James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Batcrap craziness

Posted by James McPherson on July 20, 2012

Batman: “No guns.” (In keeping with the superhero’s longtime no-gun rule.”)

Catwoman: “What fun is that?”

I guess we could ask the folks who attended the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, huh?

As I’ve written in what became my most-read post, I generally avoid using profanity. But one reason I generally oppose it it because its overuse has made appropriate use almost meaningless. Almost. And today is one of the exceptions, because there has perhaps never been a more appropriate day or week for the term “batshit crazy.”

This week gave us Rush Limbaugh suggesting that the name of a movie character (a name that originated in a 1993 comic book) was a liberal plot against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Then, of course, Rush lied about it the next day.

Next we had John McCain–the McCain we used to remember before he sold his soul to try to win the last presidential election–chastize Michele Bachmann for her latest Muslim plot nonsense. But we know that Bachmann is as batty as Limbaugh.

And though we all know that the blogosphere has become a nutty and nasty place, it was surprising that a negative review of the latest Batman movie would inspire batshit-crazy fans of a comic book character to make death threats against “Rotten Tomatoes” reviewers.

But all of that pales in comparison to today’s news about a costumed gunman killing at least a dozen people at a midnight opening of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” It didn’t take long for ABC to commit the first stupid reporting error, and of course the shooting has dominated the cable news networks all day. (It’s probably not such big news in Syria, where having a dozen killed by violence would be considered a good day.)

And so now we’ll have another few days of liberals pointing out the obvious, that easy access to guns in America makes these events far too common here and that conservative talking heads such as “shoot-them-in-the-head” Glenn Beck (however well he may cry about it afterward) and Rush Limbaugh, along with batshit-crazy extremist groups promote violence. Some conservatives will blame mass murder on gay marriage. If all else fails, blame it on violent movies or video games. It’s all so predictable, and too few will acknowledge that many factors are involved.

Perhaps less predictably, truly batshit-crazy NRA types, which Colorado has, may suggest that the carnage would have been reduced if other people in the theater were armed. Oh, wait–batshit-crazy Malkin  and batshit-crazy Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert have already done that. Gohmert also blamed the attacks on “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs”–as did the American Family Association, despite the fact that the killer reportedly was a “brilliant student” from a “church-going family.” Shades of Pat Robertson; life is just too scary when we realize what our demons have in common with the rest of us, I guess.

So, how long until someone (other than a batshit-crazy blogger or two) suggests that the killer is an Obama operative trying to help the president push through gun control, even though we know that it’s now easier to buy a gun and you can carry it in more places than before Obama was elected? Besides, we Americans love our guns. We really love our guns. If the shooting of a Congresswoman and the killing a a cute white girl or the slaughter of college students won’t spur a serious debate about American gun laws, this certainly won’t.

In fact, perhaps part of the “The Dark Knight Rises” should be rewritten.

Batman: “No guns.”

Catwoman: “In America? That’s batshit crazy!”

Next-day addendum: Above I asked how long it would take someone to suggest that the shootings were a government plot to help promote control. Not long at all, as it turned out, thanks to 9/11 “truther” Alex Jones, perhaps the most bat-shit crazy conspiracy theorist in America.

Sunday addendum: Batshit-crazy Truth in Action Ministries spokesman Jerry Newcombe chose today to go on the radio and “remind” listeners that some of the dead shooting victims were bound for hell. Say hello when you get there, Jerry.

Also, a question for any who care to answer: Why do so many conservatives apparently think it should be easier to carry a gun than to cast a ballot?

Tuesday addendum: Batshit-crazy Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America, has also suggested that the Aurora killings are part of a gun-control plot, bringing familiar bogeyman, the United Nations, into it.

40 Responses to “Batcrap craziness”

  1. josiahe said

    You are so full of yourself ….

  2. James McPherson said

    :-)

  3. melfamy said

    That “cute white girl’ Should have had her glock in her purse, then she could have shot back

    At least, that is the thinking in certain circles, armchair gunners without a clue.

  4. James McPherson said

    Indeed. There’s no problem that can’t be solved with more firepower. :-)

  5. melfamy said

    I wonder how many of these Eastwood wannabes realize that sheriffs in old western towns made the drovers and drifters turn in their guns before they could start their drinking and carousing.

  6. James McPherson said

    Or how often even trained police officers miss what they’re shooting at, even from fairly close range.

  7. I’m still trying to recover from you saying the s word…

    We had an incident here with our school board that made national headlines. Let me see if I can pull up the article (plays Muzak) Here we go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQjQOlJvMzE
    This actually prompted legislation in FL to allow these folks to carry weapons.

    My question to you is: If you were in the theatre that night, and had your gun on hand, would you have not tried to intervene?

    In my mind, this child is a schitzophrenic and, unfortunately, they are allowed to and have always owned weapons.

  8. James McPherson said

    “If you were in the theatre that night, and had your gun on hand, would you have not tried to intervene?”

    I certainly hope so. I know it’s tough to predict what people will do under stress; I have had my nose broken and have knocked someone out as a result of coming to the aid of others, though I was much younger then. :-)

    A couple of caveats, though. First, I’m better trained than a lot of gun-toting yahoos (and have trained others) in the basics of using firearms. Second, I can’t imagine taking one to a movie theater (unless my wife had forgotten to take it out of her purse).

  9. melfamy said

    Kells, I went to school with Mike Jones, I remember him as always happy, smiling, and he had a thousand friends. Later, I worked with him at Teledyne, but he did not like me, because I wouldn’t join the union(I was the only scab in the plant). I joined the union just before contract talks, as I had promised to do, and the plant was shut down. Mike became a cop, and I became a hippie bum whom he let walk one time, bless his heart.
    I hope he has worked through all that mental and emotional stress involved in taking down that poor, sick fellow.

  10. SBJ, I posed this question at the other site. I only have one of those finger-stun thingys. I think I would’ve been screwed at the show. I don’t know how much impact you can make without contact. Your thoughts?

    G., I think very highly on Mr, Jones, but I also think very highly on you. If I may be so bold to say, I think he does too. ;)
    By the by, do you happen to know Gordon Villars? It seems that you boys may have been in school together…

  11. James McPherson said

    Unless it’s a TASER (that shoots out contacts up to 15 feet), you do have to make physical contact with your stun gun. Having been put down by one, I can attest they work, at least on someone who isn’t drunk or on drugs and who has volunteered to let a police officer demonstrate how they work. :-)

    For personal protection, for most people I’d recommend pepper spray on their person, a dog in the home. If you want a gun for home protection and are confident that you can shoot someone if the need arises, I recommend a shotgun (which makes it harder to miss, and won’t send a bullet through a wall into another room or the street).

  12. James McPherson said

    One other thing maybe worth mention–you notice that even though Duke was shooting from close range, he missed with every shot. Handguns just aren’t very accurate in most people’s hands, especially under stress.

  13. We have a dingo/shepherd mix and a yellow lab mix. My oldest has a 9mm, my youngest an Ak47. I have the finger stun thingy (don’t know what the name of it is,) and my husband has a baseball bat…..(hopefully, if the need arises he will not strike out )

    There were reports that Duke was actually left-handed. The man was obviously mentally unstable considering the toxicology report after the autopsy…

  14. James McPherson said

    We have a 94-pound black lab mix and a 14-pound cat. :-) Along with various firearms, pepper spray, a softball bat and golf clubs. We seem to be pretty well armed. especially for folks who tend to be pacificists. :-)

    Our best protection may be the fact that we know all of our neighbors. People who know each other are more likely to watch out for each other.

  15. We live in an older neighborhood. They’re awfully sweet, but with it? Not so much.

    I must thank you for inspiring me…..that’s the only time I write.

  16. James McPherson said

    You’re welcome. We also live in a mostly older neighborhood (though perhaps more mixed than yours), but retirees often are the most observant (and home the most), so might notice things that are out of whack. And of course we try to watch out for them, too.

  17. Unfortunately, we don’t have neighbors as watchful as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVLJVydy8b8&feature=endscreen&NR=1

  18. Reuel said

    Not sure the original intent of “The right to bare arms” meant you could have a gun that could hold a hundred bullets. A report said his gun jammed because he was firing to fast. What purpose is a gun that has a clip that holds a hundred bullets? Its only purpose is and should be for combat only. But both sides of this will draw their line in the sand, when in fact a assault rifle that holds that many rounds should be a lot harder to obtain don’t you think? I do. Although our own government can’t even control guns crossing borders and allows Medical Procedures to kill the unborn for the reason of birth control. Seems the blood is on many hands because stubborn “Bat-Shit” politicians not finding a middle ground instead of all in or all out on many wedge issues. We can have our cake and eat it to with a little common sense compromise but the special interest money/votes behind it has prevented that. I watched the coverage of this mass murder for about one hour, then called my children and told them I love them and then I turned the news off until this morning. We have changed as a country in my life time and it hasn’t been for the better.

  19. James McPherson said

    I agree with you o the clips. Of course some right-wingers are saying those are exactly what we need, to “protect ourselves from the gubmint.” But that reasoning, we should all be allowed to plant land mines in our yards and mount anti-aircraft guns on our roofs. I also don’t understand why some conservatives oppose trigger locks, safe storage requirements, or mandatory training for gun owners.

    Good decision, by the way, on your handling of the news. I did much the same, getting what I needed for this post from the Internet. I’ve watched almost none of the TV coverage. For one thing, as the Onion article linked above points out, this is neither unique nor likely to have any real effect on society. And we kill each other with guns every day–more in Chicago this month than in Aurora.

    For another thing, the 5-year-old grandson of a close friend was hit with by a car–on the sidewalk, while holding his mother’s hand, after the teenage driver of the car apparently fell asleep–a couple of days ago and is fighting for life with a shattered skull and multiple other serious injuries. It puts things in a different perspective. However much some conservatives think more guns in the theater would have reduced the carnage, there are things that are just flat out of our personal control.

  20. Reuel said

    I don’t even own a gun, can I shoot one? Yes. I have sharp shooting metals from the military, mostly from my M-16 training. The 45′s we use to use was as you reference above, very little accuracy unless at short distant. Very few can fire a pistol in a crowed place in the confusion of the situation and not hit the bystanders. Keep all guns out of places of public assemble. Hope the little one gets better.

  21. melfamy said

    Also, a question for any who care to answer: Why do so many conservatives apparently think it should be easier to carry a gun than to cast a ballot?

    Like that batshit crazy woman who ran against Harry Reid, they prefer 2nd amendment solutions.

  22. William Gates said

    I own one gun. It’s in my bedroom. I had training in the military, but not civilian, and probably have not shot more than 100 rds through it. I had a CWL while in South Dakota just because I thought I needed it and all I had to do is fill out the form and pay $25.00. I’ve drawn once, on a kid jumping my back fence, as he was trying to take a shortcut home since he was late for his curfew. I told him never to do that again, then went with him to speak with his parents. They understood. I hope I never have to draw on a person ever again. Nothing funny about it. Glad I didn’t have an itchy trigger finger.

    I doubt I, or many of the gun enthusiasts on blogs everywhere, could have done anything but kill more people in that theater. You would have had cross-fire everywhere. You’d have people not knowing who were the bad guys or who were good and just shoot at anyone with a piece in their hands. I would have looked for cover then if he got close, maybe tried to sneak up from behind. I’m USAF, not USMC. None of that rushing from the front trying to be a hero nonsense. You just become a victim that way.

    Yup, that’s all they needed is a bunch of Dustys in that theater with AK’s and Uzi’s. Throw in a few Glock’s and Desert Eagles too. I guarantee the death total would have been at least twice as high and probably more from “friendly fire” that the actual suspect himself.

  23. James McPherson said

    “I doubt I, or many of the gun enthusiasts on blogs everywhere, could have done anything but kill more people in that theater.”

    Exactly. These Rambo wannabes are pitiful–you get the feeling that some of them want the opportunity to shoot someone,and frankly I question the manhood of someone who thinks he needs to pack heat everywhere. My wife carried one for a while when she had to drive alone at night in a remote area and after a group of bikers tried to run her off the road.

    I never served in the military, and as a result of an Idaho hunting heritage have more than one gun. But I haven’t hunted for years, and have never pulled a gun on someone. Thanks for the comment.

  24. Reuel said

    Sounds as we have a quorum on this issue. Oh my James there I go agreeing on things on both sides of the issues. I guess that does make me Independent. Now get us a Good Democrat, Middle of the road and I’ll vote for him or her. Still don’t like either option this year. Both are to far left or right. Neither has a real plan, both are pedaling the same garbage that I believe is nothing new or has been proven to work.

  25. James McPherson said

    “Still don’t like either option this year.”

    Damn, there we go agreeing again. :-) And since I’m not in a swing state, I probably won’t vote for either one: http://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/since-your-ballot-wont-matter-why-not-vote-against-both-obama-and-romney/

  26. melfamy said

    One night, I came home from work to find my place had been robbed, after the police left, I went to buy a new lock and hasp, and came back to a second break-in! Nothing stolen, either time, that was weird, maybe they got spooked
    I borrowed a friend’s shotgun, and parked my car down the street, and, with the lights turned off, I waited in the dark.
    Sure enough, after about an hour, there were footsteps, then a tentative pull on the doorknob after a light tap on the door
    on the second tug, I flung the door open and dropped the barrel down to chest level, and saw that I was about to shoot one of my closest friends, a guy with no larcenous bones in his body. Terry almost fell backward off my steps, the poor little guy, I can still see his face. But that taught me a lesson, nothing I have is worth making a mistake like that. Next time I will just announce that I have a gun, not go all Eastwood until I know what I am dealing with.
    Never did find out who did the break-ins, nor what they were after.

  27. James McPherson said

    Yikes! Glad it turned out the way it did, assuming Terry’s heart restarted and you remained friends. :-)

  28. Sugel said

    In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you’ve always got a puncher’s chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she’s living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she’s built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

  29. The boys had to take a 3-hour course. Isn’t that required when you buy a gun?

  30. James McPherson said

    Nope. I’ve bought several without taking a course. I do think that kids of a certain age have to take a hunter safety course to get a hunting license, but some states don’t even require that, I believe.

  31. William Gates said

    Laws vary from state to state.

    Why can’t we just treat guns like meds? Some like pistols, semi autos, hunting rifles and shotguns you can buy OTC. The assault and military grade weapons require special permitting for collectors and retailers and the such. You can pay extra for the more extensive background check, get licensed after a certification course, and own those grade of weapons.

    I’m not sure that I agree with all of that, but could/would that be enough or a start for a compromise from the far-right? It seems as though most people don’t care whether some one owns a gun or not but the far-right keeps that “they’re coming for our guns” hype going. I can go buy a pay for a gun today and come back 3 days later and pick it up. That’s fine with me. Maybe not so by others.

  32. Reuel said

    Well it official, Chicago is more deadly than Baghdad this story is in support of a discussion we had weeks ago. we were discussing the murder rate in Chicago. Well it seem they lead the whole world now. It has been the worst summer in decades and is heading for the worst ever. Well off to Buy a Chicken Sandwich because I don’t have the same “Chicago Values” Mayor Dead Fish Rahm has. I live about 80 miles from this city and the only successful “Community Organizing” done there is by the gangs. But don’t worry the ones killed, will still have voting rights. It is the Chicago way. They are also in discussions to take away the legal guns as Washington DC has done. Yeah that will stop the killing. Prediction: Mayor Rahm Dead Fish will be a one termer to if they don’t count the dead peoples votes.

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/The-Deadliest-Global-City-163874546.html

  33. Reuel is meeting me at the Chick-Fil-A. ;)

  34. James McPherson said

    Only in Chicago could Rahm get elected in the first place. He’s an idiot, as is any other politician who thinks it’s a good idea to violate the First Amendment because someone voiced an opinion. Besides, Chick-Fil-A is a chain in which some franchisees are liberals who serve a liberal clientele–should they be put out of business because the owner of the company is a bigot?

    Of course I do believe in people shopping/eating in places that reflect their own politics. I won’t drink Coors products or eat at Domino’s, for example.

  35. James, having your own beliefs doesn’t make you a bigot. It’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it.

    Hmm…I eat or drink whatever I’m in the mood for. (Yes, I’m a food wh**re.) I get your philosophy, though. I’ve been quite repulsed lately by several outspoken actors who believe they are politicians. I just can’t watch their shows; they are cringe-worthy, and their idiotic hypocricy is simply amazing.

    So….when are you gonna write another post?

  36. James McPherson said

    “It’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it.”

    Agreed. I’m not sure if Chick-Fil-A guy is a bigot or not, but even if he is, he’s still entitled to his opinion.

    I’m not sure about the “when” for another post–I started one today, but am spending lots of time getting ready for a family reunion/nephew’s wedding and gardening, along with doing some non-blog reading and writing (I’ve barely even checked in over at the RNL). Thanks for asking.

  37. My crystal ball ball portends much merriment in your future. ;)

  38. James McPherson said

    I hope you’re right. I had a chance to finish the latest post tonight, and just put it up. Happy reading.

  39. [...] “Christmas warriors,” Michelle Malkin, “border warriors,” and other batcrap-crazy conspiracy nuts. But suddenly, with the mass killings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the depth of [...]

  40. [...] in America, of course, that’s just the batcrap-crazy norm, as we go from one supposedly shocking mass killing to another and another and another. [...]

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