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John Oliver - Parkland School Shooting

MilkmanDan says...

Good points.

I'm not a gun nutadvocate, but I have friends who are. I have shot a fairly wide range of guns with them, including an AR-15. For myself, I only ever owned BB guns and a .22 pellet air rifle, for target shooting and varmint control on my family farm. I did go pheasant hunting with borrowed 20 and 12 gauge shotguns a couple times.

My friend that owns the AR-15 is a responsible gun owner. Do I think he needs it? Hell no. But he likes it. Do I need a PC with an i7 processor and nVidia 1060 GPU? Hell no. But I like it.

So I guess it becomes a question of to what extent the things that we like can be used for negative purposes. My nVidia 1060 is unlikely to be used to facilitate a crime (unless games or bitcoin mining get criminalized). However, even though AR-15s might be one of the primary firearms of choice for murderous wackos, the percentage of people that own AR-15's who are murderous wackos is also extremely low.

If banning AR-15s would significantly reduce the rate of mass shootings and/or the average number of deaths per incident, it could be well worth doing even though it would annoy many responsible owners like my friend. ...But, I just don't think that would be the case. Not by itself.

I think we're at a point where we NEED to do something. If the something that we decide to do is to ban AR-15s, well, so be it I guess. But I don't think we'd be pleased with the long-term results of that. It'd be cutting the flower off of the top of the weed. We need to dig deeper, and I think that registration and licensing are sane ways to attempt to do that.

criticalthud said:

In 1934 the Thompson submachine gun was banned partly because of it's image and connection to Gansters and gangster lifestyle.
In the same way the AR-15 has an image and connection to a different lifestyle: that of the special ops badass chuck norris/arnold/navy seal killing machine. then they join a militia, all sporting these military weapons. there's a fuckin LOOK to it. a feel, a code, an expectation there. It's socialized into us.

That image is big fuckin factor in just how attractive that particular weapon is to a delusional teenager.

John Oliver - Parkland School Shooting

MilkmanDan says...

@SDGundamX -- I agree completely that any registration / licensing system would have to be central / federal to do any good. I'm also, like you, pretty pessimistic about anything actually happening.

These kids will be a smaller direct annoyance (to NRA-funded legislators) for a shorter time than "occupy". That doesn't mean they are wasting their time though. The people that they can sway are moderate republican voters. I think "common sense" things like registration and licensing could be sold to enough people to put some pressure on republican reelection chances. On the other hand, there's the NRA and other lobbying organizations with a proven track record and nearly unlimited resources to muck up the works.

I dunno. I'm quite pessimistic about chances, but I do hope we're wrong.

John Oliver - Parkland School Shooting

MilkmanDan says...

Thanks for that link -- really good.

I do think that "the left" is perhaps a bit too focused on specific weapon or accessory types. AR-15's, bump stocks, magazine sizes, etc. It's not completely ridiculous to say that if we banned AR-15's with 20-30 shot magazines, most of these shooters would just move on to the next best thing; maybe a Ruger Mini 14 or something with a 15 shot magazine.

Would that mitigate some of the deadly potential? Sure. Slightly. But it wouldn't prevent things at all, just (slightly) mitigate them. That might be worth doing, but it isn't beneficial enough to be what we should be focusing on.

I think two things could help contribute to prevention. Registration, and Licensing.

Step 1) Anyone who owns or purchases a firearm would be legally required to get it/them registered. Serial numbers (if they exist), etc. Anyway, descriptions of the weapon(s) on file and linked to a registered owner. If a firearm is used in a crime, the registered owner could be partially liable for that crime. Crime resulting in death? Owner subject to charges of negligent manslaughter. Violent crime, but no deaths? Owner subject to charges of conspiracy to commit X. Registered owner finds one or more of their firearms stolen or missing? Report them as such, and your liability could be removed or mitigated. Failure to register a firearm would also carry criminal penalties.

Step 2) Anyone who wants to use a firearm would be legally required to get a license. Licensing requires taking a proficiency and safety test. The initial license would require practical examination (safety and proficiency) at a range. Initial licensing and renewals (every 4 years?) would require passing a written test of knowledge about ownership laws, safety, etc. Just like a driver's license. And just like a driver's license, there could be things that might reasonably preclude your ability to get a license. Felony record? No license for you. Mental health issues? No license for you.

The NRA loves to tout themselves as responsible gun owners. Well, responsible people take responsibility. Remember that one kid in your class back in third grade that talked back to the teacher, so she made you all stay in and read during recess? Yeah, he ruined it for the rest of you. Guess what -- that's happening again. These nutjobs that shoot up schools or into a crowd of civilians are ruining things for the rest of you. We've tried unfettered access and an extremely lax interpretation of the second amendment. It didn't work out well. For evidence, compare the US to any other developed country on Earth.

Guns are a part of American culture, to an extent that taking them away completely would be ... problematic. But there are many, many things between the nothing that we're doing now and that.

ChaosEngine said:

Fuck you, I like guns

Florida School Shooter was Member of White Nationalist Group

MilkmanDan says...

Drudge Report has a link saying that the local sheriff's office has done some investigation and has found "no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter."

That doesn't necessarily mean that the connection is false, but terrorist groups etc. have falsely claimed that someone was acting on their behalf or was a member of their group before.

I find Drudge to be a pretty good site to keep in my shortlist for news. Gotta keep the definite tilt to the right in mind, but then again being wary against bias is a good practice in general.

One Kick Ass Donald Trump Float In Parade

MilkmanDan says...

Fun -- any idea where it was?

The cropping and general video quality makes it look sort of like old footage. Kinda reminded me of JFK assassination video, lol

Googling "Clear Cut Plastics Inc." shows that storefront in Seattle. So that makes a lot of sense.

2 black dudes-1 iconic metal song

MilkmanDan says...

Nice sift @enoch!

I discovered these guys a while ago on YT also. I don't usually care about watching reaction / review videos, but these guys are great. They are so enthusiastic and honest that it is almost like hearing the songs again for the first time myself.

Their reactions to Holy Wars (Megadeth), Master of Puppets, and One (both Metallica) are awesome for the thrash lover in me. And for other stuff, their vids for Killing in the Name (RATM), Digital Bath (Deftones), and Lateralus (Tool) are also all great.

Making Artificial Earthquakes with a Four-Tonne Steel Ball

MilkmanDan says...

Hmm. Seems like an obvious omission to fail to cut to the seismograph reacting on their custom-made soot paper there at the end...

And those extras (how that much steel survived 2 world wars, etc.) are really fun and interesting details. Too bad they couldn't get worked in, but I guess including them in description text works.

Trump Trumpety Trump (& the NHS and healthcare in general)

Patrick Stewart Looks Further Into His Dad's Shell Shock

MilkmanDan says...

@noims -- My grandfather had about 10 war stories that he rotated through telling, pretty much exclusively after one of my uncles "broke the dam" by asking him to recall things as they were at the Oshkosh air show standing next to a P-47 airplane like he had worked on.

By the time that happened, my grandfather was in his 80's and in very good physical and mental shape (cattle rancher that did daily work manhandling heavy feed bags around, etc.) but had a quirky personality because he was 90%+ deaf. I don't think that was a result of the war, hearing problems seem to run in the family.

Anyway, he frequently used those hearing problems as an excuse for not having to interact with people. He had hearing aids, but he'd turn them off most of the time and just ignore people. I think some of that was being an introvert, and some was probably lingering "shell shock" / PTSD effects. But overall he really adjusted back to civilian life just fine. Got a degree in education on the GI Bill and taught and coached basketball to High School students, then worked as a small-town Postmaster, and eventually retired to work the ranch. I don't think any of us in his family, including his wife and children, thought of him as being "impaired" by the mental effects of the war. But it was clear that some of what he experienced had a very deep, lifelong effect on his outlook.

I wrote out the 3 stories of his above because they seemed to be the ones that had the most emotional impact on him. To me, it was interesting that a lot of stuff outside of combat hit him the hardest. He also had more traditional "war stories" stuff about victories and bravery, like when his unit captured / accepted the surrender of a young German pilot in a Bf-109 who deserted to avoid near certain death from flying too many missions after the handwriting was on the wall that the allies were going to win. But by far, he got more choked up about the other stuff like having to knock that French girl off her bike and seeing starving civilians and being unable to help them much.

Like you said, more banal stuff side-by-side with or against a backdrop of horror. I think it's pretty much impossible to imagine what those sorts of experiences in war are really like and what being in those situations would do to us mentally. And then WW2 in particular just had a massive impact on the entire generation. Basically everybody back home knew multiple people that went away and never came back. Then when some did come back, they were clearly different and yet reluctant to talk about what happened. Pretty messed up time to live through, I guess.

Patrick Stewart Looks Further Into His Dad's Shell Shock

MilkmanDan says...

Possible, but I don't really think so. I think that the Medical minds of the time thought that physical shock, pressure waves from bombing etc. as you described, were a (or perhaps THE) primary cause of the psychological problems of returning soldiers. So the name "shell shock" came from there, but the symptoms that it was describing were psychological and, I think precisely equal to modern PTSD. Basically, "shell shock" became a polite euphemism for "soldier that got mentally messed up in the war and is having difficulty returning to civilian life".

My grandfather was an Army Air Corps armorer during WWII. He went through basic training, but his primary job was loading ammunition, bombs, external gas tanks, etc. onto P-47 airplanes. He was never in a direct combat situation, as I would describe it. He was never shot at, never in the shockwave radius of explosions, etc. But after the war he was described as having mild "shell shock", manifested by being withdrawn, not wanting to talk about the war, and occasionally prone to angry outbursts over seemingly trivial things. Eventually, he started talking about the war in his mid 80's, and here's a few relevant (perhaps) stories of his:

He joined the European theater a couple days after D-Day. Came to shore on a Normandy beach in the same sort of landing craft seen in Saving Private Ryan, etc. Even though it was days later, there were still LOTS of bodies on the beach, and thick smell of death. Welcome to the war!

His fighter group took over a French farm house adjacent to a dirt landing strip / runway. They put up a barbed wire perimeter with a gate on the road. In one of the only times I heard of him having a firearm and being expected to potentially use it, he pulled guard duty at that gate one evening. His commanding officer gave him orders to shoot anyone that couldn't provide identification on sight. While he was standing guard, a woman in her 20's rolled up on a bicycle, somewhat distraught. She spoke no English, only French. She clearly wanted to get in, and even tried to push past my grandfather. By the letter of his orders, he was "supposed" to shoot her. Instead, he knocked her off her bike when she tried to ride past after getting nowhere verbally and physically restrained her. At gunpoint! When someone that spoke French got there, it turned out that she was the daughter of the family that lived in the farm house. They had no food, and she was coming back to get some potatoes they had left in the larder.

Riding trains was a common way to get air corps support staff up to near the front, and also to get everybody back to transport ships at the end of the war. On one of those journeys later in the war, my grandfather was riding in an open train car with a bunch of his buddies. They were all given meals at the start of the trip. A short while later, the track went through a French town. A bunch of civilians were waiting around the tracks begging for food. I'll never forgot my grandfather describing that scene. It was tough for him to get out, and then all he managed was "they was starvin'!" He later explained that he and his buddies all gave up the food that they had to those people in the first town -- only to have none left to give as they rolled past similar scenes in each town on down the line.

When my mother was growing up, she and her brothers learned that they'd better not leave any food on their plates to go to waste. She has said that the angriest she ever saw her dad was when her brothers got into a food fight one time, and my grandfather went ballistic. They couldn't really figure out what the big deal was, until years later when my grandfather started telling his war stories and suddenly things made more sense.

A lot of guys had a much rougher war than my grandfather. Way more direct combat. Saw stuff much worse -- and had to DO things that were hard to live with. I think the psychological fallout of stuff like that explains the vast majority of "shell shock", without the addition of CTE-like physical head trauma. I'd wager that when the docs said Stewart's father's shell shock was a reaction to aerial bombardment, that was really just a face-saving measure to try to explain away the perceived "weakness" of his condition.

newtboy said:

I feel there's confusion here.
The term "shell shock" covers two different things.
One is purely psychological, trauma over seeing things your brain can't handle. This is what most people think of when they hear the term.
Two is physical, and is CTE like football players get, caused by pressure waves from nearby explosions bouncing their brains inside their skulls. It sounds like this is what Stewart's father had, as it causes violent tendencies, confusion, and uncontrollable anger.

Foreigner Surprising Indians with Hindi (Smiles Galore)

MilkmanDan says...

I've found that Mexicans (especially outside of major tourist areas, but even there) LOVE it if visitors attempt to speak Spanish with them, even just a few words.

Thailand is pretty similar. I've lived here for ~10 years and can speak Thai fairly well. So, many locals know me and aren't surprised when I speak Thai with them, but if I travel I get a lot of smiles just like this video.

I guess French people are stereotypically less patient/pleased to deal with visitors trying to use the local language, but I don't know if that's true. Never been there, unless Quebec counts (where it didn't seem true).

"Solo: A Star Wars Story" Trailer Easter Eggs and Breakdown

MilkmanDan says...

"Seems like a cash grab, telling a story that doesn't need to be told."

Sounds like a description of pretty much every movie ever made. This one, like all those, could be subjectively good or bad depending on who is doing the evaluating.

Seems like a more insightful thing to say would be that this movie will have to walk a fine line, since it is based on a beloved existing character. Potentially more people are interested, but they also all have their own (potentially different) ideas and expectations about the character.

I'm personally cautiously optimistic, but in general I have liked what Disney has done with Star Wars.

Millennials in the Workforce, A Generation of Weakness

MilkmanDan says...

Well said. I'm fairly comfortably in "weasel" territory, and I don't bitch about it. Too much. Any more.

Actually, in all seriousness, while I am one of those cynical beaten-down types in terms of how much I care about corporate / management expectations, I do take pride in holding myself to rather higher standards than those external ones. That's a good thing, and it means that I can look myself in the mirror and honestly feel like I'm contributing something real, even if the machine that I'm in is apathetic, highly inefficient, and moderately pointless to begin with.

As (the great) Kurt Vonnegut said, "so it goes."

newtboy said:

Certainly we can't all be eagles, but those who've resigned themselves to being weasels should recognize their station and act accordingly, not pretend they fearlessly soar the skies of death deserving rewards and accolades from the comfort their burrow.
I get where you're coming from, but I disagree it's one or the other. Checking out and half assing it because success didn't come fast enough only ensures it will never arrive. Working hard and smart striving for greatness is the best way to achieve it, but of course it's still no guarantee.
And yes, the "system" could certainly use improvements too, but an individual can have far more positive impact on their own lives by working to improve themselves than they can on the system working to improve it. It's best to work on both whenever possible.

Police Chief to Deputy- "If Black, Shoot Them"

MilkmanDan says...

"Blatant use of foul language coming from a sworn police officer."

...Yeah. The "foul language" is clearly the problem here. Totally reminded me of:

Millennials in the Workforce, A Generation of Weakness

MilkmanDan says...

@newtboy -
I like / agree with your take on each of the 4 issues, but 4 really is easier said than done.

Having skills and making yourself invaluable happens quite slowly over time, and only if the arbiter correctly recognizes that value. I think capitalism has such a stranglehold on modern life that minor variations in short term profit/loss potential get overvalued while major intangible things (or at least, less tangible in quarterly reports) get ignored.

And just in general, everybody needs a job or purpose, but we can't ALL stand out and be invaluable. Eagles may soar to great heights, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines. Sometimes steady adequacy is, well, adequate.

Thinking that the world owes us happiness is a character flaw, but "checking out" by half-assing or phoning it in is a fairly rational response to a system that doesn't give a fuck about us as individuals, even those that DO go the extra mile. Fix the system (to the extent that it can be), and better results would follow.

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