Common sense gun safety

From the typical person’s perspective, the most reasonable interpretation of the Second Amendment is that it entitles him/her/zir/them to have a gun and prevents everyone else from having guns.

It seems that at least one of our top politicians agrees. “House Democrat says she sleeps with gun nearby after clashing with El Salvador’s president” (The Hill):

Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said in a new interview that she sleeps with a gun nearby after receiving “hateful messages” for clashing with El Salvador’s president on Twitter.

Torres, 56, is the only member of Congress born in Central America and the co-chairwoman of the Central Americans Caucus. She spoke with the Los Angeles Times for a story published Thursday about trading barbs with El Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele on issues of migration and human rights.

One tweet from last month included a photograph of a Salvadoran father and his young daughter who drowned attempting to cross the Rio Grande River into the U.S.

“This is a result of narcissistic dictators like you interested in being ‘cool’ while people flee by the 1000s & die by the 100s,” she wrote.

Bukele responded by calling on Latin Americans living in California’s 35th District to vote Torres out of office.

“She does not work for you, but to keep our countries underdeveloped,” he tweeted in Spanish.

Contrast to 2019, “Rep. Torres Calls for Common Sense Gun Control Policies” (official house.gov web page):

Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) published an op-ed with the Inland Empire Daily Bulletin commemorating the four-year anniversary of the San Bernardino shooting, which claimed 14 lives, including two of her own constituents, on December 2nd, 2015.

“I’ve been on the other end of the line from gun violence,” Congresswoman Torres writes. “I’ve heard the earsplitting crack of a firearm going off, and experienced the horrific moment when a desperate voice on the other end screams in pain and then goes silent. I know exactly what the price is for Congressional inaction on gun violence, and I’m disgusted to see innocent people continue to pay for it with their lives.”

“The problem we have is access,” Congresswoman Torres continues. “We can’t legislate troubled thoughts out of someone’s head, but we can pass laws that prevent a gun from winding up in that person’s hands.

(Mx. Torres was referring to the jihad waged by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik)

From 2016, “IE Congresswoman Norma Torres On The Future Of Gun Control” (NPR):

Inland Empire Member of Congress Norma Torres – a Democrat representing the IE’s 35th District – was among the representatives who participated in a member “sit-in” in the House chambers a few weeks ago. The sit-in participants were demanding that the majority Republicans in the House allow a vote on stalled gun safety legislation.

See also Giffords.org:

Torres has a demonstrated record of advancing lifesaving gun violence prevention measures and will never stop fighting to keep California communities safe from gun violence.

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27 thoughts on “Common sense gun safety

  1. Interpretations like this by folks like this is why 2nd Amendment was needed to protect the right to keep and bear arms from infringement in the first place.
    The congresswoman seems to have similar attitude to 1st Amendment as well: it is OK to tell someone that he killed hundreds of people without shred of evidence (most likely those untimely deaths were cause by trying to reach benefits promised by US Democratic party and Biden) but talk back argument is a terrible threat.
    I guess that none of freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights would fare well under such politicians, that;s why Bill of Rights was needed to be written.

    • LSI: I think that Mx. Norma Torres’s conclusion is incorrect from a statistical point of view.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

      shows that life expectancy at birth in El Salvador is 75. In the U.S., on the other hand, it is 79.1. If he/she/ze/they is correct that the president of El Salvador is responsible for increased migration, the result is additional life-years (“lives saved”) among the migrants, not life-years lost. (This is not to say that I agree with Mx. Torres regarding responsibility for migration. I have never visited El Salvador. The Salvadorans whom I have met here in the U.S. have said that they migrated for economic reasons.)

    • Philip, I agree but wish that we had relevant statistic of average lifespan of Salvadoran immigrants in the USA. And there is a question on quality of life I doubt that old man from old country that usually rapidly declined from their normal active lives in a few months before their deaths in their 70th or 80th would agree to hospice or constant medical intervention lives.. At least some of them before they were hooked on American drugs wished not to be connected to any hospital equipment in case they to loose consciousness.
      Salvador has had one of the highest crime rates in the world and if anything it is somewhat lower now. And of course congresswoman Torres knows that. Unfair to blame it on new president, even if he is a sob. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/crime-rate-by-country
      “9. El Salvador
      Organized crime is the most massive problem in El Salvador, contributing to most social violence, with its two largest gangs, MS-13 and Barrio 18. There are an estimated 25,000 gang members at large in El Salvador, 9,000 in prison, and about 60,000 young people in youth gangs, which dominate the country. Gangs also have cultivated relationships with drug traffickers and have also resulted in disputing over territory with drug traffickers. Besides gangs, high unemployment rates and low wages in El Salvador have pushed families into marginalized areas where crimes are common. Property crimes, such as robbery, theft, and theft of vehicles, are the most common crimes committed. “

    • @Low Skilled: It is curious to me that a major rationale for why we should accept a large number of immigrants and from refugees from places like El Salvador is because they are so full of crime and violent criminals as to be essentially unlivable. (Perhaps we should only take unaccompanied women from places like this)

    • Super Mike: you are discounting lives of violent gang members running from vigilante justice of Salvadorian middle class mobs seeking justice and public safety. I am sure that those poor hunted and haunted souls deserve US refuge.

  2. Philg – I think you’re ready to successfully assimilate to Florida. Your sensationalism is now on par with your contrarianism. Is there something contradictory about her position? Is it not a reasonable and rational position for someone to exercise their right to own a gun while also advocating for more effective regulation of killing machines(guns serve no other purpose)?

    • SenorP: You’re reminding me of a neighbor in Cambridge, an attorney, who was fond of saying “Just because I like to strap on a dildo and f*ck my girlfriend, that doesn’t make me a lesbian”. What would an example of hypocrisy be if not Mx. Norma Torres’s statements+conduct?

    • “What would an example of hypocrisy be if not Mx. Norma Torres’s statements+conduct?”

      Almost every statement you make on this blog…

    • Anonymous, which are hypocritical statements among various thought crimes expressed on this blog? There is some irony that makes many worry about Florida political future, that’s about it.

    • LSI: People have accused me of hypocrisy for getting vaccinated after writing about the ineffectiveness of lockdowns and masks in Western nations. I think the theory is that I minimized COVID-19 as a minor flu. But I got the vaccine primarily because I assumed that I would need it in order to leave the house, go into a store, get on a plane, etc. And, in fact, I did not take the position that COVID-19 is a harmless disease. My position was the Swedish one: it is a harmful disease, but not one that humans have a lot of control over and not one that is ever going to go away, and that there are a lot of other ways that humans lose life-years over which we DO have control. So if we want to save life-years, I wrote, it would make more sense to reduce traffic accidents (see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2020/03/26/why-do-we-care-about-covid-19-deaths-more-than-driving-related-deaths/ from March 2020 and https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2021/02/05/save-lives-by-limiting-cars-to-35-mph/ ).

      I never suggested that it was irrational for rich white people to hide in their comfortable suburban bunkers! I did say that COVID-19 would probably find them eventually so they shouldn’t celebrate just yet, even if their army of Latinx essential workers has just delivered three cases of booze and 2 lbs. of essential marijuana.

    • “even if their army of Latinx essential workers has just delivered three cases of booze”
      Is booze delivery a Massachusetts thing?
      Here far from coast deliveries are mostly done by UPS and USPS relatively well compensated union members and there are many Amazon trucks and drop boxes as well as businesses started by locals that use private vehicles to deliver from any restaurant or store. I usually schedule for store pick-up for larger items

    • Philg – your position on Covid may be fine if you’re a reasonably healthy, wealthy person who can control whom they come into contact with. If, on the other hand, you’re an “essential” worker, for example, who had didn’t have the luxury of walking away from a job working in a supermarket, surrounded by throngs of assholes for eight hours a day who were too selfish and precious to wear a freekin’ paper mask and take basic precautions for 30 minutes, it could be a little different. And, that’s the problem. The contrarian position you take is basically anarchy. Why not just do away with car insurance and traffic rules while we’re at it? Heck, why have any laws or civilization at all? Everyone for themselves!

    • SenorP: Like the World Health Organization (prior to June 2020; see archive.org), I take the position that paper masks and bandanas are useful symbols of willingness to sacrifice to stop a respiratory virus, analogous to the ice buckets that people sometimes dump on their heads, but not useful tools for stopping an respiratory virus (as seen in the stats for Europe’s most eager/early adopter of masks for the general public: https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2021/03/18/the-one-year-anniversary-of-the-czech-republics-mask-law/ ).

      I agree with Floridians: because a paper or cloth mask is as effective as a chainlink fence for stopping sand, people who don’t want to become infected with coronavirus must avoid indoor public environments. (And remember that Florida, adjusted for population over 65, has suffered only 1/3rd the COVID-19-tagged deaths compared to masked-and-shut Massachusetts.)

      Once one accepts the World Health Organization’s #Science (pre-June 2020 edition), complaining that someone isn’t wearing a mask becomes equivalent to someone in 1348 complaining that not everyone is praying and joining the flagellants.

    • Philg – your entire position is, once again in line with your general sentiment for all things, based on nothing but contrarianism. Where is your proof that masks don’t work? And, did we have that proof at the start of the pandemic? Even if we concede that masks don’t work at all as a physical barrier, I would argue that serve as a useful reminder that we’re in a pandemic, and should keep distance, wash hands, avoid contact etc.

      Also, as for the original post re: gun control, another analogy: Is it not possible to own and drive a car, recognize their utility, and also at the same time advocate for wearing seatbelts, improving crash standards, airbags, etc.? There’s no hypocrisy there, as there is none with Rep. Torres.

    • Talking about hypocrisy ” at the same time advocate for wearing seatbelts, improving crash standards, airbags, etc” . It does not look like Ms. Torres got degree in mechanical engineering to make guns safer (a la Glock compared to Browning 1911 design) . To fool and mislead her constituency she divisively agitated for anti-constitutional and useless busywork in congress and not by working with other congress members but by a partisan “sit-in”; strict, to the point of being overturned by liberal courts, anti-gun laws in CA did not prevent attack she described, and they could not as the cause of the attack had nothing to do with gun laws.

    • Senropablo: At the beginning of the pandemic the propaganda was that masks do NOT work! People were attacked online for suggesting that they work. Now it is the opposite.

      Disclaimer: I do believe that FFP3 at least has some effect, since that has always been used for medical procedures that spread a lot of potentially infectious aerosols.

    • Anonymous: I have no doubt that a professionally fitted FFP3 mask, covered by an N99 mask, of course for maximum safety, would be helpful when going into a hazardous indoor environment. But, like the signs promising enhanced surface cleaning, the double (or triple?) masking could give people a false sense of security and make them less safe. That was the stated Swedish reason for not ordering masks. People who are at risk should not be in public indoor places and they shouldn’t be lulled into complacency by the fact that potentially infected people in those places have bandanas, paper masks, cloth masks, and masks that aren’t professionally fitted.

      Senorpablo adheres to the religious dogma of the Church of Shutdown that a mask order can only help and never hurt. But I’ve never found a person who could look at a chart of COVID-19 “cases” and say, from the curve shape, when a mask order was imposed. (see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2021/05/30/intelligent-germans-versus-swedish-covidiots/ as one example of policy decisions marked on a chart).

      We wouldn’t do this with anything else, I don’t think. If you had a graph of ant population in your kitchen and couldn’t see any dramatic change in the curve after you applied ant poison, would you go out and tell all of your neighbors to buy that brand of ant poison?

    • philg : Thanks for the link. I’m not a mask hawk and I agree with a lot of what you write, especially with the fact that > 50% wear their masks in a sloppy manner.

      I think though that the Hamburg/Stockholm comparison link is flawed. Stockholm had 99% ICU utilization in December 2020, which does not show in the Twitter link at all:

      https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-sweden-hospitals-idUSKBN28J23M

      Many people in that Twitter thread refute the numbers, e.g. Hamburg had fewer cases and fatalities than Stockholm. Case numbers of course depend on the level of testing, fatalities do not.

    • Anonymous: I’m not sure how Sweden could be characterized as having had an ICU crisis. In a count of 10 million, they never had more than about 550 COVID-19 patients in the ICU at any one time. The peak was around May 1, 2020. See https://www.icuregswe.org/en/data–results/covid-19-in-swedish-intensive-care/ (it came back up to 400 in January 2021 and then again in April 2021).

      Some Swedish bureaucrat says that his empire doesn’t have enough resources and he wants more? That’s shocking!

      (Separately, you also have to remember that ICU care is not obviously helpful to COVID-19 patients. Nobody has shown that ICU care substantially raises the probability of survival compared to an oxygen bottle and high-flown cannula that one you could use at home. Nobody seems to want to accept the fact that there is no medical treatment for COVID-19.)

    • philg: Still, fatalities per 100K are 17.37 in Finland, 107.66 in Germany, 141.42 in Sweden:

      https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality

      In fact Finland, which had a somewhat lax mask policy, might be a better example than Sweden. The fact that Japan is also doing quite well might tempt people to search for highly politically incorrect correlations.

    • Anonymous, I have not heard claims that masks help to cure coronavirus. The claim is that masks can prevent infection. So relevant statistics would be # of infected per 100,000

    • LSI: These statistics are impossible to obtain since they depend on the vastly different level of testing. CFR is unreliable as well for that reason.

    • LSI: As Anonymous points out, the only way to infer the infection rate is to look at the death rate (or “excess death rate” if you want to guard against classification errors; Sweden’s was 1.5% for 2020, for example (see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2021/05/18/analysis-of-sweden-versus-uk-covid-19-outcomes/ )). If masks for the general population prevent infection in a population then they should also prevent death (due to the fact that there is no medical treatment available for COVID-19).

  3. I don’t know how typical I am, but I’ve never thought of the 2nd Amendment that way, and this goes back a long time, before I knew anything about the nuances of advanced 21st century legalistic wordplay. I’ve always thought the 2nd Amendment was very clear in its meaning and its intent: to make sure that “the people” (“we” as in “each of us”) have the right to keep and bear arms.

    I do have some more to say about this later on…but I don’t disagree with you that some people misconstrue it entirely.

    • > From the typical person’s perspective, the most reasonable interpretation of the Second Amendment is that it entitles him/her/zir/them to have a gun and prevents everyone else from having guns.

      Moreover, during the course of my life (and right up until the present moment), I’ve known and enjoyed the company of thousands of other people who don’t think that way at *all*. By most other measures, they’re “typical” people. They own insurance brokerages, some of them are doctors and lawyers, some of them are car mechanics, etc., etc., from all walks of life. Maybe each different in their own way, but they aren’t “atypical” and don’t think of themselves that way, either. Especially when they get together by the hundreds for a Chicken Barbecue to listen to some music together. (Of course, we really do like our Chicken BBQ and think it’s exceptional most of the time, but that’s just because we usually do a very good job!)

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