Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Supporting our own terrorists and lone wolf killers

Does the fear and paranoia pushed by extremist groups and even the gun lobby lead to some of the feelings of alienation, suspicion of the government, law enforcement or "others"? Or do the gun rights extremists who stock pile guns start to believe in conspiracy theories or in the violent take-over of a mythical tyrannical government because of all of the guns? I read this recent article published in Salon that exposes this extremism, mostly occurring on social media sites where many of us don't see it. But it's there and in plain view if we look. From the article by Amanda Gailley:
"As one example, several hundred people indicated on Facebook that they were going to participate in the harassment of American Muslims over the MLK Day weekend.  The event, called “Flag Up the Mosques American Reaper Style,” asked Christians—a certain kind of Christian, that is—to plant Christian paraphernalia all over mosque properties, in what the event organizer calls “a peaceful calling…for now.” However, participants on the page were of mixed opinions about whether this religious harassment should involve violence."
Then the author describes comments on social media by these intolerant folks advocating violent actions against those who are not like them. The examples and remarks are offensive and concerning. Gailley ends with this:
On Monday our nation set aside a day to reflect on the struggle for equality and tolerance in the United States, and the history of nonviolent struggle for justice. What could degrade American democracy and civic life more than advocating genocide, religious persecution, and violence in the name of patriotism? These self-proclaimed patriots—wrapped in a flag, carrying a cross and a gun, and menacing minority populations—are in fact the heirs of the violent white Christianists who had a different target 50 years ago.
These folks live on social media in today's world for it is the way they gin up the anger, fear and paranoia amongst their own. Without social media, they would be a few loonies with their extremist views and largely ignored. Until one of them actually does something about it. Of course, there are, and have been historically, those lone wolf extremists and loonies who do a lot of harm. Do we have to name them? The Oklahoma City bomber, extremist and gun nut, is just one notorious example. There are others and we know who they are. This wonderful column was written by Lonnie Phillips, whose daughter was murdered in the Aurora Theater shooting. From his article:
Judge Samour said he was skeptical about the contention by both prosecutors and defense attorneys that expanded media coverage would result in unfair scrutiny of victims and witnesses, saying his decision was a tough call that balanced the defendant’s right to a fair trial with the “need for public access.”
So now we know where the judge stands. He is taking account of the murderer’s rights. He is paying attention to the public’s rights. But what about my family’s rights—our right to grieve and honor her in privacy? What of the right of our dead daughter not to have her memory desecrated?
We do not need any more undue attention paid to the moment that changed our lives forever. We don’t need that man—that monster—to have one more minute of publicity.
Lone wolf killers, like the Aurora Theater shooter,  have committed many of our country's mass shootings. Add the Navy Yard shooting in our nation's Capitol, and the Sandy Hook school shooting for just a few. The shooters were not connected to any militia or terrorist group. Sometimes these shooters were dangerously mentally ill. Sometimes they had political or racial motivations. Sometimes we can't explain why they killed. One common denominator is that the shooters all had easy access to guns to carry out their carnage. That we have not changed the equation guarantees we will have more of the same.

But sometimes there are groups of gun rights extremists using their second amendment rights and their guns to intimidate the public and politicians and getting away with it. Examples of their activities are now becoming more open and obvious as the Open Carry Texas extremists are becoming bolder and the gun rights folks in the state of Washington "flexed" their second amendment rights at the State Capitol in Olympia. (You can read the interesting comments posted after this article and decide for yourself.)

They are the gun nuts who are so intense about the possibility of "gun control" that their fervor leads them to become more radicalized as they stock pile their weapons in anticipation:
The center tracked 1,360 radical militias and anti-government groups in 2012, an eightfold increase over 2008, when it recorded 149 such groups. The explosive growth began four years ago, sparked by the election of President Obama and anger about the poor economy, the center says. That growth is likely to continue as the groups recruit more members with a pro-gun message, the center's senior fellow Mark Potok said.
President Obama's second term and a gun control movement bolstered by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School is intensifying anti-government rage and will lead to more growth for the groups, Potok said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights advocacy group based in Montgomery, Ala., defines the patriot movement as groups of people who believe the federal government is conspiring to confiscate Americans' guns and curtail liberties to create a socialist government or "new order." Most are non-violent citizens groups. Some groups also include militias, which arm themselves and conduct military-style training, the center said.
Some of these fine folks showed up in Nevada at Cliven Bundy's ranch and had a stand-off with government officials. A couple who spent time at the Bundy ranch went on to shoot up people in Las Vegas. They were no ordinary "law abiding" citizens with guns. From the article:
A man and a woman who shot two police officers and then a civilian in Las Vegas on Sunday may have been white supremacists, according to Las Vegas newspapers.
The Las Vegas Sun quoted neighbors at the couple’s apartment complex saying that the two “had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that police found Swastika symbols in the apartment.
If the two are involved with neo-Nazi or white supremacists groups, the Vegas slayings would be one of several linked to hate movements. 
Among recent killings: A former Ku Klux Klan “grand dragon” killed three at two Jewish facilities in a Kansas City suburb in April; a man killed six before killing himself at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012; and a man killed three officers in Pittsburgh in 2009. 
Sadly our very own corporate gun lobby is helping these folks get their weapons. The SHOT show, or the largest American show of gun industry weaponry, is just finishing up. No citizens or press are welcome inside. You may remember that comedian Jay Leno was asked to speak at this prestigious show but backed out once he was helped to understand what it was all about. From the above linked article by Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center:
So why so camera shy? One reason is that such images would reveal all too clearly what the modern gun industry has become: an industry dominated by military-bred weaponry marketed with militarized language (almost always in capital letters) and imagery that would disturb the vast majority of Americans. And not surprisingly, the gun industry is quick to deny any responsibility when these semiauto versions of battle weapons are used for the very purpose they were designed: to kill large numbers of people quickly and efficiently. (...) 
Also present at the SHOT Show with its own display will be the National Rifle Association, a member of NSSF and the unofficial trade association for the gun industry. The NRA is increasingly the recipient of gun industry dollars targeted at increasing sales: whether through industry-branded marketing or opposition to gun violence prevention laws that would impact gunmakers' bottom line. 
If this year's SHOT Show is like prior years, the NSSF, the NRA, and the gun manufacturers who help pay their bills will talk about virtually every aspect of guns in America except one: the price the rest of us pay for the irresponsible and virtually unfettered marketing of their increasingly lethal products.
These are weapons of war promoted for use by civilians in language meant to encourage civilians to act like soldiers. Are we at war? So why the language and the promotion of the use of such weapons? Good question. It needs to be asked and answered. The gun industry profits are leading to the deaths of innocent Americans. Most people support shooting sports and hunting for recreation and family activities. But we are talking about more here. Author Stephen King, quoted in the image at the top of this post, wrote a great column about this topic. King understands, as do most Americans, that some guns are made for killing people and killing a lot of people in a short period of time. Some law abiding people like to shoot these guns for sport. But when they are promoted the way they are at gun shows and major trade shows like SHOT, it leads some gun enthusiasts to believe they should be ready for battle. Bad things have happened as a result.

And when the guns are so readily available to those who can't pass background checks when buying from licensed gun dealers, we have a problem. Too many of these types of weapons are accessible to those who have bad intent. Until we change that and require background checks on all gun sales, we will see these guns used in crime and killings of innocent people. It's beyond explanation that there is so much resistance to a common sense measure that can save lives and won't affect the rights of law abiding citizens to buy and own these guns if they so choose.

But I digress. Back to the sale of guns that can kill a lot of people in short order- What better way to support gun extremists, felons, the dangerously mentally ill, people with bad intent and possible terrorists than to manufacture more of their weapons of choice right here in the U.S? The AK-47, a favorite of the aforementioned, will now have a manufacturing home in Pennsylvania. This article written by Cliff Schecter for Daily Beast points out the insanity of this business decision:
Fear not, for even with the threat of a falling inventory of Kalashnikovs—due to sanctions against manufacturer—Mother Russia, this little kink in the supply chain has been solved.
We’re gonna make them here.
By “we,” I mean arms company RWC, and by “here” I am referring to Tullytown, Pennsylvania, where RWC is based. The gun maker conveniently owns the rights to the “AK-47 Kalashnikov brand of guns” in the only high-income country that thinks it’s a good idea for any schmo on its streets to port around mass homicide in the palms of his/her hands.
This is yet more proof—as if we needed it—that even as states like Washington pass ballot initiatives instituting universal background checks, in the Washington on the Potomac, nothing’s changed. In that Washington, the military wing of one of our two major political parties—the grand old one—is still only too happy to bestow upon those wishing to bring domestic harm the ability to do it, with one of the most efficient killing machines ever created.
Even Mikhail Kalashnikov himself, on his deathbed a year ago at the age of 94, expressed “spiritual pain” that was “unbearable,” because of the weapon he had created. But then again, unlike today’s Republican Party, he didn’t rely on campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.
Back here in the good ol’ US of A, it has become pretty clear to anyone who’s paying attention, why we should ensure that as few people as possible get their hands on weapons such as these. Twice in the past week and a half, armed gangs referring to themselves in innocuous terms such as “open carry enthusiasts” showed up to state capitols—in Texas and the aforementioned Washington State—to try and intimidate lawmakers into supporting even more permissive gun bills. There is a name for using physical threats to get the legislation you want. It isn’t democracy.
In short we have a problem involving guns and extremism. What should we do about this problem? Many of these people are "law abiding" when they purchase their guns in the first place. Some are not. Some have bad intentions with these legally purchased guns. Some don't have bad intentions when they purchase their guns but get "radicalized" by groups whose intentions are bad. And some listen to sources of fear and paranoia and get hyped up about the wrong things. Mental illness also enters in to the twisted thinking of some of our nation's most notorious mass killers. I believe that most Americans understand that when you have a gun or guns, you can do things you wouldn't be able to do with other weapons or means of violence.

But there are insurrectionists and extremists living amongst us who can easily get any kind of gun they want in America. There are also dangerously mentally ill people, felons, terrorists and others who shouldn't have guns who can get them anyway. The cynicism of the corporate gun lobby selling guns under the guise of freedom, liberty and to use against those I mentioned in my last sentence is the vicious circle that leads to our insane gun culture. There is no common sense when it comes to guns, the gun industry, the corporate gun lobby and gun violence in America. We can change that with the serious national conversation about the role of guns and gun violence that we deserve to have. Saving lives should come before profits. Until that is the bottom line, Americans will lose their lives at alarming rates and gun sales will go unchecked to those who should not have guns.

UPDATE:

As always happens, I run into more articles to support what I have written in my post. This OpEd piece from New Mexico supports background checks on all gun sales and starts out with similar words to what I have written:
What do the Columbine shooters, Timothy McVeigh, Branch Dividian leader David Koresh, Pentagon shooter John Bedell, serial killer Timothy Diller, gangster Whitey Bulgar and violent Mexican drug lord Miguel Angel Trevino Morales all have in common — other than being criminals? Every one of them used the gun show loophole to buy their firearms at gun shows.
Requiring all gun buyers at gun shows to go through a background check simply keeps guns out of unsafe hands. The good guys with guns can still buy any legal firearm they desire.
I rest my case.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bad news for the gun lobby

I had a different post in mind when I started this. It's been a terrible week for the gun rights extremists. So much bad news in the past few days caused me to write this post instead of the one I had been working on. I have had some good discussions with folks at various events in my community in the past few days that have energized me and also reinforced what we know- the public in general does not like hearing the bad news about all of the avoidable and senseless gun deaths. The most heinous are those of child shootings. So, first, here is a press release from the Brady Campaign about 3 shootings in particular that have called attention to our nation's dangerous gun culture:
"Our hearts go out to three families in Missouri, Florida, Michigan who have suffered tragedies this week due to the dangers of unlocked, loaded guns in the home.
On January 19, 2015, a five-year-old in Missouri found his grandfather’s gun and unintentionally shot and killed his nine-month-old brother.
Two days later, a two year old in Florida found, played with, and unintentionally shot himself fatally in the chest with his father’s gun.
And in Michigan that same day, a three-year-old was killed in an unintentional shooting.
These are just a handful of stories that represent the thousands of children shot unintentionally each year. In America, 1 out of 3 homes with kids have guns and nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with an unlocked, loaded gun. Far too many children have access to guns and, more often than not, they know where the guns are stored. Every day, seven children and teens are killed by guns and another 44 are shot and survive. These shootings are more likely to occur in a home than anywhere else, according to the Brady report “The Truth About Kids and Guns”. In the cases of unintentional shootings, almost half the time the shooter is a family member, often a sibling."
Let's start with the shooting of the 9 month old by his brother. I can hardly write about this one without thinking of my own children and grandchildren- nor should anyone. If you don't think it can happen in your family, think again. This woman never imagined that her own father could have been so irresponsible and says so. How awful for this family- they will never be the same. The mother grew up with guns and learned how to shoot them. So what? If a gun is accessible to a 5 year old, someone missed common sense somewhere in their gun safety training. It is, again, the cavalier way in which some gun owners view their rights, their gun safety and their own responsibilities that is leading directly to avoidable gun deaths of young children. This was a baby. The 5 year old said he was sorry. We're all very sorry for their awful loss. The status of our gun culture is sorry. What happened here was unimaginable. This was really bad news all the way around.

Now, the Florida 2 year old. From this article:
A Florida toddler shot himself in the chest and died Wednesday after finding his father’s handgun in a glove compartment.
The Pinellas County sheriff said 2-year-old Kaleb Ahles was placed in the car by his father about 4:45 p.m. as they moved out of their home, reported WFLA-TV.
The boy found a .380 caliber handgun his father kept in the vehicle, investigators said.
Kevin Ahles heard a gunshot, turned around, and saw his son bleeding from a wound to his chest, the sheriff said.
I love the next paragraph:
“It’s just one of those things that happens where everything lined up the wrong way where we had a 2 1/2-year-old that was able to take a gun, pick it up, turn it around, and he shot himself dead center in the middle of the chest,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
No, it's not just one of those things. This was a totally avoidable death. The father should not have left his loaded gun in his car glove compartment. Kids are curious. Guns are dangerous. More bad news.

Now for the Michigan 3 year old. There are no "accidental discharges." There are negligent discharges. From the article:
Benton Charter Township Police say they were called to 1619 Norton Street at 1:18 a.m. for reports of a gunshot victim.
When they arrived, they found a 3-year-old with a fatal gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators say the death appears to be the result of an accidental discharge of the gun.
"Last night I was about to go to sleep and everything and I heard some kind of commotion and some screaming so I came outside my door, and about 4 or 5 cop cars rushed up,” said neighbor Jimmey Bolin.
Investigators said they recovered two guns that were registered to a person who lives at the home.
No one else was injured.
Bolin says he could hear the family's hysterical screams echoing into the early morning hours. 
These families did not intentionally expose their kids to guns nor did they believe their actions could be harmful to their children. That is the problem. Is the gun lobby making sure that people who buy guns understand the risks associated with loaded guns in homes? That is where the problem lies." Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult." Don't you think it's time to talk about this public health epidemic?

And now that I'm done writing about avoidable deaths of young children I want to write about the recent shooting of a Cardiac Surgeon in Boston. First off, 2 of my family members are health care providers. This is really scary to me. Secondly, a good friend told me last night that her son is a physician working at Boston Brigham and Women's Hospital. Too close for comfort for him. Let's look at some details about the shooting of the surgeon from this article:
According to Kathy Curran of WCVB, Stephen Pasceri had a license to carry a gun. She also reports that he’s a resident of Millbury, Massachusetts. Police have said that Pasceri’s family had no idea of his intentions. Ryan Schulteis of WHDH reports that Pasceri’s friends and family “are in shock and say he was the nicest guy.” He is married to a woman named Teresa, who works in a hospice. The couple had children together. Stephen Pasceri worked as an accountant.
Right then. Guns make it all so easy to take care of alleged slights or wrong doings or to get even with someone. Do you shoot a physician because a relative died? I guess some people do. And further, people almost always say that the shooter was a "nice person" and they are in shock that he/she could possibly have done something this awful. People shouldn't carry guns everywhere they go. It should be more difficult for "nice" people with bad intentions to kill another human being.

And speaking of more awful and senseless deaths by otherwise law abiding "nice" gun owners, can we talk about the recent discovery of the bodies of a family in a Minnesota home? They had been dead since around Christmas time. Some have expressed concern and questions about how this man could have shot his wife, 5 year old child and himself given that he didn't appear to be distressed before the incident. But the case has now been ruled a murder/suicide. Some in the conspiracy theory world don't believe that this young man could have done what he did. The young man had a following of sorts and was making a film about a tyrannical government take-over of America. It was a dark and violent film according to the trailers. And it wasn't getting traction. Was that enough to take the lives of your wife, your young child and yourself?

The thing is, shootings like this happen every day in our country. There are shootings involving arguments over money, separations, domestic disputes, suicidal thoughts, despondency, alcohol and drug related shootings and others. Way too often, family and friends are surprised by the shootings and just don't imagine that things could have been so bad that this otherwise apparently nice "stable" person would shoot a family member or a friend or him or herself. And that might be conventional wisdom. But my personal experience says otherwise. People shouldn't die or take their own lives over things like I mentioned. But they do. And guns make it very easy to accomplish leaving devastation to families and communities all over America.

The bad news keeps coming. The 2015 victims and survivors of gun violence are piling up and our leaders continue to do nothing. The gun lobby continues selling guns and persuading people with their fearful and paranoid version of the world. It's working. People are scared to death of the wrong things. They are literally killing their family members and themselves. We need to demand change to our gun culture and the conversation we aren't having. Let's get to work.

UPDATE:

I am sorry to have to write about another shooting of a toddler. This Indiana 3 year old was shot in an "accidental" shooting. Adults were in the home at the time. From the article:
Emergency personnel pronounced the toddler dead at the scene. The father told police he didn't think the child knew where he kept the gun. 
Two handguns were located in the home, both legally registered to the boy's father. The gun involved in the incident was identified as a semi-automatic 9mm handgun.
Police say the boy's two older sisters, ages 13 and 11, and an aunt, age 17, were also in the home at the time.  








Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Day, guns and non-violence

Today is the day we put aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. My husband and I went to the movie "Selma" recently. There is controversy about this movie, most particularly about President Johnson's support of King's demands for strengthening the voting rights of black citizens.  In spite of this, the movie reminded us that the racism and intolerance of the 1950s and 1960s is not over. Nor is the violence. The same year, 1968, Robert Kennedy was assassinated by a gunman. After that, Congress passed The Gun Control Act of 1968 in an attempt to stop people from being able to order guns from mail order catalogs by prohibiting interstate transfer of guns to individuals. It was too easy for assassins to get guns without buying through licensed dealers. The law established the licensing of firearms dealers among other things, a system still in place today. It should be no surprise that even in 1968, the gun lobby's voice was heard in opposition to the bill. From the article:
In his remarks upon signing the act in October 1968, Johnson said: "The voices that blocked these safeguards were not the voices of an aroused nation. They were the voices of a powerful lobby, a gun lobby, that has prevailed for the moment in an election year."[8]
Some things never change.

Since 1968, more Americans have died from gunshot injuries than Americans who have died in all wars combined. Also since 1968 the market for guns has changed. More private sellers are selling firearms at gun shows and flea markets and through Internet sites. That means that about 40% of gun sales go without the background checks that were required in the 1994 Brady Law.

There are many rumors and myths about King that are disputed in this Snopes.com article. Another such myth comes from the gun rights community who claim that MLK had a license to carry a gun and thus supported gun carrying and gun rights. It's another falsehood promoted by the gun rights community. The NRA's Colion Noir promoted this myth on last year's celebration of Martin Luther King day. From the article:
But Noir's history lesson on King only tells half of the story. In a compilation of King's writings gathered by King historian Clayborne Carson, King described how friends and family urged him to get a gun permit after his home was firebombed. King was denied the permit but later realized that owning a firearm was contrary to his nonviolent philosophy. King got rid of the gun he owned and would only allow his house to be protected by unarmed guards:
As I wrote in my last post, the gun lobby is missing a lot of inconvenient truths. Their leaders may think that if they keep telling a lie over and over it will eventually become the truth. But too many people are watching. The truth matters. Every life matters. What we need is a national conversation about gun violence as it relates to justice and saving American lives no matter the color of their skin.

Thank you to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his common sense and perseverance in working towards dignity and justice for all. His calls for non-violence are still necessary today. From Dr. King- "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What the gun lobby is "missing"

The gun lobby won't tell you the truth about guns. There is even a blog by that name. The truth is that we could be doing much more to save lives if it weren't for the corporate gun lobby. Instead, we have one of their chief and most recognizable spokesmen saying what he said in that photo on the left. I already discussed in my previous post that when a gun group tried to "re-enact" the Paris terror attack, they discovered that armed citizens couldn't defend themselves or save others from being killed. As I have said before, they are "shooting themselves in the foot" with their insane and archaic "logic". Are they missing the facts and the points on purpose or in ignorance? The first would be cynical. The second would be shameful.

A great article in Politico written by Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes exposes the myth that most people who own handguns for self defense are missing. They write about examples of home owners shooting someone at the doors to their homes and killing innocent people. From the article:
What do these and so many other cases have in common? They are the byproduct of a tragic myth: that millions of gun owners successfully use their firearms to defend themselves and their families from criminals. Despite having nearly no academic support in public health literature, this myth is the single largest motivation behind gun ownership. It traces its origin to a two-decade-old series of surveys that, despite being thoroughly repudiated at the time, persists in influencing personal safety decisions and public policy throughout the United States. (...) 
It may sound reassuring, but is utterly false. In fact, gun owners are far more likely to end up like Theodore Wafer or Eusebio Christian, accidentally shooting an innocent person or seeing their weapons harm a family member, than be heroes warding off criminals.
And finally, the article points out the obvious:
The myth of widespread defensive gun use is at the heart of the push to weaken already near catatonic laws controlling the use of guns and expand where good guys can carry guns to bars, houses of worship and college campuses—all in the mistaken belief that more “good guys with guns” will help stop the “bad guys.” As Wayne LaPierre of the NRA railed in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”
But the evidence clearly shows that our lax gun laws and increased gun ownership, spurred on by this myth, do not help “good guys with guns” defend themselves, their families or our society. Instead, they are aiding and abetting criminals by providing them with more guns, with 200,000 already stolen on an annual basis. And more guns means more homicides. More suicides. More dead men, women and children. Not fewer. 
This is a long and informative article about the myth of gun ownership. If public policy is based on a myth we should be demanding the facts. If guns are rarely used in self defense but more often used to kill innocent people in moments of rage, anger, despair, relationship problems, suicide, "accidentally" or when the shooter is dangerously mentally ill or under the influence of alcohol then why is that not what elected leaders hear when making gun safety policy? Are they missing something on purpose? Do they know the facts and ignore them anyway? Or have they not been adequately informed or are too lazy to find the facts? Or are they so afraid of the corporate gun lobby that facts don't matter anyway?

So when the Texas open carry guys try to convince legislators to vote to undo some of their few sensible gun laws, legislators are getting an earful and an eyeful. When the fervor of the issue is coming from extremists who carry loaded guns with them, it isn't taken lightly or kindly. Let's look at what they are doing to make their points:

Sigh.

Speaking of defiance, in Washington state, one of the leaders of the "I Will Not Comply" gun rights group was arrested in a courthouse the other day. There are numerous photos of him dressed out in his assault weapons and other guns on social media sites. The idea that he believes he is one of the "good guys with guns" is the definition of insanity. No wonder a bill is now on the table banning people with guns from the Washington state Senate gallery. One guy was wearing a gas mask. Others had multiple guns. Fine looking group, that.

They are calling negative attention to themselves which is why they are going to have trouble getting their way. No one likes to be intimidated by people carrying loaded guns around. These folks want to normalize the open carry of guns in America. Instead they are showing themselves to be the gun nuts that they are.  Even Open Carry Texas opposes the tactics of Watkins' group and that's saying something all things considered.

This article sums it up nicely:
You’d think that some of the “good guys” with guns would offer to stand outside their doors. But that’s not going to do much good for average people just trying to get through the day in America without being shot. Panic buttons won’t help us and neither will these alleged good guys who are clearly part of the problem, not the solution. Even gun rights advocates can see that.                                 
from http://blog.chron.com/nickanderson/
You can read more in this article, called "Open Scary" in the Fort Worth Telegram. The article writes about how one of the Open Carry Tarrant County "good guys with guns" shot her own husband and his daughter in December.

Can we say that the gun nuts are not exactly getting the attention they wanted?

To continue with what the gun lobby is missing, I offer this great article from Media Matters highlighting the NRA's latest false assertions about exercising second amendment rights. These lame attempts to scare Americans are actually dangerous.

And in other news, this is an interesting place for a stolen gun to be found. No further comment.

And in scary news, the home of Vice President Biden was seemingly the target of someone shooting a gun from a car driving by the perimeter of the house. I wonder if the shooter thought it was amusing or did he/she have evil intentions? No matter how we look at this, it does not make us feel better about our country. Too many people with too many guns and too easy access to them by those who shouldn't have them is making for dangerous and tragic times. As I said in my last post, will the country and most particularly the gun lobby wake up? But I digress.

And in news about kids bringing guns to school, check out this Georgia first grader who had a loaded gun in his pants waistband. He thought it was a toy? Good grief. "Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult." No one was charged for this potentially tragic incident. Some parents were not happy with this situation. " My child is in the first grade and had lunch with this child,” Culver added. “I could have been burying, or other parents could have been burying our children.”" This mother understands the pain of other mothers who buried their first graders gunned down at Sandy Hook elementary school. First graders should not have loaded guns at school. First graders should not be gunned down while going to school. Only in America is this a typical school day.

I have missed many shootings in this blog post. They are happening at an alarming rate. What we are missing here is common sense. Families are missing their loved ones. Some shooters miss the mark. Many shooters do not. The following incident is a prime example of the American gun culture gone wrong. It was hard to miss this story because it's all over social media sites and news outlets.

In Oklahoma a man shot a small town police chief 4 times when the chief entered the home looking for evidence of an alleged bomb threat. No, he wasn't killed because he had borrowed a protective vest just before going into the home and came out with an injury to his arm. What if he hadn't? Well, apparently that wouldn't have mattered to the good folks of Oklahoma. The man was not charged. This is the quote I like from the article: " "This is country, this ain't Oklahoma City," Jimmy Rhoades told KFOR. "You're taught from a young age that if somebody comes into your house to shoot.""

So the logic here is that when you live in the Oklahoma country you get to shoot anyone who enters your house without fear of being charged for it? The officer entered the home without a search warrant but identified himself as an officer. Does that mean the home owner should automatically get out a gun and start firing? Let's look at who this home owner was: "Neighbors also saw Ross lying on the ground of the porch following the botched raid at the gun enthusiast’s home decorated with signs warning of a zombie apocalypse." There are some photos of the now released shooter on this Facebook page. This is Oklahoma folks. OK then:
Brand new state! Brand new state, gonna treat you great!
Gonna give you barley, carrots and pertaters,
Pasture fer the cattle, Spinach and Temayters!
Flowers on the prarie where the June bugs zoom,
Plen'y of air and plen'y of room,
Plen'y of room to swing a rope!
Plen'y of heart and plen'y of hope.

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain,
And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, ev'ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin' lazy circles in the sky.
We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!
And when we say--Yeeow! A-yip-i-o-ee ay!
We're only sayin' You're doin' fine, Oklahoma! Oklahoma--O.K.
Am I missing something or does this sound like the opposite of the "zombie apocalypse? Where is common sense?

UPDATE:

The Open Carry Texas folks continue their nonsensical and totally absurd rallies in support of doing whatever they want to do with their guns. This happened yesterday in Port Arthur, Texas. Again, you've gotta love the photos of these folks trying to look normal. From the article:
The group is upset with comments Police Chief Mark Blanton made about Open Carry after he said he believes it’s is a burden on law enforcement. Port Arthur has a large minority population, and most see the group as primarily white, which it totally is.
The group decided to leave downtown Port Arthur because only a few people showed up to listen to their statements, so the members said they would travel to an area near Central Mall where they could reach more people.
Open Carry fashionistas donned body armor, first at the Port Arthur Police Department, moving later to the Central Mall to find a “bigger audience”. I’m sure the folks at “Kiddie Rides”, “HobbyTown USA” and “Central Mall 10 Theaters” really appreciated this display of patriotism in their parking lot on a Saturday afternoon.
You can't make this stuff up. These folks represent maybe 5% of gun owners and Americans eligible to carry guns, if that. But they are making enough noise to want the public to think they are a majority. That is the myth, again, of the gun extremists. They have missed the fact that most Americans don't find them to be credible, normal or safe. Wearing ridiculous outfits and carrying military style weapons around is not cool with the public. Making a point with idiotic demonstrations is hurting the cause and imploding the myths touted by the gun lobby. The public understands that more guns do not make us safer and more people wandering on our streets with guns is not a model of public safety.