New Toy! Let’s Poll People!

Found this in the extra features section. Still getting the hang of it.
Not sure how useful a poll on a liberal site will be. We probably can guess the outcomes.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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38 Responses to New Toy! Let’s Poll People!

  1. Number Seven says:

    Cool feature.

  2. mclever says:

    Yay! It’s just like Christmas all over again! 😉

  3. filistro says:

    Cool! I propose a new poll:

    PREAMBLE: Sarah Palin (and Bart the Groupie) have used the term “blood libel” to refer to the suggestion that her incendiary rhetoric had anything to do with the Tucson massacre. Historically this term has described the slandering of Jews by saying they use the blood of Christian children in ritual sacrifices. But neither historical accuracy nor common decency is safe from the whining of the Palin-Victimhood Cult.

    QUESTION: Do you think Sarah Palin’s use of “blood libel” is:

    a.) ignorant
    b.) monumentally tasteless
    c.) tone-deaf
    d.) politically suicidal
    e.) all of the above
    f.) other (please specify)

  4. I have been able to vote over and over, just FYI.

  5. filistro says:

    EV… looks like it lets you vote again, but then gives you a little message telling you that “your vote has already been counted.” So the total doesn’t change.

    (I tried to stuff the ballot box, too ;-))

  6. Mr. Universe says:

    I clicked the vote only counts once feature. Thanks for testing it though.

    Polls can have up to five choices (this allows for Strongly agree – strongly disagree type questions)

  7. mclever says:

    I like the new toy.

    But I’m actually more interested in the question raised by the poll!

    Do you folks really think stricter gun laws would have prevented this?

    From what I’m hearing from my gun aficionado friends, the guy was apparently either a really good shot or really (un-)lucky to have hit and wounded so many with the number of shots fired. Expert marksmen don’t hit the target that often. Also, it takes 3-5 seconds for someone to react to gunfire, even with training, which is enough time to empty a semi-auto clip, reload and continue firing before anyone responds.

    So, what gun laws would you make stricter?

    The background checks?
    The clip size?
    The types of guns?

    Honestly, I am not a big fan of guns, but I don’t think reactionary laws are a good idea, either. The vast majority of gun geeks, even those with military-quality arsenals in their cellars, are responsible people who collect them the way Jay Leno collects cars. These are the types of folks who get most “hurt” by the laws that suddenly make half of their basements illegal.

    Reasonable, responsible efforts to keep extreme weapons out of the hands of crazy people make sense. But even the most restrictive gun laws won’t stop a determined nutcase from doing something insane, destructive, and ugly.

  8. Eusebio Dunkle says:

    Building on the no-naughty toys for lack of “utility” argument, let us amend this bill to include prohibition on alcohol and cartoon drawings of naked children. Heck, is there even any utility to privacy? What are you hiding, you perverted alcoholic terrorist? When requesting your building permit, make sure to bring the papers that demonstrate the “utility” for the extra 1600sq ft addition to your house. Also, I’m going to have to read a very persuasive essay for the ‘utility’ of your Jetski. After all, your absurd excesses are killing us all. While you do that I’ll work out the “utility” of learning to quickly change low capacity clips so that my muscle memory falls in line with the law.

    A breathalyser in every car. An egg timer to every firing pin (of course, we’ll need extensive testing via public massacre in order to get the deltaT correct. Of course, we’ll first form a committee to determine the “acceptable” amount of ultra-violent deaths before our arbitrary restrictions are put in place). A GPS tracker, helmet, and communication log on every citizen! Yeah, then we’ll be safe! No one will hurt us!

  9. Mr. Universe says:

    Yes, I’m still looking at ways for people to qualify their poll answers. Looks like the comment section will be it. The ‘other’ option allows you to comment but redirects you to another site. Not what I had in mind.

    To qualify my ‘other’ answer, I think there should definitely be some changes. Generally the ones that expired back in 2004 (which made extended clips illegal).

    I also like this new idea of micro tagging ammo to identify the source and the buyer of the bullets.

    And I think there should be more programs available to identify mentally unstable individuals and get them help BEFORE they go off. Arizona had just gutted their mental health sevices due to budget shortfalls.

  10. filistro says:

    Eusebio… I admire you as a person who is wholly consistent in his outlook. You are a true-blue, living, breathing, actual libertarian.

    And you make Bart (who CLAIMS to be libertarian because for some reason he likes the sound of it) look silly, shallow, opportunistic and hypocritical.

    I like people who actually “walk the walk”… regardless of what their “walk” may be.

  11. Mr. Universe says:

    Do you folks really think stricter gun laws would have prevented this?

    No. But it’s fair to say it would have mitigated the damage. The shooter got off 31 rounds before he was tackled. He was tackled while changing clips. In fact a woman on the scene snatched the fresh clip from his hands.

    As a gun owner, I’m a little reluctant to restrict gun laws. But I think there are acceptable limitations such as the ones I outlined above. There is a point when technological advances are uneccessary for personal defense. I would argue that extended clips serve little purpose other than to kill a lot of people quickly.

    Guns are an unfortunate aspect of humankind. I doubt if these types of incidents would be so frequent if people were forced to kill with a knife. To physically touch their victims. To witness firsthand the damage they wraught on their victims. To have to look at that nine year old rather than just indiscriminantly firing into a crowd.

    Eusubio brings up the Orwellian danger of going too far down the restriction road but I happen to think there is an acceptable compromise that is acheivable.

  12. filistro says:

    Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out last night that sophisticated ballistics analysis and crime scene mapping will allow us to know how many bullets hit their targets, and in what order. We will know how many people were killed or wounded by bullets 11 through 31, and thus determine how much damage was done by the shooter having a >10 clip. Not just that… we will have names and faces of those who would have been saved if the clip had been <10.

    That is going to be some pretty persuasive information.

  13. mclever says:


    Assigning significant meaning to the >10 number assumes a lot of things:
    – How quickly could he change clips after 10 shots?
    – How quickly did others respond? Do we have proof that they responded soon enough that a smaller clip would have mattered?
    – What if he’d just brought two or three guns instead of one?

    I don’t want to diminish any of the lives lost or persons injured, but I think obsessing over the size of the clip is fruitless. Smaller clips (assuming he didn’t find an after-market way to get a larger modified clip) would have produced a marginal reduction (if any) in the violence wrought by this deranged young man.

    Efforts to improve mental health diagnosis, treatment, and intervention would likely have far greater efficacy in reducing violence and tragedy.

  14. Eusebio Dunkle says:

    @MR U

    Incidentally, the 30cap clown clips are more difficult and slow to reload. Was the second clip hi-cap? Would the hero been able to grab a ‘regular’ clip? Or would he have continued the spree? If limited to 10rnd clips, would maniacs just practice reloading more?

    What is the acceptable compromise? How many shots/deaths are acceptable during a massacre? How many more are murdered by single shots than the number massacred by hi-cap gun-toting maniacs? If I recall we have ~10k gun murders per year. How many were shooting sprees by hi-cap gun-toting maniacs, 50? 100? 1000? What’s the deal? I just don’t get this anti-logic. Are 6 independent murders “better” than one sextuple homicide?

  15. Eusebio Dunkle says:

    fil says: That is going to be some pretty persuasive information.

    IMO not as persuasive as this, which shows that multiple homicides to be 2 – 4% of total murders, ~66% are due to guns. So approximately 400 multiple homicides due to guns, some of which may be attributed to “sprees” enabled by hi-cap clips or AR15s or whatever vs 5000 murders that don’t even involve guns or 9500 single murders that do involve guns.

    Americans buy 10,000,000 guns per year. Make that 14 million+

    Arizona gun dealers say among the biggest sellers over the past two days is the Glock 19 – the model used in the shooting.
    One-day sales of handguns in Arizona jumped 60 per cent to 263 on Monday compared with 164 a year ago, the second-biggest increase of any state in the country, according to FBI data. That glock carries 15 bullets, most semi-autos stagger 12-15 in the butt of the gun.

  16. Eusebio Dunkle says:

    Something ate my post. A shame. I linked to stats that 4% of gun crime is multiple homicide (400d/y). More people get knifed.

    We sold 14 million guns last year. On Monday Arizonians bought 265 glock 19s, each with 2 15 bullet clips.

  17. mclever says:

    One of our site gurus should be able to spring your post from purgatory…

    Sometimes the auto-spam detector mistakes a URL as spam, but with a little patience, it should appear!


  18. Eusebio Dunkle,

    Something ate my post.

    Yeah, it had a lot of links in it, which made it look to the filter like spam. I pulled it out.

  19. Eusebio Dunkle says:

    That’s just nasty… sorry about the sloppy html

  20. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    mclever, I agree with you for the most part concerning clips. As I mentioned Saturday, I can swap clips in my Beretta in less than a second. Most people would never notice the change in rate of fire.

    That said, I am STILL trying to justify the need for a 30 rnd mag. The average “gunfight”/encounter occurs with less than three shots fired. Total. A person using a gun for personal protection would never not all 10-15 rnds in most s/a pistol clips in the VAST majority of circumstances.

    Gunfire of that volume is for the movies or murderers.

  21. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    never not = not need


  22. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    I predict that today, with her inane and vacuous “response” to Saturday’s tragedy, marks the beginning of the end of Sarah Palin as a viable Presidential candidate.

  23. filistro says:

    Max: not only was Palin’s “blood libel” response monumentally stupid on its face…. it turns out Gabriela Giffords is Jewish.

    Good grief. The mind boggles.

    Palin has just gone down in flames. We will hear no more from her. I’m actually going to miss her… I was hoping she’d get the nomination. Now it’s going to be Mitt, Huck or T-Paw, who collectively pretty much have all the charisma and gravitas of this group….

  24. Mr. Universe says:

    Gunman had an additional 30 round clip and two regular magazines (which usually come with the initial purchase).

    Are 6 independent murders “better” than one sextuple homicide?

    In my perfect world, no murders are acceptable and if we can take steps to mitigate the damage, we should. Banning extended clips, restoring the conditions on assault weapons that expired in 2004, and mandating tagged bullets are easy fixes that don’t do any harm to the 2nd amendment.

    Will it stop murders? Of course not. My previous girlfriend was mudered with an antique gun for which the caliber no longer exists. It’s how her killer was caught (among other things). But it could mitigate the number of homicides. Keep in mind that mass homicides are a product of this generation and I think it is unacceptable for America to have one of the highest numbers of domestic homicide rates in the world. Meanwhile we throw our hands in the air and say ‘oh well, that’s the way things are. The NRA is too powerful a lobby’. The argument that there is an acceptable number of homicides rings a little hollow to me.

    Now in order to run for public service you have accept that there’s a target on your back for the next wnnabe attention starved nutjob? There’s already talk of sequestering our Representatives in Washington. That’s not just an attack on individuals, It’s an attack on the Democratic process.

    And I won’t even get into what American complicity is doing to Mexico.

  25. mclever says:

    The thing about shooting deaths (and multiple homicides in particular) is that they only seem to be increasing because of our increased awareness due to the 24/7 news-infotainment cycle. The actual number of multi-victim shootings hovers around 20-25 per year in this country, and that’s been a fairly stable number for decades. Changes in gun laws don’t change this number much, because it’s more dependent on the number of psychopaths than it is on the availability of weapons.

    Graph of mass murder statistics in this article

    BJS Homicide Trends

    Therefore, in my opinion, more important than banning particular clips or guns is getting appropriate mental health diagnosis and treatment. That, in my opinion, would be far more likely to actually curb violent deaths than any restrictions on weapons.

  26. Mr. Universe says:

    I should clarify: Multiple random shootings seem to be a product of this generation. Think Columbine, Virginia Tech, ‘going postal’, etc. Assassinations were around but the walk into a school and shoot random people you don’t know seems like a recent occurrance.

  27. Mr. Universe says:


    Also, how do you diagnose mental incapacity in time? The stats you provided show an alarming number of homicides are from young (generally male) people. How does one distingush a potential mass murderer from teen angst?

    There is also a reluctance to acknowledge it. My current girlfriend had a student once who kept turning in some really disturbing papers (it was a class with a feminist theme). Eventually they became overtly threatening. His mysogyny went beyond hostile. We went to the University and they hemmed and hawed until this student fell off the grid conveniently allowing them to sweep it under the rug. This kid is still out there and he’s completely warped.

    Plenty of people would come to your aide if you slipped and fell and injured yourself. But start talking crazy talk and everybody quietly excuses themselves for fear of liability.

    But I think an argument can be made for a dual approach for mental health treatment and stricter gun controls.

  28. Armchair Warlord says:

    Mr. U,

    I find it exceedingly unlikely that the idiotic restrictions on magazine capacity and other aspects of weaponry in the 1994 AWB would save a single life or ever did save a single life – please cite an instance where they actually did during the period in which the ban was in effect. Even assuming a complete lack of grandfather clauses for pre-ban mags, changing the weapons will only make the bad guys change tactics.

    In fact, the maniac involved in this shooting reloaded his weapon quite successfully -after- a bystander snatched the first mag he tried to reload with but was unable to continue firing because that magazine failed to function. He actually reloaded TWICE and was stopped only by a mechanical problem with his weapon, after which he was tackled by additional bystanders. Forcing him to use low-cap magazines would likely have not saved a single life and may have created additional victims – downloaded magazines are more reliable and as they would be standard-length would be difficult to seize in a struggle unlike a foot-long high-cap.

  29. filistro says:

    AW… you give many good arguments in support of the position that banning extended clips is futile.

    I wonder if anybody can successfully argue the flip side.. that allowing extended clips serves any useful purpose of any kind.

  30. Armchair,
    We often seem to disagree, at least obliquely. I’m in agreement with you on this, at least until I see evidence that smaller magazines correspond to fewer deaths.

    Now, if he had only been able to use a revolver, then we might have something to discuss. Reloading one of those takes much more time and dexterity.

    But I firmly believe that any restrictions placed on firearms need to be done for demonstrable reasons. The magazine restrictions in Brady smacked to me of compromise resulting in the most useful changes being stripped out, leaving stuff that’s more for show.

  31. filistro,

    I wonder if anybody can successfully argue the flip side.. that allowing extended clips serves any useful purpose of any kind.

    Perhaps, and perhaps not. But I’m loathe to have restrictions on things just because one cannot create an argument for what useful purpose it serves. Those aren’t the actions of a free society.

  32. Armchair Warlord says:


    The Second Amendment is written to include personal weapons with military rather than civil utility – it mentions the militia.

    I’m just kind of angry that every time someone gets shot people push for stricter gun laws – it is fairly well established that violence in society is not a factor of how heavily armed a society is. Every man in Switzerland has an assault rifle in his house but Switzerland is a very safe place to live, whereas it’s very difficult to legally own a gun in Russia yet it’s an incredibly violent place.

    This is a time for national unity and mourning, not bickering over how to interpret the Second Amendment or ridiculous reconstructions of how the shooting played out with an eye towards whether fewer people would have died had the bad guy had some arbitrary restriction placed on him and acted in exactly the same way despite it.

  33. filistro says:

    @Michael… But I’m loathe to have restrictions on things just because one cannot create an argument for what useful purpose it serves.

    Dear God.

    Sorry… I really shouldn’t get into discussions about gun control. It’s an emotional issue for me. I’ve been married for many, many years to a tough and adorable cop who is, to me, totally irreplaceable. (We’ve been in love since we were ten years old.) I still remember the day in 1985 when Dick Cheney was one of 21 congressmen who voted (in the interests of gun purity) against a ban on cop-killer bullets.

    Got that? He voted against a ban on cop-killer ammo. Imagine for just a moment how that news feels to the wife of a policeman, and the mother of his children. Why does the world need armor-piercing, cop-killer ammo? Because we’re “loathe to have restrictions on something just because we can’t create an argument for what useful purpose it serves?”

    America is gun-crazy. I mean that literally. Crazy. I think this bizarre obsession will lead to the nation’s downfall. I think we are witnessing the beginnings of that downfall. I simply cannot understand the fascination with guns. I’ve seen too much in my life of what they do to actual families, and to real, breathing people who get torn apart and bloodied and damaged for life.

    It is not a game. It is not the Wild West. It is destroying the nation… and for what?

    Again, my apologies. I’ll stop now.

  34. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Funny how we see things differently.

    When, after VA Tech, I decided to take advantage of TX’s concealed carry law, my feeling, which I STILL carry, is that maybe I’ll be in a position one day to stop a madman before they kill anyone else. Personally, I have a preference for revolvers. My training and belief is that you make that first shot count and you don’t need anymore. But, because of profile and ease of concealment, I purchased a s/a Beretta. (I can be wearing a sleeveless shirt and you won’t know I’m armed.) Semi-automatics occasionally jam, revolvers never do. I don’t care that a revolver may only carry 6 rounds v 11 that the Beretta holds. I won’t need the entire magazine to do what I may need to do.

    As much as I would like to think this a better world, the facts don’t fit. While the odds are, by far, I’ll never have the need, and significantly less that I would ever need more rounds than I have loaded, as my Dad used to say “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

    fili, as your husband can probably attest, being armed is NOT because you may have any desire to actually HAVE to use your weapon, but because the possibility exists that because of your being armed, as situation can be kept from being WORSE than it could be.

    Any GOOD martial arts sensei teaches that lesson before teaching the violence.

  35. filistro,
    I think you missed my point. There are legitimate reasons to restrict armor-piercing bullets, beyond simply not having an answer for “what useful purpose do they serve?” And there are plenty of additional reasons to restrict other things. The problem with “what useful purpose does it serve” is that it can just as easily be used to ban Gucci bags. It’s capricious.

  36. Mr. Universe says:

    @ Warlord…can I call you Warlord?

    please cite an instance where they (restrictions on extended capcity mags) actually did during the period in which the ban was in effect

    Obviously citing instances where this kind of carnage could have been prevented isn’t possible. But an authority on a show the other night (sorry, can’t remember whom) cited that mitigation of casualties in the past few years was only possible in two situations (Tucson being one). As I’ve stated before, that’s two too many.

    Forcing him to use low-cap magazines would likely have not saved a single life and may have created additional victims

    I’m going off the events recapped on Olbermann by the person who did snatch the ammo clip from the gunman. Obviously, things could have played out in a number of ways. I think if the gunman had been forced to change after a 15 round clip, there could have been time to subdue him. Maybe not. Maybe he could have gotten another 15 round clip in and the carnage would have been the same.

    Sometimes I feel as though I can’t actually have this conversation because I own a 9mm. I do know this; if there were anything I could have done to prevent this horrible event, I would persue it. With a country of over 300 million people, the odds of something like this happening again are quite good. If there is something I can do to mitigate the next event from happening, I think it’s worth a little inconvenience to explore the possibility.

    And Gucci bags don’t kill people; People with bad taste do.

  37. Armchair Warlord says:

    Mr. U,

    Warlord is fine.

    Obviously citing instances where this kind of carnage could have been prevented isn’t possible. But an authority on a show the other night (sorry, can’t remember whom) cited that mitigation of casualties in the past few years was only possible in two situations (Tucson being one). As I’ve stated before, that’s two too many.

    I certainly understand your perspective, but I tend to draw the opposite conclusion here – the possibility that two shootings out of many in recent years -could- have been mitigated with restrictions on magazine capacity (assuming the bad guys don’t get their hands on grandfathered high-cap mags, which would be easy) indicates to me that enacting such restrictions would be almost entirely pointless.

    A better solution (with a proven history of saving lives in dangerous situations) would be to improve the numbers, training and presence of security forces. As heroic as the bystanders were in Tucson a single policeman or armed bodyguard (or reasonably proficient CCW holder) would have saved a lot more lives than making this guy use ten-round magazines to execute his massacre with. I’m very surprised that no armed security was on hand given the volatile situation of the district and widespread worry beforehand that something like this might happen.


    I tend to be very wary of the utility argument for the simple reason that most gun usage is basically recreational in nature and for the acceptable uses in the “why do you need THAT” argument (hunting and self-protection) you would be banning an awful lot of weapons.

    Now personally I think the segment of the gun community that obsesses over their rack full of pimped-out assault rifles preparing to fend off a horde of zombies and rule the post-apocalyptic world is kind of creepy but these people don’t commit a lot of crimes so for the time being and barring a better reason we owe them the benefit of the doubt. 😉

  38. dcpetterson says:

    The Second Amendment is written to include personal weapons with military rather than civil utility – it mentions the militia.

    Using that argument, to be consistent, one should require the existence of a militia. A well-regulated one. And ban weapons outside of that context.

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