NRA Nation

On a recent shooting in Colorado Springs:

Two days before Noah Harpham killed three people in a Colorado Springs shooting rampage, the 33-year-old wrote an incoherentInternet essay post and rambled in a video uploaded to YouTube.

“Hey, folks, this is Noah. Gettin’ my blog live,” Harpham says in the brief recording while walking around a room as techno music blares in the background.

Harpham goes on to talk nonsensically about a pastor’s sermon. In the essay, he writes of “mind-control technique” and God.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office on Monday afternoon formally identified Harpham as the gunman in the vicious Saturday slayings that spanned several city blocks. He died in a shootout with police.

Witnesses watched in horror as Harpham picked his victims off. One of them, the bicyclist, pleaded for his life before being killed.

“I heard the (young man) say, ‘Don’t shoot me! Don’t shoot me!’ ” Naomi Bettis, a neighbor who witnessed the killing, said Monday…

While on the phone with police, Abshire said he saw Harpham turn and shoot at two women. By the time Abshire reached the pair, one of them had stopped breathing, he told newspaper.

“She was dead,” Abshire said.

It appeared one of the women had been shot in the face, he said.

Worst part?  The police were warned several minutes before the shooting:

“I heard the (young man) say, ‘Don’t shoot me! Don’t shoot me!’ ” Naomi Bettis, a neighbor who witnessed the killing, said Monday.

Bettis said she recognized the gunman as her neighbor — whom she didn’t know by name — and that before the initial slaying she saw him roaming outside with a rifle. She called 911 to report the man, but a dispatcher explained that Colorado has an open carry law that allows public handling of firearms. [emphasis mine]

Argghh!  I’m sure it’s of great comfort for the families of the victims to know that Colorado citizens are free to walk around with a firearm without any police concern.  I’m sure that’s got to make those lost live’s all worth it.  As Ben Carson so eloquently put it, ”

“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.”

Really?!  Ben Carson is a sick f*ck (and you know how I feel about cussing).  You know what’s devastating?  A woman out taking a walk shot through the face and a bicyclist shot after pleading for his life so that we can live in NRA Nation where any idiot and/or maniac has the right to own a gun virtually unimpeded.  Only in America.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

21 Responses to NRA Nation

  1. Terrant says:

    😯 I’m telling… you used a dirty word.

    I’m sure that the pro-NRA crowd would suggest that we need to more guns because of incidents like this.

  2. pino says:

    You know what’s devastating?

    1. What is a solution short of banning all guns?
    2. Cars kill more people than guns – though that may switch with more recent year’s data – and I see no call to ban cars.

    Arming ourselves, for whatever reason, is a protected right. More so than voting for gawd’s sake.

    • Jon K says:

      Nobody is talking about taking away all guns. I’ve never heard dr Greene advocate for that.

      Fact of the matter is most guns aren’t used for self defense. From Politico: the FBI released “Crime in the U.S., 2014,” a report that includes (among other stats) all incidents of gun violence known to law enforcement (except in Florida and Alabama, states that chose not to share that particular information). On “Expanded Homicide Data Table 11, Murder Circumstances by Weapon Type” (downloadable here), we see that the most common known circumstance for gun homicide is “arguments.” The number of people shot to death last year in arguments not during the commission of a felony (1,759) dwarfs the number shot to death in gang violence (667) and the number shot to death in drug trafficking (298)—combined. These are arguments over things like radio-controlled-car races, candy, inheritance of a tractor and road rage.

      Last thing we need is more arguments between people armed with guns. What will we get with more armed people? More stupid arguments that end with someone dead.

    • Steve Greene says:

      I love that you went to automobiles. Hard to find a consumer product that is more regulated for greater individual and public safety. And that last statement is a shameful travesty in a democracy.

      • pino says:

        And that last statement is a shameful travesty in a democracy.

        We don’t live in a democracy – else we likely would have a Constitutional right to vote. We live in a republic.

        And well, without that right, or the belief in that right, we would likely be prefixing our ships with HMS rather than USS.

        But yes, it is rather startling that we have an explicit right to guns and no such right to vote.

        But again, what policy that you have advocated would have prevented this tragedy?

      • Steve Greene says:

        Seriously? You are going to get pedantically semantic about democracy versus republic. That’s *really” helpful. I’m guessing you are one of those people always saying, “no, it’s actually the Confederate battle flag!” as if that somehow matters.

        No one policy is going to stop any particular shooting. In this particular case, a law against open carry might well have. In general, dramatically reducing the preponderance of guns and cutting down on straw buyers, etc., would make a big difference.

      • Jon K says:

        open carry is just asking for trouble. even in the old west you couldn’t wear guns in town. people are remembering a history that never existed…

      • pino says:

        You are going to get pedantically semantic about democracy versus republic. That’s *really” helpful.

        Generally I don’t – no. But in this case, this specific conversation, we are talking about a constitution right to vote, so I think the distinction is hardly pedantic. It speaks directly to the issue we’re discussing.

        If we are a constitutional democracy, I think the right to vote would be explicit.
        Since we aren’t, it isn’t.

      • Terrant says:

        Please read Federalist #84, the Constitution was not intended to be an enumeration of our rights. As a matter of fact, it was feared by including a Bill of Rights people would see it as such (seems that fear was justified). The idea that one right is more important than another was effectively something that courts created.

  3. Jon K says:

    You know what’s even stupider in this debate? Had the founding fathers left out one comma the Heller Decision could have never been written.
    Who knew a comma could be so decisive in shaping the culture of a nation?
    I really wish they had left that comma out.
    I also wish the Supreme Court had not decided to rewrite the second amendment with the Heller decision on the strength of one comma. For “strict constructionists” and “originalists” I find it very very convenient on their part.

      • Jon K says:

        Yes it struck me as ironic. Although I do think it is unjust to give someone a decade in prison for simple possession of disgusting and clearly illegal obscene media. We sometimes give those who actually assaulted someone less time than a decade. I’d rather focus on those who produce the material/ traffic in the material / and exploit children than some loser in his basement with disgusting files on his computer. I just don’t think it calls for a decade in federal prison.

        But Scalia certainly didn’t feel the same way when it came to the Heller case. I guess it just depends on the context right? If studying the grammatical construction is required to advance his agenda then it is important. When the government is trying to overprosecute a creepy basement dweller it isn’t.

      • Steve Greene says:

        Yep. Basically, all because of the Raich case people think Scalia is way more ideologically consistent than he actually is. He’s not. Like all justices (and more than most) he seems foremost interested in the real-world outcome he prefers.

  4. itchy says:

    “Arming ourselves, for whatever reason, is a protected right.”

    Yes, that’s why when a car is swerving wildly down the street, the police respond, “Sorry, it’s a protected right. What is a solution short of banning all cars?”

    • pino says:

      What is a solution short of banning all cars?”

      The point is that there is a cause of death more common than gun death – and there isn’t the outcry.

      There are speed limits but we allow people to buy cars that go faster than the speed limit. You have to license a car and have it inspected once a year, But there isn’t a list anywhere that identifies how many cars you have or for how long. You can sell a car to anyone you want whenever you want.

      You need a license and insurance, but you don’t have to be here legally to do either. In some places they won’t even ask for that ID.

      So – there is an understanding that certain things carry certain costs.

      So serious – what specific gun regulation would you support, or have supported, would have prevented this tragedy?

      • Mike in Chapel Hill says:

        I think open carry is more problematic than concealed carry. A person walking around with a very visible rifle may just be a sane law abiding person who is enjoying the right to show off a weapon. Or, this person may be a nut job on his way to hunt people. You can’t tell until it is too late. I guess you could ask the police to follow this type of person around to prevent murder….or could you? Not only would this be a waste of resources it would probably be illegal to presume guilt. The open carry law also allows a-holes to walk around and be obnoxious just to provoke reactions from folks around them.

        What about the “well regulated” part of the Right?

      • Jon K says:

        A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent.

      • Jon K says:

        well if open carry was illegal when the woman called 911 and reported a crazy guy with a rifle the police would have done something about it. how about that?

      • pino says:

        What about the “well regulated” part of the Right?

        The ‘well regulated’ means to describe the militia – not the right to own a gun. The phrase has meaning that is more similar to “operating in well formed manner”.

        The reason militia is included is because in the day – when called to the militia, the men had to briing their own boots, weapons and ammo.

  5. r. jenrette says:

    So, what was the attitude of the Founders and other officers of the militias toward drunks and other social misfits as functioning and trusted members? Were all men over 18 or 21 routinely part of those militias? Were the streets of Boston and Philadelphia populated by open carrying men?
    Was the Old West really as gun friendly as some want us to be today?

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