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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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Words matter

What's in a name? Do words matter? I have a feeling that some who read my blog think that they can say whatever they want and that I should publish everything they have said. It is so interesting to me that my "gun guy" friends seem to think that they have a right to their ugly comments on my blog. Their words matter to me. I moderate comments for a reason. Hateful and accusatory comments matter to me. Some are considered by me to be mildly threatening. See what you think. 

  • "This is why your agenda will never prevail... it's hard to stand on principal for gun control when your principals are so sinister, and you act completely without honor, integrity or respect for the facts. You should be ashamed of yourself. "
  • "In my humble opinion, you aren't a good person at all. You're nothing more than a selfish woman out to avenge (and exploit) your sisters death"
  • "You're a despicable human being.'
  • "You are not stupid, far from it, but it is simply amazing how a person as intelligent as you, has a brain that is wired so illogically. There are two sides, and refusing to acknowledge the other side doesn't exist and emotional/moral arguments will outweigh the facts is ludicrous and makes you look bad, and reduces what little credibility you have all by your lonesome self"
And then this one, to end on a "high" note: " Why did you omit my comment, you stupid cunt? Oh that's right, it makes you look like a stupid cunt" Ouch!!!

These are words that people write about me. Whenever something like this is written in a comment, it does not get published. What's the point? How can this lead to anything anywhere near common ground? How can there be any meaningful dialogue with these sorts of people? I have been told that I am a "gracious host" for allowing comments at all and some of the comments have been polite, well researched and even some constructive criticism. I do actually appreciate these. We are still coming from such different positions, however, that it will be hard to meet in the "middle", whatever that would be. But what I really want to know is whether when you disagree with some one's opinions you can win them over by calling them names? Can you get someone to listen to you when you are intimidating them with words such as those used above?  Or, if not, are other remedies the chosen path?

Sometimes words lead to actual threats, action, and injury or death. I am wondering who thinks it's O.K. to make threats, bully and actually act on threats by killing someone? Apparently those who think it is O.K. are out there. I watched this amazing interview on the Rachel Maddow Show with an abortion doctor who has been overtly threatened and fears that he will be shot to death. This doctor has reason to be concerned and very scared. Abortion doctors have been shot to death by zealots- Dr. George Tiller, most recently. Common sense tells us that if people are allowed to display "wanted" posters in their communities with photos of abortion doctors,  it could happen again. As I was preparing this post, I noticed this article by Washington Post writer, Dana Milbank. Milbank takes issue with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck about their violent talk on Fox News. He is right. One of their many viewers may not think that calling for Milbank's beheading is a joke. 


It is up to those of us who have common sense to make sure it doesn't happen any time soon. It's time to stop with the angry rhetoric, the ugliness, the accusations, the sarcasm, the hyperbole, the fear mongering, the threats, the name calling and all the rest. I am not engaged in that kind of writing and will not publish comments of those who do. This is a blog for commongunsense. It is not a blog for the gun rights folks to air their own anger and get each other riled up nor is it a place for name calling and intimidation of the blogger. Words matter. Actions matter.

27 comments:

  1. So sorry you should have to deal with this type of crude, barbaric, misogynistic behavior. You should be proud of the good work you do. Keep it up, and don't let a bunch of gun-loving neanderthals stop you from fighting to save lives!

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  2. Great post! I got a lot of angry hate mail after penning a mild gun control editorial; it made me wonder if those critics ought to own weapons. Hateful rhetoric has no place in our national discourse. Yes these issues can be emotional, but profane anger and screaming can only vindicate your opponent.

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  3. In your listing of violent talk, don't forget to add Dylan Ratigan and Ted Rall calling for violent revolution on MSNBC.
    http://www.wrko.com/node/14937

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  4. I had not seen this one. I don't condone this either nor should anyone.

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  5. How can we be sure these things were actually written about you? All we have is your word, and since you don't seem to hold the truth in high regard that's not much to go on.

    I suspect you've simply made some of them up so that you can play the victim.

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  6. So sorry you should have to deal with this type of crude, barbaric, misogynistic behavior You should be proud of the good work you do. Keep it up, and don't let a bunch of gun-loving neanderthals stop you from fighting to save lives!

    Hmm. You complain of "crude, barbaric, misogynistic behavior" and then call those you disagree with "neanderthals."

    Oh the irony!

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  7. It's time to stop with the angry rhetoric, the ugliness, the accusations, the sarcasm, the hyperbole, the fear mongering, the threats, the name calling and all the rest. I am not engaged in that kind of writing and will not publish comments of those who do.

    Oh, but you and your ilk at the Brady Campaign very much ARE engaged in exactly that kind of writing.

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  8. I rest my case- another hateful example

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  9. Where did you see that I called anyone a Neanderthal?You didn't and I didn't.

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  10. You have not seen the sorts of language I wrote about in anything coming from the Brady Campaign. That is nonsense.

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  15. I have been advised to remove some comments because of their nature and my responses, not because of their nature but because I was advised not to respond to some commenters.

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  16. Joan, here are excerpts from Brady Campaign press releases.

    Washington, D.C. - The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence today announced its endorsement of Colleen Hanabusa for election to the U.S. House seat from Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District. As president of the state senate, Colleen Hanabusa stood up to the National Rifle Association time and time again. She championed efforts to ban the dangerous .50-caliber sniper rifle in the state and fought back an effort to repeal restrictions on large capacity ammunition magazines that give criminals extraordinary firepower. "Colleen Hanabusa has shown that she has the political courage to stand up to the gun pushers.

    Washington, D.C. - The Colorado Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether the University of Colorado will continue to be able to protect student safety by prohibiting firearms at the University. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Colorado gun violence prevention groups had filed a friend of the court brief urging the Court to hear the case and overturn an April 2010 appeals court ruling allowing a lawsuit to proceed that seeks to force guns onto the University's campuses.

    Statement of Brady President on Wisconsin Concealed Carry Ruling
    Washington, D.C. – Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, issued the following statement today in response to a Wisconsin trial court judge’s ruling concerning the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:"The ruling by a Wisconsin trial court judge that the U.S. Constitution provides a right to carry concealed weapons in public endangers our communities, puts law enforcement at risk, and is just plain wrong.

    Washington, D.C. - Sarah Brady, honorary Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is urging Illinois voters to reject Gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady because of his “awful” positions on gun laws and vote for Pat Quinn for Governor. Brady, the candidate, opposes legislation limiting civilian access to military-style semiautomatic weapons

    So to sum it up, the Brady Campaign is against 50 caliber rifles, normal capacity magazines, creating disarmed victim zones, and wants to ban a weapon that resembles military rifles. I didn't say it, the Brady Campaign did.

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  17. Are you taking these statements to be a complete ban on guns? They are not. There are some guns that should not be sold and owned and some places where guns should not be allowed.

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  18. Ms. Peterson,

    I take it that you disagree with the "imminent lawless action" standard established in Brandenburg, then? What sort of standard would be more appropriate? Is any sort of speech which could be considered hateful, potentially dangerous, or incendiary something that should be preempted?

    While I may agree with you in that some of the examples you have cited are bombastic at best and boorish at worst, that doesn't mean I think the government needs to step in to stop them. I probably disagree with you in that I think that the benefits of free speech -- warts and all -- outweigh the downsides of prior restraint.

    If these "victims" -- for example, Dr. Teller and Mr. Metcalf -- feel that they have been put in genuine danger through the reckless acts of others they should file assault charges. In Alaska, putting someone in fear of their life through words alone can be Assault IV. I'm sure that their states have similar laws to protect victims.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  19. It's too late for Dr.Tiller since he was recently shot to death. He filed complaints all right. He had security protection for most of his career including people living in his home. He was hunted down and shot to death in his church. When a zealot with a gun gets hyped up by dangerous rhetoric and extreme political positions, sometimes people get shot or killed by some other method, as in the Oklahoma City government center bombing by Timothy McVeigh.

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  20. RE: Dylan Ratigan and Ted Rall.

    There is a problem with all this talk of waging war against a tyrannical government, which is a fundamental part of the "Standard Model" of the Second Amendment: Who defines tyranny?

    They aren't saying anything which most "Second Amendment supporters" I've read haven;t said before. The problem is that they are left wing. Even worse, they are closer to the understanding of what the founders talked about when they mentioned tyranny as a read of the primary source material will show.

    So,don't get indignant if the left takes over your idea of armed revolt against tyrannical government--they are just repeating what the "pro-gun" side has been saying for a long time.

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  21. "Are you taking these statements to be a complete ban on guns? They are not. There are some guns that should not be sold and owned and some places where guns should not be allowed."

    If you're looking for a general rule as to whether a proposed gun control measure is acceptable, ask yourself if it will make it take longer or cost more for a poor woman in the inner city to legally obtain a gun, when she decides she need one to protect herself against an abusive ex-boyfriend.

    If a gun control measure will act as to reduce availability of inexpensive handguns, or to make the purchase and/or licensing process take longer, or to reduce the number of gun dealers in the neighborhood, it is imposes an unreasonable burden on those who can least afford it.

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  22. I don't think there is any reason this needs to be made personal, so I would implore other individuals on my side of the issue to stick to arguing issues, rather than attacking individuals. It destroys all of our credibility when people can't behave themselves.

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  23. Thank you Sebastian. I really appreciate what you said.

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  24. Ms. Peterson,

    Fair enough, I didn't know the details of Dr. Tiller. It seems he actually was a victim of violence, and that is regrettable.

    Strong words from Bill O'Reilly and others who called Tiller a "baby killer" (and likely much worse) may have been a contributing factor. But they did not meet the "imminent lawless action" test. I assume by your position that you feel that "imminent lawless action" is too strict of a standard, and that the government should have the ability to step in and regulate speech (and speakers) who cross some sort of less strict boundary in order to promote public order.

    My point here is more of a First Amendment issue. I am a staunch supporter of civil liberties, including the right to free expression -- even speech that seems hateful. I think you and I prefer a different ratio of liberty to security on this issue as well; also, I don't really believe that the government could effectively regulate speech fairly, and we'd lose far more than we'd gain by drawing the line elsewhere.

    On a related note -- if you are really that distraught over the mean and nasty comments on your blog, why don't YOU press Assault charges? The internet isn't as anonymous as some think it is. IP addresses can be traced and ISPs can be subpoenaed. The police could investigate it for you.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  25. Words matter?

    Is that why Paul Helmke recently got on TV and told the nation that gun companies are now manufacturing real guns with orange tipped barrels in order to make them look like toys?

    Are those the words you're talking about?

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  26. Are you taking these statements to be a complete ban on guns? They are not.

    This is such a cop out. Technically, the U.K. does not have a complete ban on guns either. Why is it always so hard to get anti-gun activists to nail down just exactly what it is that they do want to take away from law abiding citizens? Have you ever seen a gun control plan that you did not like?

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  27. Since that is a true statement, what is the problem with it?

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