John Oliver knows the problem is guns

Originally published at: John Oliver knows the problem is guns | Boing Boing


For the BBS set:


The problem is easy access to guns.

The thing that frustrates me the most about the many, many conversations we have on BB about guns is the bare minimum of blame for the US attitude about mental health and its relationship to violence, misogyny, and cultural norms. There is a malignant tumor in the USA, and we refuse to take the chemotherapy.


It was a good piece. His pieces usually are. Its main focus is on SROs not actually being a good thing and often times make things worse overall for the school.

ETA - oops, I didn’t mean to direct reply.


If I’m reading you correctly you think that mental health issues in America are the biggest factor/cause of our gun violence? If that’s what you’re saying I’ll have to disagree. Yes, we need to do much more to support folks with mental health challenges but that wouldn’t stop these mass murders from occurring as long as guns are so freely available. Most shooters have never been diagnosed with mental illnesses, and likely wouldn’t volunteer to participate in screenings even if the healthcare were completely free. Even the Sandy Hook shooter who was one of the rare folks who was known to have mental disabilities (which likely wasn’t the cause of his violence anyway) came from a relatively privileged family who had access to mental health providers, so better access to healthcare isn’t a panacea for this issue.

It really is about the guns.


We need someone like Katie Porter to take this to Congress, make them watch, and then ask “Can we actually start to implement some effective gun control like New Zealand?”

She’s good with a whiteboard too, so that would work as well.


This one circumvents the geo-lock for me…

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Those are real problems, they are problems made worse and harder to address by easy access to guns. Getting rid of guns for instance won’t cure someone’s suicidal tendencies, but it makes it a lot more likely they will live long enough to be helped.


I love John Oliver, but I always wonder, in pieces like that, why they don’t talk about other countries.

When I was growing up in Canada, there were no “SROs”. There are a few now, though not common and being phased out again (Toronto just got rid of theirs, conservative Calgary will probably be a hold out). The notion of a cop walking around the halls of a school is absolutely bonkers to me, but stories like this one make it sound so common that nobody really thinks much about it. People debate the nuances of how the program operates without ever taking in a global view and saying, “the rest of world thinks this is batshit insane so maybe we should see how they do it

Americans seem to have a kind of Stockholm Syndrome with all these bananas dystopian things that no other country does. I always wonder why think pieces like John’s aren’t talking about that.


All countries have those problems, though. Canada has its share of misogyny, racism, domestic violence, etc. Humans have human problems everywhere. What we don’t have is huge piles of guns widely distributed that cause every teenager or drunk dad’s bad day to turn into a mass shooting.

Guns pour gasoline on everything and the world is made of wood.


I think @knoxblox’s point was more that the blaming of gun violence on mental health problems is much worse than just gun nutter deflection; that it just adds more insult and stigma to mental illness and makes it that much more likely for people who need help to avoid seeking it.


I live in a country that has deeply toxic attitudes re: mental health, violence, misogyny and cultural norms, much worse than in many parts of the US that many Americans still complain about (and kind of on the same level as many other parts of the US, we did host a CPAC a few weeks ago, and our government loves far-right American lobbyists almost as much as it loves licking Vladimir Putin’s ass). We still don’t have murders on the scale that happened in the US just the past two weeks, the reason should be very obvious.

Anyway, I think everyone knows that the problem is guns, even those who claim it isn’t. To me from the outside it seems they just don’t really care because they’re more uncomfortable with the idea of gun control and losing their gun privileges than mass shootings and other murders committed by guns that could have been avoided by stricter gun laws. They want their guns, and if keeping their guns means people, including small children, dying - well, that’s just collateral damage to them.


Here are more details on the experiences students of color had with SROs that John Oliver mentioned:

At a time when people are trying to defund the police and end the school-to-prison pipeline, GOP members using mass shootings as an excuse to demonize and monetize more members of the Black community is enraging, but not surprising.


Very close, but it’s really about our attitude as a nation. We are dysfunctional as a culture, and we are in constant denial about it. When the MPAA permits violence, but balks at sex. When young, white men are the “oppressed”, and Black men murdered by cops are just all in a day’s work. When women need to be controlled and LGBTQ+ folks are “abominations”.

Yes, yes, yes. But what about this is considered mentally sound?

As I have often repeated, get rid of the guns, but don’t stop there because that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A HUGE FREAKING ICEBERG.

Sad Anxiety GIF by Yevbel


To be fair to my American friends, this is a case of their democracy being broken more than it being something most people want. Most Americans agree on all sorts of gun control. Universal background checks, for example, recently polled at 97% support. 97%. That’s more people than agree whether ice cream is good. The American government however, is completely captured by corruption from lobby groups, and thus does not do things that everyone wants even when everyone agrees.


From Airplanes to Zebras, it’s the will of corporations over people every time.

How many people can rattle off K St. lobbying firms? Funny isn’t it that the groups that control everything in DC remain relatively anonymous.


Those are huge problems but largely disconnected from our country’s insanely high murder rate relative to others. Most people would agree that government censors in Iran and Saudi Arabia are even worse than the US in terms of allowing violence vs. sex in movies, and that those countries are terrible when it comes to controlling women and condemning LGBTQ+ folks. No shortage of angry young men, either. But they’ve still got significantly lower murder rates than we do (0.8 per 100k in S.A. vs 7.8 for U.S.). Why? We all know why. Private ownership of guns is much more heavily regulated there.

Acknowledging that the guns are what makes us uniquely bad in our murder rate does not mean that we don’t also need to change our attitude as a nation about other issues. But when people want to focus on all the other issues when the topic of conversation is specifically about gun homicides it often feels like a distraction, whether that’s intentional or otherwise.


I don’t understand why, when it’s the reason we have all of these guns.


Oh sure, I didn’t mean all Americans, but the ones who continue to oppose stricter gun regulation despite everything.

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As long as it happens to people other than them they don’t care. If a white supremacist male shot up CPAC killing many other white supremacist in attendance there that might make them do something but their first ports of call would be “false flag” and “deep state” before they looked in the mirror.