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Texas For The Win!

With a Bible quote too! I make a deep, low bow toward the west. Texas, y’all!

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114 Comments To "Texas For The Win!"

#1 Comment By Gretchen On March 2, 2018 @ 1:39 pm

Cato: Marco Rubio tried to make that “what about similar weapons” in the town hall he did. Said the Assaut Weapon ban of 1994 didn’t work that well because there were so many loopholes for similar weapons (which were put in it in a futile attempt to placate the gun lobby). He wanted that to be and excuse to do nothing. Did you see the crowd reaction? It was, fine, close the loopholes and ban them all. The Whatabout similar weapons? Why not ban those? Argument is over. The NRA can come to the table and hash out what they are willing to concede, or the negotiations will go on without them and they will get far less than they want. Trending on Twitter after the town hall? We should rename the AR15 the Marco Rubio because it’s so easily bought. Ouch.

#2 Comment By Mapache On March 2, 2018 @ 3:01 pm

“[H]ealthy people doing themselves in is not seen as beneficial.” By whom? And, what business is it of anyone other than the person choosing to kill himself? If one wants to blow his head off with a gun, isn’t that just the business of the one doing so? It’s awfully judgmental to tell him he can’t do it or to restrict his means of doing it. One might say it involves one person shoving his morality down the throat of another. After all, there is no real truth, just my truth and your truth. That’s what we’re taught today. Let’s live with it, or maybe die with it (if we so choose).

#3 Comment By EngineerScotty On March 2, 2018 @ 4:34 pm

[H]ealthy people doing themselves in is not seen as beneficial.” By whom? And, what business is it of anyone other than the person choosing to kill himself? If one wants to blow his head off with a gun, isn’t that just the business of the one doing so?

Well, if someone wants to kill himself, by any means that don’t harm another, I don’t consider that the proper business of law enforcement. (There may be some jurisdictions where attempting suicide is unlawful; I don’t know).

But “liberals love suicide, and some people off themselves with firearms, so liberals are hypocrites for wanting to ban some types of firearms” is a profoundly stupid argument, both in its premise and in its conclusion.

Liberal desires to regulate firearms aren’t due to the possibility that someone might kill themselves. It’s due to the possibility that someone might decide to kill others, and certain classes of firearms make it easy and efficient to do so, in large numbers, and quickly.

#4 Comment By Jefferson Smith On March 2, 2018 @ 5:32 pm

[NFR: Yes, Paul was an Apostle, and as such, was a founder of Christianity. Peter was the first bishop of Rome. But if you ask a Catholic who founded the Catholic Church, they will say, “Jesus Christ.” — RD]

And yet, interestingly, the immediate followers of Jesus Christ — Peter and the Jerusalem “Pillars” — either believed he had intended that converts to Christianity must be circumcised and follow Jewish dietary laws, or they assumed this because Jesus himself had left the matter unclear. Hence it fell to Paul to clarify that anyone could become a Christian without also converting to traditional Jewish practices. Without that insight — which clearly did not come from Jesus (at least during his earthly life and teachings) — probably no worldwide Christian church would ever have developed. And hence no Roman Catholicism as we came to know it.

@russ:

To the argument that Christians don’t follow Romans 13 very well (especially in terms of vulgarity and slander towards those on the far left), that’s very often true. … For others reading this, you can readily see from a more holistic view of scripture that God does not expect Christians to follow the orders of evil government authorities.

@Jonf:

One can believe that government in general is instituted by God and not believe that every person in government, including those claiming sovereignty, are the Lord’s Chosen.

Right, so basically, you’re both saying that Romans 13:1-7 is just wrong — or anyway, that it can’t be defended on its own terms as stated, but only as “holistically” corrected by the totality of Scripture, with its other passages and stories that militate in the other direction. Yeah, OK, I agree with that.

None of this would matter — it would be, as russ says, just a “gotcha” — except for two facts: (1) People like this sheriff in Texas quote Romans 13 as if it justifies current policing policies (hey, who’s proof-texting there? hmm?), and (2) Christian conservatives continually remind us that this or that passage in the New Testament proves that, for example, gay people shouldn’t have equal rights. That argument would look a lot less disingenuous if it wasn’t coming from people who are clearly content to ignore some Scriptural commands when it suits them.

Also, russ, I believe I am as much of a Christian as you are. Whether this reflects more on you, on me, or on the term “Christian,” is something we’ll learn only in the hereafter.

#5 Comment By Mapache On March 2, 2018 @ 5:58 pm

“It’s due to the possibility that someone might decide to kill others, and certain classes of firearms make it easy and efficient to do so, in large numbers, and quickly.”

Some people need killing (e.g. a group of home invaders bent on rape, robbery and perhaps more). Certain classes of firearms make doing so easy and efficient, and that’s a good thing.

A profoundly stupid argument is that responsible, law abiding citizens should be denied access to semi-automatic rifles (including AR-15 platform rifles), shotguns and handguns.

#6 Comment By Joe Beavers On March 2, 2018 @ 6:25 pm

You know, like athletes, armed people come in all varieties. There are some, like the Garland police officer and the Capital Police who quickly and competently take out rifle bearing jerks.

There are some who shoot themselves in the leg (or worse).

So, let’s not try to make a “one solution fits all” scenario.

Same thing with school teachers. Quit trying to make a state/national law one way or the other and let the school staff figure it out.

#7 Comment By Cato On March 2, 2018 @ 7:39 pm

@Gretchen okay so let’s do this this way. I am simply going to point out all the ways you don’t know what you are talking about.

“They are not useful for hunting since they liquefy the meat.”

They fire one bullet at a time, and have generally not been permitted for deer hunting as they aren’t powerful enough. Wild hog and coyote hunters are actually quite fond of them. The AR-15 is actually regularly described as a varmint rifle.

“They are not useful for home defense.”

You did NO research. It is commonly bought specifically fore this purpose. Do you understand that not all bullets do the same thing on impact?

“They are the weapon of choice of mass shooters”

The only way you could have arrived at the number you arrived at, 34, of mass shootings this year was by including the vast majority of mass shootings involving handguns.

” They are reportedly fun to shoot. Fine. Keep them locked up at licensed gun ranges.”

And how do you intend to enforce this policy? Modern sporting rifles, of which the AR-15 is just one, are incredibly common, and let’s face it, more common now than a week ago. Are you going to break down the doors of tens of thousands of people who don’t secure them at the range?

“They make their owners feel very manly parading around intimidating their neighbors in open-carry displays.”

I have to say, despite living in some very red states I’ve NEVER seen one paraded around in public. Have you EVER seen that with your own eyes?

” So, explain why these weapons should not be outlawed, given their minimal upside and their substantial downside.”

For several reason.

First of all, and this is important, we should not give in to hysterical and ignorant people. The rifles are like pit bull terriers, mosques, and Catholic priests, things whose negatives are wildly exaggerated by people who know little about them, yet expect their uninformed opinions to carry GREATER weight than those that do. You have repeatedly shown you know nothing about this subject yet have talked down to the people that tried to reason with you. To give in to a person such as yourself on this, or any subject where you behave in such a way, does society a great disservice.

Second of all modern sporting rifles, which is all the AR-15 is, are in incredibly wide circulation now. Making them illegal would require draconian enforcement and would lead a number of states to nullify any federal law that attempted it. Honestly I could even see counties flatly refusing to comply with states on this in the south, west and Midwest. You are going to open up the gates of Hell this way. And yes it is YOU doing it.

Third, the fare more effective solution would be to limit the magazine size on semiautomatic rifles, but you know so little about the subject that you can’t even arrive at this idea. You didn’t know what an AR-15 actually is, you didn’t know what semiautomatic meant, you didn’t know anything about modern handguns, you didn’t know what the weapon of choice for mass shooters was because you don’t know what mass shooting means.

And yet somehow, YOU are talking down to US.

#8 Comment By Gretchen On March 2, 2018 @ 8:11 pm

Hmm. Republican Governor Scott of Florida is opposing the NRA, calling for new restrictions and rejecting ideas like arming teachers. Rep. Carlos Smith describes Republicans in Florida as “scared sh*tless”. The tide has turned.

#9 Comment By VikingLS On March 2, 2018 @ 11:06 pm

“Liberal desires to regulate firearms aren’t due to the possibility that someone might kill themselves. It’s due to the possibility that someone might decide to kill others, and certain classes of firearms make it easy and efficient to do so, in large numbers, and quickly.”

That might be true, but a lot of liberals like lump suicides in with the murders and accidental deaths when they talk about gun deaths.

Of course nowhere is it written that you have to be anti-gun to be liberal. You seem to be making every attempt to be reasonable.

And heck, Ted Rall, is pretty progun.

#10 Comment By sdb On March 2, 2018 @ 11:28 pm

The article has not been dealt with until you explain why these weapons should be available to the general public.

Whether one needs the product or not is irrelevant to whether it should be legal.

“They are not useful for hunting since they liquefy the meat.”
This is false. The .223 is not useful for hunting small prey for food because of this. However, if one is trying to control varmints, then the 223 is great, and the semi part is necessary. The larger .308 win mag is a much more powerful cartridge that is far more lethal (that is why you can hunt large game with them). If the firearm is capable of taking down feral pigs humanely, they will do a doozy on people.

“They are not useful for home defense.”
Says who? I suspect that brandishing such a rifle would make most intruders/threats think twice.

“They are the weapon of choice of mass shooters, which is why they are under discussion.”
That is true in 7% of school shootings according to Vox.

“They are reportedly fun to shoot. Fine. Keep them locked up at licensed gun ranges.”
That would defeat the purpose for varmint hunting, self defense, etc…

“They make their owners feel very manly parading around intimidating their neighbors in open-carry displays. This is not a public good, and certainly not a public necessity. So, explain why these weapons should not be outlawed, given their minimal upside and their substantial downside.”
1. The downside is small and the upside is quite large.
2. One’s rights should not depend on whether the action is “necessary or not”.

#11 Comment By sdb On March 2, 2018 @ 11:45 pm

Liberal desires to regulate firearms aren’t due to the possibility that someone might kill themselves. It’s due to the possibility that someone might decide to kill others, and certain classes of firearms make it easy and efficient to do so, in large numbers, and quickly.

I don’t know about “liberal” but many of the cases I’ve seen for firearm reduction are tied to the correlation between firearm ownership and suicide. When we look at who dies from firearms, a huge fraction of suicides. Unfortunately stats are a bit slippery in how they handle “firearm violence”.

[1] showed that in talking about firearm violence, race matters. The firearm homicide rate among african American men in their 20’s is about 74/100k. It is 3.8/100k among white men in their 20’s. This is comparable to the most violent nations on earth! If you look at black men and white men over all, you see slightly smaller divide (28/100k vs 3/100k) – it isn’t clear to me whether this breaks out hispanic white or not. What is my point? If we are interested in saving lives, our interventions should be targeted where they will do the most good. The firearm fatality rate for young black men is truly alarming! I suspect that the things we should be focusing on are the things that drive so many young black men into crime and gangs that result in such a large number. I’m pretty sure it isn’t $1500 rifles that are the problem. It may feel good to ban scary looking long guns, but I don’t see that making a dent in what is really a crisis that largely goes unnoticed. The firearm fatality rate among young black men is comparable to the homicide rate in the most violent country on earth (excluding places with ongoing war) – Honduras. Finding ways to help young black men excel in school, find work, get their life back on track when they do something wrong, and get a good job after paying their debt to society are where we should be looking in my not so humble opinion.

However, if you look at the numbers, it looks to me like firearm fatalities from suicide overwhelm all the other causes taken as a whole. If we don’t care about suicide, then 2/3rds of fun fatalities are no big deal. I’m not sure anyone really believes that though.

#12 Comment By sdb On March 3, 2018 @ 3:52 pm

“Hmm. Republican Governor Scott of Florida is opposing the NRA, calling for new restrictions and rejecting ideas like arming teachers. Rep. Carlos Smith describes Republicans in Florida as “scared sh*tless”. The tide has turned.”
Awesome. Hysteria leads to more misguided policy and increased divisiveness… Who gains and who are the useful idiots?

We’ve been down this road before with the war on drugs, war on satanic child abusers, war on terrorism, and so on… This is just more of the same.

#13 Comment By russ On March 3, 2018 @ 10:11 pm

@Jefferson Smith:
Oh my, first I call you Jefferson Davis then I call you a non-Christian. I apologize again, and will try not to jam my own foot down my throat a third time.

Anyway, if you also agree that Romans 13 (and any other piece of Scripture one wants to interpret) is best interpreted in light of other Scripture passages that deal in the same topic,I guess we’re in agreement there. What’s your take on Romans 13 then, in light of other Scripture?

(1) People like this sheriff in Texas quote Romans 13 as if it justifies current policing policies (hey, who’s proof-texting there? hmm?)

What did he say in the memo that qualifies him as a government authority that should be opposed? I mean, I didn’t see a defense of “current policing policies there.” What am I missing?

(2) Christian conservatives continually remind us that this or that passage in the New Testament proves that, for example, gay people shouldn’t have equal rights. That argument would look a lot less disingenuous if it wasn’t coming from people who are clearly content to ignore some Scriptural commands when it suits them.

I don’t know why we’re talking about homosexuality now, but I thought we agreed earlier that Scripture interprets Scripture? So, what does this have to do with Romans 13:1-7? Perhaps because it’s late Saturday night, but your argument seems to be rolling all over the place now.

#14 Comment By Jefferson Smith On March 4, 2018 @ 3:43 am

@russ:

Thanks, but no apologies are called for. I appreciate your interest in my views. Also, may I say, I appreciate that you’re interested in inspiring an interest in history in kids. I wish all parents thought that way.

Answering in reverse order: I mentioned homosexuality, and the supposed intolerance of Scripture for it, because it’s something we hear about a lot on this blog and reflects, I think, a view of Scripture held by many other commenters here. We’re often told that Scripture is “clear” on the matter. My point is that it’s clear on other things too, which nonetheless conservative Christians find ways of ignoring or downplaying if they find them inconvenient. For instance:

1. It’s clear from Scripture that human beings were created separately from other creatures (or rather, that this is what the biblical authors believed). Yet the Roman Catholic Church and others now accept evolution. After centuries of teaching the six-day special creation, they just moved the goalposts: now, it’s fine to accept that humans evolved from other life forms and that there was no literal Adam and Eve, as long as you affirm that God “guided” evolution and that only human beings have souls.

2. It seems pretty clear from Luke 14:6 and other passages, including many in Paul’s letters, that you have to be Christian in some sense to be right with God. Yet the RCC now teaches that Jews, who know perfectly well of Jesus’ divine / messianic claims but reject them, are nonetheless right with God in their own way. And it at least hints that the same might even be true of Muslims.

3. Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29-30 and Luke 18:29-30 quote Jesus himself promising rich rewards to people who abandon their wives, children and parents. As far as I know, nobody even bothers to try to explain this one away; these verses are left out of the liturgy (right?), are virtually never preached about, and we all just pretend they’re not there. And yet other verses in the very same chapters are quoted against gay marriage.

4. Most of what Jesus said about wealth, worldly goods, “the rich man,” etc., is also ignored in practice — although since this was so central to his teachings, there are at least some efforts to explain it away, like the inspired suggestion that the “eye of a needle” is something that camels actually could get through because it wasn’t the eye of a needle, it was the name of some gate someplace. (Which, even if true, Scripture somehow managed to leave unclear to its millions of readers for most of 2,000 years.)

I could go on, but the point is that Scripture is a sprawling, complex collection of writings that variously teach and command many things. One can distill some kind of overall message(s) from it, and in that light, can read the particular passages I’m referencing here “holistically,” as you suggest. As I said, I agree with that approach — it’s basically theological liberalism — but it also demands that we read the Bible’s scant references to homosexuality (and other current issues that are still “hot buttons”) in the same capacious and nuanced way. Instead, when it suits them, conservative Christians suddenly drop the the holism and demand that we follow this or that passage to the letter. It’s intellectually dishonest.

So what I would say about Romans 13 is that it’s a portion of a letter that an important man wrote on a specific occasion, in reference to specific issues raised within a particular community at a given time, and that he very likely would have written it differently if he had had an inkling that it would be elevated to sacred status and read for thousands of years by millions of people seeking guidance in a great variety of situations under a great variety of governing authorities. It’s like much of Scripture in that way: onetime “occasional” and even ephemeral writing that got transposed out of its original context. That’s why liberal biblical scholarship tries, among other things, to reconstruct those original contexts. Clearly, in the new context of a big book that means to convey a general message and set of precepts for a whole religion, Romans 13 needs to be “bracketed” in some sense, because what it’s saying, on its face and in its own terms, is just wrong: Christianity sets standards that in some cases demand non-submission to the governing authorities. As I say, Paul himself might well have clarified this if that had been the question put to him.

Finally, the sheriff: It seemed to me he was saying that he and his deputies are agents of God’s avenging wrath. Maybe that’s just a literary flourish or conceit that has no impact on how they actually do their policing. But we wouldn’t know this for sure unless we had more facts about his department’s operations. It doesn’t seem to me like an especially healthy way for a civil servant in a democracy to think about his responsibilities.