Saturday, January 2, 2016

Washington Post Fact Checker: Bill Clinton Goes “Over the Top” on Mass Shootings


AIM as suggested by TS

The Washington PostFact Checker gave former president Bill Clinton three Pinocchio’s for a statement he made last week on assault weapons and mass killings in the U.S.

Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005, half of all of them in the history of the country.

That’s a pretty bold statement, but not surprising coming from Clinton, who signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994, which wasn’t renewed when it expired in 2004. His statement comes at a time when emotions and rhetoric on guns are running high after the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, last month.

Using data assembled from Grant Duwe, director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the Fact Checker found that Clinton’s claim was exaggerated by a fairly wide margin.

Using Duwe’s definition of a mass public shooting as an incident in which four or more victims are killed publicly with guns within 24 hours — in the workplace, schools, restaurants and other public places — excluding shootings in connection with crimes such as robbery, drugs or gangs, there have been 156 incidents in the U.S. in the past 100 years.

Of that number there have been 32 mass shootings since the assault weapons ban expired, which computes to just a little over 20 percent, not the 50 percent that Clinton cited.

First of all, who the hell is Grant Duwe?  Secondly, I thought we should go back, say, 20 years, not 100.

Also, don't we count "mass shootings" to be those in which 4 people are shot? Isn't there a difference between "mass shootings" and "mass killings?"

The Big Problem With The FBI's Tracking Of Fatal Shootings By Police

Friday, January 1, 2016

Gun-Friendly Texas Is Getting Even Friendlier


Texas is so gun-friendly that it is easier to get into the Capitol in Austin with a firearm than without one — licensed, gun-carrying lawmakers and members of the public have their own no-wait security lane, and the unarmed masses have to stand in line and slog through the metal detectors.

But on Friday, gun rights throughout the state expanded still more, as a new law took effect that allows certain Texans to wear their handguns in holsters on their hips — or in shoulder holsters, Dirty Harry-style — openly displaying the fact that they are armed as they work, shop, dine and go about their day.

The so-called open-carry law has set off a long-simmering debate over the limits of the Texas gun culture and has given gun rights advocates a hard-fought victory after they pushed for the expansion for years. Members of the pro-gun group Open Carry Texas were to gather at noon Friday on the south steps of the Capitol for a gun-on-their-hips celebration before walking down Congress Avenue. Other groups plan to display their weaponry at events in Houston, Dallas and other cities.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The ‘Miracle’ Program That Actually Reduces Gun Violence

Huffington Post

‘The Boston Miracle’

The programs that have best managed to reduce gun violence use a public health approach to target the young men most likely to be involved in shootings with a combination of assistance and policing. Almost all of them are modeled on Operation Ceasefire, an initiative that started in Boston in 1996 and ended four years later. Its many spinoffs have produced results in cities across the country even as attempts to pass national gun legislation have fallen short. 
A recent ProPublica story highlights the accomplishments of Operation Ceasefire and its incarnations in other cities, as well as the difficulties community leaders have had in maintaining federal support for the programs.
Operation Ceasefire was a collaborative effort between Boston police, black ministers and social scientists, who came together in 1996 to curb rising youth homicides. Instead of focusing on guns, they looked at the people. Research shows that a small number of young, gang-related men are responsible for the large majority of murders. And so, the coalition of law enforcement and civil society leaders began by identifying them -- the “small groups of young men most likely to shoot or be shot,” writes reporter Lois Beckett.
Ceasefire’s leaders then used a carrot-and-stick approach to confront the at-risk individuals in person. They would “promise an immediate crackdown on every member of the next group that put a body on the ground -- and immediate assistance for everyone who wanted help turning their lives around,” Beckett writes.
The technique yielded such dramatic results, it earned the nickname “the Boston Miracle.” In the following two years, the average number of youth murders per month declined 63 percent, Beckett reports. The Department of Justice gave the program high marks, characterizing it as one of just a few crime prevention programs that has a proven record of effectiveness.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Police Fatally Shoot Nearly 1,000 in 2015

Washington Post

In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that the kind of incidents that have ignited protests in many U.S. communities — most often, white police officers killing unarmed black men — represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings. Meanwhile, The Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.
The Post sought to compile a record of every fatal police shooting in the nation in 2015, something no government agency had done. The project began after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, provoking several nights of fiery riots, weeks of protests and a national reckoning with the nexus of race, crime and police use of force.
Race remains the most volatile flash point in any accounting of police shootings. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year, The Post’s database shows. In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic.

The Republican Fear of Facts on Guns


The three rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination showed enough sense of responsibility in their debate on Saturday to freely discuss the nation’s epidemic of gun violence. Unfortunately, this was only half the debate voters deserve. The Republican candidates are callously ducking the issue. Among the recent casualties of such silence was a bill in Congress that would have lifted a ban on basic federal research into gun violence and its toll on public health. 

For nearly two decades, Congress has banned needed research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, Congress, doing the bidding of the gun industry, quietly killed a provision in the omnibus spending bill that would have reversed that ban.

In so doing, it left intact an anti-science smoke screen that has helped the industry and its lobbyists deny and dispute the facts of the gun violence that takes more than 30,000 lives a year.

Imagine if the tobacco industry had been similarly favored by Congress with a ban on federal research about cigarette deaths. Imagine, too, if the auto industry had such a shield during the years when the government successfully fought unsafe cars in the cause of public health.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Gun Nut Dad Sends School Into Lockdown After He Strolls In Carrying Firearm To Prove A Point

Addicting Info

At a time when kindergartners are being gunned down in classrooms and the scourge of mass shootings is on everyone’s mind, one Michigan man felt it was his duty to terrify the students and teachers in his child’s elementary school by bringing in a loaded pistol when he arrived. The school’s staff at Homer Community School District reportedly questioned his intentions with the gun – as seems reasonable when your job is to protect children from being shot – and the parent, whom the police have not identified, grew indignant. According to him, even being asked about his weapon violated his right to bear arms and he insisted that it was his “right to have it there.” He did, however, eventually leave.
He clearly gave it a lot of thought because he showed up to the school on Monday… still carrying his ****ing gun. The school’s staff, reasonably concluding that this could pose an unsafe situation for kids, were forced to lock down the entire school.
Although the parent was receptive and showed up to the school for the meeting with [Superintendent Robert] Wright, he brought a holstered gun again.
“And lo and behold, he showed up with his weapon holstered … it was never out of the holster,” Wright said. “And at that point I had to inform him that our protocol is that we go into lockdown just for pure safety of all of our students and staff, and so we went into lockdown at that point.”
“They asked him to sit in the front lobby and they went into lockdown,” Saxton said. “He left when he heard them go into lockdown.”
Insanely, this is considered “functional” in Michigan. The school was told by law enforcement officers to continue locking down the building each time someone comes into it with a gun. The law still says the school has to let those gun owners in. They legally aren’t allowed to enforce a rule that keeps guns out. And here we have another lesson in what it means to be free in America. Men are free to wander freely around an elementary school with a loaded weapon if they want to. Children are free to sit scared inside a locked classroom, avoiding windows and doors, waiting to find out if the guy outside is trying to murder them or just pick up his son or daughter for soccer practice.