Ask Now, If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?

Ask your U.S. Senators and Representative if they support a ban against assault weapons. Here’s how. Share with us how, or if, they respond. Simply ask, “Do you support an assault weapons ban?”

Congressional offices require your contact information at the above link, including home address and phone number, to guarantee that you are a constituent and get a response.

144 thoughts on “Ask Now, If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?”

  1. Woo hoo and thank you Craig for not letting anyone intimidate you to shut up and move on!

  2. I want to re-post this. Something I wrote earlier this morning:

    When I dropped in for a visit this morning, first thing I saw again was…CONSIDER YOUR MAN CARD REISSUED. Talk about subtle, huh. So much advertisement is designed to manipulate. The NRA has been going to town with their manipulation. They have pulled out all the good stuff. They are trying to appeal to your inner duhhhh, macho.

    I really don’t think it will work this time. Actually, I think those who are ranting… don’t take my guns or I’ll kill ya, are looking pretty wimpy and crazy and the NRA wants to make dang sure if your crazy, your on a list. I’m afraid for them, that many of their members may have just made that list.

    I don’t think any of this macho stuff has ever had any effects on you dudes here at TM. One thing I extra special like about you dudes here is that you aren’t insecure about your manliness. Maybe a dudette might need a macho hit every now and again but not you dudes. You will even yield to your inner “indoors”. By that I mean your inner lady. Bill calls us “indoors”

    I see macho as being protective but not protective by standing guard at the door with an AK whatever. Protective includes nurturing, taking care of us when we have the flu, and even wearing a nurse’s uniform if you have to. Manliness includes cooking up the family meal and I think we have much better guy chefs here than girl chefs. I’ve been very impressed with how protective you guys can be. You are all real men in my book!

  3. C-Bob came up with an important revelation this morning. It’s profound. We’ve all been wondering why if any of us little people do anything wrong, we get stomped on. It doesn’t even take much.

    When big rich corps or people do horrible things that effect millions of people, they get a bonus. It didn’t make a bit of sense to me. Well…C-Bob finally came up with the answer. There IS such a thing as karma insurance. It’s too expensive for most all of us and it’s also a secret that they don’t share. Now I understand. I can live with the fact that there are things I can’t have because I can’t afford them but I was having lots of trouble understanding why life was so unfair.

  4. This song popped into my mind this morning. I think it’s significant:


  5. It’s so nice to come here in the morning and see….”patd says:” It’s how I identify it’s morning and a new day. I was lost without seeing it.

  6. Um, I live in Texas.

    “Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, is authoring the Firearm Protection Act, which he says would “make any federal law banning semiautomatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state’s boundaries.”

    “The bill would also make it a felony to enforce any such federal law.”

    “WANTED,” the ad reads in a mock-up of old-style Wild West posters. “LAW ABIDING NEW YORK GUN OWNERS LOOKING FOR LOWER TAXES AND GREATER OPPORTUNITY.”

    “The ad is the brainchild of Greg Abbot, a three-term Republican Texas attorney general who is widely considered to be considering a run for governor in 2014…”

    Yep, the “brainchild”…

  7. Man Card? Seriously!? 😡

    The times they are a changin’.

    Man cards used to be issued in the back seat of your parents sedan. 😉

  8. Nash has always taken off most of December and January from this blog. He’s a college professor. He ends one term and starts another… with a break in between… at this time of year. I always look forward to his return.

  9. ct…hadn’t meant it as a touchy so much as a depiction of the world which blowin’ in the wind is up against…..and i guess has been, at the very least since blowin’ in the wind was new.

  10. January 18, 2013

    GOP Seeks Strength Through Weakness
    Byron York: “The purpose of the House Republican retreat, now going on in Williamsburg, Va., is to help GOP lawmakers come to terms with just how weak they are. Even though the party controls the House, the talk in some quarters at Williamsburg is of adopting a ‘minority mentality’ to oppose President Obama’s initiatives the way Republicans did when they were in an even weaker position in 2009. By doing so, the thinking goes, the GOP might be able to rebuild itself after last November’s devastating losses.”

    Bla, bla, bla. And this represents a change how?

  11. Note to GOP:

    It’s not your image that sucks, it’s your policies.

    Think ‘lipstick on a pig’. Remember?

  12. The problem for the GOP is that they love to sell the policies that brought about two wars, financial collapse and deficits as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately for them there are simply not as many buyers as there were. Discounts and gift wrap won’t help.

    Frank Luntz assures them that if they just start referring to shit as peanut butter, the stink will go away.

  13. Ask now, if not you, who?

    bravo! craig and sturge deserve a repost and bon mot du jour medal.

  14. Congressman Steve Pearce’s teabagging response —

    Steve Pearce

    I write to Steve a lot! And when I tried to email Martin Heinrich last week, his email was not posted. He is a newbie replacing Jeff Bingaman. I had Jeff’s email in my address book and did not have to go through a congressional website to email. He will be missed, but Martin Heinrich is a young Jeff Bingaman. He is a guaranteed “decent” vote for NM.

  15. “If you ever get a chance, i highly recommend a reading of the short story “The Gambler, The Nun, and the Radio” by old ernest. ” Sturg@a few days ago

    Sturg, that was obviously by Chaucer, not Hemingway. :)

  16. Sturge, I can handle most of what Hank Jr. has to say in his song. His line about running trot lines brings back memories. I wish I could be out running a trot line and then frying up some fresh catfish later. Yummm. Lot of the catfish I get at restaurants taste muddy like Craig’s friend. Well, that’s his name, he probably doesn’t taste muddy.

    Fresh caught river cats are really fine tasting. Some might remember the last time I put out a trot line, actually a jug line. I threw it out of the boat and put the gnarly hook, coated with some of the stinkiest meat I’ve ever smelled, completely through my little finger. I didn’t let go fast enough.

    Fortunately, my river rat nurse friend was home and he interrupted his BBQ to use some old rusty surgical instruments, he had borrowed from work, to cut off the barb and remove the hook. I haven’t been jug fishing since. It’s not that I’m still scared, it’s that I’m still waiting for my camp to be repaired so I can get back out there again.

  17. Renee & B.Wino: I’m back. Thanks for your comments.

    The change in attitudes towards guns is part of a much more fundamental change in US politics, which I’ve been watching evolve since the late 1960’s.

    The political center of gravity in the USA, after forty years of moving to the right, now seems to be moving to the left. This is of profound importance. I think all the elements are there for this to be a long-term, multi-decade trend, not just a temporary reversal.

    It’s bigger than Obama. He and his staff certainly recognized the potential for this shift and have brilliantly exploited it, using social media for organizing. I won’t deny that Obama has played an important role in this change but, as I said, it’s bigger than him. He’s just riding the crest of the wave.

    One piece of evidence is the changing attitudes of college students. They are now becoming much more interested in politics. Their interest is driven by two insecurities: they are worried about the environment, and they are worried about the economy. They do not take their own long-term survival for granted, as baby boomers (like me) did when we were young.

    Every semester I poll my economics students on whether they consider themselves “liberal” or “conservative.” After many years with no changes, in just the last year, I have seen the numbers change significantly with a strong shift towards “liberal” economic policies. They are moving to the left because the left has better answers to their questions.

    Another piece of evidence is the increasing hysteria on the right wing. They KNOW the country is changing course, and they are confused and angry. They tried everything, voter suppression, removing limits on campaign financing, and they even have their own 24/7 propaganda network, Fox News. It didn’t work. They lost the election. And the indications are that they are going lose many more in the future.

  18. Welcome back, Nash.

    I really appreciate the illuminating feedback on the trend within your own students and where they are currently. Do they have a student run radio station or some similar way of channeling their displeasure in an activist mode?

  19. Sturgeone

    “A Country Boy Can Survive” is certainly a great image and a useful message. It wouldn’t hurt for the “city folk” to learn some practical skills . It would surely be better for the environment if they did.

    What the NRA is pitching has nothing to do with those useful skills. It has to do with phony masculinity in the service of corporate profits.

    When they start waving the big guns, big bullets, and big talk, I immediately assume tiny elsewhere.

  20. This might not be so popular around here, but I am going to say it anyway. I am not saying NOT to regulate assault rifles, or giant ammunition magazines, and I fully support a universal background check for all firearms purchases, I have always purchased mine that way, filling out all of the paperwork at the licensed store, and so should everyone else.

    But this incident that happened in Newtown with this 20 year old kid and his mothers AR15 rifle at the Sandy Hook school involved more than just the guns and killings. You had a 20 year old kid who lived with a mother that received 250k to 300k a year in alimony payments alone, plus whatever investment income that came in. The father was a Wall Street ONE PERCENTER, had only 2 kids, and apparently did not do his job with one of them, in a major way. The mother had nothing but TIME on her hands, not to mention resources, financial resources, to address the fact that she and her estranged husband had a seriously dysfunctional 20 year old at home. The kid apparently did not work, he did not attend school or college, was not in the military, or the Peace Corps, or did anything at all but stay home and do whatever. Connecticut already had the 4th toughest gun regulations in America.

    I can’t for the life of me figure-out why these circumstances are not being discussed more, and I can tell you that many, many more people die in America each day from being killed with a firearm other than an assault rifle. Most of them are not getting 300k a year in alimony, living in a million dollar home in some high-end Conn. suburb, etc. This kid was known to the community, classmates, teachers, neighbors, mother’s friends, etc., as one weird and troubled introverted youth, apparently for many years. I would like to see more focus placed on this particular set of facts regarding the Newtown shooter and his, and apparently society’s and the community’s dysfunction at dealing with him and his illness than I am currently seeing. Certainly emphasis should be placed on the firearms dilemma America faces, but it runs much deeper than just the tools of choice for killing in today’s society, in my opinion.

  21. “When they start waving the big guns, big bullets, and big talk, I immediately assume tiny elsewhere.” Jamie@11:17

    That’s certainly a segment of the group. That’s probably the bunch that wants a concealed carry with no good reason, or part of the group that wants the very guzzied-up AR-15s.

    Others get genuine enjoyment with their weapons and associated paraphernalia while using it only in appropriately controlled environments and properly securing it in safes when back at home. I have no idea if their weapons enhance their sexuality; with this group, I suspect not.

    So,If I’m correct, which I may not be, or as Bill seems to think, as I’m in my 70s, my opinion is unreliable, the rational thing to do is isolate the portion of the first group that should indeed be separated from weapons and do that.

  22. Billy, you’re spot-on with your comments re the miscreant’s environment.

    Here this kid commits suicide in this hopelessly tragic way somehow thinking he was justified in taking those beautiful children and their protectors with him. And the mother who, whatever.

    Yes, and it can’t be blamed on Medicaid.

  23. Could all of our problems be environmental?

    Instead of talking about the boomers ect Should we be talking about the lead(Pb) generation.
    This article make a compelling case for lead and the crime wave of the last 50 years.
    His point is that the peak in crime came 20yrs after the the peak in lead. So babies in contact with the most lead, when they reached the age when they were most likely to commit crime contributed to a peak in crime.

    But the lead addled generation is still with us they just got older and moved out of making poor decisions else where. At 40 yrs of age they start moving into positions of power. That would have been in 1980. They peaked in 2012. Look at the disfunction the lead addled generation has brought upon this world. 2 financial bubbles in less than 10 years. A government that has become dysfunctional. Birthers, truthers to name two, but the left equally have their version of crazy and on and on and on.
    Nash just gave us the good news he is seeing the start of the generation that wasn’t raised by lead addled parents and he is pronouncing them sane. There is the hope for the future.

    Just my ponder for the day.

    As I avoid dealing with my health insurance.
    Being lead addled certainly goes a long way into explaning those people.

  24. Jack

    There was a segment on Morning Joe about the amount of concentrated lead being found in brains courtesy of automobiles and early studies showing a definite decrease in learning abilities, emotional control, decision making capabilities, and reproductive damage.

    Just one more thing man is doing to himself. We may have to give up breathing.

  25. You’re right on most of that Bova but one thing I feel that MAY be a good thing about limiting the assault rifles and mega capacity ammo. That is, with the more traditional stuff, it may just give the potential victims a FEW more seconds to make a fast get away or an additional moment when someone can overpower the shooter. Much can be accomplished in a few extra seconds. That could a saved a few lives and most likely did. Some of those children got away when Lanza had to to pause for something. I think that someone was able to overpower at least one of the shooters when they had to reload.

    I, for one, am happy that there is now evidence that many of us do give a damn. We all agree that there are no perfect answers to this problem. We are at least seriously pondering for some and that’s a good thing IMHO.

  26. And here on the Trail Bova, we don’t shoot or kill people who disagree. We keep our guns in our pants.

  27. I think of my granddaughter’s suicide two month’s earlier in her room in my house.

    She was terribly depressed, had been hospitalized for her depression, and was awaiting follow-on appointments which were not following-on because of administrative snafus.

    Scarcely a week before she departed she obtained photos of her mom’s suicide (she hanged herself) and autopsy. On that day she totaled her car while preoccupied with a call from the sheriff’s investigator who gave her the photos. In any case, I found the photos on her laptop after her death.

    Crystal and I had discussed the shotgun under my bed. I explained that I bought it after the daytime burglary across the street and it was simply there to make me feel safer. I asked her to please, never, ever, touch it no matter how bad you may feel, or how angry or depressed you may be.

    She expressed total understanding of what I was saying and respected my wishes. When she took her life it was with an overdose of morphine.

    The damn kid, before doing that, cleaned her bathroom–it was spotless! Cleaned her room, picking-up all the stacks kids her age normally have on their floors, arranged her drawers and closet, sorted her papers and scrapbooks, etc., and left the password for her computer.

    She did that for me.

  28. And by keeping this issue on the front burner this time, there might be a few more parents, families pondering whether someone in their family might be the next nut case that goes off.

  29. Yeah, Carol, it was. Her mom was one, but she was a kid who was malnourished when she was placed in the care of an orphanage.

  30. She really missed/needed her grandmother. Goodness knows, there’s no way in the world I could substitute for her.

  31. BillyB…
    shortly after Sandy Hook, I heard a heart wrenching call made from a listener on NPR.
    He lived in Connecticut as did Lanza and his mother. He said he had a 20 yr old son with major mental illness problems. His kid was refusing to take his meds. He was desperately trying to get his kid into some kind of facility… but there were no beds available and a long waiting list.

    He tried getting the police to help him. Was told there was nothing they could do unless his kid either hurt himself or threatened to hurt others. His kid was living in his home and he thought it was the safest environment he could be in without help.

    The problem is not a lack of money, just like it wasn’t in Lanza’s case. The problem is a lack of facilities and/or doctors. Ronald Reagan opened up the facilities and let people who didn’t want to be there leave. It’s complicated because people used to be virtual prisoners and abused at such places…. think “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

    IMO, we went too far one way back then, and are now too far the opposite. Hopefully, we will find a new and better middle ground.

  32. BTW… I forgot to mention that said 20 yr old was considered an adult. It was perfectly legal for him to refuse medication and/or going into a facility.

  33. Oh, Flatus, you are wonderful person. No person can substite for what any other person brings to the table.

    Those “administrative snafus” that kept her from follow-up appointments, well, those kinds of things certainly have an impact.

    We need better healthcare coverage (not insurance) of all kinds in this country. (I feel for Jack dealing with insurance right now, too.) Heaven forbid we should make care available to everyone.

    Billy B – Lanza’s mother could’ve had all of the money in the world, but if you have a kid with a disorder on the autism spectrum, you either keep them at home or send them to the streets. Legally, it’s not easy to have someone institutionalized anymore. We have a growing problem with autism; this needs to be addressed.

  34. I know Flatus that you know that I am very concerned about the mental health problems in this country. I had a lapse in judgement, anger toward those who killed so many. I did quickly apologize and I’m awaiting my karma.

  35. Renee, when I get to the end pages of The Atlantic and see the adverts for the designer mental health facilities, I want to cancel my subscription. Irrational.

  36. I really hope we don’t start associating autism with people who kill. They are probably the least likely to do something like that. Lanza was at the prime age for the onset of schizophrenia. My guess is, that was his diagnosis. Actually I felt sympathy for the hell that was most likely going on in his head. I felt lots of sympathy for what his mother must have endured. I’ve spent enough time around those with severe mental illnesses working in corrections.

    I cry for the hell that both the patient and their families have to go through.

  37. LA Times

    WASHINGTON — Leaders of President Obama’s reelection campaign announced Friday that they are launching a permanent advocacy organization called Organizing for Action that will enlist his supporters to fight for his policy agenda.

    Calling it “the next phase of this movement,” former campaign manager Jim Messina described the new group as an extension of Obama’s successful bid for a second term, which used technology to engage volunteers at a new level in their communities.

    The First Lady on the Launch of Organizing for Action

  38. I believe alex jones when he says that gun owners will resist the legislation and the Presidential orders with gun violence. That was at the back of my mind when I proposed re-establishing militias under strict Federal guidelines as an access control, rather than banning weapons.

  39. I appreciate the kind feedback. I think that we all should demand that our government SERIOUSLY address the mental health issues here in our country. Some have alluded to the problems that parents that they know personally are facing with mentally ill kids, even ones that have health coverage and financial resources, not being able to find adequate treatment, not being able to have the police and local officials be able to help them, etc. Yet, we find plenty of money in our treasury for needless wars, roads to nowhere, corporate welfare, tax giveaways to big oil and big banks, etc. But when it comes to issues of having the infrastructure to deal with our most precious human capital, our children, our family, our neighbors, our communities, our schools, we don’t have the proper number of hospitals, facilities, educated professionals in the mental health filed, integrated systems among parents, schools, law enforcement, healthcare providers, to deal with seriously, mentally sick folks among us. Our nations priorities are way, way out of whack anymore.

  40. I believe that the apocalyptic jabber gun crazies have spouted for 30 years is about to become self-fulfilling ‘prophecy’.

  41. And XR, I hope and pray that those gun crazies become the victims instead of just the enablers of this horror we’ve been seeing. I feel pretty comfortable calling them crazy.

  42. BTW… I forgot to mention that said 20 yr old was considered an adult. It was perfectly legal for him to refuse medication and/or going into a facility.

    renee, that’s another indication of how sticky the problem is. where on the mental health spectrum do we (society) say no? which rights are taken away and which are left for an impaired adult and who decides?

  43. You guys are spot on with some of your comments about mental health care in this country. I spent some time in a chronic and acute care mental institution when I was a student nurse. Not as a patient, it was part of our training. Some of us did catch a little attack of bizarre behavior. It’s not uncommon to do that when you had a psych rotation.

    It wasn’t long after I graduated that they closed all those institutions and the patients either ended up in long term care facilities, on the streets, a few at home with their families, or in correctional facilities.

    Then as an NP, I saw patients in a LTC facility that specialized in housing persons with severe mental problems. There are very few of them in this country. Some of our patients were from states that were very far away. It was a very interesting experience. You guys know about my 11 years in corrections.

    I’ve spent a lot of time pondering better solutions to the problem. The only solutions I’ve come up with is that we need to improve those areas in correctional facilities that deal with mentally ill people. That includes a better housing environment and careful selection and training of the staff.

    In my experience, the mental institutions were NOT superior to the correctional facilities. We started this mental health court here and it’s working pretty well except that it is not available to enough people. The goal is to help keep those who break the law because of their mental illness out of jail. The concept started in NY, I think. A person with a chronic mental illness, who had been in and out of health care facilities ended up pushing someone off a commuter train landing. It killed the person who was pushed from the landing and it did get the attention that was desired. The perp was desperate for help. That started the concept of mental health court.

    Many of the families of those in jail, with severe mental health issues, were actually relieved that their family member was there. They knew that their loved one was less likely to injure themselves or others and they got a much needed break but they still had a lot of guilt to deal with. I just had to spend a short time with these inmates and it took everything I had.

    And yes, some of our inmates with severe mental illness were from fairly wealthy families. Those families just couldn’t control them. One lady was a girl that I grew up with. She was off the charts wild when she came in. She traveled around the country, hooking up with criminals and breaking the law. She spent some quality time with us at the jail, got controlled on meds and did end up leaving a fairly normal person. She is active in NAMI now. We had some success stories.

  44. ct, what is the politically correct term and have i been inadvertantly offensive for which i must apologize those many many times i’ve referred to the hon. sen. rant paul as a nutball?

  45. Some thoughts

    Not every weird kid becomes a mass murderer, some of them become engineers 😆 (that’s the wife’s engineer joke, she works with engineers and other weird type people)

    I keep hearing about all these responsible gun owners but we have a lot of irresponsible gun owners to. Where else do criminals get guns.

    more as they come


  46. patd…
    those are all excellent questions that will have to be answered by healthcare and law enforcement professionals, IMO.

    Carol… really super post…

  47. following up on CBob’s mention of carbon tax …

    National Journal: Can Republicans Warm Up to a Carbon Tax?

    A number of the nation’s leading conservative economists, who as a rule do not like taxes, are touting some benefits to a federal carbon tax. That group includes Gregory Mankiw, a former Romney adviser and George W. Bush-era chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. John McCain’s 2008 chief economic adviser; and Art Laffer, progenitor of Reagan’s treasured Laffer Curve.

    Such a tax could raise an estimated $1.5 trillion over 10 years and help wean the country from carbon-intensive fuels. And with Congress set for a season of budget fights and a possible effort to overhaul the tax code, the carbon tax is likely to reenter the conversation about getting America’s fiscal house in order.

  48. but before that, renee, there’ll have to be some very well thought out legislative language enacted by congress critters and some regulatory language promulgated by agencies. and i have my doubts about the capacity of some of those enactors and promulgators.

  49. Interesting teaser for tomorrow’s Journal: “Do guerrillas always end up winning?”

  50. That was quick. I must be some sort of Summoner. For my next act, I will try to summon some food to eat.

  51. Pat

    In that case nutball is not a slur. I believe it is his proper first name. He was named after his father Nutball Ron Paul.
    I could be mistaken.


  52. Patd, according to the political animal PC rules, I think that not only is nutball perfectly acceptable it’s desirable. May want to check with Flatus. My rule book may be bogus.

  53. “Do guerrillas always end up winning?”

    I would say, it depends.
    No holds barred wrestling? Yeah, most of the time.
    But they suck at basketball.
    Hocky? Have you ever seen one on ice skates?


  54. Well the wife is up and working so my duties as a nurse are over. I don’t care what carol says, I like the hat, I look good in it. Time for another avatar.


  55. Craig: “the carbon tax is likely to reenter the conversation about getting America’s fiscal house in order.

    Sadly not. Such a belief is like hunting a chimera – you think you see it but in a blink of an eye it is gone.

    Carbon Tax for fiscal purposes is as atrocious as de-institutionalisation for the mentally incapable was in the 80’s and 90’s. Such a tax would be no more than a blatant transfer of wealth from the poor to the super rich.

    Bearing in mind that a Carbon Tax is designed to be revenue neutral, it needs to produce three essential outcomes, they being:

    1. Alter fossil fuel consumption patterns to embrace more renewable fuel sources and so subsidise wind and solar power so as to cost the same or less for the consumer as fossil fuels do;

    2. Promote alternative fuel innovation and construction of power generation plants; and,

    3. Compensate those on the lowest incomes in the community for the cost increases incurred. In other words, raising the value of entitlements and tying this compensation package to the CPI in perpetuity.

    I can see the GOP agreeing to item 1, especially with the Koche Brothers and Waltons screaming “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” on the sidelines.

    A Carbon Tax targets polluters who then pass the additional costs of polluting onto the individual consumer of those goods, so while it seems that polluters pay the tax, it is actually a consumption tax paid for by every citizen. Hence the need for a compensation package for those who least can afford the tax. Since a Carbon Tax is by its nature regressive, a compensation package gives some easing to those on fixed or limited incomes granted by the state.

    There are two stumbling blocks in the way of a Carbon Tax:

    1. Do you want another consumption tax in addition to a sales tax?

    2. Do you want entitlements to remain untouchable?

    Given the current political situation in the US, the answer is Yes and No which means any Carbon Tax would be a punitive impost on the poor thus transferring their wealth, as meagre as it is, to the super rich while price gouging the rest of the community with a thinly disguised consumption tax. That would be the worst of all worlds for everyone, except the super rich.

  56. My nurses really pampered our mentally ill peeps. They mothered them. They bribed them with treats, that they brought with their own money, so that they would agree to take their meds. They were most often housed separately, for their protection. The nurses communicated with their families. If there was a severe issue, they were housed in intake. Some were wildly out of control and refused medications. Some would slam their body parts against the wall or dive off their beds. When that happened, the patient had to be restrained in a special chair. Use of that chair had strict rules. The local hospitals didn’t want to be bothered. Even if they had a mental health patient who was too much trouble, they’d call the jail to have them arrested. Happened more frequently when the patient has no insurance.

    We only had one mental health counselor, a part time Shrink, the nurses in our medical dept and me. Not nearly enough. Pastoral care had some programs that helped.

    There are very strict laws about forcing drugs on anyone. The court had to get involved and it was only done with a court order from a judge. Much of the quality of care depends on the level of empathy of your medical team. Ours was good but very understaffed.

    I don’t see a problem with sharing correctional facilities with mental health facilities. Both are expensive. It saves money to share medical, housing, staff and nutritional services. Housing and staff for the mental inmates should be different. Staff should be carefully selected and trained to meet the needs of this special population.

  57. OK Jack, you can keep the hat. Just wash your hands after touching it. Maybe you could microwave it. And I hope you have some thick hair and sturdy bobby pens to keep it on.

  58. Flatus, I read your post and can feel your anguish.

    My partner’s mother passed for the same reason when she was 11 and somewhere along the line she felt the need to follow suit. It was the persistence of paramedics that saved her life. After that I met her, we got on and those negative thoughts have gone. A combination of good therapy (prozac) and a healthy lifestyle with positive rewards changed that.

    However it is a fight we have because this illness follows on through the generations.

    Her son, who is only 6 weeks sober from a severe cannabis habit (the worst self medication for depression available), he has been living with us for that time with his family in an effort to put his life back on the road again. It is like going through hell and back and then some but you do it anyway because they are your family.

    It was with a sigh that I read your post. Not you too.

  59. Carol:

    I don’t see a problem with sharing correctional facilities with mental health facilities. Both are expensive.

    I do. Get rid of the prisons by getting rid of silly sentencing which sends 5m Americans to prison in the first place to the most expensive government subsidised project homes in the world. 90% of those in prison could be in the general population like happens in the rest of the world. Instead, dedicate the savings to assisting those with mental health problems which would reduce the incarceration rate even further.

  60. senate source tells me Judiciary chair Pat Leahy will play point on gun stuff, Reid taking a back seat, has mixed feelings. first judiciary hearings this year will be guns, and soon

  61. Lance Armstrong, narcissist, psychopath and global cheat – he doesn’t believe he has done wrong. He is upset that he was caught, no doubt, but done wrong …. Hmmm. Oprah’s dress matching her tweet colours is a dead giveaway as to a scripted piece of spin. Nothing believable about it.

    Just saying ….

  62. “Get rid of the prisons by getting rid of silly sentencing which sends 5m Americans to prison..”

    I’m totally with ya there Bill. I don’t get to make decisions about who gets arrested but if I did….

    Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the US! US incarceration rate is highest in the world at 1 in 100. La is about 1-57. Yep.

    One of my patients told me he was in for not having the proper lights on his bicycle?? Sometimes they got in but couldn’t get a phone number to get bailed out. The number was on their cell phone, not available. Of course he was soon in my medical dept and we’re having to provide expensive health care for some infraction to a bike law? Really. I would try to pull some strings but they got irritated with me for doing that and I really didn’t have an extra minute in the day.

    Several homeless, I guess for pushing their shopping cart too fast or running a red light. The medical care there was really out of sight since they had not had any for years.

    We did have plenty of serious criminal issues also. There was a direct correlation to severity of the crime and severity of medical conditions. I took care of more severe medical problems, some I’d never even dealt with before, in the 11 years working in corrections than the other 29 working in regular health care.

    This was a government run jail/prison but some prisons are privately owned, big business. Then there are big businesses that cater to the prison business. I’ve read that it’s the police/correctional officer lobbies who work to keep things illegal, especially pot. Don’t think that involved my local peeps.

  63. And there were a number who admitted having had an old warrant pulled up so they could get in to have a medical issue addressed. We have some decent government health care facilities for the poor in the state but our local charity hospital didn’t have specialty care. If a poor person needs specialty care, it may be only available across the state and they had no transportation. I had a number of inmates who had wires still in their mouth from a fractured jaw that happened 6+ months before. Oral surgery was many miles away. We then had to carry them across the state to get those removed.

    Another area was orthopedics. I had a guy who had a significant leg fracture, untreated for months. He got himself arrested to address that.

    I had a guy who had this horrible anal fissure, chronic condition. His ass looked like minced meat. He ended up having surgery while with us. His after care was so involved that I did manage to get him out. He came back many months later, had never done a thing, and his ass was almost rotted off. Gag me with a spoon.

  64. Carol: “some prisons are privately owned, big business. Then there are big businesses that cater to the prison business.”

    Funnily enough, we get Congress screaming about China using prison labour as legal slaves to produce goods that undercut that produced in the US. And yet, prison business in the US is nothing more than a resuscitation of slavery. Ohh, the irony born through hypocrisy. Wonder if this will spark another Civil War, this time on prison population concentrations rather than Dixie. 😕

    Bushcare – put people in prison for publicly funded health-care. Very expensive.

    Obamacare – stop putting people in prison for publicly funded health-care. Very cost effective.

  65. Done–waiting on a response. Bob Corker sends form letters his staff rarely follows up on, a generic “thank yewwwwww for sharing your thoughts”; Lamar’s staff tends toward testiness, especially if you call GOoPers insensitive, petty or malicious. If Jimmy Duncan was still my Housecritter, I’d know what to expect: a long patronizing snail mail that suggests I’m an idiot ’cause I’m a knobite and he’s from the big city (Knoxville, population somewhere just over 150K). Redistricting before the last election makes Chuck Fleischmann my critter, though, and he, despite a “yes” vote on either the fiscal cliff or Sandy money of which I approved, is still pretty much an unknown quantity. We’ll see.

  66. Chloe

    thats cuz I are one.

    It is when you start adding certain stereotypes, shiftless, lazy, marrying my sister cooking meth. Stuff like that ya know………


  67. Jack,

    No you’re not!

    Sorry for the bad joke. I was just remembering our ‘conversation’ (or was it an argument?) and then you decide to use that pic (which I love, by the way).

    Love ya just the way you are.

    (.. I promise, I would never use the word in a disparaging way)

  68. PS Craig, glad you liked my festive gravatar, but this new one makes me look forward to spring. It’s the Carter-Shields cabin in Cades Cove in the GSMNP. The full-sized picture has dogwoods in full bloom in front of the cabin.

  69. ” … a long patronizing snail mail that suggests I’m an idiot ’cause I’m a knobite and he’s from the big city”

    Yep, I know what you mean, Faire.
    I’ve been referred to as naive. That’s what people call you when you don’t agree with them (or they, you). I figure the further away from DC you live, the less naive you are.

    …. not that there’s anything wrong with being naive.

  70. I’d like to be naive. Damn. Readily apparent realities of the world interfere with that aspiration.

  71. “Lance Armstrong, narcissist, psychopath and global cheat…”

    Bill, I felt the same way about him last night. What a scumbag.

    Do any of you know if Oprah paid him for that interview? What was in it for him?

  72. I went to the CQ site and did as requested. Will be waiting for the responses.
    I have to say my Senators (Schumer, Gillibrand) and Congressman (Higgins) have good staffs who do reply. I have sent requests & petitions in the past, mainly dealing with animal rights and conservation issues. They’ve been prompt with responses.
    As contentious as the gun issue is, there is always the knowledge that we don’t have to worry about being thrown in jail for our beliefs, attacked, or deported. We actually can question our government officials and not fear the reply. If we don’t agree with how they do their job, we can peaceably replace them through an election. We might disagree disagreeably at times, but that is good and healthy for democracy. Every voice is important.

  73. Bill, What a bag of surprises you are.
    … ‘irony was the shackles of youth’.

    “Crimson flames tied through my ears
    Rollin’ high and mighty traps
    Pounced with fire on flaming roads
    Using ideas as my maps
    “We’ll meet on edges, soon,” said I
    Proud ‘neath heated brow.
    Ah, but I was so much older then,
    I’m younger than that now.

    Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
    “Rip down all hate,” I screamed
    Lies that life is black and white
    Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
    Romantic facts of musketeers
    Foundationed deep, somehow.
    Ah, but I was so much older then,
    I’m younger than that now.

    Girls’ faces formed the forward path
    From phony jealousy
    To memorizing politics
    Of ancient history
    Flung down by corpse evangelists
    Unthought of, though, somehow.
    Ah, but I was so much older then,
    I’m younger than that now.

    A self-ordained professor’s tongue
    Too serious to fool
    Spouted out that liberty
    Is just equality in school
    “Equality,” I spoke the word
    As if a wedding vow.
    Ah, but I was so much older then,
    I’m younger than that now.

    In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
    At the mongrel dogs who teach
    Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
    In the instant that I preach
    My pathway led by confusion boats
    Mutiny from stern to bow.
    Ah, but I was so much older then,
    I’m younger than that now.

    Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
    Too noble to neglect
    Deceived me into thinking
    I had something to protect
    Good and bad, I define these terms
    Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
    Ah, but I was so much older then,
    I’m younger than that now.”

    …. such beautiful writing almost takes my breath away. Thanks!

    Chores done and now time for a good dose of fiction on the tele… I have a nice, light, comedic french movie (thank goodness for subtitles and Netflix).

    Thank goodness for the French too (I love them)
    …. oh, and those opinionated Australians aren’t so bad, either. :)

  74. And then we had two Australian citizens; Mamdouh Habib, and, David Hicks who disagreed with US Government policy and so were tortured and held without charge at Gitmo.

    No, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in the proposition that people don’t get thrown into gaol for their beliefs – this may be true for those whose beliefs accord with the official view of US life accompanied by a bit of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum wiggle room.

  75. httpvh://

    Ha ha, don’t worry Chloe, your not alone with Governors that don’t help the image of your state.. Here in Florida with Rick Scott, oh god…

  76. Chloe, you are such a lovely person. Smooch.

    Chores done and now time for a good dose of fiction on the tele

    Just finished watching the third and last season Forbrydelsen. It was just an incredible experience from go to woe.

  77. Despite what you may believe, a few of us actually work to improve this country. A few of us actually continue to have optimism in this great experiment called America. We see its faults, we see the need for improvement, and we do something about it, rather than complain about it. Because there is no other country we’d rather live.
    Mock all you want, they’re just words. And thank goodness you can say them without fear.

  78. Mental illness is not the issue with mass executions. Most, if not all, Americans experience mental illness during their lives, whether from medications, genes, booze, head inuries, blood sugar extremes, infections, alzheimers and other dementias, Sodium/potassium imbalance, fevers, or other, usually temporary, conditions. Most of us are in the habit of thinking that mental illness is purely mental. In fact, mental illness is usually, if not always, a physical malady.

    Hardly any mentally ill people commit these horrific deeds. The fact that the people who shoot up schools are experiencing psychotic events is not a justification for letting gun companies stampede us into witch hunts for mentally ill scapegoats.

    The big question ought to be, how do we prevent people from accessing high capacity firearms during those times when they aren’t well?

  79. You may quibble that your feverish delerium and another person’s rantings at invisible people are not the same. However, the difference may be only in our knowledge of how to treat the former, and therefore the duration of the malady. The raving is exactly the same.

  80. Schizophrenia, depression, bi-polar disorder, and borderline personality disorder seem to me to be the types of illnesses most likely to lead to violence against ones self or others.

    I would like to hear from a few mental health professionals about this topic. Until I find out otherwise, I shall consider the mental health issue a red herring.

  81. xrepublican,
    Thank you for pointing out that mental illness is usually, if not always, a physical malady. Rosalynn Carter made this issue her focus as First Lady and people still don’t get it.

  82. Oh well, I posted the timeline photo link. I like it. And of course I am contacting my Rep and my Senators, EVEN FROM BELGIUM. We had a similar incident in Gent Belgium last week. A father threatened to endanger his daughter. However, it is not believed that the father had a gun. Nonetheless, the school did a lock-down as precaution. Thank god there was no gun.

  83. Bill and Chloe,
    I would never mock or denigrate how anyone feels about their country. I do know that I am thankful to be an American, and do not want to live anywhere else. This is who I am. I live here. I do my best to work for a better society. I am not blind to any faults;I work to improve them.I am not proud of the Bush/Cheney era. I am very disappointed President Obama did not prosecute the war criminals in our government. I have freely expressed these sentiments more than once. But the very fact that I can type these words to you, and know I won’t be imprisoned for expressing them, is the very essence of what America is about. I have protested economic/social injustice with my local Occupy group;I willingly donate to causes and politicians I support. I am not unique. I truly believe every person on this blog is a concerned citizen, and would never question or mock out their patriotism. This is what I believe.

  84. Congressman Jared Huffman supports the common sense proposals of a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks….

    and from our neighboring member of Congress Mike Thompson
    Federal law limits me to 3 shells when duck hunting, but no law limiting assault magazines. We have more protections for ducks than people.

  85. sjwny, I don’t doubt your sincerity and your beliefs.

    It’s just that I don’t hold onto that belief. I gave a couple examples of people who offered critiques of US policies who ended up tortured and in prison. These are not throw away examples to chip at you, they are real cases that directly contradict your comment. Your right is to accept or deny the interpretation and that is that. But I suppose they were foreigners tortured by your government for their beliefs, it doesn’t count.

    The 7 Brits who were held at Gitmo for the same reasons probably don’t count either in this story. Just that the Brits were a bit more concerned about their citizens than our own craven government at the time. Blair had the Brits repatriated without any blemish to their record.

    Let’s use a real live American stuck in prison for speaking about his beliefs. Bradley Edward Manning. He did exactly what Daniel Ellsberg undertook many years ago. Ellsberg was never convicted. Manning was held for two years in isolation until an international outcry about inhumane treatment led to him being moved to a facility where he could actually talk to other people. Of course, he was a soldier who broke his oath to whistle blow. No one put him in prison for his beliefs at all.

    Robert George “Bobby” Seale was given 4 years imprisonment because he believed that African Americans should be empowered through their actions. The conspiracy evidence against him was so thin that they almost could not convict him of anything until he told the judge the so called trial was a joke and behaved accordingly. Well he was black and making fun of a white judge. That was good enough to get him four years.

    Angela Yvonne Davis, was a leader of the Communist Party USA and had close relations with the Black Panther Party. That was enough for Ron Reagan to have her barred from teaching in California. And just to make sure this commie uppity __ (insert the “N” bomb) got her comeuppance, they put her on trial for involvement in the Soledad brothers’ August 1970 abduction and murder of Judge Harold Haley in Marin County, California. That showed her real good.

    And now the last, and very personal story of a fellow student at university in the early 70’s. His father was a lecturer in the 1950’s and held very strong pro-labour views. He was hauled before HUAC for these opinions and barred from teaching forever in the US. He came to Oz where he had total freedom to express these views. It was only much later in his life was this man able to return to the US without fear of retribution for expressing his beliefs.

    That is just a brief history as to why I don’t necessarily hold to your view. You are welcomed to them and if they work for you, then fine. But just be aware that not everyone believes as you do on this matter.

  86. But the very fact that I can type these words to you, and know I won’t be imprisoned for expressing them, is the very essence of what America is about.

    sjwny, you might not be imprisoned, but you sure as hell will be a person of interest and part of a certain data base if you say the magic words they are mining.

    lest we forget the “patriot” act when and how we rant. is that not so, pogo?

  87. “Federal law limits me to 3 shells when duck hunting, but no law limiting assault magazines. We have more protections for ducks than people.”

    KGC, I found that interesting also. I guess that doesn’t bother those guys because they know that no effing duck is going to come to their doors demanding their shotguns.

  88. XR, you gave me a lot to ponder last night. It could take much time to ponder it all.

    Some of your comments that really made me think are:

    “I would like to hear from a few mental health professionals about this topic”

    Technically, I’m not a mental health professional but if you think about it, aren’t we all, kinda? Most of us have been, for the most part, mentally healthy and have been practicing in that area for most of our lives. That should qualify most of us as mental health professionals. I’ve worked with many mental health professionals over the years. No disrespect intended but you guys here make as much sense, if not more, than most of them. Some of those professionals would likely agree as long as we can’t hang out our shingles without the proper credentials. Dear Abby was just a housewife and she made more money and got more attention and respect for her services than most mental health professionals.

    “Most, if not all, Americans experience mental illness during their lives”

    That’s so true and it’s not that we all have someone we know with a mental illness, I think we have all actually been there a time or two. Most of us have been fortunate enough to have just made a short visit to the illness end of the spectrum and some of us can’t get home again after the trip.

    “ In fact, mental illness is usually, if not always, a physical malady.”

    I don’t think we can ever separate the mind from the body. I’ve also always thought that most of our physical illnesses have a psych origin. Ponder that. You may have to trace the disorder back to it’s true beginning but it started somewhere in our head. I’ve been pondering that since I first got involved with healthcare.

    “ I shall consider the mental health issue a red herring.”

    Definitely agree with you there. I don’t mind that mental illness is being considered in the equation and I don’t mind that we are using this as an opportunity to address the problem . It is a serious problem. We can’t do much to fix mental illness but I’m hoping that maybe we can come up with some new ideas of how to provide more comfort for all who are tortured by it.

  89. Bill,patd,
    Your words are exhibit A. patd, The Patriot Act is about as un-Patriotic as an Act can be. I’ve been hashtagged Alinsky and openly supported Anonymous. But I don’t let that deter me. Bill, the examples you mention are true about a part of American society. But it is a very small part.
    My point is this:Mockery and word bully tactics are disappointing.

  90. Bill,
    The remark about foreigners: America is a country of foreigners. My paternal grandparents were immigrants. This is a shared story for many of us.

  91. Bill, I think that most of us here don’t want to even think about the concept that we would ever have to be careful what we say.

  92. most of us here don’t want to even think about the concept that we would ever have to be careful what we say.

    carol, oh contrarywise. most of us here (as your yesterday’s 12:43 pm apology re nutcase illustrates) are very concerned and sensitive most of the time about the words we write because of our general civility and because gracious host runs a civil shop.

  93. do agree tho’ that most of us would rather not have to think before we act and are wont to feel free from restriction and retaliation for things we say.

  94. I guess I wasn’t clear with what I wrote Patd. I don’t feel that we are as “free” as we think we are.

    I really do care about hurting anyone’s feeling here. It was unfortunate that what I wrote posted right after Flatus’s comment. That killed me because I know how much heartache he’s been through. Probably wouldn’t have even apologized otherwise.

    I do have times where I think that “the man” may be monitoring us. I know that sounds crazy, talking about me here now.

    There have been moments when I’ve posted something controversial and my computer goes completely down. I think ut oh. I’ve even had fleeting thoughts when TM goes off air and I think ut oh. I know that sounds crazy.

    I’ve had times when I try to post a comment on Huff Post and it doesn’t show up when it seems that everyone else’s do. Usually it’s a comment that is not popular.

    I worry that our freedom to use the Internet and share our thoughts and ideas may not be something we can always take for granted.

    I lean to being a tad on the paranoid side. Never claimed to be totally normal.

  95. Pat,

    Keeping what you’ve said in mind, and I totally subscribe that most of us try hard to be civil for the reasons that you gave, but also because we are fond of one another.

    I am disturbed when our friend Bill from down-under repeatedly points out our crippling faults to us as if we are personally and individually responsible for tolerating them.

    Quite honestly, I find these types of remarks from outside our country as intrusive as he would find a squadron of American aircraft arriving on ‘his’ territory.

    Likewise, I’m always happy when ET checks in! But I thought he had renounced his US citizenship when he became a Belgian subject. So, I was taken aback reading that he had written his senators and rep about the current situation. ET! Come home, already.

    What Bradley Manning did was despicable. Bill’s mis-characterization of it as some sort of heroic act is simply wrong on all levels and makes me question his agenda.

  96. speaking of the goper’s retreat, this one reminded me of boehner for some odd reason:


  97. I tried to be civil in my comment; I sincerely apologize if my remarks have exceeded the bounds of civil discourse.

  98. Xrep…
    I agree that the topic of mental illness is a red herring when discussing the topic of regulating guns. But what a relief it was to finally have another topic to discuss on this blog. I didn’t want to constantly repeat myself… so once I had my say on the gun issue… I didn’t have much else to say here.

    I agree that mental illness is physical. My sister has borderline personality disorder… and though there were times I wasn’t thinking right, I know I’ve never acted like she can… thank goodness.

  99. flatus, no way were you out of bounds. he who dances with ‘roos probably meant not to paint with such a large brush. let’s say all the good intentions were lost in translation… he being closer to the mother language than we.

  100. I kinda think that it’s like…we can bitch about our loved one’s flaws cuz we love them but dang it, we really don’t like it when someone else does it. They can become fighting words. Love you too Bill.

  101. You’re right RR and I think that we’ve beat the hell out of the mental illness issue. That aspect has a lot more to ponder.

    I think that most of us are in agreement when it comes to guns. We all want some reasonable restrictions. We also don’t want the powers that be to think that we’ve forgotten about what happened or that we’ll move on.

    Even Obama made it clear in his speech the other day that it does depend on us making noise..if we want anything to change.

  102. In the midst of the outrageous upset and over-reaction to the Ameican Indian Movement in the early to mid 70s, I heard a white guy accuse an Indian kid of being un-American.

    We are a nation that hopes and believes we can improve. That makes us naive, but successful at improving. We haven’t prosecuted our war criminals … yet. We have not yet set free the captives. I have no doubt that we shall someday.

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