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Rural gun owner explains how ‘fear of one another’ has turned America into a stew of toxic paranoia

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David Joy, an author who lives in rural North Carolina, has written a lengthy essay about American gun culture in the New York Times in which he finds himself disturbed at the paranoia he sees in many of his fellow gun owners.

Even though Joy owns multiple guns himself and has been a gun owner for years, he finds himself feeling increasingly isolated by the dark overtones of American gun culture, which he says is now primarily driven by toxic fear.

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“Fear is the factor no one wants to address — fear of criminals, fear of terrorists, fear of the government’s turning tyrannical and, perhaps more than anything else, fear of one another,” he says. “There’s no simple solution like pulling fear off the shelf. It’s an intangible thing. I recognize this, because I recognize my own and I recognize that despite all I know and believe I can’t seem to overcome it.”

Joy says that he has carried a gun on him for years — and he admits it’s likely due to a traumatic experience he had when he was 14 when an armed robber put a gun to his head and threatened to shoot him unless he handed over the money that was in his wallet.

All the same, he believes that the right to self defense has transformed into an all-encompassing paranoia about our fellow citizens that is harming our society.

“I’m torn between the culture I grew up with and how that culture has devolved,” he writes. “There are changes I know must come, changes to what types of firearms line the shelves and to the background checks and ownership requirements needed to carry one out the door. And there is an unrelenting fear of what could be lost — a subsistence culture already threatened by the loss of public land, rising costs and a widening rural-urban divide; the right of individuals to protect their own lives and the lives of their families.”

Read the whole essay here.

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Kellyanne Conway voted by mail — before opposing it for other voters: report

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On Wednesday, Kellyanne Conway said voting by mail should not be universal, adding that people should be willing to wait in lines to vote during a pandemic if they are willing to wait in hour-long lines at Georgetown Cupcake. People were swift to point out the flaws in her argument, including that cupcakes are not a constitutional right and that Georgetown Cupcake is actually not allowing people to stand in line right now.

But there's another problem. On Thursday, the Huffington Post reported that Conway herself voted by mail in the 2018 midterm elections.

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Research reveals the damage right-wing media has inflicted on America — and it’s just the tip of the iceberg

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Donald Trump wants to go after social media because Twitter pointed out one of his lies. And, in fact, social media has done a lot of damage to America and the American body politic, with the most visible example being it’s help in putting Donald Trump in the White House in 2016.

But even more concerning should be Fox News and right wing hate radio. A new study out of Columbia university finds that when people in any particular ZIP Code experience a 1% increase in Fox News viewership, it “reduces the propensity to stay at home by 8.9 percentage points compared to the pre-pandemic average.”

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Texas bar owner bans masks to prevent ‘virtue signaling’ – and kickstarts an online firestorm

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A bar owner in Elgin, Texas, has implemented a new rule for his business: no entry with a mask.

“Due to our concern for our citizens, if they feel the need to wear a mask, then they should probably stay home until it’s safe," read a sign posted outside Liberty Tree Tavern.

Speaking to 9News, bar owner Kevin Smith said he's following social distancing guidelines so the masks are unnecessary.

The bar's Facebook page shared an article on the story, adding the comment: "Just trying to break this cycle of fear and virtue signaling. The CDC, Surgeon General, and even Fauci say, these mask do nothing and can even cause more harm. The county mandate has been lifted, the sun is shining, let's get back to living our lives without fear!"

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