Saturday, October 1, 2011

Crazy Man + Gun = Tragedy

From MSNBC. com Crime and Courts, and the AP:
Once Loughner is mentally fit for trial, likely to plead insanity

Attorneys for 23-year-old suspect in Tucson shooting have no other choice to spare him from death sentence, legal experts say

Image: Jared Loughner
AP, file
Jared Loughner, seen in February after the Tuscon shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others, has been forcibly medicated by prison officials for the last 60 days.
updated 10/1/2011 12:58:57 PM ET 2011-10-01T16:58:57
A judge has ruled that Tucson shooting rampage suspect Jared Lee Loughner isn't yet mentally fit for trial, but legal experts say it's only a matter of time before his competency is restored and that his lawyers will have no choice but to mount an insanity defense.
The judge extended Loughner's four-month stay at a Missouri prison facility by another four months so doctors can continue to pursue his readiness for trial and assist his lawyers. In that eventuality, Loughner, 23, will most likely invoke his mental illness as a legal defense because the Jan. 8 shooting outside a Tucson grocery store that killed six and injured 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was captured on surveillance video and witnessed by dozens of people.
"I don't see what other defense he's got," said Stephen J. Morse, a professor of law and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Morse, who has followed Loughner's criminal case. Morse believes Loughner will be made mentally fit for trial.
Loughner appeared in court on Wednesday for the first time since May, when in an angry outburst he shouted "Thank you for the free kill!" This time, he sat expressionless and quiet throughout the seven-hour hearing, having been forcibly medicated with psychotropic drugs for the last 60 days.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns concluded that Loughner can probably be made psychologically ready for trial, begging a broader question: What happens next?
If the judge finds four months from now that Loughner is ready to stand trial, the case will resume.
If Loughner is found to still be mentally unfit, Burns could give him another four months at the prison facility in Springfield, Mo., though the judge said he'd have to see more progress by Loughner before he grants another extension.
If Burns finds there's no likelihood of Loughner being made mentally ready for trial, he can dismiss the charges under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that stipulates an individual can't be indefinitely held for trial.
If the charges are dismissed, state and federal authorities would likely petition to have Loughner civilly committed and seek repeated extensions of his commitment until his death.
Loughner's lawyers haven't said whether they intend to present an insanity defense, but noted in court filings that his mental condition will likely be a central issue at trial. A call to his lead attorney, Judy Clarke, wasn't immediately returned Friday afternoon.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the shootings, which killed federal judge John Roll, 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green and Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman, and three others.
Prosecutors haven't said whether they will seek the death penalty if Loughner goes to trial. But, if so, his attorneys are expected to use his mental condition to save him from a death sentence.

The Tremendous Cost of Gun Violence reports what to me seem like very conservative numbers when calculating the cost of gun violence. 

In an attempt to calculate the total costs associated with fatal and non-fatal gun-related injuries, researchers considered costs associated with criminal proceedings, lost productivity, medical care, and suffering and decreased quality of life experienced by victims.

Each non-fatal gun injury was found to cost society around $46,000 and fatal injuries cost an estimated $6.4 million, according to the report.

"Using these parameters, the cost of the 36 fatal and 133 non-fatal firearm injuries to youth in San Mateo County from 2005 to 2009 will total $234 million over time," the report said.
That's impressive enough, especially when you multiply it with the national figure. Then you're talking more than $5 billion per year.

But, doesn't the figure used seem a bit on the low side. I find it hard to believe that calculating the effect on family and considering the loss of future earnings, in addition to the immediate and more obvious costs like emergency room services and in many cases surgical operations, I find it hard to believe the $46,000 average would cover it.

Laci once provided us with what seems to me a more realistic calculation.

They also state that when lost productivity, lost quality of life, and pain and suffering are added to medical costs, estimates of the annual cost of firearm violence range from $20 billion to $100 billion. According to the National Center for Disease Control, the cost of firearm fatalities is the highest of any injury-related death. In fact, the average cost of a gunshot related death is $33,000, while gun-related injuries total over $300,000 for each occurrence.
My calculations bring us in at about $30 billion, and that's year in and year out. What's your opinion? Are these staggering numbers enough to get the attention of people? Maybe the 30,000 deaths a year has become nothing more than a statistic, like Stalin said. People may have become inured to this, as terrible as it is. Perhaps they need to think about the cost, given the economic mess the country is in, maybe this is the way to get through.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Wall Street Protests Grow

As the protest endures and grows in NYC, it is also expanding to other cities. More well known people are turning up at the protest, and now five or six unions are joining in and lending their support. This is getting larger, it is growing, changing, but most of all - it is enduring. And finally domestic media is catching on to a story which has received more international attention than it has received in the U.S.

For those who don't understand and appreciate the significance of my earlier post about the Koch letter in the von Hayek archive (a problem for the single issue low information voter types), appreciate that these protests, if they continue at all as they have progressed in the past two weeks, are going to make a difference in the 2012 elections.

From and Today and Reuters::
Image: A several blocks-long crowd of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters Friday march up Broadway toward One Police Plaza in New York.
Louis Lanzano / AP
A several blocks-long crowd of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters Friday march up Broadway toward One Police Plaza in New York.
updated 10/1/2011 2:32:57 AM ET
Protesters who have camped out near Wall Street for two weeks marched Friday on police headquarters in Manhattan over what they viewed as a heavy-handed police response to a previous demonstration.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, whose members have vowed to stay through the winter, are protesting issues including the 2008 bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment.
More than 1,000 people marched past City Hall and arrived at a plaza outside police headquarters in the late afternoon. Some held banners criticizing police, while others chanted: "We are the 99 percent" and "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out."
Workers from the financial district on their way home watched as the marchers passed, with some saying it was not obvious what outcome organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement wanted.
Police observed the march and kept protesters on the sidewalk, but no clashes were reported. Police said no arrests were made before the protest dispersed peaceably by 8 p.m. after the march.
Image: Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold signs
Lucas Jackson / Reuters
Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold signs aloft as a protest march enters the courtyard near the New York Police Department headquarters.
Familiar refrain: Wall Street protest lacks leaders, clear message "No to the NYPD crackdown on Wall St. protesters," organizers had said on their website, promoting the march. Other online flyers for the march read: "No to Stop-and-Frisk in Black & Latino neighborhoods" and "No to Spying and Harassment of Muslim Communities."
The protest came less than a week after police arrested 80 people during a march to the bustling Union Square shopping district, the most arrests by New York police at a demonstration since hundreds were detained outside the Republican National Convention in 2004.
A police commander used pepper spray on four women at last weekend's march and a video of the incident went viral on the Internet, angering many protesters who vowed to continue their protests indefinitely.
Story: Wall Street protesters target NY cops next The protest encampment in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan is festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. There is a makeshift kitchen and library, and celebrities from filmmaker Michael Moore to actress Susan Sarandon have stopped by to show solidarity.
Asked on his weekly radio show on Friday whether the protesters could stay indefinitely at the private park they call their base, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "We'll see."
Bloomberg added: "People have a right to protest. But we also have to make sure that people who don't want to protest can go down the street unmolested."
Similar but smaller protests have also sprouted in other cities in recent days, including Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.

Fact Checking helps

It really make you look like an idiot if you post items as true that when fact checked turn out to be false.

In this case Granbo, The Gun-toting granny Ava Estelle.

Great story, without a shred of truth to it at all.

Sorry, but this supposed news story about a "Rambo Granny" taking the law into her own hands is a fanciful tale of imagined revenge and nothing more. It originated as a 20 October 1998 article in the Weekly World News, an entertainment tabloid whose stock in trade is the outrageously fictional.

Regrettably, Grambo exists only in gunloons' hearts, newsgroups, and inboxes, but that sort of thing doesn't stop the gunloons and other similarly vengeful types from cherishing her.

No one has been able to find any record of the grandmother or the suspects. The folks at the Darwin Awards have listed this story as an urban legend. Daniel Rezmann from the Office of Public Prosecutions in Australia wrote to the Darwin Awards saying he's searched the records and found nothing about the two suspects or the granny.

Seriously, how could anyone honestly swallow a tale of vigilante justice in which the police spokesman is characterized as "admiring" of someone who turned a firearm on two others? As righteous as a cause might be, the moment a crime victim or one of her sympathizers takes matters into her own hands, that person becomes a criminal engaged in illegal activity. Police would not be "baffled" about what to do with such a person outside of the US of A — an arrest would be made and charges laid: just ask Tony Martin.

Anyone familiar with Australian slang woul point out that people outside the US would not refer to someone as a bum (as the supposed police investigator did when he said "... hunting those bums down"). A "bum" Down Under is the body part one sits upon — in that dialect, the term does not enjoy the diversity of meaning it does in North American slang. An Aussie would refer to the person as a "dero" or something similar.

In short. the slang attributed to the people in this story would never drop from the lips of an Australian (unless he'd spent her life chained to a rock in the Ozarks). The fact that the characters in this piece of fiction used the wrong dialect was what clued me to the fact that this was a FAKE!

Fact Checking--it takes a little time, but it keeps you from making a complete dumbfuck of yourself.

Yep, this story also fits our narrative in that gunloons swallow any lie they are told without question--even when it comes from the Weekly World News.

See this list of websites about how this story is a fake

This doesn't fit your narrative...

A motel clerk in Richland County, South Carolina shoots and kills an alleged rapist.

The problem is that this DOES fit my narrative. The person who posted this comment failed to note that this incident took place in South Carolina, which has one of the highest rates of gun violence. In fact, One finds that South Carolina sounds like the Anglo-Scottish Border regin during the time of the reivers if the person who made this comment had actually paid attention to more than just the comment in the clip that a hotel clerk killed an alleged rapist. If you look at aggravated assaults involving a firearm, Tennessee (129.87) and South Carolina (114.73) come above District of Columbia (99.25). That is our narrative--the more guns there are and the more people take the law into their own hands, the more lawless the society becomes.

Additionally, the whole story sounds as if Richland County, SC is plagued with crime even with people carrying weapons. Isn't the pro-gun narrative More Guns--Less Crime, but does that work in reality? Instead, this post points out that the solution to crime is a whole lot more complicated than a bumper sticker solution.

So, when taken as a whole, this clip DOES fit our narrative--the more guns present, the more likely society is to be violent. Take away the guns from the following statistics and the rate of violent crime goes way down

But the person who made this comment is not interested in dialogue, he is more interested in trying to silence our message. He figures that we will see the surface message of this clip, rather than pay attention to the entire message.

But, this person isn't willing to examine what he is saying and how he presents himself, let alone what we are saying. If someone isn't aware of the message they put out and that it is counterproductive to their cause, how can he properly communicate anything?

That is why the dialogue fails.

Our Numbers

click and click again to make bigger

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Wonderfully Wacky (if disconnected from reality) World of Wayne!

(The preceding was posted especially to get a smile from Laci... so, not to play co-blogger favorites, I hope this video will get a similar smile from MikeB and Jade.)

From the talented folks at Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, a voice of logic and sweet reason pushing back the gun loon insanity!:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Wayne's World
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

If There Was Any Question of the Wall Street Protest Gaining New Life ...

No Phony Baloney!
It's Tony Baloney..........inadvertently, helping the Wall Street Protest to Gain Momentum and Attention!

From the inimitable Jon Stewart!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Democracy on the Lurch - Wall Street Pepper Spray Incident
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Another Armed Lunatic, Shooting at Police and Others

From Crime and Courts:

Oh, Lookeeee!  Another crazy man got his hands on a gun, and then he got his hands on even more guns!  HIGH POWERED GUNS!  Why........could it be?  Are guns too easily obtained by people who are disqualified from...HAVING GUNS? Could it be that at least some of these guns might have been less than securely stored, where ANYONE could break in and access them relatively easily?

Ya think?

Authorities say Calif. fugitive fired at deputies

updated 2 hours 28 minutes ago
Authorities say they are closing in on a murder suspect who has been the subject of the largest local manhunt in decades — even as they reported he shot at a group of sheriff's deputies Thursday.
The Alameda County deputies searching in the redwood forest where the man has been at large for more than a month weren't hit and fired about 10 shots in response, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said at a Thursday night news conference.
Aaron Bassler, 35, is suspected of killing a city councilman on Aug. 27 and one other person several weeks before. Bassler is thought to be hiding out in the redwoods outside of Fort Bragg and is believed to have broken into several cabins to steal food and at least two other weapons.
Allman did not know how many shots Bassler is suspected of firing, or whether he had been wounded in the exchange. More law enforcement officers were being flown into the area to join the 40 officers involved in the search, he said.
"We believe we really and truly encircled him in a way that tomorrow may bring resolution ... but I have said that for 34 days," Allman said.
The search was scheduled to continue around the clock, with air searches, fog permitting, in the daytime. Investigators believe Bassler is hiding in the forest and surviving without help from anyone.
"We have no reason to believe people are supplying him with food, logistics, information. There is $30,000 reward," Allman said.
Officials are asking residents and others to stay out of the forest until Bassler is captured.
Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo, who also worked as a security contractor, and a co-worker at a private timber company confronted Bassler while investigating reports of an illegal marijuana farm outside of town.
It was unknown whether the gunman was stalking the officers during Thursday's exchange of gunfire but he was using a high powered assault rifle like the one believed to have killed Melo, the sheriff told reporters. "He clearly was shooting at them with a rifle." he said.
Police said Bassler was cultivating some 400 poppy plants and was holed up in a makeshift bunker when he fired on the 69-year-old Melo and the co-worker, who escaped and called for help.
Bassler is also being sought in the fatal shooting of Matthew Coleman of the Mendocino County Land Trust. The former Fish and Game Department employee was found dead next to his car on Aug. 11 up the coast from Fort Bragg.
Both men were highly respected for their love of the land and their community work. The 7,000 residents of Fort Bragg have been on edge while the manhunt by dozens of local and federal agents has enveloped their coastal fishing and lumber community.
James Bassler said he believes his son suffers from schizophrenia and for years has talked about aliens and spaceships, while crafting Chinese military stars and drawings of weapons systems. His son was arrested in 2009 after he was accused of flinging some of those red stars over the fence of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, but was released after authorities determined he was not an immediate threat to himself or others.
Aaron Bassler was arrested again on DUI charges in February after he allegedly rammed his truck into a school tennis court. He lost his license, and shortly afterward, lost his place to live.
"He lost his truck, then he lost his place to live; all his links to the real world," his father said in an interview last week.
Earlier this week, authorities released a photo of Bassler vandalizing a vacation cabin while holding a high-caliber rifle. On Wednesday, they confirmed his fingerprints linked him to another burglary at a cabin.
James Bassler said he had tried for years to get county authorities to have his son put into a mental health program, but that his letters and calls had gone unanswered due to privacy laws that protect his son.

UK Law on Blank Pistols

It's not a good idea to do legal research from Newspapers or the internet, unless you have some basic knowledge of legal research.

Section 19 of the Firearms Act 1968 makes it an offence for someone to have with them a loaded shotgun, a loaded air weapon, or any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on the person).

A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof lies on him) he has with him in a public place:
[F45](a)a loaded shot gun,
(b)an air weapon (whether loaded or not),
(c)any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm, or
(d)an imitation firearm.]

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Amendments (Textual)
F45S. 19(a)-(d) substituted for words (20.1.2004) by Anti-social Behaviour Act (2003 c. 38), ss. {37(1)}, 93; S.I. 2003/3300, art. 2(c)(i)

While the Firearms Act does not provide a statutory definition of what is meant by “lawful authority” or “reasonable excuse”, “lawful authority” would not necessarily apply to sportsmen as this seems to relate to those issued with firearms in connection with official duties such as police or military personnel. “Reasonable excuse” would apply to sportsmen if the person were engaging in an activity connected with the firearm’s use and having permission to be on premises where it is to be used.

Blank firing handguns and starting pistols are classed as imitation firearms. The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 amends Section 19 of the 1968 Firearms Act to include such imitation firearms. In essence it is an offence to possess an imitation firearm in a public place (including buildings accessible by the public) without a reasonable excuse.

Use in theatrical production is considered a reasonable excuse.

Additionally, possession in one's own home is allowed.

The blank pistol mentioned as being banned is only one kind, the Olympic .380, which I do not own. That is the only blank firing pistol which has been "banned": the Olympic .380. Otherwise, these are perfectly legal if kept in the home.

I should note that it is common knowledge amongst those familiar with blank pistols and replica firearms that they are not meant to fire live ammunition. The converted Olympic .380s are known to be inaccurate and prone to exploding on the firer.

Koch Brothers and Economic History: a Surprising Letter

This epitomizes corrupt and dishonest intellectual discourse, and how money can buy an expert to say anything they want said.  Who?  Who else - one of the egregious Koch Brothers!

Charles Koch
From the Dylan Ratigan Show on 9/29/'11,

Ideas for sale September 29, 2011 “The Nation” magazine’s Mark Ames and co-writer Yasha Levine discuss an investigative report revealing that billionaire Charles Koch bought and paid for an anti-Social Security and Medicare stand.

The original article appears HERE in the Nation Magazine.  It is written by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine.  The source of this letter is the collected papers of Friedrich von Hayek, in the Hayek Archive at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, where it was an indexed part of the collection. From the article referenced above:

The private correspondence between two of the most important figures shaping the Republican Party’s economic policies—billionaire libertarian Charles Koch and Nobel Prize–winning economist Friedrich Hayek, godfather of today’s free-market movement—were obtained by Yasha Levine from the Hayek archives at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. This is the first time the content of these letters has been reported on.
The documents offer a rare glimpse into how these two major free-market apostles privately felt about government assistance programs—revealing a shocking degree of cynicism and an unimaginable betrayal of the ideas they sold to the American public and the rest of the world.

"Publicly, in academia and in politics, in the media and in propaganda, these two major figures—one the sponsor, the other the mandarin—have been pushing Americans to do away with Social Security and Medicare for our own good: we will become freer, richer, healthier and better people.
But the exchange between Koch and Hayek exposes the bad-faith nature of their public arguments. In private, Koch expresses confidence in Social Security’s ability to care for a clearly worried Hayek. He and his fellow IHS libertarians repeatedly assure Hayek that his government-funded coverage in the United States would be adequate for his medical needs.None of them—not Koch, Hayek or the other libertarians at the IHS—express anything remotely resembling shame or unease at such a betrayal of their public ideals and writings. Nowhere do they worry that by opting into and taking advantage of Social Security programs they might be hastening a socialist takeover of America. It’s simply a given that Social Security and Medicare work, and therefore should be used."
The authors of the article have posted a digital copy of the letter here at the Nation, and here, at the blog, if you care to see it for yourself.  This is just a taste, a 'tease'.  The authors understood this surprising discovery, and they explain the significance of it very eloquently.  I encourage our MikeB readers to follow the links, and inform yourself more fully on WHY the discovery of this document is significant in the larger context of American economics and politics.

Ruidoso NM City Council Overrules Mayor on Gun Ban

The comments are priceless, and speak very well for the gun-rights movement.

If he fears for his life perhaps he too should carry a gun. If there is any dispute, they can take it to the streets. Or maybe he's afraid he cannot out draw his enemies and hopes to disarm them before they enter the building. Foolish trying to prevent a gunfight.
This poor mayor is just like me trying to sell sensible gun control ideas on The Democratic Underground diaries.

What's your opinion? Is this another minor victory for the gun-rights movement? Are they trying to win this battle by a type of Chinese Water Torture? What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Two Minor Victories for the NRA

During Obama's first term, with no resistance from the administration in the White House in spite of all the dramatic predictions, and a sympathetic Supreme Court, the gun-rights folks have been hard-pressed to make much progress.  Earlier they had that little victory with the National Parks and then the Amtrak thing.  But, it seems odd they haven't accomplished more.

Now they're chalking up two more practically insignificant victories.
Guns on campus in Oregon.

People licensed to carry concealed weapons can’t be barred from bringing guns onto university campuses, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals strikes down a state administrative rule that prohibited carrying guns on property owned or controlled by the Oregon University System.

As you sit in your favorite tavern, devouring hot chicken wings and downing cold beer, could the person next to you be packing heat - legally?

Yes, starting Friday, when Ohio's revised concealed-carry law takes effect.
"Few if any" problems are anticipated. I imagine that's true, also in Oregon. But that's the problem right there. Those few problems that will occur, need not. They are totally avoidable.

Part of the pro-gun argument rests on the false presumption that the armed people in Ohio bars and on Oregon campuses will prevent violence or intervene in dangerous situations and actually save lives. But, this doesn't seem to be the case. Even staunch gun-rights advocates admit it's very unlikely they'll ever be in exactly the right position in exactly the right moment to intervene. Violence happens too randomly and too quickly for them to help.

So what we're left with are the "few if any" problems. No gun-control people are predicting "blood in the streets" over this, but neither can the pro-gun crowd claim major victories.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Another Tragedy of Kids and Firearms in the Home

Here is a terrible tragedy, where clearly the firearm used was not secured.  Presumably this was another example of a gun kept for self defense that was fatal to the owners rather than useful.  Given the knife attacs on his younger siblings, it suggests that he might have still attempted to murder his parents with a knife as well, but given the age difference and the apparent size difference, that kind of attack would have had less chance of success than a firearm.

Colo. boy, 13, pleads guilty to killing parents

BURLINGTON, Colo. (AP) — A 13-year-old boy who prosecutors say was playing with toy trucks and planes right before he shot and killed his parents was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in juvenile detention after pleading guilty to murder.
The boy was 12 in March when prosecutors say he shot Marilyn and Charles Long with a .357 Magnum revolver in Burlington, a small farming community about 140 miles east of Denver. He also pleaded guilty to attempt to commit first-degree murder and three counts of assault for attacking two of his younger siblings.
He could have faced decades in prison if he had been tried and convicted an adult.
The light sentence angered some relatives, but District Attorney Bob Watson said state law forced him to choose between what he saw as an unacceptably light juvenile sentence and an unnecessarily harsh lifetime sentence.
Watson told a judge there was no explanation for the slayings. He showed photographs of the family's backyard, where he said the boy had been playing with toy trucks and planes minutes before the shootings. He said tests showed that he was immature and noted that money he earned cleaning a church and the courthouse before the slayings had been spent on Legos.
"If you're looking for an adult explanation for why this kid went from playing in dirt to commit murder you'll never get one. This lies in the mind of a very immature 12-year-old," Watson said, referring to the boy's age at the time of the slayings.
The prosecutor said he was also concerned that a judge might have rejected a proposal to transfer the case to adult court and whether the state would be able to get a conviction there, noting that juries like to know why a crime was committed.
Charles Long's brother, Wally Long, said he was never in favor of a plea agreement.
"My desire for a longer sentence was never about hatred or anger but out of a sense of justice," he said.
The boy will also have to serve three years on parole after being released.
Marilyn Long, 50, homeschooled her kids and ran the children's ministry at the Evangelical Free Church. Charles Long, 51, served as an elder at another church and was a snack delivery driver. The boy was a greeter at the church and helped other children memorize Bible verses.
Prosecutors allege the boy stabbed and shot his 9-year-old brother and injured his 5-year-old sister with a knife. Both recovered from their wounds.
In court, the boy stood about 5 feet tall and appeared slight in his teal prison uniform. He declined a chance to speak and cried as a defense lawyer read a statement from his maternal grandmother, Dolores Richardson.
She noted that he was a helpful boy and hinted that the slayings had resulted from "helplessness, a cry for help for a situation, that (he) felt he had no control over."
After the hearing, Wally Long and the boy's 25-year-old brother said they didn't know to what she was referring. "He's dead to me," the brother said.
Before the sentencing, public defender Tom Ward said in court that the boy had made progress while in juvenile detention. He grew two inches, gained 16 pounds, and formed relationships with attorneys, staff and other juveniles, Ward said.
Ward also said the boy has shown "incredible remorse" for the crimes.
"Life in prison is not the proper place for a 12-year-old boy, especially this one," he added.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

So, who needs a gun?

An attempted rape of woman was stopped by ex-Marine in Queens. Ex-marine,Bryan Teichman, saw a man pulling his victim, an Asian woman in her 30s into some bushes off the Cross Island Parkway. Teichman yelled at the man to stop causing the suspect to flee.

Investigators described the suspect as white, between 45-50-years-old, standing about 5-foot-11 and weighing roughly 220-pounds with salt-and-pepper hair and was wearing denim shorts and a red t-shirt.

Teichman said he felt he did what anyone would do in that situation.

How Does a Gun Control Advocate Teach His Kid About Guns?

Written by Mikeb and first posted on The Truth About Guns.

In my little town about 30 miles outside of Rome there was a carnival. They were celebrating the patron saint or some political holiday, but it was just like what you have in the States. There were kiosks with ring-toss games, dart throwing, a merry-go-round, bumper cars, all the usual. I was walking through the place holding my 7-year-old boy’s hand when we looked to the left and both of us saw the shooting gallery. Alessio practically let out a yelp for joy, pulling me by the hand in that direction . . .

I considered the next move on my part. Pulling him away from the evil guns might make them even more attractive, although that seemed unlikely given the level of his enthusiasm. Now, a little background is that he’d had almost no exposure to toy guns and none at all to real guns.I never prohibited them in our house but we never bought any either. Some of his little friends have surely had them and he’s seen some on TV, although he’s not too into that, so the exposure was about as minimal as it could be. For a kid with so little experience with guns to be as excited as he was to get his hands on one, shocked me a little or more than a little.

As we approached the booth, I saw a rifle on one side and a handgun, like a 9mm on the other. They were attached to something with cables. They were both very realistic looking, as it turned out, airsoft guns with the CO-2 cartridge that shoot those yellow plastic pellets a little bigger than a BB. At least that’s what I figured they were.

Alessio unhesitatingly picked up the handgun, immediately putting his finger on the trigger. I’m laughing right now recalling my reaction. I wondered, where in the hell did he learn that from, is it innate?

I quickly took control of the gun which he had pulled back close to his chest aiming at the ceiling at about a 45 degree angle. I thought, kind-of laughing to myself at the absurdity of it, OK now is the moment to teach him some gun safety. I’m flexible, right?

I showed him how to take his finger off the trigger and extend it along the gun outside the trigger guard, and I told him never point the gun at anything but the target. I repeated those two points, released my grip on the gun and told him to go ahead.

He fired three or four shots holding the gun back almost to his chest when I said wait a minute and physically extended his arm for him. I placed his left hand on the gun to steady it and told him to continue. From there he hit the targets, soda cans they were, with almost every pellet and won a prize.

Reflecting back on it, I’ve had a few thoughts . . .

The plastic pellets actually put holes in the coke cans after enough hits. How dangerous those air soft guns are, and how realistic looking. They need to be controlled exactly like real firearms. That was one thought. The other was about my boy and how can I best teach him to not get hurt with guns in the future, and I mean get hurt in the widest possible sense. Obviously, never addressing the subject and hoping it never comes up won’t get it. We live in the real world and he’s definitely going to run into guns throughout his growing-up life.

The truth is I’m at a loss. I don’t have a clear plan on how to teach him the things he needs to know without increasing the mystique and fascination and attraction that are inherent in the using of guns. What do you think? Any ideas? I don’t necessarily want him to be a gun control enthusiast when he grows up, which is what I consider myself, but I certainly wouldn’t want him to be enthusiastic in the other direction.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

POGO Uncovers Government Waste BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR

Next time you hear someone trying to sell you on smaller government - think again.  When we privatize, when we shrink government resulting in reduced services like fewer teachers, fewer police, less infrastructure or poorly maintaining infrastructure......remember that privatizing services costs more, not less.  Civil service employees are not the enemy.  Politicians who transfer government provided services to more expensive private providers ARE the enemy of frugal and responsive, responsible government. I would encourage our readers not only to check out the POGO web site and their studies and reports, but also to follow up with other independent studies as well as the reports available online from the respective Inspectors General.

Project On Government Oversight

Bad Business: True or false? 
The U.S. government relies on contractors to do work because the private industry is cheaper than in-house staff.
If you guessed true, think again. POGO’s latest investigation busts this myth by showing that using contractors actually increases costs to taxpayers.

In fact, on average, contractors charge the government almost twice as much as the annual compensation of comparable federal employees. 

Tell your Member of Congress we can’t afford to pay twice as much for service contracting.

Of the 35 types of jobs that POGO looked at in its new report—the first report to compare contractor billing rates to the salaries and benefits of federal workers—it was cheaper to hire federal workers in all but just 2 cases.

Given that Congress’s special “Super Committee” has the goal of cutting $1.5 trillion from the deficit by December 2, we can’t let this kind of government waste continue. Tell your Member of Congress that it’s time to take a closer look at what service contracting costs taxpayers.

In some occupations, POGO found that the difference in price was so dramatic that anyone could easily see the government was getting ripped off. When the government hired a claims examiner for example, it paid contractors nearly five times more than if it had gone with a federal employee.

Even worse, the government doesn’t have the mechanisms in place to do basic price checks. Would you spend $320 billion a year without doing a cost analysis of the services you were paying for? Probably not.

You can help the government stop paying too much for contractors by bringing this problem to the attention of your Member of Congress. We simply can’t afford to be paying double if we don’t have to.

From Labor Notes by way of Truth Out:

"Occupy Wall Street" Protest Links Up With Locked-Out Teamsters

by: Michael London, Labor Notes | Report
Expanding their reach beyond the confines of Wall Street, a dozen activists from the ongoing Occupy Wall Street action disrupted an art auction at Sotheby’s last week.
The protest supported 43 union art handlers, members of Teamsters Local 814, who were locked out August 1 by the tony art seller.
Occupy Wall Street, organized mostly through social media, began protests in lower Manhattan 12 days ago, calling on “the 99%” to confront the “greed and corruption of the 1%.”
Disguised as potential bidders, the activists entered the building and interrupted the auctioneer one at a time as bidding on an item reached $130,000.
The protesters staggered their interruptions through a period of 75 minutes with shouts to “end the lockout” and “make Wall Street pay.”
They were escorted off the premises by security with no arrests.
“What’s being done to the art handlers is plain wrong,” said Will Russell, a Hunter College student. “Sotheby’s made $690 million in gross profit last year—but they can’t afford to pay their workers a fair wage?”
Actress Ashley Straw also participated. “The greed in this building is a direct example of the corporate greed that has ruined our economy,” she said.
Blockbuster Takeaways
Sotheby’s is demanding that all new hires have no collective bargaining rights, no health benefits, and no job security. The company is operating with scabs and a non-union subcontractor.
Occupy Wall Street supporters said, “Sotheby’s art auctions epitomize the disconnect of the extremely wealthy from the rest of us.”
Sotheby’s also wants the art handlers to give up their 401k plan, take a 10 percent wage cut, cap overtime, and eliminate certain job titles that pay more. In initial bargaining, the company wanted workers to give up their right to sue over discrimination.
Teamsters have been busy fighting the lockout, too, crashing Sotheby’s parties and handbilling its events.
Two Sotheby’s board members are also on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s board, and when they hosted a “diversity gala” last week, Local 814 members showed up to let the celebrity-studded crowd know the people throwing their party are attacking a union that’s 70 percent Black and Latino.
“We thought it was pretty ironic they were patting themselves on the back for their diversity when they’re trying to send families of color back to the 1950s,” said Julian Tysh, an organizer for Local 814.
Last year was Sotheby’s most profitable year ever in its 267 years of business. The union says its CEO, Bill Ruprecht, is paid about $60,000 a day.
The action last week marked the first time the dispute at Sotheby’s has spilled from the street onto the auction floor—but protesters promised it wouldn’t be the last.
This story was originally published on Labor Notes.

Justice Stevens on the Death Penalty

From / Good Morning America:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Latest Domestic Terrorism

From the BBC World News:

Rezwan Ferdaus held over Pentagon and Capitol bomb plot

A 26-year-old US citizen has been arrested for allegedly plotting to fly explosive-packed, remote controlled planes into the Pentagon and the US Capitol in Washington.

Rezwan Ferdaus was also charged with attempting to supply materials to al-Qaeda and aid attacks on US soldiers.
The Northeastern University physics graduate is accused of planning to commit "jihad" since early 2010.
Mr Ferdaus was arrested in Boston after an undercover investigation by the FBI.
Attack supplies Announcing his arrest, the US Department of Justice described an elaborate operation over a period of months leading up to the arrest of Mr Ferdaus.
Authorities said he designed and supplied undercover operatives with a total of eight mobile phone detonators intended to be used by al-Qaeda operatives to set off bombs in the Middle East.

“The public was never in danger from the explosives”- Carmen Ortiz US attorney

During a June 2011 meeting, Mr Ferdaus was told that his first phone detonation device had killed three US soldiers and injured four or five others in Iraq. "That was exactly what I wanted," he reportedly told the undercover agents.
Also during 2011, Mr Ferdaus began speaking to the agents about his desire to organise an attack on the Pentagon, home of the US military, and the Capitol building in Washington DC, seat of the US Congress.
Posing as accomplices, they then supplied him with C-4 explosives, a remote-controlled plane and arms.
Mr Ferdaus was arrested on Wednesday immediately after putting the newly delivered weapons in a storage container, the FBI said.
Soldiers in front of the Pentagon The Pentagon was previously attacked in 2001 when the 9/11 hijackers flew a plane into the building
"The conduct alleged today shows that Mr Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country, including attacks on the Pentagon and our nation's Capitol," US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said.
However, Ms Ortiz, US Attorney for Massachusetts, added: "The public was never in danger from the explosives," which were controlled by undercover FBI employees.
If convicted, Mr Ferdaus could face up to 15 years in jail for providing support and resources to a foreign terrorist organisation and up to 20 years in prison for attempting to destroy national defence premises.
Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Boston Division, said law enforcement agencies in the area had worked together to "detect, deter, and prevent terrorism".
"We have an obligation to take action to protect the public whenever an individual expresses a desire to commit violence," he said.

Interesting fact from the CDC

Just to get away from the numbers.

From Violence is a significant economic burden costing society about $47 billion a year in total medical and work loss costs.
Firearm-related injuries were the leading mechanism (cause) of violence-related death, representing 58% of all violent deaths. These injuries accounted for $27.7 billion in total medical and work loss costs. Suffocation and poisoning were the next two highest-ranking mechanisms of violent death, with a total combined cost of $7.8 billion and $4.6 billion, respectively.

Which side are you on?

This is the real question for people in the US: Which side are you on?

The side of the rich, exploiters?
Or the side of the exploited people?

The Wire is Real

7 Arrested During Illegal Gun Seizures - Baltimore, Maryland News Story - WBAL Baltimore

I like the female Carcetti. What they really need is a McNulty and a Freaman.

"We must do more. This year, I will again aggressively support legislation to increase the penalty for illegal gun possession," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

The mayor also restated her promise to hire hundreds of new police officers and said the city's crime camera system will soon be expanded into northeast Baltimore.

Texas (Young) Grandmother Stops Criminal

To me this is an example of a good clean DGU. What do you think?

Gun Control and Marijuana

In Montana and Oregon they're very confused.

Firearms dealers in states that allow medical marijuana can't sell guns or ammunition to registered users of the drug, a policy that marijuana and gun-rights groups say denies Second Amendment rights to individuals who are following state law.

Federal law already makes it illegal for someone to possess a gun if he or she is "an unlawful user of, or addicted to" marijuana or other controlled substances. A Sept. 21 letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, issued in response to numerous inquiries from gun dealers, clarifies that medical marijuana patients are included in that definition.

That seems clear enough. Why would having a prescription for the drug change anything? The reason users of marijuana and other drugs are prohibited from owning firearms is because when taking the drug they are impaired and cannot responsibly and safely manage the guns.

Of course, the slippery slope is looming on the horizon of this policy. What about the prescription pain killers, some of which are like heroin? How can gun ownership be compatible with them and not with their street counterparts? The answer is simple and obvious, it cannot.

But never underestimate the power of the NRA and the gun lobby.

Officials in two Oregon counties have said they'll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after state judges said sheriffs couldn't deny concealed handgun licenses for medical marijuana patients.

The Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court said the state law that authorizes concealed handgun permits is separate from the federal law that outlaws gun possession by drug users, and the state gun law doesn't address medical marijuana use.

So, in spite of the federal law, the State of Oregon has decided concealed carry permits are OK for medical marijuana patients. It's sort of a technicality that one is a state law and the other is federal. I suppose those gun owners who are also medical marijuana patients had to conceal that fact when buying their guns.  Otherwise the gun dealer would have been constrained to deny the purchase because of the federal law.  Is that part legal, that concealing of marijuana use at the time of buying a gun?

Eventually this will all have to be straightened out.

What's your opinion? Do you think responsible gun owners can smoke pot and continue to be responsible?  I don't. I believe one would have to choose, pot or guns.  If you want to get high, fine I have no problem with it. Drugs should be legal anyway in my opinion.  But, I cannot accept that drug use and gun ownership are compatible.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

'Satan' Had a Gun on the Interstate

I have to wonder how this woman was able to obtain a gun.... and to how many people she posed a danger prior this tragic sequence of events?

While the article notes this woman who struggled with mental health issues was a very religious Christian/ bible reader, the thought that crossed my mind on reading this was the obvious failure of promoting religion as psychology.  This is what occurs at the so-called Christian Therapy clinic operated by Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus, of the dubious clinical psychologist credentials, where they go in for  "pray away the gay" and similar dubious therapies.

From the STrib:

Full of fear before dying on I-394

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 28, 2011 - 6:00 AM
Katherine Gordon had told Edina police in July that Satan was in her and that she needed to be locked up.

Several weeks before she was fatally shot by a Golden Valley police officer, Katherine Gordon told police in Edina that the devil was talking to her and that she needed to be locked up to prevent her from harming herself or others.
Gordon, who had just arrived in the area from California, said she believed that the "spirit" of Satan or the devil was inside her and told her told her go to the police, according to the report taken when she went to the Edina Police Department seeking help July 26.
On Thursday, Gordon was stopped on westbound Interstate 394, just west of Hwy. 169, near the Minnetonka-Golden Valley border. Police say Gordon, 58, of Altadena, Calif., had a gun at the time she was shot and killed.
A law enforcement source told the Star Tribune last week that she raised the gun in the direction of the officer moments before he shot her several times along the busy freeway. The source said the woman had been driving at speeds up to 90 miles per hour when the officer, Rob Zarrett, began pursuit.
Eight weeks earlier, when Gordon told Edina police about her concerns about herself, they drove her to nearby Fairview Southdale Hospital, at Gordon's request, according to the police report.
"They [hospital personnel] put her in a locked room after she relayed to them the same information she told me," an Edina officer wrote. "Hospital staff advised me they do not need a police hold on her because of the information she provided them."
Fairview spokeswoman Jennifer Amundson said that in cases in which no hold is required, a patient can still remain for treatment or leave at that time. However, citing privacy concerns, she declined to say what happened in Gordon's case.
Dr. Paul Richardson, who directs adult psychiatry at Fairview Southdale, said that the law allows medical personnel some discretion in deciding whether to put people on 72-hour holds. They also may drop the holds and discharge the patient early if they're cooperating and conditions change. Their rights must be respected, he said.
"We're letting challenging cases discharge from the hospital all the time," he said. "We do our best not to let people go who are a risk to themselves."
When Gordon arrived at Edina police headquarters that July morning, the report noted, she said she had driven from California and was looking for a place to live in Minnesota.
The officer reported Gordon saying "that if she is not locked up, she believes she may harm herself or others."
The report also indicated that Gordon did not have a weapon when she visited Edina police headquarters.
Friend recalls Gordon
A Golden Valley woman who said Gordon stayed with her over the past year and a half or so expressed surprise Tuesday that her friend's life would end so violently.
Charmaine Schodde said that Gordon was divorced and traveled back and forth between California and the Twin Cities to visit children and grandchildren.
Gordon's hope was to find office work in Minnesota, Schodde said, but otherwise remained a California resident in order to keep her medical benefits so her treatment for depression could continue.
"I know she struggled with depression, but she never was suicidal," Schodde said. "I find it really hard to believe that she would get out of her car and point a gun at officers."
Schodde said she came to know Gordon as a "very strong Christian woman who read her Bible every day. ... She was a nice, classy lady. I just don't want it to come out like she was this crazy person."
More revealed about officer
On Monday, Golden Valley Police Chief Stacy Carlson officially identified the officer who shot Gordon as Zarrett.
Carlson said Zarrett has been an officer on the force for 13 years. He has 16 letters of commendation in his file and "no open internal investigations/complaints against," she added.
Zarrett has been on temporary administrative leave, which is standard procedure, since the shooting.
The shooting is being investigated by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. Its investigators have yet to reveal what prompted the officer to open fire.
Zarrett was the subject of a lawsuit stemming from a 2005 incident in which he fired a stun gun at a woman as she sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle. The woman later sued the Golden Valley Police Department, and the case was settled for $250,000. He testified that he used the Taser for two to three seconds after the woman refused to hang up her phone during a traffic stop.
Staff writer Kevin Duchschere contributed to this report.

Scott Beason (R-AL) is the NRA

A complaint from gunloons is often along the lines of "hey, I'm not a racist."

Or, "hey, I'm no kook."

Ladies and Gents--meet Scott Beason (R-AL).  Beason, like so many GOPers, proudly wears his support of the NRA.

Beason made headlines a while ago, when in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Beason urged fellow Republicans to "do what has to be done" and "empty the clip" of their guns into illegal immigrants to "solve the problem" before immigrants could have children because "[when immigrant] children grow up and get the chance to vote, they vote for Democrats.

Kooky and racist enough for ya?

As the infomercial says--"But wait!!  There's more!!"

During an FBI probe into votes for campaign contributions, Beason was taped calling black people "aborigines."

Now, let's have a little thought exercise.  Suppose, say, a Nancy Pelosi was on record as saying immigrants should be murdered so to prevent immigrant children from voting for the GOP.  And let's suppose she also called blacks "aborigines."  Does anyone doubt there'd be a backlash from groups like the NAACP  and other liberal organizations?  Of course there would be.

But the NRA encourages this behavior.

Triumph of the Will

I was going to merely post a comment in response to DogGone's outstanding article on Chicks with Guns. But, hey, I'm vain (albeit always correct) and I want to showcase my thoughts.

Here's the deal: one could easily produce a coffee table book featuring handsome, successful-looking men against a background of gorgeous scenery as they rhapsodize about the virtues of child molestation.

There's no question Ms McCrum is an extremely gifted artist. However, there's a strong element of cherry-picking at play. She's selected women who could appear as models for Chanel or The Gap or Elle.  She isn't showing the norm-the rednecks living in trailer parks and flying the Confederate flag as they demand Obama's birth certificate.  Convicted felon and psychopath G. Gordon Liddy made money off the same idea--that one could photograph women and guns and generate some cash.

 Leni Riefenstahl was a gifted filmmaker and artist as well.  From an aesthetic perspective, her movie, Triumph of the Will was a masterpiece.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Now hear this!

A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile(s) at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant.

A blank pistol, which is incapable of firing a projectile does not meet the definition of a firearm by anyone's standard.

In addition, these are not made to the same standard as firearms and often function quite differently than firearms in regard to safety features.

They are not firearms.

They are glorified cap guns.

Is that in simple enough language for you to understand????????

Madman with Gun on Loose in Framley!

The Framley Examiner has this surprising story:

As the story says, "if you have to have a killing spree, a botched one is the best."

Chicks with Guns book

From Today /
Image: Alexandra Knight with son Truett and gun
Lindsay McCrum
This photograph of Alexandra Knight with her son, Truett, appears in the book “Chicks with Guns.” “I’m so eager to teach my boys everything I know,” the Houston mom writes in the book. “Knowing that one day they will be teaching their boys or girls the same thing with the same gun makes me smile.”
By Laura T. Coffey contributor
updated 9/28/2011 9:42:22 AM ET

Pop quiz: Name one accessory that grandmothers, moms, girls, wealthy socialites, middle-class females and low-income women might be likely to own — and cherish — all across America.
    If you answered “a gun,” you’d be correct.
    Based on polling research and gun-sale statistics, an estimated 15 million to 20 million women in the United States own their own firearms. Dozens of those heat-packing women are documented in “Chicks with Guns,” a new book by photographer Lindsay McCrum that is sure to challenge almost anyone’s assumptions about gun ownership.
    “Their numbers are really high but their profile is actually really low,” said McCrum, who spent three and a half years capturing artistic and arresting portraits of women with their weapons of choice.
    “I was so surprised by the variety and breadth and diversity of these women,” McCrum said. “There are so many stereotypes about guns, mostly derived from popular culture, but the reality is so much more complex and varied than you can imagine.”
    Image: "Chicks with Guns" book cover
    The Vendome Press
    Greta, the young woman pictured on the cover of "Chicks with Guns," received her first gun as an infant and completed a hunter’s safety course to earn her lifetime hunting license before her 10th birthday.
    “Chicks with Guns” reveals just how true that is. The book features nearly 80 portraits and captions in which women describe the role of guns in their lives in their own words. It quickly becomes apparent that rich women, poor women, young women, old women, athletic women, sedentary women and a fair number of confident girls possess guns for reasons that are peculiarly their own.
    “I learned two main lessons while working on this book,” said McCrum, who divides her time between New York City and California when she isn’t traveling for work. “One is that on the subject of guns, nobody is neutral. And the other is that when you get outside of the blue-state cities, everybody has a gun.”
    Some women in the book work in law enforcement. Some work on ranches. Some relish the thrill of hunting birds or big game. Some are accomplished competition shooters. Some are fiercely concerned about protection and self-defense. Some have guns that have been passed down in their families for generations and have become cherished heirlooms.
    Some shoot because the activity is a natural outgrowth of their relationships with their fathers, husbands or brothers. Some chuckle because they’re much better shots than the men in their lives. And some delight over bringing specific guns home because the weapons make them swoon.
    “I own a gold .50-cal Desert Eagle with tiger stripes, one of the largest, most powerful pistols out there,” a Minnesota resident named Theresa writes in her caption in the book. “Any girl would understand when I explain it was something I saw and HAD TO HAVE. Some women experience that feeling with clothes, some with jewelry. For me it was with a large firearm.”
    In one memorable photograph in “Chicks with Guns,” Alexandra Knight, 38, of Houston, Texas, is pictured with a gun in one hand and her naked baby boy in the other.
      Slideshow: Photos of women with guns explode stereotypes (on this page) “As much as I have an affinity for the beauty of guns, it’s not so much about that with me, and the act of hunting I could really care less about,” Knight said in an interview. “For me it’s the camaraderie and the time spent around the idea of hunting and guns that I love. It’s about being with my children and being with my father and being with people I love in beautiful parts of the country. ... It opens up beautiful dialogue about the respect of guns and how that translates to respect of nature and respect of other humans. Ironically, it brings up a lot of things I’m passionate about.”Knight said she knows her portrait with her then-9-month-old son Truett has the potential to generate strong reactions from the people who see it — but she had strong reasons for wanting it to look just so. The gun she’s carrying used to be her grandfather’s, and her father taught her how to use it. She’s also wearing her father’s belt buckle in the photograph.“It was all about family and tradition,” Knight said. “Here it was the gun that was passed on to me, and I’m holding in my right hand what I’m going to pass on to my son. It was kind of that circle of life and tradition and everything else.”
      Gun safety in the home It stands to reason that a book about women and guns would touch on the issue of gun safety in the home — particularly in households with young children. “Chicks with Guns” stays neutral on this and other highly charged subjects and allows women to share their feelings and thoughts without judgment.
      One mother named Elena who lives in Roseburg, Ore., explains how her job as a 911 dispatcher led her to overcome the discomfort she felt about owning a gun.
      “Dealing with the calls that we field on a daily basis made me really aware of what people are capable of doing,” Elena writes. “I’m a single mom and I’ve got two kids, so I feel like if I’m ever put in a situation where I need to protect them, I’d prefer to have a gun.
      “I had to sit my kids down and talk to them. Kids are kids and they can get into things like that. They are 7 and 8, so I wanted to take them shooting so they could see how powerful guns are. It scared them at first — the loud bang and seeing the watermelon explode like it did — but they realized how important it was that you never, ever play with guns.”
      Image: Anita, a police officer pictured with a gun in the book "Chicks with Guns"
      Lindsay McCrum
      Anita, a police officer pictured in "Chicks with Guns," still remembers feeling an overpowering reverence for life when undergoing firearms training for her job. "I can never take a bullet back," she thought to herself at the time.
      Meanwhile, Liz, another woman featured in the book, is a former police detective who has handled cases of sexual assault, domestic violence and homicide. She, too, has been deeply affected by the inhumanity she’s witnessed, but she has a different take on guns in the home if children are present.
      “Since I’ve been in law enforcement, I’ve always had a gun in my nightstand that I keep loaded, no safety on, ready to go, one in the chamber, because that’s the only way I feel it’s effective,” the San Jose, Calif., resident writes in the book. “If I had kids it would be a different story. I would never, under any circumstances, have a loaded gun in the house if there were children there. That is extremely unsafe. I can’t think of a worse thing to do.”
      So ‘comfortable with those firearms’ McCrum said almost every woman she encountered while working on this project talked passionately about gun safety. Many also were completely conversant on the gun laws in their states. McCrum, who doesn’t own a gun herself, was struck by the ease and confidence so many women had with their weapons after years of training with a huge emphasis on safety.
      Image: Jen, a woman pictured with a gun in the book "Chicks with Guns"
      Lindsay McCrum
      "My son Clay ... has a bear rug hanging in his room from a hunt when he was 2," a Montana resident named Jen writes. "He was with me when we spotted the bear. I took it in one shot and I waddled down the mountain with my gun on my shoulder and him on my hip."
      Stephen L. Meagher, a former federal prosecutor who wrote the introductory essay for “Chicks with Guns,” made a similar observation about the women in the book.
      “I found the looks on the faces of the women themselves to be striking,” Meagher said in an interview. “You just see how comfortable they are with those firearms. There are hundreds if not thousands of books about the political side of gun ownership in America, but I have never seen one that put together the artistic side and the personal side of gun ownership and women like this.”
      McCrum — who didn’t want to reveal her age but described herself as “old enough to dislike overhead lighting” — was a painter for most of her life before 2003, when she switched exclusively to portrait photography. She still fondly remembers an art history teacher she had at age 16 who taught her that art should be a reflection of its time and should push people to think about the world around them in new and different ways.
      “[Gun ownership] is a really serious and complex issue, and it deserves serious consideration,” McCrum said. “It deserves far more than sound bites geared toward people’s fear and hate. This project is not about politics or policy. I’m not interested in glorifying anyone, nor am I interested in vilifying anyone. I was just really curious.”
      To see additional images and read caption excerpts from “Chicks with Guns,” click here to view a slideshow about the book. To learn more about photographer Lindsay McCrum and her project, visit