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Once upon a time, there was a deadly product. However, most people did not think it was nearly as deadly as it actually was. A large, booming industry grew up around this product. Many thousands - millions, even - of hard-working people worked in this industry. Most of them were good people who loved their families and had no idea they were selling a product that would very likely kill their customers, or the children of their customers.

Over time, evidence began to emerge that revealed the product to be exceedingly dangerous. Millions of users were dying horribly, and the public became outraged. The industry producing the product began to spend millions of dollars assuring people of the safety of the product, but it didn't last long. The secret got out.

This put members of that industry in a bind. If they continued to deny that their products were dangerous, they would lose credibility, and their sales would continue to decrease. If they tried to find a way to make their product safer, they might spend millions of dollars on a lost cause, since there was no guarantee that their product could ever be made safe.

So instead of moving to another industry, or trying to make their product safer, or giving in and accepting intense state and federal regulation, they began to push back. The industry published phony studies and emphasized apocryphal anecdotes touting the importance of their product. They began to market it as a "freedom" and a "right," even running to the Constitution of the United States in an effort to insist that any regulation, no matter how reasonable, would be impossible. They began to blame the victims, insisting that those harmed by the product had no one but themselves to blame.

But it didn't work. Public opinion turned against the product. When studies finally were permitted, the danger of the product was undeniable. Without the protection of a federal government willing to defend them against the people, the industry that made the product was soon drowning in lawsuits. People who used the products made by the industry became social pariahs, and soon they could only use the products on their own property or in controlled, strictly regulated indoor facilities. As such, the industry is now dying, just like its customer base.

The industry is, of course, the tobacco industry. But it could just as easily be the gun industry. By refusing to submit to the will of the people, the gun industry, like the tobacco industry before it, has made itself socially unacceptable. Rather than giving in to reasonable demands on tort liability, education and regulation, they have dug in their heels for a short temporary profit. This will soon backlash on them, and they will be subject to regulation on an immense and damning scale, which will make it very difficult for them to make money at all.

On the upside, some day, guns will be as popular and widespread as cigarettes, and the only people harmed by them will be those few holdouts, old-timers and social outcasts who buck the popular opinion and actually use the things.

Originally posted to American Free Party on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:54 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Barbarism will never go away. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jennyp, DefendOurConstitution

    Therefore, some people will want and have guns.

    For all of our evolution, some will never evolve.  it's just the way it is.

    David Koch is Longshanks, and Occupy is the real Braveheart.

    by PsychoSavannah on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:12:54 AM PST

  •  Re: (6+ / 0-)

    I can't speak for you, but I always suspected guns were a deadly product.  Amazing how the industry covered that up for so long.

  •  OH! (6+ / 0-)

    I thought you were talking about the OIL industry!

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:32:02 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the post, interesting that the ATF is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, mslat27

    a special entity that governs those two instead of the FED and CPSC respectively, which is where they belong (alcohol also belongs under the FDA).  Unfortunately (and just like the FAA) the ATF functions as much as a promoter/defender of the very products it's supposed to regulate and does a pretty crappy job at the regulation part (not entirely their own fault).  The ATF is a lobbyists dream, at least for the lobbyists paid by the industries it is supposed to regulate.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:33:04 AM PST

  •  Dying? Not quite (3+ / 0-)

    Californians smoked 28 BILLION cigarettes in 2010, barely below the global per capita average.

    6 TRILLION cigarettes were smoked in 2010.  Enough to make a continuous end-to-end cigarette chain to the sun and back and still have enough left over for 3 round trips from earth to mars.

    Advertisers now target smokers directly in the US.  Using micro-targeting data-mining techniques, the major tobacco companies spend $400 per US smoker on special offers, coupons, sign-ups, merchandise give-away and special events that are completely unseen by non-smokers.

    Oh.. after decades of going utterly undefeated in the courtroom before their major loss, the tobacco industry is still winning just over 60% of the lawsuits brought against it between 1997-2006.

    ...Robert Proctor is the source for these stats.  He is a professor at Stanford and an unstoppable crusader against the Tobacco Industry.  

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:35:30 AM PST

    •  We certainly have made strides and yet have far to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, Tinfoil Hat, LilithGardener

      go. I remember my first job in the early 1980s where we sat in large cubicle areas with hardly any ventilation and smokers were allowed to puff away at their desks.  My clothes would reek every day.  These days that is hard to imagine (or that people could sit next to you at a restaurant/airplane and smoke).

      So we have had some good progress, but there is certainly a lot more to do. Sadly on the firearm front, we are way behind where we have got to in the tobacco front, but it will come - slowly but surely.

      Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

      by DefendOurConstitution on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:39:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I agree we've made steps (2+ / 0-)

        The issue now is divide.  Its not that there is a huge decrease in the number of smokers, its their visibility.

        The number of affluent or educated smokers is definitely going down.  Also Hollywood and Television producers have taken huge steps in removing smoking images from most public media.

        But the poor, the rural  and the under-educated are smoking as much if not more than they were.  Even the very young ones.

        Ironically, what may be the biggest hit against this (perhaps even a veritable death blow) would be for China (the world's largest consumer of tobacco) to recognize the costs of smoking and BAN it.  They have the totalitarian controls to do this.  If they close that market, THEN I would be on-board with proclaiming the beginning of the end of Big Tobacco.   I have no knowledge that they are planning that, but its been talked about in the media.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:54:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Taking smoking out of bars and restaurants (0+ / 0-)

        Here in New York it was a hotly debated proposal with simple arguments on both sides.

        The public health side:
        While customers could come and go or stay away, the workers could not make that choice. The bad health effects of second hand smoke had been established, and workers had a right to not be subjected to long term health risks due to second hand smoke.

        The business / customer freedom side:
        It was argued that it would kill the entertainment industry in New York. People wouldn't go to bars and restaurants if they couldn't smoke in them. New York would cease to be NEW YORK, the gritty blah, blah, blah.

        What happened?
        Special permits for cigar bars were still possible, but most bars when smoke free. Restaurants saved money by not having to maintain and staff no-smoking zones. Customers liked being able to go out and not have their clothes reek of smoke.

        People who smoke can still smoke, but they have to excuse themselves from the group and step outside. They miss out on the group or the company for a few minutes, although some now use it as an excuse to go make a phone call.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:54:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not dead but vastly weakened (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bill Roberts

      The tobacco industry is not dead but is vastly weakened from where they stood 5 decades ago.

      In the late 1940's, about 45% of the adult US population were regular tobacco users.  Today, about 25% of the adult US population are regular tobacco users.

      Tobacco use is prohibited in many public places; advertising of tobacco products is heavily restriced.  Tax-payer subsidies to tobacco growers are largely gone.  Instead, tax-payers spend their resources on encouraging people to stop smoking.  Joe Camel has been outlawed, and the Winston Cup is now the Sprint Cup Series.  And where the tobacco industries "experts" once assured you that tobacco products were safe to use, there are now bold and unmistakable health warnings printed right on the tobacco packaging.

      Yes, there are still people who smoke cigarettes: tobacco use is after all addicting.  The tobacco industry is not dead, but is vastly weakened and reduced.


      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:03:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought this was about alcohol. (3+ / 0-)

    And it might as well be. Doesn't kill as much as tobacco, but still, it's dangerous and widely available.

    Don;'t smoke mara-ju-wanna, though. It never kills ANYBODY!

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:35:57 AM PST

    •  Self-destructive habits (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, wilderness voice

      Some self-destructive habits:
      1) cigarette and/or chewing tobacco use
      2) the three martini lunch
      3) texting while driving
      4) bacon for breakfast, donuts at lunch, and red meat for dinner
      5) driving while intoxicated
      6) driving without a seat-belt
      7) unprotected sex with strangers
      8) disciplining errant family members with your fists
      9) owning, carrying, and using guns

      I love cigarettes, and I hate seatbelts.  I had to change two life-time habits to protect my health.  Fortunately, I was not brought up into the "culture of guns", so I never had to unlearn those deadly habits.

      When I finally quit cigarettes, I was pleased to think that I was no longer contributing to an industry that took my money and sold me and my family sickness.   That I was declaring my freedom from a movie-induced fraudulent myth of machismo and rebellious individualism.  And that now I can have the liberty of my own choice, rather than what the corporations wanted for me.

      People still shackled to the mythology of the gun industry can likewise free themselves.  Those still in thrall to the slogans of the gun industry deserve not our condemnation, but our encouragement.    

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:35:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One American gets shot every 5 minutes, isn't that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, Smoh, LilithGardener

    enough to get our Congress to understand that there is a crisis?  

    Earlier this winter the tubz people couldn't stop talking about the flu crisis/epidemic we are having this winter.  Total 2012-2013 flu cases reported as of last week by the CDC: about 9,500; that compares to over 100,000 cases of people getting shot.  Total 2012-2013 flu related deaths reported as of last week by the CDC: 2,724; that compares to well over 30,000 deaths among those that get shot.  Total 2012-2013 flu related PEDIATRIC deaths reported as of last week by the CDC: 78; that compares to well over 1,000 deaths among children that get shot.  

    The TV talking heads and our Congress-critters were all a-talking about the epidemic (and this season was indeed considered of epidemic proportions for the flu by the CDC), so what is having so many people shot all the time - a pandemic?

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:43:17 AM PST

    •  1 person is arrested for touching marijuana (4+ / 0-)

      (one is arrested for 'possession' which means touching) every 40-45 seconds.

      How much is that costing?

      Americans happily blow galactic sums of money on that and accomplish nothing more than supporting the black market and nurturing a criminal environment.

      Imagine having half that wasted money to spend on actually saving lives, rather than just needlessly ruining them.

      And I will ask daily, why is it so easy to get a gun when so many people are hurt by them and so illegal to touch marijuana which doesn't kill anybody?

      Why do republicans kill data on gun harm and marijuana usefullness?

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:51:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It all has to do with which lobbyist has the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        art ah zen

        Congress-critters by the balls.  I agree wholeheartedly, and have said this for years, that keeping drugs illegal is a horrible idea (especially with marijuana) as the worse problems/violence associated are usually the dealers/criminals that are fighting for supremacy in the illegal market.

        If we made, at least pot, legal we could regulate it (prescription? licensing?), tax it, treat anyone that has problems because of it, and most importantly end a lot of violence that is related to that.

        But you know who doesn't want that? The criminals that peddle drugs (many times adulterated and hurt users) and the NRA. Both of them for the same reason - PROFITS!

        Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

        by DefendOurConstitution on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:23:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Altria IS Philip Morris. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      al Queda is reportedly in talks to buy the Philip-Morris name as part of their rebranding efforts.

      Rumors from undisclosed sources close to the deal say "Blackwater' was also available for the world-renown terrorist organization.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:53:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It was tobacco that killed my family, not guns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, BlackSheep1

    We had guns in the house when I grew up, sometimes loaded.  I learned early to never touch them without Dad around, and I have fond memories of learning how to hunt and doing target practice.  

    A handgun saved my life one night, when, as a child, I was in the car with my family on a lonely country road, and another car began harassing us and attempting to run us off the road.    My Dad simply held the pistol out of the window and let them have a good look at it, and they stopped harassing us and sped away.   Otherwise, we would have been dead from a car crash (people didn't survive crashes nearly so well back in those days, and that road was famous for fatal crashes), or experienced whatever fate they intended when they got us off the road.    I'm glad he had that gun!    On another occasion, he was getting his pilot's license, and a friend called to offer to let him ride along on a trip and get some seat time.   He arrived at the tiny airport in the middle of the night, and someone started shooting at him!   All we can guess is that he stumbled on some drug dealers.     When he shot back at them, they left.  He never actually harmed anyone with a gun in a civilian situation, but I believe that our lives might have been very different, and worse, if he had not had that gun.

    Tobacco finally killed my father.   And, my sister.  And, alcohol killed my mother.

    All those guns in the house, and it turns out that cigarettes and alcohol were the deadliest thing that ever happened to us.

    I just can't compare the two.   There's a safe way to use guns.  There is no safe way to use cigarettes.

    •  there is no judicious (0+ / 0-)

      way to use cigarettes. they will kill you given time. i am sorry for your loss due to tobacco and alcohol.  i am also glad that gun violence was not added to these tragedies.  there is responsible gun use, but not so much with tobacco and frequently with alcohol.

    •  Your family members did not have to die (0+ / 0-)

      You have my condolences for your losses.  You are correct that alcohol and tobacco use can both be deadly.

      Death from tobacco or alcohol use is needless and preventable.  It is right that we as a society should try to reduce and eliminate these preventable causes of death.

      In America, over 30,000 people die every year due to gunshot injuries.  The overwhleming vast majority of these deaths are likewise needless and preventable.  The survivors mourn the needless and preventable deaths of their loved ones every bit as much as you mourn the deaths of your family members.

      I suggest that it is right and proper that we as a society seek to reduce and eliminate those preventable deaths, whether the cause be cigarettes, alcohol, or guns.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:26:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One difference (0+ / 0-)

    You can't gun down an entire movie theater or elementary school with a pack of Marlboros, even if you have spare packs or a 100-cigarette pack.  I suppose if you smoke enough of them, you'll add to the rate of cancer by secondhand smoke, but most serial killers need instantaneous feedback.

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