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A few well-written words can convey a wealth of information, particularly when there is no lag time between when they are written and when they are read. The IPS blog gives you an opportunity to hear directly from IPS scholars and staff on ideas large and small and for us to hear back from you.

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Entries tagged "Guns"

Gun Ownership Is a Hobby, Not a Right

December 19, 2012 ·

In the wake of every horrific school shooting comes the predictable call for gun control. Just as predictably comes the crazy counter-argument: If only the teachers had been armed, the shooting could have been prevented. 

Welcome to gun-crazy America. Illustration by DonkeyHotey / Flickr.

The simple fact is that guns are not compatible with 21st century civilized life. We should get rid of them. If we can't get rid of them today, we should at least start the process of getting rid of them for the future. The world needs a future without guns.

No one should have guns. Not criminals, not responsible citizens, not the police. Guns should be safely locked away for use in a serious emergency and issued to police officers on a limited basis only when necessary. Even most police don't need guns.

What about criminals? They have guns. Don't we need guns to fight them with? Sure, maybe for a while. But after a hundred years with no guns, the supply will dry up even for criminals. We should be planning for the future, not arming for the present.

What about the Constitution? Gun rights are enshrined in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Well, I have news for Constitutional fundamentalists: The US Constitution has been changed 27 times. It can be changed again.

Read the rest of this article at TruthOut

Sarah Palin: Liable or Libeled?

January 12, 2011 ·

I was prepared to point out how the media are succumbing to the paper-tiger arguments from right-wingnut outlets that the so-called "left" is accusing Sarah Palin of whispering in the disturbed inner ear of Jared Lee Loughner urging him to shoot 31 rounds into Democratic public officials and their supporters.

I was prepared to point out that there are, of course, wingnuts on both political sides: on the far left shouting about blood on Palin's hands and on the far right shouting about Obama saying he'd bring a gun to their knife fight.

I was prepared to highlight the fact that most liberal/left commentaries are merely pointing out relatively objective realities. The level of incendiary rhetoric is too high for civil discourse and putting gun sights over congressional districts is irresponsible in such a highly charged political atmosphere, regardless of the presence or absence of schizophrenia and far-right delusional, conspiratorial thinking in the U.S.

I was prepared to try to put to rest the baloney that there's no political bent to Jared Lee Loughner's disjointed anti-government writings that repeat far-right conspiracy theories about mind control through grammar, about so-called conscious dreaming and about the anti-Constitutional nature of a currency not backed by the Gold Standard. The guy may espouse incoherent fringe ideas, but these are, definitively, far-right incoherent fringe ideas.

That's the blog post I planned to write. But then, I (and thousands of my fellow commentators) were accused this morning of "blood libel" against Sarah Palin. The Fox News commentator aired, on her Facebook page, a video expressing condolence. Then expressing confusion, then shock then anger, and finally righteous indignation for being called out for her incendiary rhetoric and irresponsible electioneering tactics leading up to the tragic shootings in Arizona. She accused us of manufacturing blood libel against her.

I checked my publications. I checked my Facebook page. I checked my twitter feed. For the life of me, I couldn't find anyone accusing Sarah Palin of being Jewish. I searched my own and many other commentaries from a wide variety of pundits and reporters. I didn't find a single instance of anyone accusing Sarah Palin of sacrificing Christian children and using their blood to make matzoh.

At a time of searching for answers, a time of mourning the loss of life, a time of collectively putting our heads together to see how we can lessen the chances of this tragedy repeating itself, Sarah Palin very publicly turned the spotlight onto what she perceives as grievous wrongs perpetrated against her.

Against her.

Seemingly ignorant of the meaning, origin, or painful impact of invoking the phrase blood libel, Palin once more failed in her position as a public figure and once more inflamed passions through irresponsible rhetoric. Though occasionally and imprudently used as a phrase to generally refer to wrongful accusation, the phrase blood libel has historically referred to lies spread by anti-Semites seeking to destroy the Jewish people. False accusations of Jews killing Christian children to use their blood in Jewish ritual has served as an excuse for mass-murdering Jews throughout history. It's an inexcusable, genocidal term.

Anyway, I was going to write about how we must examine and change inflammatory rhetoric, especially as used by public officials in this highly polarized and economically insecure time in our nation.

But Sarah Palin has made the case so much better than I ever could.

Supreme Court Misfires on Second Amendment Ruling

June 28, 2010 ·

US Supreme Court buildingCongratulations, NRA voters, you may now hunt from the safety of your living room window with your handgun anywhere in America. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling today that defined the Second Amendment as the right to keep handguns in homes is a dangerous misinterpretation.

The irony of this case, McDonald vs. Chicago, is that it comes from the city with one of the highest gun crime and murder rates in the country, driven by a growing gang violence problem. Coming on the tail of a week in which nine Chicago residents were murdered and 20 injured in gang-related shootouts, broader access to handguns seems injurious, if not downright diabolical. Chicago police recovered or confiscated 7,234 guns in the first 10 months of last year when the ban was effective, a number they estimate accounts for one gun per every 14 of the estimated active gang members in the Chicago metropolitan area. After today, police no longer have the right to confiscate any of those that are legally attained handguns. As a Chicago native, I know I feel safer already.

I am not going to argue the less handguns equals less gun crime equation; Fox News has trumpeted that the numbers tell the opposite story since the repeal of the DC gun ban two years ago. It is true that DC’s crime rate dropped by 25 percent initially after handguns were legalized. But that figure has since crept back up as people have realized a proliferation of guns doesn’t mean more security.

As William Collins notes in his column “Gotta Get Me a Gun,” handguns are particularly devastating to families, where children can and do stumble upon Daddy’s “hidden” cabinet, or where caustic marital flare-ups become lethal. Someone should tell Justice Alito that with this increase in “self-defense” we’re also going to need an increase in child-safety regulations, marital protection laws, and neighborhood watch programs for the local 10 year-old trigger-happy video-gamers who now have broader handgun access.

In the meantime, Daley and the Chicago political machine have promised more laws making the purchase of guns more difficult in their jurisdiction.  Best of luck to him and the Chicago PD. It is a tough task to fight escalating violence in already crime-ridden cities when our federal government shoots our local governments in the foot.