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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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Who are we one week from the Tucson shootings?

Who are those who refuse to even mention the word guns in the horrible wake of the Tucson shootings? Where are the voices of common sense? They are not coming from most of our elected leaders who should, by all rights, being vociferous in their demands to make changes to our U.S. gun laws so that shootings like that in Tucson won't continue on  a daily basis. One of their own was almost assassinated. That shook them. One or our own is killed by a gun homicide 32 times a day.

Where are the voices calling out for justice for the dozens of victims? Only a few brave politicians have stepped forward to suggest that we can do something different than the status quo. ( see Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Rep. Peter KingBob Herbert, New York Times journalist, is brave enough to continue the drum beat on behalf of those who believe we cannot continue down this path of madness. In this linked column, Herbert writes about the experience of Colin Goddard, Virginia Tech shooting survivor who is now the subject of a documentary, "Living for 32", nominated for an Academy Award for short documentary, other film awards as shown on the linked sight above and soon to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

Colin had a tough day one week ago today. Most of us who are victims and survivors had a tough day one week ago today when the news of the shootings in Tucson hit the airwaves. Shock, disbelief, outrage, sadness, tears, questions, and the talk about gun laws made their way into the national discourse. It is only one week away and the inevitable is happening. Americans who thrive on instant news, instant messaging, instant gratification, are beginning to move on. Representative Gabrielle Giffords will be in her recovery process which Colin Goddard knows all too well. It will be a huge cost to her emotionally and physically. The families of those killed are only beginning their journey of grief and living around the hole created by the sudden and brutal deaths of their loved ones.

But never mind. The gun lobby lives on and is continuing it's echo chamber about more guns making us safer and if only someone in the crowd had a gun, something would have been different. Right. The one person who admits to having his gun at the ready almost shot the wrong person in the few seconds he had to make a decision. This is the same old tired argument coming from those whose guns are more important to them than life itself. They have fiercely held beliefs that their guns, any and all guns, and any and all ammunition should be available to them whenever and wherever they want them. They strongly believe that any restriction on their "God given" rights means all restrictions on their guns and rights, leading of course to a government confiscation of their guns. If you take their arguments apart, they make no sense. But that doesn't seem to matter in our country. Common sense is not part of our daily discourse. We have a media that insists on reporting short clips of "he said, she said" arguments and then not digging in to whether one of the arguments is true or false. By not challenging statements made and letting them sit as if they are the truth, the media is contributing to the problem. We deserve better. Our democracy depends on a free public media telling us the real stories and searching for the facts by asking questions and probing.

Until our national discourse turns towards the truth about the tragic role our gun culture has had in this country, we will not move beyond the Tucson shootings to actually doing something to prevent the next one. Shame on us all for letting this happen. And kudos to Bob Herbert and Colin Goddard for telling the truth.

75 comments:

  1. I am getting very sick of this "The guy with the gun almost shot the wrong person" thing..

    It is simply not true...

    Watch Zamudio's interviews on CNN.

    Joe Zamudio, who was carrying, did NOT draw or point his gun at anyone... He evaluated the situation, and decided taking a life was not warranted.

    On "The ED show" on MSNBC Zamudio said he would have shot the man with the gun if he was a threat." But he was not.

    This enforces the exact opposite point the anti-gunners are trying to make.
    They are implying that carrying is s dangerous, that this man ALMOST shot the wrong guy!

    When in reality, It shows how responsible legal gun carriers are in assessing the situation, and responding in appropriate force.

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  2. Rob, I disgree with you completely.

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  3. Your interpretation of what happened at the shooting.

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  4. The one person who admits to having his gun at the ready almost shot the wrong person in the few seconds he had to make a decision.

    By that logic, thousands of people a day are 'almost shot' by police when they get pulled over. In fact, police are statistically many times more likely to shoot the wrong person than armed civilians. This is largely because their job is more difficult, but the fact remains that we are less dangerous to the innocent.

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  5. Your interpretation of what happened at the shooting.

    Given that Zamudio did not draw or point his gun, why are you saying he almost shot the wrong person.

    That's like saying that because I stopped at a red light I nearly caused a collision.

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  6. It's more like saying that when you have chosen to carry a deadly loaded weapon around with you, it is possible to assess the situation the wrong way and mistakenly shoot someone. The man said he was lucky that he didn't do that. And it might have been luck rather than skill that happened in that situation.

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  7. You said he had his gun "at the ready"
    He says it stayed in his pocket.

    You say he almost shot the person.
    He says he put the safety back on when he say the gun was locked back.

    I frankly have no idea how you can determine he almost shot anyone when his own statements are to the exact contrary.

    Yet another law abiding citizen doing exactly the right thing.

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  8. He said he had his hand on the gun with the safety off when he came around the corner, ready to shoot, if necessary. That seems to be at the ready to me.

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  9. it is possible to assess the situation the wrong way and mistakenly shoot someone.

    Absolutely. But when we are talking about civilian defenders, damaging mistakes happen very rarely, as in the example you provided.

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  10. I actually agree with japete on her main point.

    The media is bored with this story and have returned to their standard fare of celebrity sex scandals, foods that make you fat and cute animal videos.

    Your window of oppurtunity is closing quickly but I do believe there will be lasting effects.

    McCarthy, King and Lautenburg will ruffle some feathers and force many government critters to take a stance on their proposals.

    The proposals themselves will go absolutely nowhere, but it will be nice to see how little support they recieve.

    Do you really think Obama thinks it's a good idea to start pushing for gun-control as he enters re-election mode?

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  11. Looks like the Brady Campaign is showing its true colors.

    Refreshing.

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1747100007170&set=o.6236054211

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  12. Joan, you're commenting on something you know very little about. If you are interested in learning more about the mindset of a law-abiding gun carrying citizen, I suggest you read Massad Ayoob's, "In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection" In this book, you will read Massad's recommendation to pay criminals for your freedom instead of getting into an expensive gun battle because all the money in your pocket is less than court costs. You might also want to research the story of Harold Fish in Arizona.

    Law abiding citizens have more than the law to worry about in a shooting. As if defending oneself against state charges isn't expensive enough, a civil lawsuit can make a valued member of society, a homeless bum on the streets overnight. The fear of losing everything, and I mean everything, in a shooting, even if the shooting was justifiable is strong enough to keep most law abiding gun owners from using a firearm unless the danger meets a very narrow set of criteria towards them or their family.

    Sadly (or maybe gladly from your point of view), because of this legal threat, most law abiding citizens won't defend anyone except themselves or their family. Based on interviews and his actions, I'm certain Joe Zamudio knows all of this and he was not going to use his gun unless it was pointed at him.

    Incidentally, he saw the killer's gun was in slide lock and instantly assessed that it was no longer a threat. He really wasn't going to use his gun no matter how much you want to believe he might have.

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  13. Where are we at? We're at the same place we were before. Not a single thing being done as to things that might have actually changed the situation (ie better mental health screening, prosecution of criminals) but instead gun control advocates are attacking the NRA and firearm owners ,throwing up as many bills they can think of against the wall to see what sticks. All the while media pundits scream about needing to ban speech while ignoring the vitriol from their own side.

    That's where we are.

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  14. Joan,

    Carrying a defensive weapon in public requires you to be able to assess ability, opportunity, and jeopardy. Zamudio very quickly made the correct assessment. Basically in a nutshell, in almost any common law state, to lawfully use force you need to (1) be in reasonable fear in death or grave bodily injury (some states also allow you to extend that fear beyond yourself to include family members or sometimes certain innocent bystanders) and (2) reasonably perceive that the criminal has the ability and opportunity to do such harm while intending to put you in such jeopardy. Those are the requirements that justify the use of deadly force and differentiate a murder from justifiable homicide.

    Ability: The man who had taken control of the glock possessed a differential of force, just as a 200 lb man holds a differential of force over the average 110 lb woman (at least legally, speaking). This req't met.
    Opportunity: The man who had taken control of the glock had it drawn and a reasonable person could assess that he had the opportunity to fire at any moment. This req't met.
    Jeopardy: The man with the glock was not brandishing it, firing it, making verbal threats, or behaving aggressively. This is the key factor as it was not met.

    Zamudio made the correct call. He sized up the situation; it met all the requirements to employ lethal force except one, because the man with the glock was not placing him or others into jeopardy. So he decided lethal force was not warranted.

    Note that this is exactly what many police do. Watch an episode of "cops" sometime, or ask a police officer. When they approach a pulled-over car, they will often do exactly what Zamudio did (hand on sidearm, unclick retention, ready to clear holster at moment's notice).

    These situations also occur fairly commonly; a hunter has ability and opportunity but not jeopardy. A little girl screaming and hitting a parent has opportunity and jeopardy but not ability. A 250 lb muscular handcuffed perp getting into a police cruiser threatening a police officer has ability and jeopardy but not opportunity. Somehow armed citizens and police usually seem to make the right call most of the time.

    I think Zamudio behaved appropriately in a rapidly developing, fluid, and unclear situation. His own defensive sidearm was ready to be employed in short order, but he assessed the situation and chose not to draw it. Obviously he could have also chosen to walk away and nobody would fault him; in some states he might have had a duty to retreat and not get involved, in fact. Would you have felt safer if he had just left and not gotten involved?

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  15. Yes. The public wants it. If you break "gun control" into it's parts, people have said consistently that they want gun show background checks and an assault weapons ban.

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  16. Did you look at this guy? He is a gun guy- http://www.facebook.com/lhpoulin

    He must have posted it as a comment. It has nothing to do with the Brady Campaign.

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  17. And Migo, you have no idea what he might have done. Nor do I. That doesn't make you right and me wrong. I won't be reading any such book. I don't care to get into your minds because I think it would frighten me. You have said just enough here to make me know that you are not the average hunter gun owner.

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  18. If you break "gun control" into it's parts, people have said consistently that they want gun show background checks and an assault weapons ban.

    ...and if you break it down even farther, and ask 'should the laws at a gun show be different than the laws in other places' or 'should guns be restricted because they have bayonet mounts, adjustable stocks, or different grips and covers" most people will say "no".

    You can usually get whatever answer you want if you ask the question right.

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  19. It sounds, Chris, like he did the right thing. It could have gone the other way, as he even admitted in several interviews. If he had walked away, since he assessed the situation and didn't use his gun, it may or may not have affected the difference. There were already 2 other guys who had subdued the shooter so the situation may have been the same. A woman nearby had already taken the ammunition clip away from him.

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  20. We have a media that insists on reporting short clips of "he said, she said" arguments and then not digging in to whether one of the arguments is true or false. By not challenging statements made and letting them sit as if they are the truth, the media is contributing to the problem. We deserve better. Our democracy depends on a free public media telling us the real stories and searching for the facts by asking questions and probing.

    Odd coming from you... The gun people have been saying this for years as media as spouted everything that anti's have laid out without question. They still are.

    It could have gone the other way, as he even admitted in several interviews.

    It could have gone the other way, but he saw that the gun wasn't a threat. If it was a threat, he would have shot. You can keep saying this until you are blue in the face. What "could" have happened, is not the point. We don't talk in what might happen. Otherwise, my statement that "every cop could shoot someone today" is just as relevant to the debate and I think we should disarm all police officers. Despite your claim of "most" or "majority" want this, you aren't getting your way because you are wrong.

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  21. Yup, Sevesteen. So when the question is: Do you favor requiring all buyers of guns at gun shows to have background checks? Here is the Frank Luntz polling question: " Now we are going to discuss a few policies and proposals under consideration, as well as some existing laws that are
    being discussed. Do you … the following? " The categories are strongly support, somewhat support, neutral, somewhat oppose, strongly oppose
    Here are some answers to the question as worded above: " A proposal requiring all gun sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks of the people
    buying guns. " Answer- 69% of NRA members polled supported with 44% strongly supporting and 85% of non NRA gun owners supporting with 64% strongly supporting. " A federal law making it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess semi-automatic weapons, sometimes known
    as “assault rifles.”
    Now I admit that this one is too general and does not get into certain types of assault rifles and certain types of ammunition clips and other features that were banned in the former assault weapons ban. Here are the answers to this more general question, however, that would seem to include most assault rifles: NRA members supporting-30% with only 20% strongly supporting. Non NRA gun owners- 47% supporting with 31% strongly supporting. I am betting that if the general public was asked that question right now, gun owners and non gun owners, those numbers would be higher if the question was specific, especially, to large capacity magazines.

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  22. It could be that the Nation has finally looked past emotional knee-jerk responses - and looks instead at empirical evidence in passing effective legislation.

    Statements such as those made by Heather on newscasts recently don't sit well either - and have all been refuted roundly. Just have to get past the emotional side of things and think about them rationally.

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  23. Pat, have you forgotten that the audience listening to Heather ( from Citizens for a Safer Minnesota) included more than just you gun guys? They didn't sell well to you but to others, they were welcomed comments and people thought they were well informed and reasonable.

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  24. Andrew's calm commentary sold well to people outside the "gun guys" - people just don't buy emotional arguments anymore.

    I understand its hard, as a parent, to see your children faced with firearms and the violence perpetrated by those who hold them. You would then do everything possible to keep that child away from firearms. Right?

    I just don't think that type of illogical, emotion-driven conjecture should be used to craft legislative policy.

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  25. It's always used to craft legislation. Look at the health care debate and "death panels" , etc. Look at the repeal of the "job killing health care bill"

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  26. I have been watching this blog for a while now but this is my first time posting. I was taken aback by some recent comments.

    Migo said:
    Joan, you're commenting on something you know very little about. If you are interested in learning more about the mindset of a law-abiding gun carrying citizen, I suggest you read Massad Ayoob's, "In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection" In this book, you will read Massad's recommendation to pay criminals for your freedom instead of getting into an expensive gun battle because all the money in your pocket is less than court costs. You might also want to research the story of Harold Fish in Arizona.

    Then Joan said:
    I won't be reading any such book. I don't care to get into your minds because I think it would frighten me.

    When you say that, I hear “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have my mind made up.”

    This is why you and the “Gun Guys” will never see eye-to eye. This is why no matter how many logical examples are given, you Joan, will never understand what they are saying. You are talking past each other.

    True learning can only begin when you are willing to look at both sides of an issue and true discourse can only happen when all the participants are familiar with all of the variables involved in the issue.

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  27. I admit that Frank Luntz is a repected pollster and I struggle with the results he got with his poll.

    On the flip side, have you dug into the polling firm that the NRA uses who state the following?

    "We have counseled Presidents and Prime Ministers, Fortune 100 CEOs and Hollywood creative teams in harnessing the power of language and visuals to change hearts, change minds and change behaviors. We have become a hyper-attentive nation that is quick to judge. The words and visuals you use are more important than ever in determining whether you win or lose at the ballot box, the checkout line, and the court of public opinion. We know the words that work. Do you?"

    "Remember: "It's not what you say. It's what people hear."

    "Our unique research methodology allows us to precisely gauge employee opinion and develop the most effective approach and language to massage even the most contentious issues. We know how to change hearts and minds and motivate people to act."

    "If you need to create the language to build support for legislation, we’ll find the right words. If you need to kill a bad bill, we’ll show you how."

    Either take control of the debate, or the debate will take control of you. It really is that simple. Silence is no longer an option. The news cycle never ends. Either you determine the message or someone else will."

    "Our focus is on language. We already know the words that work – or we’ll find them for you…fast."

    "Consider our record:

    We changed the “estate tax” to the “death tax” and that changed the course of legislative history.

    We changed “global warming” to “climate change,” and while that was highly confidential, even opponents acknowledged how those two words significantly impacted the public debate.

    We changed “drilling for oil” to “exploring for energy,” and that helped energy companies secure the rights to develop more energy resources right here in America.

    We changed “school choice” to “parental choice” and “vouchers” to “opportunity scholarships,” and that has helped the education reform efforts in more than a dozen states.”

    Time after time we have succeeded in changing the course of the debate, and the impact can be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars."

    Do you think the approach of this "polling firm" is at least partly responsible for the success of the NRA?

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  28. I don't know if this will make you feel better, Japete, but this is all about perspective. i.e. when you see a story about a civilian with a gun prepared to fire, you assume he was going to shoot the wrong person. We praise him for making the right decision (though we know it IS possible to shoot the wrong person, and even police do it all the time).

    You see a story about a person carrying a gun, you hate it because you see him as a danger. We see him as a person who has made a commitment to protect his family.

    It's all about perspectives, and getting ideas out there. And the issue doesn't matter.

    With health care, both sides threw a lot of bad info out there, from "kill Grandma Death Panels" (which was taken to ridiculous extremes)to the tweaked numbers the Dem's used to claim Obamacare would lower the deficit. But there was lots of good information from both sides as well. And based on that marketplace of ideas the American public made their decision.

    In this recent horrendous tragedy, the same thing happened. Anti-gunners jumped into the spotlight wherever they could, pro-gunners went into defensive mode, and both threw a lot of ideas into the marketplace of ideas, and the American people heard them all.

    But in the end ... the American people, from all polls and the results we see in Congress, did not buy into your side. I believe that's a good thing, you don't ... but we both had a shot.

    The reason why the anti-gunners don't win and pass restrictions is NOT because of the evil NRA and their evil money, it's because for whatever reasons we have, to this point, won the battle of hearts and minds.

    That could turn around at any time, of course.

    But that's the way it is in a democracy. When President Obama got elected after I did everything to tell people he was bad and they voted for him anyway ... there was nothing to do but accept him as my president. And hope to argue against him on specific issues and do better in future elections (so far, so good).

    It appears (but is not certain, I'm not counting some kind of magazine law out) there won't be new gun controls. The American people have spoken by NOT jumping on your issue, and there's nothing you can do but accept that decision and move on.

    Life in a democracy ... what can you do? Just try to keep your faith in place (as a Christian, you know this is an issue of mankind, and has little meaning to your salvation or anyone else's) and keep doing what you think is right.

    As will we.

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  29. I carried a loaded gun with me all day while at a volleyball tournament, Menards, McDonalds, and a few other places. By your logic, japete, I almost shot thousands of people.

    Wh

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  30. No doubt, it will work. If someone wants to go on a killing spree, limiting their magazines to no more than ten rounds WILL cut down on the amount of people killed. This is obviously a correct observation made by astute government officials who are trained and knowledgeable about firearms, and firearms tactics.



    Clearly, if you only have ten rounds, you can only kill ten people at a time. 'At a time' being the operating term here. So, if we break down 'at a time' to, say, 10 seconds, that is ten people every ten seconds. Then, factor in the amount of time it takes to reload...say, roughly one second, for those who practice for maybe...like...I don't know, an hour. Let's play with some numbers...

    A) 30 round magazine = 30 dead people in 30 seconds.

    B) 10 round magazine = 10 dead people in 10 seconds + reload time of 1 second = 10 dead people in 11 seconds x 3 = 30 dead people in 33 seconds.

    Do you see the difference? Now let's think about what kinds of things can happen in 3 seconds:

    - The SWAT team can get on scene, make a dynamic entry utilizing backflipping hatchet attacks and take down the shooter.
    - The shooter can have a change of heart.
    - A Concealed Carry Weapon permitted citizen could use the reload time to...oh yeah wait, lol, there aren't any of those guys here in CA.
    - God can intervene.
    - Tom Cruise can get there and save everyone.
    - Etc...

    So I propose the Government spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to pass legislation to extend an extra three seconds so that first responders have ample time to get on scene and put a stop to this like they did at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Pinelake Health and Rehab, Northern Illinois University, Von Maur, West Nickel Mines Amish School, Red Lake High School, Brookfield Sheraton, Santana High School, Xerox Corp., and all of the other sites of mass shootings in the US.

    Clearly...and this is clear as day, we NEED to have a knee jerk reaction to this and attack guns. This much is clear. Like, Windex on the windshield of a brand new Mercedes clear. What DOES NOT need to happen, is a diversion of this money or attention to mental health studies. It's obvious that Sarah Palin, bacon, high capacity 'clips', and Glenn Beck are what bonded together to form a supervillain and perform this horrible act of insanity.

    Guys, can we all get together and back this legislation as the bodies are finally reaching room temperature? We MUST stop this, and the only way to do so is to introduce one second between rounds 10 and 11, 20 and 21, 30 and 31, etc...

    Who's with me?

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  31. Unfortunately, Gail, true discourse often does not happen on this blog. I wish it would. I work with gun owners and the ones I know would not say the things the "gun guys" who pepper me with their comments say here. I see eye to eye with plenty of gun owners who agree with what I am doing. But there are some on this blog who only are interested in giving me a hard time and not interested in having a conversation. So maybe you should give your advice to some of those folks as well.

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  32. Anon- above- most certainly. Would that the folks on my side could afford to hire such people.

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  33. Well Stephen, I agree with much of what you said. This one, I don't, however. " The reason why the anti-gunners don't win and pass restrictions is NOT because of the evil NRA and their evil money, it's because for whatever reasons we have, to this point, won the battle of hearts and minds. " I fervently believe that the hearts are with my side. I don't know about the minds but there could be a majority of those on my side, too. If you read the comment sent by Anon, above, about what is posted on the NRA website, you will know why the NRA has won the battle. They have the money, they have hired people to craft their message and they give out millions in election cycles so they get their way in Congress.

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  34. No, Lenny, that is not my logic at all.

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  35. BAN- I am trying to sort out what you said but what I got from all the cynicism which was dripping from every word was that it doesn't matter to you that Jared Loughner got off 30 shots and killed 6 people and injured 2-? Or did I miss something in all the cynicism?

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  36. "Anon- above- most certainly. Would that the folks on my side could afford to hire such people. "

    I don't really understand your response. Would gun control groups ever stoop so low to hire this sort of "polling firm" in order to peddle their agenda like the NRA has?

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  37. Anon- did you purposely misunderstand my answer or did you not get that I meant that the NRA has been so effective BECAUSE they were able to hire someone who peddle their agenda. If we had that much money, perhaps we could "peddle" our agenda, too? I think ours speaks for itself, however since we are against people being shot. But words and messages can make a huge difference.

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  38. The Evil NRA? Their evil money?


    Ahh. You mean the dues that millions of members willingly pay every year and their voting power of having millions of members who believe in their cause??

    Now let's look at how many dues paying members of Brady Camapign or Citizens for a safer Minnesota there are? Why goodness? They are both going broke. Where are their millions of dues paying members?

    The public has voted with their wallets. Gun control as you want it has been seen by the public at large to be a waste of time and resources.

    You have posted that you work regularly with gun owners and many agree with you (at 8:26) please name some of these people. I cannot believe anyone who is a gun owner could agree with any single part of your agenda.

    Again. The NRA is people the reason the have all this evil money is people millions and millions of American Citizens who have decided that giving them money to fight to defend Constitutional rights is a good thing.

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  39. Quote. BAN- I am trying to sort out what you said but what I got from all the cynicism which was dripping from every word was that it doesn't matter to you that Jared Loughner got off 30 shots and killed 6 people and injured 2-? Or did I miss something in all the cynicism? Unquote.

    You missed everything.

    What he is saying that limiting magazines to only ten rounds would not have stopped this because mad men can still change magazines.

    Every single one of the mass murders he commented on was committed by a person who had severe mental health
    Issues.

    Quit focussing on the hardware and focus on the real issue.

    When some one gets a DUI no one blames the car. Did you blame Boeing for 9/11? Yet you blame the gun and the magazine for this crime, why?

    This is not reasonable at all. Reasonable is looking at an issue rationally and while keeping emotions in check.

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  40. Quote. Anon- did you purposely misunderstand my answer or did you not get that I meant that the NRA has been so effective BECAUSE they were able to hire someone who peddle their agenda. If we had that much money, perhaps we could "peddle" our agenda, too? I think ours speaks for itself, however since we are against people being shot. But words and messages can make a huge difference.
    Unquote

    Once upon a time your side did have this kind of money. It still does except it no longer chooses to sap it's resources on a topic it lost.

    George Soros gave millions and millions to your side Rosie O and Barbara Streisand gave money and held fundraisers and you spent millions having blasted the airways when Al Gore ran for President and the people said "no"!

    You say your only Agenda is to keep people from getting shot. The agenda you wish to follow is by disarming the victims because as you have to concede, criminals by definition do not pay attention to laws.

    Historically, during economic hard times, crime goes up, particularly violent crime. But guess what, during the latest economic downturn, violent crime dropped as well, which also coincided with "gasp"' more permitted people than every carrying guns on the street.

    It has been laid out in black and white that criminals commit crime, not hardware, yet you cling to the same old tired ideas which leads one to wonder if it is not guns you are afraid of, but rather the truth that really scares you.

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  41. I'm glad japete said "the only guy who ADMITS to having a gun at the ready..." The reason I'm convinced there were others is because it took place in Arizona where guns at public events are practically ubiquitous. The reason I figure we don't know about it is this.

    The folks who decide they need to carry a gun around for self defense live in a fantasy world. They really don't need a gun but they suffer from irrational fear that something bad will happen to them. Part of the fantasy is that they'll be able to save the day with the gun. The reason that's a problem is because most of them don't practice, don't work out, and simply put, don't have the internal fortitude to take such action.

    Remember the guy in the Los Angeles tanning salon a few weeks ago? He was an exception. I know he wasn't armed, but he was the kind of guy who could take action, never mind that he murdered the armed robber after having disarmed the guy. Most gun owners are not capable of taking that kind of action at all, that's why they decide to get a gun in the first place.

    No, guns don't make us safer, far from it.

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  42. Ignoring the comments in between, and simply answering "Where are we…"—I am afraid to say that we have learned nothing.

    Check out this article:

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fort-lauderdale/fl-court-gunman-bond-20110115,0,4265579.story

    This man should be in jail—not out on bond. When/if this guy shoots someone, I hope someone remembers Judge Marrilee Ehrlich. Most likely they will talk about the assault weapon he used, or how it should be harder to get a gun.

    I one REALLY wants to prevent violence and death you need to look at the cause not the tools used. Clearly our justice/mental health systems need to be fixed.

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  43. P- I will not be naming anyone on this blog. It will just be one more person for you to attack because they happen to agree with us as they do.It happens that I ran into a friend at the post office yesterday who was in Tucson last week-end. He is a hunter- owns 6 guns. He thanked me for my work and my letter to the editor and then told me he was appalled by the fact that all the assault rifles and large capacity ammunition clips are sold to the public. He also said he couldn't understand the need for handguns at all and he the guys he hunted with felt the same. He represents the many who agree with us and who answer that way in polls. See Frank Luntz. You guys may have a lot of members who pay dues but it is very clear that the NRA has the power and control and have rewarded many politicians who are afraid of them. Some of these politicians are hunters and gun owners but that does not mean they think selling guns to anyone without background checks is actually a good idea. The NRA has made them so afraid to say anything that they don't. My job is to convince them otherwise which I work on on a daily basis. It happens that I, too, have the ear of many local, state and federal politicians who respect the work that I do and know me pretty well.

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  44. P= I will NEVER quit focusing on the hardware. You just don't hear about too many mass killings involving knives, rocks, sticks, etc. And don't start sending me obscure instances when those things happen. Yes, they have happened but anyone knows that we have mass shootings in this country at a level not seen in other countries not at war or under political unrest. Without the hardward, mad men have a lot harder time committing mass murder.

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  45. P- " George Soros gave millions and millions to your side Rosie O and Barbara Streisand gave money and held fundraisers and you spent millions having blasted the airways when Al Gore ran for President and the people said "no"! "

    No actually, these folks did not give money to the gun violence prevention movement. Al Gore did not lose the election because of his stand on gun issues. Remember that he won the popular vote? Remember the Supreme Court? It is a myth perpetrated by your side to get all politicians to back off of talking about guns and gun issues.

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  46. Burke- thanks for sending the article about the deranged domestic abuser with his gun at the Broward County court house. " Stroia was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, improper exhibition of a firearm and carrying a concealed firearm. Prosecutors sought a $75,000 bond, a mental health evaluation, forfeiture of weapons, and alcohol and travel restrictions." Here's a man who clearly should not have had any guns in the first place. He was a danger to himself and his family and then to public officials. I wonder how and where he got his guns? Was he a prohibited purchaser? Should he have been? he is a poster child for why we need to submit those records to NICS and also for why we need to close the private sale loophole to keep people like him from getting guns at gun shows without background checks. Or was this just another law abiding citizens with access to guns and when things went wrong, got caught with his guns. Now he has his guns and his rights taken from him. Let's hope he doesn't get a gun in the illegal market out there.He is a dangerous person who should not have guns. The 2 do not mix as we see over and over again. Madmen with guns happens way too often in this country. You just don't see that going on on regular basis in other countries as we do here.

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  47. The guy was a security guard, although I believed the article said an "unarmed" one. I completely agree that this man should have no firearms, BUT I have to ask, why in the world was he released back into society. If he goes on to commit violence — gun-related or otherwise — I would have to say a degree of blame lies within the court system and with the judge that let him go. The prosecutors didn't get everything they sought and now this guy is still in society with very mild restrictions.

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  48. Joan said:
    I see eye to eye with plenty of gun owners who agree with what I am doing. But there are some on this blog who only are interested in giving me a hard time and not interested in having a conversation. So maybe you should give your advice to some of those folks as well.

    Joan,
    That is what many of the "gun guys" are doing over here, reading your blog, trying to understand the "other side." Not all of them are giving you a "hard time", not all of them are nasty are they? I see some legitimate questions raised and I bet that most readers, like me until recently, just read but don't comment. Why are you so unwilling or frightened (your word) to explore what the other side is thinking?

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  49. GAil- I am one of the few bloggers in the gun rights vs. gun violence prevention group of bloggers who allow, moderate and return comments. I don't have to do it but I have chosen to engage. But once that choice was made, I have been overwhelmed and surprised by the vitriol, personal attacks, snarky comments, ridicule, gotcha questions, provacative questions and statements and overall disrespect for my side of the issue. That is why you see me fighting back or choosing not to comment or answer some questions. As I said, you do not see the ones I don't publish. I am basically a very nice and kind person. I have found that some who comment here bring out the worst in my own better nature which I hate. So then I back off for a while and choose not to answer. It is exhausting at times to have every single word or thought parsed and demands for explanations of every word. I am not doing that to you all on your blogs. In fact, I don't read your blogs. I have a sense that you all are just waiting to pounce on my next words so you can get me and then blog about me on your own blogs where you say nasty and irrational things about me. Does that answer your question?

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  50. Actually no you did not answer my question. I asked Why are you so unwilling or frightened (your word) to explore what the other side is thinking?

    I believe this started by you stating that you would not read a book that advocates responsible gun ownership and personal defense.

    I am a nice person too and I am not waiting to pounce on your next words, just trying to understand why you won't look at both sides of the issue, that's all.

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  51. Item one. The NRA has never had a vote in a public election. Politicians are not afraid of the NRA they are afraid of getting fired by it's members. It's millions and millions of members as well as those who sympathize with it's views. This is were the power resides.

    Blaming the NRA as an entity ignores the truth of the power its Citizen members as a voting power.

    Hardware is not the issue no matter how hard you try to make it so. People who are crazy are the problem.

    Dorothy May apartments. 25 people dead

    DuPont Plaza hotel. 97 dead.

    Happyland club. 87 dead.

    All of these were massmurders. All were accomplished by a mad man using a match and a flammable substance.

    Follow this link and see how many people use a car instead of a gun, yet you focus on the hardware. http://www.google.com/m/search?oe=UTF-8&client=safari&hl=en&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g6-k0d0t0&fkt=987&fsdt=16629&q=driving+into+a+crowd

    What we need to focus on is what causes these people to feel so disconnected from society that they feel only violent outbursts get themselves heard.

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  52. Gail- I thought my answer pretty much summed it up. I am not unwilling but I have not found many on your side to be very willing either. It goes both ways so don't put it all on me. What I won't do is deal about what I will give to you guys in exchange for something. If I don't find your suggestions to be workable or possible or believable, then I will disagree. That does make me unwilling. It makes me skeptical and perhaps it is just that I totally disagree. We can discuss and we may not agree. I have just about heard every discussion possible here. Some could work, others I wouldn't want to try, etc. Can I say it any other way to satisfy you?

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  53. May I ask, have you ever shot a handgun. If an offer were extended to take you to a range with some other women to see it and try it first hand, would you go?

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  54. No and yes. I have a natural aversion to handguns considering that one killed my sister. I have held some but not shot one. I have shot hunting guns but didn't like it.

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  55. No, I supposed you can't because you deflect and don't answer the question.

    First you said: "I won't be reading any such book. I don't care to get into your minds because I think it would frighten me."

    Now you say: "I am not unwilling but I have not found many on your side to be very willing either"

    I would call a skeptic one who is looking for facts or reasons. What you are calling a skeptic I would call a cynic.

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  56. With no disrespect at all, a handgun did not kill your sister. She was killed by a criminal irrespective of the tool he used.

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  57. Gail- I really wonder what you want here. Do you intend to keep making attacks at me or do you intend to engage in some discussion? Can you stop with this line of attack and come back later when we can talk about something else? Really, would you guys read a book I suggested that sounded to you like something so out or whack with your own philosophy? Come on. Give me a break. You are all doing the same so stop accusing me. I find the constant coming back to make one more comment really annoying and irritating. I am done publishing your comments on this thread.

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  58. Actually, bullets from the handgun killed her. See you later P. I'm now tired of your comments about this.

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  59. I have been overwhelmed and surprised by the vitriol, personal attacks, snarky comments, ridicule, gotcha questions, provacative questions and statements and overall disrespect for my side of the issue.

    I think your accusation that Mr Zamudio almost wrongfully shot someone is very disrespectful.

    That aside--the impression that I have of you guys (you is being used collectively in this comment unless otherwise specified) is that most of you started due to a personal tragedy, and your belief in gun control is closer to the religious concept of faith than it is based on facts and inquiry. Most of you are sincere, although I believe you to be misguided.

    I also think that many of you believe that the ends justifies the means--deceit is acceptable because you think it can save lives. I think that most of you want far more restrictions on far more guns and far more people than you are willing to admit.

    You also use the excuse 'I'm not a gun expert' whenever faced with a fact that can't be justified--for example 'why is it necessary to ban bayonet mounts?'.

    I don't see a problem with leading, provocative or 'gotcha' questions--if a belief is justifiable, it remains justifiable even in the face of difficult questions. I want my belief system to be consistent, as close to truth as possible. I like my beliefs to be challenged, and when a belief fails, I adopt new ones--that is the best way I know to get closer to the truth.

    Some of your positions are ridiculous, and it is difficult to avoid snark and ridicule--did we really have a problem with bayonet crime?

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  60. Yes for sure Sevesteen. I am just a poor misguided soul who got into the issue because I suffered through the loss of a loved one to gun violence. I am deceiving you all and I'm a dishonest and ridiculous person. I love to have you guys "challenge" me by calling me names and telling me my positions are all bogus and that I am really just an idiot so why don't I just shut up and go away and quit bothering you guys who obviously know all and are honest and sincere and serous. Good comment really. It tells me so much about you and nothing at all about me.

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  61. Good thing the left has toned down their rhetoric in the wake of the Tucson tragedy:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110116/ap_on_re_us/us_congresswoman_shot_264

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  62. Gail, I've read "your" books. And P. I've shot guns. And I've been reading the gun blogs for more than two years every day, and guess what, I'm more convinced than ever that I'm on the right side of the argument.

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  63. Yes, I saw this one. This man, like Jared Loughner, has some serious problems and his actions are not condoned by me or anyone else. I don't know if it can be characterized though as "the left" just as Loughner's actions do not represent "the right".

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  64. MikeB, I suspect you'd be convinced you were on the right side no matter what. :-)

    Joan, I'm glad to see that you're not blaming the right, or the left, for the actions of a madman. I truly don't understand why some people keep trying to read politics into his actions when really they had nothing to do with it. He is a nutball. Pure and simple. I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that I don't believe any additional laws are required as I don't believe any law could have prevented this. Even a total gun ban, not saying you're advocating for that, wouldn't have changed anything but the method used. Cars make "lovely" projectiles to those who are of such a mind. The key problem really is that a mentally unstable person did something horrific. This one used a gun. Others use bombs, knives, cars and various other bits. Sad really.

    I am intrigued that you may be willing to learn more. If true that is always a good thing. I wouldn't presume to change your mind but I'd love to answer any questions if you had them. I'm no one special but I do know a thing or two.

    One last thing to MikeB.. Shooting a gun or reading a book does not an education make. Nor would it rationally change your mindset or beliefs. You have yours. I have mine. The unfortunate thing is that your belief system would appear to hold at its core a requirement to infringe and encroach on my belief system. Thankfully for you, my belief system does not require such and would generally prohibit it anyway. If you wish to live in peace with those around you, as I do, then try not to impose your world view on others.

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  65. Atrius- darn- you were doing so well until you got to the end of your remarks and then you had to go and say this: "a requirement to infringe and encroach on my belief system. " There is where you went wrong. I would hope that you gun guys would stop including any restrictions into total infringement on your rights and encroaching on your belief system. We would actually get somewhere if you realized that we really don't care about you guys as long as you follow the laws and are careful enough with your guns that you don't shoot someone. That's the bottom line for us. But stopping even reasonable restrictions that won't affect you does not make sense to us. So that's where we are on Jan. 17th.

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  66. Joan, that last bit was purely for mikeb. However, since you said that I suppose it depends on what you call "infringement", no? For instance, I would call bans on standard capacity magazines as an infringement. We can debate as to what degree of an infringement it is if you like. Worse even than whether or not it is an infringement is that it wouldn't change anything, or little, for the situation at hand.

    You say "reasonable restrictions that won't affect you". That also is a matter of perspective. When the so called "assault weapons ban" was first passed I was too young to own anything it banned. So you could say I grew up with it. When I reached the necessary age I wanted to buy an AR-15. The reasons are varied and not really relevant. What is relevant is that when I wanted to buy magazines for it, I was limited to either the neutered 10 rounders or forced to pay $100+ for a "pre-ban" standard capacity one. Was crime limited by this? Was there any positive impact at all? No studies have ever said there were. So what did society gain for this cost? What was I forced to surrender? For you, and those like you, it was nothing. It wasn't important to you and you don't understand why someone would want such a thing. I don't understand why some people want H2 Hummers and generally think they're a bit off. However, I would never advocate banning them. Yes, I know you could say that H2s and guns aren't the same thing. But the logic is the same. Some people do want to ban H2s because they "destroy the environment". They don't have any proof that banning them would have any meaningful impact on the environment but they want to ban them all the same.

    I'm not saying you personally are advocating banning anything in particular, though you do seem to advocate for a renewal of the AWB. However, if all you really want is to reduce violence and have no desire to encroach on anyone else then that's great. However, if that is the case why advocate for banning magazines of certain capacity? Or guns with certain features? What is the logic in that? You don't have to answer that if you don't want. You don't really owe me or anyone else an answer. Your entitled to your beliefs as much as I am and I would never advocate taking that away from you or anyone else. But when you advocate changes in society that do impact me and mine, then surely you can't be surprised to get questions and push back.

    You say that we don't make sense to you at times. You don't make sense to us at times. You seem to advocate for things that ignore the core issues in favor of going after symptoms. I read your blog to try and understand your position and appreciate that you do engage on this. May I suggest though that, scary though it may be for you, you do extended a similar effort to try and learn more about us and understand our position better. I've offered before to do what I can in that area and the offer still stands. In the best case maybe we can come to a better understanding. In the worse case you'll at least be able to argue for the change you want with more knowledge on your side. It's up to you.

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  67. Joan,

    You wrote: Really, would you guys read a book I suggested that sounded to you like something so out or whack with your own philosophy? Come on. Give me a break.

    Absolutely, I will read any book that you suggest. Here's a proposal: You suggest a book for me to read. I'll read it, and answer a few questions that you may have for me. For example, you may want to check my reading comprehension, make sure I didn't miss an important point, or see if I changed my views on something.

    Likewise, I'll suggest a book for you to read.

    If you like, you can order me a book and send it to my Amazon Kindle account, and I'll send you a book to an address or account of your choice (such as "care of" the business address of one of your organizations -- I don't really want to know your home address). Or we can just order them ourselves and then swap notes a la a book club. I'm totally fine with swapping notes and discussion questions in whatever manner you like; we can swap emails, physical paper snail mail notes, whatever. If you'd like, we can post responses on blogs, or if you prefer, we can keep it just between us.

    I only ask that we keep the prices of the books to less than thirty bucks or so, and the page count to around 300 or less, just because I'm busy with other things.

    I am willing to bet that we could actually do a book club type thing, alternating books back and forth every month or quarter or whatever. But it is enough to start with one.

    I am absolutely 100% genuine and serious in this proposal.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  68. How do you mean, Atrius, get to know you better? For obvious reasons, I am leary of getting to know many of you. I don't mind coming to a better understanding but I always have a feeling that you guys are trying to extract some deal or promise or you want me to say something you can use against me in your own blogs. I have found that to be unsettling and not conducive to "debate" or "discussion".

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  69. Interesting idea, Chris. I am currently in 3 book clubs so would have trouble adding another book to my reading list. But if it looks like I can fit one in, I will let you know. I think I have a list of books on my site actually, that I find important and that I have read or at least sections of them.

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  70. Joan,

    Let me know if you free up some time! I'm busy with professional reading and school books but can always squeeze in one more.

    I've seen your list of books on the right and will be happy to read any which you recommend if you want to try doing a book swap or "virtual book club."

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  71. Joan,
    Well, I meant get to know someone of my beliefs better. I can understand being leery as I'm sure you haven't always had the best reception. As to deals and promises, I've no interest in them and you couldn't really give any anyway, no? Gathering quotes and such is similarly of no interest. What would be the point? The people interested in reading such a hit piece already think the way they think so there is little of interest there either. No, my only interest is in education and understanding. What you do with the education is entirely up to you. Maybe you'll understand more, maybe change a thought, or maybe not. Doesn't really matter though. The knowledge and understanding is what is important anyway. Where we go from here is up to you. :)

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  72. And you Atrius. This does go both ways.

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  73. Atrius said, "Shooting a gun or reading a book does not an education make."

    Of course not, I didn't infer that it would. I was responding to the oft repeated pro-gun argument that gun control folks don't know what they're talking about due to ignorance.

    How many times have we heard about taking a gun control person to the range so they can be won over, I suggest it would work in the opposite way more often than not. The true neophite might find the noise and power of guns as evidence of how dangerous they can be.

    But the whole discussion is a bit insulting, as if we're simple-minded and unthinking.

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  74. Thank you MikeB for saying it like it is. I can't escape the notion that if only I just listen to the wisdom of the gun guys- read their books- learn all about guns and go to the range, I would be won over and stop bothering them. It is genuinly insulting. Some have called me "Joanie baby". Really? Whatever. This is a great way to attempt to dismiss me as just some little woman who has no idea about what she writes.

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