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Folks, bear with me for moment.

I haven't written a diary in a long time.  But, I've been here for quite a while, through good times, and bad. This is one of those bad times.

Most of us are having the wrong conversation today. And, it's breathing life into the GOP.

We should be talking about the lack of comprehensive health care (and mental health care) in our country. A system that lets mentally ill people be slandered with negative stereotypes for seeking care, and then fails to provide seriously disturbed people with the care they need to protect them, and us, from the type of tragedy that just occurred.

We should be talking about the culture of violence in our society that shows kids 10,000 murders on tv before they're a teenager but won't let them see  pictures of a breast feeding mom on face book, or have a frank factual discussion of sexuality with a teacher in high schools. It's the type of society that leads lots of people, not just those with demonstrable mental illness, fantasize that violence is a solution to any problem.

The GOP opposes our general position and discussion of these things BECAUSE THEY LOSE in this conversation.

But, what we find ourselves doing at times like this is talking about "gun control." An issue upon which all right minded progressives pretty much get their asses kicked in public polling.  And, we're not even doing it well.

Right now, the GOP is cratering in on itself. It has been for four years. And, with coming demographic shifts and Texas CERTAIN to go Democratic in the next 5 to 10 years, we were positioned to control congress, and the Presidency, for a generation.

If we keep up a RECKLESS discussion of "gun control" we'll breathe life back into a dieing Republican party, hand them the mountain states that folks have fought so hard to win over, and possibly let them reverse the trends in our direction in a number of swing states.

We can successfully discuss Obamacare and mental health. We can successfully discuss our needless culture of mindless violence that elevates violence over sex practically to a fetish. And, we can intelligently discuss some gun control--but if we do it recklessly, well the GOP wins.

And, right now we're not just morning an ungodly amount of dead children in Connecticut, we're also morning THOUSANDS of soldiers who needlessly died in a war of choice in Iraq.  

So, people GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND ACT LIKE GROWNUPS--smart ones, even. Quit ranting against guns. Start talking about violence. About health care. Even about the crazy NRA. But, stop talking about "GUN CONTROL" and start talking about what SPECIFIC restrictions you want on gun ownership and availability.

The stakes are literally life and death. If you don't know enough about guns to figure out which restrictions make sense, and which are just bullshit, you need to educate yourself. And if you can't figure out enough about politics to realize that the "GUN CONTROL" debate hands the mountain West to the GOP, then you need to learn more about politics.

By all means, rant, grieve, shout, scream, morn, and do what ever you need to do to get through these horrible days. But, focus, people.  Don't lose the forest for the trees. And don't give up the Presidency with reactionary calls for non-specific legislation.

Move the argument to OUR TURF, and let's win this fucked up fight against crazy people for the soul of our Country.

FYI--lest you don't believe that I know what I'm talking about.

In real life, I'm an administrative/environmental lawyer.

After the 2005 debacle in Texas re: the anti-marriage amendment, I shut down my law practice and became the only full-time, professional, LGBT lobbyist in Texas. (It was my wife's idea-and yes, I'm straight).

I've run PACs, 501(c)(3)'s, (c)(4)s, and coordinated a (c)(4) table for progressive groups in Texas.

Right now, I'm starting a biomass company that's trying to restore ranch land in West Texas, heal the watershed, and decrease carbon emissions from coal fired power plants.

I put my money where my mouth is on progressive causes.

Also, I can, in fact, ride, rope and shoot. I own guns (including a semi-automatic AK-47), gave my kid a .22 for his 10th Christmas.

And I'm about as progressive as you get in Texas. If there isn't room for people like me in the Democratic party then it'll wind up being as small, and narrow-minded, as the GOP.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, CroneWit, Texas Lefty, Oh Mary Oh

    Equality! It's what's for dinner!

    by DyspepTex on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:41:10 AM PST

  •  You've got a nerve. (0+ / 0-)

    What makes you feel entitled to consider yourself "the grown-up" and tell everyone else we're stupid?

    Unbelievable arrogance.  No surprise to learn you're a gun addict who's merely protecting his own interests with a load of narcissistic blather designed to chill any speech against your killing machines.

  •  I think we should have both conversations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    But like you said the conversation about gun regulation needs to be more specific in approach.  

    I am disheartened that so many progressives today are focusing on gun control with not a word about mental health care.  That lack of mental health care in our country is also a big factor in these mass killings.

  •  DyspepTex - many at DKOS don't recall why (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, Texas Lefty, nextstep

    the national Democratic Party dropped national gun control advocacy. It was because we were getting our clock cleaned at the ballot box. Our passion for gun control on a national basis was making our candidates in the South, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain West uncompetitive. The Dem leadership realized that gun control was much better left to local and state governments who could tailor their laws to their local communities. The gun control laws for New York City don't need to be the same as Buffalo, Wyoming. All of a sudden the single issue voters who had been shunning our candidates realized that we had much in common and we started to be competitive in those regions where gun ownership is a way of life and citizens will vote based on this single issue.  

    If progressives want to push for national gun control, go for it. Just do it through non-partisan groups like the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Don't make this a partisan issue for the Democratic Party. I have already seen that movie, and I didn't like the ending.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:57:05 AM PST

    •  We don't need fucked-up old white guy voters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      any more.  We have the women, and African Americans, and Latinos, and Asians, and basically an entire cross-section of America that means we no longer need to pander to the "marginalised old white guy clinging to his guns in the mountains" demographic.  Didn't the last election show you that?

      •  Loquatrix - Don't kick a sleeping dog (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Texas Lefty

        The national Democratic Party took a key advocacy group and pushed it to the sidelines by taking gun control off the agenda. If you thought the Tea Party was an effective force in 2010 returning the GOP to a majority in the House and majorities in many state legislatures just wait until the Second Amendment advocates get back in the game for 2014. Their political ferocity will make the Tea Party look like a Sunday school picnic. We have the GOP on the run and as you have noted, the national demographics are clearly in our favor. Let's not give them a galvanizing issue that will hyper-motivate a key element of their base. We are about to throw them a lifeboat when they are drowning.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:12:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I find it extremely difficult to credit (0+ / 0-)

          that there is any great number of such voters out there.

          Anybody who voted Obama this time will not suddenly vote Republican in 2014 because of "gun control".  And anybody who is afraid Dems will take his guns has already come out and been counted -- the 2nd Amendment fanatics have been screaming "DEMOCRATS WILL TAKE YOUR GUNS" since time began, and they have never stopped, so these voters showed up to vote this year and there just weren't enough of them to beat us.

          Even if they're double-fired-up in 2014, they can't double-vote, so what are you scared of?  Who are all these gun-nut voters who will suddenly turn out to vote Republican in 2014 that didn't in 2012?  I just don't believe such people exist, VClib, I'm sorry!

          •  What 2nd Amendment advocates can do (0+ / 0-)

            is increase the turnout for the GOP in 2014, just like the Tea Party did in 2010. We have lots of GOP and Indies who stayed home in 2012 and didn't vote. Midterms are about turnout, which is always lower than Presidential year elections. There are millions of voters who were not very enthused to vote for Romney, who will be eager to vote in 2014 if gun control becomes a national issue.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:08:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We used the same excuse to not talk about (0+ / 0-)

              gay marriage.  Being afraid of the polling outcome is no reason to not talk about the major issues of our time.

              •  I am all for talking about gun violence (0+ / 0-)

                My ONLY issue is to not make it partisan. I favor stronger gun control laws, I just don't want to make it a Dem v GOP fight. There are many Republicans who favor stronger gun control, just like there are many Dems who are strong 2nd Amendment advocates. Make the effort bipartisan, it will need that to move any legislation forward in any event.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 12:46:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Do you imagine (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh
        "marginalised old white guy clinging to his guns in the mountains"

        describes this diarist? It doesn't.  And there are many gun owning Democrats, including women, African Americans, Latinos, and other ethnic minorities who you will drive away from the Democratic Party if it adopts your attitude.

  •  I'm posting just so there's an alternative (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    to the first comment.

    You wrote this well.  People here are still very raw, but having been here for four hours this morning I see reason beginning to raise its head, and calmer, more proactive discussion beginning.  Please look at this diary -- -- for a very reasonable gun owner's thoughts, with some good suggestions included in the diary and its comments (along with less pleasant stuff).

    There are several other diaries up right now in which people are beginning to frame workable political approaches.  You and the linked diarist above can and should be leaders in this.

    Here's a thought, not well developed yet, but I think this is a good place to include it.  I agree that 'mental health' as a broad category should receive better funding and support.  And I agree that it is wrong for 'mental health problems' to be blamed (people demonized) for these rampages.

    The discussions I've seen today about improving regulations include the idea of strengthening registrations, background checks etc.  But (according to other commentors) the people who commit these crimes generally don't make their way into the 'mental health' database.

    So, here's my thought:  Surely, by now, a profile has emerged of this type of rampage shooter.  Often, they have received the type of meds that pass for 'mental health care' these days.  (And one diarist is even asking us to look at mis-medication as a contributing factor in creating the rampage mindset.)  So:  can questionnaires be developed, for use by mental health professionals, schools, etc, that could pick up on ideation that is common to these rampage shooters?  And, if so, why couldn't these questions be incorporated into the registration (pre-purchase) for any of the rampage-type weapons?  These questions could be interspersed with questions about gun safety, etc.  It could be a computerized, fill-in-the-circles test that could show, say that a gun buyer had 7 out of 12 'markers'.  

    The next step might be too nanny-state or too totalitarian, but if someone had too many markers, they wouldn't be able to but the guns until they had gotten a specifically-designed kind of mental health assessment.  (Which, of course, hasn't been developed yet, but I'm only brainstorming here.)

    Thanks for writing.  Please engage in the political discourse here; don't stay hidden.

  •  This massacre wouldn't be possible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if the kid hadn't had access to guns.
      Politicians have to worry about how issues poll. I don't.

    •  How would you go about making a world (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      in which people like this shooter would not have access to a  firearm?

      •  And that is the point! Thank you (0+ / 0-)

        Don't rant "against guns."

        Rant against "high capacity semi-automatic medium caliber weapons."

        Rant against a health care system that that fails to care for people's needs.

        Rant against a back ground check system that fails to detect and exclude people who are dangerous.

        Rant against the failure of individuals to lock up their guns effectively and allow other people to take them and use them for crime.

        Equality! It's what's for dinner!

        by DyspepTex on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 02:25:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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