Rage Against the Machine Gun

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Room with a view

It appears that the maniac who shot and killed nearly 60 people at a Las Vegas country music concert from the comfort of his 32nd floor hotel room in the Mandalay Bay at some point during the massacre used a fully automatic machine gun.

Machine guns are one of the few remaining weapon types in America that are still somewhat hard to own – although not impossible, so says the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action which advises the following on Nevada law: “It is lawful to possess, purchase or sell a machine gun or silencer that is legally registered and possessed in compliance with all federal laws and regulations.”

(Oddly, in Nevada it is unlawful to carry concealed upon the person a handgun or other firearm without a permit to carry – so that gives the NRA at least something to work on in the Silver State.)

Because machine guns are hard to come by, shooting ranges on the outskirts of Las Vegas make a fortune offering the general public the unique thrill of firing M-16s and Uzis. One person who came out for some Uzi fun was a 9 year old girl who blew the head off her instructor when the military grade weapon got away from her girlish grip.

Questions will abound as to whether the Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, NV was permitted to possess the machine gun, and if not how did he come to acquire it. Did he have access to them through a connection at one of the shooting ranges? Did he modify a semi-automatic weapon as described on innumerable websites and Youtube videos? Did he suffer from an epileptic trigger finger?

In any event, the mandatory hand-wringing period has commenced about what to do about the gun situation in America – this time machine guns in particular. Expect much chatter on cable news and strident pushback from the NRA. But don’t worry – it should be over by Wednesday.

As a side note, Shooting Illustrated magazine should be commended on their impeccable timing in posting this tweet just a day or two before Paddock went nuts.

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The Comedic Case for Collusion

Jon Stewart demonstrated how comedy could deliver the news better than the conventional means dating back to Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.

In Stewart’s retirement we have Bill Maher who does a wonderful job making the most succinct, understandable case that Trump’s circle of family flunkies and sad sycophants worked in concert with Russians to rig the election.

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