Tuesday, October 28, 2014

can the Cathedral survive: if you can't tyrannize nerds how you gonna tyrannize gunsels?

salon |  If you want to understand the fight the gun safety movement faces in trying to win over gun extremists in red states, my experience this summer will be instructive.

Moms Demand Action, a group formed after the Sandy Hook shooting to crack down on gun violence, began pressuring the Kroger supermarket chain to prohibit “open carry” in its stores after gun extremists used Kroger stores to demonstrate their “rights.” Gun laws are lax in many states, and it can be legal to openly carry a firearm with no training, and, in some cases, no background checks. The Kroger campaign is the most recent in a string of corporate responsibility efforts in which mothers, flanked by other gun violence prevention advocates, have asked companies to tighten gun policies, arguing that the businesses have an obligation to keep their customers safe.

Of course, gun extremists did not respond kindly to the Kroger campaign. What follows is a recounting of their disturbing tactics, from the shocking intimidation and harassment of unsuspecting commenters on Kroger’s Facebook page to right-wing media propaganda that disingenuously portrayed Kroger as being allies of the gun extremists.

Secret Facebook groups such as “People Who Were Blocked by Moms Demand Action Demand Action Now” — which has well over a thousand members — disseminated gun rights propaganda and helped orchestrate attacks on individuals commenting on Kroger’s page. Some gun nuts combed the profile pages of people commenting in support of gun reform, harvested personal photos of them and Photoshopped them to include obscene or humiliating comments, before reposting the photos on Kroger’s page, or on other social media sites. Because Kroger frequently bans users who post that kind of content, the gun extremists created disposable fake accounts — sometimes using the name and profile photo of an opponent— to quickly dump posts without being held accountable.


woodensplinter said...

No matter what measures are imposed, this cannot possibly end well. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/in-a-liberian-slum-swarming-with-ebola-a-race-against-time-to-save-two-little-girls/2014/10/27/7f14e5ac-1b77-4d48-adef-de19e07e7651_story.html There may be only one way to halt the worst Ebola outbreak in history: find the disease’s victims, strictly quarantine them and monitor everyone with whom they interacted.

When Thomas Eric Duncan tested positive for Ebola in Dallas, U.S. authorities dispatched a team to identify everyone with whom he might have made physical contact. In a few days, they created a list of more than 120 people. Another team found 142 people who had contact with Amber Vinson, a nurse who became infected. Those measures appear to have kept Ebola from spreading in the United States.

But doing contact tracing and enforcing quarantines in a place like New Kru Town is a different story. Everything here is shared: mattresses, toilets, food, the burden of caring for the ill. Pomney, 43, was from a slum himself, and he knew the odds he would face as he kept watch over the two little girls.

Or at least, on that Monday morning, he thought he did.

New Kru Town is a maze of sheet-metal shanties built on a small peninsula, about a mile long and a half-mile wide, that juts into the Atlantic. Depending on whom you ask, the population is 20,000 or 50,000. It’s a place with open sewers and swarms of mosquitoes that seems as if it was constructed to facilitate the spread of disease. It is an overwhelmingly difficult place to do contact tracing.

“I know this is my job,” Pomney would later say. “But I don’t think it works here.”

woodensplinter said...

Perhaps the bipolar American body-politic needs some black swan kicks in the head? Handling the externalities of U.S. bioweapons research certainly appears to qualify. The Ebola quarantine controversy has become a chaotic brawl involving politics, science and the law. The rules on quarantining health-care workers returning from West Africa are changing almost daily and varying according to geography and political climate.

The Pentagon announced Monday that Army personnel returning to their home base in Italy from Liberia will be held in quarantine for 21 days — even though none have symptoms of Ebola or were exposed to patients infected with the virus.

The military’s policy does not appear to track new guidelines announced Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called for “high-risk” individuals and health-care workers without any symptoms to be directly monitored by state and local health authorities.

Nor do the states have to follow the CDC’s recommendations. For example, Georgia’s new rules, announced Monday, are more restrictive in some respects than the ones unveiled the same day in Maryland and Virginia.

Much of the Ebola drama is in New Jersey, where nurse Kaci Hickox, who had been kept under a mandatory quarantine in a tent at a hospital, was released Monday by order of Gov. Chris Christie (R). He defiantly declared that his aggressive treatment of the nurse, who does not have Ebola, will become the national norm.