STARTING TOMORROW: Our Rationality, Ourselves!

MONDAY, MAY 30, 2022

Don from Salinas, but Einstein and Isaacson too: On Sunday morning, we did it again. 

Discarding the "complacencies of the peignoir" of which Stevens so gracefully wrote;  eschewing his heroine's "late coffee and oranges in a sunny chair;" we watched the first hour of C-Span's Washington Journal, its hour-long "viewer calls" segment.

C-Span inflicts this instruction on the world every day of the week. With Jesse in the anchor chair, the focus on Sunday was this:

American "exceptionalism" and mass shootings. Why does this seem to be happening in the U.S. again and again?

By C-Span standards, Jesse's question was a bit snarky this day. Still and all, we watched the whole hour—and, at 7:51 A.M., a California caller said this:

DON FROM SALINAS (5/29/22): Blaming the weapon a monster uses, instead of blaming the monster, is childlike and simplistic. Do you know what really contributed the most to them children dying in Uvalde? Do you think it was the gun he was carrying? No, it was the open doors that he walked through, that he went in through an open door from the outside. He went in through an open door into the classroom. If  the outside door had been locked, he could have had any kind of a gun and he couldn't have done anything.

JESSE: You don't think he'd have been able to shoot his way in through the door?

DON: What, do you think it's a movie?

Guns don't kill people—open doors do! So Don from Salinas now said.

Viewed in the narrowest possible context, Don's analysis wasn't necessarily "false." Imaginably, if just that one outside door had been locked, these killings might never have happened.

That said, "motivated reasoning" is a very powerful impulse within our human species. More generally, our capacities in this general area are extremely limited.

Our capacities are limited all the way down. But also all the way up!

As humans, we're strongly inclined to think that breakdowns in reasoning occur among those in the other tribe. Also, we're inclined to believe that breakdowns in reasoning occur among the "poorly educated."

On Sunday morning, with that in mind, we revisited our of our favorite recent books. In his well-received biography of Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson described the reasoning behind "the relativity of simultaneity," one of Einstein's "key insights."

Sure enough, there it was! It's one of our favorite, most logically bungled recent major texts. Because what follows doesn't make sense, it's also highly instructive:

ISAACSON (pages 122-124): ...[Einstein] skipped any greeting and immediately declared, "Thank you. I've completely solved the problem."

Only five weeks elapsed between that eureka moment and the day that Einstein sent off his most famous paper, "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies." It contained no citations of other literature, no mention of anyone else's work, and no acknowledgments except for the charming one in the last sentence...

So what was the insight that struck him while talking to Besso? “An analysis of the concept of time was my solution,” Einstein said. “Time cannot be absolutely defined, and there is an inseparable relation between time and signal velocity.”

More specifically, the key insight was that two events that appear to be simultaneous to one observer will not appear to be simultaneous to another observer who is moving rapidly. And there is no way to declare that one of the observers is really correct. In other words, there is no way to declare that the two events are truly simultaneous.

Einstein later explained this concept using a thought experiment involving moving trains. Suppose lightning bolts strike the train track’s embankment at two distant places, A and B. If we declare that they struck simultaneously, what does that mean?

Einstein realized that we need an operational definition, one we can actually apply, and that would require taking into account the speed of light. His answer was that we would define the two strikes as simultaneous if we were standing exactly halfway between them and the light from each reached us at the exact same time.

But now let us imagine how the event looks to a train passenger who is moving rapidly along the track. In a 1916 book written to explain this to nonscientists, he used the following drawing, in which the long train is the line on the top:

[To see Einstein's drawing, click here]

Suppose that at the exact instant (from the viewpoint of the person on the embankment) when lightning strikes at points A and B, there is a passenger at the midpoint of the train, Mt, just passing the observer who is at the midpoint alongside the tracks, M. If the train was motionless relative to the embankment, the passenger inside would see the lightning flashes simultaneously, just as the observer on the embankment would.

But if the train is moving to the right relative to the embankment, the observer inside will be rushing closer toward place B while the light signals are traveling. Thus he will be positioned slightly to the right by the time the light arrives; as a result, he will see the light from the strike at place B before he will see the light from the strike at place A. So he will assert that lightning hit at B before it did so at A, and the strikes were not simultaneous.

“We thus arrive at the important result: Events that are simultaneous with reference to the embankment are not simultaneous with respect to the train,” said Einstein. The principle of relativity says that there is no way to decree that the embankment is “at rest” and the train “in motion.” We can say only that they are in motion relative to each other. So there is no “real” or “right” answer. There is no way to say that any two events are “absolutely” or “really” simultaneous.

This is a simple insight, but also a radical one. It means that there is no absolute time. Instead, all moving reference frames have their own relative time. Although Einstein refrained from saying that this leap was as truly “revolutionary” as the one he made about light quanta, it did in fact transform science. "This was a change in the very foundation of physics, an unexpected and very radical change that required all the courage of a young and revolutionary genius," noted Werner Heisenberg, who later contributed to a similar feat with his principle of quantum uncertainty. 

[Isaacson's italics]

Isaacson, who's very bright, built a career as a major mainstream journalist. He's now a major biographer. 

That said, that passage makes absolutely no sense—and when Einstein wrote his 1916 book to explain relativity to general readers, his own explanation of this topic made no apparent sense

In part, this was due to the fact that Einstein had selected his awestruck teenaged niece to serve, in effect, as his editor. According to Isaacson's book, she told him she understood every word, though she was actually baffled by her famous uncle's various presentations.

The anthropological point is this:

One major figure after another—one respected news org after another—has presented that explanation of the relativity of simultaneity without noticing the fact that it doesn't make sense. 

Einstein explained it that way in 1916. Our journalists and our academics still follow suit.

On Friday morning, we'll walk you through Isaacson's illogical text once again. But as with Don from Salinas, so too here:

A variant of "motivated reasoning" may have held Isaacson in its grip as he composed that passage from his well-received book.

Back in 1916, Einstein had explained this key insight a certain way in his general interest book. On that basis, Isacson may have assumed that the presentation simply had to make sense.

Deference to academic authority may have held Isaacson in its grip. But so did a certain basic shortfall:

We humans just aren't "the rational animal," and we never were. This brings us back to Uvalde, and to Buffalo shortly before it.

Our own assessment of our nation's prospects is gloomy at this time. Based on what we're told by experts, it seems to us that our nation's systems, such as they were, may have fallen apart in a way which can't be repaired.

In part for that reason, fourth-graders are dead in Uvalde. Meanwhile, alas! As humans, our reasoning ability is extremely limited, even among our mainstream elites—and our instinct for loathing and blaming Others is massive, ginormous, immense. 

Sadly, no! You can't assume that our major journalists, pundits and professors will be able to light us the way past our current breakdowns. Especially within our corporate "news orgs," their abilities are quite limited, and they tend to be highly motivated tribal players.

What follows this week will be a set of snapshots concerning us the people, our instincts and our abilities. Spoiler alert as we begin:

We can see no obvious way out of our tribalized mess.

Tomorrow: Two snapshots of gun culture

Also, coming Friday: Once again, Isaacson's text


  1. tl;dr, but this: "Guns don't kill people—open doors do! So Don from Salinas now said."

    Could it be that you a bit too quick with your mockery, dear Bob?

    Do you remember the thing about the unlocked cockpit doors -- when was it? oh, 20 years ago, in 2001? -- how it turned out to be one of the most important security precautions?

    What are you gonna do, dear Bob, if 'locking the doors' becomes, one day, your cult's new talking point? Will you forget this ever happened? Like you've forgotten about the "very important discussion" of sitting president's mental abilities? Of the "nuclear codes"? The Big War?

    Oh well.

    1. I agree that locking a door provides way more protection than owning a gun.
      The other benefit, is the suicide rate going down, since 25,000 Americans aren't killing themselves annually with locked doors,

  2. "Discarding the "complacencies of the peignoir" "

    Why does Somerby apply a Stevens poem about a woman to himself? If this is humor, I don't see what's funny about it. A peignoir is an article of female clothing meant to fit over a nightgown, sort of like a bathrobe but lighter. But what is humorous about it, or about eating oranges instead of corn flakes?

    And why the mocking tone as Somerby refers to the subject of the poem as a "heroine"? Stevens didn't present her as such.

    Somerby perhaps sits around on a holiday morning in his skivvies. That doesn't make women heroic for wearing whatever they choose to wear as they have their morning coffee. Really, what is Somerby's damage!

    Meanwhile, others today are acknowledging that this is Memorial Day, not pretending that Einstein was a boob.

  3. "Viewed in the narrowest possible context, Don's analysis wasn't necessarily "false." Imaginably, if just that one outside door had been locked, these killings might never have happened."

    And the main thing that led to the killing of 19 children was that those kids were young, they weren't grown-ups! If they had been older, then 19 children wouldn't have died, 19 adults would have been killed. How's that for reasoning? And also, blame the parents for living in Uvalde or for not home-schooling, while we're at it.

    But then Somerby goes on to say that "our side" (liberals, of which Somerby is NOT one) engages in similar "motivate reasoning," but uh-oh, he gives no examples. He just assures us without evidence that we are just as bad and Don from Salinas. And yes, it is obvious which "side" Don is on.

    Somerby does not get to claim nonsensical things by assertion and have them accepted as true, or even likely. He is not exempt from the need to supply some support for his ideas, which he seems to believe can be gotten across just by repetition. Today's is a doozy -- that the right and left engage in similar bad reasoning -- even though it is obvious that the right is bat-shit crazy and the left is clinging to its sanity in the face of huge nonsense. Saturday, Trump claimed that 1/6 was not an insurrection but a Democratic hoax. But Somerby claims we are all equally bad in the reason department. But there is nothing on the left that is remotely equivalent to the denial, lies, conspiracy fantasies and Russian propaganda spread on the right.

    1. anon11:19 providing strong support for TDH's argument that "man" and in this case probably "woman," is not the rational animal.

    2. If you disagree with me and think that Somerby has actually has provided support (evidence) of illogic among liberals to equal that on the right, please identify which part of today's essay does that.

      Please also explain why you think a gender-based slur is appropriate.

    3. anon 1:22, who is more illogical is largely a matter of opinion. I don't believe TDH's position is that liberals' illogic is 'equal' to that on the right (leaving aside which liberals and which rightists we are talking about and which statements are we comparing). (If he's ever actually said that, what is the date he did?) - he's more that liberals don't seem to acknowledge that there is anything they say that is 'illogical' at all. He constantly provides instances of "liberal" irrationality, though not in this particular post. You illustrate this irrationality by your characterization of my comment as a "gender-based slur. " TDH was going into his thing about Aristotle's apocryphal observation that "man is the rational animal." In English, historically, the word "man" has been generally used to incorporate all humans, men & women, with some push back against that now. I said you illustrated TDH's point that "man" isn't that rational - but I assumed, maybe mistakenly, that you were a "woman." If you aren't a woman, my mistake. But there was no slur. An example of "liberal" illogic on your part.

    4. I doubt that logicians, mathematicians and philosophers, all of whom use logic in their work, consider logic to be a matter of opinion.

      You called me irrational and then called me probably a woman. How is that not a gender-based slur? Why would you call me a woman when you know absolutely nothing about me, if you were not implying that irrationality is more the property of women than men?

      Men have been calling women irrational for hundreds of years. It is part of the oppression and defamation that women have dealt with as part of the sexism of Western society. If you don't mean to be sexist, don't say such things. And sexism has nothing to do with being liberal or not. It exists in both parties, although it is mainly liberals who are willing to do something about it. But I don't think anyone around here considers you liberal.

  4. " It's one of our favorite, most logically bungled recent major texts."

    What does it say about Somerby that he spends his holiday morning re-reading his favorite passages of bungled logic in a biography of Einstein? Does Somerby imagine that the author of the biography was liberal, so that bungled logic (even if one were to admit the bungling is real and not Somerby's misreading) demonstrates the massive failure of those on "our side" to think well? Would one person's writing on a non-political subject be capable of establishing that?

    Given that this cannot prove anything, what is Somerby's purpose in once again reviling a harmless scholar who wrote about Einstein? Perhaps it is the two-fer of attacking someone who was a former journalist and also reviling expertise and knowledge, on the basis that he, Somerby, doesn't understand it. Einstein is the epitome of smartness. If Somerby can knock Einstein down, that puts himself one-up on a smart person, and think what an massive ego-boost that must be for the man who picked Harvard's most useless major and then couldn't succeed at it! Ha ha, the joke is on Harvard, since Somerby clearly out-logics the greatest white-haired physicist of all time! And I'll bet Somerby does wear a peignoir while exulting in his triumphs over brainiacs and his mother.

    What a sad old man our Somerby is. No wonder Al Gore never returns his phone calls.

    1. Well, apparently you read it too!

    2. Yes, but I didn't write an essay like Somerby's. That makes us pretty different.

  5. Oy gewalt, more on how Einstein & Isaacson makes no sense to TDH (and according to him, to anyone else). And he juxtaposes with basically rational observations about the latest mass shooting - though the two areas have no relationship to one another. And TDH keeps pounding on the question of whether "man is the rational animal" which Aristotle is supposed to have answered in the positive. TDH disagrees with Aristotle's apparently apocryphal observation. TDH seems to ignore that man in many ways is a (and the) rational animal - humans build airplanes, bridges, skyscrapers, sewer systems, hospitals, cars, air conditioners, the list is close to infinite. To do this requires humans to be rational. And even in more basic ways humans stand out for their rationality - we can read, write, operate machinery, do math, (to varying degrees), the list goes on. Sure in so many ways people, to one degree or another, act or reason irrationally, in infinite ways (quite frequently here), This has long been understood by anyone with half a brain. My point - I wish TDH would let it go that Walter Isaacson and other authors claim to make difficult scientific concepts understandable to lay persons, when they don't do anything of the kind, at least according to TDH. To understand this stuff, you need to be pretty sharp, brain-wise, in the first place and willing to do a lot of studying.

    1. Ay caramba, AC/MA, Somerby isn't going to understand even the most well-explained passage if he keeps questioning what the meaning of the word "is" is, and what the meaning of the word "meaning" is. At some point, you accept the definitions of terms as a starting point and go on from there. But Somerby doesn't do that. The problem is that Somerby stopped reading with Wittgenstein and he never read the reference philosophers who dealt with Wittgenstein's quandaries, such as Hilary Putnam and Quine. It is Somerby who is stuck, not the rest of philosophy and certainly not Isaacson and Einstein, who understand what they meant by the words they used.

  6. "Based on what we're told by experts, it seems to us that our nation's systems, such as they were, may have fallen apart in a way which can't be repaired.

    In part for that reason, fourth-graders are dead in Uvalde. "

    Somerby has made our nation's problems so abstract that they cannot be addressed in a concrete way. Then he blames a shooting on those nebulous problems. How convenient!

    This answer to school shootings is simple. Rein in the gun culture and enact meaningful gun control. Not only will school shootings decrease, but also domestic violence shootings, accidental gun deaths, and suicides. And gun enthusiasts can still practice their hobby -- responsibly, without pretending that mentally ill people who buy guns to shoot others are actually freedom loving gun collectors.

    Like other conservatives, Somerby has no will to protect school children, ex wives or girlfriends, or even the mentally ill from gun violence. So he moans that it is all too big to change and we are all doomed. And that makes Somerby a grade-A asshole, who is enabling the shooting of school children, just as he enabled Rittenhouse and Zimmerman when they misused guns.

    Somerby and others are willing to turn the other way as women (who are 50+ % of our population) are oppressed, but they will not impose reasonable controls on gun owners because <25% of the country objects to them. Where is the logic in that, oh great and wise Somerby?

  7. Here is what Somerby and his conservative fellow-travelers do not want to talk about:

    "The NRA continues to proudly splash about in the blood coating its Board, its membership, its bank account, and the politicians purchased by all the above. This weekend’s convention, without an ounce of shame, promoted the exact same type of gun that is responsible for every significant mass shooting in the last fifteen years, the AR-15 “type” assault rifle. (Only in America do we have mass shootings and only in America do we have to differentiate between the “famous” ones.) This year, that promotion includes the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 rifle. The fact that this type of gun is notorious only for attacks and not “defense,” is of no matter to the NRA. According to The Insider:

    As part of its ongoing “Banned Guns Giveaway” the National Rifle Association this week raffled off a Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 rifle — the same gun used just days earlier during a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 21 people.

    “The NRA is giving away 12 world-class guns that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi want to ban!” reads the website and advertisements for the NRA’s giveaway, which opened just one day before the shooting occurred and ran for four days after.

    The NRA is not concerned that it’s not just President Biden, Vice President Harris… that want the gun banned. As of 2019, a Fox News poll showed that 66% of the American people favor a ban on the mass-shooting weapon of choice, a weapon so powerful and so out of place in a civilized society that the police in Uvalde were afraid to move in against such warlike firepower.

    The prize package is one of multiple firearms being raffled through the giveaway and includes the same model gun as was used in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School as well as 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

    As if the gun wasn’t bad enough, the recipient also gets the 1,000 rounds of ammunition in order to pull off the next mass shooting, should he choose to do so.

    If the United States simply banned this type of weapon, the assault rifle, it would save hundreds to thousands of lives. As sick as it is, there is a reason our body counts have gone from six or so to 21, 49, 58, 31, etc. and it is not just the higher capacity of the assault rifle.

    No, simply put, the AR-15-style assault rifle shoots a heavier round at much higher velocities. The more weight, the higher velocity, equates to vastly more momentum and thus much more tissue damage to a body. A person hit in the pelvic area or upper shoulder by a handgun will likely survive. A person hit anywhere near the center by the high velocity and heavy round from the assault rifle dies. It is a weapon designed for war.

    It is peak “NRA” to hand one out in a raffle, like a toy, a prize ready-made to kill."

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  9. Somerby tears his hair and calls our present predicament unsolvable, but here is the problem and the solution is just as obvious:

    Go look at the pictures.

  10. "Why do [mass shootings] seem to be happening in the U.S.?" is the wrong question. The right question is, "What can we do to prevent or reduce mass shootings?"

    The trouble with the former question is that it leads to wishful thinking and non-solutions. E.g., one reason for mass shootings is the 2nd Amendment. But, the country isn't going to abolish that Amendment.

    OTOH there are lots of cases where an armed citizen ended a potential mass shooting. E.g., see This week a West Virginia woman legally carrying a handgun stopped a mass shooter with an AR-15 dead in his tracks

    So, preventing honest people from being armed or having gun-free zones is counter-productive.

    1. D in C - there was an assault weapons ban in the US for several years. There was a sunset clause in the legislation, and the law wasn't renewed, because of GOP opposition. I don't know how many lives are saved because a citizen is armed and prevents someone else from killing someone; AI doubt it outweighs the numbers of mass murders and the more garden variety or murders or suicides by gun that occur as often as they do in the US. Do you have any evidence at all that everyone being armed would be a plus? It seems you've swallowed right wing pro-gun propaganda the same way so many libs uncritically accept propaganda from their influencers. Libs get carried away to some extent on gun control, but in some form or other it probably would reduce gun violence (there's already so many guns out there though). I would think a ban on assault weapons might reduce mass killings. It's so depressing that this is such a wedge issue.

    2. There was a major increase in mass shootings after the assault weapon ban expired. I posted the stats (from Digby's blog where she had collected them) last week.

      Those cops waiting outside the classroom were all armed. How did they do anything to prevent those kids from being killed, David? There were armed bystanders at the Orlando mass shooting, but they did nothing because they didn't want to be mistaken for the actual shooter who was killing people.

      AC/MA, how is it "getting carried away" to demand change after school shootings? Being a both-siderist on this issue doesn't help advocacy for reasonable gun controls. This is a wedge issue because Republicans have made it one, because it gets out votes that keep their party in power.

      Note the way the NRA assisted the Republicans by funneling illegal Russian campaign contributions through their organization, during the past election. Guns are a political issue already because of the hand-in-glove relationship between the NRA and the RNC and various politicians. There is no way to further politicize an issue that is already political to its core. If it were not, common sense might have a chance to prevail.

    3. AC/MA - I agree that armed honest people do not prevent more mass murders than the huge number of gun murders that occur as often as they do in the US. However, we do have the ability to allow honest people to carry guns. We don't have the ability to eliminate widespread gun ownership. And, we don't have the ability to prevent dishonest people from getting guns.

    4. "E.g., one reason for mass shootings is the 2nd Amendment. But, the country isn't going to abolish that Amendment."

      The 2nd Amendment does not have to be interpreted as it has been. Before the NRA was corrupted by power brokering among Republicans, the 2nd Amendment was interpreted as referring to militias and not individual gun owners. Before the Fundamentalist Christian right and the Republicans who need their votes decided that gun ownership was a God-given right, it was possible to propose reasonable gun controls. Pretending that the 2nd Amendment has always been interpreted by conservatives as it is now is wrong, ahistorical. The Supreme Court is now a slave to the Republicans so we can expect to see revisionist interpretations of gun ownership rights. These are inconsistent with a nation that wants to decrease shootings of innocent people.

    5. @AC/MA "there was an assault weapons ban in the US for several years"

      As we understand, an "assault weapon" is simply a cool-looking weapon. Other than that, it's no different from similar "non-assault weapons".

      Free advice: when politicians bullshit a lot about something, be skeptical.

    6. David, the woman who shot Butler as he fired into a crowd in Charleston WV, is not being described by the press, nor are the circumstances, other than the original AP report. Butler was black. He didn't carefully plan a mass shooting, but angrily grabbed a gun and returned to a site where he had been told to stop speeding, presumbly by the folks who were at the party. The woman who shot him was an attendee at the party.

      We don't know such things as (1) how well trained in the use of firearms was Butler compared to the woman, (2) how serious was he about shooting anyone, as opposed to threatening and scaring them, (3) if the woman had a concealed carry permit, did that mean she was an off-duty police officer or military or intelligence/security officer, (4) how close to the shooter was she, was she behind any cover, was he ignoring her because she was female?

      It seems likely there were circumstances in this situaton that were not present in Uvalde or other situations. For example, no one attending the country music concert in Las Vegas could have shot the shooter, who was on a high floor of an adjacent building. There were people in the vicinity with guns who could no nothing in that situation. There are shootings at parties when people who have been drinking get into fights, and those situations do not become mass shootings in the same manner as Uvalde did.

      And most obviously, if Butler had been wearing body armor, as Ramos was, that woman would most certainly be dead and no one would be using her to argue that bystanders should defend themselves. If she had not been drinking at the party, might not that thought have occurred to her and caused her to flee instead of shooting? It would have been the smarter move, no matter how lucky she was in this situation.

      And then, we don't know if she was white but we do know that Butler was black. How many folks in WV would eagerly shoot a black man misbehaving, given the chance, and is it a good thing for our society to encourage such shootings? It is akin to vigilantism, which allows racist people to behave in racist ways under cover of authority they don't have (as with Zimmerman and Rittenhouse). We don't perhaps want to encourage the Karens of the world to engage in concealed carry. Their frothing rage in videos that circulate on the web is enough reason not to do that.

    7. Just how many schoolchildren's lives need to be sacrificed for the second amendment rights of 18 year olds to purchase AR-15 type automatic weapons? In Davids simple minded world that number is infinite.

    8. @11:45 - thanks for your comment. Most rifles and pistols are semi-automatic, just like the AR 15. I am not opposed to banning assault weapons, but it won't do any good. Lots of other non-military weapons will fire just like an AR 15.

      Regarding the 2nd Amendment, please be realistic, You and I can like or dislike the 2nd Amendment, but it's not going away. We need to find practical ways to reduce mass shootings. Cursing the 2nd Amendment may feel good, but it's not leading to an actual solution.

    9. The first step should be to ban automatic weapons again, such as the AR-15. The second step should be background checks for other weapon types with a red flag list for those who are mentally ill or who shouldn't own guns. The third step should be to stop the NRA from politicizing weapon ownership and from funneling foreign money into our elections. The fourth step should be to seriously fund community mental health centers in every state so that troubled individuals and their families can find help. The fifth step should be to repeal stand-your-ground laws and right to carry laws that permit people to use guns for their own personal extrajudicial purposes, as Butler did when he shot up a party for telling him to stop speeding on their street.

      No one here has been cursing the 2nd Amendment. We have been saying that it has been misinterpreted since the days of Earl Warren. It does not give complete license to gun owners to do whatever they want in its name. Non-gun owners have rights too under the constitution -- the right to not be shot by some crazed gun owner.

    10. There is no reason to consider gun control impossible. Consider the state of California, for example:

      "Particularly this state: In ways that have tended to be underreported, California has significantly lowered gun deaths, Dr. Garen J. Wintemute, an emergency room doctor and longtime firearm violence researcher, told me this week.

      “For the last 20, maybe even 25 years — except for the two years of the pandemic, which have increased homicides and suicides across the country — our rates of firearm violence have trended downward,” said Dr. Wintemute, who directs the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento. “And this has been at a time when most of the rates in the rest of the country have gone up.”

      California’s rate of firearm mortality is among the nation’s lowest, with 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2020, compared with 13.7 per 100,000 nationally and 14.2 per 100,000 in Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported. And Californians are about 25 percent less likely to die in mass shootings, compared with residents of other states, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California analysis."

    11. "“Amid calls for gun control after last week’s massacre at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, shots rang out across the country over the Memorial Day weekend, with more than a dozen mass shootings in the span of 72 hours,” NBC News reports.

      “According to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks shootings in the United States, there were at least 14 “mass shootings” in the country over the weekend, from early Saturday to late Monday.”"

      This situation will continue to get worse if good people do nothing about it.

    12. Gun owners tend to be scofflaws too. Like Trump and his MAGA supporters, they think rules and even laws are for other people. Consider this situation:

      "On Monday, WSOC-TV reported that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reporting an upsurge in the number of firearms being found on passengers going through airport security checkpoints.

      "As numbers bounce back to almost pre-pandemic levels, Channel 9 has seen how one gun found at a checkpoint can have an impact on many other passengers looking to catch a flight. TSA officials said the one thing that can bring smooth security lines to a screeching halt are guns found at checkpoints," said the report. "In 2021, Charlotte Douglas set a record — 106 guns found at security checkpoints, and TSA leaders said that this year, passengers may break that record."

      Attempting to bring a gun through a security checkpoint is punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and can result in arrest.

      "Security officials said each time someone attempts to bring a weapon through security, it impacts more than just one person. They said it could impact dozens if not hundreds of passengers at times, because security shuts down that entire checkpoint lane for 20 minutes or more," said the report."

    13. David, I beg of you. Please tell us why you can’t pass a background check.
      If you don’t, we’ll speculate.

  11. "The right question is, "What can we do to prevent or reduce mass shootings?""

    To defund the police, and to make it more difficult to buy guns legally. Obviously.

    1. I’m so old I remember when people thought “De-fund the police” was a bad idea.

  12. A National cable show that gives some time to open phone lines is not something “inflicted” on us. More such programming, featuring the views of people who don’t get those big salaries Bob finds so offensive ( at least if they are liberals) would be welcome.
    Of course sometimes people calling in
    will have idiotic things to say. Bob’s example
    today is a right leaning idiot, most likely.
    This may be what bothers Bob about it,
    as he spends a great deal of time
    rationalizing, or ignoring, such
    Our tribalism is a serious problem
    and as such is unlikely to have an
    obvious solution. Some solutions
    might be attempted, like equal time
    debate programming with standards
    of truthfulness enforced might be
    one. Would anyone watch? Hard to
    say at this point. The success of such
    programming does not seem an

  13. I wouldn’t put too much stock in what David in Cal writes about guns.
    He can’t even pass a background check, because he burnt a cross on the lawn of a black family, probably.