Conversation #38: The Gun Show (April 8, 2018)

Our friend Chris Travers joins us for this week’s chat, from Germany. We talk about a few books including Tolkien’s classic The Fellowship of the Ring. Paul’s been reading Tolkien to the kids at bedtime, and tossing in his own leftist analysis, as well as literary analysis, along the way. We also watched the classic Doctor Who serial Earthshock. Then we get down to the meat of the discussion: the debate on guns in the United States. Grace links the mass shooting epidemic to the concept of stochastic terrorism, as a deliberate attempt to push people towards greater acceptance of totalitarianism. Chris talks about what a reasonable system of community firearms regulation might look like. Paul talks about why blaming mental health is a false flag operation.

How to Listen

You can find the MP3 file here.

The Podcast feed is here.

The Podcast channel on YouTube is here.

More Information

Paul mentioned Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump by Asad Haider. The book’s page is here. We will probably be ordering this book and discussing it on a future show.

Chris mentioned the Marian reforms. These reforms allowed poor citizens who were not able to purchase their own weapons and armor to serve in the army as professional soldiers, formed a standing army (not just in wartime), offered retirement benefits for soldiers, and allowed some non-citizens who served in the Roman army full citizenship.

Paul mentioned District of Columbia v. Heller.

The original Daily Kos diary on “stochastic terrorism” can be found here. The author also has it up as a blog post here. The concept has appeared in the media on a few occasions since then; for example, it was discussed after Trump’s comments about Hillary Clinton when he referred to “second amendment people.”

A Yale study showed that changing a person’s level of fear can change that person’s political views. See the Washington Post article here.

Slate featured an article on why male rage—what Paul called “aggrieved violence”—and not mental illness, seems to be the driving force behind mass shootings, and how felony domestic violence is the best predictor of murder.

This Week’s Music

The music is from Paul’s song, “Today is Not That Day.” He wrote and recorded this song for the SpinTunes songwriting contest in 2011; it was not one of his better-received efforts, but he still thinks the backing music is kind of cool. You can find the complete song here.