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.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Take it easy gun guys..

It's always surprising to me that some of my readers totally ignore the main point of my blog and choose to pick out some small detail to crab about in the comment section.  For example, in my last post, I wrote about the woman who shot herself and her two children because she had been taken off of the Food Stamp program and how tragic that was. Not one person commented on that tragedy. Instead, there was a back and forth about minutia and off topic things. For example someone wanted to know why the gun violence prevention groups didn't teach gun safety. Really? I'm sure those gun rights activists would want some of us educating them about how to shoot guns safely. I'm sure he didn't really mean it. He was just being annoying and provocative.

So yesterday, while traveling to the Twin Cities to go to my grandson's pre-school holiday program, I spent most of the time ( as a passenger) answering questions and comments from my last two posts which, for some reason, has uncorked the gun guys in spades. I learned as we were driving of the shooting at Virginia Tech and then later, of the death of the police officer and the shooter. It appears to be random and a murder suicide but I know we learn much more. These gun deaths were also called to my attention:
Excuse me if I am not too sympathetic to the hyperbolic and nonsensical arguments coming from some of my commenters. While all of these innocent people died or were injured by gunfire some of my readers wanted to argue about whether or not I was making false assertions, whether the research and general facts that I offer here on this blog were all bunk, whether or not I believed that people who broke gun laws should be prosecuted, whether gun background check bills actually meant that I was going to confiscate all guns or lobby for a national gun registration, whether or not the common gun owner needs to be armed the same as police officers, whether or not a gun is meant as a weapon to kill, whether or not my side is losing because we have no message, whether or not the majority feels the same as me about gun policy, whether all people belong to an ex facto militia, whether assault weapons are actually needed by people who own them and whether or not I actually need to buy shoes. This last ridiculous remark resulted in this response from me:
By the way, I own about 20 pairs of assault shoes. Shoes kill people every day. Haven't you heard? A new group is forming- CASV- Citizens Against Shoe Violence. We will be having a rally soon in DC. We will ask for background checks for all shoe buyers. In addition they should have a license to wear and register their shoes. We have a right to wear shoes- it's one of those inalienable rights- God given. When we are ready with our confiscation plan we will be coming to the homes of suspect shoe owners with our jack boots. If I were you I would get a good shoe safe. Also you might want to stock pile the most powerful shoes you can get in case of a jack boot attack. For sure, President Obama is on board with this one. If people start stock piling their shoes, it will increase shoe sales and help the economy.
One must admit that these particular shoes do look a bit like a dangerous weapon. But I digress. That, my friends, is the nonsense that transpires for intelligent discourse on the topic of guns and gun policy. I can't say it any other way.

If you want to be amused, check out the many comments on my last two posts. It's entertaining, to say the least. I have some questions for the gun rights extremists who insist on engaging in this stuff. Why are you all so crabby about my blog posts? Why are you so provocative? Why are you so insistent? Why do you ask me "gotcha" questions? Why can't you just read my posts and understand my positions without having to badger me with your repetitive comments and questions? I know many of you do not agree. I get that. I am not writing this blog just for you. Hundreds if not thousands of people are reading this blog daily. So to continue, why do you think I am all about taking away your rights? Some of you are new to my blog. I am not going to keep answering the same questions. Since you all seem to have so much time on your hands, read my previous posts. You will see my facts and my opinions on a variety of gun topics.

Also check out my resources for the good research they provide even though some of you think they are flawed and inaccurate. For instance, if you check out the report on the Violence Policy Center about conceal and carry killers, you will see some numbers. One of my readers insisted that the VPC counted incidents twice. Perhaps he failed to understand that there is a total number of gun deaths due to permit holders (385). Then there is a break-out of different categories ( mass shootings by CCW permit holders=20) and (number of murder/suicides committed by CCW permit holders=29). Those are not counted twice. The numbers on the right are included in the total number, not in addition to it. Also, the VPC is engaged in research, which some of you tried to deny. Others of you don't believe, for example in the polling done by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Here, in his own words, is Frank Luntz:

For my readers who actually believe in common sense and factual information, I suggest you check out these sources for great studies and research about the gun issue.

Violence Policy Center
Legal Community Against Violence
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Brady Campaign
Brady Center
CDC WISQRS report ( Center for Disease Control)
Meet the NRA
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Harvard Injury Control Research Center
Univ. of California Davis Violence Prevention Research Program
Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research
Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice and Policy Management 

There are many others too numerous to mention here. The gun rights extremists don't like these resources and try to claim that they are flawed or faulty in some way. They are not. Check for yourself.

And then, let's get things into context. What is more important here- human lives or misperceptions about gun policy and attacks on the intentions of people who work on preventing gun injuries and deaths? I would come down on the side of listening to the people who know what it's like to lose a loved one to a bullet. Watch this video of Omar Samaha, a friend, and someone else who has lost a sister to gun injuries. He speaks about what it was like for him yesterday when he heard about the shooting at Virginia Tech. I had an e-mail exchange also with Colin Goddard, who survived the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. He was shaken by it. It brought him back to "day 1" as he put it. When he heard about the shooting he was talking to a high school class about his experience on April 16th where he took 4 bullets to his young body.

So please, everyone, lighten up. This is a blog. My opinions are different from some of yours. That is obvious. But peppering me with comments and insisting that I answer your questions is just plain annoying and almost harassment. There is one of me writing. There are many of you commenting. Because I don't agree or don't publish a remark that seems off topic, provocative, rude, or whatever, I am accused of all sorts of devious intentions. Back off everyone. Life is more than gun rights. Life is more than believing that there is someone out to get you at every turn. Life is about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Too many people are losing their lives to bullets causing a whole lot of unhappiness. Compared to the minor inconveniences of having to reload ammunition magazines too many times at the gun range- thus the need for high capacity magazines as was suggested by a commenter- burying a loved one lost to gun violence is actually inconvenient. Those folks have lost their liberties for sure. That is why I write.


  1. I stopped writing too soon. Here is another stupid and dangerous incident for your perusal --http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/12/la-cops-kill-gunman-shooting-at-hollywood-motorists/1 So someone kills a motorist just for fun or what is this all about???

  2. "For example, in my last post, I wrote about the woman who shot herself and her two children because she had been taken off of the Food Stamp program and how tragic that was. Not one person commented on that tragedy. Instead, there was a back and forth about minutia and off topic things."

    What is there to say really? It's tragic, but it has more to do with that fact that she was a loon than how she killed them. I mean, it's an adult woman vs children, it's not like she needs a weapon to kill them.

    I know your blog is about gun violence specifically, but you look at this tragedy differently than we do. We would feel the same way about it if she had drowned them in the bathtub as some mothers have done. We just don't feel that the story is relevant to gun legislation, because the weapon didn't allow her to do something she would have been otherwise unable to do. If the woman was stressed enough to think that killing her own children was a good idea, then I don't think the absence of an gun would deter her.

  3. Possibly Pyrotek, but you can't say that with any certainty. A gun makes it much easier. That is the case in suicides as well. Guns cause most suicides. They are more effective at killing oneself. The same is true for domestic killings- the majority are by guns. That is because guns are so much easier and quicker and more lethal. The woman was a loon? Way to go. Always attack the victim. That's really effective, too. You guys are mean.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. "AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a Georgia woman struck her boyfriend in the head with a stiletto heel and killed him.


    Sorry japete. I understand that this is a statistical anomaly (much like CCW killers). However, in the interest of public safety and plain ol' 'common sense', I believe it would be wise if anyone wishing to buy stiletto shoes be subjected to mandatory background checks, waiting periods (women should go through a "cooling down period" to prevent these crimes of passion). At the very least, we should limit stilettos to no more than 3".

    Absurd, right?

  6. You always say that, 'with certainty'. You can't say with certainty that she wouldn't have done something crazy to herself or her kids if a gun wasn't available. Are you suggesting that the thought wouldn't have entered her mind otherwise? You're free to argue whether or not it made it easier for her, but the gun didn't cause this. It's not some demonic implement that possessed her.

    She shoots her children and herself and she's the victim? I don't care how stressed or desperate you are, you don't shoot your own kids without there being something seriously wrong with you. I guess I'm just 'mean' then, but I think she's a horrible person for what she did.

  7. Yup- guns did it!! We disagree on all the rest.

  8. japete

    "For example someone wanted to know why the gun violence prevention groups didn't teach gun safety. Really? I'm sure those gun rights activists would want some of us educating them about how to shoot guns safely. I'm sure he didn't really mean it. He was just being annoying and provocative."

    No Joan, go back and re read what I wrote.

    My question was that if people like yourself and your like minded groups actually wanted to live up to the stated claim of only being interested in doing whatever would help save lives, why is there only the sound of crickets or outraged screams of " thats promoting guns to kids " when the idea of teaching firearms safety in public schools comes up ?

    No one ever suggested WHO should do it, just that offering the curriculum and removing the curiosity factor and explaining the dangers of misuse to kids have been proven to reduce accidents. Yet the Brady Campaign has staunchly resisted any such efforts ( for the aforementioned reason ) for decades, thereby revealing that this movement is only really interested in promoting THEIR ideas and not necessarily trying anything that would actually help, regardless of who proposed or came up with it.

  9. "guns did it!!" What none of you know except Japete is that the ring in Lord of the Rings was really a metaphor for guns. They were created by dark forces in evil places like Mordor, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Given enough time they corrupt the mind and will of those who wear them. That is why you read about so many police who commit criminal acts and engage in corrupt behavior. The saying goes "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is why assault weapons, murder clips and 50 caliber rifles are dangerous. They are more powerful!!!

    The only thing that can save us is small people like Hobbits and gun grabbers. The fact that you can't see this is because you have already fallen under their evil spell.

    Don't worry my precious -- they will have to pry you from my cold dead fingers.

  10. I hope this was meant as humor. I am having a good laugh and I needed one. Thanks, Robin. Have a good evening.

  11. "Life is more than gun rights."

    L. Neil Smith explained it best:

    "If a politician isn't perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash -- for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything -- without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isn't your friend no matter what he tells you.

    "If he isn't genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a coat and walking home without asking anybody's permission, he's a four-flusher, no matter what he claims.

    "What his attitude -- toward your ownership and use of weapons -- conveys is his real attitude about you. And if he doesn't trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him?

    "If he doesn't want you to have the means of defending your life, do you want him in a position to control it?"

  12. Good grief, Pyrotek- do you think I am excusing the woman for shooting her children? It's a terrible tragedy. Sometimes awful life circumstances drive people to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do. I know that from personal experience. The gun made it easier for her to accomplish her awful deed. But you guys seem to have no sympathy for victims. The children are the shooting victims. The woman is a victim of her circumstances. When someone shoots someone else there is always something wrong. But the shooters are not always nuts or looney. Often they are normal folks who snap, whatever that means. Or maybe drugs or alcohol or depression are involved. Guns just don't mix with any of those things.

  13. There is no proof whatsoever that Eddie Eagle programs work. Why train kids to shoot guns when you guys think it's perfectly fine to let adults who want to carry their guns around in public have no training at all in some states or get their training on the internet without handling a gun? Just a little hypocrisy there.

  14. You apparently are not familiar with the Eddie the Eagle program as it does not train kids to shoot at all. In fact it teaches

    If you see a gun:
    Don't Touch.
    Leave the Area.
    Tell an Adult.

    There are NO firearms used in the lesson

  15. Yes, many organizations do that, including my own- http://www.protectmn.org/sites/protectmn.org/files/protectmnbrochure.pdf

    The difference is that the NRA has a vested interest in getting kids into their program so they will become future gun owners. And since the NRA has a very close relationship with the gun industry, that makes sense.

  16. I misspoke about what the Eddie Eagle program does with children. Several readers have pointed that out in polite and not so polite terms. This article from former Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke expresses the views of most of the gun violence prevention movement about the program http://blog.bradycampaign.org/?cat=169
    I can tell that there is about to be a bunch of comments about Eddie Eagle and its' virtues and benefits. Suffice it to say that we won't agree about the pros and cons. As I pointed out above, my own organization offers advice for parents about guns in the home and children. Children continue to die at about 8 a day from gun injuries caused by homicide, suicide and accidents. If telling children that guns are dangerous and to just stay away worked, we would not be seeing that number of deaths. No need to try to convince me about the program. We have had that discussion many times before on this blog. Prevention has more to do with the adults who need to keep those guns away from children. Safe storage is key. A gun in the home is much more likely to be used against someone in the home or by someone in the home in a homicide, suicide or accident than to be used in self defense.

  17. "AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a Georgia woman struck her boyfriend in the head with a stiletto heel and killed him."


    Let me know the address for the CASV. I'd like to send a check. For The Children!(tm).

  18. Children continue to die at about 8 a day from gun injuries caused by homicide, suicide and accidents. If telling children that guns are dangerous and to just stay away worked, we would not be seeing that number of deaths.

    So why is the Brady Campaign free from this criticism? It would seem they are failing as much as the NRA program. The other thing you are comparing a program for children with an adult one. The NRA also teaches about safe storage.

    For anyone that needs a gunlock there are many places that you can get a free one Here is a site that has a listing


  19. "For example someone wanted to know why the gun violence prevention groups didn't teach gun safety. Really? I'm sure those gun rights activists would want some of us educating them about how to shoot guns safely."

    Who said anything (at all ) about shooting?

    Teaching someone gun safety has nothing to do with teaching someone to shoot.

    You teach someone gun safety THEN you could teach them to shoot. or not..

    I can teach you how to walk safely with a pair of scissors without teaching you how to cut things right? Better yet. What if all I did was teach you to leave the room if it has scissors in it?

    That's Eddie Eagle.

    I teach a gun safety course at the hospital every year that teaches the ER people what to do if they discover a firearm on an unconscious person or one falls out of the clothing as it's being cut off or whatever..

    I teach them how to safely pick up the firearm, how to carry it in a safe manner (to be aware how they pick it up and where it's pointed) and how to secure it.

    I don't teach them anything about shooting.

    Oh, and I can't PROVE that it's prevented a single accident in the ER.

    Think I should stop or do you think that bit of education might prevent a tragedy someday?

    So I see it as a legitimate question. Here's why.

    Here is the eddie eagle badge/sticker.

    That sticker has been seen by 16 MILLION children but the VPC calls Eddie Eagle "Joe Camel with Feathers" http://www.vpc.org/studies/eddieap1.htm

    Fair enough.. So if you want to level that claim, let me ask what the VPC is doing that's better.

    I went over to the VPC to see what sort of safety education THEY prefer.

    Help me out here. I can't find a SINGLE link to any sort of program materials that I could use in a school to help teach children gun safety.

    The middle name is PREVENTION right?

    Why aren't they even trying?

    You do realize that the NRA would supply the VPC with the Eddie Eagle materials and let them teach it. You don't have to be an NRA member to teach Eddie..

    Even YOU are doing more than the VPC..

    You have the protectmnbrochure.pdf and in it, you echo the eddie eagle approach if kids come across a gun.

    But I'm sure that even you realize that your brochure is not SAFETY training material for kids.

    So I followed your other link to www.pledge.org

    Same thing. Great idea. I have no problem with it at all.

    But it not training materials. Nothing a teacher could use as a lesson guide, no video, no education. Just a pledge and not something young kids could understand.

    You said in one of your comments that there is "no proof" that Eddie Eagle helps.

    Well we've reached 16 million kids with a safety message that includes teaching materials, lesson plans and video

    That looks to be about 16 million more kids than the VPC has reached.

    So when they talk about gun safety and preventing accidental gun deaths, it appears to be just that.

    All talk..

  20. The Brady Campaign is working towards laws that would begin the process of preventing gun injuries and deaths but the NRA and gun rights extremists stand in the way of any laws being passed.

  21. That is not the mission of the VPC or the Brady Campaign. The NRA has made it part of its' mission and programs.

  22. "The Brady Campaign is working towards laws that would begin the process of preventing gun injuries and deaths. The NRA has made it part of its' mission and programs.

    So it's fair to say that the NRA has done more in real terms that Brady to prevent children from accidentally killing themselves or others

    So why in the world would VPC and their ilk call Eddie Eagle "Joe Camel with Feathers" when they have NOTHING to offer but "laws that would begin the process.."

    JUST FYI, the only thing about Eddie Eagle that even mentions the NRA is the copyright. Nothing else.

    Here's the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIEBrb_wRYc

    The target demographic is 3rd grade or lower.

    Since you went off on a previous post about hypocrisy and exaggeration perhaps you'd like to tell me where you think the "Joe Camel with Feathers" statement falls according to YOUR standards after you see the video.

    I don't see the "Joe Camel with Feathers" moment that the VPC is talking about.

    We make a difference every day educating kids to leave guns alone because, as you say, that IS our mission.
    What can possibly be gained by opposing a program like this?

    "That is not the mission of the VPC or the Brady Campaign. The NRA has made it part of its' mission and programs. "

    It looks like they would rather the kids get NO training than allow the NRA to do it, even when the NRA went out of it's way to avoid it's logo appearing in the materials.

    Ignorance never ends well. Why support it?

    I am not trying to badger you here. I see a real conflict with what the VPC says about this and their stated mission and it's a totally unnecessary one.

    You blog says that you want to promote thoughtful discussion on how to prevent gun INJURIES and Death.

    Forget the VPC and Brady's mission. I take it that is YOUR mission right?

    If so then we have found the common ground that you claim to be looking for. We don't want young kids to TOUCH a firearm either.

    Unlike the VPC and Brady WE have a boat load of money, volunteers, training and classroom materials that YOU would be allowed to review and use to educate kids. We don't require the teacher to be NRA affiliated in any way at all and there is no "purity test" that you have pass. No one cares if you hate guns or love them, since that's not the point.

    The NRA even does Grants for this sort of thing.

    Even better, It's the same message you have in your brochure. The Eddie Eagle program delivers YOUR message to 3rd graders , and delivers WITHOUT endorsing the NRA.

    If that's not common ground what is?
    What else could you ask for?

    No Eddie Eagle leaves NOTHING in that gap and the VPC and Brady have nothing to offer. Like you said, it's not their mission.

    No Eddie Eagle means 21 million kids would not have received that safety message and you are going to have a really hard time telling me that telling 21 million kids to not touch a firearm doesn't make a big difference.

    You want thoughtful discussion and a place for common ground and just perhaps some common sense?

    Then THIS is the place to start. Let's agree that educating kids in the manner both of our documents agree on, should not be opposed because you don't like the messenger.

    I'll be nice here.

    Calling the program "Joe Camel with Feathers" is not going to save any kids.

    Kids are more precious than our political differences. Why not find ONE piece of common ground and see how that works out?

    This doesn't even require "negotiation" it just requires a wee tiny bit of trust on OUR side, that if you teach the materials, you will stick to them.

    You, not us, would be in control of the presentation.

    What do you think?

  23. So just to get a few things straight- I do not endorse every word that has ever been said or written by GVP people and groups. I don't know every word written or said by GVP individuals and groups. It's not possible. That said, you guys get mad at me when you say you are not responsible for the actions of every one of you- most especially the stupid and dangerous ones who shoot people intentionally or accidentally. Secondly, I never said that Eddie Eagle is a bad thing. I said there is no proof that it does what it claims to do just as their is no proof of anyone telling kids to stay away from guns works. In fact, in quite a few studies and hidden videos, little kids go right for the guns hiding in rooms where adults can watch them. There is no panacea for this except perhaps to deal more with the adults about leaving loaded guns around where children can find them and use them. The NRA, in fact, is doing a good thing by talking about safety with children. They can do it all they want with no objections from me. But some of you think it should be part of school curriculum. I disagree with that idea.

  24. So if you ever decide you want to teach some 3rd graders about gun safety, let me know.

    Just between us, I can get you some training materials "on the down low" and cheap.

    Like they say, the first set is always free..

    The VPC need never know and we will never speak of it again.

    (I do hope you read the "smile" into this...)