The heroism of Ukraine soldiers defending their homeland at great personal risk are a remarkable contrast to Uvalde law enforcement officers who did nothing for and hour and forty minutes while 19 grade school children and teachers were massacred by an 18 year old sociopath with an assault rifle. To clarify their cowardice, an investigator responding to the inaction of the 19 heavily armed officers refused to take action because they were afraid they would be shot. Let me state that again, the 19 heavily armed officers didn’t take action because they were afraid they would be shot. These cowards have richly earned immediate termination of employment and termination of all benefits. Risking your life to protect others is a cornerstone of police responsibility: to protect and serve. Perhaps these kings of cowardice could find employment more accommodating to their character constructing flower arrangements, sewing sequins on skating costumes or frosting doughnuts.

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May 27, 2022·edited May 27, 2022

I understand that the insurance industry in this country is pretty powerful. What would they say to a shot at some firearm insurance action? A whole new market category? I’m imagining they’d like it. They might even be willing to contribute to political campaigns that ran on the idea.

Seems too easy. Why am I wrong?

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How could Dems make DC a State without eliminating or reforming the filibuster? They can't, right? It's not eligible for reconciliation and would never get 60 votes. An infrastructure bill is eligible for reconciliation. The DC Statehood and other pro-democracy reforms were a dead letter once Manchin and Sinema hardened against even the most modest filibuster reforms.

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Regarding gun control in this country - sounds like we’re no longer a “can do” nation.

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Is there anything we can possibly do to change the culture such that gun ownership, particularly gun fetish types, are seen as socially horrific? Like smoking or drunk driving?

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Even if Democrats could find enough Republican votes on federal gun control legislation, it would be destined for nullification in the Supreme Court. It's sickening and totally hopeless.

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We really are ruled by the minority. The founders intended that minority to be the educated landowners. Jokes on us. The uneducated minority are the tool of the conservative wealthy. We are not a democracy. We are ruled by the minority. LET THAT SINK IN.

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The only thing that will change gun laws is for the progressive left to start open carrying. Everywhere it is legal. Be showy and visible, but scrupulously compliant with local gun regs. This requires the same commitment and discipline that the early civil rights movement exhibited. Some adults may be arrested, beaten or even shot and killed simply for showing up at Starbucks and carrying, but lots of adults--both black and white--were arrested, beaten or killed to end Jim Crow. These assholes need a taste of their own medicine. They are cowards. If everybody who is not a member of their club started packing, they'd start whining about "those people" having guns.

There are ways to disable a gun, and of course it would not be loaded. The point is to have somebody who looks like Antifa wearing a pistol on her hip when she goes to Target.

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JVL, can you please explain why the Dems haven't passed a reform of the Electoral Count Act? I see Biden dancing as fast as he can, and getting a lot done in spite of vicious headwinds. So it's curious why he wouldn't take action (or his friends in Congress won't) to protect our votes.

Also, I'd like to see the electoral college replaced by popular votes. I'm guessing you can tell me why you think that's not a good idea (if that's what you think.) If it's too much to answer here, maybe write about it in the coming days? thx.

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DC and Puerto Rico, ideally.

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From the excerpt, JVL, I think you're misinterpreting that article -- from your front porch while shouting at the kids to get off your lawn, by the sounds of it. It looks like weariness. It looks like a young person born into a culture of the aged, of people who idolized, grew up with, then bought K body cars as their coffin cars.

It doesn't excuse the remedy of "Just get the fuck off of Twitter, already," but it's not decadence in the classical sense of moral rot and an essential decay eating at society's underpinnings.

We have Mark Zuckerberg for that.

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"If you believe that this state of affairs is suboptimal for our republic, then maybe Democrats should have made the District of Columbia a state instead of spending their political capital on an infrastructure bill."

Well, yes. But on Bulwark podcasts people who want to enlarge the Supreme Court are mocked and derided.

Which is it? Do we need structural reform or not? And if more States are a good idea why not enlarge the Court?

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May 25, 2022Liked by Jonathan V. Last

"That wouldn’t have fixed the gun problem, but reducing the leverage that rural voters have over the rest of the country is a necessary precondition to any progress on this front."

That doesn't require probably unconstitutional gimmicks like DC statehood, and there's a real permanent fix available. Rural states have an unfair advantage in the House and the Electoral College because Prohibitionists gave it to them in the Reapportionment Act of 1929, a big piece of their eventually unsuccessful attempt to protect the 18th Amendment. Freezing the House of Representatives at 435 members pretty much froze the apportionment as it was at that time, under-representing big (wet) states and just redistributing the same number of chairs every ten years.

Going back to the Founders' original plan of letting the House --and the Electoral College -- grow with the country would actually be a conservative reform, and it would return us to the balance we should have had all along. Making the population of One Congressional District equal to the population of the least populous state would ensure every state at least one Representative, but keep the delegations of growing states growing, as they should. And all it would take is an Act of Congress, not a constitutional amendment.

Admittedly, fixing the House doesn't change the Senate, but it sure changes the Electoral College, which is a big deal. And you can't add enough states to change the Senate anyway. The Senate was designed to operate the way it does -- but the House and the Electoral College weren't. We've let them be sabotaged.

I guess this idea doesn't get any traction with Democrats because it's identity issue neutral, and seems like technical tinkering, not a Big Idea. As for Republicans, they like the results of the 1929 hijacking just fine.

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As usual, JVL hits the nail on the head, especially his three reasons why the gun problem won't get fixed, especially #1--the 2nd Amendment, and #3--the stupendously high number of guns in the US. I am firmly convinced that the only two things that can solve our gun problem are to repeal and/or re-write the 2nd Amendment, and then confiscate a lot of guns. Gun reform laws will not be enough. The U.S. is a world-wide disgrace when it comes to gun violence.

And for the people who say "You'll have to take my guns out of my cold, dead hands", just wait long enough, some idiot will probably make your hands cold and dead while you're grocery shopping or visiting your kid at school and then you won't have to worry about whether you'll get to keep your guns.

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We can change this. However, we've been going about it in the wrong way.

If you think we can't change it, consider smoking. As recently as 50 years ago, smoking was universal. As recently as the late 1980s, you could still smoke pretty much anywhere you wanted. In the 1990s, it was still permitted to of-age school children. And as recently as the 2000s, smoking was fine in most restaurants and bars. Now it's basically extinct, and not coming back.

What changed? There was no great anti-smoking law passed by congress and carried down from Sinai on stone tablets. What changed was the culture. We went from a society where smoking was socially acceptable to one in which it wasn't. That's what needs to be done, with guns, in order to effect real change– in short, we need to change our society from one in which gun ownership is laissez faire to one in which irresponsibility with respect to guns is not tolerated.

Tobacco and drunk driving campaigns have offered us some valuable lessons about what works and what doesn't.

1. Anti-smoking campaigns were very successful convincing the public that smoking was disgusting and gross. Sure, the lung cancer info was nice. But what really worked were ads that showed what smoking did to your teeth, your lungs, your gums, your heart. Having trach patients come on TV and speak creeped people out. They also worked with the motion picture industry to remove cigarettes from TV and movies. It became very uncool, very fast. Also, they worked with businesses to prohibit/limit smoking. They didn't ban it....but they made smoking something you just didn't very much want to do.

With guns, grossing people out is easy. Start running ads of gunshot victims and wounds. Have doctors who work in HBO chambers talk about what they do when someone comes in who's been shot up. Make it clear that not all the victims are from "bad guys with guns." Some are accidental, and others strays. Some can be suicides.

2. MAAD was very successful with commercials of drunk driving victims. They'd show home videos of kids playing, with captions showing they've been killed by drunk drivers. In many cases the drunk driver was a friend or loved one....they never told you that, and it didn't matter. The point was drunk drivers killed people and needed to be stopped. This laid the groundwork for stricter drunk driving penalties, and victim impact panels. You can do the same thing with gun violence victims. And just the goodwill you build with that to support stricter penalties for gun crimes or crimes where guns are present. Make the penalties STRICT. Even for accidental deaths. And start requiring victim impact panels. Start allowing the states to talk to each other about who has guns.

3. Another good thing MAAD did was destroy the myth of the "good drunk driver." The guy who has 2 beers and is safe to go home. "Friends don't let friends drive drunk" attacked this trope. So, on the one hand, they had nameless, faceless marauders who murdered innocent children by drinking themselves into oblivion and then driving 100 mph into wrong way traffic; on the other, the villain is your friend at the bar who seems fine.

The same thing needs to be done with guns. Most gun crimes and most gun violence isn't committed by evil, soulless criminals. It's committed by people you know, in the heat of the moment. Or by someone having a bad day, or bad year. They're not "bad guys with guns;" they're good people with guns who do bad things. The trope of the good guy with a gun needs to be attacked. This can be done with ads, just like the ones above, except noting that the killer was mom or dad, who accidentally left the gun unattended; or by a domestic violence abuser who got angry. Do it right and these can be very powerful.

4. Finally, there needs to be responsibility imposed. While not smoking or drunk driving, another very powerful ad was "Don't mess with Texas," which was an anti-littering campaign that villainized littering by making it seem weak. Run ads showing mach gun owners taking gun safety and training courses. Also, ads showing that responsible gun owners purchase liability insurance. No one– and I mean no one– is better at tracking and tracing and regulating behavior like insurance companies.

Create an environment in which owning a gun is a heavy responsibility, an environment where carelessness with guns is taboo. Change the culture!

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May 25, 2022·edited May 25, 2022

With due respect for the points made by JVL regarding this subject today, I will copy what I posted elsewhere last night after my wife and I saw the news from Texas, with only a couple of changes to better make my point. And if the words I added at the end make anyone reading them mad or uncomfortable or give any pause, then they will have accomplished their purpose, and I stand by them regardless of the reaction.

I am so angry at the moment I won't try to write anything here beyond this...

If you're an American and you're ok with dead school kids by the dozen as opposed to something - ANYTHING - in the way of an effort to attempt to stem this tide of bloodshed; if you think the blood of innocents on a schoolroom floor is an acceptable price for your hallowed right to own and use a gun, virtually any gun made for any purpose, just keep on voting Republican. For as long as the GOP has enough political power to continue to aid and abet this evil either by its actions, such as the insane relaxation of existing firearm laws in several states such as Texas (with more to come), or its inaction, by steadfastly opposing any and every effort at both the state and federal level to bring sanity and common sense to this issue, all - ALL - for nothing more than its own despicable political gain born of a desperation to hold power at any cost, you shall surely and certainly have them, and you will have them aplenty.

Yes. I am a gun owner. No. I am not a Democrat. No. I am not a Republican. I'm an American. A saddened and very, very angry and pissed off American.

And to anyone who still thinks the GOP has any redeeming value, that it is the protector of you and the people and values you hold dear, that it's somehow a lesser danger to the life and welfare of the people of this nation than the Democrats, I suggest you find the nearest mirror, take a good long look, and ask yourself who it is, exactly, that you are.

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