1) "Why is this your issue?" Your sentence implies that this is the only thing gun supporters care about, or at least it's the most important issue to many gun supporters. In fact, very few people name gun control their most important issue. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 4 to 6% of Americans identify gun control as the most important issue in America.
Now, if you'd asked a more reasonable question, like "why is this one of many issues that you have a passionate opinion on?" you might get different answers. Popular answers would likely be: (i) I care about the safety and well-being of myself and my household, and (ii) I care about my personal freedoms as stated in the US Constitution. Both of those points (and many other points that I haven't listed here) are valid reasons for a person to be passionate about a topic.
2) "Why do you think you're going to survive the nuclear apocalypse?" This is clearly an ignorant and condescending question, and Alex should own up to that. A small amount of gun owners might seriously consider a potential apocalyptic event as justification for owning firearms. That apocalyptic event could take many forms: pandemic, economic/governmental collapse, traditional warfare, civil war, nuclear war, climate change, meteor strike, etc. There is probably a very small possibility of any one of these events happening in our lifetime. But throughout the course of human history, many humans, in many places all over the world have suffered through terrible "apocalyptic" events, where they have not had a government to count on for protection, and it is not unreasonable to think that a similar event could happen again in the future.
3) "Has anybody ever successfully defended their family with a gun." The answer is obviously yes. As you point out, most of the media coverage is of thieves being shot, and said thieves may or may not have posed a "danger" to a person and their family, and deadly force may not have been justified in all instances. As others have pointed out, there are many instances where someone simply shows a gun and it is enough to send intruders running for the hills. Ultimately, it would be nice if the government were allowed to study these incidents, and keep track of all of the times guns in homes resulted in protection of the residents, as well as all the times they have resulted in senseless violence and death. Although the NRA is apparently at blame for the lack of good data on this issue, most Americans (and most gun supporters) agree that this issue deserves to be studied.
4) "When you talk about how you're worried about slippery slopes, do you understand the metaphor you're using?" I personally have never heard a gun supporter use the "slippery slope" metaphor. Regardless. Policy changes frequently happen incrementally, so it isn't unreasonable for a person to think that a given piece of legislation is only the first step towards a more robust policy framework in the future.
5) "Is it weird to always be the most passionate about something after it's been used to murder children?" Yes, I suppose that it is weird. But it's also very natural, as everyone else has pointed out, since these national tragedies shine a spotlight on the issue, and spur conversations on both sides of the issue.
I have to go with Torgo on this one.
There are three categories of potential negative impacts that give rise to most objections for proposed coal projects. (1) global pollution, (2) local environmental impacts, (3) local traffic impacts. For the proposed Ambre operation, I can't see how any of these complaints are warranted.
(1) global pollution. Asia has lots of coal plants, and they burn coal from all over the world, and it has a very nasty effect on the environment. If you could stop China (or other countries) from receiving coal to burn, then you could reduce the amount of coal consumed, and could reduce global pollution. But, the global coal market is just too damn big for these pacific northwest coal projects to have an impact. There is too much other coal on the market, enough to keep China happily burning coal for decades to come. Thus, the outcome of the Ambre project is likely to have no noticeable impact on global coal consumption and subsequent pollution. It would be interesting to see some sort of supply chain analysis, showing which countries produce coal, which consume coal, and how many different routes there are for countries to get their coal to market. Perhaps such an analysis would show that there's a viable strategy for reducing coal consumption by cutting off the supply. However, I suspect the analysis would only confirm that the market is too big and too global to be impacted by any supply-side policy efforts.
(2) local environmental impacts. As Torgo said, I'm happy that someone is doing a study of what these impacts might be and how real they are. I'm not sure how barging a bunch of rocks of coal down the Columbia would affect public health along the route. But I'm open to any analysis that proves otherwise.
(3) local traffic. Coal trains are a bitch. They're huge and block traffic for miles. But the Ambre proposal is for barges, which would not have any impact on our congested transportation system.
Supply and demand.
You assert "Portland needs more all-ages venues." If that's true, then customers ought to be forking over their cash to venues like Backspace, and in turn, Backspace should have plenty of money to pay the rent (instead of being $10,000 delinquent).
I suspect there really isn't much demand for poetry slams, release parties for local publishers, and all-ages open mic nights. If people aren't willing to pay to attend these types of events, then venues like Backspace are destined to struggle.
On the flip side, demand for microbrews, pretentious service, and nudity is very robust in the Portland market. If Backspace decided to install a stripper pole, and ban minors, then maybe the influx of money from new clientele would be sufficient to pay the rent.
FYI - there is no "Portland University." I assume you meant Portland State University.
Sorry to pick nits.
OK, I recognize there's a chance that this blog post was referencing the previous blog post about Ron Paul and his "Kooky Kollege Kids." Which would mean the Mercury is only mocking other offensively named groups, rather than being genuinely offensive themselves.
The always classy Mercury with their new KKK blog column. It's a good thing there are no minorities in this City for you to offend.
I'd like to change my vote to the Tea Party Gathering of Eagles. I can't compete with that.
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