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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Austin, TX
Home country: USA
Member since: Tue Sep 18, 2012, 03:36 PM
Number of posts: 18,318

About Me

I have been on DU since 2006 under \"SteveM\" and later \"SteveW.\" Due to an account mix-up and a computer crash, I have \"rejoined\" as Eleanors38, but my history at DU includes the names cited.

Journal Archives

A curious quandry for controller banners after the Navy Yard shootings...

There are many reasons why the Navy Yard shootings did not resonate with the public as the Sandy Hook tragedy did; I have speculated & posted on this previously. But another possible reason came into focus during discussions: Any call for bans was throttled because the banner belief system ran head-long into gun-owner "buying" activism.

Specifically, if controller/banners truly believe that "more guns = more crime," and any calls by elites in office and in MSM for gun bans & restrictions spur more gun/ammo purchasing (as happened after Sandy Hook), then the constructive thing to do is to zip it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there were no wrap-around-the-block lines at gun shows, no runs on ammunition, after the Navy Yard killings. And there were no calls for banning anything, either.

This could be a curious but fundamental turn in the "gun debate" where one side has to mute its most impassioned calls for bans lest they start "putting out the fire with gasoline." (Apologies to David Bowie)

"Tour de force of false equivalency" -- Jim Fallows on WaPo's editorial on shutdown.

Right now on NPR. Fallows argues that much of MSM's approach to the shutdown reflects their fears of being attacked for having a liberal bias, and will not see the crisis as essentially the politics of the GOP's right wing. This is the second day in which Fallow's commentary has been carried by NPR.

Official: Wendy Davis running for Texas Governor.

Just now, YNN Channel 8, Austin.

Sign at big Fort Worth rally announces her candidacy. Big rally being held simultaneously in Austin. She will speak momentarily.

The experts are right. The Texas dove season has been very good.

Second trip to my buddy's place NW of Austin where I have taken double-digit numbers. The birds crowd power lines along highways, and explode from graded roads by the dozen. Some puzzling behavior of the 2 main native species: I took a half doz white wings (normally a tropical species) from or around trees, yet minutes later I took only mourning dove feeding on sunflowers a couple hundred yards away. Haven't figured that one out yet. It's been great fun, and my host is contemplating another day of shooting at his place in Oct.

Can this be cleared up? AR-15 vs. shotgun sale to Navy Yard killer:

In this September 18 CBS report, there is a claim that Alexis could not readily purchase an AR 15, but instead would have to accept the arm in the state of his last known address, Texas, per ATF regs. So Alexis instead purchased a shotgun after clearing NICS, and walked out with it without shipment to his home state. Are the two weapons treated any differently as per ATF or any other jurisdiction's authority?

"Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis tried to buy an AR-15 assault rifle at a Virginia gun store last week after test firing one, but the store wouldn't sell it to him right away, CBS News has learned.

"The reason for the refusal isn't clear.

"Alexis then purchased a shotgun he used in his rampage, sources tell CBS News.

"The owners of two gun stores in Virginia told CBS News Alexis would have been able to buy an AR-15, he just wouldn't have gotten it right away.

"Anyone can buy the assault-style weapon in Virginia, but the dealer would have to observe the laws of the buyer's home state.

"It appears unlikely Alexis was a Virginia resident. His last reported full-time residency was in Texas.

"If the buyer is an out-of-state resident, the dealer would then ship the weapon to the buyer's home state where a background check would be conducted. At the time of purchase in Virginia, however, the buyer would have to show two proofs of residence with matching addresses and then a proof of citizenship. This is all according to federal law when it comes to sales of the AR-15, which are administered by the ATF.

"It is also unclear whether the owner of Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton, Virginia, where Alexis tried to buy the AR-15 about 15 miles from the Navy Yard, told Alexis he was not allowed to buy an assault rifle, or whether Alexis was simply impatient and decided to buy a shotgun instead."


I was under the impression that a gun purchaser was bound by the same laws whether the arm was a handgun, rifle, or shotgun, with only NFA weapons subject to different procedures.

Why was the reaction to the Navy Yard shootings more muted than that of Sandy Hook?


"I would have expected the Navy Yard shooting to cause more interest in discussing gun control. It appears to have petered out already."-- Skinner

This response from one of DU's Administrators was in answer to a query about the policy of allowing gun discussions in GD to continue. That is a topic for another time. But Skinner's observation is worth investigation.

I agree that there is far less interest in discussing gun control after the Navy Yard shooting. I offer some reasons why this may be the case, esp. in light of the Sandy Hook shooting.

1) The weapon used did not fit the narrative of gun-ban responses. Even though MSM in short order proclaimed the weapon to be an AR-15 "assault weapon," they had to immediately back track and correct themselves. Such a revelation was not only embarrassing to the media, it also effectively short-circuited the usual hard-wired responses. No resonant narrative, no uniform anti-gun message.

2) Politicians within the Democratic Party and anti-gun elements within the GOP (Brady Center) seem to have gotten the message about arm-specific bans and controls after watching the response to Sandy Hook when tens of thousands of citizens formed 'round-the-block lines at gun shows across the country, and ammunition seemed to disappear from the market. IMO, those long lines (along with some notable capitol grounds demonstrations) constituted in-your-face political statements more than paranoia about bans and response to market forces. Politicians noted who had the juice on this issue, and who did not.

3) There were no children or notable politicians or they're-just-like-me theater goers among the victims. That didn't make the killing of these civilian workers any less tragic, but again past narratives could not be relied upon. Further, the perpetrator did not fit the bill, either. He was black, and IMO, was not as readily subject to the easy condemnation and characterization as the usual perpetrators: White murderers. Discussions about his mental health and past run-ins with the law were and are more measured, and unlike the Sandy Hook killer, his family was not keel-hauled in public.

4) Perhaps most disturbing is a new (and false) myth: Mass murders are becoming more routine, and hence less subject to national "outrage." The myth is false since mass murders, while rising in the last year, are not very routine. But that does not make the myth any less powerful and convincing to many. Our culture has blended news with entertainment with celebrity, and has been doing so for years, now. Curiously, while celebrity is sought by those who have the best "voice" or play the best guitar or who kill the most people, the mass-celebrity model for any of these is breaking up as fast as mass media. Those who want to Be Somebody may find more markets for celebrity, but the audiences are shrinking and more fragmented. The community which legitimizes social and cultural values, popular entertainers and "stars," and steers the body politic toward widely-agreed-upon policies and actions is being replaced by an enveloping technological fog, at once alienating the more unstable among us and providing, in the case of mass killings, less and less "recognition." In short, Aaron Alexis is no Cho is no Charles Whitman. But the "style" they use has momentum, and many celebrities in far less malevolent undertakings cannot be accused of creativity and a new approach. So mass killings are likely to continue, though perhaps less frequently. After all, these hideous actions are styles, and subject to the same forces acting on dial-ups, rabbit ear T.V.s, and bell-bottoms.


It is incumbent on those who wish to deal with the problems of mass killings to take a different approach. Inadvertent or not, with this latest killing the players in gun-control seem to have de facto taken a different approach. It shows: Where are the long lines at gun shows? Are runs on ammunition happening again? I think we know the answer to those questions.

The rhetoric of bans not only fails to address the problem, but severely divides Americans from each other, casting stigma on those who want to at least define the problem and see what can be done: Mass murders are quite different from the daily grind of nightly news murders, and approaches to one only occasionally overlap with the other. I don't propose to deal with new approaches in this thread, only to offer my views on the worthy observation by Skinner. I post here because the special dispensation toward gun topics in GD does allow gun threads which have major, national policy implications.

Wendy Davis to run for Texas Governor...

Official announcement Oct. 3rd. This according to unnamed AP reporters. Heard on YNN, Channel 9, Austin just now.

Austin's "Drug Market Intervention" project shows notable success.



The area around East Austin's Chicon and 12th Streets has for some time been the scene of an open-air drug & prostitution market. And for a long time the neighbors here have complained about policing policies which have failed to clear the area of the market and its attendant crime. But after one year of the Drug Market Intervention project, the market is shut down.

What is different? Instead of the ocassional sweep that toned down the market, only to have it reassert itself, the Austin Police Department has set up a coordinated intervention program which classifies offenders into two groups: A Group and B Group. The A Group offenders are repeats with a "violent streak." When they are arrested, the book is thrown at them. In the year from August, 2012 to August 2013, nearly a dozen A Group members have been arrested; 8 are in prison, one is on probation, another received civil commitment, and the other cases are pending.

But it's the B Group people which are treated differently. These low-level offenders, "endlessly replaceable" users who burgle and prostitute to support habits, are surveilled by APD, and cases are made against them. But instead of filing charges, they are given a choice: Take advantage of housing, counseling, education and employment programs, and have charges "disappear," or got to prison if they are caught again. Over the year 30 B Group folks have been given this choice, and only 3 have been re-arrested.

The neighborhood is quiet, now, and both the people living their and the police department aim to keep it that way. In fact, the number of anonymous tips ("snitching" in some crime-ridden cultures) is increasing due to mutual trust between police and citizens. Recently, a man was described, his car identified and whereabouts reported to police by a neighbor. He turned out to be a dealer. Within four hours he was arrested.

My comments:

Some problems remain. The effort ultimately is in response to a miss-begotten War on Drugs which has contributed to conditions of criminality. Neighbors are still suspicious as to how long the improvements will last, and some other residents beyond the immediate impact zone of the project complain about the proliferation of cameras. And while drug and prostitution crime has dropped from 79 to just over 30 in the year of the DMI project, violent crime has shown a very modest drop, and property crime has plateaued during that time. And there is the the hydraulic nature of crime; push it out of one area, and it tends to crop up elsewhere. But both police and neighbors are hoping the relationships and trust which have been built up will persist well after the neighborhood has been won back from criminal activity. And the market remains shut down.

"It was beautiful" Salvador "Sal" Castro, leader of the 1968 LA school walk-out

PBS Evening News tonite..

This segment recalls how Parents stood with their kids when the young Latino students made demands on the unequal education system and WALKED OUT of classes in May 1968.

Kids and Parents together.

This is instructive to those millions of young graduates saddled with massive debts and new low-paying jobs. And their parents which share the burden. This will be a key specific issue with the potential for disruption in this society. And families can only be strengthened by moving on it.

Can someone clarify with links, the gun-types used by the Navy Yard murderer?

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