I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

106 Responses to “Cartoonists speak out for gun control”

  1. wysinwyg says:

    In before “Whaah, this post doesn’t cater to my political sensibilities!”

  2. CSBD says:

    Its all fun and games until the “Gunists” lobby (pay) congress to enact cartoon control.

    Your right to free speach is as meaningless to them as their rights to own guns are to you.

  3. tempo says:

    At first I wasn’t sure, but these hollywood stars and cartoonists have convinced me that it’s definitely time to give away some of our rights.

    • I know, right? I mean I was totally on the fence about civil liberties until I was swayed by the nuanced arguments made by people who are famous for making funny pictures every day. I knew that their years of making people laugh gave them all the experience they needed to understand the finer nuances of Constitutional Law, and that they totally must be right.

      • JT says:

         @dballing:disqus and @boingboing-2d80d61b0a7d708754400f4a2d2d57d2:disqus

        +1

      • Girard says:

        Rather than these foolish cartoonists, I would much rather my country’s legislation be dictated by the gun lobbyists, who obviously are constitutional and human rights scholars, and who clearly don’t have any ulterior motives or vested interests behind their advocacy apart from a tireless love of liberty. And they’re certainly above capitalizing upon the image of Hollywood stars, unlike these crass liberals!

        • jerwin says:

          Scholars?Why does the right fetishize “constitutional scholars”, while castigating other professors as liberal elites?
          It reminds me of a Islamic Republic, where Islamic scholars (Taliban is Pashto for students) run roughshod over common decency.

        • Rob Rivers says:

          Say what you want about the lobbyists, but on a very basic level they are giving us choice. You can say the same thing about the abortion lobbyists, and the pot lobbyists.

    • sarvin says:

      I wish Tom the Dancing Bug would write something half as funny as what you just wrote. Usually I’m amused by the cartoon but lately it’s felt ill-thought out, “graspy” and just un-funny. I can’t tell if it’s me, that the author doesn’t actually understand the issue or that the cartoon just happens to be a miss with me.

    • chenille says:

      It’s like they think being famous gives them an obligation to try and effect positive social change. Everyone knows that should be left to people who actually understand issues, like lobbyists.

      • Totally. I mean, think of all the kids with cleft palates those cartoonists could be helping. Think of the positive social change they could make if they just started, y’know, fixing those cleft palates.

        What? You mean they’re not trained in plastic surgery? And know precisely squat about the intricacies of what needs to happen for such a thing to be done safely? You mean their sending in a drawing to the “YOU TOO CAN DRAW CARTOONS!” contest didn’t qualify them to be surgeons? Well, here’s a hint… it gave them exactly the same level of qualification in ConLaw.

        • wysinwyg says:

          And yet celebrity campaigns to raise money for fixing cleft palates helps thousands of children every year.  So perhaps they don’t need to be experts to address the issue and help in some way.  After all, they’re not proposing to craft the policy which would be the only way your analogy would make sense in the first place.

          • They’re already proposing to infringe. They’re fuzzy on the details.

          • wysinwyg says:

            “Infringe” what?  I didn’t use the word at all in my comment so it seems a little out of context in your response. Seems like you’re a little fuzzy yourself.

            Please don’t give me any moralistic bullshit about “rights” unless you have can demonstrate you were half as upset about the Patriot Act back in the early 2000s as you are about gun rights now.

          • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

            @wysinwyg:disqus For my part, I was and remain absolutely livid about the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, black prisons, extraordinary rendition, and sundry other illegal-on-their-face activities of the US government.  
            I’m equally upset about a host of other abuses and the development of tools of state power that would tend to facilitate further (or different) abuses.Do I have the right to be wary of this push to attenuate people’s rights?

          • wysinwyg says:

             @kringlebertfistyebuns:disqus The point is that these discussions inevitably become moralistic ranting about “legal rights” that is completely divorced from the reality of how our society actually enforces and regulates legal rights.  It seems to me a diversionary tactic, especially when so many of those ranting about “legal rights” don’t seem nearly so concerned about any rights so much as the (already “attenuated”) “right to bear arms.”

            I’d rather have a discussion about how we could move in the direction of Canada — stricter gun control, lower crime, and comparable rates of gun ownership.  I’m happy to concede relative ignorance on many specific aspects of gun ownership and regulation but folks on the anti-gun control side seem unwilling to concede anything.  I support legal, safe, and reasonable ownership and use of firearms but the anti-gun control rhetoric insists that I am an oppressive pro-government statist for even suggesting that gun control could be more sensibly implemented and possible reduce the availability of untraceable firearms in the black market as a result.

          • @ wysinwyg … so what you’re saying is that you’d like to move to a system that takes away the civil rights of gun owners, and you wish they’d just stop bitching and moaning about their “legal rights”.

            As soon as you start subjecting yourself to a background check before you’re allowed to speak in public, or a psych eval before you’re allowed to go to the church of your choice (but not a church with any of these meaningless-but-scary beliefs), then we can start having a chat about paring back 2nd Am. rights.

          • wysinwyg says:

             @dballing:disqus Thank you for so thoroughly proving my point for me.  Let me count the ways:

            so what you’re saying is that you’d like to move to a system that
            takes away the civil rights of gun owners, and you wish they’d just stop
            bitching and moaning about their “legal rights”.

            No, I’m saying what I actually said: that most anti-gun control idiots don’t actually give two shits about legal rights and only use the “right to bear arms” as a moralistic talking point — a club to silence dissent.  A tool for controlling the dialogue.  A backstop against ever having to compromise with any sort of reasonable regulation.

            As soon as you start subjecting yourself to a background check before
            you’re allowed to speak in public,

            The perfect demonstration of what I was talking about: you’re making an empty, moralistic, sarcastic non-argument by completely eliding context.  To justify regulation of public speech and guns to the same exact degree as you suggest would be to suggest that public speaking and gun use have similar or identical potential for causing harm.  Do you really believe that public speaking and gun use have the same potential for harm?  You’d have to be one of the dumbest people on the planet to think so — I’m going to be generous and assume that this is another dishonest, moralistic attempt to divert attention from the substance of the discussion.

            or a psych eval before you’re
            allowed to go to the church of your choice (but not a church with any of
            these meaningless-but-scary beliefs),

            And again, does attending church have the same degree of potential harm as gun use?  No, of course not.  The parenthesized bit seems to be empty posturing and baiting — again, trying to distract from the substance of the argument and rile emotions.

            then we can start having a chat
            about paring back 2nd Am. rights.

            As I’ve already demonstrated the only reason we can’t have this chat is because you’re not willing to take a reasonable position.  You’re falling over yourself trying to poison the well of any discussion about this.  A reasonable position would admit the concession that guns are more deadly in a direct in palpable way than are words and so they perhaps bear a little more regulation — in keeping with the intent of regulation of legal rights which is to minimize harm.

            If you were willing to get serious about what “legal rights” actually are and how they’re regulated we could have a discussion — but you’re trying to avoid that at all costs.  The more of this behavior I see from your side the more certain I become that you don’t have any real arguments.

          • cavalrysword says:

            I doubt anyone has any problem with celebrities using their fame to help in such situations.  You would have to look long and hard to find anyone objecting to helping children with cleft palates.

            On issues where the correct thing to do is highly disputed, I think they would be better served to shut up and do more research.  Their fame is not sufficient to justify opening their mouths.  ”With great power comes great responsibility.”  (SpiderMan)

        • chenille says:

          There are musicians, linebackers, and actors who work to help people with cleft palate. That you would make fun of people who listen to that sort of thing, and not people who listen to industry hires, says a lot about you.

          • If you think the NRA, who gets around 10% of its budget from the “industry” and the rest from the membership, and who has an industry positively SCARED to cross them, is a shill for said industry, that says a lot about YOU.

          • ikegently says:

             I don’t buy that 10% number, and I would bet you don’t really, either. I’m no expert, but I think when you add up individual contributions of people who make their money selling guns and ammo, official industry contributions, advertising, memberships bought by gun manufacturers for people who purchase their guns, etc., you come up with something quite a bit different.

            I found this interesting:
            http://www.businessinsider.com/gun-industry-funds-nra-2013-1

            As the article says, advertising sold to the gun industry raises the NRA 10% of their revenues alone.

          • ikegently: So, from that article, what? 25% maybe (the 10% direct, the 10% in ad-sales? But some %age of that ad-sales money is actually, legitimately, ad-revenue).

            That still leaves a VAST majority of their annual budget coming from gun enthusiasts (and yes, some of those gun enthusiasts might be gun store owners, or gunsmiths, or people “in the biz” as it were, but they’re certainly not, as a rule, large enough to be “funneling” anything meaningful).

            The 10% number I quoted is the same 10% number that the BI article you mention quotes as their annual sponsorships. Did you also happen to read the BW article about the industry itself being terrified of the NRA?  http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-14/why-gun-makers-fear-the-nra

          • chenille says:

            I’m sorry, I thought I was talking about hired experts. Most NRA donors probably know even less about constitutional law than someone like Trudeau, so I’m sure you would tell me nobody should care about their opinions either.

          • ikegently says:

             see my comment below. 45% comes from membership, and the largest individual member donors are individuals who make their money from the selling of guns. I count more than 10% (and more than 25%) coming from the industry, whether directly or indirectly.

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             And *poof!* Derek Balling is gone..

      • len says:

        I don’t think tempo is saying that cartoonists aren’t allowed to have an opinion. Some of them are political cartoonists, after all.

        The problem with this video is that it is completely devoid of rational argument. It’s congratulating people for having the same beliefs as some of their favored cartoonists, dressed up as a vague call to action. Is it about the failed background check bill? Is it advocating gun confiscation and the repeal of the 2nd Amendment? Who knows, it’s whatever dog whistle you hear. The important thing is we all hate guns!

        • ikegently says:

           I don’t hate guns. But I do hate people getting shot. Especially kids.

          • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

            I think it can safely be said that virtually everyone hates that.  

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             Obviously not.

          • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

            @Navin_Johnson:disqus Fallacy Of The False Dilemma

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             You may want to reread the definition. You’re supporting more death by not supporting completely benign background checks. That’s the most despicable thing about gun extremists, they don’t have the guts to admit that.

          • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

            @Navin_Johnson:disqus :  

            You may want to reread the definition.  You’re supporting more death [...]

            Your comment was a textbook example of black-or-white thinking, as is the above.  

            Opposition to expanded background checks does not confer a pro-death status on a person, any more than opposing TSA security theatre makes someone pro-terrorist, or being pro-choice equals pro-death.

            [...] by not supporting [...] 

            Straw Man : I never made a statement pro or contra expansion of background checks.

            FTR, I couldn’t care less if they broaden background checks, but doing so to cover private sales isn’t necessarily going to curb gun violence, particularly mass-murder events.    

            That’s the most despicable thing about gun extremists, they don’t have the guts to admit that.

            Ad hominem.  Nice.  

    • Rob Rivers says:

       lol.. you gotta use the /s tag for liberals.

      This reminds me of liberal’s big push to use stars like Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, and Andy Griffith, to talk to baby boomers through nostalgia,  to push obamacare- which since it’s become a bit clearer of what it is, has been a complete nightmare.

  4. Wonderful.  Truly great.

  5. anon0mouse says:

    This implies that politicians are doing nothing.  That does not appear to be the case. Whatever the message, it is difficult to compete with the rustle of dollar bills rubbing against each other.

  6. cavalrysword says:

    Very nicely done work, by some of my favorite cartoonists.

    It was moving.  And I do not doubt in the least that it is heartfelt and sincere.

    However, it is also, in my opinion, wishful thinking.

    The world is a dangerous place.  Always has been, always will be.

    Guns are a tool.  Inanimate objects.  How they are used depends on who is using them.

    Mentally unstable people will do mentally unstable things.  They will use what is available and what suits their image of what they are doing/their plan.  The Boston Bombers had guns.  They chose to lead off with pressure cookers.  We need more mental health facilities and treatments.

    Likewise evil people will do evil with whatever is at hand.  We need to detect them earlier, and put them where they cannot harm people.

    Intolerant people will always do intolerant things.  Whether that is kill people they disagree with, or just take away some of their rights.

    • anon0mouse says:

      This is very true.  However, when you say:

      “Likewise evil people will do evil with whatever is at hand.  We need to detect them earlier, and put them where they cannot harm people.”

      I believe limiting the access to harmful tools from those who would harm people is at the heart of what is being sought, not indiscriminately abolishing those tools.  From what I can tell, your beliefs do not seem incompatible with weapons control.

      • cavalrysword says:

        My belief is that weapon control is IMPOSSIBLE.  

        Your primary weapon is your mind.  And with it, you can fashion weapons out of pretty much anything.  I saw a guy who was stabbed in the throat with an icicle.  You can’t outlaw winter.  I can blind you with sand.  Try making deserts illegal.  Any blunt object you can lift can be used as a bludgeon.  Outlaw chairs?  Then where would wrestling be?  8)

        That said, I am in favor of doing background checks.  But I also know they won’t totally stop the problem.  Because of many reasons.  Some people who will pass the background checks with later snap and go off the deep end.  Some will loan weapons to friends who the “know” are okay.  Some weapons will be stolen.

        For that matter, what you propose may do nothing more than bring back “zip” guns.  (You can make a gun using part of a telescoping radio antenna as used to be quite common on cars)

        My belief is only compatible with weapons control if you think such a thing is possible.

        I do not.

    • Tynam says:

      Actually, your argument rather proves the cartoonist’s point.  The Boston bombers killed a _lot_ fewer people (though they injured more) than if they’d just used guns.

      You’re correct that mentally unstable people will use what is available; since there are and may always be unstable people, that’s a good argument for having single-purpose mass-killing tools be less available.  (Bombs are also harder to make, find and learn to use than guns.)

      Immediate difficulty in availability can also lead people to rethink their course of action.  (When barriers are placed to prevent suicides on bridges, the suicide rate at that bridge generally drops without a corresponding increase elsewhere in the city.)

      • cavalrysword says:

        You assume facts that are not in evidence, are not provable, and are just plain wrong.

        First off, you do not and can not know if they would have killed more or less people if they’d had guns.  There is no information I know of about their marksmanship abilities.  And there were lots of medical personnel right on the scene, so many more wounds would have been survivable.  They chose not to use guns, I think, because they could not escape and carry on their plan if they had.  Too many cops in the area to get away with it.

        You imply that guns are only a “single-purpose mass-killing tool”.  Wrong.  But probably pointless to argue with you.

        You think that bombs are harder to make find and learn to use than guns?  Where do you spend your 4th of July?  There are bombs and components for sale all over the place.  And they are no more complicated than lighting a fuse.  One of the things I like about bombs is the number of bombers who manage to blow themselves up.  And I won’t detail any of the field-expedient ways to make a bomb.  But I’m sure more than a few people here can support my statement that it is very, very easy.

    • ikegently says:

      Blaming mental illness is very dangerous. People with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators.

      Also, reducing the number of guns isn’t going to prevent pressure cooker bombs, but that isn’t the point. It will reduce access to guns, which are used in a lot of violent acts.

      • cavalrysword says:

        So are kitchen knives, and cars, and baseball bats…. the list goes on.  Basically, you can’t prevent violent acts from ever happening.  

        Recognizing that mental illness is a factor (surely these people can’t be called sane) and calling more for care and treatment of the mentally ill is not dangerous.  Reagan turned them out on the streets in the thousands, to the long-term benefit of no one.  I can easily point out a dozen homeless people in my area who I think should be in a mental care facility, and whose life expectancy and quality of life would be greatly improved by it.

        And I don’t consider that to be a bad thing.

    • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

      Interestingly, in light of reports that the Boston bombers may have used dismantled fireworks as either a source of test materials or in the actual bombs themselves, I’ve seen at least a couple suggestions – almost as if they were caricatures written by some NRA counter-troll – that fireworks ought to be more heavily regulated.  

      • wysinwyg says:

        Many states already do.  If these guys did that as described they almost certainly purchased their fireworks from NH and not MA because fireworks purchases are very heavily regulated in MA.  I’m confused as to why this is necessarily a bad idea, though.  Here’s statistics for just WA state:
        http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/statistics.htm

        • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

          I just think it’s interesting that the first reaction some people have to the possible misuse of  fireworks is to want to clamp down on their availability.

          From the stats you posted, I’d actually say fireworks are pretty safe in terms of injuries and deaths. 

          If I read correctly, that link says there were 140 fireworks injuries reported in Washington State in 2010.  With a state population of 6,724,540, that’s 0.000021/100,000.  

          Nationally, there were about 8,600 fireworks injuries (3 deaths) in 2010, for a rate of 0.00002785/100,000 if I’m calculating correctly.  Link to that info is here:

          http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/113894/2010fwreport.pdf

          There’s also the fact that fireworks have been getting safer, despite their increased availability and use:

          http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2012/jul/04/bill-weimer/fireworks-executive-says-theyve-never-been-safer-a/

          • wysinwyg says:

             Right, but do the cost benefit analysis.  $2.1 million dollars in damages against the freedom to…keep your neighbors awake?  Blow your fingers off?  I don’t understand the obsession with fireworks in the first place, people watching fireworks always look like a bunch of glassy-eyed farm animals to me.

            What’s so important about fireworks that justifies the millions of dollars of damages caused by misuse of the same?

          • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

            What’s so important about fireworks?  Nothing.   They’re just pretty noisemakers.

            But do you really want a society where the state gets to decide what people do and don’t “need,” or to protect us from ourselves?  

            I hate the epithet “nanny state,” but the philosophy you seem to be endorsing just screams that idea.

          • chenille says:

            <Please remove – reply to a vanished comment.>

          • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

            Well, okay.  How about injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks sold?  That stat is covered in the Politifact article I linked to.   It bears out the same idea – roughly 4 injuries per 100,000 pounds sold.    Meanwhile, fireworks imports (almost all come from China) have almost doubled in the last 20 years.  

            The misuse I speak of is the type wherein people other than the user are recklessly (or deliberately) endangered.  Two consenting (if foolish) people having roman-candle fights, while stupid, isn’t something IMO the government has any business trying to protect against.

          • cavalrysword says:

            There may be a logical disconnect in your argument.

            Consider this paraphrase:  ”I think a more useful statistic in this context is what percentage of those who actually are in auto accidents suffer property damage, injury or death.”

            Seems to me that you are biasing your statistics in favor of your argument.  No comment on whether that is intentional or not, I have no way of knowing.

            Just pointing out the effect of your selection bias.

  7. SedanChair says:

    All good, all funny, all wrong. For once I can be thankful that cartoonists are on the outside of the power structure.

    • ikegently says:

       Can you please explain what is “all wrong” about this? (And, for that matter, what is “all funny,” too.)

      • SedanChair says:

        The cartoonists are all funny artists whom I respect. (The video is not funny, it’s cloying and maudlin.) But they are making the mistake of assigning blame to “the gun lobby” like it’s a bunch of fatcats.

        The gun lobby is just people like you and me who want to keep their rights. Just like the “speech lobby.”

        • ikegently says:

           Well, they are not just like me. They spend a ton of money to protect their “right” to keep selling guns (most of the money comes from the gun industry, not hunter in the Upper Peninsula, e.g.), putting their personal profit above the wishes of 90%+ of the public in the USA. I haven’t done that. 

          • Whoa whoa whoa….

            “(most of the money comes from the gun industry, not hunter in theUpper Peninsula, e.g.)”

            Cite your source. Even the BI article you mentioned elsewhere in the thread doesn’t come close to reaching a majority (which you’d need for your “most” assertion to be valid).

            MOST of the money comes from gun enthusiasts. 

          • ikegently says:

             45% comes from membership.

            http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-11/nra-raises-200-million-as-gun-lobby-toasters-burn-logo-on-bread.html

            considering that the largest membership contributions come from industry CEOs – Larry Potterfield is the top contributor, I think – I’d say <45% comes from your average gun enthusiast who is not making money from guns. So, I stand by the statement that most of the money comes, either directly or indirectly, from the business of guns.

        • wysinwyg says:

           Umm, not really.  That’s really disingenuous.  The weapons industry quite obviously has a lobby and the NRA is itself a lobby.  It’s not just “little people”.

          • SedanChair says:

            Yeah but they take action based on what we tell them to do with the money we give them. 

            The gun industry didn’t used to be so rights-oriented until we corrected their perspective. In 1994 Bill Ruger came out in favor of magazine capacity limits, and gun owners punished his company for the betrayal. Now, Bill Ruger is dead and his company played a large part in coordinating efforts to swamp Congress with mail and phone calls. We in turn are rewarding Ruger with record sales.

            Why is this so hard to understand? We WANT the industry to be inflexible assholes about our rights. Learn from this political relationship, because it is one of the most successful ones in American history.

          • ikegently says:

             I’m with you on the “assholes” part.

          • wysinwyg says:

             

            Why is this so hard to understand? We WANT the industry to be inflexible
            assholes about our rights. Learn from this political relationship,
            because it is one of the most successful ones in American history.

            It’s not hard to understand.  You have a lobby.  The lobby acts as lobbies do.  It’s not “little people,” it’s people with elite connections moving lots of money around to try to influence public policy.  They’re not like “you and me”.  Just don’t lie about it and there won’t be any misunderstandings.

        • Navin_Johnson says:

           Haha. It’s not by any stretch.

  8. peregrinus says:

    Does the NRA monitor BB posts and send out a call to arms every time this issue comes up?

    30,000 people a year in the USA end up pushing up daisies after receiving a lethal injection of 2nd Amendment rights.  Did anyone notice?

    • SedanChair says:

      Yes, we’re all foreign agents. No one who likes tech and weird stuff likes guns

      • peregrinus says:

        That’s funny.  But can I ask for a positive contribution to the discussion on how to reduce that 30,000 figure?  Just so’s I know you actually acknowledge there’s an issue.

        • SedanChair says:

          End the War on Drugs, duh

          • peregrinus says:

            That would have prevented the deaths of

             Nancy Lanza
            Rachel D’AvinoDawn HochsprungAnne Marie MurphyLauren RousseauMary SherlachVictoria Leigh SotoCharlotte BaconDaniel BardenOlivia EngelJosephine GayDylan HockleyMadeleine HsuCatherine HubbardChase KowalskiJesse LewisAna Marquez-GreeneJames MattioliGrace McDonnellEmilie ParkerJack PintoNoah PoznerCaroline PrevidiJessica RekosAvielle RichmanBenjamin WheelerAllison Wyatt

            how?

          • SedanChair says:

            It wouldn’t. It would prevent thousands of others. Do you only care when the deaths are national news?

          • peregrinus says:

             That’s a lazy, slovenly way to answer the question.  It’s like watching a bingo player ticking off boxes – no really!  It is.  Laying out trite, pre-prepared notions and distractions to re-frame or de-rail the discussion.  But never, god forbid, actually letting the clutch plates meet.  Evasion, avoidance and misdirection.  That’s all you got.

            Had the Newtown killer not had access to firearms – let alone easy access to an XM15 – he would not, and could not, have armed himself without facing a lengthy procurement process and challenge from an informed and vigilant supply network.

            Every death by firearm is a death too many.  All 3,700 since Newtown – of which 65 were children and 185 were teens.

            And I still don’t see you lot making any proposals on how to reduce the 30,000, beyond slipping out vague comments and facile rebukes.

    • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

      Consider that BB tends to attract people who have a civil-libertarian bent.  A non-trivial number of those people are probably going to be gun-rights supporters to one degree or another.

      Of those 30,000 people who die every year, fully 2/3 are suicides.  While that’s a lot, the overall suicide rate of the U.S. isn’t noticeably high, and in fact is much lower than some countries with strict gun laws.  There are quite a few other countries whose gun-ownership rates are much lower, without a much lower overall suicide rate.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

      • peregrinus says:

        Suicide is an awful sadness.  But looking at homicide rates:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

        Sort the table on homicide rate by firearm.  Find the USA.  I’m not comfortable that the USA ranks at the top of developed nations, nor the company it keeps in the table.

        I’m a pragmatist.  I can’t conceive of a Utopian world where no-one has weapons.  Guns are here to stay.  But the starting point has to be – make it hard to get one.

        Weapons make big money.  If we could track the usage of each and every weapon manufactured in the US or by American companies, we’d have some spectacle to look at. Same goes for any manufacturing nation – but we’re looking at the US here.

        It isn’t necessarily the gun ownership rate – it’s who has them, and how they get them.

        And the more guns being packed, the more deaths by gun.  It made horrible sense in 1850′s Oklahoma, but now?

    • Johnny Come Lately says:

      Shocking, that someone can be both a gun owner and a liberal/maker/boingboing enthusiast. 

      • peregrinus says:

         Not really.  The target here is the mad proliferation of weaponry and ammunition far in excess of the need or justification supported by the 2nd Amendment.

        The concern is that people who argue so loudly, with so little basis, and who mis-quote and twist the laws upon which the right to bear arms are based, have and continue to create a pervasive and toxic culture that causes 30,000 people to die a year.

        Screeching on about rights being taken away when in fact we’re in a gun wonderland that the writers of the 2nd amendment never conceived of.  Using every rhetorical trick in the book to hustle people away from curtailing any element of the weapons and ammunition world at all.

        • cavalrysword says:

          The writers of the Bill of Rights could not have conceived of most of the 21st Century.  They lived in a 7-mile-per-hour world, for the most part.  Ours is speed of light for information, and hundreds of miles per hour for objects (people included).

          Thomas Jefferson suggested there should be a Constitutional Convention every generation or so.  I think every century would not be unreasonable.

          The only thing constant is CHANGE.  We need to adapt.

      • Navin_Johnson says:

        “gun owner” (hunting, sporting fun) vs. “gun owner” (fanatic, militia, fetishist, extremist). The loud folks against sane regulation fall in the latter definition.

  9. incipientmadness says:

    I was a bit surprised to see Mallard Fillmore in there. Never would have guessed. 

    • Snig says:

      I thought it was him for a bit too, but that’s actually Ruben Bolling’s character, Lucky Ducky. 

      • incipientmadness says:

        And I thought it was Mallard even though I’ve seen a lot more of Lucky in the last couple of years than I have of Mallard. Maybe I just hoped it was Mallard. 

  10. JohnHinesJr says:

    “Demand action.  Now.”  Well, so long as we’re doing something, it’ll all be okay.  

    I’d prefer the message, “Demand reasonable discussion.”  Instead we have both sides screaming at each other, and a lot of fear-mongering going on by extremists.  While I’m on-record as opposing most of the proposed gun control measures, no one has ever asked me what I think would work, or what I would be willing to support, or why.  

    The meaning of compromise seems to have been lost on those screaming the loudest.  Yes, there are reasonable controls we can put in place to help reduce the number of firearms deaths.  Yes, there are real and valid reasons to avoid a gun registry, capacity limits, and banning specific currently-legal weapons. But nothing is going to happen for either side of this debate until we come together and talk about it, and work it out, and experiment in the American fashion.  All of the yelling is distracting, and it causes the moderates on both sides to dig their heels in deeper.  

    As a supporter of both the first and second amendments, I find the vehemence for one and against the other on this site to be quite striking.  I’ll be in my room, if anyone wants to talk.

    • “As a supporter of both the first and second amendments, I find the vehemence for one and against the other on this site to be quite striking.  I’ll be in my room, if anyone wants to talk.”

      TBH, this is why I’m “cyclical” on BB. The deeply held passionate love of the 1st amendment, and the thinly-veiled abhorrence for anyone who would defend the 2nd usually drives me away. But like a certain mobster in a certain movie, just when I think I’m finally “out”, “they pull me back in.” :) 

  11. Marja Erwin says:

    First, people who are mentally ill are much more likely to suffer violence, and no more likely to inflict it. Our whole society demonizes the mentally ill, and that is a problem, and policies targeting the mentally ill add to that problem.

    Second, vulnerable minorities are often labelled mentally ill. Rape survivors. Bashing survivors. Autistic people. Trans people.

  12. Leto_Atreides says:

    Why didn’t they include pressure cookers in the cartoon? I say enough.

    • chenille says:

      Sadly, there have already been over 140 Americans killed by guns since the last one killed by a pressure cooker; within a week or so it should pass even the number injured. We might stop pretending they’re comparable issues.

  13. Since you can’t shoot down a F-16 or an ICBM even with a .50 cal BMG, how come it ain’t legal to own your own predator drones and smart bombs?  The cops have grenades and tanks and shit and so should every drunk hick cause the constitution SAYS you can.  Arms is arms!

  14. peregrinus says:

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free
    State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be
    infringed

    These aren’t separate phrases in the 2nd Amendment.  Why does the gun lobby insist on pretending the first half doesn’t exist?

    It’s old-fashioned, sure, but so is their granpappy’s hunting rifle.

    Is the NRA the militia?  I’m confused.  Where’s the militia that the people who drafted and ratified the amendments to the Constitution put in there?

    • ikegently says:

       Well, I for one fully support people’s right to join the National Guard and the National Guard’s right to arm their members. And you can pry those rights from my cold, dead hands.

      • peregrinus says:

         Yeah, right?  Even Rambo didn’t take issue with his pursuants being armed.  Rambo himself.

      • Johnny Come Lately says:

        The national guard is not the militia. The national guard didn’t even exist until 1903. 

        • peregrinus says:

           What then is the militia?

          • SedanChair says:

            Males 18-45 according to the SC (US v. Miller)

          • peregrinus says:

            US v. Miller is a lovely case.  The Supreme Court made very clear in 1939 (reversing US v. Miller)  what the 2nd Amendment was for, and how to interpret it.

             ’A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.’

            And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.”

            Obviously the 2nd Amendment has been shafted from every angle ever since.  ’Well regulated militia’ my eye.

            … the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense

            So … women aren’t allowed own guns?

            And gun owners capable of acting in concert for the common defense?  Yeah, right.  There’s a spectrum of capability, sure, but anyone willing to distort the Constitution and pay money for the privilege of doing so – well, that’s just crazy, it’s not competent.

            You lot have been undermining Constitutional Law ever since, and that’s a sad sight – in doing so, you betray your fellow citizens, you erode the rule of law, you have made society less safe.

            All because there’s a load of money in it, and guns are fun.

            Nicely done.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        They want rights, not responsibilities. It’s the Constitution as interpreted by a surly nine year-old.

        • cavalrysword says:

          That’s just basically name calling of people who do not agree with you.

          Which I think should be beneath the moderator.

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      The people who drafted and ratified the amendments to the constitution were deeply suspicious of anything like a standing national army, and wanted to do things the way Israel and Switzerland have occasionally tried to do them – every citizen a well-armed, well-trained patriot prepared to fight for his rights.  That’s the militia they envisioned.

      Regardless of whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing, we do not live in the country the constitution’s framers dreamed of.  We have a standing army, we have corporations with indefinite terms of existence, we have the AMA, we have political parties, and people other than white property-owning males can vote.  All these things were fervently opposed at the nation’s founding.

      If we’re going to bring back the ideas of the founding fathers, we need to start by eliminating political parties and dismantling the medical-industrial and military-industrial complexes.  Good luck with that!

      In the meantime, it’s awesome that Ruben got his friends (rivals?) to make a statement.  Published artists have a podium; they should use it with all their might, in accordance with their beliefs.

  15. Philboyd Studge says:

    What terrifies me is the apparent news that The Family Circus continues to be published.

    • cavalrysword says:

      Great take!  A gem of funny in this garbage heap of dissension.

    • Philboyd Studge says:

      The Family Circus ruins any enjoyment of  what preceded it, and sours you on anything afterwards. It’s the comic-strip equivalent of finding a toe-nail in your food.

  16. Nate Byrnes says:

    The problem with gun control is simply this: Criminals don’t respect the law. That’s why we call them “criminals”. Guns are illegal? Think a criminal is going to respect that?
    I don’t think that “If they were restricted they’d be harder to find” is a valid argument either. Illegal sources *will always exist*- again, because they (criminals) don’t care a whit about “gun control law”, or any law period.
     The only people that gun control law will “control” are honest, law-abiding citizens, who should have (according to our constitution- don’t deny it) the right to bear arms.

    • peregrinus says:

       Come to London and buy a handgun or a Bushmaster.  Ain’t gonna happen.

      The difference between a nice procedure in a friendly gun shop and buying a dodgy .45 in a back alley off a geezer coked out of his mind is stark.  To get a gun here, you have to deal with some pretty rough people.

      I get what you’re saying.  But people keep shooting kids.  12 and under.  Something has to happen.

  17. Syn - says:

    It will never cease to amaze me how many of these gun apologists appear on these posts. What is so defensible about an instrument of death? It’s disheartening and depressing. You guys are dying by the hundereds, and refuse to take a single step, a single consideration, in an attempt to fix it. An absolute shame to our kind. 

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