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.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

We remember Dr. Martin Luther King's struggle for non-violence

In the midst of squabbling about gun rights and victims, we should take a few minutes to remember a great man- Martin Luther King Jr. King changed the course of American history. His life was taken, as we all know, by a man with a gun. Sadly, these types of assassinations of political leaders have happened way too often over time. What Dr. King stood against was violence and yet he, himself, died in a violent way. His assassin, James Earl Ray, a criminal on the run, bought a rifle and a scope from a supply company in Alabama. To this day, there are those who believe that Ray did not shoot Martin Luther King. What we know for sure is that Martin Luther King Jr. died of a gunshot wound to his head.

Last year, when the Tucson shooting came so close before the yearly celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, many thought about the coincidence of an attempted assassination of a public figure by a crazed gunman and the assassination of King. This article written by Representative Bobby Rush of Chicago, is a reminder of how gun violence affects us all. From the article:
When my colleague, the brilliant and beloved Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was targeted by a gunman on January 8th, in that moment that small, idyllic shopping plaza in Tucson, Arizona became America’s latest ‘Birmingham.’ The brazen, unprovoked attack in broad daylight that left Giffords critically injured, six people dead—including a nine-year-old child—and more than a dozen seriously wounded evoked the outpouring of positive spirit from a shocked nation. In that moment and in the days that followed, King’s view that “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” was the sentiment that held sway in our nation. Our shared grief and concerns for those who survived and those who lost their lives was powerfully on display last Wednesday night at the memorial service where more than 30 million viewers watched as the President lent a soothing voice of comfort and solace to a grateful nation. But what about tomorrow, and the next day and the next? What happens when the TV cameras turn away from Tucson? What happens when the news media and much of the rest of our culture simply overlooks the shattered lives of thousands of grieving families throughout our nation who, each and every day, lose a loved one to gun violence? 
These poignant words are what the struggle for common sense gun legislation and common sense in our thinking about the way in which gun deaths and injuries have become such a part of the American landscape. Gun violence does affect us all in one way or the other. Representative Rush's words are powerful as he invokes his colleagues to join him in the fight to make our country safer from the daily carnage in our communities:
He would not be silent like so many leaders—on the political left and the right—who continue to refuse to stand up to the powerful and well financed interests in our country who believe hand guns should be readily available with little to no background checks. A common sense measure like this might have prevented the Tucson gunman from damaging or destroying so many lives.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” 
My prayer on the day we mark the life and meaning of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is that we heed his words once again and engage in the work necessary to put an end to the carnage wrought by gun violence. 
I, for one, will do my part to make a difference.
Thank you Representative Rush for your words of one year ago. Nothing has happened to change the silence yet. Some of us are working hard to make a difference. On this day to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his greatness and his focus on the poor and non-violence, let us take a moment to reflect on what is possible rather than what is a barrier to change. Dr. King did not let those barriers stop him from moving forward. In King's own words:
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
There were many other words about non-violence spoken by Dr. King. I like this one because of the reference to using non-violence as a weapon rather than the real thing which actually wounds and kills. But I will end with these even more famous words from Martin Luther King Jr.:
Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.


  1. Such a powerful man, and such an elegant message, earned with the blood and hard work of decades of fighting oppression with non-violence. A true hero for America.

    What a sad and tragic ending. Those of us who work for non-violence will always have haters who want to perpetuate their systems of violence and who will stop at nothing to quiet our voices. But we will prevail at all costs, just as King did.

    My blog post on this:

  2. Yet even MLK understood the right to self-defense, and in 1956 had applied (and you'll be delighted to know, was denied.) for a concealed weapons permit.

    1. I do know that. Here is an article about MLK and his guns and the fact that he was targeted for assassination by the KKK and others. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-winkler/mlk-and-his-guns_b_810132.html

      Here is a good case for someone who actually needed a permit to carry.

    2. Here is a good case for someone who is an example of why there should not be a need for a permit. If one is subject to persecution by gov't approved threats, that gov't WILL deny you protection. The government should NOT be the arbitrator that decides whether or not a citizen can defend themselves.

      "readily available with little to no background checks. A common sense measure like this might have prevented the Tucson gunman from damaging or destroying so many lives."

      Loughner went through ALL the background checks and the Sheriff's dept KNEW he had issues. The appropriate LEO's did not do THEIR jobs and put him into a hospital.

    3. I'm not sure what you are saying here and I'm not sure I really want to know. It is the Arizona law that is the problem here, not LE.

  3. Here is another quote from MLK concerning guns- ‎"How could I serve as one of the leaders of a nonviolent movement and at the same time use weapons of violence for my personal protection? ... I was much more afraid in Montgomery when I had a gun in my house. When I decided that I couldn’t keep a gun, I came face-to-face with the question of death and I dealt with it. From that point on, I no longer needed a gun nor have I been afraid. Had we become distracted by the question of my safety we would have lost the moral offensive and sunk to the level of our oppressors." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    1. and here is the Dalai Lama's advice I think we can agree he is know as a non leader of a nonviolent movement.

      the Dalai Lama said "If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." (May 15, 2001, The Seattle Times) speaking at the "Educating Heart Summit" in Portland, Oregon, when asked by a girl how to react when a shooter takes aim at a classmate.

    2. Anthony, for Pete's sake. Why did you bring this into the conversation? Here is what he said:" The Dalai Lama said acts of violence should be remembered, and then forgiveness should be extended to the perpetrators.

      But if someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, he said, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. Not at the head, where a fatal wound might result. But at some other body part, such as a leg."

      We've gone over this before. You guys need to find some new or different arguments. These are just not working.