Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? That was the title of a talk to a scientific symposium by Philip Merilees in 1972. The talk was on Chaos Theory and the entire concept of small events producing unpredictable large effects became known as the Butterfly Effect.
It seems reasonable to think that the increasingly unhinged rhetoric coming from the rightmost fringe of the Republican Party over gun safety will have an effect on public opinion. But evidence is elusive. It's a little like measuring the effect of that mythical butterfly in South America when the butterfly is surrounded by a hurricane, a tsunami, and a rain of frogs from the sky. The overwhelming public sentiment for a series of strong gun safety checks, combined with the deepening disdain the public is developing for Republican institutions makes it difficult to measure what additional effect the occasional public pronunciation may have.
Gun violence in minority neighborhoods, with frequent collateral killings of children playing on sidewalks or sleeping in their homes, has long provided a sort of background rumbling in news media. Individual death, even of a child, doesn't produce lasting headlines. The loss of a black kid has been just another day's work for many reporters.
But a classroom of kids taken all at once is a nightmare. And it has placed an emphasis what violence has come since. Yesterday a shooter here in St. Louis killed an administrator in a business school before killing himself. Six weeks ago, it would have produced a day or shocked wonderment.
It is easy to imagine a hot-blooded murder. Lovers quarrel. Employees are fired. Students fight. A gun offers an impulsive destructiveness that might otherwise pass.
But the killing of a classroom of little kids can only be thought possible in a mathematical sense. Somewhere, somehow, someone will develop the motivation to walk into a school with a military grade weapon and a deadly intent. Our neighborhoods are filled with a variety of people. Some small bit of that variety is bound to be unstable, prone to a sociopath's deadliness. And the technology of death amplifies the effect.
Imagination strains against image. The mental picture of the last moments in the lives of those small children staggers the emotion of normal people.
It is easy to imagine a callousness toward the occasional stranger. You don't have to be without feeling to see how someone can become cold, inured to yet another domestic case, or a workplace incident, or even a tragic child. A car accident, a fall, a case of gunfire, we can find some bridge to the one who shrugs and goes back to morning coffee and the sports section.
But an unfeeling apathy toward the small occupants of those little desks. An entire classroom of children barely out of infancy, each suddenly looking into the abyss. That takes a special sort of coldness.
We have little evidence of the effect on public opinion. Intuition can be wrong. But it is hard to see how some statements would not provoke most people: Representatives of gun manufacturers expressing outrage, not so much at the massacre of the littlest victims, but at steps keep such things from happening again.
That anyone would become angry at the thought that a schoolhouse shooter would have to reload after only half a dozen bullets has to strike more than a few citizens as wildly extreme. A conservative radio host taking a turn as a television guest must impress the average viewer as dangerous as he screams into the face of a mild mannered interviewer. A CEO in Tennessee promises to begin shooting if gun safety measures are taken by the government, then apologizes with the assurance that such a killing spree is not necessary. At least not yet.
The silence of many public conservatives is more understandable. The cynical thought is hard to avoid. It appears that a cold calculation is at work: That the bitter reaction to what happened in that classroom will fade in the dewy morning light, that public attention will eventually be captured by the next bright shiny object. That gun money contributions will pay for the next series of campaign ads.
But the rhetoric from the fringes, the loud public fury at even the mildest measures of public safety, has to be unnerving. Polls can't show it. There are limits to the velocity that speedometers can display. You can't measure what is off the charts.
The effect has to be there.
Or maybe not.
We can't know until the next election.
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There are things that do indeed need to be done, but not simply so we will all feel better that "something" was done. Rather, we need to make sure that it truly is much more difficult for felons and the mentally unstable to acquire ANY firearm, while still ensuring that the tens of millions of other law abiding citizens in this country still can own a weapon of their choosing in order to protect them and their loved ones.
I think it's awesome you had a pre-loaded opinion on this without even having read what the President's plan was.
I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you do read the President's plan. I feel like what you said in your second paragraph is definitely addressed.
For your consideration
For democrats to take advantage of a tragedy like this to advance their long-standing gun control agenda takes a special sort of coldness.
For the president to surround himself with children while announcing his gun-control related executive orders, and then to host a party afterwards, takes a very special sort of coldness indeed.
Yes it certainly does require a cold attitude to advance the agenda of keeping more kids from being killed.
It seems to me the debate is coming down to two sides.
One side is insisting that someone shooting up a classroom must be required to stop and reload after the first ten little kids are killed.
The other side, which is to say your side, thinks this inconvenience is an oppressive violation of human rights.
This, sadly, is the current state of contemporary conservative thought.
Why do you comment here?
F&B and others comment here because they feel compelled to. I like that they comment; Discussions and conversations occur in their wake.
I hadn't seen F&B in a while, I missed him!
THAT is my main beef.
I share your opinion towards the use of Executive Orders. It is unfortunate that the President would have to do this.
That said; It is a legal tool of the Executive of our nation and its use is certainly not unique to our current President. His predecessor utilized it on more than one occasion.
But, I know, right? How dare he follow the example of previous Presidents. The arrogance.
The real reason (close your ears Ryan) is that I think Burr Deming is very articulate and sharp, and generally has very compelling arguments, especially compared to those who write in various left-wing echo chambers. Right wing echo chambers are boring as well. I would rather mix it up a little so I can better understand the opinions coming from the dark side. Of course, I also sometimes feel compelled to educate some liberal heathens like Ryan. :-)
On the other topics, I don't have a problem with a president using executive orders, as long as they stay within the bounds of the constitution. In this case, Obama's exploitation of innocent children used as props to showcase himself, and to further divide the country and push his gun control agenda is shameful and disgusting. As is Obama's uncaring and callous willingness to use the tragedy of Sandy Hook to promote his personal agenda.
I disagree with Mr. Deming that it boils down to whether a shooter has to reload after 6 shots or after 60. It boils down to whether We The People will retain our God-given right to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government when it becomes necessary to do so.
Under the tyrant Obama, our Bill of Rights is being steadily eroded, and the loss of the 2nd Amendment, even in a small way, diminishes our ability to defend the rest of them.
And Obama knows it.
This is what I see as an oppressive violation of human rights.
I share in the sentiments of Trey, and also the Lord. I hope you obey their siren call and continue to contribute to the debate.
At the risk of distorting your argument, and although you would probably not put it this way, it sounds as if your defense of 60 plus bullet clips is this:
1) The killing of dozens of little kids at a time is an undesirable, but necessary, collateral cost of the actual objective.
2) That actual objective is the killing of multiple members of the of US Marines, infantry, and other military personnel in the coming armed insurrection.
You regard as uncaring and callous the inadequate protection by the government of your future right to carry out such killings.
You know those first two paragraphs were reasonable and honest. I am sure Ryan's ears were smoking, I know he didn't cover his ears. You did give him fair warning.
It's beginning with the third paragraph that flies off the rails. You made it two paragraphs before that happened; Not bad! I notice you're not really finding fault in the agenda itself. Your beef is that he made the announcement and signed the papers in front of kids? What exactly, and I'm honestly soliciting an answer here, makes this divisive and disgusting? I understand the whole 'Rah Rah Rah, Second Amendment, Rah Rah Rah' I constantly hear when gun control comes up in conversation but Would you rather the President sign the executive orders and agenda in a vacant room? Or is it honestly the children? Perhaps he should have signed this stuff in front of a bunch of servicepeople from Fort Hood? Or in front of some citizens of Arizona that happened to be at a grocery store the same day a Democrat was having a function? Or maybe a bunch of Batman/Movie Enthusiasts from Colorado? Would that be equally divisive and disgusting? Do we just need to think about the children?
As far as the rest of your comment; I can't really respond. The level of Tin Hattery is just a bit too high for me right there. I simply hope that one day you sit back and think about what you say about the current President (And really, I assume all Democratic Presidents). Tyrant is a ridiculously strong word and it gets thrown about so callously by both sides of the political spectrum. The President was elected into office. You witnessed election. You probably participating in it. Just because he won, and you dislike that fact, it doesn't make him a Tyrant. The President, among others, want to put forth an agenda based primarily on education and health care in an effort to stem the tide of these tragedies. Did you actually read what the White House put out there? What about providing funding to educators, mental health initiatives and strengthening registration guidelines infringes on your human rights? I hear a lot of crazy in your objection; Not much in the way of thought.
Of course they comment because they are compelled to comment. I am inquiring about the nature of the compulsion for F&B.
His comments are not designed to convince anyone but people like himself to agree with him. In a conversation with a liberal, referring to Obama as "Dear Leader" or accusing Democrats of wanting an unlimited budget so that their "poor governing" is not revealed is very obviously counter-productive and not at all educative. This leads me to believe that he is more concerned with stirring the pot or just getting his own feelings out than having a productive discussion.
But it was only a question. No one said that he couldn't comment.
I get what you're saying now. Yes, I find that kind of language to be distracting. Though I suppose it's meant to, huh? I've meant to address that in my responses... but you know, there's so much to respond to.
As for your ears smoking; It was a poor attempt at levity. :)
"I disagree with Mr. Deming that it boils down to whether a shooter has to reload after 6 shots or after 60. It boils down to whether We The People will retain our God-given right to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government when it becomes necessary to do so."
Are you seriously concerned about that? Additionally, do you seriously believe that allowing us to carry sub machine guns will achieve this, while disallowing it will prevent it?
If your child were the next one that would be killed by that 11th bullet, would you agree to sacrifice him for your theoretical, non-real-world, programmed concern?
I am sorry to inform you that the only people arming themselves with such weapons are not the virtuous freedom fighters you imagine: angels preparing to resist the tyrannical American government. They are the people you would caution your children to steer clear of. They are the old man who keeps taking orphaned cats in, but never has cats. They are the recluse who smiles at you with three dingy teeth while he whispers offers of candy into your targeted child's ear. They are the ones who encourage your son to arm himself because his country is bad and you never know when you may need to kill a bunch of other children in protest.
How many assault weapons do you own? Are you doing your patriotic duty to stand ready to kill dozens of people without reloading as needed?
I haven't heard anyone say anything about carrying around sub-machine guns.
Of course I do not want my child to be killed, not in any way - either by gun, or car, or knife, or drunk driver, or pipe bomb, or any other way, including abortion. But in a given scenario along the lines of the one you presented, it is highly unlikely whether it would matter if the shooter's gun held 6 shots at a time or 10 or 100.
Your visual regarding people arming themselves is highly stereotyped and meant to debase people who are doing something you disagree with (i.e. Alinsky-esque). The fact is, many CEO's, bankers, engineers, lawyers, doctors, as well as factory laborers, truck drivers, school teachers, and many others who do not fit your sterotype are arming themselves for a variety of reasons.
Ryan: "His comments are not designed to convince anyone but people like himself to agree with him." --- Yes, indeed, sometimes democrats reach such extreme levels of absurdity in their actions and words that I can't help myself and phrases like "Dear Leader" pop out in response. Of course, sometimes God appears and tells me to say it.
Trey - Yes, I don't care what executive orders Obama signs or where he does it. As I said, I object to the exploitation of innocent children for personal political gain. They are too young to understand what is going on and what the long term effects could be. They are too young to have a meaningful position on the issue other than what some other adults have told them to think. As others have said, Obama used them as props.
Yes I read them. I knew before he announced them that Dear Leader and his lackeys are smart enough not to try to violate the constitution with an executive order, and that nothing substantive would be done. Thankfully, the Founding Fathers had the foresight to make this an amendment to the constitution so it cannot easily be overturned. The democrats need two thirds of the states, and Obama doesn't have that much support anymore.
I won't respond to your last paragraph either, it is so much propaganda even Obama wouldn't buy it.
The second amendment did not address the rights of citizens to carry any specific kind of arms and the founders would certainly have wanted to have limited the carrying of certain arms we have today. If the Second Amendment is your only concern, then you will be happy to learn that restricting ownership of assault weapons is completely compatible with the Second Amendment.
If you have a legitimate concerns, please share them.
Do you think that the President had his people go outside, to the street, and just abduct kids or something for this? The kids that were at the speech and signing of the President's executive orders were children who had written letters to the President on this subject.
Writing the President is not like writing Santa Claus. I imagine the kids needed some help/consent from their parents in order to mail or email letters to the President. This isn't some vast conspiracy of using brainwashed children to further an agenda.
Also... Propaganda in my last paragraph? I'm being reasonable and responding with information I've come to in my own research on the topic at hand. Just because you do not share my opinion or views does not make me a propagandist. You're using terms like 'propaganda', 'Dear Leader' and 'Lackies' in order to be dismissive and combative. I get that you are not a fan of the President or his policies. The nicknames and code words are getting tiresome and are unnecessary to express your point of view. Please, give them a rest. I just want to have a conversation.
Civilization in a form that we would clearly recognize as such has been around for roughly 8-10,000 years. It has been about 250 years since the American Revolution. We haven't changed that much. Revolutions and Civil Wars happen around the world continuously. I do not believe the eventual need to defend our constitution is beyond the realm of possibilities.
Myste: "The second amendment did not address the rights of citizens to carry any specific kind of arms and the founders would certainly have wanted to have limited the carrying of certain arms we have today."
I agree with the first part of that statement. The intent appears to be that the Federal government will not attempt to control what types of weapons citizens may own.
There is no indication that the Founders would have limited any weapons that we have today. It more likely indicates that citizens should be as well armed as the federally controlled militia.
As usual, the Constitution was meant to limit the power of the Federal government, not to limit the power of the People.
Trey: "I imagine the kids needed some help/consent from their parents..."
I would be surprised if these children were not coached/encouraged to write the letters by a parent or a teacher after the adult had made sure the child believed what the adult wanted him/her to believe. No, not a conspiracy, just the normal methods employed by normal parents and teachers in raising children. My only objection is to the president exploiting these children as a propaganda tool.
Sorry Trey, but any euphemisms I use in describing Obama pale in comparison to the insulting terms used against President Bush during (and after) his tenure. How many times did the lefties show him any leniency? Even just a few months ago in the presidential election campaigns, how many "nicknames" were used against Mitt Romney? How many times was his character assassinated by the left using fabrications and flat out lies?
My intent is not to be derogatory in my use of the word "propaganda". I am just describing the content as I see it which is a one-sided, partisan view of the issue(s), intended to sway opinion and/or advance a specific agenda. It is not a reflection or judgement of the truthfulness of the statements or the validity as one person's opinion.
Also, "They did it too, so it's OK for me to do it."
Would you be surprised that the children were coached? You mean taught about getting involved as a good citizen should? Yes; It's horrible that the parents are probably teaching their kids to try and be engaged in the process. Absolutely horrible.
I imagine you were equally outraged when a previous President did something similar?
Another maybe as outraged with this example:
Perhaps you should re-evaluate the real reason for your faux-outrage.
And as far as your "euphemisms", I wasn't comparing yours to anything anyone else has ever uttered about anyone you politically agree with. I was pointing out that they lend nothing to your argument and act as a distraction. I don't care what names were/are slung towards Romney, Bush, etc. We're adults having adult conversations; We all learned the "They did it, so it's okay if I do it" argument in grade school. Let's leave it in Grade school, please?
Also, If your point was not to be derogatory in the use of the word propaganda, than I don't quite understand what you believe propaganda to be, F&B. Just because your opinions differ from mine, does not make what I am expressing propaganda.
Trey, you claim you want to just have a conversation. If that is so, then address what I wrote, not what you heard in your mind, i.e. " It's horrible that the parents are probably teaching their kids to try and be engaged in the process. Absolutely horrible." This is your interpretation of "normal methods employed by normal parents and teachers in raising children" ?
I didn't watch your You Tube link - in my opinion YouTube is a waste of electrons. It is interesting, however, that you try to use the "Bush did it so it's OK if Obama does it" argument in the same comment where you attempt to chide me by saying "We all learned the "They did it, so it's okay if I do it" argument in grade school. Let's leave it in Grade school, please?"
So does this mean that I should leave it in grade school but it is OK for you to use it?
You may need to look up a few definitions of exactly what the word propaganda means. As I said before; "one-sided, partisan view of the issue(s), intended to sway opinion and/or advance a specific agenda. It is not a reflection or judgement of the truthfulness of the statements or the validity as one person's opinion."
In other words, when you present a one-sided, partisan argument, it is propaganda.
I know, I know . . . when your guy is getting insulted, you want to say it is a distraction, etc. When your opponent is getting insulted you want to brush it off as irrelevant and dismiss the fact that it happened. Either way, I like the "Dear Leader" euphemism/nickname for Odumbo, and I will probably continue using it.
See? This is why I said as a comment in another article that I missed you! This has been a lengthy thread.
My interpretation of 'Normal Methods employed by normal parents and teachers in raising children': I'm not sure how else I was meant to interpret it in the context of your comments, F&B. You're bemoaning President Obama having children at the signing of his executive orders (Or "actions", or whatever the heck they're calling them). I interpreted it, in the context of your comments, like it's a bad thing that the parents 'coached/encouraged' the children.
This segues into the next point: I want to apologize for going with a Youtube link, I should have spent the extra time finding the same video from C-Span's library or the White House, that would make it a primary source, at least. It's merely the video of President Bush vetoing a bill funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research. The link to the White House Archives i provided concerns President Bush signing No Child Left Behind legislation in front of children.
I didn't provide these examples in the 'He did it, so it's okay my guy does it' argument I griped about in my previous comment. Though, to be fair, I can totally see how it can be taken that way after re-reading the comment thread. I was asking you a question; I was trying to ascertain if you were consistent in your outrage. You found it outrageous President Obama did it, were you equally outraged in President Bush did it? My less than tasteful quip after the links basically expressed my expectation that you wouldn't be as outraged. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were.
Propaganda: Again, please re-evaluate your definition of Propaganda, or at the very least the use of the word. Using your definition, any side that opposes the other in any argument/discussion is practicing propaganda... and that is nonsensical. Propaganda is a deliberate campaign of deception using lies of omission and misinformation to further a cause. For what I am putting here to be propaganda would require me to be intentionally deceptive. You might that I'm purposefully being deceptive, but I would hope that you'd give me the benefit of the doubt.
As for the euphemisms, F&B, all I can do is ask you to stop. I can accept the fact you choose not to.
Obama's executive orders were no more than window dressing. He might have gained some credibility if he had appointed a bi-partisan commission to study the issue of gun violence and develop a list of bi-partisan recommendations. But he didn't. He would rather promote divisiveness and keep gun control as a progressive weapon rather than actually try to solve the problem.
Of course, this approach is the hallmark of the Obama administration.
Never let a tragedy go to waste.
Keep the people divided in order to keep them weak.
On a related subject, rumors are circulating that Obama has instituted a new litmus test for military officers. The new test is whether they would be willing to fire on American citizens if ordered to do so. Officers who indicate they would not are being retired and fired, and then replaced by officers who say they would be willing to do so.
Just a rumor so far, time will tell if it has legs or not. So far during Obama's tenure, most of the other rumors have turned out to be true...
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