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.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Unlucky number 7- stupid and dangerous

This post is cross posted at Media Matters Gun Facts

Here is this week's media coverage of stupid and dangerous "stuff" with guns and gun rhetoric. This is the 7th week of my reporting about gun incidents in the news. It's important that the news about what happens every day in our country with guns is spread to a wider audience. Why? Because then maybe it will be agreed that we must do something to prevent senseless shootings and stop the stupid and dangerous rhetoric about guns.

  • Those stupid guns. Sometimes they just go off with no one pulling the trigger. This Tennessee man had emergency surgery to dislodge the bullet that ended in his lower back after the gun stored in the car trunk discharged. Yes, it does sound illogical but this wouldn't be the first time I've written about an incident like this one. You will notice that the first comment on the on-line story was a gun guy in denial about the chances that anything like this can happen. You see, when things like this happen, it "shoots a hole" in the logic of the gun guys who try to make us all think that loaded guns in cars and public places are perfectly safe. Instead, what we see is more and more stupid and dangerous things happening with guns in public places.
  • Will new permit holders in Wisconsin get the right training for carrying loaded guns around in public places? Some apparently think that hunting classes will do the trick. I sure as heck hope that shooters will know that there is a big difference between sitting in the deer stand and shooting at a human being in a public place.
  • Again, I must write about the senseless shooting death of a toddler. This little girl was shot on the front porch of her California home. In addition, her mother was injured as was another pregnant woman. Guns are dangerous.
  • You may remember me writing about this Maine legislator pulling a gun on someone in a parking lot a while ago. It seems that resigning would be the better part of valor. I wonder why it took him this long to realize that his constituents would likely not take kindly to their elected representative threatening someone with a gun.
  • Young people use guns to commit suicide in an alarming number. This young man did not succeed, if this was indeed a suicide attempt. The majority of gun deaths are due to suicide, many of these among young men. What's worse here is that if you read the comments at the end of this article, you will see the usual inane comments. Can't some people just read articles without making comments? I guess not. I should know the answer to that since my "gun guy" friends must sit around waiting for me to post something and they are compelled to write something argumentative or sometimes unfounded and just plain not true Whatever.
  • Darn it all. I just hate it when I have to write about a story reported in the media about a "law abiding" gun permit holder doing stupid and dangerous things. This Arkansas permit holder got mad at a judge who ruled against him in a divorce proceeding so he decided to bring his assault gun with him to the courthouse just in case. Now a clerk is injured and the permit holder is dead after a shoot-out with police. The man fired 70 rounds from an assault rifle and also had several semi-automatic pistols. I would say he was on a mission and not just using those guns for self defense. Senseless. And yet, another law abiding citizen dies because of a belief that a gun will solve his problems. Did I say, guns are dangerous?
  • It's good news that the courts in Florida have decided that the law passed in the Florida legislature to stop doctors from asking patients about guns in the home can't go forward. But, of course, the NRA is going to appeal the ruling, leading possibly to the Supreme Court. By all rights common sense should prevail if the case makes it that far. But the NRA and it's extreme agenda only considers what's in it for them rather than what can be done to prevent gun injuries and deaths. So if a Pediatrician or other Physician wants to talk to patients about safety, according to the extreme views of the NRA, it must inevitably lead to gun confiscation. Such rhetoric is not only stupid but also dangerous. A Physician's job is to prevent their patients from harm and keep them safe and healthy. I have written about this one before on my blog. See it here and here.
  • One gun homicide is no worse than the others, really, but this article from the Star Tribune about a double homicide/suicide shooting involved a young child finding the dead bodies of her family members when she got home from school. There is discussion in the article about the trauma experienced by children who are effected by this kind of bloody, violent scene. Another young child was in the home, apparently when the shootings occurred. Senseless and tragic. 
  • In yet another shooting death in Minnesota, this one is similar to others I have written about many times. How do 15 year old kids get their hands on guns and what makes them, at that young age, want to shoot another human being?
  • What's going on in Minnesota? Here is another article about a shooting in Minneapolis. And this was the first one of, "at least two shootings in South Minneapolis." 
  • This one falls under the category of stupid. According to this article from Media Matters, the right wing media and the gun nuts have a new theory about the ATF's failed "Fast and Furious" program- Hilary Clinton would run for President if it wasn't for her involvement in this program. Seriously?? Sometimes one must laugh or one would cry because of the nonsensical things spouted in the right wing media. You can read other false statements about the ATF's "Fast and Furious"put out in the mainstream by the right wing media in the linked article above. 
  • NRA Board member Ted Nugent is at it again. I wonder if the listeners of NRA radio take this guy seriously. Here is just some of what Nugent had to say: "We have bent over so far as a citizenry in this country that we've allowed a communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-trained, a church-goer to the hate-America church, we've allowed him to become the president of the United States of America, because we bent over that far. We've allowed our federal agents to get away with this kind of jack-booted thuggery." Wow, really? This kind of extremist talk from an NRA Board member, as Ted Nugent is, is not only stupid, but it's false, dangerous and hateful rhetoric.
  • Of course, I just had to end this column with the report of yet another accidental discharge of a gun. This poor Ohio gun permit holder has a problem. Her loaded gun fell from her holster and discharged, injuring her in the leg. Stupid. It's just lucky that that bullet didn't hurt anyone else. 
  • Oh, and one more story just caught my attention. What was this Florida man doing with a gun and shooting 2 pastors in the back at church? The church shooting came right after he had already shot his wife to death. Now his wife is dead, in a likely domestic incident and 2 local pastors are wounded from gun fire, having been shot in the back by a man who should not have had a gun: "According to the Highlands County Clerk of courts, Fogle pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in the death of a previous wife." What? How did he get his gun? Guns are very dangerous, and most especially in the wrong hands. Here's how the shooter was stopped: " He said it took three or four minutes of struggling with the gunman before he finally wrested the weapon away.The gunman had six rounds in his pocket. "He was prepared to shoot even more," Sheriff Grady Judd said." Notice that it did not take a gun to stop the man from shooting more people. 
(This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)


  1. Reminder to commenters- snarky comments won't be published here- same goes for people who are just plain jerks.

  2. CC has been some time coming here in Wisconsin. It's too bad that its passage is coinciding with a rise in general wingnuttery that hates all things government. This state's CC activists are nothing less than contemptuous of state-mandated training for would-be carriers -- and so we have something as ridiculous as Hunter Safety (above point #2) qualifying people for permits.

    I remember taking this course when I was twelve so I could go deer hunting with my dad. Lesson #1, repeated throughout: never point a gun at another person. Ever. Weapons used: long guns like rifles and shotguns.

    It's nothing less than outrageous that the course is being used to authorize people who want to carry handguns in the event they might have to shoot someone. Considering the popularity of Hunter Safety, that allowance pretty much makes us a de facto Constitutional Carry state.

  3. For the record, I am an NRA member, and I think that Ted Nugent's comments about the President as reported here are hateful and stupid. It's disgusting when people take political discourse to that level.

  4. Re: Ted Nugent and "jack-booted thugs"

    If he's referring to the Gibson raid, he's right. Setting aside whether Gibson has or has not violated the law, there was no justification for doing this raid SWAT style, with "patrol" rifles drawn, etc. Does anyone really think that the Gibson guitar plant is an armed camp, ready to fire back at law enforcement? Really?

    One of law enforcement's the major problems in recent years is the tendency to extend SWAT-style raids to routine matters. Certainly there is a time and place for kicking in doors, guns at the ready, and when same is appropriate, I have no problem with it. However, more and more, SWAT is used in non-violent situations.

    The problem is that law enforcement has these cool toys ("patrol" rifles, body armor, etc.) and feel like they have to use them. Unfortunately, going in like that makes a low-risk matter into a high risk matter, and people get killed.

    And no, I don't think Pres. Obama is to blame for that. It's been a trend for a long time, and needs to be reigned in, but it predates his administration.

  5. But of course, no one else has those "cool" toys to use against police officers. I see by this article that the Tea Party has taken this on as just another issue with which to beat the President up= http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/09/09/gibson-guitar-goes-tea-party-henry-juszkiewicz-attends-obama-speech.html

    There is not much reference to an actual SWAT type raid as you mentioned but the agents were armed. The President of the company claims this caught him by surprise but from the article here- " Federal officials have not commented directly about the recent raid. But Andrea Johnson, director of forest programs for the Environmental Investigation Agency in Washington, told National Public Radio that Gibson “made a decision in the end that they were going to source despite knowing that there was a ban on exports of ebony and rosewood…The intent here is to reduce illegal logging and send a signal to the markets that you’ve got to be asking questions and sourcing wood in a responsible way.”"

  6. "Again, I must write about the senseless shooting death of a toddler. This little girl was shot on the front porch of her California home. In addition, her mother was injured as was another pregnant woman. Guns are dangerous."

    Japete, it isn't the guns fault when a man, set on revenge because his PREVIOUS assault was thwarted by a "Good Samaritan" comes back to finish the job. As usual, the Police were no where to be found until it was time to fill out the paper work. How about the previous assault? Any point in commenting that the MAN was dangerous?

    "police believe that a man living at the house saw the gunman assaulting another woman Monday and got involved, allowing the unidentified woman to escape"

    So a good guy, came to her aid. But she didn't leave? Didn't call the police? Didn't even get a restraining order.

    The outcome is a predictable snow in winter and it really is not about guns being dangerous.

    Would it have been different had the pregnant mom and been armed? We don't get to know. It could hardly be worse.

    What I'd love to hear is what your side would do differently and how your ideas would have changed the outcome for this woman and child, given the realities of guns in society.

    We all clearly know that you think that guns are dangerous.

    Let's grant that for a second and ask. So, what ideas do you have that would have kept that woman alive?

  7. We could close the private seller loophole at gun shows to shut off some of the illegal guns that get into the market. We could fund the ATF better so they can monitor bad apple gun dealers who fail to report lost and stolen guns or knowingly sell to straw purchasers. We can do a better job of educating people about safe storage of guns so they don't get stolen. We can have a society where guns are not worshiped and carried everywhere people go so that the status quo would be like it is in other countries which have strict gun laws and many fewer gun deaths. We can but we won't because of the gun lobby and people like you who refuse to allow for the fact that some gun laws do work but we haven't tried them out yet because of strong resistance.

  8. Whether Gibson used illegal wood is not the point; I'll be happy to let a court sort that out. And whether agents were armed or not is not the point; I'm sure they were.

    What matters is that they went in SWAT style, in a circumstance where that sort of tactic was unnecessary and uncalled for. Unfortunately, that has been a trend in recent years, and it has lead to unnecessary deaths.

    That Gibson has been an outspoken supporter of Republican causes, while other guitarmakers who use the same wood but support the Administration are not raided, cannot be an accident.

    Are you asking if I question whether the Administration is even-handed and non-political in its policing activities, yes, I question that. Moreover, I think there is good reason to question that.

  9. "We can do a better job of educating people about safe storage of guns so they don't get stolen."

    NRA Home Firearms Safety for all students in high school would address this. What do you think?

    I know one thing - having Doctors do this education isn't the right way to go. They aren't trained for it.


  10. Bryan- I am not thinking that only doctors would do education about safe storage for goodness sakes. Many people in different professions and different organizations can be involved in education efforts. Even the NRA. Doctors are interested in one thing- keeping their patients healthy and safe. But we've been around and around about that one many times. We just don't agree on this one and I don't intend to have that argument again.

  11. Oh- and as to Firearms training in high school, the answer is no. We've gone around and around about that one as well and I have given my reasons for my view many times.

  12. Joan, you answered with the usual talking points, but failed to actually answer what I asked. Either of us can spout the "company" line.

    My question is. What difference would any of those things support have done to prevent THAT man from killing THAT child.

    I think the answer is "nothing at all".

    Odds are that the gun was NOT bought at a gun show via the so called "loop hole"

    Odds are the gun was not a "lost" gun sold by a bad dealer.

    Odds are the gun was NOT obtained because it wasn't stored properly.

    Point is. Nothing you suggest would have made a difference THAT day.

    "We can have a society where guns are not worshiped and carried everywhere people go so that the status quo would be like it is in other countries which have strict gun laws and many fewer gun deaths. "

    But we DON'T. We have one that is awash in guns and for better or worse it's going to stay that way. CCW permits can now be had in almost every state. Castle Doctrine is passing almost everywhere.

    When the law abiding see flash mobs and looting and the break down of law and order every time we have a storm, you can believe that they are NEVER going to give up the tool they think gives them a fighting chance against a mob or a stronger robber, and the LAW is on their side.

    The dialog I was trying to open is what do you think can be done in the context of REALITY. Literally what do YOU think would have saved that child? I can spout the gun side just as easily but that does't take us anywhere.

    So let me put it to you this way.

    Given the fact, that people are never going to disarm unless they KNOW that they will not be the target of criminals and violence. What do you purpose to do to keep them safe IF they agree to disarm.

    What plans does your side have to keep the bad men from committing crimes against the weak if you would have them foreswear guns?

  13. Neither the organizations with whom I work or my personal efforts are intended to prevent all incidents of gun deaths and injuries. We have never said that we could do that with the proposals we make. We know there are too many shootings and too many victims. People who work on anti-smoking campaigns or cancer prevention campaigns know they can't prevent all diseases but they have to begin somewhere so they mount campaigns and they can make a difference and have made a difference. We will not change what we are doing because the gun lobby says we should take our toys and go home. So as to what could have saved each individual shooting, I will not respond. This is a gotcha question. What is your answer, by the way, to all of these shootings? More guns? That hasn't worked out so well.

  14. "What is your answer, by the way, to all of these shootings? More guns? That hasn't worked out so well."

    I don't claim to have one answer. I absolutely don't claim that "more guns" are the answer.

    Quite the contrary. I think that the "answer" if there is one, is that each person needs to understand that their personal safety is THEIR OWN responsibility. One size does not fit all.

    For some people that that may mean buying a gun, but that is not necessarily the BEST answer or the ONLY answer, it's just ONE answer.

    That's why I truly believe that each person has to evaluate their own security situation and then have swift ACCESS to whatever THEY decide will make them safer. I think that the Government should have an extremely limited role in controlling access to whatever tool the person wants. (and NO one else gets to determine access based on "NEED" )

    In this situation, kids.. pregnant.. Already attacked once.. I just wish she had gotten the hell out of there. Most towns have some sort of sheltering resource for women that are battered or under threat. It's not like we don't ALL know how this story ends far too often. Sadly, the story often includes the woman not being able to leave or not feeling empowered to leave either. It sucks.

    My problem with "your" way is not that you campaign for better gun safety, storage etc.. Not that you want the ATF to crack down on bad dealers, not that you want to point out the stupid things idiots do with guns. Heck, I'm all for all of that.

    My problem is that you see a gun as something that is NEVER needed.

    I can readily say that someone arming themselves in not ALWAYS the right answer. Perhaps this was one of those situations. She should have just RUN. You, on the other hand, don't seem to be able to say that someone arming themselves is SOMETIMES the right answer.

    It's dogma, because you don't see a protective role for firearms, only a destructive one in the hands of civilians.

    Perhaps, when men stop committing violence against women and the strong no longer attack the weak we can agree, but it hasn't happened in last 3000 years so I'm not holding my breath.

    There is a gangster/thug worship that pervades the culture. It glorifies violence far more than the NRA. Spend 10 minutes on a RAP station sometime. It's all about denigrating women, turf, macho BS, drugs and guns...

    There is a sense that getting caught is the bad thing, not commiting the crime in the first place.

    f you want to change something. Change that and you will save thousands more lives from gun violence than closing a gun show loophole ever would.

    "We will not change what we are doing because the gun lobby says we should take our toys and go home"

    Of course not. I'd think less of you if you did. Just understand that with the power to convince, comes the responsibility and accountability when someone takes your advice.

    I have told students (in a tactful way) that perhaps being armed is not the best thing for them..

    Have you ever told someone that all things considered, buying a gun might be a good idea?

  15. "What is your answer, by the way, to all of these shootings? More guns? That hasn't worked out so well. "

    If you look at the number of gun related deaths per the number of firearms, it is actually a downward trend, making your above statement incorrect. See http://www.wallsofthecity.net/2011/09/graphics-matter-year-the-third.html for an excellent analysis.

    Also, I think it's a little simplistic to pretend that there aren't greater factors involved, such as the current state of the economy, increased poverty rates, increases in unemployment, etc.

  16. I don't believe that I said anything one way or the other about other factors, such as unemployment, poverty rates, etc. How do you think they factor in regarding gun deaths?

  17. 18 Echo- at least you took the time to provide a thoughtful answer. I don't believe I have told someone specifically to buy a gun would be a good idea but I have never told anyone not to buy a gun if that is what they want to do. Remember, my husband owns hunting guns and I grew up in a hunting family and actually hunted a little when I was young. I didn't like it. I don't do it now. I know many people who own guns and shoot guns at gun ranges. I do not tell them not to do that. They know my positions and they happen to agree with them. They are reasonable people who realize that sensible gun laws will not affect them one way or the other.

  18. "They are reasonable people who realize that sensible gun laws will not affect them one way or the other."

    Until they do of course.

  19. Please explain Pat. How? How would they affect you? I am, as you well know, not talking about gun confiscations here. Background checks on all sales of guns. Not having a federal law regarding conceal and carry reciprocity. I need to know how passing laws or not passing such laws would affect your rights, given what the Supreme Court decided and said in their opinion. How would you be personally affected by such laws? And I mean something that would make you less safe, change your life significantly, be an inconvenience that would be so terrible that you couldn't go on with your life as usual......

  20. Here is an interesting article that I ran across recently that seems relevant about how we treat criminals. If we do not keep these criminals behind bars what makes you think more laws will stop new crime.

    The 54 Belltowners who have 2,704 arrests or criminal contacts have 877 convictions collectively, according to police documents. That includes 266 felonies, 138 gross misdemeanors and 285 cases that are unclassified

    How is it that 54 people with 266 felony convictions even have time out of jail to get in trouble again? The whole system seems to be broken and more laws seem like they would do little to fix the problem.

    Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Police-identify-murders-child-molesters-in-2184236.php#ixzz1YlWawuFD

  21. I agree. This article points to a problem in one particular city which may be similar to that in other cities. It sounds like something isn't working. Our systems are not perfect are they? Funding is often a problem. Our jails and prisons are full and there are people on our streets who shouldn't be. It's a large problem. I hope that local and state governments will get right to work on it while they are operating with fewer "government workers" than before because of the large staff cuts due to the poor economy.

    Given all of this, it doesn't mean that I will stop advocating for better gun laws. So thanks for sending the article. It was interesting and part of an overall problem in our country that needs addressing.

  22. Nibble nibble japete. You take away things little by little under the guise of "common sense" and "reasonable restriction".

    Suddenly its too late...but, we've had this conversation in the past...

  23. You guys are so predictable. Really the illogic is amazing as is the paranoia.

  24. Peter, your arrogance never ceases to surprise me. So there will not be an answer to your "homework assignment" to me. Have a nice day.