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Thursday, May 31, 2018 

Comics artists catering to gun control beliefs

The liberal/socialist/progressive site People's World interviewed a handful of artists/writers on the subject of the project they're doing at Image about gun control called "Where We Live", and it sounds pretty biased alright. The article says stuff like:
March For Our Lives and other activists have taken their demands to the streets, and to lawmakers, asking for comprehensive gun reform. They often have to face down attacks from the leadership of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Despite those attacks, however, the fact remains that gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the U.S. Guns kill more than 38,000 people and injure nearly 85,000 each year. The second leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24 is gun-associated homicides, according to the American Public Health Association.
As expected, not a word on the quality of education, which could play a part in how corrupt some minds in the USA or anywhere have become. Just a tedious villification of the NRA as the scapegoat.

One of the writers for Image's book itself includes the would-be auteur of the 1989-96 Sandman series, Neil Gaiman:
One of the contributors, best-selling author Neil Gaiman, remarked about the project, “It’s a strange place, this time and this country, in which having tools that can only be used to murder is seen as human right… It’s about wounds and healing, about death and forgiveness, about pain and childhood and the dark. I hope it helps make people think, and I’m honored to be part of the conversation.”
So he believes guns can only be used for murder, but not for self-defense? This is very sad. If he cannot consider the positive reason to use firearms to save innocent lives - which is just what could've been done in Europe if it weren't for say, Belgium's strict gun control laws - then there's no point in claiming a conversation is going on. Since he's from Britain, I wonder what Gaiman thinks of the UK police arresting innocent people for defending themselves against violent felons? If he's allegedly worried about gun violence, that's one thing, but failure to address the case of victims wrongfully arrested for acting in self-defense does no favors for the conversations he supposed contributed to.

Here's something from J.H. Williams and Henry Barajas:
In a time where the debate around gun control is so heated and controversial, what do you hope your anthology brings to the conversation around gun laws and safety?

Williams: We’re not sure exactly. There are lot of different voices and viewpoints in the book. As an example, the viewpoint I take in the introduction to the book can differ from others being represented. I think each contribution brings its own perspectives.

One thing we definitely want people to take from the book is that this gun violence problem goes beyond statistics. There are people’s lives being forever changed by very horrific events. We want people to think about, and care about, the human cost that is taking place. It’s something we want readers to really consider. As long as we only view this problem in terms of statistics, rather than as real human lives, as our neighbors, our loved ones, our communities, our nation, we will never solve this problem. Wendy and I are not comfortable with that.

Henry Barajas: I hope this will help people cope. It’s getting to the point where we have all experienced or felt the aftermath of a mass shooting. I hope this will open a dialogue with readers and hopefully inspire them to vote for change.
You won't solve the problem if you don't also address the lax security at the hotel, or whatever disastrously ignorant business conduct enabled the perpetrator of the Las Vegas assault to get hold of his weapons.

And what's with the part about a vote? Is that some subtle attack on Donald Trump? It's not like these things didn't happen during Obama's presidency. Let's not forget the tragedy of Nidal Hasan, who murdered several people at Fort Hood in 2009, while most army personnnel at the base weren't allowed to carry guns as part of regulations first set up by the Clinton administration.

Also, does the book address why self-defense against the evil gunners is also an important issue? If there's no balance of opinions in the comic, there's no point to its publication, IMO.
Do you think there’s a tendency in our nation where, after these tragedies happen, the lasting effects on the victims and their loved ones aren’t taken into consideration? In what ways do you hope the anthology can help in shining a light on the aftermath and need for assistance?

Williams: Yes, many of the people who are directly impacted by these horrible incidents will face problems surrounding how it affected them for the rest of their lives. It’s not something they can walk away from. And as a caring society we should not walk away from them. This mode of thinking applies not just to people who’ve been severely affected by gun violence, but also in other areas of our society, [such as] the hungry, the poor, the homeless, and other problems that are solvable.

Barajas: It’s impossible for news outlets to share every story, and this comic gives people room to share their experiences. “Where We Live” becomes an inclusive environment for anyone to show the world how they will never be the same, but everything will be OK.
Reading this made me think of a subject where victims weren't taken into consideration: how would victims of Islamic terrorism feel if they knew the comics medium had been making such a hell-bent effort to portray Islam positively without acknowledging any of the Koran's content, as was the case dating back as early as the Marvel Knights Captain America volume in 2002? Such propaganda did a terrible disfavor to victims of 9-11, and I don't think Marvel ever apologized for it, nor did DC for any of their own productions, some of which were atrociously cloaked beneath metaphorical elements.
Do you see there being a change in the way our country deals with gun violence in the future?

Williams: Yes, we have to believe that’s possible. If we don’t believe in that, then it will never happen. Change happens because of believing in change. On my drawing table I have a fortune cookie fortune taped to my lamp that says, “Believe it can be done.” I look at that everyday. If we apply the attitude of that simple tiny piece of paper fortune, we can do a great many things to improve our lives, and the lives of others.

Barajas: The change I see is from teen leaders and mass shooting survivors like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez that have inspired change and lead a movement that was heard around the world.
Hogg's done more harm than good, from what I can tell, and even a liberal like Bill Maher argued he'd screwed up. Worst, he's risked taking the role of a demagogue, and that doesn't serve the causes well at all. The biggest weakness in the arguments of the comics creators cited here is their disinterest in the state of education, which has as much responsibility for what's gone on as the armed culprits themselves, since it basically led to the disasters. Image has become so political today in their own way that it's only doing more harm than good, and if there's no self-defense advocates included in the Where We Live special, then it's not a conversation so much as it is a work of propaganda.

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Look, Trump has supercharged the economy. He's lowered income inequality. He's blasted unemployment. He rocking the state department and international relations. What the F have the Donks to run on besides gun control? That and "Russia Russia Russia" which is actually making Trump more popular. Expect a lot more gun control crap in the next year because it's all they've got. The bad news for them is that gun control, while energizing the left, energizes the right even more.

"...tools that can only be used to murder.."

At least 800,000 Americans use firearms in self-defense each year. Some surveys put the number at more than three times that. A CDC study was suppressed for years because it found that guns are used more often in self-defense than in crimes.

About 30,000 Americans die in shootings each year. Two thirds are suicides. The other 10,000 includes justifiable shootings (citizens shooting criminals in self-defense, police shooting criminals in the line of duty), as well as accidents and murders.

So-called "assault rifles" are used in fewer than 3% of violent crimes, including mass murder.

Guns are not the leading cause of death among any age group. Students are more likely to be struck by lightning than to get shot. Eleven teenagers die every day in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving (usually, texting). More children drown in swimming pools than get shot (whether accidentally or intentionally). And more people die from medical malpractice than from shootings.

No wonder J.H. Williams doesn't want to discuss the issue in terms of statistics. Facts and statistics don't support the anti-gun, anti-freedom agenda.

Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg are not "survivors" of a shooting. Neither is Cameron Kasky. None of them was even in the same building where the massacre took place.

Gonzalez has admitted that she was one of the bullies who tormented the mentally ill kid until he snapped. Hogg wants to be a TV news commentator, and Kasky wants to be an actor. Both are exploiting the tragedy, getting publicity that they can parlay into show business careers.

Aaron Feis died while shielding kids with his body. Peter Wang and two other JROTC students were killed while holding a door open to help other students escape. Anthony Borges was gravely wounded while trying to block a door to stop the killer.

Yet, according to CNN, MSNBC, and Time magazine, the "heroes" of Parkland are Hogg, Kasky, and Gonzalez.

God, how I hate the media.

Texting while driving is against the law because it can kill people. Why shouldn't there be restrictions on guns for the same reason?

If guns are used more often for defensive purposes than in criminal acts, what are they defending against? Unarmed attackers? How can you claim that more criminals get shot by guns than there are criminals who shoot people? It seems to me that makes criminals a very peaceful, gentle lot, certainly not the kind of people who should be shot by anyone, given their obvious pacifist tendencies.

The problem is that the so-called statistics about defensive use of guns are based on self-reporting. Everyone who uses a gun is going to claim self-defence; even a lot of murderers plead that as a defence. No-one is going to tell the survey they used guns offensively and illegally. It means the claimed statistics are skewed and unreliable.

Texting while driving is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine or temporary suspension of one's driving license. Crimes committed with guns (murder, armed robbery) are felonies, punishable by long prison terms.

There are laws placing restrictions on gun ownership. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits gun ownership by convicted felons (later amended to include people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence), people who are legally insane or incompetent, patients diagnosed with severe mental illness, people who were dishonorably discharged from the military, fugitives, substance abusers, and anyone who is under a legal restraining order. Also, one must be 18 or older to buy a rifle or shotgun, and 21 or older to buy a handgun.

GCA 68 is a federal law, so it applies in all 50 states. In addition, states have their own gun laws. Some require that anyone buying any firearm (handgun or long gun) be 21 or older. Some require a license to own a handgun. And some ban certain types of firearms (e.g., "semi-automatic assault weapons" that can fire more than ten shots without reloading) altogether.

Yes, people do justifiably use guns in self-defense against "unarmed attackers" very often.

Michael Brown, for example, attacked a cop, who shot him in self-defense. Brown outweighed the cop by 80 pounds. (Also, Brown had sucker punched the cop, who was then injured too badly to fight back hand-to-hand.) That disparity of force justified the shooting even though the attacker was "unarmed."

And there are other types of weapons besides guns. Using a knife, a hammer, a tire iron, a crowbar, an ax, or even a baseball bat can be deadly force, and the intended victim can be justified in shooting the assailant.

And not all self-defense cases involve someone shooting the attacker. Often, criminals run away or surrender when confronted by someone who is armed. 98% of the time, when a gun is used in self-defense, the gun is not fired.

Sometimes murderers claim to have acted in self-defense. Just as rapists claim that the victim consented, shoplifters claim that they intended to pay for the merchandise, and car thieves claim that the owner gave them permission to borrow the car. That's why police departments have detectives to investigate claims made by suspects, witnesses, and alleged victims.

And not all statistics are based on self-reporting. Incidents are investigated, and the police do not take a person's unsubstantiated word for anything. False claims of "self-defense" (the "mugger" was really a harmless panhandler, or the "attempted mugging" was really a drug deal that went bad) are usually exposed as such.

Not all statistics are based on self reporting; but the only broad statistics on defensive gun use are Baez on people being asked about their gun use and characterizing it themselves. There is no independent verification, and most such uses are never reported to the police.

A study by the Violence Policy Center (an anti-gun activist organization) found that there are on average, 185 defensive uses of guns each day.

Studies by the CDC and FBI/DOJ found no link between gun control laws and a decrease in crime. In fact, they found the exact opposite: crime actually increased when new gun control laws were passed. And crime decreased at the same time that gun ownership increased.

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