So three Muslims who recently visited Saudi Arabia shoot up a workplace in San Bernardino with automatic rifles, return to their home where they apparently had giant piles of explosives, and are subsequently killed by police.
CNN reports that their motivations are unknown and then has an expert in workplace violence and Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, on.
Mark Kelly claims that this type of shooting doesn't happen in states with strong gun control laws. Does he know where San Bernardino is? California, home to some of the toughest gun laws in the country.
Well, to give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe by states he meant countries. Heard of France, Mark?
OK, lets break this down a bit further. Automatic rifles? I can't get an automatic rifle without getting a license from the federal government and coughing up tens of thousands of dollars. They have been virtually banned since the 1930s and it isn't that easy to legally buy one. So what new law do Mark Kelly, the President, and most Democrats want us to pass to keep people from getting these guns?
They want to add those on the "no fly" list and the "terror watch" list to the list of prohibited persons, people who can't buy guns. (Click the link for the ACLU's take on these lists). Before we get to the lists, however, let's remind ourselves of the process for buying a gun in this country. Shannon Watts, a well known anti-gun activist claimed that suspected terrorists could just walk into a gun shop and buy a gun, no questions asked. This is a flat out lie. In order to buy a gun from a dealer, the source of the vast majority of guns, you have to go through a criminal background check.There are a variety of things that will keep you from completing your purchase including felonies, domestic violence convictions, and determinations of mental incompetence. What they all have in common, however, is that a judge actually found you to be guilty of one of these things, plus right to legal representation, a jury for criminal trials, and all the other things that go with the justice system in the United States. Things that are not present in the creation of these lists.
OK. So who is on those lists, how does one get on the list, and how does one get off the list.
Part 1: Senator Ted Kennedy was on the first list for a while. No particular reason except that someone named Edward Kennedy was presumably being investigated so they added the name to the list. Bam. Senator Kennedy gets stopped while trying to board a plane. Apparently there is an eight year old Cub Scout on the list somewhere back east. Are you on the list? Well, hard to tell. They won't tell you if you are on the list until such time as they keep you from boarding a plane. There may be as many as 700,000 people on the terror watch list
Part 2: How does one get on the list? Well, no one is quite sure. Presumably if you are being investigated for terrorist ties you would be on the list. What if you have the same name as someone who is being investigated? Yup, probably on the list. What if someone in the government is pissed off at you? You could end up on the list. In fact the bill that the Democrats are currently pushing, Senate Bill 551 would give the Attorney General of the United States the authority to deny you firearms. You can go to court to get your name cleared, according to the legislation, but do you have the money to take the United States Government to court? Oh, and finally the legislation allows the AG to withhold the information on why you were denied if he or she determines that it would harm national security to provide the information. Basically you can't have guns cause the AG says so and the AG doesn't have to say why because...national security. I suppose you could assume that the USAG would never stoop to using such a tactic for political purposes (cough, cough, IRS, Milwaukee Prosecutor's Office) but I prefer to assume that someone in power could abuse that power and prevent that abuse by limiting the power. Huffington Post wrote an article last year in which they listed seven ways you could get on the list, including "being unlucky".
(Amusingly enough (if it weren't for the ongoing destruction of personal liberties in this country fueled by sites such as HuffPo) they also routinely run articles bemoaning the fact that the terror watch list isn't used to prevent people from buying guns. Apparently the terror watch list is only a horrible abuse of government power unless it is being used to restrict Second Amendment rights.)
Part 3: How do you get off the list?
No one really knows. First you have to know you are on the list, which you probably don't find out until you aren't allowed to fly on your vacation, then you have to file a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security, and then, apparently, they don't actually have to notify you of their decision. I guess you just buy another plane ticket and try to go on vacation again.
You can find more information here, and here.
Wait, what was the point? Oh yeah. Meanwhile I am at work, arguing in the break room about why we label Muslim terrorists as Muslim terrorists, but we just call Christians "nutjobs" when they shoot someone up in the name of their religion. Point out that the Quran is filled with calls to violence and they claim that it has been misinterpreted. Point out that the language is perfectly clear and not subject to misinterpretation and they claim that is has been mistranslated. Point out that your father is a middle eastern scholar who is fluent in Arabic and they point out that the Old Testament told the Jews to kill all the Hittites and Amorites and Caananites. WTW? Specific instructions to drive five or six tribes out of the place you want to live in approximately 5,000BC is somehow morally equivalent to instructions to kill anyone who is not a Muslim or who converts away from Islam? How do you even have a rational discussion with these people? They are so intent on providing moral cover for Islamic jihad that they are willing to bring the rope to their own hanging. The problem here is not workplace violence, it is not gun culture, it is not religion in general, the problem here is Islam.
All I want to do is make enough money to surf, hang out with a nice girl, and not being f'd with by the government. I can't do it in California, the only place in the United States with decent climate and decent surfing so I am stuck here, in the freezing cold and pouring rain with no surf. I don't want to be involved in politics, I hate politics, but here I am being involved because the option is to let these people make the decision. My punishment is to have to deal with a self destructive polity who apparently think that they don't deserve to live.