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, May 4, 2011

The NRA and law enforcement


What is it with the NRA's dubious relationship with law enforcement? They don't trust our police and sheriffs to do their jobs and when law enforcement comes out against the gun lobby and testifies against some of the bad bills in our legislature and Congress, the gun lobby demeans and ignores them. Yet, law enforcement officers are the ones who have to deal with the worst of the worst and are often in the line of fire of those who have outgunned them on our streets. If you read this account about a literal gun battle in Ohio between a man with an arsenal of guns and law enforcement, you can't help but have sympathy and respect for the daily carnage on our streets. Officers are targets of and get in the middle of family disputes, gang fights, criminal activity, mentally deranged people with guns and other such incidents. We expect them to be there to protect us and then some of our gun lobby supported elected leaders show them no respect when they happen to disagree with their bad proposals. And sometimes guns sold at gun shows are responsible for shootings of law enforcement officers as you can read in this article about 4 private gun sellers indicted for selling guns illegally at gun shows in the state of Washington.

This article is a summary of some of the shootings of police officers in Ohio, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. When you see the articles all together and read the accounts, you just can't help but come to the conclusion that officers' lives are in more danger than most. Here is an article about the NRA convention, just finished in Pittsburgh, which brings up the shooting of 3 police officers in that city 2 years ago by Richard Poplawski. And this report of a shooting of two Alabama police officers also points out the serious problem of dangerously mentally ill people being able to buy guns. Many states are not providing the records of these people to the National Instant Check System. And so we have a system in our country where those who definitely should not have guns getting them anyway and killing innocent people. Shameful and ridiculous. Why is this happening? Our elected leaders are failing to act to save lives. It's as simple as that. The problem is presented to them. They know about it. But they have refused to stand up to the gun lobby to demand that the records are sent to the FBI so that police officers and other Americans don't become victims of senseless shootings.

This past month, 8 law enforcement officers lost their lives to gun shot injuries. Here is a moving account of just one, whose funeral took place a few days ago in Eugene, Oregon.  Law enforcement officers live with danger every day. They understand the effect of gun laws in our communities and how they affect their own lives. These images of the funerals of law enforcement officers are a sober reminder of how often officers lose their lives in the line of service. Why do some elected leaders and many in the gun rights community hold law enforcement in such contempt when they dare to speak out against policies they know will make not only their own, but the lives of people in the communities they serve less safe? It is total arrogance and lack of respect to doubt these law enforcement officers.

Last week, I testified at the Minnesota House Public Safety Committee against H.F. 1467 which would expand the "Castle Doctrine", limit gun confiscation of those who are considered dangerous by law enforcement, make more work for the police and take away their discretion about who in their own community should not get a permit to acquire a handgun or assault weapon, and cost the departments ( and the cities and counties where they are located) more in both money and time. All of this at a time when my state has a 5 billion dollar budget deficit. We don't need these changes. The law is working as is. Law enforcement doesn't want the changes. But those in charge of the committee hearing just turned their backs on the concerns of law enforcement and said they were wrong about their concerns. In addition, the committee members tried to get us to believe that because a few officers and Chiefs came forward in favor of the proposed bill, that meant that law enforcement was split. Those committee members are the ones who are wrong. Law enforcement is united in opposition to the gun lobby sponsored measure with just a few exceptions. Common sense definitely did not prevail last week in Minnesota and is unlikely to as long as we have legislators who are beholden to the agenda of the gun lobby over the safety of the citizens and police officers of their state.

52 comments:

  1. http://www.nrahq.org/law/training/training.asp

    http://www.nrahq.org/law/lebenefits.asp

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  2. I knew I could count on you to be ready to jump on my post jdege! I'm not sure that your links prove anything I wrote to be wrong. The "proof is in the pudding" and "actions speak louder than words" come to mind.

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  3. Many states are not providing the records of these people to the National Instant Check System. And so we have a system in our country where those who definitely should not have guns getting them anyway and killing innocent people.

    I thought part of the bill that you testified against specifically stated that MN would do this.

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  4. You say that we expect the police to save us. But the problem is that when danger is seconds away the police are only minutes away. Even if they are there Warren v. District of Columbia says that hey have no obligation to help us. You are the only one who can help yourself 100% of the time. That is if you are willing to prepare yourself ahead of time.

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  5. We passed a bill 2 years ago to send the records of adjudicated mentally ill folks to NICS. Still only some of the records are sent. The current bill is suggesting sending records that may not even be possible to send because of differences in the systems. What is the cost of doing this? Not mentioned in the hearings. There is a cost to the bill passed 2 years ago but federal funding was available. Let's see the specifics. How will the records be compatible with NICS- are they compatible? Not discussed. How much will it cost? Not discussed.

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  6. It might have something to do with the complete difference in opinion between police chiefs and the coppers on the beat: Chiefs don't like armed citizens, and the line officers I know are not troubled or support armed citizens. Something about "instant backup."

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  7. I wonder if you noticed that the "beat cops" also testified against the bill last week in the Mn. legislature.

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  8. Good for you, japete. The work you're doing is important.

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  9. The real reason Castle Doctrine and what made it necessary isn't the criminal side but the civil side.

    Imagine the most justifiable use of force in your house you can come up with. Something with NO doubt that you had no choice. Drugged crazed loon, running down your hall in the middle of the night, with a knife yelling 'die, die die.." whatever..

    So you are forced to use lethal force. Now what? Without Castle Doctrine the nut's wife sues you in civil court for wrongful death to the tune of a few million dollars. Used to happen here in Ohio routinely. Oddly, worse still, you merely hit him in the spine and now he's paralyzed for life and claims that he was merely confused and at the wrong house..

    Forget that you will NEVER be charged criminally, you STILL have to retain a lawyer to fight the charges. So, if your lucky, that's 10 to $20,000 to get things rolling.

    Guess what.. After many hearings and a pile of your money later you get an offer from the nut's attorney.

    $300,000 and this can all go away.

    Your attorney is going to counter with something less, but no matter you will be lucky to get out of this mess for less and $150 to 200K and that will still be less that going all the way through a trial and praying that the jury agrees with you and not the crying nut jobs wife and 4 little babies..

    A real bargain right? You are bankrupt, but at least you are alive and the nut jobs wife has more money than she would have earned in her life.

    No matter that you did NOTHING wrong.. That's just the system before Castle Doctrine.

    After Castle Doctrine and the presumption that you were acting legally, the law is that if you are not charged criminally, you CANNOT be sued civilly.

    7-24 in your bill states (in part)

    "An individual who uses force, including deadly force, according to this section or as otherwise provided by law in defense of the individual, the individual's dwelling, or another individual is justified in using such force and is immune from any civil liability "


    The "immune from any CIVIL liability" is critical.

    That sentence can literally save you hundreds of thousands of dollars when you have done nothing wrong.

    In my opinion that is why you need the Castle Doctrine addition to your laws and an aspect of it that the opposition has not dealt with.

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  10. "What is the cost of doing this? Not mentioned in the hearings. There is a cost to the bill passed 2 years ago but federal funding was available. Let's see the specifics. How will the records be compatible with NICS- are they compatible? Not discussed. How much will it cost? Not discussed."

    You are kidding, right? You get enhanced reporting to NICS that you have been advocating all along and you are going to quibble because it might cost some money?

    Or are you against it because the anti-crime people get something out of the bill.

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  11. You act as if police officers are a single entity with a single view on gun control, as opposed to a collection of individuals with individual opinions.

    Second, I’d like to address the article on the gunshow sellers in Washington. A few months ago I remember a heated debate here about the “gunshow loophole” where you were claiming certain private transactions as lawful (because the law does not require a background check), while the pro-rights side was claiming we already have laws against selling to felons and unlicensed dealers. Well, this link proves that it is indeed against federal law and these guys are looking at hard time. Washington State allows for legal private sales (“loophole” is wide open) but as you can see it only applies to legitimate private sales. People engaged in the business of under the table gun dealing to felons can and do get busted and prosecuted.

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  12. It seems Merriam Webster dictionary has a different definition of united than you do. If you have people that do not agree than you can not be united in that belief.

    Definition of UNITED
    1 : made one : combined
    2 : relating to or produced by joint action (a united effort)
    3 : being in agreement : harmonious (a united family)

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  13. It was incredibly sad what happened to Officer Kilcullen, here in Eugene, shot by a mentally-deranged woman who, despite years of diagnosed schizophrenia and erratic behavior, was able to pass a background check and purchase the gun she used to kill him. In only four months, we have had three officers shot (2 killed) in Oregon.

    Here in Oregon there is a concerted effort to remove our law enforcement from decisions related to gun safety. Right now there is a bill introduced to remove Oregon State Police from doing background checks, and others proposed to destroy background check documents almost immediately after completion, to remove approval by sherrifs for conceal carry permits (changing "shall issue" to "must issue"), and other such bills.

    It is strange to me that pro-gun folks claim to take their stances for the sake of protection, and yet do not trust the judgement of those whose jobs it is to protect us. It is hypocritical and dangerous, and it's sad that certain legislators are willing to listen.

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  14. E18cho- provide me with a list of the many people who have shot someone in self defense and been charged with a civil suit. This sounds like something that can be handled in the court system and not mandated by legislators.

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  15. Did you miss the part about my saying federal funds were available for the sending of the records of adjudicated mentally ill folks. If the gun folks want this to be done they can vote it up or down separately and then state who is going to do it and where the money will come from and then a discussion can ensue about those points. As it is now, local law enforcement or whatever agency will be sending these records ( if they are sendable by the way according to the systems now in place) will have to pay to send the records. So if funding is provided- great. And if more research had been done on the bill in the first place, these questions would have been answered.

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  16. TS- you are mixed up again. It IS legal for private sellers to sell guns to whoever and they do. They don't do background checks and are not required to do so. This is the way it works in most states, as you know. It is certainly against the law for anyone to knowingly sell to felons. But most private sellers have no idea to whom they are selling a gun. Since a background check is not required, they could easily be selling to a felon. That is why we need background checks on all gun sales at gun shows. Then every seller would know if a prohibited purchaser is trying to buy a gun from him or her. I have been at a gun show where the person I was with specifically asked a seller if he would sell to him even if he couldn't pass a background check and the answer was yes. He did not buy a gun but asked the question to find out. Didn't you see all the videos from various sources showing how often private sellers sell without even seeing a state drivers' license or not doing a background check even though the person with the video camera says they couldn't pass a check? So yes, it is LEGAL in most states if someone is not caught doing it. Since ATF agents are so underfunded and under staffed and the NRA has seen fit to make sure they can't get around to checking out gun shows and dealers as often as they should, these things happen often. I know of a group who went to an Ohio gun show and overheard a private seller selling to a minor even though he knew the buyer was a minor. There was even an attempted straw purchase by this buyer that the seller was going to allow. He was reported to the authorities and the sale was stopped.

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  17. #3 of the definition of United fits in this case. Thanks.

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  18. Come on you stupid ignorant cunt.

    Wanna see the full suck ass of the brady Bunch???

    Well, do ya?

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  19. "Did you miss the part about my saying federal funds were available for the sending of the records of adjudicated mentally ill folks. If the gun folks want this to be done they can vote it up or down separately and then state who is going to do it and where the money will come from and then a discussion can ensue about those points. As it is now, local law enforcement or whatever agency will be sending these records ( if they are sendable by the way according to the systems now in place) will have to pay to send the records."

    That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard.

    Whether it comes from federal money or from local money it still comes out of the taxpayers pockets. That is like me arguing with my wife about who will pay when we go out to dinner.

    The anti-rights group have been screaming about tightening the background checks and now when they get a forward step you are going to balk because it costs money?

    Just for a moment, step back and take a look. Do you see why the gun control people have little or no credibility?

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  20. No actually, it's quite different. Federal funds were made available for sending records to NICS so the states didn't have to pay. It would be like if we paid for something out of our savings account or out of our checking account. One would be money that is there already set aside. The other is from current funds that may be needed for other things.

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  21. Dear readers,

    Yet another, or the same, immature person with problems of his own is making sexually explicit comments on my blog. People like that must not have good lives of their own or are so troubled and insecure that they feel as if their manhood is threatened by people who dare to disagree with them. How sad. Of course, it's meant to intimidate me which it doesn't. It's called bullying. It won't work. But keep sending these if you must. They are good evidence of the lengths to which some on your side go to get their way and legislators and elected leaders will love to see who they represent when they vote in favor of NRA bills. That is why I save all comments.

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  22. Joan,

    Not to call you a liar but it is difficult to support you or call out those making comments since we never see them.

    For all we know, those comments could be just a figment of your imagination.

    Why not post them. Show the world the immaturity and pettiness you say exists.

    Watch also as most of those who disagree with you call out those making such comments; telling them to knock it off.

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  23. Wrongful death suits are as common as the day is long..

    Here is a PERFECT example..

    http://www.calt.iastate.edu/defense.html

    Short version.

    "A woman was at home with her three small children when she was attacked by two intruders. After being choked and knocked down, she managed to get to her bedroom where a gun safe was located. While again being assaulted, she managed to get the safe open, grab a gun and shoot at the intruder"

    "After determining that her children were unharmed, the woman noticed that the remaining intruder (now wounded) continued to move in her direction. She told the intruder not to move, and fired a warning shot when the intruder didn’t stop. When the intruder still did not stop, the woman shot several more times at the intruder, killing him."

    "The estate of the intruder sued the woman for wrongful death, and she replied that she had acted in self-defense (she has not been criminally charged in the matter) and claimed that her conduct was covered by various insurance policies that she owned. "

    Oh and get this.. Just to add icing to the cake, her insurance did NOT cover her since the injury she caused was "intentional" and they only cover "accidental"..

    As I said. She did NOTHING wrong. She was NOT charged with anything. She was sued anyway and SHE was responsible for ALL of the lawyers' fees since even her insurance wouldn't cover her.

    Put yourself in her shoes for a second. How would you like to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt or bankrupt because you defended your children? Surely you folks can't oppose someone like this woman being immune to a civil suit right?

    All I'm saying is that opposing Castle Doctrine has consequences and you have to face those too.





    http://www.calt.iastate.edu/defense.html

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  24. O,K, I will publish one of them. It goes against all of what I think is right but since you refuse to believe people are making them, take a good look.

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  25. O.K. Take a good look at the comment made by anon at 12:37 a.m. And this is tame compared to some. Tell me now that you don't believe me. Tell me now that I think your side of the issue is represented by decent people. Weigh in. I want to hear from you.

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  26. Japete: “Tell me now that I think your side of the issue is represented by decent people.”

    Are you saying that because Anon is a jerk that I am not a decent person? There are plenty of decent people and jerks on both sides of the issue, so let’s filter through the jerks and let the decent people have meaningful discussion. The willingness to use crude and insulting language is not tied to gun ownership.

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  27. Joan -

    If you think many on "our" side of this issue would endorse the writings of the person you referred to, you're wrong. NO ONE, for any reason, at any time, should ever be addressed in such a way. I have no idea who the anon. writer is, but I have no hesitation whatsoever in telling this idiot to stop, cease, desist, etc. immediately. Of course, I have no control over him at all.

    I won't apologize in his behalf; I'm not responsible for this fool any more than you're responsible for some of the ravings of those on your side. But he most certainly owes you an apology, and more.

    And yes, the vast majority of people on our side, just like on yours, are decent people. There are, however, fools everywhere. No one is responsible for them but themselves. The fact that we disagree - deeply - on this issue does not mean that we believe the other side are "bad" people.

    While I question your ultimate goals, and I believe you are badly and fatally mistaken in your position, I do not question your sincerity, nor your desire to do what you believe is the right thing. We simply disagree on what the right thing is.

    - GMC70

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  28. Check out L.E. at risk in Tucson-- http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_ed5851b8-5433-5d3f-b8ba-e22f26c7d2d8.html

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  29. If you can find me someone on my side who has ever written anything like this, go for it. It is coming from your side. They are in your camp. You guys need to do something about it. It gives you all a bad name. Are you not even offended by the remarks? If not forget about having comments printed here. Or can't you admit to it, TS?

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  30. Joan,

    As a public figure, there is a certain level of coarseness to be expected from elements of society. I hate to say it but a portion of the public just do not want to play nicely.

    I'll see your name calling with an actual threat of physical violence.

    Which would you say is worse?

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  31. Japete: “If you can find me someone on my side who has ever written anything like this, go for it.”

    I won’t do that. I don’t think there is a point to pointing fingers or using other people’s insults to attempt to devalue what you say just because they are “on your side”.

    Japete: “It is coming from your side. They are in your camp.”

    I wouldn’t expect people in your camp to call you bad names, so of course it looks one side from your perspective.

    Japete: “It gives you all a bad name.”

    It shouldn’t. I don’t feel that way about you.

    Japete: “Are you not even offended by the remarks?”

    Yes, I am offended by anonymous’ remarks. There is no place for that. But if you are not going to hear what I say (or the many other upstanding gun-rights bloggers and commentators) because of what anonymous said, then I am afraid there is not much hope for working together. I would ask you to please not let that person’s awful words speak for me- it is only fair.

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  32. Anon- what? I don't get what you mean by that comment? I can tell you that an actual threat of violence would be something I would act on immediately through law enforcement. The vulgar language, and I remind you, this was not the worst of it, is almost enough to make me contact my local law enforcement. Either way, the remarks should not be made in a public forum. Whoever made them should be ashamed and chastised. It is more than vulgar.

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  33. The challenge is the "gun" side is way bigger, thus there's more of everything - including the jerks.

    Even discount the NRA, the "extremists", etc.

    If we only added up the number of unique individuals buying ammunition from sporting good stores on a single Saturday in the USA, I imagine it'd be in the thousands.

    Chances are good that there will be a handful of unpleasant folks in that sample.

    I believe if we can make gun culture more mainstream and socially acceptable it would remove the political heat from the topic. Then we could talk about actual gun safety (storage, handling) without a feeling of a looming government threat.

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  34. You know what I meant. My side does not get on your side's blogs and say things like these vulgar people have said. Of course no one from my side would say it to me. But they wouldn't say it to those on your side either. We have more common sense and integrity than that. Our passions are just as strong but we don't sink to the lengths that your side does. And if you think these remarks don't affect my desire to have communication with those of you who are slightly more reasonable, you are wrong. So if the person who made them thinks I will quit, I will not. But I will certainly also be less likely to want to engage with any of you. And I have my doubts that you guys want to engage at all. Your remarks are often accusatory and snotty and border on harrassment. I don't publish those either.

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  35. First I do not condone the vulgar Annon post above. I however find it funny that you want to call in the people with guns to defend you against what seems to be vulgar language. If you get actual threats I would suggest calling the cops but for what seems to be hurt feelings it seems a bit silly.

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  36. Anthony- what you guys find silly is what most people find reason to act. That's the difference between us. You guys have an anything goes view of the world. The NRA was just caught spying on us again. They sent someone with a camera posing as a CBS journalist to Paul Helmke's press conference about the Brady report card on state gun laws. They got caught and now are answering to the press and had to apologize. Anything is fair game to you guys. It's disgusting and immature and totally paranoid.

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  37. How is filming a PRESS conference spying? It seems that it would give you more coverage. It is not like they were filming at your closed door meeting trying to get juicy details.

    It looks like they might have not been hard to spot
    http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/BradyPresserEmpty.png

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  38. Anthony. You forgot to notice that the guy posed as a CBS reporter. NRA had to apologize since they got so much attention from other press for their nonsense. Spying and deceit is what it wad but you can try to cal it something else if you want.

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  39. Japete, I am sensing some testiness toward me, so I am going to stop right here. I want to keep things cordial between us. I won’t comment anymore about the anonymous tasteless post.

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  40. Thanks, TS I do appreciate that. When those comments come at me over and over I do get testy as would anyone who has to take that kind of crap. I'm going to enjoy the rest of my week-end and hope that those who feel they must send stuff like that take a break and enjoy their families and friends.

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  41. Perhaps when you start respecting lawful gun owners, they won't have the desire to insult you.

    Just a thought.

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  42. REally anon. Is that your excuse? I don't respect you ( according to you) so I deserve to be verbally attacked and abused by you all? Wow- take a break and have a nice week-end.

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  43. "O.K. Take a good look at the comment made by anon at 12:37 a.m. And this is tame compared to some. Tell me now that you don't believe me. Tell me now that I think your side of the issue is represented by decent people. Weigh in. I want to hear from you.. "

    You are right. That is beyond the pale and I apologize that you have to put up with that. God knows I don't agree with you on much but that was unacceptable.

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  44. "Anonymous said...

    Come on you stupid ignorant cunt.

    Wanna see the full suck ass of the brady Bunch???

    Well, do ya?"

    There's absolutely no place here (or anywhere else) for this sort of comment.

    Either come here and engage in intellectual arguments with proper manners, or go away.

    Either way, get off my side. You don't represent my views.

    Bryan

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  45. "O.K. Take a good look at the comment made by anon at 12:37 a.m. And this is tame compared to some. Tell me now that you don't believe me. Tell me now that I think your side of the issue is represented by decent people. Weigh in. I want to hear from you. "

    Both sides of any political issue wind up having individuals make comments like this.

    This individual does not represent my views or conduct himself/herself in the manner that I and others will.

    That said, I really wish you would post all comments that don't involve language like this -- some of my better comments never get posted - which makes me wonder what your motivation is around not posting them.

    Bryan

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  46. "If you can find me someone on my side who has ever written anything like this, go for it. It is coming from your side. They are in your camp. You guys need to do something about it. It gives you all a bad name. Are you not even offended by the remarks?"

    Yes, I was offended by his/her remarks.

    To be fair here, your side has engaged in similar, hateful, finger pointing rhetoric before -- and will again.

    Bryan

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  47. Bryan- I have not seen offensive and sexually explicit messages like this coming from my side. As to your comments, if someone badgers me, is provactive, is off the topic or is generally annoying and writes comments that don't further the discussion, I don't print them. In addition, I have a life and hope you do, too so don't have time to get to all comments and read and publish. If your comments are cogent to the discussion and not accusatory or insistent that I answer a stupidly asked question, they will usually be published. I reserve the right to do this on my blog considering the abuse I take from the comments left here.

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  48. Joan,

    Here is an example of vulgarity and threats of violence from your side of the aisle.

    http://www.wallsofthecity.net/2010/01/proving_the_stereotypes_true.html

    Regarding the messages you're getting: I'm pretty sure they violate TOS of pretty much any ISP. Perhaps if you shared the IP information we could all lodge protests with the offenders ISP and put this troll back under his bridge. I can't speak for anyone else here, but I would be very surprised if they would not be interested in ending this via contact with the offenders ISP.

    To the individual(s) leaving you these awful messages: Knock it the hell off. We do not want or need your assistance.

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  49. Thanks, LC. This link was really hard to read. It would be great to see it in quotes or the screen shot to know that it's for real. I will admit to the fact that some on my side, if they are indeed on my side, may issue ugly remarks. But if you look at the comments on any blog written by a gun control advocate, you will see that the most awful comments come from the gun guys. That has been my experience and the experience of those of us who are writing and blogging. I am guessing that there are more of you trolling our sights than the opposite. As to the IP address- on blogger, if you don't provide it, it's hard to get. But I am not done trying to figure this out.

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  50. I've been following that blog for awhile, and remember reading the details as it happened and seeing the referenced posts. I wish we had screencaps but we don't.

    http://www.sitemeter.com/

    They offer a free service and step by step instructions for where to paste the code into your blog template. You can then track each IP that comes to your site, what url they came from and what url the left to.

    Someone using Wildblue.net logged into my blog about the same time you posted your reply-I got that info from the free version of sitemeter.

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  51. LEOs and Guns;

    The LE community is shot through with NRA members. I am one, in my department at least 20 percent are so pro-gun that is is abundantly obvious without polling anyone or anything. Many more Law Enforcement Officers dont think about the issue a whole lot, but they see having a gun for protection as common sense. They carry one every day and cant fathom not having the access to that protection. I have been on calls where LEOs have advised individuals after burglaries, robberies and stalker calls that they should consider arming themselves.

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