Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Olympic Sport

Thanks to Top of the Chain.

Utah the Gun Owners' Paradise

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on an "accidental" shooting.

A passenger checking a gun accidentally discharged his weapon on the curbside of Terminal 1 of Salt Lake City International Airport.

The passenger was declaring his weapon to a Sky Cap when he either mishandled or dropped it, said David Korzep, airport operations superintendent. The semiautomatic pistol had one bullet left in the chamber, Korzep said, and when it struck the pavement, shrapnel hit the foot of the Sky Cap employee. He was treated on the scene and not transported to the hospital.

"The injuries are pretty minor," Korzep said.

Airport police were questioning the passenger.

To properly check a gun, the weapon must be in a hard, locked case and the entire weapon, including the chamber, must be cleared. The ammunition must be stored separately.

First of all, I say one strike you're out. Let me ask you this. Would you trust a guy like him to be in the presense of your family, a guy who's proven to be capable of this kind of gun handling? Are you of the opinion that accidents can happen to anyone? Doesn't that violate the personal responsibility I keep hearing about? Accidents happen to people who commit them, wouldn't you say?

Secondly, why would someone not pack their gun properly at home before heading to the airport? Wouldn't that be the safest and smartest way to do it, minimizing the handling necessary at the busy check-in station? Do you think he was concerned he might have a shootout with some bad guys on the way to the airport?

This illustrates one of the problems with the gun mentality. You sure don't want to need the gun and not have it, so carry it at all times, even at the cost of common sense. That's what they do in Utah, and elsewhere. It's a subtle type of fear that causes people to arm themselves in situations in which their needing the gun is extremely unlikely.

What's your opinion? Do you think gun owners are motivated by fear? Please leave a comment.

Catch a Falling Star

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rachel Maddow on CPAC

What is wrong with these Conservatives? (h/t to Coonsey)

Don't Tread on Me

Here's the original.

h/t to Driftglass.

Mother and Son Shooting in Detroit

CNN reports on the case in Detroit in which a mother armed her 15-year-old son and encouraged him to commit murder.

A Detroit mother has been found guilty of murder for driving her 15-year-old son to the scene of a fatal shooting at a recreation center and supplying him with a gun.

A Wayne County Circuit jury found Tarranisha Davis guilty of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors said 35-year-old Davis drove her son to the Considine Little Rock Family Life Center on Oct. 8 and opened the hood of her vehicle where he then retrieved a hidden revolver.

Four shots were fired and one struck 19-year-old Demitry Jackson in the head.

Prosecutors said Jackson was an innocent bystander who had gone to the center to play basketball.

“She made her son come back to the scene, she armed him, she prodded him,” prosecutor Lisa Lindsey said. “Just like a gun when you pull the trigger, he fired.”

That's a sad story. Of course it touches on our never-ending discussions about shared responsibility. I suppose the pro-gun folks who so vehemently resist my ideas will insist this is a wrongful conviction. After all, the mother didn't pull the trigger.

My question though, is not about the shared responsibility, which spreads out from this incident like ripples in a pond, but rather about the origins of the gun. Where do you suppose it came from? Who do you think was the last lawful owner of that gun and how did it move into the criminal world?

As I see it, there are only a few ways, all of which taint the last legal owner. It was either stolen or it was transferred knowingly or unknowingly to a criminal.

Some people don't like my blaming the victim of theft for losing the gun. I admit there are cases in which all proper precautions are taken and the guns are stolen anyway. But more often than not, I'd say there's some failure on the part of the gun owner which enabled the thief to succeed.

Some have said the gun owner who knowingly transfers a gun to a criminal is a criminal himself. But the same people who say that also demand proof for everything; they accept nothing without it. So, I suppose that means the gun owner who is slick enough to transfer his gun to a criminal without implicating himself enjoys his rights of presumed innocence and is therefore a lawful gun owner still. There are a lot of them out there like that, and I'll bet they will be the first to demand proof of me for saying this.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

America Forever

From Wikipedia, here's the description of this part.

3. Dovunque al mondo ("Throughout the world"). With echoes of the Star Spangled Banner, Pinkerton tells Sharpless that, throughout the world, the Yankee wanderer is not satisfied until he captures the flowers of every shore and the love of every beautiful woman. "So I am marrying in the Japanese style: for 999 years, but with the right to cancel the marriage each month". Sharpless is critical of Pinkerton’s beliefs, but they stand and agree, "America forever". Pinkerton tells Goro to bring Butterfly to him. When Goro leaves, Sharpless asks Pinkerton if he is really in love.

4. Amore o grillo ("Love or fancy"). Pinkerton admits to Sharpless that he does not know whether he is really in love or just infatuated, but he is bewitched with Butterfly’s innocence, charm and beauty, like a butterfly fluttering around and then landing with silent grace, so beautiful "that I must have her, even though I injure her butterfly wings". Sharpless tells Pinkerton that he heard Butterfly speak, when she visited the Consulate, and he asks Pinkerton not to pluck off her delicate wings. However, Pinkerton tells Sharpless that he will do "no great harm, even if Butterfly falls in love." Sharpless takes his glass of whisky and offers a toast to Pinkerton’s family at home, to which Pinkerton adds, "and to the day when I will have a real wedding and marry a real American bride." Goro re-enters to tell Pinkerton and Sharpless that Butterfly’s friends are coming.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rep. Anthony Weiner

Thanks to Litbrit over at Cogitamus.

How I wish we had forty more Democrats like Anthony Weiner and Alan Grayson.

Police Trainee Shoots Himself

Ohh Shoot has the story of an interesting accidental shooting.

A Washington state reserve police officer candidate unintentionally shot himself during weapons training at the shooting range. The trainees were practicing pulling their guns from secure holsters.

According to officials, Reserve candidate Hebdon "accidentally lost control of his weapon as he pulled it from his holster. He lost his grip and tried to grab his gun instead of letting it fall and somehow one of his fingers got into the trigger and trigger housing." The weapon, a .45-caliber pistol, fired, and the bullet hit Hebdon in the abdomen before lodging in his right buttock.

Officials said it was an accidental discharge and does not necessarily mean Hebdon will fail the academy. "He's not losing his position but he will definitely be in remedial firearm instruction."
Ohh shoot.

I suppose the fact that this incident will "not necessarily mean Hebdon will fail the academy" will be pleasing to many of our commenters. In the past I've suggested that one accident with a gun disqualifies the person for life. I realize that sounds extreme, but we're not talking about a little mistake here. We're talking about a .45 to the stomach.

What's your opinion? "Zero tolerance" has become so popular in other areas. Why don't we apply it to gun handling? Don't you think that would improve the quality of gun owners in general?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sarah Palin on the Constitution

From Liberal Viewer.

The Katrina Bridge Shooting Cover-up

CNN reports on the guilty plea by former New Orleans Police Lt. Michael Lohmanto Obstruction of Justice charges.

The shootings occurred after several officers, responding to a call for assistance, drove to the bridge and encountered six civilians who were walking across it to get food and supplies, the indictment says. The officers fired, killing one person -- later identified as 19-year-old James Brissette -- and wounding four others, according to the indictment.

Witness in 2006: New Orleans cops shot man in back

Once they reached the other side of the bridge, the officers started shooting again, killing Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old severely disabled man, the indictment says.

Madison was shot seven times -- five times in the back, the coroner has said.

What this sounds like to me is inexcusable police brutality. Cops often abuse their power. When their supervisors become aware of it, they help cover it up, as Lohmanto did.

What I can't accept is the pro-gun suggestion that this has something to do with a gun confiscation conspiracy. The exaggerated claim that post-Katrina gun confiscations took place in order for the government to execute citizens is beyond ridiculous.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Colorado School Shooting

CNN reports on the latest school shooting in Colorado.

During emergency drills at Deer Creek Middle School, teacher David Benke used to tell his students that if anything ever happened, he wanted to be able to "do something about it."

When he saw a man shooting at students as they were leaving the Littleton, Colorado, school on Tuesday, "What was going through my mind," Benke said, "was that I promised."

Benke tackled the gunman, who had shot and wounded two students, and with the help of another teacher and some bus drivers, was able to hold him until police arrived.

"I noticed that he was working a bolt-action rifle," he said. "I noticed that and realized that I had time to get him before he could chamber another round."

I'll bet the gun enthusiasts will ask why wasn't the teacher armed? That would have worked out better, I'm sure they'll say. What I say is, why was a mentally ill man able to walk into a school with his father's gun? If the father's description of the shooter is correct, then everyone who knew him should have known he can't be trusted with guns. Where were they?

The problem is in Colorado, like in many other places, guns are too much a way of life. Gun owners who prevent their friends from driving drunk wouldn't dare suggest they give up their guns. At stake is the sacred right of bearing arms, after all.

I say it's about time the lawful gun owners started to take responsibility for their own. Instead of shrugging their shoulders when one of their group breaks away and does something stupid, they should admit that they messed up again.

Sometimes it seems the pro-gun crowd want to be a cohesive group, enjoying strength in their huge numbers, but whenever something like this happens, they insist they have nothing to do with it.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NRA Reaction to Closing the "Gun Show Loophole"

On the NRA-ILA website there's a statement which perfectly encapsulates their resistence to common sense gun laws. In this case they're responding to proposed legislation which would affect Minnasota gun shows.

Representative Michael (DFL-64B) and State Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-60) have once again introduced legislation that would severely regulate the sale of firearms at gun shows.

House File 2960 and Senate File 2659 would force private sales at gun shows to go through background checks. Gun prohibitionists, such as State Representative, falsely claim that a large number of criminals get their guns from gun shows; however, the most recent federal study on gun shows put the figure at only 0.7 percent. This effort is a stepping stone for gun control advocates seeking to ban all private sales, even among family and friends.

This is where the pro-gun apologists get their ideas from. And it doesn't matter if they make sense or not, obvioulsy.

The first idea is stated as fact, that the gun control folks "falsely claim" something which in fact is debatable. That vague reference to "only 0.7%," with no link to back it up. is easily offset by other stats which support the gun control side.

The second idea is more of the mindreading that gun rights people like to do some much. Also stated as fact, they're saying what's in the mind of gun control advocates, something which they cannot know.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Arizona's Logic Loophole

The Arizona Republic published an interesting article likening their gun laws to "a logic loophole."

As far back as 2001, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, "Clearly, alleged members of terrorist organizations have been able to secure guns and weapons using the gun-show loophole."

Is there any doubt about this given the firepower and level of violence we have witnessed south of the border?

Still, legislators in Arizona have chosen not to take even this one small step to slow down the deadly flow of weapons.

Why? Because in order to do so they'd first have to plug their own commonsense loophole.

Isn't it about time to require background checks on all gun sales?

Please leave a comment.

More on the Iron Pipeline

The Star-Ledger ran an editorial piece about the "iron pipeline."

Seventeen years ago, pressured by its neighbors to stem the flow of guns into the Northeast, Virginia enacted a bipartisan bill that limited the purchase of handguns to one every 30 days. Virtually overnight, experts say, the "Iron Pipeline" slowed and the number of guns used in crimes in New Jersey and traced to Virginia fell sharply.

But now a Virginia legislator wants to turn his state back into one of New Jersey’s leading arsenals. A bill proposed by L. Scott Lingamfelter, a Republican, has cleared the House of Delegates, with mostly Republican support, and is headed for the state Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. There the bill’s chances are uncertain, but if it passes, Gov. Bob McDonnell intends to sign it. Virginia’s gun-running days could be back again.

Lingamfelter, a retired Army colonel, insists Virginians’ Second Amendment rights are being restricted. The current law "rations constitutional rights," he says; "It hasn’t reduced crime. It has reduced commerce."

Lingamfelter says the National Instant Check System, which wasn’t around in 1993, can keep felons from purchasing guns. Maybe, but many of the guns that end up in New Jersey are purchased by "straw buyers" — people with valid Virginia drivers licenses who act as purchasing agents for a fee.

New Jersey officials — from U.S. senators to police chiefs — are wondering what Virginia lawmakers are thinking. In a gun-trafficking study of 2008, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that, even with the reduced flow, Virginia still ranked third among outside states providing guns used in New Jersey crimes.

Repealing Virginia’s firearm law will mean hundreds more guns on New Jersey streets each year, many married to a violent, criminal intent. To argue that the law is an onerous burden on law-abiding gun buyers is silly. Virginians can buy 12 guns a year. How many do they need?

When the "experts" say the number of guns used in New Jersey crime which were traced back to Virginia fell sharply 17 years ago with the one-gun-a-month law, I believe them. What do you think? Even if the word "sharply" is an exaggeration, the numbers had to have declined.

When L. Scott Lingamfelter says the law needs to go because it infringes the 2nd Amendment rights of Virginians, don't you think this is one of those "common sense" restrictions gun rights advocates should accept in the name of the Common Good?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Battle Over Gun Rights

The New York Times published an interesting piece outlining the major successes and failures in the gun control vs. gun rights movements.

“We expected a very different picture at this stage,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control group that last month issued a report card failing the administration in all seven of the group’s major indicators.

Gun control advocates have had some successes recently, Mr. Helmke said. Proposed bills to allow students to carry guns on college campuses have been blocked in the 20 or so states where they have been proposed since the Virginia Tech shootings. Last year, New Jersey limited gun purchases to one a month, a law similar to the one Virginia may revoke.

But recent setbacks to gun control have been many.

What's your opinion? I say the gun rights star is ascending. But, for how long? That's my question.

Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

European Men vs. American Men

Mudrake posted a wonderful piece about the difference between European men and American Men.

Then there is the gun- a man’s weapon here in the states- ready to blow the head off of someone in anger. A simple, quick ’solution’ to the situation at hand. Blamo!

While I was in Europe last Fall for 14 days, there was not a single act of gun violence reported there. Not one. Today I opened our local paper and read of several just over this weekend.

Is it the ease of gun possession here in America that has halted the maturing of the fully-functioning American adult male? Because many men believe that the gun can ’solve the problem,’ have they not been able to reach that highest plateau in maturity of the fully-functioning adult man? Has it, like a crutch, inhibited that final phase of growth?

That gun is not as readily available to the European male and, as a result, has not been a crutch in his quest for complete personhood. He has had to make those final steps up to the top on his own.

What's your opinion? Do you think the prevalent gun culture in the States makes the men different than they might otherwise be? It's not just the availability and use of firearms, which is indeed great, but the attitudes and mentality that go along with them. These things could arguably inhibit a person from maturing in the area of conflict resolution, for example. What do you think?

Not only the gun but the booze. American males are literally awash in alcohol. It has become a rite of initiation into the adult world on his 18th birthday. He becomes a ‘man’ with that first legal beer. He’s all set to move into adulthood with that first snap of the lid. Atta boy!

I suggested in my Famous 10% post that only 3% of gun owners suffer from substance abuse to the point of rendering them unfit to own guns. I think that's an extremely lowball figure. As Mudrake says, "American males are literally awash in alcohol."

And even most pro-gun apologists admit mixing guns and booze is bad.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Jon Stewart on Health Care

The Apparent Trap
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Jason Williams Gun Demonstration

The Jason Williams case made the news last year when the former NBA player plea bargained to a lesser charge.

What do you think about the analysis of these "experts?" Please leave a comment.

The $64,000 Question

ABC News reports on the killing of a young man who broke into the wrong home in Toledo. Was it a legitimate DGU or an unnecessary killing? You decide. (Thanks to Gun Watch for the link)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Poor Tennessee

From The Humble Libertarian.

This reminds me of that poster back in the 70s picturing Nixon with the caption underneath, "Would you buy a used car from this man?"

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn on Tiahrt

JSOnline published an article about the controversial Tiahrt Amendments.

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to get rid of a law - quietly passed by Congress - that hides information from the public about guns used in crimes and the stores that sell them.

Instead, President Obama has embraced most of the law and added even more rules that could make it harder for law enforcement to crack down on dealers and stores selling guns to criminals.

While supporters of the secrecy law say shielding crime-gun data and dealer violations protects police officers, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn labels that notion "a crock."

In fact, Flynn said he didn't get a clear picture of what role West Milwaukee's Badger Guns plays in selling crime guns that end up in his city until six police officers were shot in a two-year span - all with guns from Badger Guns or its predecessor, Badger Outdoors.

Before the law passed, it was easier to see such trends and Badger Outdoors ranked at the top, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In 2005 alone, the store sold 537 crime guns - most in the nation.

The article goes on to offer an explanation behind the efforts of Congressman Tiahrt.

U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), who is the second-largest congressional recipient of National Rifle Association cash, said his legislation - commonly referred to as "Tiahrt" (pronounced TEE-heart) - is intended to protect undercover officers.

Flynn called the congressman's rationale for the law "a cynical fig leaf."

"Tiahrt was enacted after the ATF published reports telling everyone who the irresponsible gun dealers are. Suddenly officer safety was at risk? That is a crock," Flynn said. "It is sad, sad, sad that Congress is willing to endure this language and continue to be a willful accomplice in the arming of criminals with high-quality firearms."

By putting it in a budget bill, Tiahrt assured his measure would be passed without a separate up or down vote. Seven years later, there still hasn't been one.

What's your opinion? Do you think Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn is one of those deluded gun control nuts who are afraid of inanimate objects?

No, I wouldn't think so. I would imagine he knows what he's talking about. It sounds to me like this was a dirty deal paid for by the NRA, one that does far more harm than good.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Bloodshed Predicted in the National Parks

Lake Expo reported on the lifting of the National Parks gun ban beginning today. We discussed this last year when the bill passed, you remember, this was the one slipped into the Credit Card bill.

Starting Monday, a new federal law will allow guns to be carried into national parks and wildlife refuges across the country, including the Gateway Arch grounds and Missouri's Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

And while critics say the presence of guns in parks will disrupt some of the country's most serene settings, it doesn't mean visitors can expect to share a tram ride up the Arch with someone who's got a pistol tucked in a boot.

Gun owners must still follow all applicable municipal, state and federal laws while visiting parks and refuges. And guns will still be prohibited in federal facilities that are regularly staffed by National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees.

At the Arch, for example, guns will continue to be banned in the visitors center, the Old Courthouse, offices, the parking garage and maintenance buildings.

The Arch grounds, however, will now be open to gun owners obeying the law, said Pete Swisher, chief ranger.

"I think the easiest way to describe that area is the area outside of the Arch," Swisher said. "Once someone with a gun tries to go inside the building, security is going to stop them."

U.S. Department of Interior officials say it will be up to gun owners to know the law before entering a park or wildlife refuge.

Some states allow only concealed weapons to be carried while others also permit open carry. And most have reciprocity agreements that allow guns licensed in other states to be carried in another.

Park officials concede the overlapping web of state gun laws may be difficult for visitors to untangle.

Often the gun crowd accuses gun control folks of things they themselves are guilty of. I often point these things out. One of the most common is they often accuse me of being repetitive and refusing to change my opinions, as if that doesn't apply to them also.

Well, I wondered if this National Parks business is an example of incrementalism. The very thing they often accuse gun control folks of attempting must be what's behind this mess in the national parks. "In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors will be allowed to openly carry weapons in North Carolina. But if they cross over into Tennessee, they'll need a carry permit."

How long will it be before other laws are proposed to equalize these state differences in favor of the gun owners?

What's your opinion? Is this tricky method of gradually implementing laws which eventually lead to something greater, practiced by both sides? Do you think it's a fair criticism that the pro-gun folks complain about us doing this while they're guilty of it too?

Please leave a comment.

Louisiana's Ranking reports on the Brady ranking for Louisiana.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issued its state rankings last week and identified Louisiana as among the states with the weakest gun laws in the nation.

Louisiana tied for second to last place in America, along with Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky and Oklahoma -- earning just two points out of total of 100. Only Utah, with zero points, fared worse on the Brady index.

"Louisiana's elected leaders have done nothing in the past year to stop the flow of illegal guns within the state, failing to do common-sense things like closing the loophole that allows dangerous people to buy guns at gun shows without background checks," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign, which advocates for legislation to close the gun show loophole at the national level.

But Louisiana earned a couple of points in the Brady ranking for rejecting legislation that would have forced colleges and universities to allow concealed and loaded guns on campus.

What's your opinion? Why would a state with such weak gun laws not also allow guns on campuses? Is it possible that the issue of guns on campuses is not as straightforward as the gun crowd says?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Misquoting Ronald Reagan

From Liberal Viewer.

More on the O'Reilly - Stewart Interview

Liberal Viewer posted this video on the interview.

Rep. Alan Grayson's Close Call

CNN reports on the recent events in the African country of Niger while Rep. Grayson was visiting.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, narrowly escaped harm earlier this week after being caught up in a military coup in the African country of Niger.

Grayson's press secretary, Todd Jurkowski, confirmed to CNN that Grayson was close to the action. "He heard the gunshots. They were literally in the building next door."

The outspoken congressman was in Niger as part of a congressional delegation focused on science, technology and humanitarian relief, according to Jurkowski. When the situation began to unravel, Grayson was taken to the residence of the United States Ambassador to Niger, where he was placed under armed protection.

On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State P.J. Crowley told reporters the U.S. Embassy was monitoring the situation and confirmed Grayson was safe at the embassy. Later that night, a Niger military official announced the country's constitution has been suspended.

Grayson has since traveled to the neighboring country of Burkina Faso, and is scheduled to return to the United States Friday evening.

The comments at the end of the CNN story perfectly describe the different ways to see this.

An anonymous commenter said, "Why was Grayson running around on junkets when we all know that we need to control our spending. His job is to represent Florida, not Niger."

Brian from N.J. said, "This is one great American! And I just LOVE that all of you tea-bagging bigots hate him soooooooo much!!!! JUST PROVES HE'S DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT."

What's your opinion? I agree with Brian. Isn't it important for Congressmen to travel in order to better understand the issues? Is the expense of these "junkets" so great that we need to worry about it?

What do you think? Please leave a comment.