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.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gun permit holders- again going illegal

Hmmm. And yet another "law abiding" gun permit holder has decided to shoot a few people over marital separation problems. This Tennessee man killed his ex-wife and mother-in-law in a hospital in front of people in the waiting room. What the heck? Sometimes the stories are just too awful to think about. What gets into people like this? Without the gun, there surely would not have been such a good chance of killing two people while others watched. Guns are dangerous. From the article:
"A 59-year-old man told his estranged wife and her mother "they'd be sorry" before he pulled a handgun from his coat pocket and fatally shot both women at a Georgia hospital while people watched in the waiting room, police said.
"He shot the mother-in-law-first and then shot his wife," Fort Oglethorpe Police Chief David Eubanks told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Saturday, a day after the shooting. "There was a crowd of the folks in the waiting room, but he just exacted his revenge on his two targets and left them alone.""
Thank God. The man only killed 2 people. He could have turned the gun on the crowd in the waiting room and we would have read about another mass shooting.

And then there's this U.S. Marine from North Carolina who used his permit to carry to buy guns for trafficking to England. Really? Those permits can be used for illegal activity as it turns out. I thought permit holders would not violate the law or shoot people. That's what the gun rights folks promised when they got all of those gun permit laws passed all over the country. It hasn't worked out quite as planned. Where is common sense?


  1. In other news, yet again, a defensive gun use:

    "The 82-year-old homeowner woke up at 6 a.m. after hearing someone at his backdoor, the report said. He armed himself with a .45 automatic and fired a single shot through the door, the report said. The suspected burglar was hit in the abdomen and likely died minutes later.

    The suspect was described as a white male in a ski mask who was carrying a hammer and screwdriver at the time of the shooting. Police have tentatively identified the suspect as the man wanted for other burglaries in the neighborhood, the report said.

    “The 82-year-old resident did something that the criminal justice system couldn’t do,” said Mike Chitwood, the chief of Daytona Beach police. “And that’s put this burglar out of business this morning.”


    Two sides to every coin, japete.

  2. By the way, the Tucson shopping mall was not a gun free zone. In Arizona, just about everyone can carry a gun just about everywhere so if you think someone intent on shooting people as was Jared Loghner, are thinking that they shouldn't go to that spot to shoot someone because someone might have a gun, you are delusional. Shooters don't think ahead of time about whether someone with a gun might be in the place where they opened fire. Most shootings happen at the spur of the moment rather than planned like Loughner's. I doubt very much that someone takes a nan second to say to himself " oh maybe I shouldn't shoot my wife because she might draw her own gun" or maybe I shouldn't shoot my friend because someone else in the room might have a gun. In fact, there have been shooters who have shot police officers knowing they are armed. Your theory is flawed.

  3. So are you suggesting the police shouldn't have guns, since they don't deter all shootings? Your logic is flawed.

    Just because being armed doesn't deter all shootings doesn't mean it won't deter any.

    Furthermore, deterrence is only part of the reason for being armed. If deterrence fails, then one simply goes to the next step: IE use of said weapon for self defense if necessary.

  4. You know, sometimes I wonder how you guys come up with your ridiculous assertions. I suggested no such thing but I'm sure you knew that and you just had to be a jerk.

  5. Are you sure, molon, that this story is one you want to cite? It looks to me like a man who wanted to steal some stuff was shot to death for it. This kind of thing seems appealing on a gut level, along the lines of "Touch me or any part of my property and I'll kill you.", but is it right morally? Should robbers, admittedly the bad guys, pay for theft with their lives? My intuition is that they should not. My intuition also is that the killer in this case (the 82 year old) might actually suffer emotionally for his action.

    Further, it's not completely improbable that the thief might instead have been the 82 year-old's son or daughter come to check up on Dad, or might have been the paper carrier. The intruder might've been a modern-day Ted Bundy intent on massacring everyone in the house, but it also could have been the next door neighbor's sixteen year old son starting out on his career as a thief.

    When I hunted deer, we talked about hunters who took "sound shots"; that is, fired at approaching noises in the woods, assuming that they came from deer and not from one's hunting partner. It's not that hard to find examples of other hunters being shot in this way.

    So, the elderly gentleman heard noises and correctly but not really knowing for sure, made the right assumption and decided to deal with the threat by firing blindly through the door. Again, this appeals to some sort of base sense of justice, doesn't it? This is a sense of justice that is expressed in comments on this blog all the time. I just don't think it's right.

    When you have ready access to a gun, you are, indeed, capable of dealing death to anyone for any action you interpret as threatening. Is it right to do so? Is it even right for the shooter? How might the shooter have felt as he watched the thief bleed and die? How might he be feeling now? Any possibility of him feeling the remorse so often reported by police officers who kill in the line of duty? Ideologically committed 2A advocates often imply in this space that they would feel fine (i.e., justified, relieved, strong, capable, etc.). In the real world of actual flesh and actual blood, I wonder...

  6. "Further, it's not completely improbable that the thief might instead have been the 82 year-old's son or daughter come to check up on Dad, or might have been the paper carrier."

    Right, because those people attempt to break into houses armed with a hammer and a screwdriver all the time......

    "The intruder might've been a modern-day Ted Bundy intent on massacring everyone in the house, but it also could have been the next door neighbor's sixteen year old son starting out on his career as a thief."

    What's your point? Are you saying a 16-year old is not a threat to an 82-year old?

    When someone is breaking into your house, there is no way to know if they are just there to steal things or if they are going to hurt you, and usually you don't have time to stop and ask them. You seem to be under the impression that most burglars and home invaders are peaceful, non-violent thieves. The facts prove otherwise.

    This is one of the most silly things I find when talking with gun banners. They keep acting like crime victims are supposed to be mind readers and be able to to tell what criminals are intending to do when their homes are being broken into or their workplaces are being robbed. The fact that this burglar was also armed with deadly weapons apparently doesn't seem to be any cause for concern either.

    Even the chief of police in this case recognized the home owner was completely justified in what he did. This case was pretty clear-cut.

    It's true the homeowner in this case may suffer emotionally. The taking of a human life under any circumstances, even justified self defense, is a very terrible thing. But the good thing is that he's still alive and unharmed, so he can seek help for any trauma this event will cause him. That's kind of hard to do when you're dead.

  7. I'm not entirely sure of your experiences in life Alan -- but I know when I'm legitimately "visiting" someone I don't try to break down their door to announce my presence. In the same light, I don't try to pick the lock if it happens to be locked. Do you?

    I take issue with your portrayal of all firearms owners as heartless and cold-blooded killers without a hint of remorse. I'm certain that any "shooter" (as you call them) would suffer remorse for their actions - to say otherwise is likely bravado on the part of most.

    I put the blame squarely on the criminal for causing this, and I don't blame the victim.

    Also, the idea that most firearms owners would fire blindly at a threat is laughable - much like japete and Heather's statements in the MN legislature last year about firearms owners firing blindly out windows into the night when they are frightened.


  8. No one who has lost a loved one to gun injuries is laughing, Pat. That was a real incident. The fact that you don't like it does not make it laughable.

  9. "When you have ready access to a gun, you are, indeed, capable of dealing death to anyone for any action you interpret as threatening. Is it right to do so? Is it even right for the shooter? How might the shooter have felt as he watched the thief bleed and die? How might he be feeling now?"

    Seems the first lesson is not to be a threat to somebody. The courts have long held that there is a "right to do so" when it comes to defense of self and property. The home owner (note not using the pejorative "shooter") probably feels that it was unfortunate but a better outcome than if he had been harmed or killed himself.

  10. "the idea that most firearms owners would fire blindly at a threat is laughable"

    I can find examples of folks on your side of the issue doing stupid and illegal things too...lets work on the big picture here though.

  11. You have no standing to make such assertions Pat. They are patently untrue. Until the guys on your side stop making the rude and offensive remarks about me and other bloggers on our sites and their own blogs, as they did before and during our vigil, there is no sense in saying that you want to look at the bigger picture. I don't believe it for a minute. Anyone who can be so immature, insensitive, brutal, ugly, sleazy and threatening isn't serious about any discussion. They are only serious about intimidating those of us who write on my side of the issue and they are attempting to diminish and demean us and our cause. When you disagree, you can disagree. But when you resort to tactics such as have been used in the past week, we have nothing to talk about.

  12. Another law abiding permit holder found guilty of a shooting outside of a bar last January. http://www.news-press.com/article/20120112/CRIME/120112006

  13. Some respondents have reiterated my point for me as did the police chief who said twice that the shooting "put this burglar out of business this morning." The thief had previously stolen TVs and bicycles from other houses in the neighborhood. The chief, in what I view as testimony to his own incompetence, also said that the criminal justice system had failed to do what the home owner had done: put the burglar out of business. He seemed pleased with the outcome.

    But this kind of thing appeals to our sort of brain-stem level sense of justice, maybe analogous to our sense of the justice of revenge killing or vigilante justice or lynchings (in the cases where the right person was lynched).

    I by no means needed a reminder that many commenters on this blog feel like the chief does. I feel that our civilization has actually made progress (in the legal system) and refined this gut-level sense of justice so that it is more just. I think it is wrong to mete out death for the offense of theft. I understand that the shooter had no way of telling who was at the door. I would have been as frightened as he probably was, so I can't claim that I would've made a smarter decision. But there were smarter, more humane ones like challenging the intruder verbally or firing a shot less likely to be lethal in order to deter him. Is it not 2A ideologues who themselves say that it's the deterrent force of a gun that is most often at play when threats arise?

    It doesn't change my argument to call the 82 year old a home owner instead of a shooter. You can call him The Baby Jesus for all I care, but it doesn't change the point I'm trying to make.

    Pat found the terms "most firearms owners" in my post when it wasn't there. Adding those terms gave him, apparently, a good laugh and I'm kind of pleased to have done that for him. However, I didn't use the phrase. I'm a firearms owner and I don't condemn people for owning firearms. What I am condemning is the sentence of death that some aggressive firearms owners blithely pronounce on anyone in their general vicinity who they deem is a threat. In fact, as with the apologists for the now-famous Texan Joe Horn, the right to kill people burglarizing your neighbors home is asserted. Here is part of the 911 call from that incident:

    "Dispatcher: "That's alright, property's not something worth killing someone over. OK? Don't go out the house, don't be shooting nobody. I know you're pissed and you're frustrated but don't do it."

    Horn: "I can't ... I'm going outside. I'll find out."

    Dispatcher: "I don't want you going outside, Mister..."

    Horn: "Well, here it goes buddy, you hear the shotgun clicking and I'm going."

    Dispatcher: "Don't go outside."

    On the tape of the 911 call, the shotgun can be heard being cocked and Horn can be heard going outside and confronting someone.

    "Boom! You're dead!" he shouts. A loud bang is heard, then a shotgun being cocked and fired again, and then again."

    Can there be a more graphic illustration of my point? Who I do blame for the atmosphere in our country in which this kind of killing is defended and idealized is 2A extremists, many of whom appear, through the tolerance of japete, in the comments on this blog.

  14. Alan, it's a true testament to the weakness of your case that you cite an unrelated incident from years ago in a different state when talking about the current one cited by molonlabe.

    Joe Horn made the mistake of leaving his house to confront the unarmed burglars (who then subsequently made the mistake of confronting Horn).

    In this case, the 82-year old was inside his house dealing with an armed intruder who was breaking in. It doesn't matter if the home invader had never done anything violent prior to his last crime. The home owner couldn't have known that. All he knew about was what he was dealing with an armed man violently invading his home and he had to take action.

    This had nothing do with with gut instincts or vigilante justice. The homeowner didn't go looking for criminals to shoot, and he didn't ask any armed suspects to come and break in. He was faced with a lethal threat and did what he needed to do to survive.

    Would the home invader have hurt the home owner? We don't have any way to know. But we do know he was fully capable of doing so, and because of the homeowners defensive action, he never got the chance. No matter how you look at it, only the most fanatical opponent of self defense would consider his actions unjustified.

    1. kid9, your characterization of the Joe Horn case makes it sound, improbably, like the whole thing wouldn't have happened but for a couple of mistakes. This is like saying that the first world war wouldn't have happened if the Kaiser hadn't mistakenly invaded Belgium. But, he intended to invade Belgium and Mr. Horn clearly (from the tapes) intended to shoot some people.

      And the second mistake you cite must itself be a mistake. It's implausible that the unarmed robbers would have confronted a man aiming a shotgun at them screaming "Boom. You're dead!" It's also hard to describe the dead men's actions as confrontational since they were shot in the back by Mr. Horn. Maybe they were confronting him with their backsides, but more likely they were running away from a guy who wanted to take their lives for stealing someone else's stuff.

    2. The burglars were no longer on Horn's neighbor's property when they were shot. They were on his. So yes, we do know they did confront him. Perhaps after walking up to him, they realized he meant business when he raised the shotgun and turned just as he fired. Making a 180 degree turn doesn't take a lot of time.

      Either way, we don't know because we weren't there. The notion that he left his house intending to shoot them the whole time is based on pure speculation. Funny how you give criminals the benefit of the doubt when we don't know their intentions, but when it comes to lawful citizens, you always assume the worst of theirs.

      Either way, it was a mistake for Horn to leave his house to confront them. That is clear. The actions of an armed citizen should always be defensive. Still, a grand jury heard the evidence and chose not to indict him. Usually indictments are very easy to obtain, so the fact that it didn't happen would seem to suggest the evidence might have been on his side.

      In the end though, we can agree Horn did the wrong thing. Still, his case has absolutely nothing to do with the one cited here, so it remains your personal strawman and nothing more.

  15. kid9 says that my argument is weakened by citing the Joe Horn incident because that was unrelated, occurred years ago, and occurred in a different state. On the contrary, these two incidents are unrelated only in the same sense that, say, my right and left shoes are unrelated. They may be meant for different feet, but there are many more similarities (size, color, material, style, cost, etc.) than differences. It's the same with these two burglary cases each of which ended with killings.

    Further, I don't see how the passage of four or five years since the Horn case impacts the truth of my argument, nor do I admit that their having occurred in different states is relevant.

    kid9 then spends the bulk of his comment arguing a point on which we agree: it must often impossible to be sure what the intentions of an intruder are.

    What I do say is that the atmosphere created in our country by 2A ideologues (that it's desirable for everyone from teenagers to nonagenarians to carry arms, that it's natural to be willing to use those weapons in conflicts, that we would be safer if the country were absolutely bristling with firearms as in, say, Iraq or Pakistan, and that anyone who feels differently doesn't love freedom), that atmosphere, I feel, is poisonous, barbaric, dangerous, and diminishes respect for us in the rest of the world.

  16. Alan said: "kid9 then spends the bulk of his comment arguing a point on which we agree: it must often impossible to be sure what the intentions of an intruder are"

    But the key difference is under those circumstances, I give the benefit of the doubt to the victim, whereas you seem to be siding with the criminal. The use of self defense doesn't require a victim to know what his attacker is thinking or planning. Especially not when he has a gun trained on him or his door is being broken down.

    It doesn't take a genius to see that the Horn case and this current case are completely unrelated. They happened at different times, in different states, to different people. But most importantly, the involved completely different circumstances. Horn went after the unarmed criminals. In this case, the homeowner didn't go after anyone. The armed criminal went after him.

    Do you really not see what a huge difference that makes? The homeowner wasn't looking for anyone to shoot or hoping anyone would break in. He was in his own house minding his own business when an armed felon came trying to break through his door. Under those circumstances, deadly force is perfectly justified. To his credit, the chief of police made that very clear.