Air Date 2/26/2022
[00:00:00] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of the Left podcast in which we shall take a look at the slow but important progress that's been made in the last 10 years of efforts towards sensible gun control and accountability for gun manufacturers, as well as the activists pushing the issue. Clips today are from What Next?, The Rachel Maddow Show, Democracy Now!, The PBS NewsHour and Breaking the Sound Barrier, with additional members-only clips from The David Pakman Show and The Brian Lehrer Show.
The Path to the Sandy Hook Settlement - What Next - Air Date 2-22-22
[00:00:33] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: Nicole had a powerful ally in the White House. Then President Obama had decided to make gun control legislation a priority. That’s how Nicole and other Sandy Hook parents found themselves traveling to D.C. just weeks after their children’s deaths to advocate for expanded background checks for gun purchases.
[00:00:53] NICOLE HOCKLEY: That was the first time I’d ever been to D.C., and I got to know the halls of Congress fairly intimately, and I remember I used to run my fingers along the wall as I’d be walking because it was so surreal how different life had changed so quickly and I wasn’t quite sure if this was reality or some horrible nightmare I couldn’t wake from. Some people might feel, "Oh my gosh, you’re talking to a U.S. senator," I just saw another dad, another mom in front of me, and that’s the same way, talking with President Obama and then Vice President Biden, these were parents. It wasn’t the president, it wasn’t the vice president, it was just a dad who couldn’t imagine what it would be like if he was in my shoes.
[00:01:41] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: You said that some senators wept when they met with you.
[00:01:44] NICOLE HOCKLEY: Gosh, yeah, there were quite a few senators that cried in front of us, and we sometimes cried as well, but more often than not, they became more emotional, and I think I lost faith in some people who became emotional, promised to do whatever they could, and then still voted no. I almost preferred the senators who are almost a little bit more in my face and a little bit negative about, "I’m not going to sign for this, no matter what," and "this isn’t going to give you closure," and "you need to move on," because at least they were honest. I’d prefer that authenticity rather than someone who weeps and then goes against me. And I think that was for Mia, an unfortunate baptism in what politics really is.
[00:02:29] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: You want to name names here.
[00:02:30] NICOLE HOCKLEY: I never name names, I’m sorry. It’s just not my way.
[00:02:36] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: When was it clear that the background check legislation was not going to pass?
[00:02:42] NICOLE HOCKLEY: It wasn’t clear to me until that we were actually doing the votes in the chamber. We made it through cloture, I didn’t even know what cloture was until that point.
[00:02:50] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: there?
[00:02:50] NICOLE HOCKLEY: I was there. Oh yeah, I was. I was up in the gallery and trying to count the votes on my hands because you’re not allowed to bring any cell phones or anything in and watching the yeas and the nays mount up and totally losing track, and then when Vice President Biden said,
[00:03:06] VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The amendment is not agreed to.
[00:03:09] NICOLE HOCKLEY: There was just this huge amount of deflation looking down at the senators, some of them who could not look up at us, some who rather looked up at us a little bit defiantly if I’m totally honest. And then hearing one of the other survivors from another shooting yell out,
[00:03:27] VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Shame on you.
Order in the Senate.
[00:03:29] NICOLE HOCKLEY: It was a horrible moment, and then going back into the Oval Office with a very angry President Obama before we then went out to the Rose Garden to speak. He talked about, this is a shameful day in our history and I completely agree with him.
[00:03:43] PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: But the fact is, most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun. There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics.
[00:04:01] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: I wonder how that political experience, which I mean, you’ve called it soul crushing, I wonder how it shaped the direction of your organization, Sandy Hook Promise. Because you already formed the group, but in the months and years since, it’s been notable to me that you’ve been remarkably nonpartisan, as a gun safety group goes.
[00:04:28] NICOLE HOCKLEY: It failed in April 2013 and when something as simple as a background check failed and became political, we took a step back and said, "it’s like any problem, if you can’t solve it one way, you figure out a different way." So we kind of went dark for a little over a year while we did a lot of research, a lot of groups with gun owners and non gun owners, and we talked to a lot of educators and we really studied social change, everything from civil rights up to marriage equality. How do you take a partisan issue and find the common ground? And that’s when we really started understanding the levers that you pull in social change around—legal levers—around education and grassroots voice, around programs and generational change and behavioral change, and that you need to change behaviors before you can change or enact policies to enforce and reinforce those behaviors.
[00:05:25] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: That seem so much harder to me.
[00:05:27] NICOLE HOCKLEY: Oh, it’s long term. It’s a long term thing, but this is a massive problem that’s not going away. Passing background checks would not have stopped gun violence in America. You need to do all the other levers as well, so that’s when we said no one’s focusing on programs, no one’s focusing on education, so we will turn our efforts there. We still advocate for change at a state and federal level, but the majority of the work that Sandy Hook Promise does is on education.
[00:05:56] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: It’s interesting to hear you say that if you’d passed background checks, you don’t actually think that would have done much, because you spent so much time advocating for it, and I feel like there’s a lot invested in that effort. It’s pretty remarkable to me.
[00:06:11] NICOLE HOCKLEY: I’m not saying it wouldn’t have done much it, it would have done a lot, what I said was it would not solve the issue of gun violence in our country. This is a complex and multifaceted issue and requires a lot of things. Having background checks would certainly ensure more responsibility in terms of who can access the gun and buy a firearm legally, but it’s something that wouldn’t have solved, on its own the issue of gun violence in America. Although I think if it had passed, a lot of people would have just clapped their hands and said, "that’s it, we did it, let’s move on to something else," whereas there’s so much more change that’s needed to create a safer environment.
[00:06:49] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: What would you say to someone who might say to you, intervening with mental health is great, background checks are great, but in the United States, there’s this bigger problem of the fact that there’s a gun out there for every man, woman and child who lives here, probably more. And in the end, the fact that we have these dangerous objects scattered around the country and very accessible, that’s the bigger problem.
[00:07:25] NICOLE HOCKLEY: I think the number of guns and the easy accessibility to them is a significant problem, however, I don’t think that’s a problem that is going to go away. There’s a huge amount of pride in gun ownership in America. Obviously the Second Amendment provides a lot of protections, and that is a challenge not to take on right now. I think the bigger win right now is focusing on safe storage for all those, and you’re right, it is more guns out there than people, but if everyone practiced safe storage, then we wouldn’t see the tens of several 10,000 deaths by suicide, or the school shootings where the kids are bringing the guns from the home without their parents knowledge.
[00:08:11] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: You’re prioritizing.
[00:08:13] NICOLE HOCKLEY: Yeah, you got to prioritize. If the guns are there, that’s not going to change, so how do we ensure appropriate access and responsible ownership? And if we get those two right, then I think you’d see the level of gun violence go down considerably.
Sandy Hook families achieve major victory over gun maker - The Rachel Maddow Show - Air Date 2-16-21
[00:08:31] ALEX WAGNER - HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. It is hard to believe now, but there was a time when being able to safely take a hammer to it was one of its biggest selling points. Quote, "Hammer, the hammer of a loaded Iver Johnson revolver without the fear of discharge, you take no risk. This gun is so safe you can literally take a hammer and it will not go off by mistake." And then there's this one, this ad has a gun in the hands of a little girl, papa says it won't hurt us. "Accidental discharge, impossible." Given the aggressive sensational culture around gun ownership in this country today, it is almost impossible to believe that ads for guns ever looked this benign.
Here's a little boy who just wants to hunt some rabbits. This is from the early 1900s. "The simplicity of the Remington action ensures safety and saves repair bills." Advertisements for guns in this country look nothing like this anymore. These are the ads from Remington, the same company that made that ad with the boy and the bunny more than a hundred years ago. You see the silhouette of a soldier here using the gun being advertised. The copy says, " When you need to perform under pressure, the Bushmaster weapon delivers," implying that you too can do whatever this soldier can do, as long as this gun is in your hands. How about this one? "This weapon is tested and proven reliable in the most brutal conditions on earth. It's the uncompromising choice when you demand a rifle as mission adaptable as you are." It is quote, "the ultimate military combat weapons system." Last one, "consider your man card reissued." The fine print reads, "if it's good enough for the professional, it is good enough for you."
The gun in this ad is a military style weapon, similar to an AR-15 called the Bushman .223 rifle, made by the company Remington. It has the exact same weapon used in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012. That weapon is so efficient, so easy to use, it only took the gunman 264 seconds to kill six adults and twenty more little boys and girls. In 2014, some of the Sandy hook families sued Remington, the manufacturer of the gun that killed their children, in a wrongful death lawsuit. And that case might sound like a no brainer, but it really was an extraordinary legal longshot. That's because guns are unlike any other consumer product. The companies that make them are protected by a federal law that essentially shields gun manufacturers from accountability after their products are used to murder people.
And so to get around that law, the family suing Remington tried out a new legal strategy. They argued that Remington was improperly marketing their AR-15 style weapon to civilians. The families argued that Remington was telling people that a gun built for military style combat could and should also be used in everyday civilian life. And as evidence they presented these ads, the ones that Remington said would "make you a man". The ones that were "battled tested", "meant for combat", the ones that were, according to Remington, "good enough for professionals and good enough for you".
Their lawyer used an analogy in court, one that makes their argument incredibly easy to understand.
[00:12:17] JOSHUA KOSKOFF: Can you imagine Ford Motor Company advertising one of their cars to go run over people? Who would hesitate for a second to hold Ford accountable for that?
[00:12:27] ALEX WAGNER - HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: That makes sense, right? You don't tell consumers to buy your baseball bat because it's good for breaking into people's houses. You don't sell someone a pair of shoes on the basis that it will help them sneak a bomb on a plane. And so, by that logic, you shouldn't be able to sell someone a gun on the basis that it can annihilate scores of people in a matter of minutes, just like the soldiers in combat do.
This case has been dragging on for seven years, and today Remington agreed to a settlement. The company that made the gun that killed 26 people at Sandy Hook elementary school, it agreed today to pay the families of those victims $73 million. That is believed to be the largest settlement ever between a gun manufacturer and the families of the people killed by its product.
For the families of the victims though, this lawsuit was never about money, it was about accountability. It was about getting some semblance of justice after their loved ones, their little children, were gunned down. And it was also about information. As part of any legal proceeding like this one, the parties involved are expected to turn over what is called discovery. Put simply, discovery is any record or document or communication that could be in any way relevant to the lawsuit. And so with this lawsuit, the Sandy Hook families, hope to obtain through the discovery process, some insight into how these gun companies operate and how they make decisions around and marketing their products.
As a condition of this settlement, the families are allowed to publicize what they learned from the thousands and thousands of documents turned over by Remington over the course of this trial. These are documents that Remington has fought tooth and nail to keep out of the public eye. The families who brought this suit believed that bringing these documents to light will help prevent the next mass shooting.
45K People Died from Gun Violence on Your Watch Parkland Survivors Demand More Action from Biden - Democracy Now! - Air Date 2-16-22
[00:14:29] DAVID HOGG: What we really need is action, because we can say, yes, we’re going to do all these things, thoughts and prayers. What we need more than that is action. Please. This is the 18th one this year. That’s unacceptable. We’re children. You guys, like, are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role, work together, come over your politics and get something done.
[00:14:49] AMY GOODMAN: That was the day after the massacre, that you had the presence of mind, David, to talk about what needs to be done in this country, given the horrific attack you had just experienced. Can you talk about from then to now, what you are calling for, what you’ve gone through? Thank you so much for joining us from school. You’re at Harvard now, a student in Cambridge.
[00:15:14] DAVID HOGG: Yeah, you know, it’s amazing to look back at that and think about those things that have changed. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, in the couple of months after that, leading up to midterms, we changed gun laws in Florida, a deeply Republican Legislature that has a — basically, the NRA has a stranglehold over. Despite, you know, basically everybody in the establishment thinking it was impossible, we did change gun laws there. We were able to force the hand of the Florida state Legislature to get over their politics and work together to actually do something. In the time since Parkland, we passed nearly — well over 50 gun laws at the state level. We changed the Dickey Amendment so that we were able to get the CDC to study the effectiveness of gun laws at the state level, and gotten them funding. And on top of that, we have, you know, some of the most pro-gun violence prevention candidates, at least on paper, ever elected in American history. Now it’s about making them act.
And the reason — the thing that we’re calling for right now is specifically for President Biden to do even more that is within his executive power to act to address gun violence. And two of those things are creating an office, a national office of gun violence prevention, and a director of — a national director of gun violence prevention, that can work together to create a comprehensive plan to address gun violence from the federal government and not create just a piecemeal piece of legislation that’s just universal background checks and one other thing or just universal background checks, but comes up with a comprehensive plan for the federal government to address gun violence, regardless of what’s happening in the Senate.
[00:16:46] JUAN GONZALEZ: And David, I wanted to ask you — last year, a video of Republican Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene heckling you on Capitol Hill emerged. She was later removed from the House Committee on Education and Labor. And in July, Congressmember Greene suggested at an Alabama fundraiser that Southerners shoot door-to-door COVID-19 vaccinators. Your reaction to this kind of language coming from elected officials?
[00:17:16] DAVID HOGG: My reaction to it is that all of our generations need to do better. Our younger generations need to step up, but we need to learn from the mistakes of the past and understand that — you know, in the beginning, when we were starting out, I would say that we don’t have the leaders that we need to address gun violence. But I’ve realized in the time since, we do have some of the leaders, we just don’t have enough.
And unfortunately, with that type of immature, foolish, disgustingly just intolerant rhetoric and violent rhetoric that someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene perpetuates, she ends up harming our country a lot more and stops us from addressing serious challenges that are facing everyday Americans every single day, from gun violence to income inequality to people just struggling to get enough food on their table on a daily basis. When a representative like Marjorie Taylor Greene goes out there and says these outrageous and inflammatory remarks, she’s not actually helping anybody but herself and her fundraising goals. You know, when she chases after me, when I was 18 years old, and is calling me horrible things, she’s not actually working to help end gun violence. She’s not actually working to help her constituents. She’s working to help herself. And we need leaders that are selfless and not selfish. And that is exactly what Marjorie Taylor Greene is.
[00:18:28] AMY GOODMAN: David Hogg, can you talk about the Shock Market, what you have just launched?
[00:18:33] DAVID HOGG: Yeah. So, the ShockMarket.org is a website that tallies the number of gun deaths that have happened since President Biden took office. Unfortunately, gun violence has gotten worse over the past couple of years as a result of COVID and the massive surge in gun sales that have happened. As a result of that, when I was starting out, we had about 40,000 gun deaths a year on average in the United States, and now we’re seeing, on average, about 45,000 a year, most of which are suicides but are still, nonetheless, preventable.
And that’s part of what this website is about. It’s about realizing that, look, we cannot be just saying, you know, objectively — sorry, objectively, Joe Biden, President Biden, is better than Donald Trump is on guns. But if Trump is the bar, he’s the floor. He’s not the ceiling. And liberals and Democrats and everybody across the country needs to be demanding that every president, no matter their party, do as much as is in their power to address gun violence. And right now President Biden, frankly, is not doing that. He has done some work, but it’s the same thing like being in school. I can do half my assignment and get a D, or I can do all of my assignment and get an A. And right now President Biden is failing.
[00:19:45] AMY GOODMAN: Very quickly, your response to this unprecedented lawsuit, the families of Sandy Hook suing the gun company, the manufacturer, saying it advertised to people to use their weapons, ultimately the one used at Sandy Hook? Your response to this, David?
[00:20:09] DAVID HOGG: The reality is, the way that that lawsuit ended up working out, from my understanding, was, essentially, it was very — through a very narrow lens of going after a law outlawing basically the advertisement of illegal activities in the state of Connecticut. It still left in place PLCAA, which is the law that stops individuals from being able to sue gun manufacturers, with very few exceptions. And, you know, although I obviously hope that this settlement helps bring some amount of closure to people, I think the reality is, for most people that have experienced this type of horrific violence, that the only real form of closure is these things not happening anymore, because we know that they don’t happen in basically any other high-income country. And they certainly don’t have to happen here.
So, I think the reality is that PLCAA, that law that protects gun manufacturers, is still in place. And President Biden — I actually have a video of this — at our town hall in 2019, when we were interviewing all of the presidential candidates about what they were going to do about gun violence, he said the number one thing that we could do to change gun violence and to reduce gun violence in this country would be to stand up and fight against PLCAA. And while it would require an act of Congress to do that, President Biden’s very own attorney general, Garland, has repeatedly gone out and defended PLCCA in court and while testifying in front of Congress.
And that is just one of many things that we’ve been extremely disappointed to see from Biden, because the White House, frankly, the reason why they’re doing this, and they’re not acting more or talking more about gun violence, is because they’re afraid of midterms. But I’m going to be completely honest here: If they’re doing this for purely strategic reasons, it’s pretty stupid of them, because their approval rating is already in the toilet, and they’re already going to lose the House, and they’re probably going to lose the Senate, too. And they need to act to address gun violence right now, because this is — gun violence in America is not politics. It is a matter of life and death. And we can’t wait six months or a couple more months until midterms to see how things pan out, and risk losing the House and Senate for another decade because of President Biden’s failure to act on this and calling Congress to act on it, as he said he would on the campaign trail.
A New Kind of Gun Control Part 1 - What Next - Air Date 2-3-22
[00:22:15] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: One of the things Mayor Liccardo has been wanting to try is passing a few ordinances around guns. He’s really leaned in here. First, san Jose required all gun purchases to be recorded to ensure they were legal. And then just last month, the city instituted another rule, they say it’s the first of its kind in the country. This ordinance will require gun owners to both have liability insurance and pay a fee to the city, and that money will fund gun safety initiatives.
It’s the beginning of a new kind of framework for gun safety, less about gun control, more about harm reduction. Did you expect that you were going to finish out your time as mayor talking about gun violence?
[00:23:02] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Not really. Although I’m a criminal prosecutor by background, this is not a particularly violent city. In fact, I think we had the lowest homicide rate of any big city in the country last year.
[00:23:16] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: So why the push?
[00:23:17] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Well, we’ve been rocked by three mass shootings in the last three years. And as I delve deeper into this subject about guns and their impact in our community, and we recognize that the headlines only tell a very small fraction of the harm and the devastation that families feel, whether it’s a suicide, which comprises the majority of gun related deaths in our country, or unintentional shootings. I talked to a mom who lost her son that way just a couple of years ago, and that about little more than a third of emergency room admissions in this country result from unintentional shooting from guns.
[00:23:55] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: It’s an interesting distinction you’re drawing there. I feel like so much of the conversation around guns is centered on crime, and what you’re saying is these are just dangerous objects, and as a mayor, you end up encountering people who have been the victims of guns in all kinds of ways.
[00:24:18] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Yes, guns owned by law abiding gun owners, many of whom are quite well intentioned, but the reality is there’s a lot of harm that’s resulting, and its preventable harm. It’s harm that we can do something about.
[00:24:40] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: This new ordinance in San Jose, the best way to think about it, maybe as an experiment. And I say that not just because the rules are being challenged in court, I say that because in this city there are just 55,000 gun owning households, a fraction of the total population.
So I want to go through step by step how you got to the place you are now. When you ran for mayor of San Jose, did you talk about gun control a lot? Was it your thing?
[00:25:09] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: No. And if you did the polling you’d probably find that it wouldn’t be a strong issue to be talking about because obviously it’s divisive in every community. It never really came up because I think the assumption has long been, in this country, that cities don’t have any regulatory authority in this area. So it’s just not a city issue. It’s up to the states and to Congress, and, for the most part, Congress just sort of abdicated its responsibility here. So, several years in office became obvious that no one else is going to do something we should try.
[00:25:42] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: I read that you started working on gun violence prevention in earnest after the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in July 2019.
[00:25:52] REPORTER: Deadly shooting at a food festival in Northern California, three people killed at least, 15 injured.
[00:25:59] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: I had a couple of encounters after that horrible event, one with the mother of one of the two children who had been shot, who just posed a question that stuck with me in my mind, which was, can’t you or can’t anybody do anything about this? I had a much more contentious encounter, I remember, at a memorial where I think it was a relative who was, it may have been a cousin or friend, who is Spanish speaking, who confronted me very publicly and said, look, you guys talk a lot, but you don’t really do anything. And she’s right. What’s the city doing with this? And that question just rang over and over my head as I thought about what we can do as a city. Is there some space here for us to be able to stand up for our residents?
[00:26:51] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: After the Garlic Festival was the idea immediately, how do we find a way to extract money from gun owners and what would that look like?
[00:27:05] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Well, I had been thinking for some time about this idea of gun insurance, and it’s not a new idea, it’s not my idea, other legislatures have proposed these things. So I thought a little bit about that, and then I realized, that’s nice, but it’s not actually going to generate the resources we need to actually reduce gun harm, and so came up with this notion of a fee along with it.
We all agree the Second Amendment protects the right for all of us to own or possess a gun, but it doesn’t require taxpayers to subsidize that right. And when people become aware of the fact that, hey, whether you own a gun or not, you’re actually paying for this, it starts to get folks thinking about, well, how can we better distribute the costs of gun ownership and gun harm?
Exploring why gun violence has soared during the pandemic, and how to combat it - PBS NewsHour - Air Date 4-19-21
[00:28:02] AMNA NAWAZ - HOST, PBS NEWSHOUR: Let's look now at the efforts to change laws and what we know about how well those laws work. Champe Barton is with The Trace, a news organization dedicated to reporting on gun violence. Champe, welcome to the NewsHour, and thanks for being here.
Let's talk about your reaction to that news we have now about the Indianapolis shooter. His first gun was confiscated. There were supposed to be a red flag hearing that never happened, that might've prevented him from buying the other two weapons, is our understanding. So what happened here? There was a system in place and it just didn't work?
[00:28:32] CHAMPE BARTON: Yeah. I mean, this is not entirely uncommon that you have a system that in theory should prevent one of these events from happening, but an execution that falls short in some way. I think the sort of thing to note here is that it's not a sure thing that implementing those red flag laws and making a red flag determination and confiscating this guy's weapons and then preventing him from future purchases would have stopped him from what he eventually ended up doing. It's entirely possible that he could have bought him a gun in the private market afterwards. But certainly this red flag determination could have made a difference.
[00:29:04] AMNA NAWAZ - HOST, PBS NEWSHOUR: So put some of these headlines into context for us. We've been seeing report after report of group shooting after group shooting. There was this sense that during the pandemic or lockdown, that gun violence dropped, is that actually what happened? What does the data show?
[00:29:17] CHAMPE BARTON: Yeah. So that's actually not what happened. Gun violence was at a higher rate last year than it has been in any of the previous five, maybe more years, all the years that we had on record. We published a story on this recently. But yeah, gun violence has been higher than ever. Even mass shootings, you know, as defined by the gun violence archive as four or more people injured or killed, not including the shooter, even those were up higher than they had ever been.
So gun violence has been surging throughout the pandemic. And most frequently it's not these sorts of incidents that we see in Indianapolis where it is this sort of lone -style shooter we've seen before and that has sort of captured the fascination of the country. It's more frequently more routine gun deaths that happened as part of community conflicts in cities across the country.
And, and like I just said, those deaths were higher than we'd ever been last year.
[00:30:06] AMNA NAWAZ - HOST, PBS NEWSHOUR: So when you talk about gun violence in America, who are some of the communities who are deeply and more disproportionately impacted?
[00:30:13] CHAMPE BARTON: Yeah. I mean, it's predominantly city neighborhoods that are majority black and majority low income that are affected by this kind of gun violence. And this is true of the mass shooting violence that we see in the country, and it's also true of the sort of drum beat of regular gun violence that we see. The only thing where the only form of gun violence, where black people are not the disproportionate, or don't accept the disproportionate share of the deaths, are suicides, which these red flag laws do have a chance and have proven in some studies to be pretty effective at reducing.
[00:30:45] AMNA NAWAZ - HOST, PBS NEWSHOUR: We do know that these mass attacks do tend to generate a lot of attention, though. Right? And the president has been asked about it. He called these latest spike in shootings a national embarrassment. And president Biden has also introduced some executive action when it comes to addressing gun violence, right? When you look at those steps he's taken, what kind of a difference would those make and addressing our gun violence problem?
[00:31:04] CHAMPE BARTON: Most of them were not any new laws that would exist on the books immediately. They were suggestions or they were requiring the Department of Justice to put together laws that would prevent certain things, but we don't have an idea of what those laws would look like.
There was also an ask that the federal government put together some boiler plate red flag law, model legislation that other states could adopt. But again, that would not necessitate that these states adopt a law. The one thing that the one executive action that would absolutely have an effect, it would seem at least according to researchers and activists, is that he pledged $5 billion to support community gun violence interventions. And that is more money than has ever been proposed to address these sorts of problems. And it's more money that government proposed to invest into these communities that experienced the vast majority of this gun violence. And there is pretty robust research to suggest that the interventions that would be targeted with this money would have an effect on reducing the number of shootings and gun deaths that happened in these cities, like we talked about before.
[00:32:05] AMNA NAWAZ - HOST, PBS NEWSHOUR: What about the NRA? With them now in bankruptcy proceedings, is there a sense that their influence is waning with lawmakers?
[00:32:11] CHAMPE BARTON: Yeah, it's hard to say. It's absolutely true that the NRA is sort of weaker than it's ever been as a result of all the things you just mentioned. However, the Republican party has sort of absorbed the NRA's talking points and this idea of gun rights absolutism. And that is the party line now. And I don't think at least -- you know, this is just my personal opinion -- I don't see a real reason to be super optimistic that the party line is going to shift simply because the NRA is weaker, because this has become a Republican party platform plank as much as it already is an NRA plank.
A New Kind of Gun Control Part 2 - What Next - Air Date 2-3-22
[00:32:42] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: So the City Council voted last month on this ordinance, and it requires gun owners in San Jose to carry liability insurance and also to pay an annual $25 fee, a harm reduction fee. Some of these things, the fee seems a little bit new to me, the insurance seems like something people may already have through homeowner’s insurance or something like that. So tell me how this ordinance will change things?
[00:33:17] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Yeah, all fair. So let me start with the insurance. It is true that many homeowners and renters already have liability insurance for possession of guns. They may not be reporting the guns to the insurance companies, as they ought to be. It all depends, obviously, on the policy, but this is insurance that's widely available. We want to make sure that, first of all, folks have it because it’s important to compensate those who are injured and harmed by guns, but also because when you notify the insurance company, the insurance company can start to ask questions like, do you have a gun safe? Do you have a trigger lock? Have you taken gun safety classes? And those kinds of actions can help to reduce the premium for the insured, just as drivers got safe driver discounts and our premiums, we got discounts back in the day when they came out with anti-lock brakes and airbags and other kinds of devices that have made driving safer.
In fact, we’ve seen, on a per mile basis, that fatalities related automobiles have dropped about 80 percent over the last five decades, and part of that, a big part of that, is insurance companies that are incentivizing people to be safer, to drive safer cars. So in the same way, we’re hoping that insurance companies will really get in the game, roll up their sleeves. Not just obviously San Jose does this, but hopefully as more cities and states do it.
[00:34:42] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: The $25 fee, what will that go towards? Like who decides what it goes toward?
[00:34:49] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Yeah, really important question. So we’re forming a Bible and see three foundation which is going to receive the dollars and the board, which will be comprised of a host of folks, including, for example, a Stanford professor who is an epidemiologist, who’s been focused on gun harm, and nonprofit experts who understand domestic violence prevention program, suicide prevention. We've invited, and at least one member of a gun group has actually joined this effort, to create this nonprofit, because we want organizations representing gun owners to be at the table, helping us to understand how do we best communicate how we best invest?
And overwhelmingly, and I'd say entirely under the ordinance, these dollars are going to serve occupants have gun owning households or significant others who are in relationship with those who own guns.
[00:35:40] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: How?
[00:35:41] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Well, a letter will go out to all gun owning households and say, hey, you got a gun, here’s a lot of services that are available to you. Mental health, suicide prevention, domestic violence prevention, gun safety classes, whatever it might be that is evidence based, it shows that we can reduce gun violence. Here’s a host of services, and by the way, here’s your obligation. You’ve got to pay a $25 fee.
[00:36:04] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: So it’s almost like joining a club.
[00:36:08] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Yeah, and look, I don’t pretend to believe these are overwhelmingly folks who are willing to want to do this. I recognize that this is by government fiat and many would prefer not to pay the fee, but if we’re in the business of reducing harm and devastation from guns, you go to where the risk is.
[00:36:28] MARY HARRIS - HOST, WHAT NEXT: How much are you expecting that people will pay this fee? Is there an enforcement mechanism? What happens if they don’t?
[00:36:37] MAYOR SAM LICCARDO: Yeah, important question. So it’s it’s a civil requirement. We have not created a criminal sanction here for various reasons. So anyone who doesn’t comply will pay a fine. In terms of enforcement, how that happens, what we see right now in the judicial landscape, and the Supreme Court looks like they’re about to invalidate New York’s concealed carry restrictions, California also had concealed carry permit requirements, and when those get pushed aside, as we expect they will, we’re going to have a lot more law enforcement encountering people with guns out on the street, in bars, and nightclubs.
You can imagine a host of different venues where a police officer would really like to have the ability to remove a gun from a potentially combustible situation. For example, there’s a bar brawl and they're patting down everybody after the cops have arrived and someone’s got a gun. Have you paid your fee? You have insurance? No. OK, well, there’s an opportunity for us to remove the gun, and then when the gun owner comes back and demonstrates that they complied with the law and their lawful gun owner, they get their gun back. But in the meantime, you’ve taken a gun out of a bar brawl. and that’s not a bad thing.
Stop Gun Violence: A Valentine's Day Plea from the Heart - Breaking the Sound Barrier - Air Date 2-17-22
[00:37:57] AMY GOODMAN - HOST, BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER: Stop gun violence, a Valentine's day plea from the heart.
I'm Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! with Dennis Moynihan in our weekly Breaking the Sound Barrier podcast.
Valentine's Day is when we're supposed to give heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and flowers to those we love. For Manuel Oliver, Valentine's Day is something different. His 17-year-old son Joaquin was shot and killed that day in 2018 at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Guac, as Joaquin was affectionately known, was one of 17 people killed in the massacre perpetrated by a lone gunman, a former student armed with a semi-automatic weapon. 17 others were wounded. That's why Manny Oliver, in the cold pre-dawn darkness at 4:00 a.m. this Valentine's Day, was clambering up 150-foot construction crane, just a block from the White House, carrying a message from his heart for president Biden. "45,000 people died from gun violence on your watch," read the banner that Manny and another activist unfurled. It also had a portrait of Joaquin and a website ShockMarket.org, which a coalition of three gun control groups -- March for our Lives, Guns Down America and Change the Ref -- developed to pressure the Biden administration to act. Manny sent out a video from the crane as the sun rose over Washington, with the National Mall and the Washington Monument behind him.
[00:39:33] MANUEL OLIVER: The whole world will listen to Joaquin today.
[00:39:35] AMY GOODMAN - HOST, BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER: It's very hard to make out Manny's words in the wind. "The whole world will listen to Joaquin today," he says. He goes on: "He has a very important message. I asked for a meeting with Joe Biden a month ago. I never got that meeting. So now I'm back with Joaquin. Now you're going to have to deal with him. Good luck with that. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, from Joaquin Oliver," Manny said.
As police gathered below, Joaquin's mother Patricia Oliver and Parkland massacre survivor David Hogg, a classmate of Joaquin's, readied another banner nearby. This one, an electronic message board mounted on a truck. It too highlighted ShockMarket.org.
[00:40:23] DAVID HOGG: Hi everyone. Today it is the four-year anniversary of what happened in Parkland where 17 of our classmates and teachers were shot and killed in our high school.
[00:40:33] AMY GOODMAN - HOST, BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER: That's David Hogg, now a student at Harvard University, in a video.
[00:40:37] DAVID HOGG: Today we're in front of the White House and going to be driving around with this truck, like about the number of gun deaths and injuries that have happened since Biden took office. He's promised a number of things that he could do as president right now, but it hasn't yet to do so through executive action. And we're demanding that he takes action to save lives before the next Parkland happens.
[00:40:56] AMY GOODMAN - HOST, BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER: ShockMarket is a play on "stock market." The activists want the Biden administration to monitor gun violence statistics as seriously as the countless economic indicators that drive so much policy in Washington. The mobile billboard David Hogg drove through DC displayed the following figures taken from the independent, nonpartisan Gun Violence Archive current as of Valentine's Day, beginning from Biden's inauguration on January 20th, 2021. Gun deaths, 47,734. Gun injuries, 42,641. Mass shootings, 718. Minors killed, 1,652. Minors injured, 4,387. Unintentional shootings, 2,057. Murder-suicides, 650.
Any one of these figures is shocking. Together, they paint a grim picture of gun violence in US society. We're truly unique in the world with hundreds of millions of guns in circulation, many designed for sole purpose of killing human beings. The ShockMarket activists are demanding president Biden establish a national office of gun violence prevention, that there be public investment in community-based gun violence intervention programs, that the federal government hold the gun industry accountable, and that Biden use the bully pulpit of his office to drive the issue of gun violence prevention onto the national agenda. They've issued Biden a deadline of the State of the Union address to offer a detailed plan of action.
The NRA has long dominated the political landscape around gun control, ensuring that no meaningful legislation passes through Congress. In recent years, though, the NRA has been rocked by scandal with its head, Wayne LaPierre and other executives caught spending on lavish personal trips and clothing, according to leaked financial documents obtained by the pro-gun news website, The Reload, the NRA's membership has dropped by half in the past five years, and spent 20% of its budget fighting its mounting legal problems.
Meanwhile, nine families of victims and one survivor of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown Connecticut this week announced an historic $73 million settlement with Remington, the now defunct manufacturer of the semiautomatic rifle used to kill the 26 six to seven year old children and six staff members at that school shooting.
Manny Oliver's peaceful Valentine's Day protest atop the crane ended with his arrest. The organization he and his wife founded in Joaquin's memory, Change the Ref, posted a photo of Manny being led away in handcuffs with the caption, "A father's work is never done."
Woman Accidentally Fires Purse Gun at Basketball Game - David Pakman Show - Air Date 11-6-21
[00:44:04] DAVID PAKMAN - HOST, DAVID PAKMAN SHOW: There is a reason why in this story's YouTube clip, I'm using the word "accidentally" in quotes. Because when it comes to accidentally firing a gun, we really shouldn't be using the word "accidental." We should be using the word "negligent." We should be using the word "reckless."
The headline, as it's being reported by WLOX and others, is that a woman had a gun in her purse during a basketball game. Okay. And she "accidentally" fired the gun. I don't think "accidentally" is really the right word that we should be using here. But the story is a woman has been given a $500 bond after firing a gun at a basketball game in Madison -- Madison, Mississippi, that is. "According to police, the incident happened inside the gym at Rosa Scott School Monday night. During the game, Kaushaun Alexsis McRunells reached into her purse to grab her phone, but accidentally fired her gun. Nobody was hurt, but the game was suspended while investigators escorted McRunells to a secure office inside the school. McRunells did have an enhanced concealed carry permit [-- or 'perMIT' as some folks like to say --] which allowed her to have the firearm at the event. However, she was charged with discharging a firearm within the city limits of Madison in violation of the city of Madison ordinance. McRunells was given a $500 bond and a court date to appear before Madison municipal court."
"Accidentally" means negligent discharge. We have to stop normalizing these incidents by calling them "accidents."
And that's why I'm calling this, "quote, accidentally." It's the wrong word. It was a negligent discharge that was related to the reckless handling of a firearm. Imagine -- now it didn't happen here, but it happens all the time -- imagine ending someone's life with such a dumb mistake. It's happened. We've covered the stories.
Even -- I mean, this is now kind of a whole other topic in a sense, because some people pointing out this was a legal, concealed carry individual license -- even the classes that are run in many states are kind of a joke. I, as I've said before, I don't talk about whether I own guns, so I'm just going to couch this generally: there are many liberals I know that own guns who have said the classes really can be passed by morons. And we know that to be true because of the number of instances where it's not someone who criminally obtained a gun, doesn't have a permit, doesn't have a concealed carry permit, whatever -- people who are licensed and up to date on everything that they're supposed to do -- who behave recklessly and negligently with firearms. And if an until -- and I'm like a broken record on this -- if and until accidents are actually treated like the serious negligence that they are, I don't think we're going to see anything change.
The Madison Cawthorn incident is just a perfect example of this, where Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn tried to board a plane from, I think it was somewhere to Charlotte. Maybe it was Asheville to Charlotte or something like that. And he tried, in the sense that he had a firearm in his carry on, he tried to board a plane to get through TSA security with a firearm. And it was chalked oh, it was an accident. He didn't know the gun was in the bag, as if that's an excuse.
If you don't know where your firearm is, if you believe the firearm that you're responsible for -- which is a huge responsibility -- if you believe that firearm is in one place and it's actually in a different place, that's reckless, that's negligent. It's not an excuse to say I didn't think it was in my bag. That's an indication that we should be reviewing, whether you should even be allowed to have that gun at all.
So, it's an issue we're going to continue covering. And the extent to which this is something Democrats should be running on, I've said before, I don't know that it's, pragmatically speaking, a good issue to win elections, particularly in places where it's very purple, purple to reddish, but it's an issue that's not going away anytime soon.
Brian Lehrer Close Reading Adams Blueprint to End Gun Violence - The Brian Lehrer Show - Air Date 2-17-22
[00:48:20] ANTHONINE PIERRE: I think that the... where the blueprint really, really goes wrong is trying to juxtapose these solutions that advocates have been asking for, like expanding SYP, and the fair futures initiative...
[00:48:32] BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, THE BRIAN LEHRER SHOW: SYP is the Summer Youth Program, yep.
[00:48:35] ANTHONINE PIERRE: Great. Thank you. You know, we do this alphabet soup in nonprofits sometimes.
Um, but... but where it really goes wrong is juxtaposing these really important reforms that, uh, we actually need to be incredibly widespread. We actually need to put resources into communities that are facing issues with gun violence, because we know that gun violence is not just an isolated violence; it's happening in a context of structural violence.
And so, when you're giving us these solutions in small amounts, and then you're giving us these wide, wholesale... wholesale expansions of the NYPD's scope, and power, and influence, in higher amounts, it really calls a question: what is the point? Right?
Is... is the point just to expand policing, and say that we're increasing resources? Because if we do really want to increase resources, then it's really clear that policing is not effective in driving down gun violence. I think if it had been, then we wouldn't be in this moment that we're in now.
[00:49:34] BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, THE BRIAN LEHRER SHOW: Elise, same question--
And by the way, listeners; to Anthonine's point right there: later in the segment, we'll get to the mayor's budget proposal, released yesterday, for the next fiscal year, and see if, in his first budget blueprint, he puts his money where his mouth is on the End Gun Violence blueprint; on some of the non-policing, as well as policing aspects.
But, Elise, same question, on how much you think he gets the balance about right, on paper?
[00:50:01] ELISE WHITE: So, when I give my response, my response is going to be based on qualitative and quantitative interviews that, um, myself and some of my colleagues have done with about 400 young people who are gun carriers, or who have carried guns, in the last four or five years.
So what we learned from them is that: absolutely, they're looking for employment opportunities; absolutely, they need and seek out mental health care. Um, and that credible messengers are very powerful mechanisms to connecting young people to these things.
And so I think, on that front, the data that we have absolutely supports what the Mayor has put forward.
Now, I think where... you know, where our work diverges a little bit, is that, um, increased police presence... you know, I can't speak and I... and I... and my data doesn't, really, talk to whether it's effective at driving down, uh, you know, gun crime.
But what it does show us is that young people really respond, and need, and crave, deescalation support, safe spaces, and methods of bringing the temperature down. Because the more that they feel surveilled, the more they feel, um, at threat, and at risk, the more they carry guns.
And that... that risk can come from other young people who are gun carriers, but it also comes from the police. And they're very clear on that; um, that the police also are driving their gun carrying behaviour.
Um, I would also say that, um, you know, a lot of times, what they'll talk about is, yes, police, you know, more police on the street. I think about it, I'm aware of it; but it's not necessarily a deterrent for me, because I'd rather be in jail than dead.
So they're looking... their gun carrying behavior-- we know this-- is driven by fear of their own deaths, and... and the fear, you know, for their family members.
Um, and those are real... real concerns that I don't think... I don't think more employment, uh, opportunities, and more mental health services, really directly address.
[00:52:14] BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, THE BRIAN LEHRER SHOW: Wow. What would?
[00:52:20] ELISE WHITE: Oh! Well, I think, you know, I... they need, as... as Anthonine suggested, I think really robust programming on the ground, embedded in community. Because... because the conditions change, right? Neighborhood to neighborhood, the dynamics that are driving gun crime, you know, whether it's gang related, even... even if we say that-- which not all of it is-- um, those dynamics are very different neighborhood by neighborhood. So it needs to be embedded in communities.
I think that we've learned that gang leadership... you know, we talk about credible messengers, and oftentimes... oftentimes it's a euphemism for people who are gang-involved, or who have... who have been gang-involved. I think we need to get explicit, that gang leadership is very powerful for young people who are gun carriers, both in, um, helping to support them, helping them survive, and helping them, you know, basically, gatekeeping, or approving, what they're allowed to talk about outside of what is a very insular community, for necessity and survival sake. Right?
So, gang leadership really needs to be able to be brought to the table and to be engaged in conversation, so that young people, uh, feel that they have the approval and the safety, because often, in their world, gang leadership and... and, you know, these more powerful men within the gangs, are those who secure the safety for the neighborhood.
[00:53:45] BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, THE BRIAN LEHRER SHOW: Here's a tweet that's coming in with a question. And the question is, "What exactly do the mayor's gun teams do and not do?"
And Anthonine, now I'm going to stay with you on this for the first response. Um, we... we know that one of the controversies in the blueprint is what the mayor calls 'Neighborhood Safety Teams' in the 30 precincts with the most shootings. And the mayor says they will be wearing modified uniforms, so they won't be plain-clothes, like the abusive units of the past.
So how do you understand this idea of modified uniforms, and can that help make these unif... Uh, these units more effective at getting guns off the street while avoiding abusive and discriminatory policing?
[00:54:31] ANTHONINE PIERRE: Yeah. I mean, I imagine that we'll see them wearing a lot of what we've seen and Mayor Eric Adams wearing over the last month or so, which is, you know, plain clothes with some kind of insignia on it, which is... it's still a version of plain clothes, right?
And when we talk about what's going on in these neighborhoods, I mean, what has really gotten lost in this conversation is, what... you know, these precincts that are going to be targeted, what are they? Right?
If we look at these precincts, we see that 32 of the 34 precincts are majority Black and Latinx. And so, we've got this blueprint that, uh, the Mayor speaks to public health, right? He says that gun violence is a public health problem, but, you know, thank you for asking so many New Yorkers to read the blueprint, because the first... the cover is police officers. It's an NYPD cover. It's called the blueprint.
And so, we're talking about supporting-- quote unquote, supporting-- these precincts, supporting these neighborhoods. But what we actually see being offered is this policing.
And when we talk about neighborhood safety, these Neighborhoods Safety Teams, one thing I want to note is, that in 2021, the NYPD itself commissioned a study that showed that, uh, that people who live in these precincts, people who live in these neighborhoods, have the views that: police do not treat people fairly; that police use force when it's not necessarily; that their neighborhood is not in a better place because of police; and the police do not address the problems of concern to their community.
So if we really want to address what's happening in these neighborhoods, clearly, policing is not the answer. And what we need to be looking at is the structural violence, and the racial violence has concentrated in these neighbourhoods.
[00:56:13] BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, THE BRIAN LEHRER SHOW: But the polls show that people in the neighborhoods you're talking about generally do not want less policing: they want better policing. Do you disagree?
[00:56:24] ANTHONINE PIERRE: I don't disagree. I mean, I think what we're talking about here is, how neighborhoods understand safety, right? And so, we've all been raised in this place where we're taught if something bad happens, you call a cop. And so we've all internalized the idea that being safe means calling police, even as we've lived in a place where we've seen and experienced aggressive policing, police violence, police murders of civilians.
And so, what... where we are, you know-- particularly in this point where, this, sort of, mid pandemic point-- is, we really need to be reconceptualizing safety, and understanding that, uh, policing does negatively impact public health, that people experience, because of surveillance and police contact, people experience anxiety and depression, and that if we actually want to create safety, we need to expand alternatives to policing. We need to expand acute violence prevention and intervention programs.
[00:57:20] BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, THE BRIAN LEHRER SHOW: What they would say, those three mayors, is that, "Gun violence went down, and down, and down, and down with all those policies, uh, in place, and only now, in the last two years, during the pandemic, has it popped up."
[00:57:37] ANTHONINE PIERRE: Well, when you look at who's actually doing the gun violence-- I really want to point to, actually, a report from the Center for Court Innovation, that the people who are currently involved in gun violence, 88% of these folks are... have had a family member or a friend shot.
So, the nexus of all of this violence really is the systemic under-resourcing of communities, and even though we've seen a ton of policing, what we have not seen, at the same scale, is these communities being flooded with housing, jobs, education, and food security.
What we're starting to see, with the mayor's new budget, is fiscally responsible policing, as opposed to actually bringing the resources that are going to undermine and uproot gun violence.
Final comments on the news from the invasion of Ukraine by Russia
[00:58:19] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips today, starting with What Next, speaking with a Sandy Hook parent about their activism of the past decade;
The Rachel Maddow Show explained the recent settlement won by the Sandy Hook parents against Remington;
Democracy, Now! spoke with David Hogg about his activism since surviving the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting;
What next? spoke with the mayor of San Jose about their first-in-the-nation measures to require insurance and impose a fee on gun owners;
The PBS News Hour looked at the disproportionate impact of gun violence on lower income Black neighborhoods, and what Biden executive orders could be impactful;
What Next? went into more detail about the benefits of requiring gun insurance;
and Breaking The Sound Barrier told the story of the banner drop near the White House on Valentine's Day demanding more action on gun control.
That's what everyone heard, but members also heard bonus clips from The David Pakman Show highlighting a single story that exemplifies negligent gun use;
and The Brian Lehrer Show dug into some of the policies in place in New York City, and new ones being proposed.
To hear that, and have all of our bonus content delivered seamlessly into your new members-only podcast feed that you'll receive, sign up to support the show at bestoftheleft.com/support, or request a financial hardship membership, because we don't make a lack of funds a barrier to hearing more information. Every request is granted, no questions asked.
And now just a final comment today. I want to mention that, obviously, we are all aware of the recent news coming out of Ukraine, and as is the nature of this show, we do not trade in hot takes and first impressions. And so, it is going to seem as though we're relatively silent on the topic for the time being, but I can assure you, we are already working on pulling together information that properly contextualizes Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
If you have thoughts on that, or anything else, as always, you can keep the comments coming in at 202 999 3991, or by emailing me to [email protected]
That's going to be it for today. Thanks to everyone for listening. Thanks to Deon Clark and Erin Clayton for their research work for the show and participation in our bonus episodes.
Thanks to the Monosyllabic Transcriptionist Trio, Ben, Ken, and Scott for their volunteer work, helping put our transcripts together.
And thanks to Amanda Hoffman for all of her work on our social media outlets, activism segments, graphic designing, web mastering, and bonus show co-hosting.
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So coming to you from far outside the conventional wisdom of Washington, DC, my name is Jay, and this has been the Best of the Left podcast coming to you twice weekly thanks entirely to the members and donors to the show from bestoftheleft.com.