Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Hate and guns

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    James Wesley Howell, was arrested wth multiple assault weapons and bomb-making ingredients, before he could carry out his intention to “do harm” to those who gathered at Los Angeles’ annual Pride march.

    And its depressing what doesn't happen when a heavily-armed white man is arrested intending to commit a violent crime.

    NOBODY instantly assumes he's a "radical Christianist," or has links to radical right-wing hate groups.

    NOBODY instantly assumes he's an immigrant.

    NOBODY instantly calls him a terrorist.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    These graphs have been doing the rounds today.

    "No data yet on the correlation between “thoughts and prayers” and gun violence, but I did find these."

    Who needs an Assault rifle for anything?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    More on the arsenal Howell had with him. Three assault rifles, high-capacity clips (bound together for fast reload, according to people who know about these things), five gallons of explosive material. Fuck.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Check out ‏@igorvolsky on twitter – as he’s done previously his feed is again a reminder of just how corrupt some US politicians are and how morally bankrupt those politicians offering “thoughts&prayers” really are.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The Orlando police chief has just released an email to staff, including this paragraph:

    I know that you have all been affected today by the tragic actions of a lone terrorist who cut short the lives of so many. Our community, our City, and our Department will be grieving in the days, weeks and months to come.

    Terrorist as a description is very blunt edged shorthand to bandy about.
    Everyone assumes 'terrorist du jour'
    - which for America today probably means Islamic

    This savage and barbaric act today strikes terror into the populace,
    but it doesn't mean it was 'politically motivated'
    (which is the text book definition of a terrorist)
    but that tone helps fuel fear
    - and who knows where that will push people...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Wellingtonians:vigil this evening at 6 pm in Frank Kitts park

    Auckland too: 6pm at Western Park on Ponsonby Road.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Everyone assumes ‘terrorist du jour’
    - which for America today probably means Islamic

    Predictably, Trump tweeted "Thanks for all the congrats" as if mass murder somehow vindicates his racism. It's becoming increasingly difficult to believe that this dim-witted, orange cartoon character is actually in the running for the office of president.

    US gun laws will probably come under scrutiny again, but sure as hell, the issue will be dropped soon after. Because... National Rifle Assn. In both of this weekend's cases, the shooters legally purchased assault rifles. But I'll bet that 50% of Amercians see absolutely no correlation there.

    It's worth pointing out that Mateen was investigated twice (2013, 2014) by the FBI for his radical views, and twice they decided there was nothing to worry about. Maybe he should have been on a list which restricted him from buying serious armaments? If such a list even exists in the US.

    The result of both FBI investigations also speaks volumes about the actual value of the surveillance state. The Amercians now gather and store so much information about every individual, that they have no practical way of analysing it all. While such a scattergun approach to information collection may prove helpful after an attack, it seems to be pretty much useless in predicting these very American mass slaughters.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Hah! The vetting and testing process for a gun license is pretty good, but it's a ten year license with no review process to trigger for mental health or any other concerns.

    The guts have just been pulled from the Mountain Safety Council run safety training and license testing process, presumably for cost savings. Which means increased temptation for people to purchase guns illegally and without going through the vetting, training and testing process. We are not moving in the right direction and there are a great many guns in New Zealand, although not so many rapid fire assault type weapons or pistols- which is why sawn off shotguns are so popular with crims, they're not as convenient as a pistol but they can be concealed and they can be lethal.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to ,

    Chocolate fish for anyone who can guess whether New Zealand gun laws could prevent the same thing happening here.

    I'm guessing not on the same scale as it's reasonably difficult to purchase assault rifles in NZ. You need to be a registered collector to obtain one legally.

    That said, I knew a guy back in the 80s who owned an M16. He said, "See this little pin? Pull that out and you have a full automatic." In his defense, he was a full-time hunter and used it for shooting goats. But the weapon had been obtained illegally from army stores and sold onto the black market.

    He used it one day to shoot his TV. I couldn't disagree with him on that count.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Three assault rifles, high-capacity clips (bound together for fast reload, according to people who know about these things), five gallons of explosive material. Fuck.

    *shudder* As I've pointed out elsewhere today, more than once, this is shit my father didn't have access to when he was a solider fighting honest to God Nazis in a real war.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Alfie,

    It’s worth pointing out that Mateen was investigated twice (2013, 2014) by the FBI for his radical views, and twice they decided there was nothing to worry about. Maybe he should have been on a list which restricted him from buying serious armaments? If such a list even exists in the US.

    The Senate Republicans last year voted down a measure that would have prevented people on terrorism watch lists from buying guns. Unbelievably.

    EDIT: Oh yes. It appears that Howell was on probation for firearms charges – he was fond of pointing guns at people – at the time he obtained three assault riles. It further appears that he is gay or bisexual. Lord knows what's going on there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Angela Hart,

    it's a ten year license with no review process to trigger for mental health or any other concerns.

    Uh, say what? The Police can revoke anyone's firearms licence at any time if they believe the "fit and proper person" requirement is no longer met.

    Or do you mean no statutory requirement that a person who is subject to care under the Mental Health Act have that notified to the Police so a firearms licence can be reviewed? Domestic violence is specifically in the legislation as grounds for failing the F&PP test, which takes care of a big risk factor.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Senate Republicans last year voted down a measure that would have prevented people on terrorism watch lists from buying guns. Unbelievably.

    All too believably because the National Rifle Association may be contemptible shit-weasels, but they’re brutally efficient lobbyists and when they put money into your campaign you tend to stay brought. Or else. Hell, earlier this year the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pretty much came out and admitted nobody on the NRA’s shitlist would get confirmed to the Supreme Court as long as the Republican Party had any say in the matter.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    In the same 24 hours as Omar Mateen carried out the deadliest mass shooting in American history

    They kept saying that on the US media clips I heard as well. But it is simply not true. At least RNZ called it the "worst shooting in modern US history".

    It seems there are two threats from ISIS. In Europe, it is a direct threat from actual members, whereas elsewhere it seems to be those who a) have serious mental health issues b) access to firearms c) access to ISIS self-radicalisation materials (which I suspect even just hearing about them all the time is enough for some).

    Hopefully the US are able to do something about the level of resourcing to deal with a) even if they won't deal with b) and can't deal with c).

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • James W, in reply to Alfie,

    Maybe he should have been on a list which restricted him from buying serious armaments? If such a list even exists in the US.

    Here's Obama from a week ago complaining about how they lack the power to do that:

    https://twitter.com/rickyftw/status/742069085253468160

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Alfie,

    If such a list even exists in the US.

    No such list exists.

    It is entirely possible to be on an FBI "no-fly" list because of perceived terrorist threat in the US and still be able to buy assault weapons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Alfie,

    US gun laws will probably come under scrutiny again, but sure as hell, the issue will be dropped soon after. Because… National Rifle Assn.

    While the NRA is disgusting the problem is not the NRA. The problem is that US politicians are corrupt and take money from the NRA to enact (or block) laws to the direct harm of the people they purport to represent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Uh, say what? The Police can revoke anyone’s firearms licence at any time if they believe the “fit and proper person” requirement is no longer met.

    I mean that the police have no way to know that a person holding a firearms license may no longer be a "fit and proper person" unless something to indicate that is brought to their attention. Most people go through quite a lot of change in ten years.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Angela Hart,

    The guts have just been pulled from the Mountain Safety Council run safety training and license testing process, presumably for cost savings.

    It started properly more than a year ago when the MSC decided to drop a comprehensive programme of outdoor safety courses. It ditched nearly all of its volunteer instructor and training programmes, dropped its role in setting accepted safety standards, and shifted to some kind of stand-offish model that's seemingly based around issuing pamphlets and press releases telling people to be safe. Here is a pretty venn diagram alongside an explanation.

    For some reason the MSC specifically retained its firearms safety courses, but evidently that hasn't lasted long.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to ,

    Chocolate fish for anyone who can guess if New Zealand gun laws can prevent the same thing happening here.

    Our guns laws didn't stop Aramoana. They just stopped the dozens of similar incidents that didn't happen in the 27 years since.

    And I think John Howard needs to pay a visit to the US again. He showed that a conservative can take guns off conservatives and still get re-elected - three times. Blaming the NRA is ultimately a cop-out. A popular conservative US leader who wants to deal with this issue could. But none has.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    assault weapons

    So are any of them sold as defence weapons ?
    who legally needs an assault weapon unless they are gonna assault someone or something... and surely that is only within the purview of armies or law enforcers - otherwise you reap what you sow...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Blaming the NRA is ultimately a cop-out. A popular conservative US leader who wants to deal with this issue could. But none has.

    Of course the NRA could be shown to be a paper tiger if your hypothetical US equivalent of John Howard called its bluff, but you don't provide an explanation for why this hasn't come anywhere near happening yet.

    From my recollection of living in Australia in the aftermath of Port Arthur I can recall the usual NRA-style canard arguments being raised. That it was a false flag operation masterminded by British intelligence was a favourite that even surfaced on ABC talk radio.

    Although the NRA provided material and strategic support to Australia's minuscule Shooters Party, nothing with that kind of scale and pervasity has ever existed there. Without a deeper understanding of the different situations in Australia and the US, downplaying the NRA's influence is empty hypothesising.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Re. NZ gun laws – some time ago when a colleague/friend applied for a license I was interviewed by police seeking my opinion on his suitability, as were others including of course, his wife. Maybe no longer so stringent. Don’t know.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report Reply

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