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, January 9, 2012

It's the victims stupid..

My heart and mind has been filled with the stories of victims of gun violence over the past few days. You see, that is what this whole thing is all about- there are too many victims. You can see the coverage of the many vigils held all over the country at this site. And these stories and news reports are just a few as others are yet to come. They are emotional and powerful testimonies to the stories of those who are survivors- those who are left behind when a loved one or friend is shot to death. Thousands of people all over the county attended vigils.

At the vigil in Duluth, several people came forward to ring the bell in memory of a loved one who had never before come to one of our events or come forward. But this time was different. I think it had something to do with the circumstances of the Tucson shooting that so affected the psyche of our country. The fact that a sitting Congresswoman was the target of an assassin and that 6 innocent people were killed, including a 9 year old girl just resonated. The fact that the shooter was a young deranged man with a gun that had several high capacity magazines that he attempted to reload in order to do more damage just resonated with the public. The fact that Gabrielle Giffords is still alive and in the news keeps the issue of this tragic shooting in front of the public. The fact that Giffords has such obvious injuries and disabilities caused by a bullet to her brain is a reminder of the damage that bullets can cause. Here is Giffords yesterday, struggling to say the Pledge of Allegiance at a Tucson vigil in memory of the victims of the shooting:

No guns or gunshots here. Just candles and music. Peace. It reminds us that we have too many victims of shootings. At every vigil, there were reminders to those present and the local press that people are being shot to death every day in numbers that are just unacceptable. The fact that President Obama has done nothing and Congress has been intimidated by the powerful gun lobby has not gone unnoticed by the public. The public is waiting for something to be done about the many many victims of bullets. The vigils were powerful in their visuals and their emotional content. The media noticed. The media came. The media reported and the media understood what the stories meant.

And this, my friends, is how the gun rights extremists reacted to a nation wide vigil with thousands of victims and others lighting candles and ringing bells. Cynical, stupid, wrong-headed, rude, twisted, ridiculous.... These folks think of themselves as clever and want to get into the faces of victims and gun violence prevention organizations. It is not funny. And they are uncomfortable when the focus is on victims. I wonder why? They don't like victims because victims is what this is all about. There are too many victims. The video above is so immature and ridiculous as to make the public wonder what kind of country we live in. These folks could have just sat back and shut up. But they needed to mock. They felt a need to try to call attention to themselves. If they think this helped, they are sadly mistaken. And they are wrong. Victims matter. If the public begins to realize just how many victims there are, they might just demand common sense from elected leaders. If elected leaders truly realize the impact of gun violence on our American society, they might just act. So mocking victims and making fun of serious and emotional vigils is just plain tasteless.

Many of my readers love to mock me and are rude and in my face. They love to argue with me and others who are speaking out for victims. This behavior is beneath common sense and civility. I will not publish any comments attacking victims on this or any other post on my blog. There are no arguments about the fact that there are too many victims of gun violence. When 32 people a day are murdered with guns, there is nothing to argue about. When 30,000 people a year die from gunshot injuries in America, there is nothing to argue about. There are too many victims.


  1. Thank you for leading such a successful vigil, japete. Here in Oregon, we had around 50 attend in Eugene and another 54 in Portland. The event was very moving, and I am proud to have been a part of it. Victims families and friends attended, as did the Mayors of each city. In the arguments about rights and laws, the victims tend to get lost. The deaths of innocents are inconvenient to the "more guns in more places" arguments of the pro-gun guys. We cannot let their tragedies go unheard, or let their deaths be in vain, so that commonsense legislation can be enacted to reduce further shootings.

    A link to my posting on the Eugene vigil:

  2. Some of my readers seem to have forgotten about what I said about publishing comments to this post. So far, no comments from the gun rights extremists are worth publishing. Come on guys, you can do better. "Dancing in the blood of victims"? Really guys. How rude and insensitive. I rest my case about everything I said in my post. I don't believe you care about victims and are not interested in preventing shootings.

  3. I am a victim of violence. I was standing in a parking lot, traumatized with my 7 year old daughter. It was not a good day. I participated in the candle light vigil along with my gun because if, God forbid, another awful man comes at me, I have no intention of taking a chance that the next time he just might get my daughter. I hate violence. I hate being a victim. I hate be vulnerable, but what I hate more is having someone tell me I don't have the right to fight back. This was not a mocking. It was a peaceful way to say it takes more than a candle to stop the bad guy.

  4. No one says you don't have a right to fight back. If you truly believe there are too many victims and actually lit a candle for that reason, then you believe what I believe. Otherwise, you are mocking. No one said candles would stop anything. You totally missed the point of the whole thing- on purpose I would add.

  5. I agree "Dancing in the blood of victims" is rude.
    so let me ask a more pointed question.

    I think the candle light vigil to remember the victims of this tragedy is fine, and her husband made it a point to say that with better mental health treatment and prevention we might not be here today.

    My question is how do you justify taking a long term supporter of gun rights and someone that has never indicated a change in that stance even after her attack and bring them into your fight?

    It seems as if, by invoking her name, you think you gain some sort of credibility. Do you not see how we might perceive that as craven?

    Did you ask her if she supports your goal to tighten gun laws?

    Did you ask if she MINDS that you use her tragedy in a manner that she might very well OBJECT to?

    She is on the record as being against at least some of the idea you support.

    She was there to honor the victims of this attack, not seeking the public eye to push an agenda.

    Did you even stop to think she might not want you use her video and image or did you just 'assume' it's ok since she was a public figure and shot by a crazy guy in a situation that you believe strengthens you cause?

    Compare this to Sara Brady and her husband. Because of what happened to them, they became advocates of gun control. They put themselves in the public eye as examples of what can happen.


    Did the Representative do the same? Don't you find it the least bit tasteless to make the assumption that you can use her situation to further your own agenda, without her permission? Without even knowing if she agrees AT ALL?

    I do.

    1. Uh, 18E (infantry, for those who don't know), Congresswoman Giffords' appearance at a vigil suggests that she does indeed want her story used to help reduce gun violence.

      You're saying that people who work to reduce the level of gun violence in this country -- can't talk about tragic gun violence in this country. This is of course ridiculous, and no less so because you prefer to talk about this in a different way.

      Victims of crime deserve respect and dignity, and this includes protection of their privacy. But they own no copyright on their story, and have no standing to tell others they cannot use it to discuss the underlying causes as a policy matter in a political context.

      Pointing out the problem: that an important person got shot, and several people died (including a little girl) because an unstable wacko was able to get a firearm, ammunition, and magazines so easily, and that he then used them to facilitate a high-casualty assault in fact gives them the highest form of respect: recognition that others should be protected from the same preventable tragedy.

  6. Apparently you forgot that 6 people were killed last Jan. 8th, some of whose families were involved in our vigils. You seem to have forgotten the many other people for whom the bell was rung and for whom candles were lit on Sunday. Jan. 8th was the anniversary of a horrific national tragedy that highlights our lax gun laws. The vigils on Sunday were to call attention to the way too many victims of gun violence. Gabby Giffords story is known to the world. There were videos and photographs of her plastered all over the media all over this country calling attetntion to the one year anniversary and many of them to our lax gun laws as well. Sorry you are uncomfortable with it.

  7. 18E, if that is really an MOS you can lay claim to, you should know that a firearm does not guarantee safety. How many of your fellow infantrymen lie dead despite the fact that they not only carried firearms, but were trained in their use?

    Their guns didn't save them.

    How can you assume that untrained civilians will fare any better?

    Even more saliently, how can you lump gun violence victims into this sort of category: murderers, rapists, thieves, muggers, robbers, home-invaders, and other scumbags?

    Did you forget that your poster girl, Meleanie Hain, was a victim of gun violence?

    We don't claim to represent all the people who have lost family members to gun violence, but there are those of us who know that guns are deadly weapons.

    As such, they need to be tightly regulated.

  8. Well, let's just disarm every law abiding citizen then. That will leave just criminals with the guns. That will make us sooo much safer. How many dictators throughout history have used gun control to commit genocide? You want less victims? Teach people how to take care of themselves instead of looking to the government to do it for you.

  9. I believe it should truly be about the victims of violence, but not just by to tool of a gun (which is what it is, a tool). I believe we need to concentrate on stopping violence of ALL kinds, whether it is a gun, a knife, a baseball bat, a car, or fists.
    We as a society need to start enforcing laws and stop using excuses for people that commit acts of violence. We have become a society of blamers and excuse makers. It is never anyone’s fault that they make wrong choices, but it is because they came from a disadvantaged home, or they weren’t hugged enough as a kid. People need to start having to do the time, when they do the crime. No more excuses!
    I am a wife, a mother, a student, a student teacher, and I am a gunnie! I take my responsibilities very seriously and do not want my rights taken away because of those that abuse their rights.

  10. I couldn't disagree with you more.

  11. No one is going to take your rights away Country Tea.

  12. The point of the pro-2nd amendment "vigil" was NOT to take light of the victims, I assure you. The point to be made is that everyone has the right to protect themselves and their families. And yes, Gun Control WILL take away that right. You can't say that's acting paranoid as we all can list some countries where that right is no more. Let's put this whole thing into perspective shall we?

    One person dies in the US every 13 minutes in a Car Accident- 115 killed each day. 1.2 Million killed World Wide each year- and these stats are from 2005 if you get my drift. Were's the vigil for that? Are we trying to ban cars?

  13. Oh I get your drift all right. Your drift is to minimize victims of gun deaths and injuries and deflect the real problem by talking about car accidents instead. Gun deaths are among the leading cause of death for many age categories. Guns are the weapon of choice for homicides and suicides. 32 people a day are murdered with guns. 80 people a day die from gunshot injuries in homicides, suicides and accidents. Almost as many people have been murdered by guns in 6 months as the total of our military killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is my drift and that is why I am doing this. Why your side decided to be sleazy enough to mock victims of gun deaths is beyond me. It was offensive and there are no excuses.

  14. 18 Echo/ beatone. You will have to take up your disagreement with Laci in another forum. It won't be on mine.

  15. Japete,

    Yes, six people were killed last year in Tucson. What I lament, is that someone that might have brought a gun with the, in a peaceful, lawful manner, might have been able to defend themself to survive, and limit the number of victims.

    And that is where we differ. I see gun control as idealistic. In the real world, the US Supreme Court has held that no citizen has an expectation of protection by police from harm -- that police, enforcement of the law, is a statistical operation. Police, and laws, make communities safer by picking the most glaring, the most egregious -- or most expedient, like speeding -- infractions to pursue. Statistically this works, for the most part, for communities, but does absolutely nothing for the individual, nor does it help to limit the scope of crimes when they occur. Criminals get to choose when and where they choose to break the law, not lawyers, not police, not communities, not citizens.

    I note that making colleges, shopping malls, schools and post offices "disarmed victim zones" hasn't driven gun violence away from them. Instead, it seems that mass shooters tend to find disarmed victim zones (no guns allowed) inviting places to stage their crime.

    I also note that communities that have mandated all homeowners to own and possess a firearm, and states that have implemented concealed and open carry programs for gun possession, have each seen declines in all violent crimes. Well, according to recent FBI reports.

  16. Let's dispel the first myth first. There was a man with a concealed gun at the Tucson mall. He had his hand on the gun but didn't shoot because he couldn't tell who was the shooter and who were the good folks. He almost made a mistake and he admitted to that. He was not able to help out. What stopped the shooter were several folks who grabbed the magazine from Loughner.

    The second one- "mandating" people to have guns? Are you nuts? I thought you guys didn't like government interference or anyone mandating anyone. Whether or not there are gun free zones has nothing whatsoever to do with shootings in those places. Shootings happen everywhere- even in places where people carry guns. And most of the time, the people with guns can't or don't stop the shooting and they sure as heck do not prevent them. There is no linear relationship between states with conceal and carry laws and declines in violent crime. In fact, in states with looser gun laws, there tend to be more shootings rather than fewer. I see your point of view as unrealistic and idealistic in that you guys have a tainted idea that you can defend yourselves wherever you are with guns. That has not proven to be true. Actually people are more likely to be shot by the guns they have for self defense than to use them in self defense. We differ.