John Oliver knows the problem is guns

What’s Big Zebra interested in? /s


Once people stop being such assholes to minorities they might realise guns aren’t actually necessary after all.

After all, the guns are the weapon, not the cause of the violence.


point pointing GIF by Shalita Grant


Why then, in your opinion, doesn’t a country like Saudi Arabia have even more guns then us? As I noted they’re objectively worse than us on just about every one of the “national attitude” issues you listed. Maybe their police aren’t gunning down minority kids quite as much (at least, within their own borders) but the country sure isn’t great about how they treat their immigrant laborers or religious minorities. They’ve got a f*cked-up justice system that’s corrupt and wild about the death penalty. Terrible on human rights issues all around. But a lot less guns.

Guns are also something that could, in theory, be addressed quickly and easily. Rooting out white supremacy, dealing with sexism, handling the dysfunctional media culture etc. are all pretty big and complicated problems, and can’t be just fixed quickly. But gun control would be quick to do, and would help a lot with the symptoms while working on the rest.


“Legit” reasons to own guns in Saudi Arabia are fewer. Hunting laws are very strict there, for instance.

Ranked 5th in the world, about 1/3 of the USA, more than half of Serbia or Yemen.

I keep agreeing with this, but most folks here keep ignoring that part. :man_shrugging:

It appears to me that Pew thinks it’s about USians sense of “identity”.


I don’t know why we bother engaging on this.
If dead kids all over the place can’t change people’s minds then what’s the fucking point?


I think it’s all summed up with the idea of “American exceptionalism.” Because Americans view America as so awesomely unique and special, our advancements as well as our shortcomings cannot be reasonably compared to anywhere else. American problems therefore need American solutions.

It’s total BS, of course, but that attitude nonetheless can quickly derail a discussion. Even when talking to someone who identifies as being on the left.


Yah, that makes sense. It’s bothersome in so many conversations about social issues. Guns of course, but also healthcare, prison reform, reparations, and a host of other things. The US is usually the only wealthy democracy that has not mostly solved the problem, yet always acts like the problem is unsolvable.

Or perhaps more accurately, the conservative majority running things pushes the narrative that the problems are unsolvable because that’s the message that suits their needs. However this makes it more frustrating when allies like John don’t talk about it. Maybe that’s a deliberate editorial choice because they feel the audience won’t respond to being lectured about how much nicer Australia and South Korea are or whatever?

Gun control is a perfect example. Even here on BB, people constantly talk about how impossible it is to word a law to block AR-15s and other weapons of war. But, like, you could literally copy Canada’s or Australia’s laws word for word as a starting point and essentially end mass shootings overnight. Instead people argue for thread after thread about how to define “assault rifle”.

I think the only think piece like this that I’ve seen seriously take a swing at a comparative approach is David Cross’ excellent one:

Michael Moore was also good at this, for example in Bowling For Columbine and Sicko. Unfortunately he never lets facts get in the way of a good populist message, and is a little looser with the truth in his films than I would like.


Gun control would not be “quick to do”. There is more than one gun for every human being in this country.

Even if it were simple to pass a blanket ban on all civilian guns tomorrow, it would not be simple or quick to deal with the ones that already exist.

Putting together a sensible working system that allows some gun ownership would be a lot more complicated. And many of the quickest things you could practically pass would have little immediate impact.

I don’t mean that “it’s hard so don’t”. Just that it’s a pretty god damn big problem, and our approach to it needs a fundamental rethink, and our laws a fundamental restructure. Even with that this problem only resolves itself over time.

And you don’t fix the white supremacy et al without addressing the guns, nor the guns without addressing the rest. This is as deep and fundamental a bit of ideological rot here as Slavery.

I would agree that it’s a pretty important starting point with some incredibly obvious first steps though. We could do something very quick.

They do not believe that these things are problems.

The Right does not think it is bad when some one goes broke for medical care. Or dies for lack of insurance. They do not think the government or anyone else should be helping others with that.

They do not think it is bad when kids are killed, and especially when a racist opens fire on a black supermarket. They believe they need the guns for the latter, and the former is unimportant in comparison.

This is the world they want. The reason America is some magic place where well known solutions don’t apply, and all problems are in gods hands. Is cause it’d be a lot harder to sell to as many people if they ran on a platform of “Fuck your neighbor, kill the darkies”.

Though the GOP is trending that way pretty hard.


Even so, considering how many shootings are conducted by folks who just bought their guns new days or hours beforehand, stopping the sale of new guns could have a huge impact. And the folks who already own their guns would be less likely to sell them to others if they knew they couldn’t be replaced.

When the National Firearms Act was enacted in 1934 it didn’t confiscate or buy back all Tommy Guns, but it did prohibit the sale of new ones so the existing ones became far more expensive to own. Today you can still buy one but they cost as much as a nice car and you’ve got to go through a lot of trouble to license it. If something similar happens with AR15’s that would be a huge improvement over the status quo.


Buy back programs also work


That’s the thing though. There’s still that private transfer thing, which is completely untracked. Our baseline on regulation still operates on the whole “pre-ban thing”, where if you already have it fine. We just won’t allow new ones.

There are a hell of a lot more assault rifles in the US today, and they’re much more accessible, than there were Tommy Guns in 1934. A Thompson Gun cost more than a car at the time. The issue they were tamping down was the purchase of those guns by organized crime, not their mass proliferation. Machine guns weren’t actually common in the general population at the time.

The NFA also didn’t ban them. Or new sales. It slapped a prohibitive (at the time) $200 tax on them, and required registration and permitting. It wasn’t until 1986 that registration was closed to new machine guns, and imports were banned. Creating the situation we have now.

What about the folks who’ve acquired a shit ton of guns specifically to sell if that happens?

Actually know quite a few people who do that. And it’s the low key, unstated bit of the runs on gun stores and “ammo shortages” whenever a Democrat gets elected and the whole industry starts advertising on “OBUMMERS COMING FOR YOUR GUNS”.

And we’ve already hit 3 moving pieces.

But like I said concrete, quick steps can be taken. Reducing the actual number of already existing guns is one of those big “over time” complications. A buy back program can be done in isolation of other moves and can start sucking up excess guns immediately.


Right. It took years for the UK to deal with it, and they finally outlawed handguns as late as 1997.


Yeah and our problem here is a hell of a lot bigger.

Australia’s guns were counted in the millions, not the tens and hundreds of millions, when heavier restrictions came in in 1996. Of a substantially different type than the bulk of American guns.

And they’re still working on it.

The vast difference in scale here makes me doubt we can get the kind of hard stop on school shootings they did.

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you mean like akin, gump, et al., brownstein, hyatt, et al., the podesta group, squire patton boggs, or holland & knight?


i pretty much gave up after sandy hook when twenty dead first graders didn’t move the needle :person_shrugging:

we in the states live in a sad, twisted pseudo-society dominated by a small minority of the very wealthy, large corporations, and their representatives. in a society which has two political parties one of which pretends to care about people and the larger society but is more or less controlled by corporations and the other is also controlled by corporations but has morphed over the past 50 years into an outright death-cult.


Same here.

Exactly. There are pols in one party who are almost satisfied with the results from decades of convincing their followers that they are the only ones whose voices matter. They won’t be content until they control the executive branch, too.

As was pointed out multiple times above, it’s an issue that will take a lot more than legislation and restrictions to solve. When folks argue that point, we can refer them to the reaction of a significant number of privileged folks asked to wear a mask and get vaccinated during a pandemic. They not only ignored medical advice and the law, they also did everything in their power to change the law and limit the government’s ability to issue emergency orders during a crisis tell them what to do.

The GOP engages in so much projection, I’m even starting to reconsider their fear-mongering about the government wanting to take away guns. That might be part of their plan (after taking control of everything), just in case the folks who voted for them figure out that they’ve been duped. :woman_shrugging:t4: I’m sure they wouldn’t want to see all those weapons used against TPTB. Let’s hope we can reduce their influence in the midterms, so we never have to find out.


@knoxblox has a point in that the gun cancer and violent rhetoric is embedded a lot deeper culturally than just thinking in terms of access could ever address.

Even assuming we could thread the needle with perfect legislation, and pass it all tomorrow.

None of that goes away any more so than ~400m pre-existing guns.

Kinda what I’m on about. The violent fantasy of the proud American defending his home/neighborhood/country from some animalistic other doesn’t go away without tamping down the guns. But you aren’t gonna tamp down the guns without undermining that fantasy.

It’s why for the GOP one is always the answer to the other. Can’t take our guns the blacks will get us. Racism isn’t real, they just want to take our guns.


I used to be weirded out by the notion that – as seen in films and on TV – school kids in the US apparently need written permission to go to the toilet during class time. School police? That boggles the mind.