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.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Comments, we've got comments

This refrain from a ditty on a T.V. show: " Letters, we've got letters, we've got stacks and stacks of letters...." is going through my mind as I write this post. I wish I could remember where that musical refrain comes from ( I was thinking David Letterman's Late Show).  At any rate, I asked some questions on my blog and, wow, did I get comments. I am aware that my posts are now in the blogosphere of the "gun guys". A few people have actually "given me credit" for wanting to find out how their side of the issue thinks. And did I ever find out! I found out more than I wanted to know. I do appreciate the sincere responses of some people. I don't appreciate the cynical, mocking, disingenuous and inappropriate responses of others. In the course of this "discussion", others have used the opportunity to blog about me and my questions on their own blogs. Some have done so respectfully, others, not so much. 

So here is my take on the general themes of the comments to my questions. There has been a lot of bluster, one-upsmanship, cynicism, diminution of my opinions as well as accusations. I have been asked the same questions over and over again and answers have been demanded ( or what?) My facts from widely recognized credible sources, such as the CDC or peer-reviewed articles have been attacked. We can't seem to get past the idea that guns don't kill people. It's those people who kill people. And the commenters have tried to get me to believe that other things, like vases, knives, hammers and the like can kill just as many people as guns even though the facts are clear that this is not true. Someone tried to deny that men commit most of the domestic abuse against women and then turned it around to say it's the women who commit most of the abuse. Seriously! What's that all about? I am on the Board of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs. I think I know something about this. Some think that my linking to real life incidents of shootings doesn't prove anything and these are merely anecdotal information- not useful to proving anything. And then there have been those who have accused me and the people with whom I work of banning guns when they know it isn't true and couldn't realistically happen. Some responses have been truly insincere and only meant to get me to respond so my own responses can be used on their blogs.

It is interesting and instructive to me that, though I made it clear I would not post all comments and not answer all questions or respond to every comment, some are angry that posts were not published or, in a few cases, deleted by me. The idea is to harangue and harass and hope I will go away. There was an early complaint that the Brady Campaign didn't allow comments. I completely understand why. It is overwhelming and would require at least a full time staff person to publish and respond to comments. And to what end?

I have had to remind my readers that this is my blog, not theirs. I understand the technicalities of this. People who don't agree try to take over a blog and make it their own. If they don't like what you are saying, they pepper you with responses so those who might agree are fearful to respond. I get it guys. This is ubiquitous on the Internet. Many media sites are now either not accepting comments or making it more difficult for people to post comments. There have been appeals to civility. I know why. My hope is that I can work with reasonable people who can agree with me on some things but maybe not all. I am hoping to work together to get something done. By the comments on my posts, many of which were not published, I can see that that is going to be a huge task- at least with the folks who have chosen to respond here. But I am confident that the majority agree with my position and would find the "discussion" going on here abhorrent and obnoxious.

When blogging, the owner of the blog can see how many "hits" a post is getting. Since the "gun guys" have discovered my blog, and since I opened myself up by asking them to answer questions, the traffic has increased many fold to the tune of thousands. I would be more excited about this except for the fact that many of my readers just plain do not agree with me and never will, based on the comments. Over time, as I said when I asked the twenty questions, I will respond and answer in my own blog posts. For now, I am reading most of the comments- publishing some and not others. I am deleting those I have found to be offensive and rude or not sincere attempts to answer or engage in the issue. When biased information is provided or statements made that have no basis in fact, I am not publishing or countering with my sources. I have checked the sources provided and sometimes found them to be lacking in citations or no known original source. So far, there have been no overt threats, which I expected and was ready for; but there have been accusations that my side has threatened them and called them names. Nonsense.

This exercise, possibly in futility, has opened my eyes to the zealousness of a group of people who seem blinded by their love of guns and so fearful that their beloved guns will be taken from them that they can't wrap their heads around any idea to the contrary. Somehow they don't seem to take comfort from the two recent Supreme Court rulings that have pretty much guaranteed them the right to keep and bear their arms. That should have been a victory. So why the fear? It beats me. They want to kill the messenger and the message. 

The beliefs expressed here are strongly felt and I am not going to change them. Mine are strongly felt and unlikely to change. There have been appeals to discuss what "my side" will give up in exchange for passing some laws. I am not sure that is the way this is going to work. In my opinion, no one is going to give up something if reasonable gun laws pass that will only affect those who are not "law abiding". So far, what "my side" has given up is a lot of lives lost because of guns. There is agreement that no gun law is going to solve all the problems of gun violence in our country. But there sure has been a lot of back and forth about gun laws in other countries and debate about the effect of them. I believe that if we compare "apples to apples" on many of the issues raised here, we could actually come to some more agreements.

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe".  What has been written here in the form of comments has been "left behind". I am no longer publishing more comments to the questions I asked on this post, "Where there is an open mind.." . There is no more useful purpose to continue with this thread. It's time to move on to other issues. I'm sure there will be more opportunities to comment and I have no doubt that they will be offered. 


  1. I have queried some gunblogers to the question of a one to one debate. Odd silence there too. I lack the ability myself.

  2. Since I have said I won't post more to the "Where there is an open mind...", I will respond to someone who commented on that one and I deleted his comment. It had to do with Domestic Abuse and Violence. I have worked only with battered women but do not deny that women abuse men as well. It is complicated but recognized by most that there are different kinds of abuse. If you check this website: http://www.theduluthmodel.org/- look at the Power and Control Wheel. But the statistics of women abusing men are not as high as those of men abusing women. Most abuse centers were begun as a recognition that it was the men abusing women that caused the problems associated with spouse abuse. Now there is intimate partner abuse, abuse among ex-spouses or partners, against families and even among friends. If evidence can be found that abuse of women by men supercedes that of men against women, I would be interested in seeing it.

  3. 30 years ago I spoke with a councelor for battered women about that very subject and was told. "Battered men are routinley ridiculed by responding officers as being a wimp. After one expieience like that there will not be a second report." To this day I don't know the accuracy of that, as my career took me in another direction. If that is true the incidents would be under reported.

  4. "Somehow they don't seem to take comfort from the two recent Supreme Court rulings that have pretty much guaranteed them the right to keep and bear their arms. That should have been a victory. So why the fear?"

    The Heller and McDonald decisions haven't entirely guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms. These decision were simultaneously quite broad, and quite narrow. They were broad in establishing the Second Amendment as an individual right and applying it to the states. However, they were quite narrow in that the only type of firearms regulation the two decisions actually forbid are a complete ban on handguns and a ban on having an immediately operable firearm in the home. Indeed, the response of Chicago and D.C. to these decisions has been to pass a bunch more gun regulations.

    The Supreme Court has not yet addressed many other issues, such as bans on types of firearms other than handguns, limits on magazine capacity, bans on carrying firearms, etc. Most importantly, the Supreme Court has not yet set a standard of review, essentially saying how skeptical courts should be of laws limiting Second Amendment rights. They dodged the issue in Heller and McDonald by saying that complete handgun bans would be unconstitutional even under the lowest standard of review, called 'rational basis'. However, rational basis review doesn't really provide much protection, effectively rendering a right toothless (for instance, take a look at how the rational basis standard pretty applied to the Fifth Amendment's takings clause was interpreted in Kelo v. City of New London). On the other hand, strict scrutiny, the highest standard of review, would result in very robust Second Amendment rights, similar to the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.