Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blog Break - Just a Couple Days

Commenting moderation is off just in case someone wants to say something and doesn't want to wait for my return in order to see it posted.

And, actually I don't think we finished discussing this one. There was a bit of an e-mail kerfuffle. It seems Weer'd felt my post was bordering on slander.

This post borders on slander. I respectfully request you remove it.
I politely said no and asked what exactly was the part which bordered on slander. No response.

And of course there are two timeless posts which can always use further discussion, here and here.

The Bizilj Case Back in the News

The Boston Globe reports on the sanctions rendered against the gun club in which an 8-year-old accidentally killed himself with a machine gun. When we talked about this before the gun lovers basically said these events are just good clean fun and it rarely happens that something goes wrong anyway.

Seventeen months after an 8-year-old Connecticut boy fatally shot himself with a machine gun provided at a Massachusetts gun range, the Westfield Sportsman's Club pleaded no contest today to a manslaughter charge and to furnishing a machine gun to a child.

As part of a settlement in Springfield Superior Court, the club agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for the manslaughter charge and to pay $10,000 to two charities that work with children.

Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., died on Oct. 26, 2008, after losing control of a high-powered Uzi machine gun, which recoiled and fatally shot him in the head. The boy's father had brought him to a gun shooting event at the club.
Besides Christopher's father who brought him to this sick event and was too far removed from the action to be of help, it came out later that the one responsible for supervising the boy was just a kid himself.

The mother asked how it could have happened that it was an unlicensed 15-year-old boy, the son of one of the gun dealers sponsoring the event, who was in charge of supervising her son.

"How could [the gun dealer] think his 15-year-old son could possibly be mature enough and skilled enough to put a powerful automatic weapon in the hands of an 8-year-old boy? How could gun club range officers allow non-certified instructors to be in control?" she asked, adding, "It is hard to comprehend the extent of negligence that went on that afternoon."
So, just so no one can say the gun club and all the dads involved got off light, there was another legal consequence.

"There will be no more automatic weapons at the Sportsman's Club. That's the condition I accept this plea," the judge said. "We cannot endure another case like this. This has shaken the conscience of the whole community."

To me this sounds almost like a cover-up, something you'd expect in Alabama or Indiana. What's the point of all those strict gun laws in the North East if they let people and gun clubs get away with stuff like this with a slap on the wrist?

What's your opinion? You know what I think. The dads involved in this case, and all the other gun-dads, should be ashamed of themselves. But, I'd like to hear what you think.

Please leave a comment.

Friday, March 12, 2010

We Like War

Apropos of several of our frequent discussions.

More Texas Justice

"Hopefully, I mean if he's stupid enough to come back around, we can git him."

I couldn't help but notice that not a word was said about the shooting being justified or not. That's Texas justice for you, the offender was so despicable in what he did, that no one even considered if the woman's actions were correct. The cop did indirectly address this, I suppose, when he said she was afraid. I wonder about that. I thought she might have been outraged that "he's back," or angered at his audacity.

Do you think the fact that he was not wounded is because she fired only a warning shot or was she a poor marksman (markswoman)? If she fired a warning shot while outraged or frightened or angered at his audacity, I say that's wrong. If she shot at him and missed him while either frightened or angered, I say that's wrong.

As sick a bastard as this guy is, the criterion for getting shot at should be much higher.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Cleveland Gun Laws reports on the city's attempts to restrict gun laws in spite of the state's laxity.

If Cleveland had its way, every gun in the city would have to be registered, no one would carry a weapon openly and assault weapons would be banned.

All three of those rules, however -- and there are others the city would like to impose -- run contrary to an Ohio gun law that took effect three years ago establishing one set of firearm rules for everyone from Lake Erie down to the Ohio River.

The city has had its tougher gun restrictions on hold ever since House Bill 347 passed while it has battled the state to a draw in court over whether the local rules are legal.

Now, the Ohio Supreme Court has decided it will hear the case to settle the dispute for once and for all. A lower court sided with the state, saying only federal and state codes could restrict firearms. But an appeals court backed the city, saying the state gun law is not "general law".

Although I can see the difficulty of gun owners having to contend with a patchwork of municipal laws and the advantage of standardizing the laws state-wide, it doesn't seem right to force a particular city to align itself with state laws it doesn't agree with.

What's your opinion? Why should Cleveland have to give in? Why shouldn't the rest of the state have to align itself with Cleveland, instead of vice versa? This sounds like a case of the pro-gun folks not wanting to compromise.

What's your opinion?

In Virginia It's One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports on two new gun laws.

The Virginia Senate today approved two controversial House of Delegates gun bills that will allow permit holders to carry concealed handguns into bars and non-permit holders to conceal their firearms in cars.

House Bill 505 (bars) and House Bill 885 (cars) were essentially identical to two Senate-sponsored bills that had already passed the chamber and were approved by the House. All four bills now head to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has indicated he will likely sign the legislation.

The Senate votes on the House bills were split, with several rural Democrats siding with Republicans. House Bill 505 passed 25-15, while House Bill 885 passed 24-16. Democrats hold a 22-18 majority in the 40-member Senate.

So, they're going to keep the one-gun-a-month restriction but allow folks to keep guns in cars. What's your opinion? Is that a safe thing to do?

They're going to allow guns in bars even though everyone agrees guns and alcohol don't mix? What's your opinion? Is that a safe thing to do?

Please leave a comment.

Trigger Locks on Guns in Massachusetts

The Boston Globe reports on the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling yesterday which upheld a state law requiring trigger locks on guns kept in people’s homes.

In what was seen by some as a victory for law enforcement and advocates of gun control, the state’s highest court ruled that the Second Amendment does not restrict the right of Massachusetts to impose its own rules on gun ownership.

“We conclude that the legal obligation safely to secure firearms in [state law] is not unconstitutional,’’ Justice Ralph Gants wrote for the unanimous court.

The gunlock case involved Richard Runyan, a Billerica man facing prosecution for keeping a rifle under his bed without a trigger lock. Police in 2007 discovered the firearm as they investigated complaints that Runyan’s then-18-year-old developmentally disabled son was shooting a BB gun at a neighbor’s house.

I read about this on Weer'd Beard's site yesterday. He's asked me not to link to him, so you'll have to find him yourself if you want to. I left a comment there which I don't know if he published. He may have adopted a commenting policy similar to mine which allows the deletion of comments containing personal attacks and name calling.

My comment basically questioned whether Weer'd had always been in compliance with this law which was "upheld," indicating that it's been on the books already. I suggested that in the privacy of his own home with no children around and believing that it's an unjust law anyway, he's been in violation of it all along. This, combined with his several assertions that he's never broken the slightest law, would make him a liar.

I don't mind people breaking minor laws in the privacy of their own homes, but what I do mind very much is when those people proclaim to never have done so and all the while point fingers at others making unfounded accusations.

What's your opinion? Is this an unjust law in Massachusetts? Do you think most "lawful" gun owners break laws like this one? Do you think it's possible for someone to break a law like this one and still be a "law-abiding gun owner?"

Please leave a comment.

Stephen Colbert on Crisis Gardens

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Senator Henry L. Marsh III

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports on the gun rights situation in Virginia.

With a newly elected Republican governor, a fortified GOP majority in the House of Delegates, and sympathetic rural Democrats in the Senate, proponents of expanding gun rights and the death penalty entered the 2010 General Assembly session with an ambitious agenda.

Repeal the one-gun-a-month statute. Allow concealed guns in bars and in cars. Expand the death penalty to accomplices in capital murders. Prohibit public access to records of holders of concealed-handgun permits. Prohibit localities from requiring fingerprints to apply for concealed handguns. Change the restrictions on hunting near subdivisions.

The only obstacle was the Democrat-dominated 15-member Senate Courts of Justice Committee and its chairman -- a soft-spoken, stubborn, septuagenarian senator and noted civil-rights lawyer from Richmond, Sen. Henry L. Marsh III.

Marsh turned out to be carrying a big stick.

All is not lost in Virginia as long as there are good men like Sen. Marsh on the job.

Did you think it's an interesting connection there between "expanding gun rights and the death penalty?" They usually go together. Why do you think that is?

One interesting thing about Marsh is that like some other gun control advocates he'd suffered a terrible personal tragedy.

In 1997, his 59-year-old brother, Richmond lawyer and substitute Judge Harold M. Marsh Sr., was fatally shot while stopped at a South Richmond traffic light.

The senator said the tragedy reaffirmed his stance against gun violence and cemented his opposition to the death penalty -- two positions he has advocated consistently on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.

I understand the "against gun violence" part, but something like that "cemented his opposition to the death penalty?" Now that's unusual.

What's your opinion? Is there hope for Virginia after all? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Patrick Kennedy on the Press

He mentions the fact that the Eric Massa coverage is 24/7, while interest in the Afghanistan War is minimal. That's what Il Principe calls a weapon of mass distraction.

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The Blade Runner Gun

Adam Savage on Gizmondo describes his passion for this gun.

Another Disgruntled Employee in Indiana

Business Week carried the Associated Press story of another disgruntled employee with a gun.

Bond was set at $400,000 for Edgar Tillery, 60, of Portage, said Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel.

Tillery became upset Friday during a poor job review, in which a manager told him the public and co-workers had complained about him, according to court documents. The manager told him he had 90 days to improve his performance, according to a probable cause affidavit.

After Tillery refused to change his practices, the supervisor told him he should perhaps consider resigning, to which Tillery replied, "I have an answer to that in my car," court documents said.

Tillery, a Workforce Development auditor for 19 years, returned from his car with a shotgun and fired through the glass front door an office supervisor had locked behind Tillery, according to police. He fired a second shot inside the office as his 16 co-workers fled in all directions out the back door, police said. No one was hurt.

That's a fascinating image isn't it? Getting up from a confrontative conversation with a remark like that. It makes you wonder how many gun owners go through their lives with that kind of seething anger just below the surface. What I don't understand is why do the ones who don't suffer from that, the great majority, get so defensive when I ask about it.

Can we agree that whatever the percentage of dangerous rageful gun owners is, as the number of gun owners increases, so will the number who fit this description?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

More on the New Orlean's Police has the story, which gets more and more twisted all the time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Montana Teacher Fires Gun in Classroom

The Associated Press reports on an accidental shooting which happened in a classroom during history lesson.

BILLINGS, Mont. — The superintendent of a rural Montana school district says he was showing students his black powder muzzleloader when he accidentally fired the weapon into a classroom wall during a history lesson.

Dwain Haggard, who used to be a Civil War re-enactor, was showing the gun to five students in Reed Point High School's American history class Friday when it fired.

No one was injured, and Haggard says he can't explain how the weapon was loaded.

He says he usually fires a cap during the demonstration, but this time there was a loud bang and the room filled with smoke.

The ball shot through the "o" in the word "North" on a wall map.

Haggard says none of the students' parents was upset with him. He described the incident as "bitter irony" because he has tried to increase safety in the school district west of Billings.

Well, at least this is an improvement over some recent reporting we've seen: "...when he accidentally fired the weapon..." I'm glad they didn't report that "the gun went off." Of course, his not being able to explain how the gun got loaded, is a bit strange. But the best part of the whole story is this:

Haggard says none of the students' parents was upset with him. He described the incident as "bitter irony" because he has tried to increase safety in the school district west of Billings.

Yeah, that's some pretty funny irony right there. I guess those Montana parents know that Constitutionally-protected, God-given rights require that a certain price be paid in safety and caution.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

New York Cops Kill a Man with Toy Gun - Again

The New York Daily News reports on another killing by cops of a man with a toy gun.

A cop responding to frantic 911 calls Monday shot and killed the son of a retired New York State lawman who witnesses said was waving an imitation pistol outside a Brooklyn school.

Some students were still milling around Public School 194 a half-hour after dismissal, when parents and residents said they saw the man brandishing the silver-and-black toy gun.

George D'Amato, 22, pointed the gun at the officer outside the Sheepshead Bay school and refused orders to drop it, police sources said. "[The officer] fired three times," one of the sources told the Daily News.

What is it with these cops in the States? In the U.K. they take down a samurai warrior without firing a shot but in New York they kill people with toy guns?

And what's with the pro-gun resistance to laws which might protect against these incidents? Does it sometimes seem like the gun rights advocates tend to resist any laws touching on guns regardless of whether they make sense or not? Suggestions of banning certain toy guns or marking them in some way are usually met with mockery and derision. The idea of preventing gun manufacturers from making colorful guns which can be easily mistaken for toys is likewise laughed at. Why?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Chisholm Minnesota Shooting

The Deluth News Tribune reports on a shootout in Chisholm for which the mayor Michael Jugovich was present. One of his friends died, two were seriously wounded and one was arrested for murder.

“It was utter chaos,” he said. “People were trying to get out, running over each other, losing shoes. I don’t blame them.”

When the shooting ended, Edward John Walberg, 40, was shot to death in the chair Jugovich had been sitting in earlier in the evening. Cale Steven Nelson, 29, was critically wounded after being shot in the stomach and Larry Vernon Elj, 38, was shot in the shoulder.

The alleged shooter, Jason Musburger, 47, a former Chisholm police officer, was subdued by patrons, including Ryan Simonson, who smashed a chair over Musburger’s head.

“It was heroic,” Jugovich said of Simonson’s actions. “If that didn’t happen, there was another gun and more people could have been injured or killed. He was very courageous.”

Guns are probably allowed in places that serve alcohol in Minnesota, so why didn't one of the other patrons put a stop to this? Why did it take a wild-west saloon scene like hitting the shooter over the head with a chair?

The story doesn't tell us whether alcohol had anything to do with it, but I'm guessing it did. It also doesn't tell us anything interesting about the shooter except that he had been a cop years ago and now worked for the city. I'd bet there were plenty of indications that Mr. Musburger shouldn't have been allowed to own guns. What do you think?

Is this a good example of why it's bad to allow armed folks to hang around in bars? Is the only pro-gun defense going to be that it happens infrequently enough that it's OK? Is this just part of the price we must pay for "freedom?"

Please leave a comment.

Ohio State Univ. Shooting: 2 Dead

CNN reports on the latest school shooting to take place, this one at Ohio State University.

A man apparently angry over a poor performance evaluation entered an Ohio State University maintenance building early Tuesday and opened fire, killing a manager before turning the gun on himself, police said.

Larry Wallington, 48, a building services manager at the OSU Maintenance Building, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 3:30 a.m. ET shooting, Ohio State University Police Chief Paul Denton said. Wallington was a 10-year university employee, he said.

Authorities found suspect Nathaniel Brown, 51, a custodial worker, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot at the scene, Denton said. He was transported to the Ohio State University Medical Center, where he was dead on arrival.

Gun rights advocates often say the problem is that Universities are gun-free zones and when someone decides to do this there's no one to stop them. I've always had a problem with the image of armed teachers and University employees carrying guns as a deterrent or a solution. It seems to me that would escalate the problem and there'd be more bloodshed not less.

My solution, on the other hand, is to make it harder, much harder for guys like Nathaniel Brown to get guns. In order to accomplish this legitimate gun owners would have to pay a price in inconvenience, but it would be well worth it.

Which response do you think makes most sense? Please leave a comment.

British Police Take Down Man with Samurai Sword

BBC News reports on an incident which took place in London. Thanks to Laci for the link.

Six officers suffered minor injuries in the incident on Friday.

Officers were called to West Hampstead after the man was seen with the weapon. They ordered the man to drop the sword and a violent struggle ensued.

Passers-by erupted into spontaneous applause after police seized both the sword and a kitchen knife. A man, 37, has been bailed until April.

Pc John Dunwell, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Having risk-assessed the situation, I felt it was necessary to confront the man before he hurt himself, or someone else.

"He proved to be very strong and I'm just thankful to my colleagues for coming to my assistance so quickly."

No shots fired, that's pretty impressive. I guess these cops are a different breed than these. Why do you think that is?

Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Suffering and Death

Laci posted an extremely funny Onion piece entitled "8-Year-Old Accidentally Exercises Second Amendment Rights."

Gun owners nationwide are applauding the patriotic, though accidental, exercise of Second Amendment rights by 8-year-old Timothy Cummings Tuesday.

"Timothy is a symbol of American heroism," said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre from Cummings' bedside at Norfolk General Hospital, where the boy is in serious but stable condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. "While praying for his recovery, we should all thank God that his inalienable right to keep and bear arms has not been infringed."

It goes on like that, but the point is clear. How much more is it going to take for the pro-gun crowd to back up a step or two? I hate to say it, but I think a lot more.

The stubborn position of not wanting to be inconvenienced is causing suffering and death.

The nonsensical insistence that owning guns is necessary for self defense and is therefore bestowed by god is causing suffering and death.

The paranoid delusion that gun control activists really want to ban and confiscate all guns is causing suffering and death.

When will it end? What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


"It's the individual that's finished." (6:58) Thanks to driftglass.

Cass Sunstein Has it Exactly Right

More Gun Stupidity in Colorado

Ohh Shoot reported this story of unintentional shootings that took place in Colorado.

Two separate groups went into the same area in Johnny Park, Colorado to do some target shooting. Neither knew the other group was there. One group, reportedly firing off an assault rifle, AK variant, unintentionally shot the other group. One person was shot in the abdomen and the other person was hit in the buttocks. Fortunately, neither was seriously injured.
Ohh shoot.

I wonder is our friend Stephen knows this place. What's your opinion? Is this the kind of thing that can happen to anyone; is it unavoidable, another small price we pay for the sacred right?

Please leave a comment.

Robbery Suspect Killed

What did you think about the cop's gun handling, the one nearest the car? Also, I realize the suspect was armed and had actually shot at the police, but I get the impression that after a high-speed chase, cops tend to be a little trigger happy. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Fatal Argument in Miami

The Miami Herald reports on a shooting which left one man dead.

A 43-year-old man was shot to death early Sunday on Okeechobee Road, authorities said.

The shooting followed an argument between two men about 7:30 a.m. at Okeechobee Road and Northwest 117th Avenue.

One pulled a gun, fatally wounding the other, said Detective Javier Baez, a Miami-Dade police spokesman. The victim's name was not released.

Police were looking for the gunman, who they said drove away in a white pickup truck.

Let's see, he was 43 years old so that means he was probably not a gang member. Plus Okeechobee Road is not in Liberty City. So, based on that, lets say this was just your everyday run-of-the-mill argument. In Miami though, just like in Houston and Newark, you take your life in your hands when you argue.

Two possible solutions I can see. One, don't argue with anyone. Even if it costs your self-respect and you feel like a punk, just don't argue with anyone. And two, carry a gun. This way you even up the odds, you don't have to back down from anybody and in a pinch, you can blow him away before he blows you away.

Which sounds best to you? Please leave a comment.

Mayor Daley Asks for New Gun Laws

The Chicago Tribune reports that the mayor came out with his yearly announcement calling for stricter gun laws.

Flanked by several parents who had lost children to gun violence, Mayor Richard Daley on Monday called for new laws to restrict gun sales and stiffen penalties for criminals who use them.

Although Daley announces new gun-control initiatives every year, this year's announcement took on added significance because the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether to overturn the city's handgun ban.

Daley backed changes to state law that would require background checks for those buying a gun in a private sale, ban assault weapons, require that gun dealers be licensed and limit the number of handgun purchases to one per person per month. Those were all ideas that failed in previous legislative sessions.

This time, the mayor also is asking the General Assembly to make it a Class 1 felony to knowingly sell a gun to a known gang member, stiffen penalties for unlawfully using a weapon and require "micro-stamping" of guns that make it easier to match weapons used in crimes.

One interesting thing is that Mayors like Daley and Bloomberg keep getting re-elected in spite of their gun control opinions. Why do you think that is? In the case of Mayor Daley, it's with a majority of 70%. How can we explain that given the extensive grass-roots support for the 2nd amendment?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dennis Henigan's Take on McDonald

The Jurist published a report by Dennis Henigan of the proceedings in the Supreme Court hearing last week.

"I was in the courtroom on Tuesday for the Supreme Court argument [PDF file] in McDonald v. City of Chicago, in which the Court is considering whether the new Second Amendment right, created two years ago in District of Columbia v. Heller, is incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment as a constraint on state and local gun control laws. Unsurprisingly, the same five justices who formed the Heller majority and voted to strike down the District of Columbia's handgun ban, now seem poised to vote for incorporation and strike down Chicago's handgun ban. Although this will be hailed by the gun lobby as a victory, there was much about Tuesday's argument suggesting it could eventually prove to be a hollow victory indeed.

The argument in McDonald gives hope that the McDonald majority, even if it strikes down Chicago's handgun ban, will amplify the Heller message that the Second Amendment erects no constitutional barrier to reasonable laws – at any level of government - to make it harder for dangerous people to obtain dangerous weapons. The gun lobby will be displeased, but the American people will have dodged a constitutional bullet."
What's your opinion? Does it make sense what he says?

Please leave a comment.

Arizona Gun Shoots By Itself

AZ Central has the story of an unintentional shooting which left one man dead.

A 19-year-old Chandler man was shot dead Saturday after a gun he was looking at fired as it was being put away, police said.

Mark Martinez went with a friend to Jose Sandoval's home in the 2200 west block of Butler Street in Chandler around noon Saturday, a Chandler police spokesman said.

Martinez asked Sandoval, 58, to see Sandoval's gun.

Sandoval agreed and showed it to Martinez and his friend- Sandoval's nephew, police said.

After displaying the gun, Sandoval was putting it back into the holster when the gun fired, striking Martinez in the chest, police said. Martinez was transported to a local hospital where he died.

A Chandler police spokesman said the department would submit allegations of negligent homicide to the County Attorney's Office for review.

Is this a pro-gun way of describing the events? Are the words, "a gun he was looking at fired as it was being put away," supposed to minimize the involvement of the shooter? Isn't this similar to the criticism often expressed to gun control folks, that they fear inanimate objects and don't realize the gun is just a tool and the real problem is the person using it?

All of a sudden, when it's convenient, we hear the gun transformed into something that fires all by itself.

A second time in the short article we read: "Sandoval was putting it back into the holster when the gun fired." Does that mean when he accidentally put his finger on the trigger, the gun fired? Or are they trying to say the gun fired through some terrible malfunction, through no fault of the gun owner?

What's your opinion? What do you think accounts for this shabby reporting of the incident? Do you think pro-gun folks try to have it both ways, they like to mock gun control advocates by saying they fear inanimate objects, yet when it serves their purposes they themselves anthropomorphize the gun?

Please leave a comment.

1st Degree Murder Conviction for Wheel Man reports on the conviction of the wheel man in a drive-by shooting.

MODESTO, Calif.—Prosecutors say the man behind the wheel of a car involved in a fatal drive-by shooting of a San Francisco man could get up to 140 years in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder and other charges Friday.

Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Brad Nix says 20-year-old Isidoro Mata could get even more time than the convicted shooter in the case.

Jurors needed only three hours to convict Mata for driving the car that carried the gunman who shot and killed 28-year-old Manuel Rayas at a child's birthday party in Modesto in June 2006.

Mata is due back in court April 23 for sentencing.

The gunman, Angel Cabanillas, was sentenced in October to 132 years to life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder. Cabanillas was 14-years old at the time of the shooting.

To me it seems like a wildly excessive sentence for the shooter, since he was only 14. But the decision to charge and convict the driver for 1st degree murder is absurd. I'm all for shared responsibility, but this is something different.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

David Marshall Williams Changes Warfare has a fascinating post about men who changed the world from behind bars.

If you're extra good in prison, you might earn yourself some Spork privileges. No more eating pudding with the folded up lid for you; you've earned the right to use utensils, son! But that's only if you keep your nose clean, stay out of trouble and generally go out of your way to make prison life more bearable for all. So how good do you have to be to earn gun-building rights? You can ask David Marshall Williams that question, he spent most of his prison time building, testing and refining new types of machine guns.

This one caught my eye, but the others are interesting too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Coffee Party Movement

Thanks to Laci. It's all about cooperation.

Parents Convicted in Child's "Accidental Shooting"

SFGate reports on the conviction of the parents whose 8-year-old shot and killed his little sister. We talked about it before.

The parents of a 2-year-old Vacaville girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 8-year-old brother have been convicted of criminal charges, an attorney in the case said Friday.

Michael Shanahan, 28, and Daniela Shanahan, 26, could each face up to two years in prison in connection with the Sept. 23 death of Ayana Shanahan.

Michael Shanahan pleaded no contest Thursday in Solano County Superior Court to one count of unsafe storage of a firearm. Daniela Shanahan pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment.

Prosecutors are seeking two-year prison terms when both are sentenced April 30. But defense attorneys will argue for probation on the grounds that the parents have already suffered enough, said Michael Shanahan's lawyer, Anthony Finkas.

"Obviously, they are devastated by what happened," Finkas said. "They're serving a life sentence based on their apparent negligence."

Ayana was shot once in the head at the family's home on the 1000 block of Syracuse Circle as her brother was playing with a handgun.

The boy did not think the gun was real, police said. The parents were home at the time.

Michael Shanahan was an active Army reservist at the time of the shooting, and the gun that killed Ayana was one of numerous weapons in the home, authorities said.

I feel the defense attorney has a good point and I wouldn't mind seeing probation as long as Mr. Shanahan would forfeit his right to own guns forever.

What's your opinion? Do you think that "forever" part is too severe? Should a guy be punished so strongly for having made a mistake, one which he's not likely to repeat given how much it cost him? Or do you think like I do that guys who prove to be this irresponsible with guns once, are in fact likely to repeat?

Please leave a comment.

They're Calling it an "Accidental Shooting" has the story.

The mother of a man charged with murder for shooting at a car and killing a 13-year-old girl says it was an accident. Richard Calderon, 24, appeared in court today. He is free on bond. Calderon is accused of crashing into and speeding away from the car Alexis Wiley was riding in on Wednesday.

"It's a tragedy that this accident happened," said Isbel Calderon, the suspect's mother. "If the the mother was in the car then she should know exactly what happened, it was an accident."

Now, I hate to generalize, but this happened in Texas. Do you think the general shoot-em-up attitude in Texas partly explains this?

Or is this an ethnic thing? Is this all about Chicano and Black people?

Or is this another case of an individual doing something wrong who is 100% responsible for his actions, those actions having nothing to do with anyone else or the gun laws or, god forbid, any law abiding citizens?

I would add something else, contrary to popular opinion, I am not soft in criminals. The fact that this young man is out on bail is a travesty. The fact that in his area of Texas they've got plenty of marijuana offenders doing time as well as other non-violent offenders, is a travesty. Saying this was an "accidental shooting" is a travesty. What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Death Penalty and Women

The Huffington Post ran an interesting article about the percentages of women on death row who actually are executed. The statistics show that although only 2% of death row inmates are women, when it comes their time to be put to death, they are much more likely to receive the coveted commutation to life in prison. But, why?

Linda Carty is the rarest of rarities. She's a British subject who once sang for the Prince of Wales. She's a principal in a film documentary. She's garnered massive international media, legal and political attention and support. She worked as an informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency. And she's a grandmother. This last notation is mentioned only because that makes her one of only a handful of grandmothers who have ever been scheduled to be executed in a capital case. Carty was convicted of a murder, that she denies committing.

She could be executed in or before June in Texas if the Supreme Court turns down her appeal. It's her last; every other court has rejected her plea for a new trial. The odds on paper that the high court will dump her death sentence are long. The Court considers only about one in 30 death penalty appeal cases.

The gender bias that riddles the death penalty as much as racial and class bias is a good thing in that it saves the lives of women. What's problematic is the rationale for saving their lives. Prosecutors regard women as less violent, less threatening and more emotionally unstable than men. If they kill and maim, they supposedly do it out of blind love or loyalty to a man. This reinforces the notion that women are the dainty sex in need of guidance, protection and, ultimately, male control. This strips them of any social and moral accountability for and control over their acts. It makes it even easier to marginalize women. Carty's case typifies that. Carty says that four men kidnapped the victim, a woman, in a murder for hire scheme and then murdered her. Witnesses back her story and have publicly declared that she is not a cold blooded murderer.

What's your opinion? Do you think "women are the dainty sex in need of guidance, protection and, ultimately, male control?" Of course not, who would admit such a thing in this day and age?

Do you think focusing on this disparity will result in a higher percentage of women being executed or a lower percentage of men? I hope it's the second.

Please leave a comment.

Bill Maher on the Pentagon Shooting