Yes, on all counts. The 800 lb. gorilla in the room though is addiction to guns. Shooting an AR-15 is addictive. One young, attractive woman that the NRA trots out claims that while she doesn't really know why she enjoys target practice with her assault weapon, she, "Just feels better when she does. I get a kick of power." I know many people in and out of recovery from alcoholism who cross-addict on guns. They are obsessed with them, shooting them. Relatives of mine have 'Sunday Gunday' when a bunch of 20-something males go out on the back 40, drink beers, do shots and ...do shots. They shoot AR-15's that they have 'souped up', handguns, rifles, shotguns, you name it. How sick is that? Well, that's addiction for you. Why in Heaven's name would you own so many of these? Eventually, these school shooters, many of whom are alcoholic or adult children thereof and/or child abuse victims cross-addict on violent video gaming (Harris, Klebold, Lanza, et. al.), child porn or just porn, and eventually hit a psychotic break. It's on. I think, although there's no public evidence yet, that Audrey Hale was a child abuse victim (probably at the school or church), went trans to empower herself, got addicted to guns and... it's on. Psychotic revenge against the school and so very horribly, the kids.

Expand full comment

I was an alcoholic, for 35 years until 1989 I sobered up and transferred addictions to more useful things like books . I consider myself an addictive personality, but I have never been addicted to guns, which is strange I spent a 26 year career, mostly in special ops, carried a rifle (carbine version of M16) with me routinely on training jumps and exercises and operations. Lots of time on the firing range...never enjoyed it though.

Perhaps it takes a certain personality type or psychological need, to become addicted to weapons firing.

I do agree with your opinion of school shooters, per se, (Uvalde being an exception), I don't think that video games are he cause, however they are facilitators because the violence inures them to real violence, and they become detached from reality and themselves.

Glad that you mentioned Harris, Kleibold (Columbine, the shooting that started it all) They were marginalized and bullied in a system that permitted it and turned a blind eye.

In cases of school bullying, the kid being bullied is too often punished for acting out and defending himself., while the bully walks away. The result is frustration and pent up anger.

Society doesn't want to deal with bullies and bullying, because social control depends on bullies.

Politicians , pundits, news anchors, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc and law enforcement

Expand full comment

I hope this doesn't sound trite but, truly; Thank You for your Service. I was alcoholic too; sober 12 years now. I was never addicted to guns either but I know so many who are. I shot a shotgun once, skeet shooting and my son was standing right next to me. Scared me to death. I felt so sick. I was abused as a child by my cousin who returned from Vietnam - he was considered 'special forces' - a marine. 10 oak leaf clusters. Died of an Agent Orange induced brain tumor. When he came home, he stayed with us. He made my brother and I, 6 and 7 at the time, play Russian roulette with an empty service-issued revolver. I remember my only thought being, "I wonder if there's a round in the chamber..." I was 7. He had been abused by his father, with guns, too. Horrible family disease.

Expand full comment

Amen. Wow. I can relate. So sorry. Check out PACEsConnection.com for great information on trauma, positive and adverse childhood experiences. ❤️

Expand full comment

Thanks did and book marked.

Expand full comment

Thank you! I had EMDR therapy years ago; worked very well! Followed up with talk therapy for about a year. I work an active 12-step recovery program and also find much strength in my faith. Works for me.

Expand full comment

Yegads, that is a horror story. Such a thing could haunt you forever.

Expand full comment

I forgave him.

Expand full comment

The MSM is once again saturated with the latest gun violence-related story (until the next disaster) and offers the same coverage pabulum without ever acknowledging the actual root cause (other than lame references to the NRA). Just like the last shooting, as long as the gun oligarchs can control enough of our public sector decision-makers with their free speech money, they will maintain their status quo. I know that concept isn’t popular nor is it discussed in the media because those that profit from their powers of corporate personhood also control the propaganda that is generated 168 hours/week. If we ever elect a super-majority of competent progressives to office, the second thing they need to do is amend the 2nd Amendment so it makes sense and acknowledges that Congress is responsible for legislation that can help protect our citizens from gun violence, like including the regulations that Thom has in today’s op-ed (license, register and insure guns). The first thing that competent elected officials must do is to amend the Constitution with the nullification of the powers of corporate personhood.

Expand full comment

I guess if the 2d A. was tweaked to specify that "militia" signifies National Guard, nowadays, that would be meaningful. But as it stands, it is crystal clear that it does NOT stand for anybody having any kind of gun to protect against lawful government action. Scalia's acid dream I wish I believed in Hell so I could believe in him there.

Expand full comment

Rather than having "militia" in the amendment at all, what if it just acknowledged that the possession of guns is legal and that Congress needs to regulate it? For example, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed, and Congress shall pass laws so this right does not infringe upon the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of our citizens.” (At least this wording can be diagrammed.)

Expand full comment

Thanks Thom.

Reading this, I'm reminded of the NRA. It was the top propaganda arm for the gun manufacturers. It was also an established route for Russian funds to come into the US. How many organizations have a identified Russian agent coopting them with sexual favors, paid trips to Moscow, and dark funds?

Now it appears to be hiding out in Texas and has moved to protect itself under bankruptcy. I'm quite confident it is biding it's time to rebuild and will rise from the ashes stronger. Probably in time for the 2024 revolution that TFG and his friends are inciting. The equation is simple. Charismatic cult leader + mob + weapons = revolution. Take away any one of these elements and the equation fails. DOJ where are you?

Expand full comment

When it comes to armed camps. The right wing definitely has the advantage, as liberals, by and large, practice what they preach

When it comes to mass shootings the media is complicit in covering up or ignoring the cause.

As I see it there are the obvious

1. Racism, and the desire to become a martyr for the cause, be it a gay bar, a black church, a synagogue or a shopping mall in Buffalo or El Paso, or a schoo in Uvlade Tex. The media might mention, but does not dwell.

2. Revenge for being bullied or marginalized, usually in schools and universities.

The latest shooting in Tennessee plays right into the hands of the fascists. A 28 year old transwoman, launches a killing spree on a school that she attended, and from some reports had been subjected to conversion therapy.

They all have one thing in common, repressed anger, rage and the perps are indeed mentally ill. But given that we are not living in the world of the Minority Report, where we can predict behavior. and arrest a person before the commit a crime. A reason is not an excuse.

Given that bullying and marginalization of the other is a human trait that transcends time and cultures.

Given that humans are fascinated with and attracted to violence, as long as they are not the victim. The Coliseum, Greek Olympics, contact sports.

Given that there is no cure for the human condition, and where guns are not available, they have to resort to bladed weapons and that means getting personal, but the incidence of mass stabbings is small, compared to mass shootings.

The only solution is to ban assault style weapons, at a minimum.

Mass shootings serve an unrecognized purpose. They dull our senses, we become anesthetized,to outrage and violence. Such incidence become normalized, barely being covered for a day or two. What do we know about Uvalde today. Are the cops who leaned on their cars, smoking while kids were being still employed? I bet they are, it took continuous outrage and pressure just to get the police chief fired, and the man was made a member of the city council the day after the shooting.

Thanks to a complicit corporate media, which includes so called Liberal channels like MSNBC, nothing is happening and the media is complicit. Breaking news, results in views and clicks, which in turn result in ads, which results in revenue.

If it bleeds it leads, and the violent Republican party is the best thing that every happened to the Infotainment sector. January 6 was a gift from heaven for MSNBC ,CNN, et al. Fox basically ignored it except to paint the perps as martyrs and heroes

Recall the words of Les Moonves, CEO of CBS. Trump is bad for America but good for CBS.. followed by a chuckle.

Republicans are blood thirsty authoritarians, but where would they be without the media and backing by billionaires? And then there is social media? . Instant mass communication where everyone is potentially an influencer has only accelerated rage and violence.

God help us, and I am an atheist.

Expand full comment

Sorry for the undying cynicism, but we Americans are caught up in Einstein's proverbial definition of insanity.

Here we are again: same arguments, same excuses, same results. Too many Democrats -- too many "normal" Americans -- still secretly cling to the false hope, beyond all evidence, that maybe, just maybe, THIS time around our neighbors the deplorables will FINALLY come to their limited senses and do the right thing: bite the bullet and get on board with Biden to help pass meaningful legislation, to end the almost daily senseless mass slaughter of innocent human beings trying to go about their daily lives in peace instead of fear.

Nope, ain't never gonna happen -- a complete misreading of the Republican Party's depth of depravity! The despicable degenerates on the right simply need to be out-voted over and over again, stripped of all authority, never again to rise up as a national party. But in our unique dystopian nightmare, that's a long, hard slog back to sanity. How many more will have to die or end up maimed for life physically, mentally, emotionally before Republicans at long last wake up and join civilized society?

Don't hold your breath. Once the initial shock and horror of senseless slaughter has worn off, the necessity of outlawing weapons of war on civilian streets is still a clear imperative for most Americans, poll after poll reveals. Not so in the muddled minds of the willfully ignorant minority with outsized power: brainwashed fake Christians on the radical fringe who hide their violent, evil ways behind false religion. By actions, not words, ye shall be judged.

Expand full comment

May I plagiarize an old horsesense statement. "You can lead a human to knowledge, but you cannot get them to think." You're peeing into the wind and embarrassing everyone believing you can talk Republicans to do what's best for everyone. Never goin happen with all that cash slipping thru their fingers. Money and power is they only thing Republicans understand. I have grandchildren the same age as the three young souls killed in Tennessee. Burying one's child is no burden I wish on any parent. Republicans politicians don't have a problem threatening death upond their adversaries. Would it be wrong if love ones of those killed curse bad karma on Republican politicians or plea to future delusional individuals that want to go out in a blaze of glory, shoot Republicans. Republican politicians do not care about your love ones. Why should you care about them? If Republicans were at the receiving end of a loaded barrel. Maybe Republicans might change their minds about gun violence. But then Republicans allowed covid to kill their own double the rate as their evil nemesis Democ'rat's. Republicans only know about 're-puking another con' for their rich donor class. The masses need to reject this crazy tribalism being pushed by the rich. Only bullies benefit when no one speaks out and others are silenced. It's time we all stand up against the greed and selflessness encrusted in our society.

Expand full comment

So many good points, but sadly, Republicans don’t care. These gun toting Americans say they are “Christians”, but in name only (CINO).

Vote, vote, check your voter’s registration, and vote!

Expand full comment

I saw some footage of (I think) Tennessee State Legislator dare to say: "Don't call yourself 'pro-life' and then vote to put more guns on the streets." Whereupon he was sternly gaveled down as impolite. (May have been Joy Reid's show?) Don't dare to see the emperor is naked, and "pro-life" means worshipping fertilization and death to all else. We really do exist in an era of profound religious and social mass insanity.

Expand full comment


They're the new Bull-Whip, son.

Want to control your woman?

Or a certain kind of folk?

What's that?

You say you're a big fat loser in the game of life?

You're living with your mom, playing video games day and night?

You've got an emasculating, dead-end job? And no girl?

Get a tool of war. Make worldwide newscasts.

Expand full comment

When you said "sick, twisted bastards," that wasn't excessive in the slightest. I'm still repeatedly upset recalling interview with R. Congressman today starting with "nothing we (legislators) can do but mess it up," and ending with offered solution for parents worried for their kids to homeschool, with a cynical, bored shrug of his shoulder. Words fail.....

Expand full comment

Excellent rant today Thom. The Hilary Clinton tweet with the image stands out for me. It's good we have those like yourself who sober us with the truth, instead of deluding us into thinking everything's alright, that love will prevail. Love is an excellent force; unfortunately we as a human race are extremely ill, and will suffer greatly because we're so ill.

Expand full comment

Check this map for the 130 mass shootings in 2023 till March 27. 193 killed. 498 injured. And the Republican rep (supposed to be) representing the district where the shooting took place and how to contact them.


Direct link to map: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/86e9eff25df1494d9851432df5e652ef

Expand full comment

Thanks for the detailed background info on our dire USA gun situation, Thom ! I am very tired, however, of all the blah-blah-blah discussions around the topic of guns...and particularly the "sign-our-petition" drives (that are really just fund-raisers, as best I can tell). Instead, I look to the strategic points of power. Who has the actual, real power to change things...either immediately...or into the future ? You very correctly pointed out today that the Repug-controlled House of Rep's is the huge concrete wall stopping any new gun legislation--like assault-weapons ban--from passing. And you also put into your report today the pictures of two Repug Rep's displaying (along with family members--mostly children) their guns, both large military type and small. So I'm wondering what pressure could be exerted on these two Repug Rep's flaunting weapons in our society while death-by-guns is the leading cause of death of children ? How can pressure be brought to bear on these two Rep's, for example ? Can other members of Congress call them out in a big way to both bring them to the attention of their voters back in their districts / states...and to give future (Democratic) opponents some meat to run on in the next election?? President Joe says he's at the end of his rope to do anything more via executive action. The pressure point is ALL on the House of Rep's...and perhaps in the Senate as well? That's what I'm seeing now. Please advise (on air tomorrow?) what would be the best avenue to take to exert maximum pressure directly--nationwide--on the two high-profile gun advocates that you include in your Report today, for example, to both accomplish what I just outlined...and to also send a message to other Repug's that they will be next political target when the next mass shooting occurs in their district or state. You have given us the detailed background info on how "exceptional" America is on the gun issue.... Now it's time to apply strong & well-targeted pressure to change things.... yeh? How best to do this ??

Expand full comment

There's a simple reason imho why Republicans won't even consider any gun control legislation. We're dealing with a political entity that has devolved from being a political party that mainly focused on financial concernes and not what went on in the bedroom or at the ob/gyn office, such as it was until the Reagan revolution, into what is now the political arm of the fundamentalist extremist white supremacist Christian nationalist movement, what I refer to as "Talibangelicals". They have spent the last 40+ years planning for this moment when they would have control of SCOTUS and a majority in most states judiciaries. Hence why you're seeing more laws banning abortions while simultaneously weakening our already lax gun laws. This is the Dominionist game plan as laid out in Project Blitz. We now are living in our own private Afghanistan sorta speak. A Handmaid's Tale along with The Turner Diaries has become their guide book on how to overthrow our multicultural liberal democracy.

Expand full comment

In America, most males are raised to be thugs. If a male shows any kind of empathy or altruism they will get called a homosexual. The root of all evil I found is a lack of caring. Everything we think and do is right or wrong, moral or immoral, godly or satanic, positive or negative. In order to be intelligent one must be right. If one doesn't care about right and wrong they cannot be intelligent and there in lies the problem. Women don't want to be around a man that is a narcissist,unless he has a lot of money. The thugs goal in my opinion is to steal everything the people they don't like have and to torture and kill them as well. Nobody can reason with a thug. All the bullies and thugs understand is brute Force. If Garland had prosecuted Trump and the GOP insurrectionist and phony electors. We could have taken the country back by winning the Congress and straightening out the supreme Court eventually. Everyone needs to stock up and defend themselves now! Americans can't count on the government. Most of the government are bought off by the rich and their servants are right wing police and military thugs.

Expand full comment

I hated to "like" your post! It triggered 50 years of observation and thought about male identity and upbringing in America. Do other societies actually do it better, or do they just socially and legally constrain the worst better? Where does nature end and nurture count? I join in your concern that the military, law enforcement, and specifically the Secret Service (!) and FBI have been co-opted/ corrupted by MAGA. These agencies are intrinsically authoritarian, and dutiful followers thrive in their ranks. But a lot of men ganged up together just never seems to have a kinder, gentler outcome, America or otherwhere. Mothers facilitate: don't know how many times I've heard mom's excuse for bad behavior, "boys will be boys...." I am not sure the human race is "ready for prime time," but the music when the Vulcans disembark in "First Contact" sure is the best music ever. Play that while you despair.

Expand full comment

Some Nations are better at raising civilized males than others. It looks like Japan is the best and Central America the worst. Per 100,000, El Salvador looks to be about 83 times more violent than Japan.

Children need stability, financial security, rational thought not irrational or emotional thought, positive male role models, very little stress and drama, very little yelling. Adults must speak softly and carry a big stick, while thinking rationally. Nobody can teach what they do not know. The gap between the haves and the have nots means that the have nots, don't have enough and worry about food, shelter, clothes and have no toys. The cycle of life is to play learn and teach. That cycle can be broken by divorce or never married, overpopulation, poverty and phony interpretations of religion. In my opinion, it is about 99% environmental and 1% genetic. Listening to yelling around a lot of sibling rivalry, stress and violence and irrational thinking with drugs, is enough to drive the children literally violently crazy.

Expand full comment

It’s not just the killing that is so terrible; it’s the ancillary effects that it has on society which is corroding us from the inside out. Go to a big museum, a sports stadium, a convention center, a major show or in fact any large public gathering and likely as not you’ll be searched for weapons. This isn’t our America; it’s not even what most Europeans do. But it’s the fear filled response of the managers of these places who don’t know what else to do…or at least feel they have to put on a show for the public that “something is being done to keep you safe.” Personally I stopped going to such venues a long time ago.

In the schools where I occasionally substitute they have lock down drills for active shooters, with the kids quietly hiding in corners until told to come out. I tell them that my generation ducked under their desks for protection from atomic bombs, and not to let this kind of thing drive them crazy. But my God, what is this doing to them?

There is of course plenty more money to be made by pedaling fear rather than paying for solutions. At airports the body scanners that so many people willingly go through like sheep to the slaughter were initially started with stimulus money given to a Malaysian manufacturer. The company was owned by an East Indian who spent time with Obama. Anyone want to guess if the phrase “campaign contribution” ever came up? And a quick online check showed that several members of Congress have invested in this company. Can anyone really imagine the World War 2 generation putting up with these chambers of horrors? (Or drug testing, for that matter.) But people have been beaten down and told to be afraid so they accept this, all the while singing about being “brave” and “free”. Guns might be out of control, but profiting from their effects is not.

Expand full comment

These tweets show how powerful and effective media is over controlling how people think. And worse than that, how willing politicians are to put re election ahead of saving the lives of children.

Expand full comment

Sacrificial lambs are at the heart of the religion Republicans cling to. There's the story of Abraham and Isaac too; for that matter, the Bible is filled with blood and guts, especially concerning children on Passover. Slaughter the innocent, that will teach those Egyptians!

The conservative brain does not do nuance. The idea that we could stop SOME of the shooters doesn't register with them. Those pictures that depict Representatives abusing their children by putting guns in their hands doesn't offend them, and the fact that it offends us makes them HAPPY. When it comes to interpreting the Second Amendment, they are not even in the same universe as reasonable people or even the Founding Fathers.

Essentially, America is mentally ill. We have to muster the strong, the intelligent, and decent people to vote like their kids' lives depend on it. Sacrificing them and their mental health is criminal not Christian.

Expand full comment