Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blackwater at the Convention

Think Progress reports on the Blackwater display at the NRA convention, with this fascinating observation.

What’s interesting about this booth is the fact that Blackwater officially changed its name to Xe in 2009, recognizing that it needed to try to rebrand itself and escape from the taint of the Iraq massacre. However, the company still retains the Blackwater name for its “Pro Shop,” which sells gift shop-type products with the Blackwater logo to the public. So when the company is talking to the media or Capitol Hill, it’s presenting its brand new Xe face. But when it’s marketing itself to a certain segment of conservatives, Blackwater still sells.

What's your opinion? Why do you think a company like Blackwater is still popular among NRA conventioneers and gun owners in general? Do Blackwater personnel represent the kinds of manly values and patriotism that gun owners like, you know, the old "kill 'em all and let god sort 'em out" mentality? Is there something cool about that?

Please leave a comment.

NRA Members on the Terror Gap

ThinkProgress posted this fantastic video. The last guy is the best.

As Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne noted at the time, the poll indicates that NRA members are “more reasonable than the organization’s leaders and supporters in Congress in understanding the urgency of keeping guns out of the wrong hands.”

I think we have to consider another unofficial poll: gun-bloggers. In my own limited experience I'd say they overwhelmingly agree with the NRA leadership. Why do you think? It is a puzzlement.

Please leave a comment.

Guns and Drugs Found Near Charlotte

WSOC TV reports on what's going on in China Grove, just outside Charlotte. Of course this has nothing to do with the legitimate gun owners who are partying there.

Officers said they seized about 20 guns and found drugs in the home. Police said some of the firearms were stolen.

Residents of the neighborhood called Channel 9 Friday afternoon, concerned about the incident.

"At night, I'm scared to be here by myself, to leave my doors unlocked,” one neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said. “I keep my blinds shut because there's so much going on."

Friday’s raid was part of a larger investigation into stolen property and drugs in the area. In the last month, police in China Grove and Landis have worked together after noticing an uptick in home break-ins in the area.

By all means let's hope the conventioneers come up with more and better ways to increase gun availability. Hopefully they can come up with even better ways to justify the improper storage of the ever-increasing number of firearms in the hands of lawful gun owners. These can be more easily stolen, and the cycle can continue.

The selective blindness of the gun rights advocates is only surpassed by the unbridled delight of the gun manufacturers and FFL dealers, all of whom are laughing all the way to the bank.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Triple Murder in Richmond CA

SF Gate reports on what sounds like your typical gang related violence.

Three men were killed and a fourth injured in a shooting in unincorporated North Richmond tonight, a Contra Costa County sheriff's spokesman said.

Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said four men in their 20s and 30s were struck by the gunfire. Two were pronounced dead at the scene and a third died after being taken to Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, Lee said.

"At this point, we are still trying to develop a motive and suspect description," Lee said.

He said it appears there was a vehicle involved and it may have been a drive-by shooting.

This is what's going on in American cities while the gun rights folks are celebrating together in Charlotte NC. At that convention they'll discuss and plan ways to prevent future gun laws and thwart the existing ones, all in the name of freedom, of course.

The only problem with that is the country is awash in gun violence. This case in northern California, for example, has a direct relationship with those folks in Charlotte, those law abiding gun owners who keep talking about rights and freedom. The relationship is in the fact that the gun used in this terrible crime was originally the legal possession of one of them. It's their laws, or lack thereof, it's their loopholes, it's their attitudes that make guns so available that every violent maniac who wants one can have one.

You see, if you manipulate the system, the 2nd Amendment interpretation, the local laws, the general attitudes, so that everybody who wants a gun can have one, you necessarily include the violent maniacs. I say that's too high a price.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Casey Anthony

The Orlando Sentinel reports on the list of reasons the government says Casey Anthony should be put to death.

Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee. Those aggravating factors are cold, calculated premeditation; the victim’s being younger than 12; the victim’s being in her mother’s care; that the murder was committed during aggravated child abuse; and that it was a particularly atrocious, heinous or cruel crime.

These aggravating factors only come into the penalty phase if she's convicted of 1st Degree Murder. I suppose the obvious questions, which are my argument against this, about her mental health, are examined in determining the degree of the crime.

My opinion is that some violent crimes are so horrible, like this one, that the offender must immediately be considered to have diminished capacity. "Calculated premeditation" is exactly what people like this cannot do. They are not operating with free will. They cannot be held responsible for what they do.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying she should receive a slap on the wrist and go free. What I'm saying is to condemn someone like this to death is worse than the crime itself. A judge and jury who do that truly are using "calculated premeditation."

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Friday, May 14, 2010

More about Guns and Women

The Brady Campaign posted the results of a recent poll which indicates American women especially oppose guns in public. All this hearkens back to one of my most popular posts: Guns and Women, sometimes referred to as "guns are bad news for women."

Lake’s survey found a sizable gender gap in the data, with 63 percent of women feeling less safe with allowing open carry. The gap, of 49 points between the net attitudes of men and women, represents “one of the largest divides seen on current issues,” the researchers explained.

The women who responded negatively to guns in public in this poll come from the suburbs, the cities and the farms of this country. They come in shades of black, white, and brown. They are affluent, low-income, and jobless, young and elderly. And they have a potent message: Politicians who are doing the bidding of the gun lobby, and businesses who worry about offending gun rights extremists should look at this data and be aware that there is potentially a large price to pay with voters and customers alike.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Family Poker Game

Ohh Shoot has the story.

An 18-year-old Louisiana boy was unintentionally shot and killed by his uncle at family gathering. Relatives and friends were playing cards when the uncle picked up a gun in jest and pulled the trigger twice believing the gun was unloaded. On the second pull the gun fired. The bullet hit the teenager in the chest.

A grand jury will review the evidence to determine if any charges will be filed.

Ohh shoot.
Did they really say IF any charges will be filed?

Guns and Baseball in New Jersey

The New Jersey Star Ledger published an interesting letter to the editor concerning a controversy surrounding the local baseball league.

I was disappointed to read that the board of the South Orange-Maplewood Baseball Committee decided to reject the offer of a legitimate business to sponsor one of their teams. Did they give this serious consideration, or was it something that didn’t agree with their agenda?

I see that the township of Maplewood won’t let a licensed gun dealer sponsor a youth baseball team. Yet the league permits a liquor store to sponsor a team even though drunk drivers are responsible for 24,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries on the highways each year. When the statistics are added up, legal alcohol kills far more people each year in the United States than do both legal and illegal guns.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the writer of this letter, at least if I understand his point. He says the little league should be sponsored by both a liquor store and a gun shop. I say it should be sponsored by neither.

If the question is should they accept the liquor store if they deny the gun shop, I agree they shouldn't. That makes no sense to me.

Another point of disagreement I had with the letter is the idea of guns being as American as baseball. I read his rationale, and must admit I found it wanting.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie

They liked this over at Patterico's. I kinda liked it too. How about you?

Charlotte 3rd-Grader Fires Gun in School

Fox News reports on the third-grade gun incident which took place in Charlotte NC.

Fox Charlotte reports that a gun went off inside the desk of a third grader in Charlotte, N.C.

It is unclear how the gun went off, but luckily, the bullet missed all 20 students in the classroom and only hit a wall.

Parents rushed to the school not knowing the extent of the situation after they were told, “A serious incident occurred in a University Meadows classroom this afternoon.”

The gun was a .22-caliber handgun "small enough to fit in the palm of your hand," said Sgt. David Schwob.

Police are investigating the boy's father who came to the school in the afternoon. Schwob said investigators were interviewing the boy, his parents and other students in the class.

I'm all for investigating the dad, but maybe we should just lighten up on this one. The whole family may have been celebrating the start of the NRA Convention. Like father like son, what better way to celebrate than firing off a good round or two, yeehah!

One serious observation, if I may. The Fox News reporting "that a gun went off inside the desk," is supposed to mean what exactly? Since this is Fox, it couldn't be another case of the liberal press demonstrating its ignorance. So, it must be a deliberate attempt to downplay the situation in favor of the gun owners and those responsible. What's ironic about this strategy is gun control folks are often accused of fearing the inanimate object and of anthropomorphizing that object. But here when it serves their purpose, the pro-gun folks do the same thing.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Kagan on Gun Rights

Businessweek published an article about what may very well be the only tangible evidence of Elena Kagan's stance on the 2nd Amendment.

Elena Kagan said as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk in 1987 that she was “not sympathetic” toward a man who contended that his constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted for carrying an unlicensed pistol.

Kagan, whom President Barack Obama nominated to the high court this week, made the comment to Justice Thurgood Marshall, urging him in a one-paragraph memo to vote against hearing the District of Columbia man’s appeal.

The man’s “sole contention is that the District of Columbia’s firearms statutes violate his constitutional right to ‘keep and bear arms,’” Kagan wrote. “I’m not sympathetic.”

I'm sure that's enough for the gun folks to fear her, but is it really all that worrisome? Isn't a 2nd Amendment argument by a criminal illegally in possession of a gun weak at best? Do gun rights people demand total loyalty to the 2nd Amendment, even applying it to situations like this?

I've got an idea, maybe someone should research Ms. Kagan's high school diaries. She might have made some disparaging remarks about guns in them, which would indicate how she really feels.

What do you think?

Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette Syndrome

Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Michael Bellesiles' New Book

The Volokh Conspiracy posted the other day about the new book coming out by Prof. Michael Bellesiles. It's a wonderful post followed by absolutely fascinating comments. Naturally they're all taking the publisher to task for this.
Michael Bellesiles is perhaps most famous as the target of an infamous “swiftboating” campaign by the National Rifle Association, following the publication of his Bancroft Prize-winning book Arming America (Knopf, 2000) — “the best kind of non-fiction,” according to the Chicago Tribune — which made daring claims about gun ownership in early America.
And, of course, the commenters don't fail to cover the false comparisons between Bellesiles and Lott. At least that's their take on it.

My favorite was the comment by Lou Gots, which, I'm not sure but, I think was facetious.

We can’t think of Bellesiles without seeing this in our mind’s eye.

What's your opinion? Is there some truth to the theory that Bellesiles was "swiftboated" by the NRA? Is there a fair comparison between him and John Lott?

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

The Harvey Police Department

The Chicago Tribune reports on stolen guns from the Harvey Police.

Nearly two dozen weapons, including high-powered assault rifles, were stolen from a shooting range belonging to south suburban Harvey police, prompting a statewide alert this week.

At least 21 weapons, which included handguns, MP5 and AR-15 assault rifles, were reported stolen from a trailer on the semi-wooded property of the shooting range at 153rd Street and Campbell Avenue about 9 a.m. Monday, according to Harvey police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The guns were "stolen from a trailer on the semi-wooded property of the shooting range." By all means let's not blame the Harvey police department. Only the thieves are responsible, right?

I hope my sarcasm is transparent enough. I wonder if any of the individual-responsibility guys might consider the improper storage of the weapons on the part of the police as a contributing factor in the theft.

I spotted another interesting piece of information about this case on The Free Republic.

Only hours after Cook County sheriff's officials agreed to join an investigation into the theft of nearly two dozen weapons belonging to south suburban Harvey police, they pulled out. The sheriff's department had joined on the sole condition that its investigation be independent of that of Harvey police, a sheriff's spokesman said, but Harvey officials weren't cooperating.

Sheriff Tom Dart has been critical of Harvey's internal operations and his department was part of a task force that raided Harvey's police station in January 2007, seizing evidence from unsolved crimes. Investigators from state police and the state's attorney's office subsequently filed murder and attempted murder charges using the seized evidence.

I'll bet when the Harvey Police investigators are done, they'll conclude that only the thieves are to blame. What do you think?

Houston Cop Acquitted of Shooting Robbie Tolan

The New York Times reports on the acquittal of Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton in the shooting of Robbie Tolan. We discussed it here when it first happened and here when the trial began recently.

Sergeant Cotton and another officer forced Mr. Tolan and his cousin to lie face down on the ground at gunpoint after the young men had gotten out of their car in front of Mr. Tolan’s house. The officers mistakenly believed that the car had been stolen and that Mr. Tolan had a weapon. Mr. Tolan survived the shooting, though a bullet punctured his lung and lodged in his liver.

The article focuses on the racial profiling aspect of the case, in fact the police are being sued in civil court for discrimination. For me though, it's not so much a racial thing as a power thing. The cops who abuse their power and get away with it are a plight on our nation.

Police officers who misuse their firearms, like they did in this case, should be appropriately punished and new police recruits should be properly screened. Obviously neither of these things is taking place.

What's your opinion? Is this another case of Texas justice or is it just another case of the police being held to a different standard?

Please leave a comment.

Shit, No Jack!

FishyJay sure has a sense of humor, especially in his accompanying comment.

Moving on, here's one we can all relate to. It's happened to me -- how about you, Mikeb?


Being a big believer in the enumerated Constitutional rights we enjoy as citizens of a free country, I'm going to take the 5th on that. Can you imagine what some of my antagonists would do if I attempted to answer?

Jim Morrison the Prophet

In Peace Frog I know he wasn't talking about gun violence, but it's still a cool song. Where I came from it was mandatory to own this album, by the way.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Australian Gun Laws

FishyJay provided us with a wonderful link to this article about how ineffective the gun laws in Australia have been. As I was reading the article I kept thinking "that can't be," and "who could believe such nonsense?"

The report by two Australian academics, published in the British Journal of Criminology, said statistics gathered in the decade since Port Arthur showed gun deaths had been declining well before 1996 and the buyback of more than 600,000 mainly semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns had made no difference in the rate of decline.

I suppose what they're saying is gun deaths have declined but you cannot attribute that to the gun confiscations. So I did a little looking around, although as everyone knows I hate to do rebuttal research like this. Here's what I came up with.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, a government agency, the number of homicides in Australia did increase slightly in 1997 and peaked in 1999, but has since declined to the lowest number on record in 2007, the most recent year for which official figures are available.

Furthermore, murders using firearms have declined even more sharply than murders in general since the 1996 gun law. In the seven years prior to 1997, firearms were used in 24 percent of all Australian homicides. But most recently, firearms were used in only 11 percent of Australian homicides, according to figures for the 12 months ending July 1, 2007. That’s a decline of more than half since enactment of the gun law.
Oh, what a dilemma, whom to believe. Let's see, eeny meeny miny moe, I pick the second one.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Those Crazy Philadelphia Cops

CNN reports on an incident you don't hear about every day. Thanks to an anonymous commenter for the link.

A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, police officer who told authorities he was shot while on patrol last month has admitted he shot himself intentionally, the city's police commissioner said Tuesday.

Sgt. Robert Ralston, 46, confessed to police early Tuesday morning that he made up the story, possibly to a get attention or a transfer, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said in a news conference.

Ralston reported that on April 5 he saw two African-American males arguing on a train track in West Philadelphia. He told investigators that when he stopped the two men for questioning one of them pulled out a gun and shot him in the left shoulder.

His claim sparked a search for a phantom suspect.

It seems like the Philadelphia Police are in the news too often. Why do you think that is?

The story we're looking at today, the very unusual case of an intentional self shooting, brings up the same question as any other misuse-of-the-gun story. What happens to the offender?

Ralston, a 21-year veteran of the police force, will be made to pay the cost of the investigation that followed his report, and has been suspended with the intent to dismiss, Ramsey said.

He will not, however, face criminal charges because police granted him immunity to obtain his confession.

So, there it is again. Losing his job certainly cannot be confused with a slap on the wrist, but should a guy like this maintain his right to own guns? Should a guy who's demonstrated such appalling lack of responsibility with his weapon continue to own guns as an ex-policeman? I say it's disgraceful that such a thing can happen.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

What Some Consider to be The Solution

WISH TV reports on the happy ending to a case of gun theft in Indiana.

Muncie police say they've arrested six people and are looking for one more in connection with a massive gun heist last week .

Detective Robert Scaife says several leads took police to the home of one suspect where police found 114 stolen guns in the garage.

One hundred and forty guns and boxes of ammunition were stolen from a retired Ball State custodian who'd been collecting guns for more than 30 years. The victims son told 24-Hour News 8 the stolen guns and ammo are worth around $200,000. His dad stored the guns in dresser drawers, closets and a cedar chest.

The victim's son said he was planning to buy a gun safe following a different burglary attempt in late April. But the suspects broke in again before he had the chance.

The guns were stored "in dresser drawers, closets and a cedar chest." Do I have to say it? The gun owner should forfeit his collection, not to thieves, but to the government as they put his name on the disqualified list. That's one part of the answer.

As to the solution of tracking down thieves, The Muncie, Indiana Police must have used the profiling techniques of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Just look at those characters' faces. What cop wouldn't recognize them in a heartbeat? Maybe this profiling business isn't so bad after all. Or maybe cops have always done it and always will.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Minnesota Gun Shows Under Attack

The NRA-ILA made the announcement.

With Minnesota’s 2010 legislative session coming to an end, anti-gun State Representative Michael Paymar (DFL-64B) intends to offer an amendment to a yet unknown bill, which would severely regulate the sale of firearms at gun shows in Minnesota. Representative Paymar has until the last minute on Monday, May 17 to attach this amendment, so it is important that you once again urge your Representative to block his continued anti-gun agenda.

His proposed amendment would force all private sales conducted at gun shows across Minnesota to go through a background check. Gun prohibitionists, such as Representative Paymar, falsely claim that many criminals get their guns from gun shows, but the most recent federal study puts the figure at only 0.7 percent. This effort is a stepping stone for anti-gun advocates seeking to ban all private sales, even among family and friends.

Is it any wonder that pro-gun folks accuse everybody else of lying and distorting the facts when their own NRA writes things like this?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Oakland Police Shoot Deer

Mercury News reports.

I'd say this should be treated like any other misuse of a firearm by a police officer. The offending officer shouldn't get the usual slap on the wrist because this kind of poor judgment makes him unfit, plain and simple.

Yet, I wouldn't want to exaggerate the incident either. As much as I oppose hunting as a sick endeavor, and find this execution of a trapped animal especially odious, I don't support a media circus that results in the officer being punished more than his colleagues who wrongly shoot humans.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sheriff Joe and Rev. Al

Check out the sheriff's tie pin.

Arnold on Arizona

Think Progress reports on Arnold's joke about Arizona.

“I was also going to give a graduation speech in Arizona this weekend,” Schwarzenegger said. “But with my accent I was afraid they would try to deport me.”

I think it's pretty funny, don't you?

CT Man Receives Slap on the Wrist

The Middletown Press reports on another case of someone receiving a slap on the wrist for a serious gun violation.

MIDDLETOWN — A city man was arrested May 1 after accidentally shooting out his living room window while attempting to fix his rifle, police said.

Lemont West, 32, of 217 Hendley St., called police at 9:15 a.m. to report the accidental discharge of his weapon, according to the arrest report.

He told police he was getting his gun ready for a trip to the rifle range and accidentally fired a round through the living room window.

Lemont’s parents were in the kitchen and his 10-year-old son was upstairs when the gun went off, police said.

Lemont told police he was doing some work on the rifle because it was malfunctioning

Officers canvased the area for the .223 caliber round that went through the double-pane bay window, but could not locate it, according to the arrest report.

Lemont was charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm and second-degree reckless endangerment.

He was released from custody after posting a $5,000 bond and scheduled to appear in Middletown Superior Court May 10.

Lemont’s weapons were turned over to local police for safekeeping while the case is pending.

Of course, after his couple of minor convictions he'll get his rifle back and go right back to business as usual, which makes him too reckless and irresponsible to own guns safely.

Why do the pro-gun folks defend guys like this who give them all a bad name? Is there any excuse for this kind of incident. No, there isn't, unless you want to have the greatest possible leeway in exercising your gun rights and treat the 4 Rules as a take it or leave it proposition.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Dillon Colorado

Yahoo News reports on the Colorado man who shot himself and was then convicted of several charges. I may owe Colorado an apology. I thought their gun-friendly attitudes excused all kinds of nonsense like this, I guess I was wrong. Besides, this incident happened in the most beautiful place I've ever seen in the United States.

A Colorado man who claimed he was trying to defend himself from a mugger when he shot himself in the groin has been convicted of illegal discharge of a firearm. Investigators said there was no evidence to substantiate David Leroy Blurton's self-defense claim and jurors convicted the 50-year-old on Wednesday. The shooting happened at the parking lot of a grocery store in Dillon, Colo., on May 2009. Prosecutors say Blurton had been drinking.

Jurors also convicted Blurton of "prohibited use of a weapon — drunk with a gun" and reckless endangerment. Prosecutors said they will request that Blurton be sentenced to probation.

Blurton maintained that someone hit him in the back of the head and he was trying to defend himself.

What's your opinion? Have you ever seen Dillon Lake? What about these convictions? Are any of them felonies, ar are we just going to let this guy continue to act up with guns?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan

Politico reports on the new Solicitor General and possible nominee for the Supreme Court. Thanks to FishyJay for the link.

Regarding gun laws, Kagan says she has “no reason to believe that the court’s analysis was faulty” in the 2008 Supreme Court case striking down the District of Columbia’s strict gun-control laws. And she added that her office would likely “continue to defend” against constitutional challenges on various federal regulations concerning firearms.

I'm not sure what that means exactly. Couldn't it be one of those ambiguous statements that could be followed with just about any kind of voting?

One thing I'll admit, she's not one of those ACLU types who believe the 2nd Amendment has been twisted and manipulated in recent years. Too bad for that.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Eminem on Murder-Suicide

Wikipedia has the background on this incredible song entitled Kim by Eminem. I've never seen or heard a better portrayal of the rage which leads to murder-suicide. When we read about these incidents it's difficult to picture what went on beforehand.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sleep-walking Murderer

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports on the sleep-walking murder committed by a 14-year-old.

The parents of a 14-year-old Colorado Springs boy accused of killing his brother and wounding their mother pleaded with a judge Friday to keep his case in juvenile court.

“I just want you to give my son a chance to get to a special hospital, not to go to jail,” Ulysses Gudino Sr. said at the end of a weeklong hearing on whether his son Daniel should be tried as an adult. The father vowed to do “whatever is necessary to help our son.”

Daniel is accused of shooting his 9-year-old brother to death and shooting and stabbing his mother, Marina, on May 18, 2009, in the family’s home at 1837 Chapel Hills Drive.

Marina Gudino told Judicial District Judge David L. Shakes that her son should not be punished for their failure to recognize the seriousness of his symptoms. Doctors testified during the week that the boy suffered from sleep disorders, hallucinations and possibly a developing mental illness.

Jeralyn from Talk Left says, "Of course he should be tried as a juvenile. It's why we have a juvenile justice system." I couldn't agree more with the part of Jeralyn's remark that implies it's wrong to charge juveniles as adults, but shouldn't charges simply be dropped? How can someone be held responsible for what they do while sleep-walking, regardless of their age?

Of course, that leads to the usual question for me. Who is responsible? I find it unbelievable that in all these discussions about whether he should be tried as an adult or not no one wants to know where the gun came from and how he was able to access it during the night. Who's in charge of the guns in that house? Certainly not a kid, not one with serious problems like this one.

The mother in pleading with the judge admitted it's not his fault but hers and her husband's "for their failure to recognize the seriousness of his symptoms." That admission was not specific enough. It should have been, "for their failure to recognize the seriousness of his symptoms and make sure there were no guns and knives handy."

In Colorado they like to give the widest possible interpretation to gun rights, and when something goes wrong they like to take the focus off the gun availability completely.

Yet, regardless of this coverup by the Colorado gun-friendly press, once again it's about gun availability. Mentally ill teenage sleep-walkers should not have access to guns during the night, and if they do and something goes wrong, the parents should be held responsible.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

More Gun Buy-Backs

Gun buy-back programs in Chicago and Blooklyn we're called successes by their supporters. Of course, the nay-sayers are always out there, but can they really disagree with the observation of Jody Weis?

Chicago’s Police Superintendent Jody Weis acknowledged that gun buy backs don’t strike at the heart of Chicago’s problems with gang violence. But Weis said the effort is a chance to prevent some shootings. “If we can get weapons taken out of the house. At least they can’t be stolen form the house. A child cannot get his hands on that gun.”

Who could argue with that?

Why do you think the gun buy-back programs meet with such antagonism from the pro-gun crowd? Could it be that these initiatives seem to demonize the gun? Although I don't think that's a fair description of this, I do think that's the problem from the pro-gun perspective.

The truth is, gun control folks aren't demonizing anything, any more than they're assigning animate characteristics to inanimate objects. What we are doing is acknowledging the crucial element of gun availability in the equation of violence. It's all about gun availability.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Provo, Utah Police Shooting

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on a police shooting in Provo.

A man who was shot and killed by Provo police Saturday after he pointed a gun at officers in a grocery store, had earlier been trying to steal beer from the store, police said.

He was still struggling with the employees when two police officers arrived about 8:40 p.m. One of the officers shot a Taser at Ethington, but it had no effect, Argyle said.

Ronald Ethington, 35, of Provo, was stopped by a Smith's employee who saw him shoplifting in the store at 350 N. Freedom Blvd., said Provo police Capt. Cliff Argyle.

Ethington produced an older model .357 revolver and pointed it at police. Both officers fired their guns and hit Ethington.

One of the officers tried to revive him, but Ethington died in the store.

Provo police had not had contact with Ethington before, and a search of Utah court records showed he had no criminal history.

His brother said Sunday the family is struggling to understand what occurred as they mourn his death.

"It's very shocking to us, especially if it's over a can or bottle or beer that this tragedy has happened," said Mikel Ethington, of Payson. "He was a great brother and uncle. He would do anything to make the kids laugh. He was very loving with them."

In another article, it was reported the police fired 15 shots. This certainly seems excessive to me, police shooting 6 or 7 times each at a suspect. Granted, if he pulled a gun, he was asking for it, but the response seems a bit much.

The brother's reaction seemed less than forthright, don't you think? Maybe he just doesn't want to speak ill of the dead or perhaps the family is planning on suing the police, but I find it hard to believe this was an isolated incident. What do you think?

Of course, I have my usual concerns about how the lax gun laws in Utah helped this tragedy to occur. I don't think the average drunk and belligerent shop-lifter in New Jersey carries a gun everywhere he goes. But in some states that's exactly the case.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Robbie Tolan Shooter Goes to Trial

The Dallas Morning News reports on the justification offered by the cop who shot Robbie Tolan. We discussed this one shortly after it happened.

A Houston area police officer says his heart sank after learning the man he had shot had been mistaken for an auto theft suspect.

But Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton defended the New Year's Eve 2008 shooting, telling jurors Friday he was protecting himself, believing the man, an aspiring baseball player, had been reaching in his waistband for a gun.

Cotton, with the Bellaire Police Department, is on trial for shooting Robert Tolan at his family's home after officers mistakenly tried to arrest him for driving a stolen car.

The shooting sparked accusations of racial profiling, which Cotton and Bellaire police have denied.

Cotton, 40, is being tried on one count of aggravated assault by a public servant and faces up to life in prison if convicted.

I'm sure his heart did sink when he discovered the mistake. This must be a cop's worst nightmare. The answer: better training and much stricter psychological screening.

About the possible life sentence he's facing, doesn't that sound a bit severe to you? I know Texas has the reputation of dishing out excessive sentences, and I certainly don't suggest cops should get any kind of special treatment, but life sounds a bit heavy for aggravated assault. What would they do if Tolan had died?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Family Dispute in Los Angeles - 3 Dead

SCPR reports on a terrible attack of a family by the ex-boyfriend with an AK.

Ten people were in the house at 21920 Devlin Ave. when the gunman, apparently motivated by a romantic dispute, barged in with a rifle and started shooting about 3:40 a.m., said Sgt. James Jobling of the sheriff's Lakewood Station.

Deputies on patrol heard the gunfire, confronted the suspect, 26-year-old Joseph Mercado, then shot and wounded him, said Deputy Aura Sierra of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.

"As we arrived, we heard the shots on the street, so our deputy did a fantastic job, knew it was an automatic weapon -- it was an AK-47 -- pulled his AR-15, encountered the suspect on the street, fired two shots,'' Undersheriff Larry Waldie told KTLA-TV Channel 5.

The deputies ordered Mercado to drop the weapon, but he refused and turned toward the deputies. Sierra said that is when the deputy-involved shooting occurred.

"And then we went into the house to clear the house,'' Waldie said. "As we were clearing the house, about six more people jumped from the roof trying to get out of the house for fear ... ''

Serena Tarin, 25, and her brother, Alfredo Tarin Jr., 20, died at the scene, Sierra said. Their parents, Luciana and Alfredo Tarin Sr., were taken to hospitals in critical condition. Alfredo Tarin Sr. later died as a result of his injuries.

Even in the subsequent articles I wasn't able to understand a few things about this story. What were 10 family members doing at 3:40 in the morning? Were they sleeping there, was it a party that had run late? I admit it has little to do with anything, aside from my curiosity.

Another thing I wondered is how could the shooter have suffered only minor wounds? He refused to drop the weapon and turned towards the police with an AK-47 in hand, yet they only wounded him? I thought they're supposed to shoot for the center of mass and all that, and who could fault them in a case like this? I don't get it.

And finally, nowhere have I read about the gun or the shooter's right to have it. I don't suppose it could have been a legally owned weapon in California, but where did it come from and how did he get it? That's what I'd like to know. I'd like it traced back to the last legal owner, the one who made the innocent mistake of selling it to a straw purchaser or the one who didn't secure it properly and it somehow got stolen. This is where legal and lawful gun owners have to start taking more responsibility.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Bill Maher on Rush Limbaugh

Why do Conservatives have such a hard time which humor? Noel Sheppard wrote a very critical article for NewsBusters about Bill Maher, describing the comedian's assertions as preposterous and "vulgarity-laden." I just thought they were funny. What about you?

Glenn Beck's Founders' Fridays

Glenn Beck is the king of that weird obsession which many people suffer from, excessive and selective adoration of the so-called "founders." "Framers" is another name I get a kick out of.

Dawn Olsen writing on Technorati
said, "You be the judge."