That Massie photo is a perfect reminder of what's wrong with American gun culture.

And it's why I've come to the conclusion that the Second Amendment needs to go.

Not because I think no Americans should own guns. There are perfectly valid reasons to have them, for sufficiently low-powered weaponry. But because I'm tired of the sanctimonious entitlement that we get from gun owners.

The way they grandstand about people being "deprived of their Second Amendment rights", like they expect us all to start tearing up like we're watching the end of "Beaches" because they have to endure a f*cking waiting period.

The way they obnoxiously try to paint the rest of us as tyrants because we question how self-defense requires a gun that turns human flesh into ground chuck, while they posture like an apocalyptic cult for their own audiences.

The way they gleefully taunt those of us tired of mass slaughter after mass slaughter by posing like wannabe freedom fighters with their machine guns and those shit-eating grins, as if we're making all this happen on purpose just to spite them.

Ten years ago today, 6-year olds in Connecticut were murdered in their first grade classrooms. And still these people act like they're the real victims.

Expand full comment

I wish the "responsible gun ownership" cohort would call out these asinine photoshoots. I grew up hearing that that the biggest rules of gun handling are: treat every gun like it is loaded, keep the finger off the trigger unless you are shooting, never aim the gun at anything you wouldn't want to destroy, be mindful of anything behind the target.

7 people tightly grouped, muzzles pointed every which direction, half have fingers right near the trigger, inside a house, and his wife seems like she's pointing the gun at the guy in the plaid shirt. Where are the "responsible gun owners" pointing out how utterly idiotic this is. I wouldn't let any of these people play with a bb gun.

Expand full comment

I am really REALLY tired of the whole gun culture thing. It passed ithe bounds of the ludicrous a long time ago.

I grew up in western PA. we had guns around for as long as I can remember. We hunted and engaged in shooting sports (mostly trap and skeet). The first day of deer season was a school holiday!

We reloaded our own ammunition. I was a military history/technology geek growing up. I could tell you more about weapon systems and weapon history than you would ever want to know. We had a family friend that had a class three license and whose entire house was literally filled with his weapon collection (with items going back to the 17th century, but mostly WW1 and WW2--and it also included a lot of things like actual uniforms, decorations etc.). He had fully functional automatic weapons (including an m1919 and a MG42).. and he was extremely knowledgeable.

As part of that whole scene I was rigorously taught firearms safety and respect for these very dangerous implements. In middle school the entire student body (unless their parents opted them out--which was rare) went through hunter safety training. My HS had a rifle team (and were state champs every year) and the range was in the basement of the recently constructed middle school.

Despite all of that (or maybe because of it) I have always taken weapons seriously and treated them with the respect they demand. I have never actually wanted to own any military grade weaponry (unless it was historical) or put it to use or pose with it in a photo. I still own a few weapons, but they are rarely used beyond going to the range once or twice a month... and I do not talk about them or openly carry them.

I am constantly left wondering WTF is wrong with these people.

Expand full comment

Geez, Charlie, I admire your dedication. If I was in France spending the holidays with my family, this stuff would be the last thing on my mind! Enjoy yourselves! Joyeux Noel!

At this point, can we now agree the 'left-wing media' wasn't engaging in stereotyping but rather in clear-eyed perception when it came to Trump and those who supported him? And also the long, long republican history that led to his ascendency? I don't say it often enough, but I truly admire conservatives like you and Mona, Tim and Sarah and the rest of the Bulwark family for remaining true to your principles as you watched your party following the orange pied-piper off the cliff.

On this 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings, I'm glad you took a moment to spotlight the vicious 2A performance art on the right. Massie's may have been one of the first gun-fetish 'Christmas cards', but they've now become a requirement on the right. I mean, what's Christmas without a creche and an AK, amirite?

Expand full comment
Dec 14, 2022·edited Dec 14, 2022

The gun stuff honestly reminds me of folks who live in a city, work a 9-5 office job, and then drive around in a lifted truck. Like, we get it man, you're compensating. But couldn't you have found a way to do that which didn't make it everyone else's problem?

Expand full comment

Great post, Charlie! Our native fascists are having a blast preening, posturing, strutting, and frothing at the mouth threatening mayhem and the installment of autocratic rule. But, of course, that’s not all. Just in the last few days, we learned that 30+ members of Congress, not to mention uncounted others in the Republican ecosphere, all actually, demonstrably colluded with and through Trump to overturn the 2020 election, and therewith, our democracy. And there they all sit in their various poses and posses, still itching -- even demanding -- to get on with it.

Expand full comment

To Republicans, Trump's only possible flaw is to cost them elections. They have no other regrets or criticisms. They see nothing to apologize for. They hate democracy and equal rights.

What other crime than mass shootings would Republicans minimize, mock the victims, and terrorize the victims's families. Even the supposed "thoughts and prayers" are lies.

Expand full comment

I just wanted to compliment Bill Lueders column today. I hope it makes people who dismissed all news about Trump as "fake news" wonder about other things they dismissed as fake, and if any of them could be real. The Keystone pipeline, for example, is not just open, it's spewing oil into the water in Kansas. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-12/tc-energy-keystone-has-leaked-more-oil-than-any-other-pipeline-in-us-since-2010

Anyway, I always enjoy Bill Lueders' columns and they've become instant reads for me. I'm also loving the "Best of Morning Shots."

Expand full comment

Gosh, and you missed the breaking news that Texas AG Paxton is creating an enemies list of transgender Texans. The hits just keep on coming.

Expand full comment

As someone who takes the English languages seriously I wonder whatever happened to the first part out the Second Amendment? What “well regulated militia” does Congressman Massey belong to? The same question can be asked of any of the school shooters. James Madison almost certainly wrote the Second Amendment. Do Justices Alito and Thomas, two proud originalists, actually think the “Father of the Constitution” was incapable of writing a coherent compound sentence?

Gus Seligmann

Expand full comment

The MSNBC clip where Charlie shocked the host with his unexpectedly candid but totally *spot on* description of Massie’s theatrics was hilarious!

But it does underscore a very serious point about the dangers of treating deadly weapons as meaningless props or hand penises. When people stop having respect for weapons - when they conceptually disassociate guns from death, it becomes easier to use them indiscriminately without deliberation or regard for consequences. Charlie’s analogy to sex is apt because the same thing happens when people stop having respect for marriage and conceptually disassociate sex from love.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Charlie.

Especially for pointing out the difference between Bob Dole and and the posturing ammosexual crowd.

Bob Dole -- whom I did not agree with -- was a goddamn hero. John McCain was a goddamn hero.

Their only mistake was not driving these twits out of their party 40 years ago.

Expand full comment

Re: "What were you thinking?" In the miniseries "Nuremberg", the Army psychologist assigned to the trial, Cpt. Gustav Gilbert, makes a similar inquiry of Hans Frank, former Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland under whose administration millions of Jews were exterminated. His response was "I just wanted to keep my job."

Expand full comment

Great fun reading these rants, Charlie. Deeply satisfying....despite all the bad words. Thanks, as they say, I needed that.

Expand full comment

why are we doing this? HL Mencken explained it like this: “the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”. he was 100% correct.

Expand full comment
Dec 14, 2022·edited Dec 14, 2022

Do the Twitter Files matter? No. Neither does Twitter.

I am pretty much a free speech and free market absolutist and also pretty vigilant about where I exercise my free speech and selective about the markets in which I spend my time and money.

Musk is free to do with his business whatever he chooses and people are free to use it or not. In time if there is a market for a rigorously moderated platform as an alternative to Twitter the market will create that.

At the same time no system of automatic or manual moderation is going to EVER yield consistently "fair" or transparent results because there is a subjective element that can't be overcome. Thankfully, I can type the word "prison rape" into my search engine and get back a fair number of reports, scholarly works, books and articles on the subject and not have to wade through pages of porn sites offering me porn about prison rape... unless I ask for that.

Also consistent and transparent moderation is hard on a platform hosting hundreds of million users.

Expand full comment