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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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shootings and gun incidents don't take a Christmas holiday

Hypocrisy as far as the eye can see...... Yesterday Senators John Kyle and Jim DeMint tried to make Senator Harry Reid look "unchristian" for wanting the Senators to stay in D.C. until they get the business of the country taken care of. Today, the talking heads are critical of Kyle and DeMint, not Reid, for making sure they do their work while the rest of us watch the economy struggle, see home foreclosures in the news, see homeless people and low income people struggle to even find a shelter or a place to eat during the cold holiday season. Such nonsense should not be acceptable or tolerated.

During the holiday time, there is a "busyness", or at least at my house there is. There are cookies to be baked, cards to be addressed and mailed, decorations, entertaining, Church music cantatas and little kids singing, etc. Unfortunately, during the holiday season ( and when exactly is that anyway by Kyle and DeMint's definition?) people continue to get shot, shot at or intimidated by others with guns. If the Senators were serious about wanting to make the holidays a good family time, they would stop fiddling around with their nonsensical and insensitive remarks and actions and get to work. If they would stop politicking and start working, they'd be home for the holidays. Some will not be home for the holidays. They will have died from a bullet and their families will have a totally different kind of holiday. 32 people die every day from a gun homicide and another 48 die from suicide by bullet and/or an accidental shooting, on average. This is a number that should make a country do everything possible to see that it is lowered. But no, not as long as the NRA is in charge of our country's gun policy.

The gun lobby, during this holiday season, continues on with its hypocrisy as well. They leap to the defense of the corrupt gun dealers who were caught when the ATF started tracing crime guns and found a small number of gun dealers were responsible for many of the crime guns. The gun lobby continues its relentless lobbying and trying to make sure that anyone can carry a gun anywhere in public. I say, take a holiday and reflect on what it means to do this. Public shootings or incidents are happening every day. They will happen every day up to and including Christmas Day and during the Hanukkah season, now just past. Christians, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, and anyone else, get shot no matter what day of the year it is.

Here are just a few of the shootings and incidents in the last few days. This man walked through a public library in Lansing, Michigan with a rifle over his shoulder. He didn't cause any trouble, except of course, to scare the heck out of the people in the library. It is not the usual thing to see someone casually walking around in a library with a gun, especially a long gun. Why did he do it? Who knows? Was he making a point? Did he want the library patrons to get used to the idea of someone wandering around in the book shelves with a rifle over his shoulder? You never know. Some of the those books and readers are pretty dangerous. And then, this shocking incident of the man who threatened school board members in Panama City, Florida occurred on camera for all to see. Eventually Clay Duke, the man with the gun, shot himself. It was all over the media and has caused some school districts to re-consider their safety plans. More on this later.

Shame on Senators Kyle and DeMint and others who would try to turn politics on its' ear just to make some kind of coded message to appeal to their religious right supporters. Disrespecting Christmas? It's disrespectful to victims to continue stopping any kind of sensible legislation to deal with our country's shamefully high gun deaths. My faith tells me that violence is not acceptable and that I and others should work to prevent it. If these Senators were true to what they believe, they would do the same. They would join us in our efforts to reduce and prevent gun injuries and deaths and make common sense about public health and safety. And, while they are at it, they can support and pass the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Dream Act and the START Treaty. Then please go home and think about the families who are starving, without adequate food or clothing, without a job, suffering from illness without health care, suffering from a debilitating gunshot injury or maybe having an empty chair at the Christmas table. And I am hoping that Santa will bring courage and common sense to our elected leaders so they can stand up to the gun lobby.

38 comments:

  1. While the man in Florida eventually shot himself, he first was shot to the ground by a security guard who had his own gun. It was use of this second gun that prevented a massacre.

    Leaving that out seems a little disingenuous...

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  2. I’ve seen the video(s) of the Florida incident. Ms. Pursensmacken came up on his blind side as he was completely oblivious to her presence. She could have easily ended it right there with a round to the head from a defensive implement kept in that same purse from less than 5 feet away.

    This is prime, video documented evidence of what the pro liberty crowd means when they say that ‘reasonable, common sense’ gun regulations affect ONLY the law abiding, sadly leaving them defenseless in the face of evil.

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  3. What you saw in Panama City is EXACTLY what you and your cohorts wanted.

    It was a 'gun free zone' where he was assured he would meet no resistance. The Brady Background Check once again failed to stop a determined criminal from obtaining a firearm.

    And yet you want MORE laws like this?

    This video will further put the gun grabbers out of business. However, please keep telling us about how 'common sense' made this little episode so much better.

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  4. During the Christmas holidays, 45 die per day, 9 more than normal, from drunk driving crashes alone. It's 18 above normal on New Year's Eve. Perhaps we should do something about these holidays also, because they cause more people to die?

    I see your point in that Clay Duke might be alive today if he didn't have access to a gun, but he purchased it legally before his convictions. Any law that would have barred him would have also barred Mike Jones. One would have to ban guns entirely to prevent this, but then what would stop Duke from using a knife? I just don't see what laws could have been changed that would have kept Duke from acting out on his secret anger and hate.

    The same goes for the library incident. What new laws would prevent a callous, insensitive, and selfish moron from intimidating and frightening innocent people?

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  5. I would love to know more about the dealers responsible for 'many' crime guns-from what I have seen, many of these accused dealers are high-volume dealers in relatively high crime urban areas. Is the proportion of traced guns compared to the total sold higher than other dealers in similar areas?

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  6. The "more laws" we want are the ones that will make it more difficult for guys like this go get a gun. I don't understand that thinking which says the bad guys will always get guns if they want them. That's just not true. With proper gun control laws, which we do not have now, you lawful gun owners would be constrained to hang on to your weapons so that many of these dangerous characters will just be out of luck.

    You guys keep talking like the bad guys are a seperate entity and they have their own sources for guns. The fact is all the guns start out with you, the legitimate gun owners.

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  7. That cat's out of the bag Mike...there are already large numbers of illegal weapons out there.

    I just can't understand the logic or "sense" that says to make this guy's craziness MORE illegal.

    What I CAN understand is arming people like Ginger with something instead of her purse! The reaction of the board members sitting nearest Duke when Ginger came up and smacked him with her purse is shameful. While he was distracted would have been the perfect time to jump him. I realize this is armchair quarterbacking - but this guy was a whack job. If he'd have aimed better, there'd unfortunately be a whole lot of dead school board members.

    Now THAT'S NONSENSE!!

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  8. "What you saw in Panama City is EXACTLY what you and your cohorts wanted."

    To be fair, I don't think anyone here on either side WANTED something like the Florida incident to happen. I know *I* don't want to see things like this happen. A more accurate statement would be to say that this is exactly what the pro liberty crowd said would happen as a result of those 'common sense' regulations...and we were right. The victims just got lucky this time.



    "You guys keep talking like the bad guys are a seperate entity and they have their own sources for guns. The fact is all the guns start out with you, the legitimate gun owners. "

    What did I say before, Mike? I believe my exact words were "Those who are determined to posses a gun, WILL, in one form or another...even if they have to cobble it together from scratch" See link for a scratch built gun.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/A_Crude_Indian_Homemade_%22Gun%22_.jpg

    Are you still gong to stand by your assertion that lawful gun owners are the ONLY source of guns for those who REALLY want one?

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  9. What does this picture prove? That some people make their own guns. No one said we would stop everybody and no one thinks we can. There are already so many guns out in our homes and on our streets in this country, how could we stop them from getting into the wrong hands? Simple answer- we can't. But we can make it a whole lot harder and attempt to reduce gun deaths and injuries.

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  10. But we can make it a whole lot harder and attempt to reduce gun deaths and injuries.

    The best we can do is change who gets hurt, and change some gun deaths and injuries to other causes.

    You can make it a lot harder for ME to get a gun--I follow the rules, including the rules that say when I am not allowed to shoot at someone.

    But as you said, Pandora is out of the box. More restrictive laws just make it harder for good to resist evil.

    How many school shootings in the hundreds of years before guns were banned from schools? How many in the relatively short time after?

    What percentage of 'successful' mass shootings happen where guns are not allowed, compared to the distribution of places where guns are or are not banned?

    I don't have exact numbers--but it is astonishing how much school shootings increased after. Even if you were to assume 25% of places as no gun zones, it is astonishing how over-represented those places are in mass shootings.

    It is not possible to restrict legitimate guns enough to significantly affect the lawless.

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  11. "What does this picture prove? That some people make their own guns. No one said we would stop everybody and no one thinks we can. There are already so many guns out in our homes and on our streets in this country, how could we stop them from getting into the wrong hands? Simple answer- we can't."

    I agree. We can't.

    "But we can make it a whole lot harder and attempt to reduce gun deaths and injuries. "

    A laudable desire, but here is where I see the logical disconnect between what you want, and what you say. You have repeatedly claimed to want 'common sense' gun regulations that wouldn't hinder 'The Good Guys' from getting/having guns, while making it harder for 'The Bad Guys' to get theirs.

    The two are mutually exclusive. The only way you can make it harder for 'The Bad Guys' to get their guns from 'The Good Guys' is by making it harder for 'The Good Guys' to get guns in the first place. I would love it if such legislation were possible, but the plain simple fact is that such a beast does not, indeed CANNOT exist.

    THIS is our primary objection to your 'reasonable, common sense' regulations, because despite the effort, you have already admitted that it cannot succeed and will only result in negatively affecting 'The Good Guys'.

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  12. I'm not quite following this logic Sevesteen. We have had very few school shootings where someone has stopped the shooter until after much mayhem has happened. But we have no proof whatsoever to the contrary that if someone had a gun, like a student ( elementary student or middle school student where some shootings have occured?) could have stopped a shooter from taking lives. Now you might say that we should try it. I say we can't. Too many children would know where guns are stored by teachers. too many teachers have to protect children first by getting them out of the way and into a safe place. I have addressed this before. I worked in the school district. Have you? Do you have any idea what it would be like to be a teacher in charge of a classroom full of kids and your primary responsibility being to get the kids out of harm's way? Your premise is flawed because of too many unknowns. I would rather prevent the shooters from getting those guns in the first place, if that is possible. I have just said that it may not be in some cases. Cho could have bought a gun from a private seller at a gun show where no background check was required. We can talk about this until the cows come home but I will not ever say it's a good idea for students and adults working in schools to have guns.

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  13. Also, check out this website of time lines for school shootings. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html Note that most of them have occurred in the U.S. I don't believe there is any evidence to show that a school shooting was averted by a student who was allowed to have a hunting gun on school grounds before such was "banned."

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  14. If you are a good guy, anon, you don't have one thing to worry about. Chill out. And this: " The Good Guys' is by making it harder for 'The Good Guys' to get guns in the first place. I would love it if such legislation were possible, but the plain simple fact is that such a beast does not, indeed CANNOT exist." is simply not true. Other laws that apply to everyone in this country affect everyone in the same way. If you speed, you get a ticket. If you go through a red light, you get a ticket. You know it applies to everyone and not just some. it is understood that it is for public safety. If you don't wear your seat belt, you get a ticket. If you light up a cigarette in public places where no smoking signs are posted, you violate a law in places where the law exists. These laws work. Gun laws can work.

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  15. Joan,

    your problem is you want to try to stop speeding by making it harder for the people who don't speed to get a car.

    Where is the common sense in that?

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  16. Whether intentionally or not I think you are misrepresenting my point.

    I agree that such regulations as you propose WOULD be effective in making it harder for 'The Bad Guys' to get guns. My point is that such regualtions MUST,by definition, also make it harder for 'The Good Guy' to get guns, which is something you claim will not happen.

    THIS is what I mean by such a a beast CANNOT exist. To use you smoking example, it would be analogous to the requirement to prove one's age to legally buy tobacco product in an effort to prevent those of insufficient age from obtaining them. The difference between the two is that no one runs a background check or keeps records on a tobacco purchase. But still, it places a burden upon the legal purchaser, while still not preventing the objectionable behavior (underage tobacco possession/use).

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  17. I'm afraid it is true.

    Guns are too easy to make, too durable, and too easy to smuggle, and the criminal demand is far too low, compared to the existing supply, for the idea that we can restrict the availability of guns to criminals by attempting to restrict the legal supply to have any feasibility.

    Criminals will always have guns, regardless of the law.

    As for your "if you speed, you get a ticket", that's nonsense. If you speed, and are observed by a cop, and that cop chooses to pursue and to write a ticket, you get a ticket. It's not the law that deters, it's the enforcement.

    And we've seen pretty pathetic enforcement of our laws against criminal gun use, by the folks who are supposed to be enforcing them. (Possession of a firearm by a felon is a federal crime, with a minimum sentence of five years. How many times are felons caught with guns in a year? Tens of thousands. How many are prosecuted by DOJ? A couple of dozen.)

    As for public safety, if you were really worried about public safety, you'd be working to see that every school kid learns how to handle firearms in a safe manner, and to encourage every high-risk group to obtain permits and to carry on a regular basis.

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  18. Since you like anecdotal evidence so much, here's a BBC article listing some of the worst school shootings of recent history in the Western world. Note that of the 10 incidents listed, five come from Europe, which although of similar size to the US, notably lacks our gun culture, number of firearms and 2A freedoms. At the same time, only four of the worst attacks were in the US. By my little "study" here, that means school massacres are 25% higher in a part of the world where access to a firearm is very restricted.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1953425.stm

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  19. What??? Did I say that? I don't think so. You just made that up.

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  20. Well yes it can happen. It CANNOT exist- is it a beast by the way? Are you a prohibited purchaser? If not, you will have nothing to worry about.

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  21. jedge- " As for your "if you speed, you get a ticket", that's nonsense. If you speed, and are observed by a cop, and that cop chooses to pursue and to write a ticket, you get a ticket. It's not the law that deters, it's the enforcement." So if you shoot somebody and nobody catches you, I guess you could say the law didn't deter you but the enforcement if you get caught. I suppose there is a bit of truth to that. I sure as heck hope we don't take away speed limits. They are there for a reason. As to kids handling firearms, that has been shown to be a false assumption. Many kids who know how to handle firearms still shoot others accidentally or themselves or, for that matter, commit homicides. Several school shootings are witness to that fact. What high-risk groups are you talking about who should get a permit to carry on a regular basis? I don't understand that one.

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  22. Yes, too bad the article didn't continue past 2002 or it would have included the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Red Lake and a few others. But thanks for sharing anyway.

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  23. Sorry- my last comment was for Anon- above who sent an article from the BBC that included 10 high profile school shootings up til 2002.

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  24. "I sure as heck hope we don't take away speed limits. They are there for a reason."

    Yes, they are. And they are enforced for a reason.

    We have laws against convicted felons possessing guns for a reason, too. But the DOJ doesn't think that those laws are sexy enough to enforce, so the enforcement is pathetic.

    Every time a cop encounters a felon in possession of a firearm, he should arrest him, his department should walk him over to the federal building, and the US Attorney should prosecute him. But that's not what happens. In all but a couple of dozen cases a year, the US Attorneys refuse to prosecute, so the local law enforcement don't even bother to hand the perps over to the feds.

    But do we have the folks who are so concerned about "gun violence" doing anything at all, to put pressure on the DOJ to actually prosecute these cases? Hell no.

    Why not?

    Why are you so focused on imposing more burdens on the law-abiding, instead of enforcing the law against criminals?

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  25. Why do you keep asking me the same questions when I have answered them numerous times? Harassment just doesn't work.

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  26. We don't have spree shootings at gun shows or NRA conventions. Spree shootings happen almost exclusively where guns are not allowed.

    The major reason for this isn't that a civilian with a gun saves the day--although that does happen. The primary reason is that spree shooters want helpless victims, and pick places where that is likely.

    There wasn't a significant difference in the number of guns in schools before and after the gun free schools act--the difference was that the helplessness was codified and advertised. Spree shooters know that they will be more 'successful' if they pick a place where their victims are least likely to shoot back.

    And if someone is unstable enough that they cannot be trusted with a gun, they are far too unstable to be teaching children.

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  27. "I worked in the school district. Have you? Do you have any idea what it would be like to be a teacher in charge of a classroom full of kids and your primary responsibility being to get the kids out of harm's way?"

    I work in a school. I know exactly what it would be like, just as I know exactly what it would be like under current laws, which require me to lock myself and my kids in a room until the shooter waltzes in, and then watch as the shooter kills whomever they want.

    I do not (nor does anyone I know of!) support kids being able to have guns. But I do support teachers or administrators with valid permits and additional retention training (at least) being able to carry.

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  28. I don't think the shooting sprees happen only in places where there are not guns. That's just not provable. Many places don't allow guns. But quite a few shootings have happened at gun ranges actually. Gun shows, not so much. But then, loaded guns are not allowed in gun shows. So I don't think there is a point here. Shootings happen anywhere regardless of who has a gun. Police officers are shot in great numbers in our country, the shooter presumably knowing they have guns. Also, gangs shoot each other often knowing that the other person or people have guns.

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  29. We will agree to disagree, Heather.

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  30. I don't think the shooting sprees happen only in places where there are not guns.

    There has to be a gun for there to be a shooting.

    I assume what you are saying is that sprees happen in places where guns are allowed. I didn't say that sprees never happen where guns are allowed. What I said was that sprees happen very disproportionately where guns are not allowed.

    That's just not provable.

    Can you name a couple of spree shootings where guns were allowed?

    Many places don't allow guns.

    What would you say the percentage is? My state has places banned by law--Schools and daycare, government buildings, churches and places that serve wine or liquor are all legally off limits. Voluntary off limits are fairly rare--a high percentage of thrift stores and car dealers, about 10% of banks, and one chain of carryouts (that gets robbed more than their competition...) Others are rare, and the total is well less than 5% of all public places.

    But quite a few shootings have happened at gun ranges actually.

    A spree shooting at a gun range? When? I've heard of suicides, and people being shot and robbed, but I haven't heard of a spree shooting. Maybe you have a different definition of spree?

    Gun shows, not so much. But then, loaded guns are not allowed in gun shows.

    Customers aren't allowed loaded guns, but some vendors have loaded guns at the shows I am familiar with. Both vendors and customers are likely to have guns that can be loaded in an instant.

    So I don't think there is a point here. Shootings happen anywhere regardless of who has a gun. Police officers are shot in great numbers in our country, the shooter presumably knowing they have guns. Also, gangs shoot each other often knowing that the other person or people have guns.

    The Seattle area policemen who were shot in a restaurant would qualify as spree, but most other police or gang shootings would not, by any reasonable definition of spree.

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  31. "But quite a few shootings have happened at gun ranges actually."

    How many is quite a few?

    "Police officers are shot in great numbers in our country, the shooter presumably knowing they have guns. Also, gangs shoot each other often knowing that the other person or people have guns."

    That's because as part of their duty, police officers pursue armed and dangerous people. The same goes for gangs. When you intentionally place yourself among criminals, it increases your chances of getting shot.

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  32. Spree shootings- 3 police officers shot to death by a man in Pittsburgh- a permit holder as a coincidence, who was waiting for the officers. I was not meaning spree shootings at gun ranges- only individuals shot to death by themselves accidentally or someone else. A spree shooting- individual shooting? What are we arguing about here? People's lives are lost whether in twos, threes, fours or individually.

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  33. Wordsmeanthings is contradicting himself so fast it's hard to keep up. First he insists, incredibly, that bad guys will always get guns no matter what. Then a few comments later he says the controls we're talking about will "by definition, also make it harder for 'The Good Guy' to get guns."

    I don't know if anyone said otherwise, but what I always say is, yes the good gun owners will be inconvenienced, but they will also reap the benefits of a safer society. That would be a better definition of "freedom," not the bizarre concept of arming more and more people, which would add to the gun flow into criminal hands and result in an escalation of violence not yet imagined.

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  34. A spree shooting- individual shooting? What are we arguing about here? People's lives are lost whether in twos, threes, fours or individually.

    The strategy for defending against a spree shooter is different than the strategy for defending against a stalker or a robber, although some of the methods work for either.

    With a spree shooter, you need to defend an area rather than a person. Banning concealed carry is very counterproductive--spree shootings are generally planned rather than impulsive. Eliminating handguns, or banning their legal carry isn't going to stop most spree shooters, but it is likely to make a quick defense against them difficult or impossible.

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  35. mikeB,

    Read "More Guns, Less Crime" twice and call me in the morning.

    Joan, it IS a good idea to have law abiding citizens armed. Armed citizens are half again as likely to shoot and kill a criminal committing a felony in progress as a cop. That is a benefit to public safety by any measure.

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  36. Mike, it's pretty simple and non-contradictory when you think about it. Say you pass a new "Assault Weapons Ban," but this time with a limited grandfather clause (we can still own what we have, but can no longer transfer them). Now us "Good Guys" can no longer legally buy a new "assault rifle." At the same time, what's to stop the "Bad Guys" from stealing one from one of us, using the ones that are already floating around on the streets, or even smuggling them in from Mexico where they can get actual full-auto assault rifles?

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  37. japete: If you are a good guy, anon, you don't have one thing to worry about.

    -To the contrary, we decent gun-owning folk have plenty to be worried about from both you and groups such as the Brady Campaign. The Brady Campaign, and you, either explicitly in your posts here or implicitly through your membership in the Campaign, have endorsed all manner of restrictions, bureaucratic red tape and outright bans. To claim otherwise strikes me as rather untruthful.

    I can provide you with a list of endorsed infringements upon our right to obtain and utilize firearms, and infringements upon a few other rights, if you so desire.

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