Daines and Zinke Ghoulishly, Inaccurately Demagogue on Another Gun Tragedy

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It certainly hasn’t taken Senator Daines and Representative Zinke long to try to score some cheap political points following the deaths of five American service members last week. Both, in the last day, have released press releases about proposed bills that would allow servicemen and women to carry guns at military installations largely without restrictions. In typical fashion, Representative Zinke claimed he was “introducing” the bill, even though Senator Daines and Duncan Hunter initially introduced it in each chamber.

Daines offered this fact-free, red meat explanation for his bill, which would undermine the authority of military commanders to set policies for their bases and substitute the judgment of members of Congress for that of experienced military officers:

The fastest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. It’s time to allow our men and women in uniform – including our military recruiters – to have all the resources they need to protect and defend themselves. It’s unfortunate that it took a tragedy like what happened in Tennessee to wake us up to the fact that there needs to be a policy change.

Facts are stubborn things, though. As the Navy Times notes, the Marines did return fire after they were attacked:

A report distributed among senior Navy leaders during the shooting’s aftermath said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the support center’s commanding officer, used his personal firearm to engage Abdulazeez, Navy Times confirmed with four separate sources. A Navy official also confirmed a Washington Post report indicating one of the slain Marines may have been carrying a 9mm Glock and possibly returned fire on the gunman.

Even the broad premise of the proposed fixes isn’t based in truth, as Politifact notes, in this quote from a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation:

Steven Bucci, a military expert for the Heritage Foundation and former Army colonel, told PolitiFact that the policy about firearms existed for decades before Clinton, or Bush for that matter.  “As far back as when I joined the military in 1973, and probably further back, you have never been able to carry firearms, privately owned or government, on military installations. You always had to register it with the MP’s and keep them locked in the arms rooms,” he said, referring to military police…. “No one ‘disarmed’ the military — the military itself prefers to manage good order and discipline by not having everyone armed.”

The military does not support changing the policy, which it implemented and then codified under the presidency of George H.W. Bush:

“DoD does not support arming all personnel. We hold this position for many reasons,” Army Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Monday.  Those reasons include safety concerns and the risk of accidental discharges, she said.  Moreover, providing law enforcement-style training and qualification tests for additional parts of the force could be extraordinarily costly, she said.

What’s also left unsaid in the media coverage is the danger that guns present in any workplace. After a tragedy like this, conservatives are eager to score political points by suggesting that more guns will make workplaces safer, but the statistical reality is, of course, much different. Accidental shootings, increased suicides, workplace homicides and the like don’t get non-stop media coverage, so it’s easy to forget that for every imagined heroic life saving act by an armed person, there will be dozens more injuries and fatalities that are chalked up as the incidental cost of gun mania before being ignored.

Daines’s infantile suggestion that “the fastest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” demonstrates the absence of reason underlying these proposals. Life is not like a Hollywood western, and identifying the “bad guy” to shoot him is probably a bit more complex than it seems from behind the desk of a disconnected Senator. Especially when Republican policies have made it so easy for anyone to get a gun as easily as a piece of furniture online:

A friend’s claim that the man accused of opening fire last week on two military facilities in Tennessee bought powerful guns over the Internet has renewed attention to online firearm bazaars, a lightly regulated world where buyers and sellers can set up purchases without background checks.

So these proposals will actually make military bases less safe, undermine the authority of military commanders, misrepresent what really happened, and distort the reality of gun violence in America.

Of course, in a state almost devoid of critical press coverage, what Zinke and Daines are doing makes total sense. They’ll get a lot of positive, uncritical press attention for proposed bills that feel good, but won’t actually make anyone safer. They’ll score points with the radical gun lobby, who won’t be satisfied until every preschool teacher is required to pack heat. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll have another chance to demagogue a tragedy for political gain.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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Big Swede
Guest

Ghoulishly?

Kinda like selling aborted baby parts?

Pete Talbot
Admin
Big Swede
Guest

NYT opinion piece? Now there’s an unbiassed source.

I admit I’ve stretched the bounds of topical commenting but the root word “Ghoulish” unrelated here seems to be mentioned frequently with these videos.

Pete Talbot
Admin

Swede, you and Tokarski have so much in common, including your mistrust of the mainstream media.

Pogie
Guest
Pogie

Don’t say that name! 🙂

Sons of Anarchy
Guest
Sons of Anarchy

While completely off topic Swede, I’m with ya! just a few more baby parts and Planned Parenthood can buy a fleet of Lambos. And btw gun free zones have an unusual tendency for guns to appear in the hands of sociopaths.

Ted
Guest
Ted

So do gun ranges: It was in a Florida gun range that Marie Moore fatally shot her adult son and then herself in 2009. Because Moore had been involuntarily institutionalized in 2002, she couldn’t have passed a background check. But she didn’t have to in order to rent a gun at Shoot Straight. Hers was the second shooting death in the course of a month at the state’s largest independent gun-shop chain. And after the second incident, a suicide, Shoot Straight changed its policy to halt rentals until it could implement a background check system. That was before owner Joerg… Read more »

Rob Kailey
Guest

It will never cease to amuse me how corporate loving fruitcakes refuse to check an organization’s financial transparency against the conspiracy theory of the day.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4338#.VbEsAflFuec

I don’t think PP will be buying that fleet of Lambos any time soon.

Big Swede
Guest

Impressive.

I heard between “procedures” they find homes for lost puppies.

Rob Kailey
Guest

That’s the point of independent auditing, Swede. They wouldn’t get away with that either.

Big Swede
Guest
Rob Kailey
Guest

Yes, and my uncle’s sister’s cousin’s brother told me that Donald Trump sacrifises virgins to Satan. YOu have to have credible evidence, swede. Hoft has been caught lying his ass off so many times that even FAUX news considers him toxic.

Big Swede
Guest

You saying the current videos are not credible?

Show me the virgin’s sacrifice UTube Rob.

Rob Kailey
Guest

Can’t show you that, Swede. But I can show you a youtube video iof the deleted scene from the Avengers where the Hulk gets it on with Black Widow. I can show you the one where Barack Obama has a conversation with Hitler. I can show you the one where a plane hits WTC 2. That fakes a hoot, right? I can show you any number of videos from known felon, and likely traitor, O’Keefe all of which have been debunked and resulted in costly lawsuits in which your view of ‘credibility’ has lost. No, Swede, the videos are not… Read more »

Big Swede
Guest

For once you may be right Rob. The “money trail” can disappear much like that of Louis Learner’s e-mails or Hillary’s basement server.

By the time this is done, Planned Parenthood centers will all have wholesale annexes attached where bio companies can come in and purchase infant body parts right out of refrigerated display cases.

Rob Kailey
Guest

Even Mark’s conspiracy theories make more sense than yours.

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

Lightly regulated? Last I checked internet sales must be received through an FFL where the buyer receives their purchase. That FFL must perform the background checks. https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/federal-firearms-licensees/ffl-manual

Rob Kailey
Guest

Organizational purchase or auction, yes. Private party sale, no. That’s a loophole that has plagued private sale facilitators like Gunbroker.com. When listing your weapon, you sign an agreement that you will not contact a potential purchaser privately, nor withdraw your offering before completion of auction. Craig’s list changes a lot of those rules.

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

How is that any different than a classified ad in the newspaper, where the buyer and seller learn of each other, the meet to exchange goods for money? Usually when talking about “internet sales” there is a shipment either inter-state or intra-state and mush conform to federal, state, and local laws. Also, such shipments must conform to carrier rules. https://professionaloutdoormedia.org/node/5725

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

Bad stumble fingers today. s/b “must conform” not mush, and s/b “then meet” not the.

Rob Kailey
Guest

It’s not different Craig, save on basis of enforceability. I suggest that might be part of the problem.

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

Enforcement of current firearm sales laws is definitely a problem. The South Carolina shooter proved that.

Norma Duffy
Guest
Norma Duffy

I agree with Rob. Facebook sales as well! There are tons of facebook sales with guns. no FFL needed.

I use GunBroker, and I use FFL dealers like those in my Town, Even Cheaper than Dirt online when purchasing a gun or Ammo. But there is a plethora of places a criminal can get a gun, without an FFL.

LK
Guest
LK

FINALLY, Big Weed’s inbred pals find a purpose in life! I think maybe this should be a paying job so the inbreds can pay some taxes! Sleep safe tonight, for while you sleep, the inbre mlisha is ON patrol!

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/07/as-militiamen-stand-guard-army-tells-recruiters-to-treat-all-armed-civilians-as-a-threat/

LK
Guest
LK

Weed, was that you, buddy? I thought so! Nuthin’ like a leetle inbred gun safety to show the military how things are done! AND, to scare the terrists! There’s gotta be some scared terrists laffin’ their arses off somewhere in the world today knowin’ that the First Inbred Irregulars are ON patrol! You guys are the Trump’s of the gun world!

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/07/armed-civilian-guarding-ohio-army-recruitment-center-accidentally-fires-weapon/

lokywoky
Guest
lokywoky

There was a “good guy with a gun” at the Gabby Giffords shooting. He ran out, drew his gun, looked at the confusion that was going on and then put his gun back in its holster. He said later that if he had decided to shoot someone, he would have shot the two people who were trying to wrestle the gun away from Jared Loughner – the shooter who caused all the mayhem in the first place. And thankfully because of his cooler head, he decided that he didn’t know enough about the situation to start unloading his pistol on… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

These comments have surely stetched the topic here – but POGIE seems to have gone off the deep end if he thinks trained soldiers shouldn’t be trusted with firearms.

About what I’d expect from someone who’s never touched off a pistol.

Pete Talbot
Admin

I don’t know if Pogie has ever “touched off a pistol.” That is completely irrelevant. I’ve never flown the F-35 jet fighter (unit cost about $100 million, without engine). Does that mean I can’t have an informed opinion on it?

Norma Duffy
Guest
Norma Duffy

Completely agree with Pete and Don on this. Even the Military believes that their first line of defense in the states are the police.

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