Sunday, December 16, 2012

Larry Pratt and More Post-Sandy Hook Massacre Magical Thinking From the Gun Right

So many folks--many dozens--have written me in appreciation of our having the courage to speak plainly about the relationship between white masculinity and mass shootings in the United States. I have gotten more than the usual hostile and angry emails and comments as well. The former are insulation from the latter as we process what is a national tragedy.

Gun violence is a critically important issue that we must not shy away from. I do my best to speak truth to power. I am especially obligated to that fact when serious matters such as gun violence in the United States are being discussed. This is a public health issue that elites and opinion makers are terrified of speaking plainly about. I, like you, am not.

If you want to see more of this type of direct writing, and want to increase the platform and reach of the conversations we have here on We Are Respectable Negroes, do try to support the site if possible in our first ever donation drive. One of the reasons I want to grow the site, and to move it forward, is precisely so that we have a venue and space to talk about these difficult issues of race, politics, culture, and other matters that many folks are afraid to engage with in a forthright and direct manner.
Apparently, if the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary had an M-4 assault rifle the massacre in her school would have been prevented. Today, an Indiana man was caught with 47 guns in his home and was in the midst of preparing for his own murder rampage at a nearby school. An Oklahoma high school student was planning his own murder rampage and was apprehended on the same day as the Newtown massacre.

The gun is a fetish object. It is also a tool that can be used for good or evil. It has freed countries. The gun has killed dictators. The gun has allowed small numbers of people to control many more than their number on the plantation, in the coal mine, in the sweatshop, or the forced labor camp. The gun allowed one man to kill 20 children and 6 adults in Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gun, in the hands of a teacher or a child in that same circumstance, would have offered no guarantee of their survival.

In his dreams of Call of Duty and other cartoonish video game violence, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert imposes his post hoc counter-factual onto the shooting massacre in Sandy Hook. To him, if more folks had the capacity to effortlessly shoot and kill like a character out of either a bad 1980s action movie, or a John Ford western, then Adam Lanza would have been stopped cold in his tracks.

The facts are not kind to Mr. Gohmert. In reality, it is very hard to accurately shoot a weapon under stress. Most soldiers require a great amount of training to overcome the natural instinct against taking another human life. "One shot, one kill" by a high school principal against an armed assailant (who is also determined to kill them as well) is a joke--a fantasy of the Gun Right and its devotees.

For example, the ratio of bullets fired by U.S. troops to one enemy dead in Afghanistan is 250,000 (this includes training, suppression fire, direct fire, etc.). In Vietnam, the number of rounds fired by U.S. soldiers for each enemy "kill" was 50,000. And according to the United States Army's own data--which should be viewed critically as a very self-serving best estimate--a trained soldier will only hit a man sized target 10 percent of the time from 300 meters.

Trained police officers would also have a very difficult time effectively intervening in a mass shooting incident where there are large numbers of innocent people, and in a complex space such as a school, which is what occurred at Columbine or Newtown:
Under the Peoria Police Department's new rapid-response protocol, the first officer on the scene of a Columbine-style shooting waits until three others arrive to form a contact team. Officers in a smaller group or alone would not have 360-degree coverage, Adams says, and Rambo-style freelancing would confuse communications and increase the chances of "blue on blue" casualties: police officers shooting each other. The contact team forms a diamond, with a point, two flanks, and a rear guard handling radio communications. The team enters the building and moves through it as quickly as possible; team members maintain their relative positions so that they can see and hear each other.

In a large building a second team may go in, either to help track down the shooters or to rescue bystanders and the wounded. 
Adams says that gunmen are less likely to fire at innocent bystanders if they are shooting at pursuing police officers. "We train them to move to the sound of gunfire," he says. "Shooting scenes are very chaotic and stressful. You experience sensory overload. Every time you hear a gunshot, assume someone has been wounded. Try to take ground, and isolate the shooter. If the shooter decides to commit suicide by police, we'll oblige. The person making the decision on how it will end is the bad guy. We're just reacting." Adams says, however, that "deadly force imperatives" have not changed for the Peoria police. "We teach that you should shoot what you know, not what you think you know. That man with a gun in his hand who steps out of a doorway may be a plainclothes police officer or a school security guard. Or maybe a teacher who brought a gun to school." 
...Layman stepped over people who were lying on the floor, playing wounded students. They moaned that they were hurt, clutched at his legs, and begged him to stop and help them. One man, playing a terrified but unhurt student, leaped from a doorway and grabbed him. Layman wrestled the man away and pushed him toward his trailing teammates, who in turn pushed the man behind them and told him to run back down the hallway to the exit. Another man leaped from a doorway, but this one fired at Layman's team. Others, with guns blazing, attacked from behind or sniped at the officers from doorways. When the contact team's blue-paint simunitions struck the attackers squarely on their vests or helmets, the gunmen stepped aside. They were out of the exercise.
For reasons of politics or possession by the gun gods, Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners Association of America seems to be willfully ignorant of the above realities:
"Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones. The only thing accomplished by gun free zones is to insure that mass murderers can slay more before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun."
The irony is priceless here: as Gawker points out, the guns used to kill 26 innocent people were in fact owned by a teacher.

Here, I described guns as a fetish object of "plastic and metal" which has an otherworldly appeal and power over many of its owners. This allure trumps reason--or alternatively becomes a stand-in for channeling some type of spiritual or existential force.

The comments by Larry Pratt and others in the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary are further proof of my claim. In thinking through the magical power of guns, I am reminded of the following passage from Colin Wilson's book The Occult:
They believe that this ritual establishes some kind of mysterious contact between the hunter and the hunted; now the animal cannot escape. No matter how fast it runs, or where it hides, the hunter moves towards it inexorably, guided by fate. It is the animal's destiny to become his prey.
The 'scientific' attitude to these activities is that they are primitive superstitions, merely a sign of ignorance of cause and effect. If they happen to be successful, this is only because they create a feeling of success in the hunter; it is self-hypnosis. I would argue that this view may completely miss the point. The hunter's mind becomes totally concentrated on his prey by the ritual, activating the same powers that led Rhine's subjects to such high scores when they first tried influencing the fall of dice.
The following is also powerful and insightful in regards to understanding the gun as a "god" object for folks such as Larry Pratt and the NRA:
The more man expanded his activities, the more gods he needed. When he began to sail the seas, he needed to make sacrifices to the sea god; when he set out on a journey, he needed to feel himself under the protection of the god of travellers, and so on. Every new enterprise needed a new god. Man was out to gain control of his environment. And his chief means of achieving this control was still--magic. 
American society is built upon the cult of the gun. And now that Turner's frontier is closed and no longer exists, there remain millions of people who still imagine themselves as cowboy pioneers, yeomen farmers, and "patriots" who are ready to defend the country's "freedom" by playing soldier in the woods on the weekend, or by owning dozens of guns which have no legitimate use other than as implements of killing on the battlefield. They desperately seek control. When they find it wanting, some of them will lash out as we have seen with the angry white men who commit the overwhelming number of mass shootings in the United States.

Our family members, communities, and children are the collateral damage from America's cultural fixation on firearms. One of the questions that should be answered post Sandy Hook (and which will not be) is how much blood are gun rights advocates willing to see spilled in order to protect an abstract "freedom" to "bear arms" that is in conflict with the basic right to be safe and secure in our communities and public spaces?

The gun god has possessed many people. Will common sense prevail, and will it be able to pierce through the magical glamour put on the thought processes and social vision of the Gun Right?


CNu said...

Gun violence is a critically important issue that we must not shy away from. I do my best to speak truth to power. I am especially obligated to that fact when serious matters such as gun violence in the United States are being discussed. This is a public health issue that elites and opinion makers are terrified of speaking plainly about. I, like you, am not.


nice try CDV, but the narrative higher-ground has already been lost to you and granny goodness...,

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu. You know I love my comic book allusions. But again, do you think that black men should go and participate in mass shootings at rates like white men in order to prove we are not "effeminate?"

I am legitimately curious.

CNu said...

lol, no you're not.

Your feeble-as-hell twisting of my comments is proof positive that Granny Goodness has already circulated her talking points and her legion of wannabe MSM talking heads is already strictly in line with whatever bitchy, fraudulent WWE narrative is being served to the rubes and suckers today.

You know good and gottdayyum well that that Granny Goodness gambit was a deep crate excavation checkmate.

You know.

I know.

and you know that I know.

"respectable" negroe....,

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu. If there is a conspiracy of talking points I would like to be on the list. Please sign me up so that I can get a stipend. I am plainly stating what you wrote and have not retracted. I am curious.

Here is what you wrote:

"Yes, guns are a white conservative problem culturally, policy wise, and ideologically.

Is that because the negroe male is too emasculated to do what the khyber/pashtun male does - absent the limitless energy and material resources at our disposal?

buncha baby-boy bitches...,"

Please offer up a clarification if I have misread you.

Speaking of WWE there is a ppv tonight I will be watching. I will be posting another wrestling as politics piece next week featuring a story you likely read too.

CNu said...

If medieval tribesmen without the benefit of electricity can craft modern automatic weapons by hand, and fight generations of state of the art outfitted invaders, then there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for black emasculation, unemployment, and the pathologies that emanate from the same.

Lots of sons and lots of guns and a surplus of masculine time, attention, and guidance - along with some extremely conservative religious praxis - seem to do the male body good...,

Where in any of that do you find me to be advocating on behalf of mass shootings, save perhaps the mass shootings of generations of wannabe occupying colonial forces?

So tarred of slackjawed whining about "wacism" when cats clearly lack the testicular fortitude to get theirs, keep theirs, control theirs and mold theirs. Uneducated medieval muhhuggahs beat the pants off freeky deeky 2nd/3rd line inheritor negroes...,

CNu said...

White Men Like Adam Lanza Commit 70 Percent of the Mass Shootings in the United States. Why is the Media Afraid to Talk About This Obvious Fact?

Who honestly calls a simpering, slackjawed pathetic muppet like this a man?!?!?!?!

respectable negroe puhleeze...,

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu. Don't confuse sex with gender. He is a man biologically and socially in this society.

Guns are the great equalizer, no? They allowed peasants to kill knights and folks of questionable faculties and strength to kill children and others by the dozens.

CNu said...

Pashtun in the Khyber pass rocks back on 400 years of hardened resistance and says; "devilish infidel, get some!!!!"

American negroe rocked back by 40 years of feminization says; "I love you, why you treat me so bad?"

bitchy as hell....,

nomad said...

I wonder how many of these affluent white berserkers have family connections to LIBOR?

"The Connecticut shooter’s father - Peter Lanza – is a VP and Tax Director at GE Financial.
The father of Aurora Colorado Batman movie shooter – James Holmes is Robert Holmes, the lead scientist for the credit score company FICO.
Both men were to testify before the US Sentate in the ongoing LIBOR scandal."

jenicillin said...

@CNu man, your mysogyny is kinda creepy and gross. I know, lady parts are scary and females are all fainting weak flailing bitches, making accusation of femininity your go-to most worstest insult of choice. i hearby apologize to you on behalf of all women, for being icky and weak, usurping male authority and being in general a waste of space, save when we are growing baby men. yuck.

CNu said...

lol, relax jenicillin, nothing personal.

Back in the day, we used to get whoopings at school for misbehavior and we'd get whoopings at home for the same. Weren't no
mass shootings of the type now being scrutinized - simply did not occur outside of war zones.

So, somebody made a collective decision to make corporal punishment a crime against children and a crime against humanity and society has subsequently been bearing the collective costs of this "sage" feminization of child-rearing standards ever since.

As for the rest, don't bother. I'm not responsive to beehive tactics and don't have any problems with women or girls. I will persist in the belief that the feminization of social norms has yielded unintended and mostly negative consequences.

nomad said...

"whoopings at school for misbehavior"
"Weren't no
mass shootings"

Great explanation of cause and effect.

"Nomad, go google difference between cause n correlation."

lol! priceless comedy gold!

chaunceydevega said...

@cnu/nomad. ringing the bell. please return to your corners.

CNu said...

Mommy needs to whoop Michael's little monkey-ass, take him off the psychosis-inducing meds, and where the hell is the daddy in all of this hot mess?

Hapless gynocracy at its finest..,

{nobody with two active brain cells wonders about the root cause of these situations}

nomad said...

A little premature aren't you, ref. I made a legitimate rational observation. It's common in polite discourse to point out a flaw in the other person's argument. I'nit? I mean, saying
"whoopings at school for misbehavior"
"Weren't no
mass shootings"
is no different than saying they happen because schools now teach evolution.

No foul has been committed.

nomad said...

Well, at least, not on my part.

nomad said...


All the abuse you let CNu get away with and you gon delete that!!!

'hoisted with his own petard'????


nomad said...

srsly, dude. its time for me to mosey.

chaunceydevega said...

@nomad. i deleted your comment because i thought it was a response to that "jigaboo" mess that i am trying to discourage. thus, i thought it would be confusing. apologies if not the case.

CNu said...


I wouldn't do it if it didn't precipitate such a long-lasting cacaphony of hoots, howls, and chest-thumps.

One of these days I'll get lucky and mrs. Staymad will find Sleep&Eat slumped deader'n'a'doornail over his PC from where he's burst a vein over a sleight playing itself out strictly in his own fevered imagination.

advanced melanic cybonic death strike direct to the niggaHz region of the solar plexus!

Accept no substitutes....,

Anne O'Nimmus said...

I've had the misfortune to listen to Larry Pratt spouting his nonsense on my radio station over here in Old Blighty. His points of view were rubbished by others on the show, of course. I'd like to also point out that over here, the word "pratt" is synonymous with idiot in the vernacular. As in:
He's a total pratt.
Pratt by name, pratt by nature.
Over here, in the past 25 years, aside from acts of terror carried out by groups (IRA or Islamist), our mass killings have involved only aggrieved white males. There's plenty of reason to think there are aggrieved non-white males in our society, or females of any colour, but only the white males seem to step over that line.

nomad said...

"@nomad. i deleted your comment because i thought it was a response to that "jigaboo" mess that i am trying to discourage. thus, i thought it would be confusing. apologies if not the case."

That's right. Blame the victim. You won't have to worry bout me bitch slappin this PC bully anymore. You should have started deleting this jigaboo crap a long long time ago.
This is about the most retrograde kind of racial shit I have ever encountered. And the fact that it comes from a supposedly educated person blows my mind. You countenance this shit? Have at it, gents.

chaunceydevega said...

@nomad. you sound legitimately hurt. come now. these are pixels being moved on a screen. please do not make this into some narrative about being a "victim."

i do hope that was some snark that got lost in translation online. your presence is welcome. if you decide to move on and come back great. if you move on do not come back that is unfortunate.

nomad said...

Well, no. There are just some things I refuse to put up with. One is having the expression of my opinion held hostage by threats of ad hominem and racial epithets. I will not be intimidated by kimosabe. I will critique him where ever warranted and when he responds with his jiggaboo snipes I will bitch slap him. Cause its what he deserves. If my bitch slap doesn't include foul language or ad hominem I do not expect it to be deleted. If that can be granted then I'll continue to play. Ref.