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Desc:More Steve Shives.
Category:News & Politics, Educational
Tags:Common Sense, Steve Shives, alarmists, atheists who dont suck
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Comment count is 15
Cena_mark - 2014-01-17
He's hit it right on the head. Before the internet made me a better person it made me worse. I bought into a lot of 911 Truth Alex Jones tripe. When Steve says they'll ignore him because they're so in love with their Tom Clancy narrative. That nailed it right there. Being into these conspiracy theories makes you think your life is so much more exciting. You believe you have forbidden knowledge and that there is an enemy to fight.
This is one reason why we can't get any decent gun control. As long as tons of loons believe the 9mm under their pillow is the only thing preventing the next holocaust we'll always face rabid defense of guns.
EvilHomer - 2014-01-17
Well, the main reason we can't have any "decent gun control laws" is because, as Steve says, we're still a nation that believes in the rule of law and respects the Constitution. But having a significant population of hysterical Truthers helps, too!

As far as Steve's main thesis goes, I think we can all agree with him! The United States is not "a police state", at least not in the sense that he and many of the more extreme Jonesites might use the term - a bleak autocratic dystopia full of Hollywood style Nazis "askink to see your paperz" before hustling you off to some shadowy re-education facility.

However, it does bear pointing out that the United States is undeniably a *prison* state. This assessment is not based on any anecdotal statements (such as "neither I nor any members of my white family have ever personally been harassed by the cops"), but rather on cold, statistical evidence. We have the highest rate of incarceration in the world, almost seven times that of China (a country which Steve advances as an example of a genuine "police state" about six and a half minutes in) and four times that of pre-war Nazi Germany (which sets the standard for our modern fantasy of "the police state"). Guantanamo Bay, the PATRIOT Act, the NSA, these are all real things that Steve acknowledges... and then dismisses, because they don't add up to his fanciful vision of a "police state" which, I'd argue, has never truly existed anywhere but in our collective imaginations.

I'm not saying he's wrong, but he's not exactly right, either. In debunking this ludicrously soft target, he slips into the same sort of "what, me worry?" thinking that has historically defined the general public's attitude towards runaway systems of authority in which they find themselves embedded. Like most things, a better answer might be found in the middle - away from both the shrill hyperbole of the Alex Jones set, and the raging-for-the-machine exasperation of Mr Shives.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-01-17
One might, in fact, be forgiven for thinking that the whole Punch and Judy show is a distraction from the very real societal and climatic changes that are occurring around us.

EvilHomer - 2014-01-17
Also, Cena, you allude to "decent gun control laws". We do have solid gun control laws already, at both federal and state levels, including waiting periods, background checks, restrictions on various weapon designs, and blanket ownership bans for convicted criminals.

What more do you propose?

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2014-01-17
@EvilHomer: Better enforcement and modernization, especially the latter. Right now, gun sales/registrations are, by law, only allowed to be hand-written in paper ledgers. Apparently, the paranoia tells the NRA-types that a computerized system allowing to, say, quickly determine who owned/sold a gun used in a crime is just a hair away from mass firearm confiscation. Ergo, the ATF has to deal with these ledgers that get sent in from gun shops, many vandalized by said gun shop owners, where they're put in a warehouse and slowly transferred to microfilm because it's becoming physically impossible to store all of them before degradation becomes a problem.

One doesn't have to demonstrate one even knows which end of a gun the bullets come out of to own one. Conceal-carry is a joke, as the last time I checked, one could get a CC license via an online form from the state of Virgina or West Virgina. Then, because gun-states are all buddy-buddy, your CC permit that was completed without any other humans involved is honored in 30+ other states.

As for restrictions on various weapon designs, those are a joke. The NRA and others muddied the process of determining what an "assault weapon" is to the point where it's nigh meaningless. Not to mention that every gun and rifle made for the military eventually gets approved by the same nutters in congress to be available for civilian purchase. I'm just glad they drew the line at missiles and RPGs.

Then there's the whole de-funding of medical and statistical studies of gun injuries/deaths by the NRA's allies in congress, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

Bort - 2014-01-17
"One might, in fact, be forgiven for thinking that the whole Punch and Judy show is a distraction from the very real societal and climatic changes that are occurring around us."

Forgiven, perhaps, but "it's all kabuki theater for the masses" isn't a very solid model. Most of the major current events resolve pretty predictably if you assume that people in government aren't that far removed from people you deal with on an everyday basis, meaning some are well-informed and well-meaning, others are pure shitheads, and still others are just plain oblivious. The "Punch and Judy" model seems to be best for ex post facto explanations that lean heavily on circular reasoning ("Obama threatened Syria because he was trying to distract from the Obamacare site issues, which we know because Syria distracted from the Obamacare site issues"), but that's about it.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-01-17
Here's a good gun control issue. What to do about all the WWII and Vietnam vets who are armed to the teeth and hitting the age when Alzheimers kicks in? You want to be the one to take grandpa's guns away, if he can't even recognize you? And still dealing with the PTSD? Perhaps Mr. Simpson would care to comment on that, he must have a few stories by now judging by the activity in this neck of the woods.

Monkey Napoleon - 2014-01-17
The reason we can't get decent gun control law is because there's literally only two factions that care. On the one side you have the hardcore gun nuts who view any regulation as treasonous, and on the other side you have ignorant dumbasses who don't actually know the first thing about guns.

Everyone else just owns them or doesn't.

Miss Henson's 6th grade class - 2014-01-17
I've gotta say, Mark, I'm pleasantly shocked at how much you seem to have changed in these few short years.

memedumpster - 2014-01-17
You have to imprison like twenty black people to count as one real person, so actually our prison population is quite low.

Cena_mark - 2014-01-17
I wouldn't call them solid. Just about anyone can buy a gun and no classes and training are required.
Then the fact that there are so many guns means we have a jam packed black market. You don't have the crazy black market in countries with few guns. I was even reading an article about how thugs in England have resorted to using flair guns since real guns are hard to acquire.

Gmork - 2014-01-17
We may not be a police state, but we sure have a lot of horrible cunts for cops!
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-01-18
counterpoint: It's catchy to sing about!

Bort - 2014-01-18
Kirsten Dunst has started to look really mannish.
kingjackhammer - 2014-01-18
The U.S. is not a police state, unless you are black or brown.
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