Monday, October 2, 2017

Mass shooting at Las Vegas concert, on the heels of nuttiness in Alabama U.S. Senate race, shows Americans are drunk on the sacred purity of gun rights

One week ago, on the eve of Alabama's GOP runoff for a seat in the U.S. Senate, candidate Roy Moore whipped out a pistol at a campaign rally, in an apparent attempt to counter charges from opponent Luther Strange that Moore wasn't sufficiently supportive of gun rights. (See video above.)

Three days ago, after Moore handily had beaten Strange, the right-wing political site Yellow Hammer News said in a campaign analysis that Strange had made a mistake in questioning Moore's Second Amendment credentials -- that voters were enraged by any suggestion that "Judge Roy" might be the slightest bit "soft on gun rights."

Last night, more than two months before Moore is to face Democrat Doug Jones in the general election, a gunman opened fire from above a crowd of concertgoers at a country-music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. At least 58 people are dead and more than 500 injured, and it is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, apparently killed himself. He is believed to have been a "lone wolf" attacker and was found with at least 10 rifles.

Shots from an automatic weapon rang out as country singer Jason Aldean started a song on the main concert stage. (See video at the end of this post.)

Aftermath of Las Vegas shooting
The shooting comes as the National Rifle Association (NRA) is pushing a bill in Congress that would make it easier to buy gun silencers. It comes just months after Donald Trump made it one of his top priorities upon taking office to revoke Obama-era gun checks for people with mental illness.

Are Americans willing to tolerate slaughters like the one in Las Vegas in the name of Second Amendment purity? Have we become so averse to reality and riven with political differences that we value gun rights more than life itself? The answer to both questions clearly is yes.

Does anyone even recognize this irony? Attendees at a country-music festival are likely to be predominantly white and Republican, which means they probably are staunch supporters of gun rights. Well, 58 such folks now are dead, with at least 515 injured -- and those numbers are rising by the hour.

We have become a country that is willing to accept a seemingly unlimited number of mass killings in the name of Second Amendment purity. Consider this nuttiness from Yellowhammer News in its analysis of the Moore-Strange race:

Then later during the run-off, I had to listen to another ad supporting Luther, this time saying how strong he is on the Second Amendment (which indeed he is). But then they had to blow it with another unnecessary jab.

“Roy Moore,” the narrator said, “He’s a little soft on gun rights.”

Luther lost me in the runoff because of that ad. Permanently.

There’s plenty of truthful material to use against Moore, but claiming he’s “soft” on guns was the dumbest thing I had heard since … well … someone said Mo Brooks was in cahoots with Nancy Pelosi. Do they really think we’re that stupid?

Luther’s outside supporters meant well, but they couldn’t have caused a worse reaction with the voters they were seeking to influence. I saw otherwise calm people grow red-faced with anger about those ads.Not because of where they came from. Not because they were negative, per se. But because they were taking cheap shots at well liked, and well known, conservatives.

It seems like Alabamians know Mo Brooks and Judge Moore much better than the people who created those ads. We not only felt they were being unfair to two of our movement’s most unwavering conservatives, they were insulting our intelligence by claiming they were liberals or gun grabbers.

Gee, we wouldn't want to have any "liberals or gun grabbers" -- not when we can have corpses strewn on the major thoroughfare in one of our most vibrant cities.

As for the politics of gun nuttery, it's no better in Alabama among Democrats than it is among Republicans. Consider this report about Doug Jones' recent interview on NBC:

Todd asked Jones a series of questions in the 7-minute long interview, televised nationally. On gun rights , Jones said he is “a Second Amendment guy.”

“We’ve got limitations on all constitutional amendments in one form or another,” Jones said. “I want to enforce the laws that we have right now. The biggest issue, I think, that’s facing the Second Amendment right now is that we need to make sure we shore up the National Crime Information System, the NCIC system for background checks, to both keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but at the same time, cut down on error so that law-abiding citizens can get those.”

Jones said he loves to hunt and has a case full of his own guns, but wants to make sure regulations are “smart.”

Translation: A so-called "progressive" supports the gun culture that led to last night's massacre in Las Vegas. That's what serves as a "profile in courage" in a gun-saturated postmodern America.

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Anonymous said...

So sad our country lets this stuff happen, lets the NRA hold us hostage.

Anonymous said...

The guy was shooting from a hotel room on the 32nd floor. Jeepers! The victims never had a chance.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is latest from Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Anonymous said...

Good God, that video of Jason Aldean is horrifying.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a frickin machine gun.

Anonymous said...

Aldean clearly didn't know what was going on for several seconds. He just stood there singing until the words "Holy shit" sunk in. It's a miracle he wasn't killed.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's all white folks getting shot. Black people aren't stupid enough to go to a country-music festival.

Anonymous said...

Lot of people don't know what an automatic rifle sounds like. Now, they know.

legalschnauzer said...

A tweet from journalist Jon Stone:

it's legal to carry an assault rifle in Las Vegas with no permit, even when drinking. there’s no max mag capacity

Anonymous said...

At least one country musician had an immediate "Come to Jesus" political transformation:

Anonymous said...

We can thank Justice Scalia for much of this madness with his opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller. This is the self-described "originalist" finding a right to bear arms unconnected to service in a militia -- a right that is found nowhere in the Constitution:

legalschnauzer said...

Here is pretty much the ultimate finding of Scalia in Heller. I wonder if these words were comforting to the folks in Las Vegas last night as they were dodging bullets:

"In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment , as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense. Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home."

Anonymous said...

From the dissent in Heller:

"The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during the ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States. Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature's authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution."

Heller was a classic case of Scalia pulling law out of his ass.

legalschnauzer said...

@7:13 --

Thanks for sharing. U.S. v. Miller (1939) held sway for almost 70 years, until Scalia came along to concot Heller. More from the Heller dissent:

"Guns are used to hunt, for self-defense, to commit crimes, for sporting activities, and to perform military duties. The Second Amendment plainly does not protect the right to use a gun to rob a bank; it is equally clear that it does encompass the right to use weapons for certain military purposes. Whether it also protects the right to possess and use guns for nonmilitary purposes like hunting and personal self-defense is the question presented by this case. The text of the Amendment, its history, and our decision in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 59 S.Ct. 816, 83 L.Ed. 1206 (1939), provide a clear answer to that question. . . .

"In 1934, Congress enacted the National Firearms Act, the first major federal firearms law.[1] Sustaining an indictment the 2823*2823 Act, this Court held that, "[i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a `shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument." Miller, 307 U.S., at 178, 59 S.Ct. 816. The view of the Amendment we took in Miller—that it protects the right to keep and bear arms for certain military purposes, but that it does not curtail the Legislature's power to regulate the nonmilitary use and ownership of weapons—is both the most natural reading of the Amendment's text and the interpretation most faithful to the history of its adoption.

"Since our decision in Miller, hundreds of judges have relied on the view of the Amendment we endorsed there;[2] we ourselves affirmed it in 1980. See Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 55, 65-66, n. 8, 100 S.Ct. 915, 63 L.Ed.2d 198 (1980).[3] No new evidence has surfaced since 1980 supporting the view that the Amendment was intended to curtail the power of Congress to regulate civilian use or misuse of weapons. Indeed, a review of the drafting history of the Amendment demonstrates that its Framers rejected proposals that would have broadened its coverage to include such uses.

"The opinion the Court announces today fails to identify any new evidence supporting the view that the Amendment was intended to limit the power of Congress to regulate civilian uses of weapons. Unable to point to any such evidence, the Court stakes its holding on a strained and unpersuasive reading of the Amendment's text; significantly different provisions in the 2824*2824 1689 English Bill of Rights, and in various 19th-century State Constitutions; postenactment commentary that was available to the Court when it decided Miller; and, ultimately, a feeble attempt to distinguish Miller that places more emphasis on the Court's decisional process than on the reasoning in the opinion itself."

Antonin Scalia, from the grave, has blood all over his hands.

Anonymous said...

RS, you should tie this story in to all the injustices you've suffered personally. That's the kind of reporting that makes you such a great journalist.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:05 --

I detect a hint of sarcasm in your comment. It suggests that you believe various legal cases that have gone against us, in fact, were correctly decided. If my interpretation of your comment is correct, can you point to any specific case that you believe was correctly decided -- and why? In other words, can you share your reasoning such a conclusion?

Anonymous said...

Are you the only blogger in the country where certain commenters take offense at you writing about your own experiences and thoughts? Blows my mind. If you tune in to a blog by Roger Shuler, shouldn't you expect some writing about Roger Shuler's thoughts and experiences?

legalschnauzer said...

@11:09 --

I might not be the only blogger who gets such blow back, but I certainly get my fair share of it. My guess is that comes because reporting on my personal experiences makes some people uncomfortable -- either because they are part of the corrupt system and don't like reading about its victims, they were directly involved in one or more of our cases and know we got screwed but don't like to see that published for all to read, or they simply have an agenda to keep the dirty deeds of the "justice" profession hidden.

Ed said...

Here's an incident that happened in my neck of the woods about four years ago about two knuckle-heads with permits to carry concealed pistols. I think about it every time the issue of gun rights comes up.

legalschnauzer said...


Thanks for sharing. You wonder how many road-rage incidents begin because someone is emboldened by the presence of a gun in his vehicle.

e. a. f. said...

won't ever understand the American obsession with guns. can't figure out why any one would need an automatic weapon such as the one the Vegas shooter used. they ought to be out lawed. a rifle for hunting is one thing, but weapons for war are not necessary if simply hunting. given the NRA represents gun makers who want to make lots of money and politicians want some of that money to get elected, not much will change in the U.S.A.

I have come to the conclusion regardless of how many deaths and how horrible the situation the U.S.A. will continue on its tragic road to death by gun.