The Mentally Ill Appear at the Gun Hearing:
If you wanted to make a case for mental illness as a primary cause of gun violence, you could pretty much get all the evidence you wanted from yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on possible solutions to the mass shooting epidemic in the U.S. There were so many episodes of batshit paranoia and outright delusion from the anti-gun law speakers that diagnosed schizophrenics bowed their heads in honor. Honestly, if at some point the NRA's Wayne LaPierre had started scrawling a manifesto in his own shit on the walls of the hearing room, the Rude Pundit would have thought, "Well, that was not unexpected."
Let's just lay out the argument quickly. On one side, you have people who want to close a loophole in background checks on gun buyers and who want to ban some semiautomatic weapons and all high-volume magazines, all while making sure that law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants can purchase most every other kind of rifle and handgun, under the idea that some safeguards and minor limitations are not unreasonable. On the other side, you have "I dare you pussies to try to pry my right to buy a dozen AR-15s from my cold, dead hands, motherfuckers." So you can see how we might be at loggerheads here.
Honestly, the pro-gun (which is not really correct, since everyone on that committee is "pro-gun" to some extent) speakers veered between creepy and hysterical. Embodying the gun nut ethos was Gayle Trotter, a senior "fellow" at Who the Fuck Cares? Women's Group Against Women. Trotter had used the scary true story of a woman defending her home from an intruder by wielding a gun, and then she talked about how much women need guns and love the Second Amendment in a way they could never love a man.
Answering a question from Chuck Grassley, Trotter said, really, "An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon. And the peace of mind that a woman has as she’s facing three, four, five violent attackers, intruders in her home with her children screaming in the background -- the peace of mind that she has knowing that she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened violent criminals. And if we ban these types of assault weapons, you are putting women at a great disadvantage, more so than men, because they do not have the same type of physical strength and opportunity to defend themselves in a hand-to-hand struggle. And they’re -- they’re not criminals. They’re moms. They’re young women. And they’re not used to violent confrontations." When Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse pointed out that the gun the woman in Trotter's story used was not subject to any of the bans being suggested. Trotter didn't care. Men can beat up the attackers, she inferred, apparently believing that every male has an inner Liam Neeson waiting to kick some sex slavers' asses. Trotter has been eviscerated by others already for her comments.
Throughout the hearing, we were in the realm of images straight out of every revenge fantasy movie. Lindsey Graham, who always sounds like the prettiest debutante at the Daughters of the Confederacy Ball just exiting a bathroom stall where she blew the captain of the football team, told another story of a woman using a gun, a woman who pumped five bullets into a potential assailant in her home, where she was with her 9 year-old twins. Graham offered, "Would I be a reasonable American to want my family to have the 15-round magazine in a semi-automatic weapon to make sure that if there’s two intruders, she doesn’t run out of bullets? Am I an unreasonable person for saying that in that situation, the 15-round magazine makes sense?" Yes, but what if there were ten intruders, a zombie army, and a shark driving a helicopter? Would one be unreasonable asking for landmines and an RPG launcher? The chance of any of these scenarios occurring is virtually nil.
He also outed himself, saying, "I have an AR-15 at home and I haven’t hurt anybody and I don’t intend to do it. But I think I would be better off protecting my business or my family if there was law-and-order breakdown in my community, people roaming around my neighborhood to have the AR-15, and I don’t think that makes me and on reasonable person." If you need a hilarious image in your head today, imagine Graham, firing away on his Bushmaster, laughing madly, girlishly, as he shoots the crotch out of a human-shaped target.
And as for Wayne LaPierre? The nation he describes all the time is a nonstop hellscape of horror and murder, with privately-owned semiautomatic weapons purchased without annoying background checks as the only thing standing between society and utter anarchy. At one point, responding to John Cornyn's recitation of stats on prosecutions of people who lie on background checks, LaPierre went nearly incoherent: "I mean, the fact is, in the shadow of this Capitol, right under everyone’s noses, in this building, right now there are drug dealers out in the street with guns, violating federal law, illegal. There’s all kinds of drugs and cocaine being sold. By God, gangs are trafficking 13-year-old girls. And it goes on day, after day, after day. What we’ve got to do is interdict these people. Get them off the street before they get to the next crime scene." Then he moved on to background checks for the mentally ill.
Which, as the Rude Pundit said before, all of these assholes should fail.