Saturday, July 28, 2012

NRA’s La Pierre has Blood on his Hands


For 21 years, LaPierre has been the executive VP and chief political strategist of the National Rifle Association. The blood of the victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting is on his hands.

Of course, LaPierre didn’t pull the trigger, but he’s the NRA’s hit man when it comes to intimidating elected officials to oppose any kind of gun control and the nation’s most vocal advocate of gun owner rights.

The NRA not only lobbies on behalf of  “stand your ground” laws, but also offers insurance to members to pay for the legal costs of shooting people in “self-defense.”  

James Holmes, the man who walked into the Aurora movie theater, killed 12 people and wounded 58 others, is no doubt deranged. He’s not alone. There are lots of crazy people around. But if we make it easy for them to obtain guns, they are more likely to translate their psychological problems into dangerous and deadly anti-social behavior. 

LaPierre’s job (which he’s held for 21 years) is to make it easier for people to buy and use guns. And so far he’s been very successful.

It is no accident that the United States ranks first in the world — by a wide margin — in gun-related civilian deaths and injuries. Compared with every other democracy, we have the most guns and the weakest gun laws.
Wayne's no dummy. He knows the best way to mitigate the effect of an accusation like "blood on the hands," is to first and more frequently accuse his opponents of it.This is exactly what he's done.

How many times have we heard this from gun-rights fanatics?  How often have they attempted to silence us with the nonsense that we're "dancing in the blood" of the victims.

Mr. E. J. Dionne's Washington Post editorial of a few days ago described it best.

Nobody who points to the inadequacy of our flood-control policies or mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers is accused of "exploiting" the victims of a deluge. Nobody who criticizes a botched response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to a natural disaster is accused of "exploiting" the victims of a hurricane or a tornado. Nobody who lays part of the blame for an accident on insufficient regulation of, say, the airlines or coal mining is accused of "exploiting" the accident's victims. 

No, it's only where a gun massacre is concerned that an absolute and total gag rule is imposed on any thinking beyond the immediate circumstances of the catastrophe. God forbid that we question even a single tenet of the theology of firearms.

What's your opinion? Do you think La Pierre will be able to continue getting away with such flagrant trickery? Do you think the public might have had just about enough?

Please leave a comment.

Cheap Gun Safes are Good for Nothing

I don't know if I believe what this video is supposed to show, but the point is a good one. Some cheap gun safes are not good enough.

Gun safety has to be taken more seriously, especially when it comes to keeping kids safe. A quick scan of the daily news is enough to see this is not the case now.  We need increased awareness and stronger legislation concerning home security of weapons.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Olympic Security - The British Use of Private Contractors

via The Guardian, which I hope is a respectable enough source for our very particular commenters.

The saga surrounding the Olympics and G4S may have placed the spotlight firmly on the use of private companies to protect the public, worried MI5, embarrassed the Home Office, and pleased and angered the armed forces in equal measure.

It is unlikely to persuade governments to back away from relying increasingly on the private sector to provide public services, even those directly responsible for the safety of its citizens and to fight on their behalf.
Far from it. More and more tasks will be "outsourced" as the rather euphemistic Whitehall phrase has it.
G4S, with an annual turnover of more than £7bn and worldwide contracts including in Iraq and Afghanistan, operates in what has been described by a Seymour Pierce analyst as "a golden age in outsourcing". Central and local government are spending £80bn on contracts with private companies a figure predicted to rise to £140bn in 2015.
Of course these numbers are nothing compared to what's happening in The States. What's your opinion? Is this a necessary expense or just a scam to pour taxpayer dollars into the pockets of a few?

Please leave a comment.

They Make It Too Easy

We're constantly being told that gunloons are just like the rest of us; that they have rich and fulfilling personal lives and are highly successful in their professional pursuits.

But how is it when these gunloons act out badly, they always look like someone you want to keep children away from and have surely never had a date with anyone of the same species?

Meet NRA member, Neil Prescott of Crofton, MD.

Police have foiled what they believed could have been another Aurora-scale massacre after a man who called himself 'a joker' and had an arsenal of semi-automatic rifles threatened to shoot up the business from which he was being fired. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dear Gun Carriers (Open and Concealed): Here is Why We Do NOT Believe You When You Insist You Are Safe It is because you aren't.

Cross posted from Penigma:

Yosemite Sam walks into the Wal Mart Men's Room....or at least, something very like the gun carriers doing so....

Not too long ago I wrote about the correlation between a state being red and the number of Wal Marts it had, along with the pattern of people having far lower levels of education, and being obese. In short, it tracks perfectly with the NRA tendency for their gun nuts to be old, white, flabby and crabby, conservative and not well educated.
And along with their obsessions with carrying guns at Wal Marts is the reported incidences of stupid accidents -- like guys shooting toilets out from under their own asses in men's rooms because their gun fell out while they were relieving themselves, and discharged.  The gun carriers span the spectrum from open carry to legal concealed carry to illegal carry, and a wider variety of demographics than the NRA members -- and they are all dangerous, they all put others at risk without a legitimate reason to carry.
There was another shooting at a Wal Mart this week in Dallas, there was one last month in Elizabeth, North Carolina. :
George Reichle  was seated in the men’s room stall next to Felty June 29 when to the surprise of them both, Felty’s .38-caliber pistol discharged a single round through the stall door and into the bathroom ceiling. Reichle wasn’t hurt, but the near-miss has angered him enough to publicly criticize Walmart for its reckless policy of allowing Felty and other customers to bring concealed weapons into the store.
Of course, changing the policy won’t be easy. Commonsense almost always loses out when it’s up against the often insane way gun rights are worshipped in this country. Simply suggesting that someone leave a dangerous weapon at home or in their car before entering a crowded store is considered by Second Amendment zealots to be tantamount to government storm troopers breaking into your house and confiscating your guns.

Sadly, many concealed weapon permit holders apparently are not above seeing the occasional customer shot to death if it means protecting their right to walk Walmart’s aisles with their handguns hidden at the ready. There are in fact dozens of websites where gun owners are constantly on the look out for any breach of their right to bear arms in Walmart stores, and there’s even one site that asked members how many of them performed their first “concealed carry walk” at Walmart. According to the poll, 18 of 43 respondents said they “proudly” did.
If you do a google search of gun discharges, Wal Mart, there is a shocking number. Here's another one, the most recent -- but then the week isn't over yet. There's time for another one any minute, given WallyWorld's are open 24 hours, and welcome people carrying guns.  And it is not like WalMart is the only place that gun guys put people in danger.
Next time a gun nut wonders why we don't believe they are safe, this is why - this and all the other incidents like it; this and all the other incidents where someone gets shot, intentionally or accidentally.

From CBS Dallas;

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A woman and two young children were wounded on Monday night after a gun accidentally discharged inside of a Walmart store in northeast Dallas. The incident happened at about 9:20 p.m. in the 9300 block of Forest Lane.

According to police, a man identified as 23-year-old Todd Canady — who does have a concealed handgun license — went into the Walmart store to purchase groceries. But he had trouble pulling out his wallet at the check-out line. He accidentally dropped and fired his pistol instead. The bullet first grazed Canady in the back of his leg before ricocheting off of the ground.
Debris struck two children and a woman’s ankle as they were standing in line. They were not seriously hurt.

todd canady 4 People Hurt By Gunfire In Dallas Walmart
Todd Canady (credit: Dallas County Sheriff’s Department)
Canady left the store and then fled when police tried to question him about the incident. He was later arrested and will face a felony charge of injury to a child, as well as misdemeanor charges of assault and evading arrest. The pistol has been taken in as evidence as an investigation continues.

Chicago Improves Its Gun Law

The Huffington Post reports

Mayor Rahm Emanuel rewrote a section of the ordinance, permanently banning anyone with a violent felony conviction from firearm ownership, and placing a five-year ban on gun purchases for anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. 

Wednesday's vote to narrow the ban marks the latest in a long series of rewrites to Chicago's gun control policy: in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the city's 28-year-old handgun ban, and City Council has been facing frequent legal challenges to its restrictions since then.

The revision was a necessary change following a judge's ruling last month that nonviolent ex-offenders could not be barred from obtaining a firearm owner's identification card and purchasing guns.

After that ruling, Emanuel promised to push back, and many pointed to the city's growing problem with gun violence as evidence that harsher restrictions were necessary.
It's good, although I see no reason to give violent misdemeanor guys a second chance after 5 years.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Accidental Shooting of Illinois 10-year-old by his Little Sister - He's Dead - No Charges

Local news reports

A Granite City boy was killed after his sister accidentally shot him Sunday afternoon.

Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch said Christian G. Clark, 10, and his sister, Halee R. Clark, 7, were inside the motor home of their grandfather, Jason G. Clark Sr., in rural northeast Jefferson County.

They were visiting their grandfather with their mother.

“They were alone in the camper,” Mulch said. “Their grandpa had opened the camper up and was doing some work. The kids could watch movies or whatever and stay in the air conditioning.”

Halee Clark picked up a long gun and accidentally discharged a round, which struck Christian Clark in the face, killing him, Mulch said.

Mulch said an investigation into the incident continues, but nothing points to foul play.

“All indications are that this was a tragic accident,” information states. “The investigation continues by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County State’s Attorney, Illinois State Police and Jefferson County Coroner.”
"Nothing points to foul play," not even the granddad's decision to let the kids play in a trailer with an unsecured, loaded gun.

What's your opinion?  Is that kind of disregard for safety not tantamount to "foul play?"

Please leave a comment.

"E Plebnista" - The Holy Words Will Be Obeyed

Accidental Shooting of Virginia 4-year-old by Himself - He's Dead - No Charges

Local news reports

A four-year-old Woodbridge boy is dead after he apparently found a loaded gun and shot himself in the head.  Prince William County Police say it happened yesterday afternoon after the boy found the weapon in a truck outside of his home. The boy was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Police say at this point it appears to be an accident.  There is no word yet on if any charges will be filed against the gun owner.
When they use the magic word "accident," negligent gun owners get a pass.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Accidental Shooting of 6-Year-old Connecticut Girl while Visiting Georgia - She's Dead

Local news reports

Georgia authorities say a visiting 6-year-old Connecticut girl has died after being accidentally shot by her 13-year-old brother.

The Monroe County, Ga., sheriff’s office said Jenn Stanovich of Coventry was shot early Tuesday at her grandmother’s home in Culloden, Ga.

The Hartford Courant reported Thursday the sheriff’s report says the brother said he’d been hunting armadillos in the backyard with a .22-caliber rifle, then came inside and placed the weapon on a bed.

He said he accidentally knocked it on the floor and it discharged, striking his sister.

The children’s father, 49-year-old Richard Stanovich, said he heard the shot and ran to the back of the house. He and a paramedic neighbor tended the girl until help arrived. She died at a hospital.

A sheriff’s spokeswoman said the shooting is being investigated as an accident.
Lack of parental supervision is no accident. People like this are unfit to own guns.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Blame the NRA as well as the Gun-Rights Activists

via The National Catholic Reporter
It is futile, of course, to try to enter the tortured psyche of such an actor as the man charged with killing 12 and injuring 58 in Aurora, Colo. At the same time, it is essential to realize that while he might have been alone in his conception of this violence, he was not alone in acquiring the means to pull off the horror.

Standing squarely behind him, assuring him access to whatever means and level of gun violence he might wish to get his hands on, is the National Rifle Association, a lobby that holds an entire country hostage to its twisted notions of freedom and security and its agonized interpretation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The power of both its money and its propaganda is again evident. It has intimidated otherwise responsible and reasonable public servants into silence in the face of gun laws that are patently absurd in their lack of oversight. 

 The NRA loves to pose as a protector of constitutional rights and friend of law enforcement. In fact, however, since the first meaningful federal gun control legislation passed in 1968, the lobby has repeatedly and effectively interfered with law enforcement, backing measures that have seriously handcuffed the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate and prosecute crimes involving gun dealers and gun owners.
What's your opinion? Is it fair to blame the NRA in this way? Is it accurate to say that they've "intimidated otherwise responsible and reasonable public servants into silence?" Is it true that they've "handcuffed the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate and prosecute crimes involving gun dealers and gun owners?"

Yes, of course these charges are true.  In the same way I blame the gun-rights advocates and others who support such tactics. For various misguided reasons they make it possible for the NRA and the gun lobby to continue doing their dirty work.

What do you think?  Will President Obama do the right thing in his second term?  Will the citizens of the United States come out of their lethargy regarding the gun debate and begin demanding action from their political representatives?

Please leave a comment.

How Many Gun Owners Are There - How Many are Passionate about Gun Rights?

A comment on TTAG
It is well known that there are something like 250 million guns owned by 80 million people in the US. But Mike drives thru a few states, meets a few people, doesn't see any obvious bulges on anyone's waists and from that comes to the conclusion that ownership is "not commonplace". The only science involved with that leap is the psychology of delusional thinking.

My response
Let's examine that "250 million guns owned by 80 million people in the US" for a moment, shall we?  It's the height of dishonesty for you to quote those numbers as support for your side of the argument, here's why. Most of the 80 million couldn't care less about the issue one way or the other.  They own guns, sure, but many of them don't even know where they are (in the attic, basement, one of the closets).  Others keep one handy for emergencies but are totally apathetic about gun rights.  That's why the NRA has so few members.

Of the remaining, a good portion actually agree with the gun control folks.  You certainly can't count them.  They are gun owners who feel like we do about background checks and assault weapons, you know the type.

What's left is a few million who run the spectrum from mild believers in the 2A to fanatical gun-rights activists. If you isolate the ones who feel like you do, passionate enough to comment on pro-gun blogs, what would it be, maybe 100,000, maybe half-a-million.

That's why my observations in the States are what I said: "the overall impression was that gun ownership is not the commonplace way of life we often hear from the gun-rights crowd."

Negligent Spokane Cop Get a Slap on the Wrist

Spokane’s police chief says the officer whose young daughter accidentally shot herself in the leg with his service weapon in April has been given a three-week unpaid suspension.

An internal investigation found that Officer Barry O’Connell failed to comply with department policy requiring officers to secure their duty weapons at home and with other rules that prohibit officers from acting willfully, carelessly or negligently with city property. Interim Chief Scott Stephens announced the penalty Wednesday.
This is a good example of how the cops do it. After a little time passes and everyone is more concerned with bigger news like the Colorado shooting, they issue their minor sanctions. That's how they protect each other.

In my opinion, whenever a kid gets daddy's gun and hurts or kills someone with it, daddy should get more than three weeks without pay.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Obama Speaks About Gun Control

In his broadest remarks on gun control yet in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, President Barack Obama called late Wednesday for tougher background checks designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

"A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals -- that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities," the president, who has called for reimposing the Assault Weapons Ban, said in a speech to the National Urban League.

"I believe the majority of gun owners would agree that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons; that we should check someone's criminal record before they can check out a gun seller; that a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily," he said. "These steps shouldn't be controversial. They should be common sense."
He went on to make the standard concessions to the 2nd Amendment adherents, which made the speech difficult to decipher. Is he finally taking a stand or is this just more talk aimed at appeasing both sides?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Todd Canady-"I am the NRA"

Standing his ground at WalMart:

"Police said that Todd Canady, 23, was in the checkout line when he fired the pistol he was carrying inside his pants.

"The bullet struck Canady in the buttock, then ricochet on the floor and broke into pieces," KDFW reported. Two children and a woman were also wounded when they were struck by bullet fragments. "

Canady--ever the law-abiding citizen--made a run for it.  Unfortunately, his ass wound prevented a swift getaway.

Accidental Shooting of Indiana Dad by his 3-Year-old Son - He's Dead

via Ohh Shoot

33-year-old Michael Bayless, of Martinsville, Indiana was watching television with two of his children when his other child, a three-year-old boy, found a loaded, unlocked .45 caliber handgun nearby.

According to police, "He picked up the gun and it discharged, striking the deceased victim."
Michael was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to a neighbor, "It's a bad tragedy. He was carrying the gun for his personal safety."
The police are still investigating the incident but have called it "a tragic accident and a tragic mistake" of leaving a loaded, unlocked gun within a child's reach.

Dan Gross on the Shooting

Common Gunsense posted a wonderful article about the shooting which included this video:

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President Obama's Gun Baloney

Roger Simon on Politico

Bill Clinton took it on and won. Clinton urged Congress to pass the Brady Bill, which required background checks for gun buyers, and signed it into law in 1993. He signed an assault weapons ban in 1994. He opposed “cop killer” bullets in 1995. “I have never seen a deer, a duck or a wild turkey wearing a Kevlar vest in my life,” Clinton said.

And Clinton was reelected in 1996. He turned gun control into a mainstream issue by surrounding himself at event after event with men and women in blue uniforms, America’s fiercest gun control supporters: police officers.

Today, nobody wants to take the political risk. They want to make somber statements instead of taking tough action.
If it's true that Obama is afraid of the NRA, wouldn't that change after his re-election? Isn't it possible that he'll be able to do the right thing in his second term and not have as much to lose?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Background Checks Skyrocket in Colorado

The number of people in Colorado applying for background checks to purchase firearms has surged in the aftermath of the movie theater shootings in Aurora, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.
Why do you suppose that would be? Is it because the people are frightened for their safety and suddenly want a gun? Or is it because the ones who already own guns fear restrictions that might prevent them from buying in the future?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

John Kyl: What Middle Class?

video link

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Gun-Control Debate, Forty Years Ago

Out of curiousity, I thought I would see how different the results from a search on the terms "gun control debate" would be when done from outside the US. This was something I came up with:

New Yorker, July 22, 2012

Takes: A Gun-Control Debate, Forty Years Ago

Seventy-one per cent of the people in this country want strict controls over all privately owned guns. That figure, which was recently published by the Gallup Poll, represents all regions, and all age groups and all kinds of people, including gun owners. Their common desire for limits on the possession of firearms is not a sudden, nervous desire set off by the assassination attempt on Governor George C. Wallace or by the latest alarming statistics on the crime rate. Rather, polls taken over the past generation show that around three-quarters of the public has consistently felt this way. Though it is true that a democracy moves sluggishly in response to the push and pull of contending factions, a full generation seems a long time for a demand by the American public to go unmet…

According to the recent Gallup Poll on gun control—again substantiated by many years of similar results—only twenty-five per cent of the public at large opposes gun controls. It is in this group that the “gun nuts,” as they have actually come to call themselves, are to be found. There are a lot of them—somewhere between ten and twenty million—and they stand, grim-visaged, hand on hip, ready to protect home and hearth, and, along the way, to enrich the gun manufacturers, gun advertisers, gun publicists, gun-magazine publishers, and gun sellers, which is to say the gun lobbyists who have made suckers out of them and victims or prospective victims out of the rest of us… Now and then, a politician from an urban area, where control of firearms is essential if the place is to be habitable, will stand up and ask that we civilize ourselves by restricting our savage freedom to wield guns at will. But year after year the result is the same: nothing, or next to nothing, happens. And things will go on this way until the remaining three-fourths of the nation’s citizens speak out, clearly and repeatedly, to Congress, demanding their right to live in the kind of reasonable security that any society owes its members.

—Richard Harris, Comment, August 5, 1972.

Sally Ride

We take it more for granted than we used to do that women could do whatever they wanted; there was a time when there were very few women in the sciences.
We take it as a given that women can successfully do dangerous, adventurous things now more so than we used to do.  There was a time when women were considered the weaker sex, less competent and capable than men.
The progress of feminism is that women can now come closer to fulfilling their potential than they could previously.  I am old enough to remember being told that there were things that girls couldn't do just because they were female.  I used to hate that; very few things could make me as angry when I was growing up as that assumption about potential and ability.
I remember being told by a very traditional mother that I had to hide being smart because males did not like competition from women.  My response was that I wasn't interested in the approval of someone less intelligent than I was - male or female, and that I didn't care if smart men liked or disliked competition from women either, but that I thought they would prefer smart women to stupid women, all other things being equal.  I obstinately refused to play dumb as I had been directed.
I remember a series of risk taking activities I engaged in growing up that concluded successfully; and repeating ad infinitum to my parents and other adults that I was brave, not stupid, meaning I was quite capable of assessing risk, and did so before acting.  I was fortunate to grow up with the influence of an adult mentor who enjoyed my mind, who spoke with me as an equal, and who took the time to discuss risk taking and assessment during my childhood.
So for a variety of reasons I rejoiced at the career of Sally Ride as the first woman to venture into space.  She was a woman of science, but also a woman of action.  She personified in her own personal pursuit of her career what women could do in a world that regressively tried to restrict women.  She did so while demonstrating not only intelligence and courage, but grace and humor; she proved that women could be adventurous without being less feminine, that we didn't have to become masculine or imitative of men or male caricatures, to succeed.
It is a tragic loss to all of us, but especially to the women of the world that she has died so young.  We still have so many obstacles to overcome; women make less than men, and certain opportunities although we have made improvements as a gender are still closed to us instead of being determined by merit and ability.  We still live in a world where conservative men have speculated on whether or not menstruation might make a woman unsuitable to serve on the Supreme Court, as when G. Gordon Liddy used the argument to attack Sonia Sotomayor's appointment in 2009.  We still live in a world where a coservative Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia doesn't believe the U.S. Constitution prohibits discrimination against women.  And we still have the obscenity rantings of conservative Rush Limbaugh and failed candidate Rick Santorum that equates women controlling their reproductive lives and sexuality with being sluts.  And last but not least we have the idiot right winger from Wisconsin who believes that women don't care about money, so therefore it should be legal not to give equal pay for equal work.
The greatest tribute to the accomplishments of Sally Ride is to oppose the conservative war on women.
We live in a post-Sally Ride as astronaut world where a leading New Zealand Neuroscientist, James Flynn, in the area of Intelligence and IQ testing has found that women in the developed world have not only made tremendous strides, we have done so at a rate that surpasses men, as an indication of nurture showing a pronounced influence on the natural raw intelligence potential we inherit.
She has died too soon; her inspiration to all of us, but especially her influence on girls growing up now in a world changed by Sally Ride will continue after her.  She has left us a tremendous legacy, which the videos below document.  Thank you, Sally Ride; Rest in Peace.
We have a duty to your accomplishments to continue to fight any effort to limit and restrict women on the basis of gender rather than merit.  Our world is larger and richer in opportunities because of you.

The Aurora, Colorado irony of Batman and guns

The Batman comic has historically been anti-gun.

In the origin story, Bruce Wayne is horrified and traumatized to see his parents, the physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, being murdered in a hail of bullets by a mugger in front of his very eyes, which leads him to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman.

The issue “Seduction of the Gun” was responsible for Virginia's one gun a month bill. the story behind that issue started with John Reisenbach going outside to make a phone call because the phones in his apartment were out of order. Minutes later, he was shot to death in a random, senseless killing.

John was the son of DC Comic’s Sandy Reisenbach. His death inspired the folks at DC to take a stand against the incredible, violent madness that seems to be gripping America. They created "Seduction of the Gun" to dramatize the effect of a gun-crazed culture where children must pass through metal detectors at school, people are killed in playgrounds for their sneakers, and the merest provocation is seen as excuse to use deadly force against someone.

The Comic's storyline concerns an evil gang in the fictional Gotham City arranging to take a ride to real-life Virginia to buy all the weapons needed for their deadly deeds. One character asks 'You still got those connections down in Virginia?' asks the henchman. 'Chaka wants your butt down there and hook us up with some guns'.

The issue was a deliberate attempt to help expose the role of Virginia in gun-running and worked quite effectively. Governor Wilder wasted no time in drafting Batman and his sidekick, Robin, into supporting his gun bill campaign. 'The fact that the state has achieved this notoriety in a comic book strip should be an embarrassment to all Virginians,' said his spokesman, Glenn Davidson. 'If the statistics and the headlines don't make the point, this comic book will.'

Early issues of the Comic did have Batman using guns to combat crime, but later the comic developed a self-imposed no guns rule. In Batman #129, a letter writer asked why Batman doesn't carry a gun. The response was that he preferred to rely on his ingenuity and resourcefulness to combat crime.

Bruce Wayne has set self-imposed rules to govern his actions as he tries to justify his mission as a costumed crimefighter, and his ban on using guns is one of those moral guidelines.

Batman's origin is entwined with the tragedy that guns in the wrong hands can bring, so it is fitting that writers try to delve into more complex storylines that do not shy away from talking about guns in society instead of just using them as props for shock value and gratuitous excess. In a medium that regularly glorifies violence, and brandishes guns with often reckless abandon, it is good to see that the symbol of the gun when used with Batman still causes people to pause and think.

The Aurora, Colorado shooter bought his guns legally, as did Jared Loughner, Seung-Hui Cho, and many other shooters. There is no real gun control when realises the ease which a lunatic can purchase a gun and carry it on the street.

Now, we have yet another instance when Batman's aversion for guns might finally cause the American public to ask questions about whether it is sane to keep the current regime which allows for guns to fall into the hands of lunatics.

With any luck, maybe Batman will once again stir the American public into positive action about gun control.

See also:

Commenting Policy Changes

Comment moderation is off.  Anonymous commenters are welcome. I'll remove any that need removing.

If not now, when?

Those who want to delay any discussion of gun control are simply hoping we have a short attention span and no effective memory for events like this.  I hope they are wrong, but I also see no reason whatsoever to wait.  Making a change for the better -- and such a change is both possible and desirable -- is the best way we can respond to events like the mass shooting in Colorado.
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Second Aurora Copycat -- sort of

Who could think this was a good idea?

This guy wasn't the first, or the second, or the third problem movie goer to this film so far.
Does this guy own a gun that he didn't have with him?  How many more of these will there be?
from the HuffPo and the AP:

Clark Tabor Arrested For Allegedly Threatening 'The Dark Knight Rises' Audience In California

07/24/12 12:02 AM ET AP
NORWALK, Calif. -- A man is accused of making criminal threats at a screening of the new Batman movie at a Southern California theater.
The Los Angeles county sheriff's office said Monday that 52-year-old Clark Tabor was being held on $50,000 bail.
Deputies were called to the AMC Norwalk 20 cineplex around 5 p.m. Sunday after moviegoers complained of a man who started yelling when the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" didn't start. Witnesses say Tabor then shouted, "I should go off like in Colorado," and, "Does anybody have a gun?"
A security guard saw Tabor with a backpack on his knees in the second row, and Tabor was arrested.
Deputies searched the bag, the theater and its surrounding area but did not find any weapon.

Public Opinion about Gun Control

 Media Matters 
(click to make bigger)

Observations of the U.S.

I recently returned from a one-month visit to the United States.  My family and I slept in five different states and visited a couple of others.  Naturally, I was observing the differences between the US and Italy and between the US of today and what I remember from the last visit two years ago.

By far what stuck me most was the obesity. It's noticeably increased over the years.  It occurred to me it cannot be explained by the super-sizes of everything from water bottles to hamburgers. I had thought that was it, but now I wonder if even the decent food is contaminated with so much antibiotics and chemicals and genetically modified material that the poor people don't stand a chance.

It's sad.

The second most impressive thing I noticed was the almost total absence of guns. Every day I scanned the people for who might be carrying concealed. There were very few, which could be easily determined due to the summertime dress code. I realize some of those folks might have had a gun in the glove compartment of the car and certainly some had guns at home, but the overall impression was that gun ownership is not the commonplace way of life we often hear from the gun-rights crowd.

In the early days of my stay, which was the end of June, the Fast and Furious scandal was in the news.  That's when Holder was held in contempt.  In one of the reports, it was mentioned that the actual events took place under Bush. I was shocked.  I'd never heard that little factoid before, which makes sense since I had gotten almost all my information about the story on sites like The Truth About Guns and The Sipsey Street Irregulars. Reading those blogs, it was obvious to me they were attempting to distort the story into something more than a simple sting operation gone bad, but the fact that they'd so calculatedly avoided ever mentioning that the gun-running incidents actually predated the Obama reign confirms my opinion of their less-than-honest intentions.

One extremely enjoyable thing about my vacation was the almost total disconnect from e-mail and blogs that I arranged for myself. I checked in from time to time, but I really benefited from the restful and relaxing life style the disconnect allowed me during those weeks.  I feel rejuvenated.  I feel optimistic about the future of gun control. I had a chance to step back and see just how fringe-like and fanatical the gun-rights folks are.  One day I watched a 20-minute info-commercial starring Wayne La Pierre in which he hit all the talking points for which he's famous.  It was to drum up NRA memberships. I thought he's the one fighting a losing battle.  In spite of the apathy and lack of resources on the gun-control side, common sense and reason will prevail.

The NRA's Legacy

Don't Expect Gun Control From Washington D.C.

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The Amazing James Holmes, Lawful Gun Owner

Oh look, an Aurora, Colorado Copycat Killer Wannabe

I thought the machine gun ownership was fascinating. More crazy gun guys demonstrating the gun culture failure.


Police: Man was driving 112 mph on Maine Turnpike with AK-47, 4 handguns, boxes of ammo

 Police: Man was driving 112 mph on Maine Turnpike with AK-47, 4 handguns, boxes of ammo

updated 2 hours 59 minutes ago

Maine police arrested a heavily armed man driving on the state turnpike who carried clippings about the cinema massacre in Colorado and claimed he attended the new "Batman" film with a loaded gun, authorities said on Monday.

Timothy Courtois, 49, was driving 112 mph on the Maine Turnpike with an AK-47 assault weapon, four handguns and several boxes of ammunition in his car when state police pulled him over about 10 a.m. on Sunday, said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland.
He told police that he was headed to Derry, N.H., to shoot a former employer, McCausland said in a statement.
Courtois told police he had attended the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight," at a theater in Saco, Maine, on Saturday night with a loaded gun in his backpack, he said.
Police found clippings in his car about the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed and 58 wounded by a gunman at a Friday showing of "The Dark Knight," he said.
At Courtois' home in Biddeford, Maine, police found several additional guns, including a machine gun, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, he said.
Courtois was slated to appear in court on Monday in Springvale District Court on initial charges of speeding and carrying a concealed weapon, McCausland said.

Monday, July 23, 2012

WaPo: Six Facts about Guns, Violence and Gun Control

Good piece in the WaPo.

The only part I'd quibble with is the last claiming gun control isn't popular.  My beef is why "keeping gun laws the same" goes on the side of the ledger as "making laws less strict."

If we break out the numbers, making gun laws less strict usually hovers in the high single/low double digit range.

Colorado Shooter (alleged) Has Facebook Fans

Do some people think that you get some kind of pass or do-over, after killing (allegedly) a dozen people, and shooting up more than 50 others, not to mention what was done to the two theaters showing the movie as well as the horrors and trauma done to all the law enforcement, first responders, health care providers, neighbors to the shooter, etc.?

Who could possibly justify photoshopping this guy's face in place of a real hero?  or glorify the fictional villain after this event?  Do we have this many people who are simply hateful contrarians with no regard for life -- these people are pioneering new lows of shallow and vile.

From Opposing Views:

James Holmes Facebook Dedication Page Getting Plenty of Likes

By Michael Flood McNulty, Mon, July 23, 2012
Only hours after the Aurora shooting claimed 12 lives early Friday morning, an individual took to Facebook and created a page in dedication to alleged shooter James Holmes.
Despite lots of anger and criticism directed towards the page's yet-to-be-identified creator or creators via the comments, more than 425 people have already Liked the page as of Monday morning.
Responding to angry comments, the person responded "It's a page for those who like James, give him a second chance."
Although in horrible taste, it doesn't appear like the page breaks any law -- yet. However, Facebook may feel it violates a company policy and take down the page. That hasn't happened yet, however.
To give you an idea of what you'll find there, two images on the page include:

This is not being safer, and it certainly is not being more free

Our gun culture is a massive failure.  We are neither more free nor more safe from tyranny or violence or crime.  We are simply more exposed to danger and to death.

It is time we re-examine our assumptions and take an honest and analytical look at firearms, not the myth or heroic stupid fantasies, but the realities.

These are the realities - that guns do far far more harm than any good.  I don't care about the excuses, the coulda woulda shoulda's of this.  Too many guns are killing and injuring too damned many people, and the massive restriction, and in many case removal of guns would dramatically reduce the problem.

There is no 'upside'; we aren't safer, we do not have less crime, we do not have an protection with personal firearms from 'tyranny' or from foreign invasion or terrorism.  We simply have avoidable deaths and injuries like these.
4-year-old boy shot dead on NYC playground
A 4-year-old New York boy died after being struck in the head by a stray bullet on a Bronx playground Sunday evening, police say.

Authorities say gunfire erupted at about 9:30 p.m. at the playground in the Forest Houses in Morrisania, and the child got caught in the crossfire.

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The boy, identified as Lloyd Morgan, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
“When my friend didn’t see her kid, she panicked,” a woman who said she was a friend of the Morgans told the New York Daily News. “Then she saw him on the floor, shot.”

Authorities say two men were also shot. A 27-year-old was shot in the stomach and a 21-year-old was shot in the arm. Both are expected to survive.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the two men were innocent bystanders or targets.

Residents described chaos as people began running throughout the park and parents grabbed their children.
No arrests have been made. Police continue to investigate.
Lawmakers, clergy and residents in the community planned to rally Monday afternoon to call for an end to the violence that has plagued playgrounds and basketball courts throughout the city in recent weeks.
Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson called the most recent incident frustrating and urged anyone who knows who pulled the trigger to step forward.
"We can't tolerate this any longer. Those who know these people need to step forward," Stevenson said. "It's not about snitching. It's about protecting lives of 4-year-olds. And those who know in this community need to step forward."

"Those who are doing these horrendous crimes are going to be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he added. "You're taking the lives of young people. You will be taken out of this community."

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Mitchell and Webb--Pompeii

The 2nd Amendment is a Cruel and Deadly Hoax

Accidental Shooting Death of Illinois 10-Year-old by His Little Sister - No Charges

local news reports

A ten-year-old Granite City boy is dead following an accidental shooting in rural Dix involving his seven-year-old sister.  Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch says the body of 10-year-old Christian Clark was found lying inside of a motor home recreational vehicle located in a wooded area adjacent to the Modert Clark residence in the 13,000 block of Baseline Road. 

The initial investigation indicates the victim and his seven-year-old sister, Halee Clark, were inside the motor home that is used as a hunting cabin when young Halee picked up a long gun.  Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Jo Marks says a round accidentally discharged and struck Christian in the head, resulting in his death. 

Marks says there were a few guns laying out and the one the young girl picked up contained just the one shell that resulted in her brother's death.  Marks reported the girl immediately left the vehicle to tell family members that her brother had been hurt.  Christian was pronounced dead on the scene.

This is the disgraceful business that goes on day in and day out. The equivalent of 10 Aurora Shootings every single day go largely unnoticed as we keep rehashing what young Mr. Holmes did.

I say enough is enough. What's your opinion?

Please leave a comment.

Cenk and Colin on the Shooting

No One Would Ever Accuse Madonna of Good Taste or Good Judgment

It wouldn't bother me in the slightest if the police in the UK gave Madonna a free jail cell sleepover for ignoring their requests regarding guns, real or replica, unless she has permits for them.

I guess when you're on the slippery slope of becoming irrelevant, you have to try to be more sensational and less substantive; (it certainly would explain Bachmann, Coulter, and the other right wing media whores and horrors).

From MSN.

© AP/ Madonna

Madonna defies police, takes guns onstage during Scotland show

July 22, 2012, 6:09 PM EST


Madonna ignored pleas to tone down her MDNA show at a concert in Scotland on Saturday and brandished a machine gun and pistol onstage.

Police officials advised the pop superstar not to include images of firearms and weapons themselves during the Murrayfield Stadium gig in Edinburgh in the wake of the Colorado cinema massacre on Friday.

But she defied the local authorities and hit the stage with pistols and an AK47 assault rifle -- as she has at all the shows on her MDNA tour.

A spokeswoman for the Mothers Against Guns organization tells local newspaper the Daily Record, "Madonna and her dancers using replica guns was always in bad taste but given what happened in Colorado it is even worse. She should know better."

Meanwhile, fans arriving early at the stadium caught the Material Girl and her band completing rehearsals onstage.

The pop star told the surprised concertgoers, "I'm just running through some songs early."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Norway Remembers

from and Reuters:

Norway marking the massacre anniversary

Norway massacre: Nation remembers victims one year later Survivor: 'Very few people can go through a day without thinking of the events of July 22'
By Balazs Koranyi
Norwegians by the thousands gathered on Sunday at somber memorials to the 77 people killed a year ago by far-right gunman Anders Behring Breivik to show his bloody rampage had done nothing to change their dedication to an open society.
"The bomb and the shots were intended to change Norway. People responded by embracing our values. He failed, the people won," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told the crowds, carrying red and white roses at the memorial in central Oslo.
Breivik, who said his mostly teenage victims were traitors because they supported multiculturalism and Muslim immigration, detonated a bomb outside parliament that killed eight, then shot dead 69 at the ruling Labour Party's youth camp on Utoeya.
The anniversary fell two days after a gunman in the U.S. state of Colorado killed 12 and wounded 58 in a crowded movie theatre. No link has been suggested between the two rampages.
"Very few people can go through a day without thinking of the events of July 22," said Vegard Groeslie Wennesland, an Utoeya survivor, who escaped Breivik by barricading himself in a cabin with about 50 others.
"You know, a person you miss, someone you were supposed to hang out with or seek advice from or anything like this. Or something that just reminds you of what happened."
On the island, Stoltenberg and most cabinet members joined around a thousand survivors in songs, speeches and commemoration that included releasing a large, heart-shaped helium balloon to which they had attached personal messages.
"In the past year, young people joined the service of democracy and responded to violence with activism," Stoltenberg said on Utoeya.
"By meeting blind hatred with knowledge and reason, we have shown that democracy is stronger than its biggest threat."
Signs left beside flowers around the Oslo cathedral and the bombed government building repeated one after the other what has become Norway's battle cry in the past year: "If one man can create so much hatred, imagine how much love we can create together."
Closure has been difficult to achieve as Breivik's 10-week trial this year forced Norwegians to relive chilling horrors in detail day after day. A verdict is due on August 24 and a commission report on the events is expected in the coming weeks.
Breivik faces either indefinite mental care or a 21-year prison term with the possibility of indefinite extension.
"This anniversary is an important end to a cycle where families have had their first Christmas, birthday and national day without their loved ones," said Kitty Eide, a spokeswoman for the National Support Group for the victims and mother of a survivor.
Open societyThe attacks shocked the Nordic nation of five million, which prides itself on its open society, consensus-seeking politics and economic success.
But Norway reaffirmed its commitment to an open society in the wake of the attacks and resisted calls for radical measures.
"I think both politicians and people, perhaps without directly saying so, have made it clear that they want society to remain unchanged," said Thomas Hylland-Eriksen, a Professor of social anthropology at Oslo University.
"They are going to preserve what they feel is most valuable in Norway: its openness and feeling of safety."
At a special mass in Oslo Cathedral, Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien told Norwegians: "The light shines in the darkness; darkness hasn't been able to overcome it."
Prosecutors have asked the court to declare Breivik insane, flying in the face of the public view that his lucid testimony shows he deserves prison, while Breivik wants to be declared sane and considered a political activist.
Breivik said his victims, the youngest of whom was 14, were brainwashed "cultural Marxists" whose immigration policies adulterated pure Norwegian blood and risked leading to a civil war with Muslims.
He arrived at the camp dressed as a policeman, claiming to have come to protect the camp, only to pull out a gun and shoot children from point-blank range with what witnesses described as a "joyous battle cry".

Aurora, Colorado Mass Shooting - Update 5

The gunman's fancy drum-style magazine apparently jammed; had it not, it is likely the numbers of dead and wounded would be much higher.

There appears to have been a pause in the shooting where the gunman either reloaded, and/or switched weapons because of the jammed magazine.

The gunman MAY have received a phone call before leaving the theater to armor up and get his weapons from his vehicle, after the other movie trailers finished playing.

This has led to speculation by the conspiracy theorist wackos on the right to make all kinds of crazy speculations, which of course they represent as fact.  These speculations have included asserting there were multiple shooters (not true) or that the shooter had an accomplice (so far, also appears to be untrue).

What IS true is that the investigators, in order to research as much background to this slaughter, investigators have spoken with every member of his student program.  The exception so far is one appears to be one student who is overseas, in Asia, who has been there for a number of weeks, according to the student's landlord.

It appears that the shooter (alleged) had died his hair the odd not-found-in-nature color for a period of time significantly before the event, and had tried on-line dating (supposedly unsuccessfully).  The absence of a love life is one more element that appears to be in common with Anders Breivik, the mass shooter in Norway who appeared to be a failure at having a normal, active love life.

And then we have the right wing nut conspiracy crazies who must have an over-sized, bulging, deformed, extra-large-potato-sized primitive brain bits, mostly their emotion center amygdalas, and fecal brown matter of the variety referred to colloquially as pudding poop where their cerebral gray matter should be.

I can think of nothing more disrespectful, more egregiously obscene and exploitive than the distortions and contortions of the real events made by some of the far right wing gun nuts and generally tin hat crowd that have tried to make the mass shooting into something it very much is not.
knobby bit of cypress wood
These are the same people who actually think crass self-promoters like Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann or hate-mongering bigot Pam Geller make real sense.  Clearly, to the reality based world, they don't; to the reality based world, they are grossly factually challenged and morally bankrupt.

An example of the kind of stupidity that is being attached to this tragedy, here are a couple of examples from the extreme right unraveled fringies:
Is it just me?  Or is everyone just as frustrated by the lies coming out of the mouths of the talking heads in our Jewish controlled media pertaining to the circumstances behind the latest shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado? Personally, I am sick and tired of having these idiots continue to steer people away from the truths and instead filling their minds with absolute garbage and falsehoods.
....  We have heard from witnesses on how this man went on a rampage after receiving a mysterious phone call ( To switch on the MK Ultra agent's kill mode?) and then right after the shootings calmly (?) surrender himself to the police like as if nothing had happened... I have seen many stories over the alternative news about how MK Ultra victims have their minds switched on and off into different modes of opertion, and this latest incident shows all the earmarks of being exactly that! A good example is again how Anders Brievik had supposedly received a call from his Swedish Mossad handler just before he went on his "rampage"... A call to switch "on" Brievik's kill mode?
And.. We see the talking heads in the almost laughable MSM continue to preach that this was a "lone gunman".... Without even talking about HOW Holmes was able to go out an Emergency Exit without setting off the automatic alarm that is generated when an Emergency Exit is usually tripped... Or the fact that his armor, and guns, were conveniently right outside that Emergency Exit door (?)... Or the fact that SOMEBODY had to let him back into the theater through this Emergency Exit door after he changed into his shooting gear (!)... What we have here is most definitely an accomplice to this crime, pure and simple... But tell that to the fools at the MSM, and all we get is them denying it, and instead sticking to their scripts....
It does not take rocket science to understand that the shootings in Aurora could not have been timed more perfectly... The criminals in the US government are going to sign the UN treaty on gun control this coming Friday, July 27th, and they are desperate to have the American public come on board with the insane idea of surrendering their guns. The psychological effect of having 12 people killed by a "crazed gunman" could be enough to convince gullible Americans that something has to be done about guns in America by pushing forward legislation that would ban guns, and therefore destroy the 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms.

These are the same fools who don't believe we landed on the moon:

Last Friday, July 20th, was the 43rd anniversary of the fraudulent Apollo 11 "landing on the moon" mission. It is so ridiculous today that people still believe that massive lie and swindle concocted by the US Government and their NASA organization. The facts speak for themselves... Man cannot venture beyond low Earth orbit with even today's technology, unless he is able to come up with a solution for the extremely high and deadly radiation levels within the Van Allen radiation belts... I have been pelted on and off by commentators that claim that Dr. James Van Allen, had to take back his original estimates of the strength of that barrier which he reported back in the late 50's, and to say before his death in 2006 that he was "mistaken" and the dangers of the belts were not there....I can tell you that of course he had to take back his original findings, because he and his family were obviously threatened by the criminals in NASA if he did not! I only need to turn to the Russian findings about the dangers of the belts (Russia was of course not sitting idly by, and doing their own measurements of the VA belt radiation levels) which were reported by Dr. EE Kovalev of the Russian space medicine firm back in 1983 which not only supported Van Allen's original estimates, but showed that the levels of high radiation were actually much much worse than Van Allen's own 1950's readings!.... It is very strange that few people have actually ever heard of the Van Allen Radiation belts at all, and the fact that no manned space craft before or after Apollo has ever ventured off into space beyond low Earth orbit. This makes Project Apollo an "anomaly" indeed.... People should be asking the real hard question: If it was so easy to go to the moon with antiquated technology of the 1960's, then why have we not gone back since, and especially with the superior technologies of today? And to the naysayers, don't give me the crap about "We did it once before, and therefore there is no reason to return". To me, that is a copout, and nothing more than an excuse to cover for the inconsistencies of of the fraud of the entire Project Apollo.

and this, from another right wing wrong-brained conspiracy theory gun nut -- again about the Aurora, Colorado shooting:


When will enough be enough??
Does it not seem highly unlikely that the murder spree in Aurora, CO. would not have happened if the government were not about to sign the upcoming U.N. Gun Treaty on July 27th, which is only seven days away? Furthermore, it is also quite ironic that the tragic shooting at Columbine School happened 13 years ago and is only 13 miles away from Aurora. Numerology has powerful meaning for the satanic criminal elite so you can bet that there is great significance in these particular numbers.

No doubt this was a planned false-flag psyop by C.I.A. spooks or some other nefarious group within the U.S. government. Nothing about it rings coincidental or happen-stance.

According to CNN reports, suspiciously, the shooter received a phone call right before he pitched a gas canister into the theater full of patrons at a midnight showing of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. That smacks of an MK-Ultra tactic. I think it more than possible that the perpetrator was a sleeper agent, and at just the specific moment he was activated by the phone call in order to carry out this murderous deed. He may also have no memory of the heinous act.
Shame on these people, SHAME on them.  The right wing fringies, like these, are embarrassments to the rest of us.  They are not crazy, they are simply stupid, representing the worst of us, representing those who would push for lethal violence no matter how dishonest, how stupid, how delusional.  These are the core fanatics of the NRA.  Gun nuts should be ashamed of their fellow fetishists.