’s our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Answer:  Okay, so, the first thing is, and I know we have all heard this a kajillion times and so probably I am wasting my breath, but when that was initially written into the Constitution I am pretty sure that “arms” basically ended at things like muskets, and cannons, and bayonets, and the flintlock pistol (which I had never heard of but then I Googled “weapons used during the American Revolution” and there it was).  People used to fight in formation, for crying out loud.  So, back then when it was written, it made sense, given the recent history, to write a provision into the Constitution to address the legitimate concern of the people that they might have to protect themselves from their own government and also that they actually stood a chance of winning.  But now, here in 2013, even if there was a legitimate concern that we would have to protect ourselves from our own government, we would most certainly lose.  Because you know what? Even with all the assault rifles we still would not be as well trained, or as well armed, as the United States military.  In 2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States spent $711 billion, or 4.7% of GDP, on defense.  A lot of that money was spent on, you got it, weaponry.  So, honestly, if People with Unnecessary Guns were to decide that they were going to stand up to the United States government in an attempt to topple it or whatever the fuck, those People with Unnecessary Guns would not stand a snowball’s chance in hell.  They would be blown to smithereens, and a Bushmaster .223 would do nothing to save them.

Argument:  It’s our Second Amendment right to have guns!

Answer:  I know, I already said that.  I know that’s not the only argument (it can’t be, right?!) but it seems to be the only one I ever hear).  But, I have another response!  How about people’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  I am pretty sure that more often than not you get none of those things after you have been shot in the head multiple times.  I just don’t understand how this argument that people have a right to guns seems to always trump the argument that people have the right to actually live.  Because, last time I checked, you do need to actually be alive to even be able to appreciate your right to have guns, am I right?  It just seems like when someone who is unbalanced, or vengeful, or whatever gets some crazy scary, fast-shooting, so many bullets gun and goes into some venue full of people and shoots them all, we hear from all these people who are all

“No!  But if someone had a gun then none of this ever would have happened!”

which is patently false because, most of the time, when people have guns in circumstances like these, they don’t use them because they are afraid of being identified as the killer, or shooting someone by accident, or maybe they are too busy protecting themselves or others using their bodies or whatever else to really think about it.  That’s why usually these things end in the killer killing himself, not being killed by a potential victim. Anyway, we also hear about how scary it is, and sad, and unnecessary.  What we don’t hear enough of is that, because people can get guns, powerful guns, with such ease and in such great quantity, other people, sometimes even children, are stripped of their right to life.  To me, life seems like the trump card.  The right to life should just win.

You want your Bushmaster?  Well, guess what?  I want my breath, and the use of my legs, and a full functioning brain.  Settle for a fucking handgun.

Romney’s Logic, or lack thereof

15 Nov

I’m having a very hard time today.  Sometimes I feel like there is this thing called logic, and then all of a sudden something happens and I think that maybe my logic isn’t the right logic afterall because someone who is someone in the grand scheme of things, and not just in a little corner of the internet, says something that is so contrary to my logic that it’s like, wait, what?  Confused?  Let me explain.

I just read this article in the Times that has been going around in different forms about a conference call that Mitt Romney had with his donors and fund-raisers.  In this conference call he accused Obama of winning the election by giving “gifts” to different minority groups.  Okay, so when I see the word “gifts” I think Christmas, Channuka, birthdays!  Last year for my birthday I got this amazing new lamp shade* from Anthropologie (don’t mock me) and a great cherry red stock pot from Le Creuset.  So, did Obama run around giving people fancy new home accent pieces?  Perhaps some useful, and colorful!, kitchen items?  Maybe a sweet new pair of kicks?  No.  Here’s what Obama “gifted” the “minorities”** of this country:

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people.”

And then there’s this.  Romney was very concerned that the president used his healthcare plan as a tool in mobilizing black and Hispanic voters:

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals,*** the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

So now I am going to think back to when Bush did that stimulus plan.  Remember that?  When all of a sudden we all got a check for some money that we were then supposed to spend out in the world to stimulate the economy?****  A lot of people thought that was  good idea.  A lot of people might have called that a gift.  Same goes, I think, for the money a family is “gifted” through access to healthcare.  All of a sudden here is this money not being spent on incredibly costly healthcare that can be repurposed.  It can go towards buying a car, saving to send a child to college, starting a business, or any other number of things.  Or! That family that now has been “gifted” healthcare has healthcare for the first time and is able to seek preemptive medical care rather than relying on emergency room visits or costly procedures to take care of something that could have been avoided.  Now people who previously had to suffer unnecessarily with treatable ailments can get the needed, and widely available, treatment.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

All sarcasm aside.  Here’s the thing about all of this.  I find Romney’s comments to be amazingly condescending and rude not only to the man that bested him in the election, but to all of us who voted for that man.  By using the word “gifts” Romney was intentionally playing into an understanding of the word within the political realm as equivalent to a bribe.  There were no bribes involved.  Romney lost the election because while he was yammering on about non-specifics concerning job creation, foreign policy and military strategy, Obama was listening to people and trying to figure out what would actually make this country a more reasonable place to live.  Lack of equal access to birth control and concerns about unwanted pregnancies?  Here, free contraception (not to mention a continuation of Roe v Wade).  Concerns about pre-existing conditions and sky-rocketing healthcare costs?  Here, the Affordable Care Act.  Children of undocumented immigrants not getting a fair shake at the American Dream?  Here, the Dream Act (co-written by Republican Orin Hatch, by the way).  What Obama did was present himself as a man capable of leading this country.  What he did was he listened to the people, and he came up with, or supported, feasible solutions.  That’s not called giving people gifts, Romney, it’s called governing.

So here’s maybe an idea, rather than trying to make up ludicrous, and inaccurate, excuses for why you lost the election, why don’t you look actually at why you lost.  You lost because you were non-specific about things that mattered.  You lost because you listened to the party establishment and aligned yourself with the uber-conservatives rather than the majority of the country.  You lost because you failed to realize that things have changed and you have to convince more than just the white men of your ability to lead.  You lost because you erroneously believed that the person who raised the most money would win the biggest prize.  You lost because you dismissed so many of us.  It sucks, Romney, because like John McCain pre-2008 I always thought you were one of the good guys.  One of the listening guys.  I don’t know, maybe my logic is all wrong.  To me, the logical thing to do would be to bow out gracefully and go back to the drawing board.  Rather than calling sound policy ideas gifts, why don’t you and your party think about how to answer the people’s needs using sound conservative principles.  The Republican party, as far as I know, isn’t about hanging people out to dry.  It’s about a much needed alternative to the Democratic approach to governing.  Although I am a lifelong liberal, I honestly believe that the only way to make this country work better is having a healthy debate.  It’s like an athlete.  An athlete uses the talent, drive and abilities of her biggest opponent in order to become better.  For the Democratic, or Republican, party to live up to expectations and possibilities, for this country to live up to expectations and possibilities, there needs to be drive.  The Democratic party can only be its best incarnation when it is striving to be a better alternative to the best incarnation of the Republican party.  The opposite is just as true.  Unless we have two (more would be better) healthy and functioning parties, we can not have the best governing strategy possible.  For this country to get on a better road, we need some good debate and some healthy competition, not a bunch of blamers and a party-wide abandonment of the needs of the majority of the country.  It’s called logic, Romney.  You should try using it.

*My lamp shade looks sort of like this only significantly more awesome.

**Sometimes use of the word minorities annoys me because it’s not accurate.  Rather than an explanation of numerical fact, it’s more like a forced state of being.  I, as a female, am not actually a member of a group that makes up a minority of the population but am still considered a minority.  Why don’t we call a spade a spade.  We “minorities” are not necessarily the “minority.”  We are the oppressed.  The overlooked.  The intentionally ignored.  The annoyance.

***I despise, I mean despise, the term “illegals.”

****This girl totally took that check and put it straight in her savings account.  Totally against the rules.