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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Speaking up

I am in awe of Colin Goddard. The first time I heard him talk about his story as a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting, I knew he would be around for a while and that he would be a force in the movement to prevent gun injuries and deaths. He has surpassed that expectation. Here is Colin's story, as told on the October 25th, 2010 Oprah show. This posting on the Oprah show website does not include video from the show. Hearing Colin tell his story is more powerful. WJLA, a Washington D.C. ABC affiliate, ran this story about Colin's appearance on Oprah. See for yourself the poise and the self confidence of someone who has suffered from serious gun injuries in the nation's deadliest school shooting. I know and respect Colin. He has integrity, gravitas, intelligence and a story to tell.

And yet, there are those who do not like the stories of gun violence victims, as in this open letter to Colin written by someone who thinks victims should be silenced. It bothers me a lot when victims are criticized for telling their stories to further a cause. Who else can tell the stories? "Victims" talk about their breast cancer survival, their car accident survival, other brushes with death or serious injuries. These are powerful stories that may activate people to take action or give money or do something for the cause. That's a good thing. These victim stories also move our elected leaders. And that's the rub. That is what the gun lobby does not like. The NRA has power and influence far beyond it's support from Americans. But the movement to prevent gun injuries and deaths unfortunately has the victims and their stories.

It is very revealing when those opposed to a point of view espoused by victims attack the victims. It is the ubiquitous "shooting the messenger". Here is a message from Colin that was sent to his friends and supporters after his appearance on Oprah: " I was not prepared, however, for what the opposition had to say only minutes after the show aired: "Colin Goddard should be kicked in the **** for getting in bed with [the Brady Campaign]. He almost died because he was helpless ... and now, he's working to make more of us helpless."" So this is what those of us working to keep others from becoming victims must face. Hateful and violent comments like this abound on any blog or any article written about sensible gun laws or preventing gun injuries and deaths. Our elected leaders receive such hateful mail and phone calls as well. It is a tactic to intimidate and bully. Colin's response was to say that he would not be silenced. Good for him. Nor will I though my "gun guy" friends have certainly tried. They must think it will work but they are wrong. 

To what lengths will these folks go to "silence" someone who disagrees with them? The person (above) who chose to suggest kicking Colin "in the **** for "getting in bed with (the Brady Campaign)" is not only ridiculous but potentially dangerous. What if this person acts on this statement? What if this statement encourages someone else to act? What then? When people make these type of comments on blogs, article comments, by phone, e-mail or in person, do they think it's funny? Do they understand that violent words can lead to violent action? If this is the way some people engage in public discourse, one wonders what they are like in their private lives. I have asked some of my commenters if they talk like this to their own families and friends or is this just bluster on the Internet because they are anonymous? Let's hope that idle threats do not turn into action. Time will tell. Meanwhile, let's also hope that common sense will prevail in the end.


  1. To Sean. Your comments are unacceptable and rejected by me. As an example: " Colin has a choice today. He can stand up for the next victim, or he can take the side of the next murderer. By working to disarm the next victims, Colin has allied himself with the next murderer. Nothing Colin has suffered can absolve him of the guilt of that choice. "

    This is total nonsense. On this post, I will not be accepting hateful comments or comments that attack Colin or other gun violence victims. Save your time and energy and enjoy your week-end everyone. Take some time off of the vitriol and ugly and accusatory comments. We'll all be better off for it.

  2. Sean will not give up commenting. He is insensitive and rude. He does not get it and his comments to me say it all.

  3. I will absolutely agree that Colin's words do not justify threats of violence against him even in hyperbole. However, if a victim puts themselves forward as a public figure promoting an agenda, that agenda does not become immune from criticism.

    Mass shootings happen almost exclusively in places where guns are banned. Logic would say that more bans are not the solution--but gun control advocates rarely have objective facts and logic on their side, resorting almost entirely to emotion.

    As far as what was learned from Virginia Tech--We need to change the way mental health is handled with regards to guns-From what I understand, a mental health ban is either permanent or nothing. The safeguards required to permanently strip someone of any constitutional right should be pretty strong--but maybe temporary bans should be somewhat easier than that.

  4. I think the pro-gun folks have a pretty good argument here. The reasonable ones like Sevesteen make their point well. But even Mr. Courteous himself, as opposed to Sean for example, gets his shots in.

    "gun control advocates rarely have objective facts and logic on their side, resorting almost entirely to emotion."

    Now that's not true at all, in fact isn't the opposite true? Who's more emotional than the pro-gun commenter who personally attacks guys like Colin?

    It boils down to the question "do guns (more guns) do more harm than good? I say they do more harm. The solution is not to make guns easier to obtain and therefore more plentiful in society, it's the exact opposite. Does that mean some places will be vulnerable to attack? Yes, but it also means that with better screening of mental cases like Cho, with increased restrictions on domestic abusers, and background checks on every transfer, there's be fewer armed attackers.

  5. Thanks, Mike. I agree. And for those on my blog who think I know nothing and am just full of emotion, I am informing you now that I will not be posting for a while since my mother is in the process of dying. If anyone wants to comment on that one, go ahead. She has lost 2 loved ones to bullets. That's a lot for one person to handle but she forged on and led her life as well as anyone could under the circumstances. She was a good and faithful Christian woman who practiced what she preached. That is how I was raised. Her faith has been strong and helped her through 2 tragedies and the death of my Dad. God will look kindly on my mother.

  6. Suggested reading about guns on campus and the effect on the Virginia Tech shootings: http://www.wusa9.com/rss/local_article.aspx?storyid=117759"

  7. The interesting thing about Colin’s story is that it can just as easily be used for the pro-gun concealed carry on campus movement (and other cases are used for just that). So it basically comes down to perspective. I would be interested to know what Colin’s position on guns was before the incident. After the tragedy, somebody anti-gun would think “why do we let nut jobs get guns” while somebody pro-gun would think, “why does the law not allow me proper self-defense”? Perspective.

    Regarding the opposing link, I don’t know why you would think they want to silence Colin. I read this as a rebuttal, and saw nothing that suggests he should not have first amendment rights because he is on the Brady’s side. Silenced? No. Questioned/criticized? Of course- as I would expect you to use your blog to criticize the pro-gun policies that you object to.

    Last and most important Japete, I want to pass on my condolences for you and your family during this difficult time.

  8. Common sense says you can't protect yourself with a gun, and if you try, only the good guys will get hurn... Oh, wait, maybe not... http://www.komonews.com/news/local/106612883.html - one of two home invaders killed by homeowner defending himself with a gun.

    Common sense also says cops can be trusted more than average people with a gun, because they have training and will store them properly, right? Oh, maybe not: police chief has three of his guns stolen from his home, along with badge and uniform: http://www.komonews.com/opinion/kenschram/106620753.html

    Well, so much for common sense. If you are going to reject these as "just anecdotes," then you can't honestly argue with your own anecdotes, such as the story of Colin.....

  9. Thanks for sharing your links. I did think that this quote from the first article you linked is pretty significant though: " Originally, Troyer said the intruder was hit by a bullet fired by the homeowner, but Wednesday evening, Troyer said their investigation revealed that the the man was actually struck by a bullet from his accomplice's gun. It appears his accomplice tried to shoot the homeowner but missed and hit his partner instead." So it does appear that the homeowner actually did not shoot the intruder, but the accomplce instead shot the bullet that hit his partner. So, let's see now- the homeowner who tried to protect himself didn't shoot the intruder but the accomplice, out to do harm, shot his gun off and didn't hit the person he thought he was going to hit. This is actually a case for what I have been saying. People who have their guns for self protection can't always defend themselves and guns don't always shoot the intended target.

  10. Joan,

    Does the criminal have to die for the firearm to have been successfully used?

    Does the home owner have to hit his target every time for the firearm to have served its purpose of protecting the home owner?

    Could it have been the fact the thug was under fire that made him hit his partner?

  11. Joan,

    Then what is your problem with this story?

    The home owner is safe and the crooks were the ones injured.

    People who have their guns for self protection can't always defend themselves and guns don't always shoot the intended target.

    And not having a firearm doesn't mean a thug is harmless or non-violent.

    Yet every single one of your stated goals (background checks, safe storage, training, licenses, etc) make it harder for the non-criminal to own and use firearms while doing nothing to make the thug less violent.

    Personally, I think the story shows that even the incorrect use of a firearm can have successful results. I think that practice -- something you want to make harder to do -- improves a non-criminals chance of coming out injury free.

    And before you ask "how do you think I want to make it harder for people to practice", I'll answer.

    Do you support the right of people to keep a firearm in their vehicles?

    Do you support licensing, permits and renewal of those documents?

    If you don't support the right of people to keep a firearm in their car, then they have a harder time getting to and from the range when it is convenient, like after work.

    If you support licensing/permits, you are taking money that could -- heck, should be used for practice out of the hands of the non-criminal.

  12. I have stated my concerns about the story. No need to repeat them.