Monday, December 31, 2012

Both Sides of the Assault Weapons Ban Debate

via TTAG

Cell Phones and Video Surveillance Have Contributed to Falling Crime Rates

via TTAG

Mass Shootings

via Mother Jones

Snow Camo

via Suzie Q

Tennesseean Shoots Himself By Accident - He's Critical

Local news reports

Murfreesboro attorney Guy Dotson Jr. remained in critical condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Saturday after an accidental shooting while cleaning a gun.

According to the Murfreesboro Police Department incident report, police were called to his residence at 1504 Monticello Court around 10 p.m. Thursday and found Dotson lying on his bedroom floor where he fell after suffering a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He told police he was going to clean the pistol when it accidentally discharged.

Police noted that he had been struck in the right side of his abdomen and the bullet exited his middle back. First aid was started immediately until EMS and first responders could arrive.
I sure hope this isn't our friend who calls himself Tennesseean. He's the only lawyer I know from Tennessee.

If we hear from him later today I'd like to ask what he thinks about my one strike you're out suggestion. What's the difference between the guy who forgets there's a round in the chamber and kills a kid, the guy who shoots himself in the stomach and the guy who puts a round into the floor?

Not much, is my answer.  The first two guys broke all Four Rules of Gun Safety.  The third guy broke three.

In my opinion they should all lose their gun rights, minimum, in some cases they should go to jail too.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Sound Suppressors for Guns - Allow Them or Not?

A gruesome holiday season exercise: Think of some firearms and accessories that might have added to the body counts of Aurora and Newtown. More starkly, imagine the means by which coming Auroras and Newtowns will be made more deadly.

The exercise starts with a militarized baseline, as both shooters unloaded designed-for-damage rounds from high-capacity magazines loaded into assault rifles. Improving their killing efficiency would require one of two things: the ability to shoot more bullets faster, or more time. A fully automatic machine gun would provide the first. More minutes to hunt, meanwhile, might be gained by employing a noise suppressor, those metallic tubes better known as silencers. By muffling the noise generated with every shot by sonic booms and gas release, a silencer would provide a new degree of intimacy for public mass murder, delaying by crucial seconds or minutes the moment when someone calls the police after overhearing strange bangs coming from Theater 4 or Classroom D. The same qualities that make silencers the accessory of choice for targeted assassination offer advantages to the armed psychopath set on indiscriminate mass murder.
The article provides a fascinating history of suppressors. I'm now wondering if I have to abandon one of the only exceptions I've had about gun control laws I support. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

How Many Have Left the Ranks?

 from an op-ed in USA Today by Ed Tinsley, former commissioner of Lewis and Clark County in Montana.
I am a proud gun owner and, as such, I call on our nation to stand up and demand that our leaders tackle gun violence in this country. Specifically, the president and Congress must take up the question of whether assault weapons and high-capacity magazines have a place on our streets and in our homes.

This conversation will no doubt raise the hackles of those who disavow even the most minor regulations on their guns or ammunition. They'll say the government is infringing on their rights yet again.

Let them tell that to the grieving parents in Newtown who just buried their children.

The government regulates the amount of shells I can have in my shotgun when hunting waterfowl. It regulates the number of beers I can have at a local microbrewery. It determines whether or not I can talk on my cell phone while operating a 4,000-pound vehicle on public streets.

We need certain laws in place to protect our health, safety and the welfare of our citizens. Why then is it so difficult to reduce the number of assault weapons that pose a threat to Americans everywhere?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Captain Beefheart - 14th Night of the Living Van Vliet

Here's the explanation of the origin and the dates.

Thanks to Microdot for the title of the Festival.

This is the final cut on Trout Mask Replica.

I cry but I can't buy  
Your Veteran's Day poppy 
It don't get me high 
It can only make me cry 
It can never grow another  
Son like the one who warmed me my days  
After rain and warmed my breath 
My life's blood Screamin' empty she crys  
It don't get me high It can only make me cry  
Your Veteran's Day poppy.

Captain Beefheart Festival - 14th Night of the Living Van Vliet

Here's the explanation of the origin and the dates.

Thanks to Microdot for the title of the Festival.

Now, here she comes, 
walkin', lookin' like a zoo 
Hello, moon, hello, moon
Hi, Ella, high Ella Guru 

She knows all the colors that nature do 
High Ella, high Ella Guru  
High yella, high red, high blue, she blew  
High Ella, high Ella Guru
She do what she mean and she do what she do 

Got sumptin' fo' me, sumptin' for you She sho' sumptin', she's young too
Ella Guru, Ella Guru Ella Guru, Ella Guru
Ha, ha, right, right, just dig it  

That's right, the mascara snake  
Fast and bulbous, tight also
Ella Guru, Ella Guru Ella Guru, Ella Guru
Ella Guru

Purification Ritual

via Criminal Wisdom
Devotees of the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine take part in a street procession marking the annual Vegetarian Festival in the southern town of Phuket on October 21, 2012. During the festival, which begins on the first evening of the ninth lunar month and lasts nine days, religious devotees slash themselves with swords, pierce their cheeks with sharp objects and commit other painful acts to purify themselves, taking on the sins of the community. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/Getty Images)

Gun Control in Japan

History of Dodge City - Gun Free Zone

Legends of America

Intending to restore order, one of the first things the new lawmen did was to initiate a "Deadline” north of the railroad yards on Front Street to keep the commercial part of the city quiet. On the north side, the city passed an ordinance that guns could not be worn or carried. On the south side of the "deadline”, those who supported the lawlessness continued to operate as usual, with a host of saloons, brothels, and frequent gunfights. The expression "Red Light District” was coined in Dodge City when the train masters took their red caboose lanterns with them when they visited the town’s brothels. The gun-toting rule was in effect around the clock and anyone wearing a gun was immediately jailed. Soon, Dodge City jail was filled.

How Many Pro-Gun Folks Have Changed Their Position?

ABC via Baldr


Lee Camp on the Gun Debate

Big Boys and their Toys

More on the NY Firefighter Shooter Case

USA Today has a follow up on our story about the NY firefighter shooter.

Around 1:40 p.m., New York State Police, Webster Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives descended on the home where Dawn Nguyen and her mother, Dawn Welsher, were staying. Nguyen was taken out of the home in handcuffs.

Senior Investigator James Newell of the state police said Nguyen was charged with offering a false instrument for filing.

Nguyen is also facing federal charges for allegedly lying about the purchase of the semiautomatic .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle, equipped with a combat-style flash suppressor, and the .12-gauge Mossberg shotgun used in Monday's slayings of two first responders and the wounding of three others. Nguyen is not connected to a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol also recovered.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. said at a 4 p.m. ET press conference that Nguyen bought the guns on June 6, 2010, from a Gander Mountain store in Henrietta, south of Rochester. He said William Spengler Jr., a former neighbor in Webster who ignited an inferno and ambushed first responders before dawn Monday, picked out the guns and Nguyen bought them.

As as a convicted felon, Spengler was banned from owning guns. He served 17 years in state prison for killing his grandmother with a hammer in 1980. Nguyen lived next door to Spengler for about five years, in the house where he killed his grandmother.

"It is sometimes referred to acting as a 'straw purchaser' and that is exactly what today's complaint alleges," Hochul said.

Hochul indicated that in his rambling suicide note, Spengler revealed how he got the guns.
Pro-gun folks often point out that straw purchasers can easily claim that the guns were stolen. Well, in this case that didn't work.  Also it wouldn't work for the frequent or "professional" straw purchasers.  I mean, how many times can you reasonably expect the police to believe your guns were stolen.

What's needed is a comprehensive plan of proper gun control, including licensing and registration. This would eliminate almost all straw purchasing.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Where Does the NRA Get Its Money?
The National Rifle Association and the firearms industry are locked and loaded in a mutually beneficial financial relationship that funnels millions into the NRA's coffers, yielding legislative triumphs on Capitol Hill that boost gun sales.

The NRA's "Ring of Freedom" corporate donors list on its contributions website ( reads like a Who's Who of gun, ammunition and ammunition magazine manufacturers, shooting-accessory providers and retailers.

Among them: Sturm, Ruger & Co., of the Southport section of Fairfield; Smith & Wesson, of Springfield, Mass.; and Beretta USA, a subsidiary of the Italian arms manufacturer.

The website shows that since 2005, corporations have given between $19.8 million and $52.6 million -- the vast majority of that from the firearms industry. Ruger said in a news release in April that it had donated $1.2 million to the NRA in the past 12 months.
This information should be of interest to one of my Facebook antagonists who challenged me to provide a link to a remark I made about the gun manufacturers' support of the NRA.  I ignored his comment because it's what the pro-gun guys often do, demand proof for things that are either obvious or for which there is no proof. In this case it was something obvious.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What the Gun Rights Movement Does

Chicago Murders are Up in 2012

USA Today
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says the city has logged its 500th homicide of the year.

McCarthy issued a statement Friday calling the milestone a "tragic number that is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods."

By late Friday, police confirmed 40-year-old Nathaniel Jackson had become the 500th homicide victim when he was fatally shot in the head outside a convenience store on the city's West Side.

The last time Chicago reached the 500-homicide mark was in 2008, when the year ended with 512 killings. City records show Chicago had 435 homicides last year.
The pro-gun crowd actually blames this on the gun control laws. They say if only good citizens were able to protect themselves, as is their constitutional right, there'd be fewer killings.

The only problem with that argument is it's based on a lie.  It's not good citizens who are being killed.  Almost all of the deaths are gang and drug related.

The undeniable fact is gun availability is a major factor in this sad statistic. That's what the gun-rights folks refuse to admit.

The same dynamic is at work in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Oakland and many other cities, murders up, mainly drug and gang related.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

In Camden - 3 Cops Shot - Shooter Dead

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It was a domestic violence call that started the whole thing. I wonder if the dead guy was a lawful gun owner or an already disqualified person who had a gun anyway.  Either way he was unfit.  Proper gun control laws would identify some of his type and prohibit them from owning guns in the first place.

Why do gun-rights advocates resist that?

Please leave a comment.

Jesse Jackson on the Gun Violence in Chicago

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Why do the pro-gun folks try so hard to leave out the gun-availability factor? No one on our side is trying to say it's only the guns, as Jesse made clear.  Why do they try to ignore the obvious?

Please leave a comment.

NRA Lie: The 2nd Amendment is to Prevent Government Tyranny

Huffington Post

I'm sorry to have to burst their bubble--well, not really--but the legislative history following the Second Amendment's passage very clearly supports the opposite of what they say. In 1789, the militia was intended to substitute for a standing Army, and to defend the government from insurrection.

Congress passed two Militia Acts in 1792. The first created state militias, each under control of that state's governor, specifically created to resist invasion, and suppress insurrection . The second directed all able-bodied white men between the ages of 18 and 45 to belong to their state militia, own a gun and related equipment for that purpose, and report for duty twice a year. The law even laid out how many bullets each militia member had to bring with him--25 if he owned a musket, 20 if he owned a rifle. After the Civil War the Acts were modified to allow black militia members to belong. In 1903, the state militias were merged with the National Guard. 

Aside from frontier fights with the Indian Nations, the militia was used only twice between 1792 and 1814: Once against the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pa. (led in person by George Washington); and then at Bladensburg, Md., to defend Washington DC against the British (the militia ran at the first volley and the day has been called the Bladensburg Races ever since). There was one use of a militia under the Articles of Confederation; in 1787, Shay's Rebellion in western Massachusetts was put down by a private militia after Shay's men attacked the Springfield armory.
There is no record of any legally-constituted militia "defending the people against a tyrannical government" under the Constitution--acts it would construe as treason, under Article 3, Section 3 ("Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.") The only way to claim otherwise is to use the Civil War as an example. Even then, using state armies that way fit the Constitution's definition of treason; it was simply expedient after the war to let the matter go.

Given that, anyone can see that the militia under the Constitution was an instrument of the state from the first, and never meant to safeguard the people from the state. What the NRA is doing is trying to confuse colonial militias--when there was no United States--with militias under the Constitution.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Mickey Mouse Attempted Suicide

(click to make bigger)

via Now I Know - subscribe here
The two comic frames, above, were originally published in October of 1930, part of a two week story line. And yes, that's a gun in the second frame. Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney's iconic creation, is distraught, and looks to take his own life -- a huge departure from the Mouse we know today.  

It's supposed to be comedy. 

Mickey's suicidal saga spanned a few days -- four of them can be seen here. The plot: On the first day, Mickey catches Minnie cheating on him and, as seen above, decides to take his own life. For the next three days, he tries three different methods -- shooting himself using a Rube Goldberg-esque setup to fire the rifle; jumping off a bridge; and poisoning himself with gas from his radiator (below) -- and all three times, Mickey fails in what is intended to be a comical fashion. The rifle shot is interrupted by a cuckoo clock, with Mickey realizing that he'd be cuckoo to try and shoot himself. Mickey's dive off the bridge lands him on a boat, where he becomes a de facto stowaway; the captain threatens to throw him overboard, and Mickey ironically begs him not to, as he can't swim and will certainly drown. And Mickey's asphyxiation fails when a squirrel-like character tries to fill a balloon with the gas, waking Mickey (who thinks he has just been shot). The humor is likely lost on modern audiences, but apparently, the depravity did not seem to concern audiences contemporary with the strips' publication.

Gallup Gives NRA a 54% Approval Rating

Gallup Politics
Fifty-four percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association, while 38% have an unfavorable opinion. The public's ratings of the NRA have fluctuated since first measured by Gallup in 1993 -- from a low of 42% favorable in 1995 to a high of 60% in 2005. 

The NRA's positions on guns and gun control legislation have received significant attention from media and politicians during the last week after the association's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, held a press conference in the wake of the Newtown school shooting. LaPierre denounced the idea of additional gun control legislation and instead called for armed guards in the nation's schools. The press conference came midway through the field period of this Dec. 19-22 USA Today/Gallup poll.
I find this as hard to believe as the absurd claim that concealed carry permit holders are far safer than the general public.

What's your explanation?  Part of it is the timing. The survey was already underway when Wayne broke the NRAs silence, but there must be more to it.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

South Carolina Man Arrested for Son's Accidental Shooting Death

Local news reports

Friends and loved ones gathered at a home on Daisy Lane in Conway on Thursday afternoon to lend support to the family of a 2-year-old boy who died on Christmas Day.

The boy’s father, Rondell Smith, paced in circles in front of his mother-in-law’s home, tears streaming down his face, saying over and over, “My son is gone. My son is gone.”
He was inconsolable by family. 

“I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. … I miss his voice. I hear him calling me. I held him close,” Smith said. “Why couldn’t it be me?”

Nearly 48 hours prior, 2-year-old Sincere Smith got hold of his father’s gun that was sitting on a table and shot himself. He died en route to Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. A senseless accident, the boy’s family said.

Smith, 30, was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter and released from jail Wednesday on a $500 bond. He said no punishment by the law would suffice.

“Going to jail ain’t even enough,” he said. “Whatever’s coming to me is coming to me.”

Read more here:

Read more here:
Why do you think there's such a disparity in the way these cases are handled? Sometimes the responsible gun owner is arrested immediately, other times it takes a month for the arrest and still other times no one is ever held accountable.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Minnesota Man Charged with Son's Accidental Shooting Death

Local news reports

A Minneapolis man was charged Thursday with two felonies in the accidental shooting death of his 2-year-old son earlier this month. 

The Hennepin County attorney's office charged Kao Xiong, 31, with second-degree manslaughter and endangerment of a child in the death Neejnco Xiong, who died after he was shot by his 4-year-old brother. 

According to the charges, Kao Xiong, the boys’ father, left several guns within reach of the children.
The criminal complaint said Minneapolis police found four rifles and four semi-automatic handguns in Xiong's south Minneapolis two-bedroom home. Police found some of the guns stored in taped boxes in a laundry basket on a closet floor, and others in a duffel bag in a closet, according to the complaint. Police said some guns were secured in cases, some were not. 

According to the complaint, Xiong told police he and his wife were getting ready for lunch on Dec. 5 when they heard a gunshot. Xiong went upstairs and found his 2-year-old son with a gunshot wound and his 4-year-old son under the bed. 

Xiong told police his 4-year-old son shot the younger boy with a handgun that was wedged between the mattress and pillows of the bed. The Hennepin County medical examiner's office ruled the death accidental.
Why the determination to charge the responsible gun owner cannot be made the very day of the incident is beyond me. What could possible take a month?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Spokane Woman Shot in the Head - No Charges

Local news reports

A 20-year-old woman is in critical condition after she was accidentally shot in the head in a South Spokane home late Wednesday night.

Police say it happened at a house party at 8th and Perry.  They say people in the house were drinking when the woman's friend accidentally fired a shot that hit her in the head.

Five people in the house were taken in for questioning, but police do not believe anyone will be arrested.
Of course they're not going to arrest anyone.  It was just an accident among friends. Why would they want to hold a lawful gun owner responsible for his actions?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Female Police Officer Shot and Killed by her Abusive Husband

The Daily News reports

Ben Gabriel Sebena, of Menomonee Falls, made his initial appearance Thursday. A Milwaukee County court commissioner imposed bail and set a preliminary hearing for next week.

A criminal complaint says 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena was found lying on the pavement outside the fire department. She'd been shot five times in the head.

The complaint says Jennifer Sebena told a colleague about three weeks earlier that her husband had put a gun to her head. The complaint also quotes Ben Sebena as telling investigators he'd been jealous of other men with regard to his wife.

Guns are bad news for women, that's my take on it. The story also illustrates the lunacy of the pro-gun argument that we need to arm more people so they can defend themselves.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Blaming the Atheists for Mass Shootings

Chris Stedman, Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University.


A number of influential political and religious public figures have used this heartbreaking massacre as an opportunity to blame or marginalize nonreligious people, and to decry religious pluralism and the separation of church and state. Shortly after the shooting, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said: “When you have an anti-religious, secular bureaucracy… seeking to drive God out of public life, something fills the vacuum.” Mike Huckabee claimed the shooting happened because America has “systematically removed God” from public schools.” James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, had this to say: “Millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant… Believe me, that is going to have consequences … I think we have turned our back on the scripture and on God almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.” Bryan Fischer, spokesperson for the American Family Association, said that God could have protected the victims of this massacre but didn’t because “God is not going to go where he is not wanted.” In other words: if we want to ensure that students are safe in their schools, we’ll need to incorporate Christian theology into public schools’ curriculum.
You know what this is? It's just more of the deflection game. Most of the people who blame godlessness for the frequency of mass shootings are pro-gun folks who, like Wayne La Pierre, desperately want to deflect attention from the first real problem, gun availability to unfit people.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Case to Ban High Capacity Magazines and Assault Weapons by a Conservative Judge

Larry Alan Burns is the federal district judge in San Diego, who sentenced Jared Loughner.

via Tom Diaz' Facebook Page
So what's the alternative? Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don't let people who already have them keep them. Don't let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don't care whether it's called gun control or a gun ban. I'm for it.

I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That's why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state.
Sounds pretty simple to me, especially the "with some teeth in it this time."

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Federal Registry of Gun Transactions

The New York Times
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been without a permanent director for six years, as President Obama recently noted. But even if someone were to be confirmed for the job, the agency’s ability to thwart gun violence is hamstrung by legislative restrictions and by loopholes in federal gun laws, many law enforcement officials and advocates of tighter gun regulations say.

For example, under current laws the bureau is prohibited from creating a federal registry of gun transactions. So while detectives on television tap a serial number into a computer and instantly identify the buyer of a firearm, the reality could not be more different. 
Wouldn't it be common sense to give the authorities all the proper tools necessary to investigate crime? Combined with closing the private sale loophole, a national registry of gun transactions would be the right thing.

Fear of gun confiscations is the usual excuse, but I don't think that's reasonable. I think many gun owners oppose this simply because they want the freedom to fly below the radar and do what they want with no interference. What that means, of course, is they're not as law-abiding as they say.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Should Parents Whose Children are Killed Playing with Guns be Prosecuted?

MPR News
The case of an accidental shooting death of a 2-year-old boy is in the hands of the Hennepin County Attorney's office.  Authorities are considering what charges, if any, to bring against a Minneapolis father who they say left a loaded handgun within reach of his children. Police say the toddler was killed when his 4-year-old brother was playing with the gun. 

These kinds of cases are tough calls for prosecutors, who say they often struggle to strike a balance between justice and compassion. 

An MPR News analysis of state court data shows prosecuting parents for leaving guns around kids is rare, but not unprecedented in Minnesota.

Since 2001, about 85 people in the state have been convicted of one of two potential charges in this kind of case. Both apply to adults who leave unsecured, loaded firearms within reach of a child. The more serious charge considers this an act of child endangerment or neglect, because it could "substantially harm" or lead to the death of the child. 

About a third of all of these convictions were prosecuted in Hennepin County.
Only one-third seems consistent with what we read in the grizzly reports. But, it seems to me they have the compassion angle backwards. By prosecuting the ones whose children die or are seriously injured and giving a pass to the others they've got it exactly backwards.

The negligent gun owner whose child dies or is crippled for life deserves the compassion not the one whose kid is only slightly injured. So the whole thing doesn't make sense.

What should happen is everyone of these people should be charged and if convicted lose their gun rights. The most serious cases should receive compassion concerning jail time, that's all.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

The New York Firefighter Shooter

CBS news reports

Police have found a body inside the charred remains of the home of the New York man who police say shot and killed two firefighters and injured two more early on Christmas Eve.

William Spengler, 62, who served 17 years in prison for manslaughter in the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, set his house afire before dawn on Dec. 24, before taking a revolver, a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle to a sniper position outside, Police Chief Gerald Pickering said.

Police revealed that a body believed to be the killer's 67-year-old sister, Cheryl Spengler, was found in his fire-ravaged home.

Authorities say Spengler sprayed bullets at the first responders, killing two firefighters and injuring two others who remained hospitalized Tuesday in stable condition, awake and alert and expected to survive. He then killed himself as seven houses burned on a sliver of land along Lake Ontario.

Pickering said it was unclear whether the person believed to be Spengler's sister died before or during the fire.
A big part of the pro-gun argument depends on the mistaken idea that criminals and madmen will always get guns regardless of what we do. This is an obvious falsehood. It would be like saying there will always be murders so we shouldn't bother to make it illegal or strive to prevent them.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Captain Beefheart Festival 2012 - 2013 - The 10th Night of the Living Van Vliet

Here's the explanation of the origin and the dates.

Thanks to Microdot for the title of the Festival.

Maryland Cop Shoots and Kills Man with Hammer

Local news reports
Tuesday night, the parents of 26-year-old Edward L. Becker, Jr. reported that he had been drinking and was acting disorderly, smashing windows out of a truck with a hammer.

Three officers arrived at a home on Commerce Street in Taneytown and saw Becker walking down the street toward them, say police. He had the hammer in his hand and officers shouted for him to drop it and surrender.  Police say, however, that Becker continued to walk towards the officers, who were now out of their patrol cars. The officers went down the street and behind their cars, continuing to shout for Becker to drop the hammer and surrender, according to police.

Police say Becker continued to ignore the officers and keep walking. About an arm's length away from an officer, Becker reportedly raised a hammer and the officer fired his pistol. Becker was hit in the upper torso.
I understand all the nonsense about "center of mass." But when the preservation of life is a priority shooting the guy in the chest is not necessary to stop him.

Non-lethal means could also have been employed.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Texas Shootout - 2 Dead, 1 Wounded

The Houston Chronicle reports

Norman, a corporal with the Bellaire Police Department and a 24-year law enforcement veteran, was mortally wounded following a brief struggle with a young man who had sped away when Norman pulled him over for a traffic violation. Seconds later, Taylor, the owner of a Maaco body shop, was shot by the same suspect when he emerged from the shop to see what the commotion was about.

The 21-year-old suspect, Harlem Harold Lewis, was shot during a gunfight with other Bellaire officers at the scene. Police say he ran away but a trail of blood led to his nearby hiding spot beneath a truck, where he was arrested and taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. He was charged with capital murder of a police officer and was listed in critical but stable condition and is expected to survive his wounds. A .380-caliber pistol, the suspected murder weapon, was recovered nearby, police said.
They could blame this on the Muslims, I suppose, or maybe on the angry-black-man syndrome.  Perhaps it's the general breakdown of society or the video games.  The one thing they won't do, the gun-rights fanatics, is blame it on gun availability. The proliferation of handguns and the ease with which they can be acquired by ANYONE, would never even be mentioned as a contributing factor.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Seattle Bar Shooting - 1 Dead, 1 Wounded

The wanted man.

 Local news reports
A 30-year-old Seattle man was killed and another man wounded in a shooting at a crowded suburban bar early Monday, police said.

Police issued an arrest warrant Monday evening for a 19-year-old man in connection with the shooting.

The shooting broke out just after 1 a.m. at Munchbar at Bellevue Square, an upscale shopping center about 10 miles east of Seattle, said Carla Iafrate, a spokeswoman for the Bellevue Police Department.

More than 600 people were inside the venue at the time of the shooting. "It was a very complicated scene," Iafrate said.

Iafrate said the suspect police are seeking, Ja'mari Alexander Alan Jones, was convicted as a juvenile in the high-profile 2008 beating death of a Seattle street performer. Jones was sentenced to less than a year in juvenile detention on a first-degree manslaughter charge in that case.
This story illustrates the need for a couple of our favorite common sense gun control laws.

1. No guns in bars.
2. May issue licensing for gun ownership which would allow the local authorities to deny guns to someone with a violent juvenile past.

In addition to calling out for those reforms, this story also makes one wonder if the dead or wounded person was the result of collateral damage done by a concealed carry permit holder. Whenever there is gun play in a crowded place this is a possibility. In the confusion it may easily go undetected.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Eric Bogle "Keeper Of The Flame"

An Australian song that gives you an idea of the gun loon mindset:

Vincent Van Gogh - Victim of a Gun Accident

Robert Porath writing for the Daily Camera
Again following a mass shooting, gun sales are on the rise. As a warning it should be noted that the death of Vincent Van Gogh, long thought to be a suicide, is now considered an accidental shooting, that he carried along a gun hoping to frighten away a group of children who were harassing him as he tried to paint in the fields around Arles, and that in a scuffle he was shot in the stomach, certainly not a likely target in suicide.

 The negative potential of a gun should never be underestimated. The tragedy of Van Gogh is that at the peak of his artistic powers, creating paintings that are still so beautifully alive today, his life was ended by the power of a gun. The tragedy of America is that the power of the gun is so accepted as positive.
I'll betcha old Vincent had a few strikes on him before that accident with the gun. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Tennessee Boy Killed on Christmas - It Was Just an Accident

SF Gate reports
Memphis police say a 10-year-old boy has died from what they believe was an accidental shooting.
Police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said officers received a call around 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday about a shooting at a local residence.

When they arrived, they discovered a young boy had been shot. The child was transported to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to a police report, several individuals were in the residence when a shot was fired, striking the boy.

Police didn't provide further details, except that the shooting appears to have been accidental.
More disgraceful down-playing of the seriousness of gun negligence.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Pro-Gun Lie about the Nazis Disarming the Jews


A more farfetched question is the hypothetical proposition of armed Jewish resistance. First, they were not commonly armed even prior to the 1928 Law. Second, Jews had seen pogroms before and had survived them, though not without suffering. They would expect that this one would, as had the past ones, eventually subside and permit a return to normalcy. Many considered themselves "patriotic Germans" for their service in the first World War. These simply were not people prepared to stage violent resistance. Nor were they alone in this mode of appeasement. The defiance of "never again" is not so much a warning to potential oppressors as it is a challenge to Jews to reject the passive response to pogrom. Third, it hardly seems conceivable that armed resistance by Jews (or any other target group) would have led to any weakening of Nazi rule, let alone a full scale popular rebellion; on the contrary, it seems more likely it would have strengthened the support the Nazis already had. Their foul lies about Jewish perfidy would have been given a grain of substance. To project backward and speculate thus is to fail to learn the lesson history has so painfully provided.

The simple conclusion is that there are no lessons about the efficacy of gun control to be learned from the Germany of the first half of this century. It is all too easy to forget the seductive allure that fascism presented to all the West, bogged down in economic and social morass. What must be remembered is that the Nazis were master manipulators of popular emotion and sentiment, and were disdainful of people thinking for themselves. There is the danger to which we should pay great heed. Not fanciful stories about Nazi's seizing guns.

Open-Carry Protesters

Local news reports
An "open carry" gun activist caused a scare in Portland, Maine, on Monday after dozens of residents reported a man walking around with an assault rifle like the one used in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

Maine allows unloaded firearms to be carried openly in public.

Police began receiving calls about 11 a.m. and located the unidentified man carrying an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle along a popular recreation trail that loops around the city's Back Cove. The gun was fitted with a high-capacity magazine.

The man "identified himself as an open carry activist who was exercising his Second Amendment rights" under Maine law to openly carry an unloaded firearm in public, according to a police news release. Police said he was not violating any laws or ordinances.
I've heard pro-gun guys complain about the media's continual use of the phrase "loaded gun." I think they're right to point out that it's supposed to make it sound worse than just saying "gun." They say, of course the gun is loaded, there's nothing more useless than an unloaded gun.

But, what about these open-carry activists?  Hasn't anyone told them that there's nothing more useless than an unloaded gun?

They remind me of rebellious teenage boys, immature and belligerent.  The irony is they do their cause more harm than good.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

La Pierre's Lies about Israeli Schools Exposed

The Reporter
Israel's policy on issuing guns is restrictive, and armed guards at its schools are meant to stop terrorists, not crazed or disgruntled gunmen, experts said Monday, rejecting claims by America's top gun lobby that Israel serves as proof for its philosophy that the U.S. needs more weapons, not fewer.

Far from the image of a heavily armed population where ordinary people have their own arsenals to repel attackers, Israel allows its people to acquire firearms only if they can prove their professions or places of residence put them in danger. The country relies on its security services, not armed citizens, to prevent terror attacks.

Though military service in Israel is compulsory, routine familiarity with weapons does not carry over into civilian life. Israel has far fewer private weapons per capita than the U.S., and while there have been gangster shootouts on the streets from time to time, gun rampages outside the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are unheard of.

The National Rifle Association responded to the Dec. 14 killing of 20 first-graders and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school by resisting calls for tighter gun control and calling for armed guards and police at schools. On Sunday, the lobby's chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, invoked his perception of the Israeli school security system to back his proposal.

"Israel had a whole lot of school shootings until they did one thing: They said, 'We're going to stop it,' and they put armed security in every school and they have not had a problem since then," LaPierre said on the NBC News show "Meet the Press."

Israel never had "a whole lot of school shootings." Authorities could only recall two in the past four decades.

Wayne really had a bad day that day. What do you think about it?

Please leave a comment.

High Capacity Magazines are not the Problem, Says La Pierre

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I say the large capacity magazines are part of the problem and perhaps banning them is the most important part of the new AWB.  I say that based on the Loughner case in which it seemed clear that he killed more people than he would have due to the 30-round magazine he used. I say it based on the Aurora shooting, in which Holmes used a 100-round drum and probably did more damage as a result.  And I base it on the Lanza shooting where it seems entirely possible that if he'd had to change magazines more often, fewer kids might have died.

La Pierre and his sycophants keep telling us it would do no good, but that same rationale does not apply to murder.  We don't argue for de-criminalizing murder because we still have them in spite of the law. No, we try to find ways to prevent them, first by making it illegal.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

La Pierre Calls the Mentally Ill Monsters

ABC News reports
The National Rifle Association has come under fire by an association of psychiatrists for its characterization of people who commit violent crimes as "monsters," "lunatics" and "insane."  

"One of the things that may be especially distressing for individuals who have a mental health condition and their families is this automatic leap based on stereotyped perceptions linking mental illness and violence," Corolla [Bob Carolla, a spokesman for the National Alliance on Mental Illness] said. "Statistically we know the relationship is very small." 

According to Corolla, one in four American adults experience a mental health problem in any given year, yet the U.S. Surgeon General determined over a decade ago that the overall contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small. He added that people with mental disorders are far more likely to be the victims of crimes, rather than the perpetrators.
The gun-rights folks often call people who break into houses and commit other crimes "goblins." This de-humanizing of the criminal is very useful in justifying an extreme response. In a similar way, Wayne La Pierre referred to the mass shooters as monsters in his famous statement the other day.

What's your opinion?  Is that wrong?  Is it politically incorrect to refer to the mentally ill like that?  Does it matter?

Please leave a comment.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mr. Colion Noir - Still a Fast-Talking Con Man

via TTAG where they love this guy.
1. "You wanna take away our Constitutional rights, but ..."  Owning a particular type of gun is not part of the 2A rights.  The way he says this it sounds like we want to take away the entire thing.

2. "my goodness, you're still calling an AR-15 an assault rifle."  Yeah, so?

3 "that you're so scared of."  This is an insult which pro-gun folks love to hurl at gun control people.

4. "you wanna bring a handgun to a rifle fight?"  What rifle fight? He's so delusional that he imagines gun fights and rifle fights where there are none.

5. "on Google you could learn that a semi-automatic rifle, or an assault rifle is the most effective tool for self-defense."  Now, it seems OK to call it an assault rifle.

6. "scary and intimidating."  This is part of the insult mentioned in point number 3.

7. "if I have my gun out I'm in a gun fight or about to be."  The delusion is frequently finding oneself in a gun fight.  He talks about it in the present tense.

8. "what are you gonna do when three dudes with AKs kick in your door?" I suppose he means the jack-booted government thugs.

9. "I need something equally scary and intimidating to equal the playing field."  Now, he's calling them scary and intimidation.  A minute ago he was mocking gun control folks for thinking that.

10. "There's no one in this country that can tell me that by banning assault rifles they can guarantee that no criminal can get their hands on one." This is the biggest lie of all. No one says that any law would be 100% successful. No one says "this way NO criminals will be able to get them."  He says this as an aside, assigning it to the gun control folks.  It's a lie.

11. "I'd still want one because it would be me and other law abiding citizens that have the advantage." This is an important point of deception too.  Most of the mass shootings as well as a healthy portion of general gun violence is done by law-abiding citizens.

Should Piers Morgan be Deported?

The Hollywood Reporter
Thousands of gun rights supporters are petitioning the Obama administration to consider deporting CNN’s Piers Morgan, arguing the gun control proponent is using his position as a TV news host to wage war on the Second Amendment.

“British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment,” reads the petition. “We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”
If they had any idea how foolish they are, they'd just keep their crazy ideas to themselves. What this shows is the very-common response on the part of pro-gun folks to disagreement.  They try to silence the offending voice in one way or another. 

I actually didn't hear Piers Morgan call for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment.  I thought his whole thing was about the assault weapons.  But it doesn't matter to the biased and paranoid gun-rights fanatics.

We're going to see a lot more of these bizarre reactions from them.  The tide has turned and they don't like it one bit.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Piers Morgan on the Gun Control Situation

John Lott used the Aurora Batman Shooter as an example to say that deranged spree shooters purposely choose gun-free zones for their attacks. That's usually not the case at all.  These guys usually go to the place of their grievance.  I don't know why the pro-gun guys keep pushing this obvious untruth.

His other main point was the one which La Pierre has made the NRA's official stance, more armed good guys are needed. There are a couple problems with that.  One is the armed good guys are not highly trained and properly vetted. They're no more prepared to handle a hot situation than anyone else. The requirements for a concealed carry license are too low in most states and in others they are actually non-existent.

Ironically, Jared Loughner carried a concealed weapon legally that day in Tucson.

His case, and that of Columbine, VA Tech, and others show that even when there are armed good guys present, they are usually powerless to stop the bad guy. The Empire State Building shooting illustrates what can happen when they do.

What's your opinion?  Has the tide turned in the gun-control vs. gun-rights argument?

Please leave a comment.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wayne Goes From Bad to Worse

The 7th Night of the Living Van Vliet

Captain Beefheart Festival 2012 - 2013, song from Shiny Beast

After recording the album Bongo Fury with Frank Zappa, Don Van Vliet formed a new Magic Band and began recording an album for DiscReet and Virgin Records.

Herb Cohen, DiscReet's cofounder and Zappa's business manager, paid for the album's production costs with Zappa's royalty checks, leading Zappa to end his business partnership with Cohen. Cohen and Zappa each demanded to be paid an advance by Virgin, leading Zappa to withhold the master tapes, leading Cohen to sue Zappa.

 Due to the lawsuit, Van Vliet rerecorded Bat Chain Puller tracks for Warner Bros. Records under the title Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller).

Here's the explanation of the origin and the dates.

Thanks to Microdot for the title of the Festival.

A Gun for Everyone

via Orlin Sellers who especially liked the "except for government" part.

Archie Bunker on Gun Control

Five Myths about Gun Control

Washington Post - myth number 5.
 5. The Second Amendment was intended to protect the right of Americans to rise up against a tyrannical government.
This canard is repeated with disturbing frequency. The Constitution, in Article I, allows armed citizens in militias to “suppress Insurrections,” not cause them. The Constitution defines treason as “levying War” against the government in Article III, and the states can ask the federal government for assistance “against domestic Violence” under Article IV.

Our system provides peaceful means for citizens to air grievances and change policy, from the ballot box to the jury box to the right to peaceably assemble. If violence against an oppressive government were somehow countenanced in the Second Amendment, then Timothy McVeigh and Lee Harvey Oswald would have been vindicated for their heinous actions. But as constitutional scholar Roscoe Pound noted, a “legal right of the citizen to wage war on the government is something that cannot be admitted” because it would “defeat the whole Bill of Rights” — including the Second Amendment.