Saturday, June 19, 2010

NRA Compared to the KKK?

Kurt sets us straight on this one.

I have had, and will undoubtedly continue to have, a great many disagreements with the NRA. That does not mean I will stand for them being compared to a group that epitomizes the worst of our nation's history. The KKK would love to deny the human right to keep and bear arms, to those whom they would like to terrorize. Gun rights advocacy groups, including the NRA, intend to thwart that sick goal.

It almost sounds like Kurt is claiming the Ku Klux Klan is primarily about preventing people from getting guns, sort of the antithesis of the noble NRA. Now, I can certainly understand someone being obsessed with guns, just look at my blog, but I do believe the KKK has a broader agenda than that.

About the tenuous connection between Ms. Kagan and the comparison between the NRA and the KKK, I wonder if Joe Huffman had a chance to pick up on that.

In handwriting that is almost certainly Kagan's (compare the document in question with a known sample of her writing), concern is expressed that a bill under debate at the time would benefit "bad guy orgs"--the NRA and the KKK.

Joe has other ideas, to which I had this to say.

Joe, I know you can back it up in your prolix way, and have actually done so already, but I feel your comparing Helmke to the Grand Wizard of the KKK is one of the stupidest things you've ever written. Of course I haven't seen all you've had to say, so I might be wrong about that.

I really can't decide which is crazier, comparing the NRA to the KKK or comparing Helmke to the Grand Wizard. You pick.

Pigeon Shoots in Pennsylvania

The Courier Times ran a story about something I'd never even heard of, pigeon shoots.

A court-appointed Humane Society officer from Dauphin County filed an animal cruelty citation Thursday against Philadelphia Gun Club in Bensalem.

Johnna Seeton of the Pennsylvania Legislative Animal Network said she believes pigeon shoots at the Philadelphia Gun Club violate state animal cruelty laws. Yet pigeon shoots are legal in Pennsylvania.

Yeah, they're legal in PA, and only in PA, according to the following video. I see Sebastian has given his carefully nuanced support of this ugly business too, with his usual qualifiers like "not a big supporter of, but..." He also says Pennsylvania is not the only state that allows this. "The animal rights folks are lying in order to embarrass us on that count." Well, I'll agree with the embarrassing part.

What's your opinion? Does that video give a false impression of hunting and shooting folks? Please leave a comment.

Charges Dismissed for Michigan Open Carry Man reports on the dismissal of charges against a young open-carry man.

A judge dismissed a felony charge Wednesday against a Sheboygan Falls man charged with carrying a gun 954 feet from a school when state law requires a distance of 1,000 feet.

The 46-foot difference led to a count of possession of a firearm in a school zone, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison. But Judge Timothy Van Akkeren ruled Wednesday there is not probable cause to pursue the case and refused to bind over 23-year-old Matthew N. Hubing for trial.

That sounds like a good ruling, but it left me wondering why the guy had been charged in the first place. It seems a little picky trying to determine exactly how many feet from the school he was. Later in the article it says he spent 18 days in jail and the prosecutors tried twice to charge him. What could he have done to make them so angry?

Hubing, of 85 Wisconsin St., was arrested May 17 after openly carrying a loaded handgun and unloaded assault-style rifle through Sheboygan Falls. Police — who questioned but did not arrest Hubing for doing the same thing the week before — contacted Hubing again after several residents saw him carrying the guns while riding a bike and wearing camouflage clothing.

I guess the police in Sheboygan Falls don't take kindly to that kind of brash demonstration of one's right to bear arms.

What is it with this civilian wearing of camouflage clothing while carrying guns? Is that normal? To me it sounds like the kind of fantasy acting out that might disqualify a person under the mental illness restrictions. I want my gun owners thoroughly grounded in reality, I don't know about you.

What's your opinion? Mine is that the police were overstepping their authority again. The worst the kid might have done was to stick it in their face the way open carry demonstrators like to do. The real problem here is that the law allows people to live out their silly fantasies and the society in Michigan encourages it.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

The Utah Execution by Firing Squad

Message from Kurt Hofmann:

I can't figure out why you haven't mentioned the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner, by firing squad. Seems like a natural topic for you.

I see some argue that it's a better way to go than lethal injection.

Here's a video (not of the actual execution, of course).

There are worse ways to go, and the method was his choice.

There's no real reason for my not writing about this; it certainly is right up my alley. In that video they say the prisoner chose a firing squad because he had lived by the gun and wanted to die by the gun. That sounds like macho jail-house talk to me. I would guess the reason was to go out with a bang, to make the biggest sensation out of his execution he could.

The reason they have that method in Utah is related to the Mormon belief in Blood Atonement. Now, that's some pretty archaic eye-for-an-eye nonsense, wouldn't you say? In his wonderful book about Gary Gilmore, the famous author Norman Mailer went into great detail about how this philosophy plays a part in the thinking of the most hardened and non-religious criminals. It's fascinating stuff.

But my impression of Ronnie Lee was that he was nothing more than a poor aging murderer grasping for the last bit of drama and excitement left to him. I don't know if he realized it, but his story was big news in Europe and probably in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the thrust of those news stories is always, "what's wrong with the United States that they still do stuff like this?"

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wake Up America

The Other Greatest Vietnam Movie Ever

I can't decide between this one and this one.

Your Typical Ohio Gunowners

Ohh Shoot has a wonderful knack for capturing those incidents in gun lore that are both funny and scary at the same time.

An Ohio man got into an argument with his live-in girlfriend. She got the shotgun and fired a round into the air next to their porch. He grabbed the gun away from her and smashed it against a tree. That's when the gun went off, shooting him in the abdomen. He was taken to the hospital by Medflight and later charged with using weapons while intoxicated.

Pro gun folks hate these stories because they beg the question, "how common is this?"
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Billy Joe Shaver Gets Some of that Texas Justice

Google News reports on the sentencing of a country singer on gun charges.

WACO, Texas — Texas country singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver has been fined $1,000 after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor gun charge.

The charge arose from a 2007 shooting outside a Waco-area saloon. In April, a jury acquitted the 70-year-old Shaver of aggravated assault in the wounding of Billy Coker outside the saloon near Lorena. Shaver contended he shot Coker in self-defense.

He pleaded no contest to the gun charge for allegedly having a .22-caliber pistol in the bar, which is illegal. He agreed to forfeit of the gun.

So, he forfeits the offending gun but gets to keep the other 15 he keeps at home. That's Texas Justice for you - white guy with guns, slap on the wrist, black guy with guns, straight to Huntsville. I know I'm exaggerating a little, but you get the point.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Be Prepared - Be Vigilant

This should appeal to the responsible types who like to be prepared. FEMA is your friend.

Koch Industries and the Cato Institute

On Laci the Dog's Blog there's a wonderful article about these secretive and hidden players.

I was curious about this and decided to look up Koch Industries so see if they were public (shareholder owned) or a private corporation. Per Koch industries own site:

Koch Industries, Inc. is a privately held company based in Wichita, Kan

It also seems that Koch is run according to the principle of Market-Based Management, which is a Koch Industries registered trademark. And Charles Koch has quite a monopoly on that concept as well. Like libertarianism, Market-Based Management doesn’t seem to have much in the way of criticism located on the internet.

Interestingly enough, one can find that the talk of Market-Based Management and other capitalistic platitudes does come into criticism. Surprisingly enough from a member of the Koch family: Bill Koch.

the Koch family of Wichita, Kansas is among the richest in the United States, worth billions of dollars. Their oil company, Koch Industries, is bigger than Intel, Dupont or Prudential Insurance, and they own it lock stock and barrel. The trouble is a former employee says the brother who controls the company grew rich through fraud and theft, stealing from the taxpayers of the United States.

Unfortunately, for Koch Industries, that disgruntled former employee was Bill Koch, one of the Koch brothers.

It seems that the Cato Institute is an example of what I call the ladder principle in action. Their railing at “corporate welfare” while it seems that Koch was a beneficiary of such welfare.

I'll bet the Koch boys and the Cato boys are among those names we'll never read about. The thing I liked, which I think Laci mentioned on another post, is that the gun rights folks are always talking about Joyce Foundation backing of gun control studies and groups, as if that taints them in some way. But, they never mention the support offered by such players as the Cato Institute and the Koch Industries. And, naturally these same finger-pointers are all in favor of the NRA exemption about naming their donors.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

U.K. Grandmother Sentenced

The BBC reports on the bizarre story of a woman sentenced for possessing a gun in the home. Thanks FishyJay for the tip.

Gail Cochrane, 53, had kept the gun for 29 years following the death of her father, who had been in the Royal Navy.

Police found the weapon, a Browning self-loading pistol, during a search of her home in Dundee while looking for her son.

She admitted illegal possession of the firearm, an offence with a minimum five-year jail term under Scots law.

Cochrane told the High Court in Edinburgh that she had never contemplated she might be committing a crime by keeping the gun or that she might need to get a licence for the weapon.

She said: "I thought it was just a war trophy."

Defence solicitor advocate Jack Brown argued that the circumstances surrounding the case were exceptional and that it would be "draconian, unjust and disproportionate" to jail the grandmother-of-six.

The sentencing, or should I say, hanging judge said she wasn't satisfied with the defendant's explanation and issued the unbelievable sentence of five years in jail. Maybe the judge wasn't familiar with the case we talked about the other day.

Reading the story, I had a couple of questions, though. Isn't it a bit of a spin to call a gun like this a "family heirloom?" That makes it sound like an unworkable piece that belongs in a museum. Actually it was a "Czech-made pistol dating back to about 1927." Aren't some of our favorite guns from that date or even older?

The other thing I noticed is that she kept the gun under her mattress. Now, that sounds odd. Perhaps the judge thought so too. It's hard to believe that a 29-year-old family heirloom would be kept under the mattress all that time.

What's your opinion? Does this story represent everything we fear about UK-style gun laws? Or are there too many discrepancies to use this one as an example?

Please leave a comment.

Medical Marijuana and Guns

From The Volokh Conspiracy, link provided by FishyJay.

Respondent, the Jackson County Sheriff, appeals a judgment of the circuit court that ordered him to renew a concealed handgun license issued to petitioner, a medical marijuana user. The sheriff concedes that petitioner met the requirements for issuance of a concealed handgun license set forth in ORS 166.291. He nevertheless asserts that Oregon’s concealed handgun licensing statutes are preempted by federal law in this instance, because “an unlawful user * * * of any controlled substance” cannot lawfully possess a firearm under 18 USC section 922(g) of the federal Gun Control Act. The circuit court rejected the sheriff’s preemption argument and ordered him to issue a renewal of petitioner’s concealed handgun license. We agree with the circuit court’s conclusion that federal law does not preempt this state’s concealed handgun licensing statutes, and we therefore affirm....

I hate the way lawyers write. Does it mean that using medical marijuana in Oregon does not interfere with one's right to have a concealed carry permit?

It is a fascinating question. Most places, I believe, allow gun owners to drink as long as they stay under the legal limit. If they want to drink more I suppose they have to leave their guns at home along with the car keys. The problem is the need to be responsible with guns doesn't end at the front door, in fact the greatest need is in the home. For that reason I've often questioned gun owners about their drinking habits, inferring, in spite of their righteous indignation, that if they drink at all, they are not being responsible.

But, with pot it's even worse. Most guys can have one beer and not be impaired enough to lessen his ability to act right. The pot smoker on the other hand, if the dope is any good, gets loaded enough to be a danger to himself and others, at least where guns are concerned.

At the risk of sounding extreme in my views, since we're talking about a life or death situation whenever we deal with guns, in order to be licensed to own a gun, one must be completely abstemious - no drinking, no drugs. Just like my "one strike you're out" concerning accidents, I say one beer or one joint, you lose your right.

If a person is serious about protecting his family and his home, he'd be glad to follow this regimen. Imagine the wonderful world it would be if we knew that gun owners are sober and responsible people who are serious about their right to bear arms rather than what we have now.

What's your opinion?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Here's a Statistic for You

Kurt left an amazing comment, which JadeGold picked up on.


Here's a statistic for you, that I challenge you to refute: of all the extinct species in the history of the planet, not one of them had figured out the manufacture and use of firearms. In other words, extinction = gunlessness, 100% of the time.


Man, I've got to get some of Hoffmmann's meds.

***MikeB*** You simply have to do an article on this most classic comment of Hoffmmann's. This is in the "aware of all internet traditions" category of internet craziness.
Where else can you find entertainment like this?

Kurt's comment reminds me of the pro-gun need to make comparisons. They sometimes go so far with this that the original connection is lost in a bizarre situation that only they can understand.

Taken literally, do you think he's saying that since the modern day good ole boys have figured out how to "manufacture and use" firearms, extinction will be defeated? Does he see in his mind's eye an actual figure representing "extinction" that will be blown away with conventional weapons? Does this lend comfort?

Please leave a comment.

High School Student Stole Guns

The Berkshire Eagle reports.

PITTSFIELD -- A former Taconic High School student accused of bringing a loaded gun to the Pittsfield school in April has been indicted by a Berkshire grand jury.

Rayquan B. Watford, 18, of Wallace Place, was held on $1,000 cash, $10,000 bond after denying multiple gun crimes at his arraignment Tuesday in Berkshire Superior Court.

Pittsfield police said Watford stole two handguns belonging to his girlfriend's father on April 9, and he brought one of those weapons to Taconic on April 15.

That gun -- a 9mm semiautomatic Beretta pistol -- was loaded, according to police, who found it in Watford's backpack. The other stolen weapon was a .380-caliber semiautomatic Colt pistol, police said.

On Tuesday, Watford pleaded not guilty to double counts of larceny of a firearm, possession of a large-capacity firearm, and ownership, possession or transfer of a gun without a firearm identification card. He also denied single counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, carrying a firearm on school grounds, possession of a gun with a defaced serial number, and defacing the serial number on a gun.

Police said both weapons were stolen on April 9 from the Taylor Street home of James J. Fitzsimmons, whose daughter was dating Watford at the time.

Not a single word about the "victim" of the theft. Do you suppose the guns were properly stored and secured? Did the gun owner report them to the police as stolen, like any good citizen would? I'm guessing the answers are "no" and "no."

In my wild conjecture, I'm figuring the guns were legally owned by the girlfriend's father. But my point is, the problem is greater than what this stupid 18-year-old kid did.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The NRA Campaign Exemption

Paul Helmke wrote a wonderful article posted on the Huffington Post.

In a shameful and outrageous move, the NRA has pressured the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives to exempt it -- and apparently only it -- from proposed legislation that would require corporations, unions, and advocacy and lobbying groups to reveal donations used to support political campaigns.

Under H.R. 5175, every other group or corporation would have to report the names of people who donate at least $600 to expenditures directed at or available for election activities. Every. Other. Group -- such as the Sierra Club, the AFL-CIO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Gun Owners of America, the National Right-to-Life Committee, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Every group -- except the NRA.

Shameful and outrageous is indeed the right way to describe this.

To the NRA bosses, it's not just "the guys with the guns make the rules," but the guys with the undisclosed money sources make the rules -- particularly when everybody else's donors have to be disclosed. It's no longer just guns that they say will have to be pried from their "cold dead hands." It's their donor lists, too.

What's your opinion? Is the NRA getting away with too much? If the right to bear arms is such a wholesome and decent thing, why do its proponents have to resort to underhanded tactics to protect it? Why do gun advocates so often demand secrecy, no lists, no registration, no disclosure of any kind, the destruction of records is mandated by law, for crying out loud.

If guns are so good, wouldn't it work both ways? Wouldn't transparency and disclosure work in favor of those named? Wouldn't they be seen as honorable and patriotic? Why all the fear and hiding?

Why wouldn't the donors to the NRA be proud of the fact? Why is it necessary to legislate secrecy if freedom is what we're all seeking?

Does this sound like freedom to you?

Please leave a comment.

Amy Bishop Indicted in MA

Yahoo News reports on the latest in the Amy Bishop case. Link sent by Il Principe with the comment, "too bad the Mass DA dropped the ball on this one back in the 80s‏."

CANTON, Mass. – A biology professor charged with killing three of her colleagues at an Alabama university has been indicted in the 1986 shooting death of her brother in Massachusetts, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Authorities had originally ruled that the shooting of Amy Bishop's brother was an accident, but they reopened the case after Bishop was charged in February with gunning down six of her colleagues at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, killing three.

Bishop, 45, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 18-year-old brother, Seth, Norfolk District Attorney William Keating said.

Keating said he did not understand why charges were never brought against Bishop.

"I can't give you any explanations, I can't give you excuses, because there are none," he said. "Jobs weren't done, responsibilities weren't met and justice wasn't served."

I don't think there's all that much more here than what we've already discussed. I suppose the new indictment for the old shooting is newsworthy, but perhaps not for the reason everybody thinks. Sure they may have dropped the ball in Massachusetts all those years ago, or perhaps that shooting was really an accident, to me it doesn't matter much.

What needs to be pointed out is the relaxed and accepting attitude we have towards people who misuse firearms, even in states that are unfriendly to guns. I say "one strike you're out," especially if that strike is a big one. I'm sure the pro-gun voices, the ones who oppose any and all restrictions on guns, would demand proof and stats, but I'm simply appealing to common sense. When someone demonstrates the ability to make a mistake with a gun once, I say they are more likely to do so again, especially is the sanctions are light or non-existent.

Therefore if we remove guns from all those who misuse them, even in the slightest, we wouldn't be guilty of punishing people for what they might do in the future, or profiling people in any way, we'd be administering the strictest behavioral standards on people with guns, and we'd only be punishing the abusers.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Negligent Discharge

Courtesy of FishyJay

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Open Carry Guy Held Up for his Gun

TMJ4 reports. Please check out Laci's take on it.

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee man found out the hard way that carrying a gun for protection doesn't always keep you safe. In fact, it may have made him a target.

The 34-year-old man legally owned a handgun and carried it out in the open in his holster for protection.

The president of Wisconsin Carry, Nik Clark, says 100's of thousands of people open carry and he's never heard of anything like this.

"So it really is a very unusual situation, very unique," Clark said.

The victim didn't want to go on camera but said he carried the gun because he had been jumped and held up at knife point in the past. He believes, in his case, open carry made him a target and he will no longer do it.

He said his case proves gun owners should have the right to carry concealed weapons.

Clark agrees. "By and large it is a significant deterrent, open carry is, but I think it really does make the point that Wisconsin should have concealed carry along with open carry so that people who live in a very high crime neighborhood where criminals aren't deterred by firearms would have the ability to conceal carry to protect themselves. The two really work hand in hand," Clark said.

What is wrong with gun owners? How could they possibly conclude that an incident like this has anything to do with concealed carry without contradicting what they say about open carry? If I were them I'd just shut up and maybe stick to the fact that what happened is rare.

Do you get the impression that in Wisconsin, no matter what happens, whatever comes up pertaining to guns, they immediately go into the "we need concealed carry" routine?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Aaron Vargas

Yahoo News reports on the sentencing of man who killed his abuser.

A man who said he had been sexually abused by a family friend since he was a child was sentenced to nine years in prison Tuesday for shooting the victim with a Civil War-style pistol and watching him die.

Aaron Vargas, 32, showed little emotion as his punishment was announced in the vigilante killing.

His sister Mindy Galliani noticed his lips were trembling — a sure sign he was about to cry.

"It's not over. We're going to appeal," Galliani said after her brother shuffled away, hands and feet shackled. "It's clear that the justice system still doesn't have an understanding of childhood abuse."

Initially charged with murder, Vargas, of Fort Bragg, Calif., pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the death of 63-year-old Darrell McNeill and could have faced up to 10 years in prison.

It turns out the abuser was supposed to have had many victims, to have been quite the predator. Aaron, they say, just snapped after a lifetime of suffering.

The judge wanted to send a strong message that it is not permitted to take the law into one's own hands.

Interestingly, the crime was committed with a "Civil War-style pistol." Do you think that makes this one of the extremely rare black-powder killings? We certainly don't see many of those. I'd say they're even rarer than true DGUs.

What's your opinion. Please leave a comment.

Detroit Woman Shoots Self to Get Medical Treatment

The Detroit News reports on a determined gun owner's answer to not getting hospital treatment.

Shooting oneself probably isn't the best way to force doctors to treat an earlier injury.

So muses a Niles woman whose lack of health insurance prevented her from receiving treatment for a painful sprained shoulder.

Kathy Myers, 41, who shot herself in the shoulder Thursday, is now waiting to see if prosecutors will file charges against her.

This fascinating story touches on so much. She loved guns, was a recovering alcoholic who was thinking about taking a drink after 7 years, she had gotten rid of her 357 Magnum.

"I like guns," she said. "But I had to get rid of it. I have a bit of a temper."

What's your opinion? Is this a new twist on the old observation that "the gun is the answer?" Do you think a person like this should own guns?

Please leave a comment.

Murder - Suicide in Anaheim

Google News reports on the horrific scene.

A 3-year-old boy who hid behind a trash can in his own backyard for 12 hours, bleeding from gunshot wounds and just feet away from his dead parents, was hospitalized in serious condition and was expected to survive, police said.

Police followed a trail of blood Monday morning to the terrified and gravely wounded boy, who ran and hid after his father reportedly shot his mother and committed suicide.

The child was found after one of his father's co-workers came looking for the man and instructed the boy's 5-year-old brother to call 911. The 5-year-old had run from the Sunday evening gunfire and hid inside the family's house.

He told the dispatcher "his dad killed his mom and shot himself and he can't find his brother," Anaheim Police Sgt. Tim Schmidt said. "He said he could hear his brother screaming and hollering."

It's hard to tell from the scant details if the guy was already a criminal who owned the gun illegally or if he was another one of the legal gun owners who crack up. One thing for sure is, there are an awful lot of guns out there for people like this to pick up in that moment of insanity.

Ramon Maldonado, 48, lived two doors down from the couple and worked with the father about two years ago at an auto repair shop.

"I used to drive with him every morning and he seemed pretty mellow," he said.

Who could have known?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Target Practice in Michigan

Ohh Shoot reports.

A 19-year-old Michigan teen was target practicing with two of his friends near his home. One of the teens dropped a gun and the gun discharged, hitting the victim in the lower back. The teen is expected to recover from his injuries.

Now, wait a minute, didn't a bunch of pro-gun folks tell me guns don't fire when dropped unless they're old or defective? Why do we keep seeing these cases then?

Are 19-year-olds in Michigan allowed to have guns? Are they allowed to shoot them at targets?

What's your opinion? Should kids like this have guns? Should kids like this be able go have guns in the future given their irresponsible behavior?

Please leave a comment.

Vermont Man Gets 60 Days

The Associated Press reports on the sentencing of one of the shooters who may have fired the bullet which killed English Professor Emeritus, John Reiss.

Prosecutors acknowledged in both cases that they couldn't establish who had fired the fatal shot, which was one of about 100 rounds alternately fired by members of the group throughout the afternoon. But they pursued the cases anyway, seeking to hold McCarthy responsible for setting up the firing range and Lussier for providing the rifle, loading it and promoting its use in an unsafe area.

A third man shooting with them wasn't charged.

"Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Lussier both did things that led to the death," said prosecutor Justin Jiron.

Lussier, a "working stiff," according to Judge Mark Keller, had no criminal record. Under the plea, he agreed to a 2- to 5-year jail term, all suspended except the 60 days, and 200 hours of community service. Prosecutor Mary Morrissey said the goal is for Lussier to serve that time talking to hunter safety education classes about the dangers of shooting in residential areas.

I'm not sure what it means, "to serve that time talking to hunter safety education classes." Do you think it means as part of his sentence he should take safety classes? Would that mean that he will not lose his right to own guns? Is that because everyone in gun-friendly Vermont figures they're good boys who just made a little mistake and have learned their lesson?

In the original post, I noticed that McCarthy, who had hosted this little shooting party, "had passed a hunter safety course 10 days before." Is that the kind of course they're now recommending for his shootin' buddy?

What's your opinion? Do you think this kind of deadly incident is rare enough that we should just accept it? Is a slap on the wrist enough for these boys?

Please leave a comment.

Hawaii vs. Louisiana

The Charleston Gazette published an op-ed piece about guns and gun violence. I realize it's rehashing the same old talking points, but they're good talking points.

In Louisiana, nearly half of homes possess firearms -- and Louisiana has America's worst gun death rate, almost 20 per 100,000 population per year.

In Hawaii, fewer than 10 percent of homes have guns -- and the shooting fatality rate is only 2.8 per 100,000 per year.

"The equation is simple: More guns lead to more gun deaths," says Kristen Rand of the national Violence Policy Center, which ranks states according to gun killings.

Incidentally, West Virginia is 10th-worst in the shooting gallery, with nearly 15 deaths per 100,000, the center says -- far above the U.S. average of 10.3. The most dangerous states are Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, Nevada, Arkansas, Tennessee, New Mexico, Arizona and West Virginia.

Of course a simple and transparent comparison like Louisiana and Hawaii is not sufficient for guys like Joe Huffman. Always ingenious, he discovered another way to describe the comparison which favors his argument. Throwing in "all violent crime," leaving guns out of it and picking and choosing the perfect combinations, he comes up with some semblance of an argument. The problem is, the bombastic tone and overall prolixity, reminiscent of Linoge, makes one wonder if it's really an elaborate con job. At least that's what I wonder.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

A Blind Gun Owner

The Daily Record published an op-ed piece which asked some interesting questions.

Steven Hopler of Rockaway Township won court permission to own firearms in 1994. At the time, the court accepted the argument that Hopler was a collector and that his blindness should not prevent him from his hobby.

Guess what? I have a problem with blind people owning guns. I'm sure the pro-gun crowd supports this, but in order to do so, they must overlook the obvious problems with it. In effect, those who support this are as blind as those who benefit from it, if you can call it a benefit.

Here's why it's wrong.

Some 16 years later, it seems clear Hopler's hobby has not gone well. He accidentally shot himself in the shin in 2008, and when police responded, they found multiple loaded guns strewn around the house. Later, his home was burglarized and Hopler's stolen guns were purchased by undercover detectives on the street. Last December, a man committed suicide with a gun that Hopler once owned.
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office wants to prevent Hopler from ever owning guns again. That decision will be made by Judge Thomas A. Manahan.

Wait, I know. The gun owners will sacrifice this particular guy by saying his poor gun handling was not necessarily due to his blindness and therefore he should be restricted, but other blind gun owners should not be.

What's your opinion? Should blind people be allowed to own guns? What about other handicapped folks, for example, MS people or palsy victims, the ones who shake uncontrollably? Should they use guns? How about Alzheimer's sufferers?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Lack of Public Outrage

The Guardian published an interesting article about the Miami shooting of 7 women which we talked about last week.

It seems that America, so often beset by mass shootings and serial killers, is becoming steadily immune to the violence. Neither the public nor the media is especially interested any more. They appear to be subject to a dreadful phenomenon of one-upmanship where only the most dreadful and awful of crimes will now generate significant media attention. After all, if walking into a restaurant and shooting seven women is not enough to generate national news, what is? What does any self-respecting mass killer have to do these days to get attention?

What's your opinion? Have we become inured to the bloodshed? Why would that be? The article says "one wonders if the damage to society has already been done. The one thing worse than a society that gives rise to killers like Regalado is one that ignores them as not especially newsworthy."

Do you believe that? Please leave a comment.

Climate Deniers

Big thanks go out to Laci for this video.

Tell All the truth

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

In the Seattle Times there's a review of the new biography of Emily Dickinson entitled "Lives Like a Loaded Gun."

About Those Myths

The Washington Post published a wonderful article by Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig.

Gun regulation is as American as Wyatt Earp, the legendary frontier lawman who enforced Dodge City's ban on gun-carrying within town limits. But two years ago in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court decided for the first time that the Second Amendment grants a personal right to keep and bear arms, a decision that cast doubt on the future of gun control regulations in this country. Now, the court is considering a challenge to Chicago's ban on handgun ownership -- a regulation that has been in place for nearly 30 years. Would a repeal of the ban have a major impact on gun violence in Chicago or in other parts of the country? It's a tricky question. And disagreements on the answer come from several persistent myths about guns in America.

In response to the most famous of the bumper-sticker myths, the authors had something interesting to say.

1. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

This anti-gun-control slogan, a perfect fit for bumper stickers, has infected the public imagination with the mistaken belief that it's just criminals, not weapons, that lead to deadly violence. The key question is, really, whether guns make violent events more lethal. While mortality data show that attacks are far more likely to be fatal when a gun is involved, gun-control opponents argue that this difference simply reflects the more serious, deadly intent of offenders who choose to use a gun.

But in a groundbreaking and often-replicated look at the details of criminal attacks in Chicago in the 1960s, University of California at Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring found that the circumstances of gun and knife assaults are quite similar: They're typically unplanned and with no clear intention to kill. Offenders use whatever weapon is at hand, and having a gun available makes it more likely that the victim will die. This helps explain why, even though the United States has overall rates of violent crime in line with rates in other developed nations, our homicide rate is, relatively speaking, off the charts.

I don't think I'd heard about that study before comparing gun attacks with knife attacks. What I have heard before is the pro-gun argument that removing all the guns would make little difference. I've always considered that an indication of intellectual dishonesty because you don't need a study to tell you that the lethality of the gun would make a major difference.

So, it's good to have a study to back up what everybody who's the least bit reasonable already knows. The problem is the ones who wouldn't admit it before still won't. They'll question the validity of the study or disparage its authors, anything but admit they might have been wrong about something. I can't wait to hear what Kurt the 45superman has to say, for example.

What's your opinion? Do you thing these facile slogans are nothing more than that, facile slogans? Or do you believe in them?

Please leave a comment.

Rand Paul at the Louisville Gun Show

I'm always a bit skeptical when politicians, especially campaigning politicians say something. When he spoke about being ever vigilant about our 2nd Amendment rights, did he seem sincere to you? Does his past record support that?

When firing that weapon, more footage of which is on this video, did you think his stance was correct? Did he appear to be leaning back too much, placing too much weight on his back leg?

Please leave a comment.

A Delightful Interview

The Big Blue Coverup

The Baltimore Sun reports on this latest example of how the system works.

A jury has found a Baltimore police officer not guilty of manslaughter in the 2008 shooting death of an unarmed man who ran from him to evade arrest.

Fifteen witnesses took the stand over the course of the four-day trial of Officer Tommy Sanders, who faced voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Edward Lamont Hunt, 27.

Sanders testified that Hunt assaulted him during a drug arrest at Hamilton Park Shopping Center two years ago, and that if Hunt hadn't reached for his pocket while running away, the five-year veteran wouldn't have shot him twice in the back.

Maybe the next time Officer Sanders murders an unarmed citizen he'll receive some kind of conviction, even a minor one.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Easton PA's Sensible Gun Law

WFMZ TV reports on the attempts to institute a new gun law in Easton PA.

Easton's mayor is taking another shot at getting a controversial gun law on the books.This time he has the state Supreme Court in his corner.The measure in question would force gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within a certain time period.Yesterday, the court ruled in favor of a similar ordinance in Philadelphia.Now, Mayor Panto says he believes he has a better chance this time around.He'll reintroduce the measure next month.

I find it fascinating that such a law would be controversial and that gun owners would be so opposed to it. I've heard it described as "making criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens." Of course, the same folks who say that, refuse to accept shared responsibility for any misuse of firearms. Yet, they're happy to blame the laws or the government instead of the gun owner who fails to report a stolen gun.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Drunk Indiana Doctor with Gun in Illinois

The Chicago Breaking News center reports

An Indiana woman was charged with having a loaded revolver and for driving under the influence following a minor crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway Friday, according to state police.

Cynthia Ellis, 52, of Zionsville, was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and driving under the influence, according to Illinois State Police District Chicago Master Sgt. Anthony Hoop.

Ellis was driving a 2000 Ford Explorer south on the Dan Ryan Expressway (Interstate Highway 94) near West Roosevelt Road about 6 p.m. when she got into a "minor fender-bender" with another motorist, Hoop said.

A responding officer observed that Ellis was impaired by alcohol and arrested and charged her for driving under the influence. The officer also searched the SUV and found a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson loaded with five live rounds, "uncased and easily accessible" in the center console, Hoop said.

Ellis has a concealed weapons permit for Indiana but was charged because the traffic incident occurred in Illinois, Hoop said. In addition, Ellis was cited for failure to reduce speed and having an open container of alcohol, he said.

Ellis is a licensed doctor in Indiana and was issued a physician and surgeon or osteopath license since 1985, according to public records.

Is this a good example of the 10% people, or what? Those would be the lawful gun owners who are too dangerous to have guns. In the good doctor's case though, she used to be one of them, now she's just a criminal. Of course with a good lawyer she might get the charges lowered enough where she can continue to be a good representative (of the 10%).

Does this also remind you of the VPC lists? Of course you have to do a lot more than have a minor accident and be drunk behind the wheel across the state line. Maybe Dr. Ellis can get those charges adjusted and continue on her merry way until she does kill someone.

What's your opinion? Is a person like this dangerous or are they making a big deal out of nothing?

Please leave a comment.

Aiding and Abetting a Suicide

The North Shore News reports on the story.

A 21-year-old North Vancouver man who gave a shotgun to a friend who used it to kill himself shortly after was sentenced to 27 months in jail by a B.C. Supreme Court judge Tuesday.

Justice Harry Slade handed the prison term to Paul Fraser, who was previously found guilty by a B.C. Supreme Court jury of the rare charge of aiding and abetting a suicide. He had traded the loaded shotgun for the keys to a BMW.

At the time Fraser handed over the gun, he knew his friend Robbie Milot, 19, intended to kill himself with it, said Slade.

Fraser instructed Milot to kneel down, put the shotgun under his chin and reach down to pull the trigger, an indication of the "callousness" with which the offence was carried out, said Slade.

What's your opinion? I often make a case for blaming the gun owner who passively assists in a suicide by leaving the weapon available. This is much more direct involvement. Do those who reject the passive involvement cases also reject this one as an example of shared responsibility?

Please leave a comment.

Armed and Dangerous Liberals published an interesting story sent to us by FishyJay.

FOR MOST of my life, I've been pretty much a "make love, not war" type of North Jersey woman. The very thought of owning, much less firing, a gun was as far from my mind-set as voting for a Republican or rooting for the Boston Red Sox.

So why did I enroll in a National Rifle Association basic pistol class?

I was pretty disgusted with all of the vitriol spewed last summer by the more extreme right-wing politicians, some of whom urged their supporters to become "armed and dangerous." With all of the shouts from the Tea Party crowd about "taking our country back," I thought, "It's my country, too, and I like it just fine the way it is."

Democrats, especially liberal ones, have always had a reputation for being weak. To add to this insult, I found myself (well, my car, anyway) becoming a target of Tea Party sympathizers because of my Obama/Biden bumper sticker. After emerging from the Stop & Shop in Dumont several months ago, I found a flyer tucked beneath the windshield wiper of my car declaring: "The owner of this car owes everyone an apology for supporting the Marxist Obama."

Enough of this already, I thought. It was time for this liberal to become "armed and dangerous," too.

Lesson in tolerance

In addition to my newfound sense of empowerment by keeping cool and steady as shell casings flew around my head and the acrid stench of gun powder invaded my nostrils, I learned (or more accurately, relearned) another valuable lesson about stereotyping people, whether they are liberal Democrats or NRA members. The group of NRA instructors who taught our class were the nicest, most patient and professional people one could hope to meet under any circumstances. They taught me to respect the power of a gun and the importance of using it wisely.

But just in case I run into any more flier-wielding right-wingers at the Stop & Shop, I am prepared. I now have an NRA bumper sticker right next to Obama/Biden.

I guess that's a cute story with some interesting ideas, but the comments were what I enjoyed the most. Here's the first one.

Saturday June 12, 2010, 9:04 AM - JGrace says:
what a pin head , what a constitutional dunce.What a Liberal hypocrite !!!! How can you support the infringers of the right to keep and carry arms Hussain and Bozo the Clown Biden?

Doesn't it often seem that liberals are nice and conservatives are mean? The cuteness of the story and its almost fairy-tale sense leads me to ask that kind of overly-simplified question.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.