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50 Senators, 50 Victims

[NOTE: Several people have written to say that they can’t read the names in the photo because they’re too small. Here is a link to the roll call vote of the measure this post is referencing—I recommend scrolling down to “Grouped By Vote Position—NAYs.” Alternately, you can save the photo to your photo library and that should enable you to zoom into a full-resolution version. I hope this helps!]

Above are the 50 United States Senators whose votes allowed Omar Mateen to purchase his weapons legally within the last week.

Above are the 50 United States Senators who, in the wake of the San Bernadino shooting, didn’t think that expanded background checks were needed.

Above are the 50 United States Senators who stand between all of us and commonsense gun control legislation that would make guns more difficult to access, especially for people like Omar Mateen who, according to the Los Angeles Times, had “been interviewed by the FBI twice and  had once been on a terrorist watch list.”

Above are the 50 United States Senators that the NRA has given $27,205,245 to during the course of their respective political careers.

Above are the 50 United Senators who may as well have each individually pulled a trigger on one of the 50 victims of the Orlando massacre.

Here’s how to contact them:

Now, please come ‘Like’ Hyperationalistthe page that brought you the satirical petition to allow guns at the GOP convention—on Facebook for more anti-gun, pro-reason content. 



Enough already.

At least 50 are dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando after one man—one man—walked in with an assault rifle and a handgun and shredded over 100 people with bullets. At least 50 of these people are dead in what is now our nation’s largest mass shooting ever.

I saw this tweet today from Esquire writer Luke O’Neil

At first it struck me as nothing more than a justifiably angry and cathartic reaction. But you know what? Fuck gun people. Fuck them all. Get these people out of your lives.

I’m not talking about your father-in-law who hunts and has a a couple rifles locked in the basement. I’m talking about people who think guns are sexy, people who carry guns to the grocery store, people who persist in the belief that guns make them and their families safer despite all available evidence to the contrary, people who fantasize about being a hero with their gun.

I doubt I have that many in my life to begin with due to the fact that I try to surround myself with intelligent and rational people…but I don’t really know how many peripheral friends and acquaintances are into guns and I want them gone.

If you are a person who is either enthusiastic about guns or hostile to the idea of much stricter gun control, I want you the fuck out of my life. Now. Your idiotic fetish and/or dogmatic attachment to an idiotic interpretation of the Second Amendment is a danger to me and my loved ones.

I fear you more than I fear terrorists or criminals because you are the people who keep us awash in the guns that end up in the hands of terrorists and criminals.

You are the problem

Please self-select and #gUnfriend me immediately.

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What I Love About Donald Trump

I know the exact moment I started to find Donald Trump more charming than revolting—sort of like a honey badger: adorable as fuck but not to be trusted. It was during the interview with Chris Matthews in which he said that women who have abortions should be punished. It was a despicable sentiment to be sure, but bear with me a second and take a closer look at what happened.

I recommend watching the entire clip (which I linked to above), but if you don’t have 1:40 to spare all you need to know before watching the short one below is that Chris Matthews has been pressing Trump on the issue. Trump tries to dodge for like about a second, but then this happens:

That is my favorite thing about Donald Trump. That moment or two when he just does the math and spits out the answer with perfect self-assurance. It’s a thing of beauty. He is so convinced of his own brilliance that he can’t see what could go wrong with simply running the logical calculation in his head and spitting out the answer. And he runs the equation like a perfect machine:

Abortion is bad ———> abortion should be illegal ———> women who have abortions would then be criminals ———> criminals must be punished ———> women should be punished for abortion

He is 100% straightforward about what he thinks he is supposed to believe as a Republican candidate for President of the United States. I’m not saying he believes them—I’m saying he casually adopted the basic talking points and then, when pressed, started following them to their logical end points without realizing or caring that those end points are fucking insane.

Donald Trump represents everything that is bad in humankind and he should never be President of the United States or president of anything. Obviously. I know that. But if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I can’t bring myself to loathe him with the sort of visceral anger that I felt toward, say, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz or Carly Fiorina.

Don’t get me wrong…I stand against everything he stands for and I will do everything I can to aid the cause of defeating him in November, but I just don’t feel the hate deep down in my cockles—and it’s a relief to have figured out why that is.

Much has been said about his psychological and emotional development that I won’t rehash here, except to say that his child-like nature is part of what prevents me from truly hating the shit out of him. He really is like a big orange baby man. He just happens to be a big orange baby man who has too much power by virtue of his wealth and is dangerously close to getting even more power by virtue of the inexhaustible supply of ignorance among the American electorate.

It happened again on Sunday when John Dickerson asked whether Trump’s complaints about the Mexican heritage of Judge Alfonso Curiel could be reasonably applied to people of other backgrounds:

I mean, look…you have to respect this more than the kind of artful hackery employed by the vast majority of Republican politicians and pundits. If pathetic phony Paul Ryan, for example, had employed this sort of simple, straightforward logic in deciding whether or not to endorse Trump, he might not have had to call Trump a bad boy the very next day and a textbook racist shortly thereafter.

Donald Trump is giving us an opportunity to hold a more honest election than we’ve had in decades, wherein the rotting, maggot-infested insides of the Republican Party are finally splayed out in all their glory for everyone to see and consider and vote accordingly. This is infinitely better than the normal charade, where some allegedly respectable old white guy pretends not to be the greedy, racist, chauvinistic asshole his policy positions suggest that he is. This year we’ve got a the real deal—a greedy, racist, chauvinistic, old white asshole who is loud and proud about who he is.

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Paul Ryan Has Always Been A Pathetic Phony

The moment I knew that Paul Ryan was a sad fucking loser was back in 2012, when he had just been thrust into the national spotlight as Mitt Romney’s pick for Vice-President and we were treated to endless fawning accolades portraying him as the anti-Sarah Palin.

He’s serious! He’s studious! He’s wonky!

We were told that Paul Ryan was something of a philosopher. He used to give out copies of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to his staff for Christmas. He once said this in a speech to the Atlas Society:

[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.

And then there’s this:

Paul Ryan on Ayn Rand

2009 Paul Ryan campaign video

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a dilettante looks like. Let me tell you the origin story of this silly little limp penis lookalike: Paul Ryan was your typical Young Republican douchebag when some typical older Republican douchebag told him to read Ayn Rand’s very long and very shitty novel because it would philosophically justify everything Republicans of all ages were fighting for. Paul Ryan read that novel and had an almost religious experience because he was stupid enough to think it actually said something meaningful, which it does not.

He didn’t think critically about this so-called philosophy called Objectivism or about whether Rand’s novels actually made a compelling case for that “philosophy.” He just picked up some key smart-sounding words and phrases that he could apply to just about any political situation and come off looking like the genius in a room full of chowderheads who can barely shit their pants without fucking it up.

But then, of course, he had to distance himself from Rand in 2012 because Ayn Rand was an atheist and that just wouldn’t do as a nominee for the Republican Party. So he threw her under the bus:

I reject her philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas.

But you see, Ayn Rand’s atheism was the only thing that justified her being such a stone-cold fucking cunt from the shit-crusted taint of the seventh circle of hell. It was Ayn Rand’s atheism that allowed her to hold the kind of political views that Ryan so admired. (To be clear, I am an atheist and I do not hold those views—nor do even a tiny fraction of a single percent of the atheists I know. But only a person who believes nothing could prescribe the sorts of policies advocated by Rand and the Republicans who love her.)

Ryan had apparently never been asked to reconcile his professed Christianity with the other big book he held so dear—and when confronted with the contradiction, he just punted. He didn’t soul search or admit error or even let go of any small piece of either belief system. Instead, he just rejected Ayn Rand the person and continued to pursue policies that would make her proud while still professing to be a Christian.

And so it is no surprise that Paul Ryan put his little cock and balls in a jar and handed them to Donald Trump today while expecting us to still think of him as a man. (Don’t worry Paul, we’ll let you use whichever restroom you want.) He was never going to feel compelled to square past statements on Trump with his endorsement because he’s never seen a need to square any of his mind-bogglingly contradictory beliefs with each other. Also, because they can’t be squared.

Paul Ryan is not serious. Paul Ryan is not intelligent. Paul Ryan is not virtuous—he just thinks he’s those things, which is what makes the whole thing extra pitiful.

Paul Ryan is now the political equivalent of Ted Haggard. He’ll continue to pretend (and maybe even believe) that he’s straight smart and drug-free principled, but after getting caught doing crystal meth with a gay prostitute endorsing Donald Trump, no one will ever believe him again.

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Bernie the Christ

I wasted entirely too much time yesterday indulging my need to argue with liberal Clinton haters. These things can quickly become a death spiral for me, so now I need to do this thing where I attempt to wash my hands of it on the totally-false-but-earnestly-made promise that this will be my last word on the matter ever.

First, let me say this: I know that the Bernie-or-Bust movement is probably not something I should be so worked up about. I know that they’re getting more coverage than is warranted because they’re loud and obnoxious and it’s good for ratings. I know that by arguing with them I am only perpetuating a cycle of horsefuckery that doesn’t necessarily help matters.

Having said that, I am incapable of shutting my mouth when people are being stupid fucking douchemonkeys and behaving in a way that has even the remotest potential to lead to very real and very negative consequences for other human beings and I can’t really apologize for that tendency—not in the gun debate, not in the LGBTQ rights debate, not in any other debate. I just can’t. Sorry/notsorry.

In all of these arguments I’ve been having, the favorite thing people like to whip out and slap me with is the assertion that I am—brace yourselves—a Hillary supporter. The super weird implication being that it’s useless to debate the Hillary vs. Bernie issue with someone who stands on one side of that debate. (This was incredibly perplexing until someone explicitly accused me of being paid by her campaign to shill for her, at which point I realized that’s what a lot of these people think—that no one could possibly support Hillary unless they were taking money from, like, Wal-mart or Monsanto or whatever.)

Supporting Hillary is not something I should feel compelled to defend myself against, but here’s the thing—and I’ve said this before but I really can’t stress it enough—I’m not really a  Hillary supporter, at least not in the only way their willfully feeble minds can conceptualize it—i.e. not in the way they are BERNIE SUPPORTERS. (Let me be clear that from here on out I am talking about Bernie-or-Bust people only.)

I’m not sure I know how to articulate this, but I’m going to try…

I am congenitally (maybe pathologically?) averse to joining clubs, by which I mean that I basically have zero allegiance to any entity other than my family, friends and ideals. I don’t have any clothing or paraphernalia bearing the logo of either of the colleges I’ve attended; there’s not a sports team on earth that I give a solitary shit about; I’ve lived in five different metropolitan areas and I don’t feel anything resembling a real hometown-style affinity toward any of them, including my hometown; I am not religious.

And so it makes sense that I don’t get particularly lathered up about particular politicians either. There are no saviors in politics; there’s nothing magical about any one politician. Sure, I was pretty excited about Barack Obama in 2008 (and he has made me proud for eight years), but I would just as easily have gotten behind Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton or Dennis Kucinich. There was never a moment at which it was Barack-or-Bust for me.

As I’ve written before, I was on the Bernie train for about six months. (As of today, it is still true that I have given more money to Bernie Sanders than to Hillary Clinton in this primary.) I got off that train because I did not like the  darkening tone of the campaign and the inclination of Sanders’ most ardent supporters to cripple the likely nominee by piggybacking off the attacks of the right wing nutjob machine.

This was my Twitter and Facebook banner for months.

Still, if Bernie Sanders’ had won the Democratic nomination, I would not have been even remotely disappointed. I know there are people who would have been, people who would have lost some sleep, people who would have maybe been nasty about it even, but they would have been wrong and I would not have been one of those people. I would have instantly and enthusiastically thrown my support behind him.

I have absolutely no allegiance to Hillary Clinton the person. None. Zero.

My allegiance is to a basic set of ideals about the direction we should be headed in—and I’ve never been anything less than annoyingly full-throated about what those ideals are. For what it’s worth, here’s where I fall on the Political Compass:

IMG_3657I’ve been ranting and raving about wealth inequality, universal healthcare, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, separation of church and state, abortion rights, and gun control for about 20 years now—and still I don’t have the nerve to think that my opinion or my vote is worth a penny more than someone who just got involved a few months ago when they first went to a Bernie Sanders rally, saw a bird land on a podium, and thought they’d been baptized.

I do, however, think it’s pretty fucking audacious to wade into a debate with me only to dismiss me as a sellout or lackey or political fanboy—or to merely label me a Hillary supporter and drop the mic (and then pick it back up and yell some more incoherent, unsubstantiated shit about fraud and treason).

I am way more than that just a Hillary supporter. But you, BERNIE SUPPORTER, you are merely a fanatic. You can’t imagine what it’s like to think strategically and pragmatically about an election because you are essentially at a tent revival, under the sway of a single charismatic figure who says he can heal you and everyone who comes to him. And those who don’t come to him? Well, they can go straight to the fiery pits of hell, those stupid corporate motherfuckers; they deserve whatever’s coming to them and we can all laugh in their faces when they get it because we are the righteous, we are the anointed ones, we have the ultimate source of knowledge and we will take all that shit and go home and leave them to burn in their devotion to the false ones even if it means we must burn with them bwahahahahahahaha!! Burn, bitch, buuuuuurrrrrnnnnn!!! Beeeeerrrrrrrrn!!!!!

UnknownCool, bro. Meanwhile the rest of us will be over here doing the real work of getting shit done one step at a time, one election at a time, with or without you—because fanatics come and go and can’t be counted on for more than brief paroxysms of excitement and effort after which they retreat to whatever useless shit they were doing before they found a shiny object that made them feel powerful for a hot second.

We are not devoted to a particular person at a particular time. We are devoted to the advancement of ideas about what it means to be a civilized society. We know that this is a long-term proposition that requires perseverance and persistence. We know that we can’t have it all today. Or tomorrow. We know that if we give up after any perceived or real loss or setback we will only be damaging the very things we claim to be fighting for.

If Trump wins this election, I know you’ll probably take a full minute and a half break from your video games to masturbate in the self-satisfied glory of the delusional belief that you were right, but I want you to know that I will never, not for one second, regret having told you and your walking messiah complex of a candidate to fuck right off to Fucktown.

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Real Talk on Nevada

@jkarsh nails the nuance and the nonsense surrounding the Nevada Democratic Convention in 26 perfect tweets. Enjoy!

[Because #2-26 are responses to the first tweet, there doesn’t seem to be a way to embed the subsequent posts without automatically including #1. Sorry about that.]

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Why We Still Need Michael Moore

I watched Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next last night. First, I have to confess that I’ve either outgrown Moore’s schtick or he’s gotten more annoying as the years have passed. I found myself frequently distracted from many of the film’s wholly valid propositions by the methods and style used to illustrate them. Maybe it’s just that I don’t need this material dumbed down for me the way I did in my late teens and early 20’s when I thought Moore was a hero—and so maybe it’s fine that he’s dumbing it down for the next generation or two. Still, it’s frustrating to see valid points undercut by unnecessary omissions and fudging.

Having said all of that, the sum of Where To Invade Next’s parts did knock me off-kilter a bit under the weight of it’s underlying themes. There’s real poignance in the film’s portrayal of an international community that has left us in the dust when it comes to emotional intelligence, a term I use not in an academic sense but as an umbrella to describe the web of psychological, intellectual and emotional characteristics that make a person or a people empathetic, unselfish, able to grasp nuance, measured in their response to challenging stimuli, thoughtful in their approach to problems, and so on.

On the surface, Moore merely reminds us that there are a number of things the rest of the civilized world does objectively better than us: health care, paid family leave, nutrition, education, incarceration, gender equality, etc. More importantly and more devastatingly, he leaves us with the distinct impression that they do these things better not because their political systems are better, not because they’re smarter, not because they’re less populous, and not because they’re inherently superior people. Rather, the rest of the civilized world does these things better because they’re just more mature.

One comes away from Where To Invade Next with the sense that the people of the nations featured are the placid sage to our garish brat: they have perspective regarding their place in the grand scheme of things; they are not attached to dogmatic ideas that feel morally correct; if there’s a smarter way to do something, they just do it even if it means letting go of a gut-level instinct to do it another way; they’ll sacrifice something good today for something better tomorrow.

I envied the subjects of Moore’s filmcitizens of Italy, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, and even Tunisia—not because they have stuff we don’t have, but because they don’t have the baggage that prevents us from having those things. We’d rather be “America” than be better.

Why should this be so? There are undoubtedly countless cultural and historical explanations for this maturity gap, but Moore raises an issue that led to a gut punch of a revelation that struck me as a key piece of any comprehensive answer to the question.

He spends a good deal of time showing us examples of the penance that Germany pays for its past—not token gestures, mind you, but a profound and constant genuflection of the mind and soul; a fierce ownership and passing down of their ancestor’s collective crimes against humanity. He contrasts this, not surprisingly, with our failure to own up to our original sin, slavery.

What hit me was really just a simple corollary: we were never punished. It’s not just that we still won’t fully acknowledge the magnitude of the original crime or the responsibility we bear for ongoing intergenerational poverty, oppression and suffering—it’s that no one ever made us pay.

Germany was defeated and crushed and reparations were extracted and atonement was demanded and while none of that will ever be enough, a lesson was learned and it is a lesson that has obviously stayed with the people of Germany. We, on the other hand…well, we fucking got away with it. And like a smug little bully, we knew it and concluded that we could keep getting away with variations on it through the years. For fuck’s sake, a school district in Cleveland, Mississippi was just ordered yesterday by a court to desegregate. Yesterday, May 16, 2016.

We’ve never been punished by anyone for anything, which is odd for a nation that like to punish, a nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the world. We’re one of the last western nations that is still executing people—on the premise that “an eye for an eye” is good enough moral justification; we regularly try children as adults; we send people to jail for being addicted to drugs; in the news this morning alone we did THIS and THIS; and God help you and your family and the country you came from if you’re a non-Christian who kills or seeks to kill Americans.

We’re all law and order and retaliation when it comes to crimes against us (narrowly defined) but we have never paid a price for kidnapping, abusing, torturing, raping, buying, selling and killing millions of slaves to help us build the wealthiest nation on the face of the planet. Hell, we can’t even get rid of the flag that stood for our right to perpetrate all of that horsefuckery.

Spare the rod, spoil the child. Spare the reparations…”wait, what?…fuck that shit…I didn’t have slaves!”

So of course we’re a spoiled rotten, immature little shit with no sense of personal responsibility to anyone or anything but ourselves. Of course we have incredibly stunted ideas about what made us great and what will keep us great (or make us great again). Of course we don’t need any stupid ideas from a bunch of pussies that got their assess handed to them seven ways from Sunday back during the WWs.

I think Rufus Wainwright has it right:

I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down
I’m going to a place that has already been disgraced
I’m gonna see some folks who have already been let down
I’m so tired of America

I’m not saying there’s honor in being disgraced or righteously burned down, but there is great dishonor and dire moral hazard in getting off scot-free, without some form of public expiation, for unthinkable crimes against humanity.

This learned entitlement, this impunity, it is in our blood and it has made us very, very childish. It has made us a people that would rather vastly overpay for healthcare than do something that could be called “socialist;” it has made us a people that will tolerate 30,000 gun deaths per year rather than give an inch on a misinterpretation of one line in a 225 year old document that allegedly justifies our obsession with these metal objects of mayhem; it has made us a people that would rather build and profit from more prisons than drug treatment facilities.

It has made us a nation that still needs an irritating dude with a camera to make this shit simple for us.

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Dear Lazy Idiots: Stop Blaming the Media for Trump

Stop. Seriously, just…just stop.

Imagine for a moment what you’d be saying right now if the media had not relentlessly covered the spectacle of a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States saying batshit crazy things, picking up endorsements from batshit crazy people, and otherwise demonstrating his manifest unfitness for the job with every breath, shrug, insult, dodged question and tweet.

You’d be saying “WHY WASN’T ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION TO THIS BATSHIT CRAZINESS BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE?!” You’d be blaming the media, alleging dereliction of duty, wondering how they let a dangerous crypto-fascist go uncovered when all it would have taken to crush him would have been to turn a camera and a microphone on him and let him speak. “Surely that would have been his undoing with Republican primary voters!” you’d chastise.

You might, of course, argue that he would never have been the frontrunner if not for the media coverage, but a) we can’t know what would have happened/not happened if the media had somehow conspired and colluded to ignore a Republican presidential candidate calling Mexican rapists, calling for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., mocking the capture of a former PoW/sitting Senator, etc. and b) well, this just doesn’t pass the smell test. Trump jumped out to an early lead within six weeks of having launched his campaign:

Once Trump was the clear leader of the pack, it was incumbent upon the media to cover him as such—and, frankly, even more so with every ludicrous, hateful, ignorant, and/or bigoted bit of bile he uttered. The very same thought process that led to the repeated humiliation of a thousand pundits—i.e. “Surely this statement will end his campaign,” “Clearly he will suffer from his performance in that debate”—would lead any rational person to conclude that they should let the camera roll every minute of every day in the interest of allowing the public to see what a fucking lunatic he is.

It’s much, much simpler than any attempt to blame the media: as Jonathan Chait pointed out yesterday, “The Republican Party turns out to be filled with idiots.” The voters chose this man despite having been given ample opportunity to watch and listen to his deranged, reality-TV circus act…by the media.

The Republican electorate is full of greedy, racist, ignorant fucking slobs who think Trump is awesome and who voted for him in overwhelming numbers in primaries and caucuses all over this great nation in spite of having been presented, by the media, with a mountain of evidence suggesting that he might very well be the worst possible man for the job.

And let’s not forget: Republican politicians, officials, pundits and candidates stayed basically silent while Trump rocketed to the top and stayed there. The same media people would now like to blame for his rise would have been more than happy, I am quite sure, to have given unlimited airtime to Republican statesmen and women who wanted to denounce Trump. And they did give them this airtime when a handful of cowards finally started limping out of the woodwork at the 11th hour to meekly proclaim that they maybe probably wouldn’t like to see Trump become President of the United States but must beat Hillary and so help us please what have we done #neverHillary #neverTrump help us god forgive us. Help.

So don’t blame the media, lazy idiots. It’s not that I think they need to be defended or that they covered Trump for high-minded reasons, it’s just that scapegoating them is the worst kind of moral and intellectual laziness at this point. Yes, wall-to-wall coverage of Trump is what the worst imaginable media landscape would look like, but it’s also what the best imaginable media landscape would look like.

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Funbags & Firearms

Guns don’t kill people, boobies kill people.

Right? I mean, otherwise why would there by countless ordinances, zoning regulations and laws banning or regulating the showing of luscious love melons in adult establishments all over America? What else would justify any attempt to interfere with the ability of small business owners to pursue the American Dream by building, operating and profiting from a product that is in demand—namely, the opportunity to sit in a comfortable chair and look at a smorgasbord of hum dinging howitzers in peace?

tempest-storm-guns_pas_un_autre Politicians, local officials and citizens have given serious thought to this matter, so one must assume that it is real problem that results in dozens, if not thousands of injuries and/or deaths per year, right? At the very least, chi-chi bars must produce effects that are far more deleterious than those created by, say, businesses that make, sell or otherwise facilitate the procurement and use of guns, right?

Clearly the very act of ogling jiggling jugs in windowless, adult-only establishments is a far greater danger to the nation’s children than, for example, giving a nine-year old the opportunity to shoot a fully automatic uzi at a burger joint. This is why many a state legislature has seen to it that huge hooter havens must adhere to a variety of rules, ranging from the “six foot rule,” which requires nude performers to maintain that distance from their audience, to prohibitions on “full nudity,” wherein strippers are compelled to wear pasties and/or something that covers their vulvas and the place where the poo comes out.

In many places, tough regulations have been used as a thinly veiled end-run designed to drive strip clubs out of business without running afoul of the First Amendment. Phillip Cosby (no relation to Bill Cosby), director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri, said it best while promoting a bill to “heavily regulate” these plush pillow plants, or “sexually-oriented businesses,” as they are known in the world of zoning and regulation

“These are not engines of economic prosperity,” said Phillip Cosby, director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri. “These businesses have a negative impact on communities.” 

The “Community Defense Act,” as supporters call it, opens with a long paragraph explaining that its purpose is to “regulate sexually oriented businesses in order to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of Kansas,” and not to restrict adult materials or entertainment that are free expressions protected by the First Amendment. 

Cosby said some examples of negative effects from adult businesses are an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, crime and general blight. 

“That’s why you can regulate them,” Cosby said. “That’s why you can restrict them, and there’s no infringement.”

40854What he’s citing here is the secondary effects doctrine which “formally holds that a speech regulation will be treated as content-neutral if its purpose is to control the secondary effects of speech, even if it facially discriminates according to speech content.”

In other words, it’s okay to regulate something that the Constitution specifically says shouldn’t be regulated, as long as you’re just trying to stop some peripheral bad things that result from not regulating it.

Well that makes perfect sense to me. The health and well-being of our citizens should be first and foremost in the minds of legislators and others who consider the imposition of restrictions upon our daily activities, including the viewing of big brown eyes by eyes of any color. That’s probably why the zoning ordinance guide for Mojave County—the county where Bullets & Burgers gun range is located—contains the word “sexually” 41 times while making not a single mention of “gun,” “guns,” “weapon,” “weapons,” or “shooting.”

There are, among other things, sections governing each of the following:

  • Off Street Parking Standards
  • Manufactured Home Requirements
  • Establishment of Retail Plant Nurseries
  • Establishment of a Kennel or Veterinary Clinic
  • Child Care Facilities
  • Garage/Yard Sale – General Provisions
  • Sexually Oriented Businesses (emphasis addded)

Regarding that last category, the Mojave County Planning & Zoning Department seems to have two primary concerns. First, they seek to establish a safe distance from schools, churches and parks:

2ea6428334b5c314d1d695048fb32834No person shall cause or permit the establishment of any sexually oriented businesses, as defined above, within 1,000 feet of another such business or within 1,000 feet of any religious institution, school, boys’ club, girls’ club, or similar existing youth organization, or public park or public building, or within 1,000 feet of any property zoned for residential use or used for residential purposes…

Also, there is an issue so important that it has earned its own subheading: “Regulations Pertaining to Exhibition of Sexually Explicit Films or Videos in Video Booths.” This section covers business which exhibit “in a veiling room of less than 150 square feet of floor space, a film, video cassette or other video production which depicts specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas.” Just to further clarify, some definitions are contained in the same document:

26. “Specific anatomical areas” means any of the following: 

a. A human anus, genitals, pubic region or a female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola that is less than completely and opaquely covered.

b. Male genitals in a discernibly turgid state even if completely and opaquely covered.

27. “Specific sexual activities” means any of the following:

a. Human genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal. 

b. Sex acts, normal or perverted, actual or stimulated, including acts of human masturbation, sexual intercourse, oral copulation or sodomy. 

c. Fondling or other erotic touching of the human genitals, pubic region, buttocks, anus or female breast. 

d. Excretory functions as a part of or in connection with any of the activities under subdivision a, b or c of this paragraph. 

Oh, also:

d. The premises shall be equipped with overhead lighting fixtures of sufficient intensity to illuminate every place to which patrons are permitted access and an illumination of not less than two foot candle as measured at the floor level. 

So, as you can see, some of the great minds in Mojave County (which has some of the most permissive gun laws in the nation) have really put quite a bit of thought into the question of where and how people should be allowed to look at totally titanic titties.

And they are not alone. Laws governing sexually oriented business are on the books all across the land because, you know…guns don’t kill people, glistening globular glands kill people. Where would we be, what kind of nation would we be living in if, at any time of the day or night, a grown man or woman could walk into an establishment where massive malleable mammaroonies are flying freely through manufactured smoke and strobe lighting?

The Constitution of the United States of America does not carve out a specific right to  display or view lovely jubbly wubblies because surely the Almighty Lord God of the Blood of the Lamb did not create mouthwatering milkshake meat muffins in his own image simply so that any Tom, Dick or Harry could see them any time he wants—whereas he clearly wants any Tom, Dick or Harry to have unfettered access to deadly pieces of steel that launch projectiles designed to tear apart the very same flesh and bone those pretty pink-nosed puppies are made of.

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Holston Cole, 2013-2016

Holston Cole, age three, shot himself in the chest with his father’s gun on Tuesday morning in Paulding County, Georgia. He is dead now.

Before I go on, here’s a video from his dad’s YouTube channel of Holston flying a kite around the house just days before pulling a semi-automatic pistol out of his dad’s bookbag and shooting himself in the chest with it.

And here, if you can stomach it, is a local news report with the 911 call Holston’s dad made when he found his son with a hole in his chest.

I don’t really know where to begin. I’m a father and I’m not inhuman, so my first reaction is agony for the parents, but that agony very quickly becomes mixed with blood-boiling rage that threatens to overtake the very compassion that motivates my antipathy toward guns in the first place.

You see, if the elder Cole had shot himself in the chest with his stupid fucking gun, there wouldn’t be much ambiguity in my response. Good riddance, idiot. Paging Dr. Darwin. But he didn’t shoot himself in the chest with his stupid fucking gun, his beloved three-year old son, Holston, did.

He probably thought he was protecting Holston by having that gun handy and he probably held fast to that view in spite of all available evidence to the contrary; in spite of seeing regular news reports about other kids shooting themselves or others with their parents’ guns. And I have no doubt that he thought of himself as a responsible gun owner—just as all gun owners do until the moment they’re not.

So what the fuck am I supposed to feel right now? What the fuck are any of us supposed to feel? Are we supposed to just tweet a frowny face and write it off as yet another unavoidable tragedy? Are we supposed to ignore it as a private misfortune that doesn’t concern us? Are we supposed to allow our agony for a parent to overwhelm our righteous indignation over the pointless death of a three-year old?

You know, here’s the thing: If this guy had left his son in a car on a hot day, I’d feel nothing but grief and sympathy because anyone is capable of making a tragic mistake. This just isn’t that simple. Yes, leaving the gun unsecured and accessible to the child was a tragic mistake, but having a deadly fucking weapon in the home in the first place—an object that has as its sole purpose the tearing apart of flesh and bone—adds a layer of irresponsibility that cannot be brushed aside in light of the mountain of evidence that doing so makes your family less safe, not more safe.

The family has asked for prayers. Well, my “prayer” preceded Holston’s death by gun. It was an appeal not to any higher power, but to the sensibility of my fellow citizens to stop it already with the fucking guns. family photo with highlight_1461782893051_4020733_ver1.0_640_360

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