Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bush and Cheney

Ken Schram: Close the 'Gun Show Loophole'

via KOMO News opinion

Shop owner Guilty of Recklessness in Gun Show Incident

Pentagraph has the follow-up to a story we covered when it happened.

An Urbana pawn shop dealer was found guilty Friday of reckless conduct in the February 2011 accidental discharge of a weapon at a gun show in Bloomington.

Robert Rigdon, 74, of St. Joseph was accused of failing to check the guns he brought to the sale from the Gold & Diamond Exchange Pawn Shop Inc. to make certain they were not loaded. A mini-14 semiautomatic rifle went off while a Washington man was holding it, striking three others during the Egyptian Gun Collectors Show at the former Bloomington Sale Barn.

The guilty verdict followed a bench trial where the facts of the case were stipulated, meaning Rigdon made no admission of guilt. He faces up to a year in jail, fines of $2,500 or probation when he is sentenced July 5.
But, what does that mean for his gun rights? In the state of Indiana, aren't these things routinely bargained down to a point at which gun rights are retained, in spite of the fact that the guy has proven himself to be a danger?

Maybe this flaky bench trial in which he makes "no admission of guilt" is designed for that very purpose.  

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Stephen Colbert on the Bloomberg Soda Ban

The Clicker

Jon Stewart on the Bloomberg Soda Ban

I'm posting this very funny video to demonstrate that it has NOTHING to do with gun rights or Bloomberg's policies about them.  So, don't try to tell me it does.

Mexican Ambassador Uses the Word "Gobbledygook"

 The Houston Chronicle reports

In a slap at gun-rights advocates, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S. dismissed accusations that Mexico is seeking to undermine the Second Amendment in order to curb the influx of U.S.-purchased guns. 

"There is an 'urban myth' out there that somehow the Mexican government is seeking to lobby against and destroy the rights enshrined in the Second Amendment," said Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan. "This is gobbledygook."
The rest of the article is just more of what we've heard over and over again. I just wanted to get that quote in there.

What do you think?  Is "gobbledygook," a good word to describe this and some of the other pro-gun myths?  I think so.

Please leave a comment.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Venezuela Bans Private Gun Ownership

BBS reports

Until now, anyone with a gun permit could buy arms from a private company.

Under the new law, only the army, police and certain groups like security companies will be able to buy arms from the state-owned weapons manufacturer and importer.

The ban is the latest attempt by the government to improve security and cut crime ahead of elections in October
Venezuela saw more than 18,000 murders last year and the capital, Caracas, is thought to be one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America.
This should be interesting. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Ian Stawicki, The Seattle Mass Murderer and Concealed Carry Permit Holder

Local news reports on a follow-up to the story we discussed a couple days ago.

Accidental Shooting Death of 9-Year-old Texas Girl by her Dad - No Charges

Local news reports

Police say a shooting in North Texas has left a 9-year-old girl dead after a gun being handled by her father discharged.

Fort Worth police say the apparent accidental shooting happened Wednesday night at a home.

Sgt. Pedro Criado says the father was apparently removing the gun from a bag when the weapon fired.
Not a word about the father's arrest or an investigation into his culpability, just that it was an "accidental shooting."

What's your opinion.  Please leave a comment. 

Accidental Shooting Death of Tennessee 3-Year-old by Herself - No Charges Expected

Ex-deputy Whose Son Accidentally Shot Himself Sues County

A former Clark County sheriff's deputy on Thursday filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the county. Ed Owens alleges he was fired for questioning the safety of gun safes issued by the sheriff's office after his 3-year-old son got into a safe and accidentally shot himself.

Owens was fired Nov. 29, 2011, over violations relating to the accidental fatal shooting of his 3-year-old son, Ryan.

Owens is now seeking reinstatement to the sheriff's office and monetary compensation for lost wages and damage to his reputation.
He claims the safe was defective and his bosses should have warned him. That's how the 3-year-old was able to access the gun.

What's your opinion?  Does that sound plausible to you?

Please leave a comment.

Cenk Interviews Penn

I still don't understand how he could have gotten through his whole life without ever having taken a drink or a toke. But I like what he has to say about this.

The Four Major Ways Criminals Get Guns

Everyone agrees criminals should not have guns. Yet, the reality seems to be that they have practically unlimited access to them. It would be better for everyone if somehow we could deny them access. But how?

First we need to identify the ways in which they currently do come into possession of weapons. We'll eliminate one common fallacy right away, that criminals get guns from other criminals.  This may be true as far as it goes, but it doesn't help us in our analysis.  We're interested in the original source of guns that are used in crime. If, for example, a gun is stolen during a burglary and passed from criminal to criminal before being used in a murder, that gun came from "Theft," which is one of our main categories.

The entire exercise is based on the presumption that nearly all guns start out as the lawful property of someone. The exceptions to this, home-made weapons and those imported from overseas, are insignificant in number.  Our interest is the exact point at which a gun passes from lawful ownership into criminal hands.

The four categories are these.

1. Straw purchases. Gun traffickers recruit people with clean records who, depending on the state in which they live, can buy numerous guns and turn them over immediately to their criminal bosses. Other straw purchasers are of the amateur kind, the one-off kind, but regardless of the type there is a solution.

2. Theft. Most of this is done in private homes one gun at a time, or if the thieves are lucky several guns. For this there is an obvious solution. Other theft is done at military armories, gun manufacturers and gun shops, all of which require some failure on the part of the lawful custodian of the weapons.

3. Private sales. This is the one often referred to as the "gun show loophole." The reality is that private sales of guns account for about 40% of all gun sales and do not require a background check.  The solution.

4. Lawful gun owners who turn bad. Many of these guys are what I call "hidden criminals."  These are the ones who engage in unlawful activity but have never sustained a disqualifying felony.  They buy and own guns legally just like your truly lawful gun owners.  Others are upstanding members of society right up until the point they lose it and either kill the wife with a gun or shoot up the work place.  We read about them every day. Some of them could be identified through drug testing, others by improved mental health background checks.

The four categories are listed in descending order, the most easily addressed to the most difficult. Straw purchasing could be practically eradicated with the solution I've outlined, while lawful gun owners who turn bad is much harder to address.

But, although gun-rights folks keep saying we have onerous gun control laws which infringe upon their rights, the truth is we have done very little to curtail the terrible problem of gun flow from the good guys to the bad guys.

This must change.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Indianapolis Shooting Rampage Ends in Suicide

USA Today reports

Investigators have no clear idea of what led a man to go on a shooting rampage on the northeast side of Indianapolis, leaving one victim and himself dead and three other people wounded, but the police chief said prior mental health issues might have contributed.
The article said the guy had issues. He had a gun too.

What's your opinion? Don't you think we should make more of an effort to keep guns out of the hands of guys like this?

That's what I think?  Please leave a comment.

Dan Rather on the "Liberal" Media

Business Insider reports on this wonderful interview in which Dan Rather uses the word "dickensian."

Floyd Mayweather Goes to Jail reports

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is about begin a three-month jail sentence in Las Vegas in a domestic violence case.

The case stems from a hair-pulling, arm-twisting attack on the mother of three of his children in September 2010.

Mayweather pleaded guilty last December to reduced charges in the altercation with Josie Harris while their two sons watched.
What's your opinion? Do you think Mayweather lost his gun rights over this? Do you think he should?

Domestic abusers, who plea bargain their offense down, like Floyd Mayweather did, often retain their right to own guns.  Depending on the State, there are many violent and dangerous people who can still own and use guns legally.

This is wrong-

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

May Stats - A New High for Visits

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Wild but Legitimate DGU

The link was left by Anonymous on a thread about a not-so-legitimate DGU.  I'm not so sure what the point was, perhaps one good one cancels out one bad one?  What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Brianna Confronts McNulty About D'Angelo

This is one of the greatest scenes ever in THE greatest TV series ever.

Situational Awareness at all Times

CBS reports

A 34-year-old Minneapolis man has been charged in connection with a recent incident where, without warning, he attacked another man and stole a gun that the victim had a permit for, according to police.

Willie Merriweather was charged with first-degree aggravated robbery in connection with the May 21 incident. 

Police said an adult male was walking home in the area when a man, later identified as Merriweather, was walking the other way and suddenly slammed the victim into a parked car.

The victim hurt his arm and wasn’t able to defend himself. Merriweather allegedly searched the victim, eventually finding a pistol, and put it to the victim’s head while demanding valuables. 

The victim lost the gun and his wallet during the attack, police said.
This story illustrates the silliness of situational awareness as a self-defense tool. The pro-gun fantasy-dwellers are always talking about it. They imagine themselves to be like Arnold in The Terminator, scanning the area for trouble before it even happens.

The truth is, sudden and unexpected attacks leave the concealed carry permit holder as unprepared as the proverbial hippie-chick, skipping down the street tripping on acid.

The down side is all these gun owners are adding to the problem.  Their guns are sometimes stolen, surely more than we know about because no one would want to report such an embarrassing incident.  Other times, because they think they're able to read situations so well, they come out with their gun unnecessarily.  Many of these go unreported too, for obvious reasons.

And, of course we have the crimes committed by concealed carry holders, many of which go undetected as such, especially when the object of their attention flees or ends up dead.

What's your opinion?  On the whole, does concealed carry do more good than harm? What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

The Mayor of the Most Dangerous City in the US, Mitch Landrieu, is Outraged

via Protest Easy Guns


You know what, after watching The Wire a couple of times, these interviews with the police chief and mayor don't seem the same as they used to.

Did you get the impression that these guys are talking about bringing these particular shooters to justice, but not about addressing the problem as a whole?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Lawful California Gun Owner Arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Local news reports

A Lodi storekeeper was arrested on Tuesday after shooting a man suspected of stealing beer from his shop. 

Gurminder "Gary" Parmar shot 21-year-old Christopher Driggers in the upper shoulder area between his neck and shoulder after Driggers allegedly stole the beer. 

Police were notified of the shooting around 9:49 p.m. by a customer who claimed they saw Driggers flee the shop on foot after the shooting. Officers responded to the scene and soon located Driggers and the beer. 

Following an ensuing investigation of the incident, Parmar was arrested and charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon. 

In California, a person is allowed to use deadly force when their life or the life of someone around them is "immediately threatened." Since Driggers never had a weapon or made any type of threat towards Parmar, the shopkeeper was not permitted to use deadly force.
In California they know how to sniff out those fake DGUs. Of course it helps when the victim is still alive.  This incident has a little bit of that vigilante flavor to it, don't you think?  It's got that typical attitude of righteous gun owners towards criminals, even petty ones.

An interesting thing about this story is the look of the shopkeeper.  If you listen to our gun-rights friends you wouldn't think a guy like that could own a gun legally.  According to them, you have to be rich and famous, or at least white.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Is Seattle Changing?

Police say a man suspected of multiple shootings in Seattle shot himself on Wednesday as officers closed in. The Seattle Times identified the suspect as Ian Lee Stawicki, a 40-year-old Seattle resident. 

His brother, Andrew Stawicki, said, "It's no surprise to me this happened. We could see this coming. Nothing good is going to come with that much anger inside of you." 

Officers believe Stawicki was responsible for killing four people: three at a Seattle cafe, and one at a downtown parking lot as part of a carjacking. He is listed in critical condition at an area medical center.
What's your opinion? Is this period of violence in an otherwise tranquil city just an anomaly? Or is this what we can expect to see more of?

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bob Dylan Receives Medal of Freedom from President Obama

Most Violent States - Least Violent States

Okay, so, there's a new study out that listed the most violent and least violent states in the US. The study by the Institute for Economics and Peace assessed factors such as number of homicides and violent crimes, the incarceration rate, the number of police, and the availability of small arms. The study  also concluded the following:

"The 2012 United States Peace Index (USPI) has found that  the U.S. is more peaceful now than at any other time over the last twenty years."
Okay, that's great news! According to its authors, the study "is the only statistical analysis of crime, and the cost of crime, in all 50 states," including the 61 most populous metropolitan areas, and concluded the following:
  • Maine is the most peaceful state for the 11th consecutive year; Louisiana is the least peaceful state.
  • Wyoming has improved the most while Arizona records the biggest fall.
  • The Cambridge metro area is the most peaceful, while Detroit is the least.
  • Further improvements in peacefulness would generate hundreds of billions in extra economic activity.
Fascinating information, what kind of connections can you draw from this?

Please leave a comment

Stephen Colbert on Guns

The Demographics of Gun Owners

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Accidental Shooting of 4-Year-old Georgia Boy by Himself - Incredibly, No Charges

It's a disgrace and a crying shame that "accidental shootings" are not taken more seriously.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Accidental Shooting of Younger Brother by Marine While Camping and Drinking

The Daily Mail reports

Police have arrested a 27-year-old man on suspicion of manslaughter after he accidentally shot his 17-year-old brother who idolised him. 

Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme says Cameron Bryce Charlton died in the early morning shooting at Yuba Lake State Park in Utah. His 27-year-old brother, Eric Wayne Charlton, is in custody.

'His brother went into the Marine Corps, and that’s all [Cameron] wanted to do when he got older: go into the Marine Corps like his brother did,' said the boys’ grandfather, Stan Charlton.

Authorities say the brothers were camping near Yuba Reservoir with about 20 other people.

Officials say the brothers and a friend were awake and outside the tent when the gun went off and killed the teen.
I would think it's safe to assume that he was not only a lawful gun owner gone bad, but one who'd had proper training.

This is additional evidence that the gun-rights attempt to blame gun violence on criminals is bogus.  They themselves are often directly responsible for it.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Gun Locks and Zip Ties

Local news reports

“When you have children, when you have firearms in the house, I think you just need to exercise common sense,” said Knox County Sheriff David Barber.

Many sheriff's offices, including the Knox County Sheriff’s Office offer cable-type gun locks for free to anyone who wants them.

Johnstown police Lt. Josh Boudinot said they can also be found in almost every gun store for $5 to $10.

While Boudinot said that's the best way to keep a gun from accidentally firing, something as simple as a zip-tie will also do the job.

“Basically, all you do is just run it up through the magazine well, out the top, loop it through there, and there you go,” said Lt. Boudinot, demonstrating how to secure a handgun.

He said the zip-tie prevents someone from putting a magazine or ammunition into the gun.
“It's not as good as a gun lock of course, but it's something.  Something's better than nothing," he said.
Now, let me guess. I know the contentious, never-give-an-inch gun guys will have a problem with this.  What could it be?

I know, it'll take too long to bring the gun into use in case of need. Removing the lock or the zip-tie is just too time consuming when you've got rapists and murderers kicking in the front door.

Is that a valid argument?  Let's see.  If half the accidental shooting deaths are kids getting ahold of daddy's gun, that would be about 300 lives saved. That's if everyone used gun locks. Do you think 300 lives would be lost due to the couple-second delay required to make the gun available in case of an emergency?

No, I don't think even our most argumentative gun-rights friends would say that.

So, we're all agreed.  Let's make proper gun storage mandatory.  If a kid gets hurt with a gun that was not properly secured, the gun owner is held responsible, minimum punishment is loss of gun rights.  Fair enough?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Baton Rouge Murder-Suicide

Reagan Rowe, the Step-daughter Local news reports

Police said a man and his stepdaughter are dead after what they have determined was a murder-suicide.

The Baton Rouge Police Department identified the victims as David Robinson, 57, and his stepdaughter, Reagan Rowe, 26.

Detectives said Robinson was arguing with his wife about them getting a divorce.

They said when he tried to use the computer he realized Rowe had changed the password, so he couldn't unlock it.

Investigators reported Robinson then grabbed a gun, shot Rowe and turned the gun on himself. They were both pronounced dead at the scene.
What's your opinion? Does it sound like another lawful gun owner gone bad? It seems so to me. This is an aspect of gun ownership that many people aren't aware of or don't want to admit. Among the huge group called "lawful gun owners" there are many who are not fit to own guns responsibly. These are the ones we read about in the news every day. There's a continual flow from the group called "good guys" to the group called "bad guys." And immediately after, the rest of the "good guys" disown the miscreant. He has nothing to do with them.

The solution: better screening for mental health issues, stricter requirements concerning past violent offenses, and eliminating the option of buying guns privately with no background check.

These are some of the ways we can improve the quality of gun owners and cut down on incidents like this one.

There's another aspect of these stories which often goes overlooked.  Nine out of ten are men shooting women and then killing themselves. Guns are very bad news for women.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Accidental Shooting of Ohio 3-Year-old by Himself - No Charges

The Port Clinton News Herald reports

A three-year-old boy died Tuesday morning at Akron Children’s Hospital following an accidental shooting at his home Monday evening.

According to Knox County Sheriff David Barber, a 911 call was received at the sheriff’s office at 6:04 p.m. Monday reporting that a three-year-old boy had shot himself in the head with a handgun.

Barber called his death an unfortunate accident.

Capt. David Shaffer stated in a news release that a 45-caliber handgun was involved in the shooting. It was recovered at the residence. Shaffer said the investigation is continuing as detectives have yet to interview the child’s parents.
What's your opinion? Do you think it's accurate to call something like this "an unfortunate accident?" Doesn't that imply that bad luck had something to do with it? Doesn't that downplay the negligence of the gun owner who left the gun within reach of the kid?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Georgia Man Dies

Video link

A Cordele man who was shot in his home more than a week ago has died. 

58-year-old Irvin Bivens was struck in the stomach last Saturday when someone opened fire outside his home. Police now say they think his murder is connected to a shooting at a convenience store the same night.

Incidents like this are happening in every city every day. They are a direct result of the lax or non-existent gun laws, which ensure that young criminals will always have all the guns they need. It is a side-effect of what the gun-rights folks call freedom.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Graham Hancock: Failure Of The War On Drugs


My Memorial Day Tribute 2012

Camp Lejeune Marines Involved in Weapons and Equipment Theft

 International Business Times reports

U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C., stole and sold approximately $2 million in guns and combat equipment to streets gangs and to China and Russia, military officials confirmed. The stolen guns and combat gear included assault rifles, night-vision goggles and flashlights. 

More than 60 people have been implicated in the incident, the Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C., reported. 47 service members and 21 civilians have been charged so far. Several of them have already pleaded guilty, Ed Buice, public affairs officer for Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Quantico, Va., told the paper.

It seems like there's a lot more to "theft," as one of the main sources of guns going to criminals than your proverbial revolver being stolen out of the night stand or glove box.  This is theft on an entirely different level.

Although the case is ongoing, what do you think about the sentences already handed down?

That paper said that two Marines have been convicted in the case. They are Sgt. Daniel Adam Reich and Capt. Donald E. Pump Jr. Reich was convicted Monday of selling and attempting to sell military property and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison and given a dishonorable discharge.

Pump was convicted of similar offenses, sentenced to 18 months in prison and dismissed from the Corps.
Do those sentences seem a bit light to you? I would have expected a harsher treatment of Marines involved in something like this.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Prince George's County Wants to Register Gun Offenders

 The Washington Post reports

In Prince George’s County — where hundreds of people were shot last year and 64 of them died — people convicted of gun crimes may soon be required to register, regularly check in with police and submit to home visits from officers.

All nine members of the County Council have signed on as co-sponsors of a bill requiring the registry, and a vote is expected in early June. The effort to make the county’s streets safer has been pushed by the police, who say that for too many people, carrying a firearm illegally is a rite of passage and getting caught is a minor inconvenience.
What's your opinion? Is there anything wrong with registering gun offenders in this way? Shouldn't the police have all the tools possible at their disposal?

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Gun Rental Suicide at the Range in California

Local news reports

Kenneth Matthew Wells, a 32-year-old Laguna Hills resident, went to Evans Gunsmithing Shooters World, located at 1637 N. Brian Street, on Saturday afternoon, Orange police Sgt. Dan Adams told the Orange County Register. 

A little before 1:30 p.m., other shooters at the firing range saw Wells fall to the ground. He was discovered dead from a single gunshot to the head. Police called to the scene said a suicide note was found in Wells’ pocket. The case is being ruled a suicide, Adams said.
What's your opinion? Is the easy rental of handguns contributing to this problem? Should there be better screening before allowing someone to use a rental gun?

Do you think this was one of those "determined" suicides?  He wrote a note, went to the range, rented a gun and then blew his brains out.  It would be hard to deter a guy like that, wouldn't it?

But most suicides aren't committed by such determined individuals.  Evan at gun ranges, when someone goes there depressed and angry in order to do the deed, they aren't entirely committed.

They could be swayed. Easy gun rentals do matter in cases like that.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Lawful Gun Owner and Possible Concealed Carry Permit Holder Gone Bad

The Citizen's Voice reports

A Plymouth man faces charges after allegedly threatening his ex-girlfriend with a gun early Sunday morning. Andrew Drury, 22, of Downing Street, is charged with reckless endangerment, terroristic threats, simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.

According to arrest papers, police from Plymouth, Larksville and Edwardsville went to a home on Aben Lane around 2:45 a.m. where Maria Villano said Drury was pointing a handgun at her. While on her cellphone with Luzerne County 911, Villano said Drury was running towards his home on Downing Street.

Officers found Drury sitting on a couch in his house. He was arrested without incident, telling police the gun was on the night stand in his bedroom. Police found a holstered 9-millimeter Highpoint Model C9 gun that was loaded but didn't have a bullet in the chamber.
It's a safe bet that he was a lawful gun owner because the charges did not include illegal possession of a gun or anything like that. It's only a slightly bigger leap to consider the possibility that he also held a concealed carry permit, this being Pennsylvania and all.

Whenever the crime is one of domestic violence, in which the CCW permit plays no part, it is often overlooked in the reporting. And to the great enjoyment of the gun-rights advocates who love to boast about how responsible and safe they are, these concealed carry permit holders who switch sides by committing a crime go undetected as such. They look just like all the other formerly lawful gun owners who become criminals.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

More on the Guns vs. Cars - Arizona's Perspective

The Arizona Daily Star published an article on the "guns vs. cars" report. 

The report said traffic deaths fell 43 percent between 1966 and 2000 because of "the combined efforts of government and advocacy organizations." It argued that gun deaths would also fall if firearms were subject to federal health and safety regulations like other consumer goods are.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, cited speed limits, licensing of drivers and laws against drinking and driving as examples of government regulations that make it safer to use a motor vehicle.

While traffic deaths have fallen nationwide, gun deaths have been largely unchanged. If the trend continues, the report said, firearm fatalities could exceed motor vehicle deaths nationally unless there is further federal regulation.
For me the best example is the seat-belt law. People didn't like it, but it saves lives. In the same way,  proper gun control laws would save lives.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Real Guns Inside Toy Guns

Delmarva Now reports on the latest craze in criminal carry.   Concealing a real gun inside a toy guy is pretty ingenious.  Of course now that the cops are catching on to it, there'll certainly be more incidents.

"If you see a kid in a bathing suit who's running down the street carrying one of those he's likely not converted it," Shipley said. "If you see a guy while responding to a bank for an alarm, it's important to know he may have converted it from a water gun."

Shipley said situations like this are "just another example of why it's tough to be a police officer."
What's your opinion? When I said "ban them sumbitches," I was referring to the realistic looking guns that can easily be mistaken for the real thing. What do we do about these?

Please leave a comment.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

On Common Gunsense, japete wrote a beautiful Memorial Day tribute, with this conclusion:

Because I write a blog about gun violence prevention, I want to talk about America gun deaths as they compare to deaths of Americans because of war. More people have lost their lives to bullets on the streets and in the homes of American communities than American military members serving since the Viet Nam war:

Between 1955 and 1975, the Vietnam War killed over 58,000 American soldiers – less than the number of civilians killed with guns in the U.S. in an average two-year period.4
In the first seven years of the U.S.-Iraq War, over 4,400 American soldiers were killed. Almost as many civilians are killed with guns in the U.S., however, every seven weeks.5

Memorial Day 2012

On New Trajectory, Baldr wrote a touching piece about remembering our fallen military. His conclusion:

But let us remember, that although we rightly show concern for those who are dying (or surviving) in distant wars, we should also note that far, far more people are dying from gunfire here on our own soil.  People don't like to think about it that way.  They don't want to believe that our nation is warring against gun violence here.  But at 100,000 shootings a year in the U.S., we can't afford to cover our eyes and pretend that all is right.

Zoey Ripple, CU Grad Shot in Boulder Home Intrusion

The Daily Camera reports

Police say Ripple entered the bedroom of a house at 425 College Ave. at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. The screen door was closed, but unlocked. 

The owners of the house, identified by county property records as Timothy Justice and Doreen Orion, were in bed when they heard Ripple come in. In the darkness, they shouted to warn the intruder to leave and that they had a gun, but Ripple continued walking through the bedroom, and Justice fired one shot, police said. 

When the homeowners turned on the lights, they saw Ripple on the floor with a gunshot wound to her hip and called 911, police said. They said they did not recognize her as anyone they knew.
Additional justification of the shooting is that the wife of the shooter had been stalked by a schizophrenic woman in the past.  But now they leave the door of their multi-million-dollar home unlocked.

To add insult to injury, Ms. Ripple is now being charged with trespassing.

My biggest problem with this case is not that the home owner, who is perfectly willing to shoot someone, does not even lock his front door, but that he could not possibly have had a reasonable fear that he was faced with lethal threat.  Plus, he violated Rule number 3.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Tulsa Teen Killed

Proper gun control is the answer to incidents like this. Shrugging one's shoulders and saying there's nothing we can do is not the answer.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Bloody Chicago Weekend - 4 Dead, 28 Wounded

NBC Chicago reports

Four people are dead and at least 28 others were wounded in weekend shootings across the city since Friday afternoon, including a 7-year-old girl shot while playing in front of her South Side home.
You know what the gun-rights advocates say? They say either this is the fault of gun control laws, because in Chicago the good guys can't protect themselves, or they say it has nothing to do with guns one way or another, it's all about social and cultural problems, drugs and gangs, and all that.

The one thing they won't accept is the part gun availability plays in this violence. They don't like to be reminded that the 30 plus guns used in this weekend violence all came from legitimate gun owners. The problem is gun flow, and gun-rights people and gun owners in general are responsible for that.

I say that because the three main sources of guns flowing into the criminal world, straw purchasing, private sales and theft, could all be diminished or nearly eradicated.  You know who's standing in the way of that, right?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Miami Police Shoot and Kill a Real Live (Zombie) Cannibal

It was a scene as creepy as a Hannibal Lecter movie.

One man was shot to death by Miami police, and another man is fighting for his life after he was attacked, and his face allegedly half eaten, by a naked man on the MacArthur Causeway off ramp Saturday, police said.
I'm the first one to criticize the police decision to shoot someone, but when it comes to a face-eater, I have no problem with the shooting. The only part of the article I wondered about was the possible explanation for the incident.

Police theorize the attacker might have been suffering from "cocaine psychosis," a drug-induced craze that bakes the body internally and often leads the affected to strip naked to try and cool off.

That theory explaining why a crazy guy gets naked is pretty far fetched, and certainly doesn't explain his appetite, unless wait a minute, unless he was also on medical marijuana.

That could explain it.  What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Read more here:

Stand-Your-Ground Laws in 21 States

Most stand-your-ground laws grant a person who uses deadly force the presumption that he acted reasonably unless there is evidence to the contrary.

If there are no witnesses and the victim is dead, or if the evidence is conflicting, the chances are greater that someone can "get away with murder," Savannah Law School professor Elizabeth Megale.

"The statute can be used and distorted by hard-core criminals or someone who has committed a crime," she says. "Most times, someone will get arrested if the other person does not die. … It's ironic. If someone dies, the other person is less likely to get arrested."
What's your opinion? Hasn't the macho, tough-guy, never-backing-down attitude about gun ownership gone too far? People are being shot and killed who wouldn't be otherwise. Homeowners who open the door to screaming maniacs and then shoot them dead are in the wrong. Armed citizens who get in arguments with unarmed people and then shoot them dead are in the wrong.

Avoiding the incident should be a requirement. If you fail to take simple steps to avoid the confrontation, you shouldn't be able to claim self-defense later.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Two Time "Legitimate DGU" Killer

This was a gun owner with one notch on his belt already. Having a gun in hand, secure in the knowledge that he is the king of his castle, HE OPENED THE DOOR TO THE SCREAMING DRUNK MANIAC. That was his mistake.

To many gun owners, it would have been acting like a punk, or giving into the bad guys, to call 911 and wait. The macho arrogance of gun-rights advocates says that rather than do that, it's better to shoot and kill an offender, even one who is obviously not in his right mind.

What's your opinion? Can an incident that was avoidable be considered a legitimate DGU?  If the gun owners makes certain decisions that are wrong but not criminal, and it results in a shooting death, can that incident be considered legit?

What do you think?  Please leave a comment .

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Penn Jillette on the Marijuana Laws

How is it possible that Penn Jillette never tried pot or, even more difficult to believe, never had a sip of alcohol? To me that sounds even more bizarre than Obama admitting what he did in the book or Clinton's famous "didn't inhale" remark.

Other than that, I'm in total agreement with releasing the folks in jail for pot.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Another Avoidable but Legitimate DGU

Link provided by Thomas our commenter. I say the store clerk should have given the thieves the money. He probably wouldn't have been beat up and he definitely wouldn't have killed them. Here's the link.

Are Modern Citizen Militias a Threat?

On New Trajectory, Baldr has compiled a list of modern militia incidents we should all be concerned about.

But as we consider our patriotism, think for a moment about those who espouse a more violent interpretation of what it means to be patriotic. In particular, so-called "citizen militias." They like to pass themselves off as average citizens who are concerned with helping to protect their communities.  In reality they are gun nuts who, if you visit their websites, are insurrectionist anti-government types who stockpile weapons, play soldier in the woods, and often have racist views, hiding their extremist views behind a radical interpretation of the Second Amendment and glorification of a slanted interpretation of Revolutionary War history.  It is an insurrectionist philosophy which the NRA actively supports.  Sadly, these philosophies attract people who are violent and sometimes terroristic, often with tragic consequences.
The list, which may not be comprehensive, is frightening. I think the description of them as"hiding their extremist views behind a radical interpretation of the Second Amendment and glorification of a slanted interpretation of Revolutionary War history" is exactly right.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Should Ted Nugent be Fired by the NRA?

On-Line op-ed in the Pagosa Daily Post by Pat Wray

I’m a hunter, and I know that hunters need a spokesperson.  We need someone with a lifetime of experience who speaks with authority about preserving public lands and the wild animals living there that we love to hunt.  We need someone whose personal magnetism generates interest simply by speaking on the subject of hunting.

I just don’t want my spokesman to be Ted Nugent.


It also bothers me that Nugent is on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. The NRA, which protects our right to bear arms, also claims to represent hunters.  As such, their directors should be held to the highest standard of hunting behavior.  It will be interesting to see if the law-abiding, ultra-patriotic NRA will do the right thing and remove Nugent from their board.

Or will the NRA leadership continue to support a twice-convicted game-law violator who openly threatens the president of the United States?
What do you think? Is this guy representative of the hunting community? I would think so.

Please leave a comment.

Louisiana Moving Towards Even Looser Gun Laws

The Town Talk reports

The Louisiana constitution currently grants each citizen the right to keep and bear arms and provides that "this right shall not be abridged." But it also has a provision allowing the "passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person."

The proposed constitutional amendment removes the language allowing laws to prohibit concealed weapons in certain places and provides that the right to keep and bear arms is "fundamental and shall not be infringed." It also imposes a higher standard of proof -- "strict scrutiny" -- for determining the constitutionality of any law or any individual effort to restrict gun ownership and carrying guns.
Does it boil down to the elimination of gun free zones? Or is there more to it? Does this new law allow for Constitutional Carry too?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

23 State AGs Support HR 822

Dennis Henigan writing for Huffington Post

Lining up public officials in support of legislation is standard fare for interest groups advancing their agenda on Capitol Hill. But the letter signed by 23 state Attorneys General in support of the National Rifle Association's bill to nationalize concealed carry of handguns suggests that, for those public officials, pandering to the gun lobby is far more important than doing the job they were sworn to perform.

Call me naïve, but I had always thought that a State Attorney General had a solemn duty to enforce the laws of his/her state. Apparently some Attorneys General recognize a "gun law" exception to that obligation.
What's your opinion? Does that sound right to you?

Please leave a comment.

I Am Titanium

Vallejo Police Kill Suspect Wielding BB Gun

SF Gate reports

The incident began shortly before midnight when two officers responded to reports that a man had pulled a gun on a cabbie and his passenger, as well as a woman walking on the street, near the corner of Sonoma Boulevard and Carolina Street, said police Lt. Lee Horton.

They spotted the suspect, a Vallejo resident, walking quickly outside Lincoln Elementary School.

"The officers told the man to stop," police Lt. Ken Weaver said. "The male looked over his shoulder at the officers and continued to walk away and was reaching into his pocket."

Both officers told investigators they had seen the man pulling a gun and that they had told him to drop it. When he didn't, they said, both opened fire. 

The man died on the street.
Maybe it happened exactly like that, but like many so-called DGUs, maybe it didn't.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Latest Gun Control Polls from Florida

The Miami Herald reports the latest polls.

The law's strongest support comes from the state's most-rural and conservative areas, North Florida and the Panhandle, where 65 percent favor "stand your ground" and 30 percent oppose it. The least support was in liberal South Florida, Trayvon's home, where 46 percent favor it and 44 percent oppose it. 

Generally, when it comes to gun control, the poll shows 51 percent oppose stricter laws and 45 percent favor them. A narrower segment of the electorate, 49 percent, say Tampa should be allowed to temporarily ban guns during the RNC convention while 46 favor the idea. Voters from the Tampa Bay region are the most-inclined to favor the temporary RNC ban.
Maybe Florida's not so bad after all. For The Most Baneful State in the Country, those poll numbers don't seem so bad.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Birmingham Alabama Security Guard Kills One and Wounds Another

Local News reports

According to the Birmingham Police Department, 27-year-old David Winston was shot dead last night at the Inn Town Suites, off Huffman Road in Huffman.

The incident happened at 11:30 p.m. Officers say Winston had been shot several times, and died at the scene. A woman found at the hotel had also been shot, but is expected to recover. 

Police have arrested a security guard who works at the hotel.
Would it be too much of a leap to say this was a lawful gun owner gone wrong? Could be be so bold as to assume he probably had a concealed carry permit?

It's too easy to say the "vast majority" of gun owners are safe and responsible. Those who are not are in the news every single day, day in and day out. And the sad part is much of this could be avoided with little or no cost to the truly law-abiding.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.