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.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Is it O.K. to say anything?

The proponents of gun rights seem willing to say anything to get their way. For example, a commenter on this blog, Thomas he calls himself, who has been long banned from comments on my blog decided he just couldn't resist. So he sent me yet another hateful comment on my post It's a guy thing. Apparently something in the post just set him off and he just had to intimidate me once again. Here are his comments in response to my post and subsequent comments. I'll let you decide for yourself if it's O.K. for people to make comments like this on a public blog:
"His religious beliefs should not be foisted on the rest of us.
Then don't vote for him you bell ringing moron!!!! 
Because we have been having the pseudo religious beliefs of the jugeared wonder-tard, Baraky Husien Obambi for the last 3-1/2 years....
There was that very difficult, was it a little beyond your limited/retarded mental capacity, DON'T VOTE FOR HIM YOU DUMBASS!!!!! Or better yet, register republicna and vote for the republicna that you think will lose to Obambi.....
The leadership of some religious organizations were invited to speak at the congressional hearings about the President of the United States violating the first amendment of the Constitution by Executive Order and you are busy, the statist moron that you are, bleating about why didn't you invite some women.......
Good gravy but you are one pin-headed statist EFF-tard.....
Please go piss up a rope again you bowl-cut polly-anna statist moron....."
Please note the racist and misogynistic implications in the remarks. Please note, as did another blogger friend, the comment referring to President Obama. Also note that much of it is inane and even ridiculous. I was offended but on second thought, these remarks were almost amusing in their immaturity and misplaced anger. These are school yard bully tactics. Is it O.K. to write things like this? (spelling and grammar errors are his, not mine) And further, after I posted his comment to show my readers the lengths to which the pro gun guys will go, he seemed slightly upset that I had posted his comment. I suggested that he shouldn't write stuff like this if he doesn't want it to go public. Because once it goes public, it exposes an ugly side of the gun rights advocates. It exposes people who are so extreme in their views and outside of the mainstream that they should be considered irrelevant. Their views have been given credence for far too long. It's time to put an end to this method of intimidation long used to stop reasonable gun laws from being passed and to intimidate anyone who gets in the way of their agenda.

Yesterday on the floor of the Minnesota Senate, the Shoot First bill was taken up. At the end of the day, the bill was passed on a 40-23 vote and is headed to the Governor's office after a brief stop at the House regarding an amendment. So now we wait to see what the Governor will do about this bill. But as I was watching the remarks of the proponents of the bill, I was struck by how they were willing to just say anything to get support for this extreme bill. For example, if you look at the video clip contained in this article in the Star Tribune, you can watch Senator Gretchen Hoffman say that she needed to be able to expand her right to shoot someone on her property because after all, she was a middle aged woman who was not as fit as she once was. And what would happen if a 25 year old man dared to walk onto her property ( she lives in a rural area)? She wouldn't know his intentions so she needed this ability to defend herself from someone even though she would have no idea if there were evil intentions. It just blew me away to think that she wants permission to blow someone away with her gun if he wanders onto her property. Really? Is this what we want in our communities? Is this O.K?

Another Senator claimed that a jury would decide if someone using this proposed law for self defense should be found guilty. What? The wording in the law says that these shooting incidents would be granted immunity from prosecution. Can you just say anything? One Senator claimed this bill is not about self defense in the home but on the streets. Others claimed that this is all about their second amendment rights. I guess they forgot ( maybe conveniently) that the 2008 Supreme Court Heller decision and subsequent cases about the second amendment clearly state that the second amendment does not grant an individual a right to self defense outside of the home. People do have the ability to defend themselves outside their home. You are legally protected if someone is threatening you with great bodily harm, and you don't have an alternative, you can kill them. It's not a right, however. It's an exception to the murder law, and people legitimately acting in self-defense are protected. When confronted by several Senators in opposition, the proponents even had to admit that Minnesota law already allows for justifiable self defense in the home without having to retreat. So what is this all about anyway? This is not about self defense or the second amendment. This is about the NRA's extreme agenda to allow for anyone to carry loaded guns in public anywhere they want and to be able to shoot someone as a first resort instead of a last resort. Any claims to the contrary are not true. And then there was this claim that the government should not be allowed to take guns away during national emergencies. Hurricane Katrina was brought forth. And, from the linked article above:
Hoffman said she was gravely concerned about reports that law enforcement agencies confiscated some firearms after Hurricane Katrina. "One of the worst things you can do, for people who are already stressed, in a chaotic situation ... is to take their guns away," Hoffman said. "They don't have a way to defend themselves."
What? Can you just say anything? When people are under stress in national emergencies, it is the opposite. Guns are just not a good idea. Senator Harrington, former St. Paul Police Chief, brought up the fact that during the 1965 Los Angeles riots, the rioters raided gun shops and stole the guns. Should the government be allowed to seize those guns? Do we want everyone running around on our streets with guns shooting up the population? Is that O.K.?

This Oklahoma Congressman thought he could just say anything when he noted that maybe he needed to shoot a few Senators to get them to vote for the House budget. Really? He didn't get away with it. He has had to apologize. What is more worrisome here is that he made the comments in the first place. I just love it that people can say anything and then try to get away with apologizing if they offended anyone because they didn't mean it. NOT. From the article:
Sullivan's comments drew criticism from U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., a longtime proponent of stricter gun laws whose husband was killed and her son severely injured during a mass shooting on a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993.
"Mr. Sullivan's remarks show a staggering insensitivity to the families of 30-plus Americans that are killed by gunfire every single day," McCarthy said in a statement. "This kind of rhetoric helps illustrate just how hard it is to pass sensible laws to reduce gun violence in the Republican-controlled House."
The vice chairman of the Tulsa Democratic Party said Sullivan's comment "exceeds the limits of poor taste by miles."
"Metaphor or not, your words suggested to the community that violence is a solution if you do not agree with an elected official's point of view," Michael Whelan wrote in a letter to Sullivan. "While the political discourse in Washington may be ugly these days, it is incumbent upon our leaders to set the example and to calm the toxic firestorms brewing within their perspective parties. Your statements poured fuel on that fire."
There is a common thread here. The remarks and comments made show an insensitivity to victims and to violence. They ramp up the divisiveness occurring in our county and add to an atmosphere that promotes violent solutions to difficult problems. It reminds me of the second amendment remedies espoused by Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle. It reminds me of Sarah Palin's now infamous gun sight images set on a map of certain elected officials before the 2010 election. And, of course, the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords soon after reminded us all that Giffords was placed in one of those cross hair images. Words matter. Palin was not responsible for the shooting, of course, but when hyperbole and violent talk and images become part of our national rhetoric, it sharpens and roughens the national discourse. It also reminds me of the many offensive comments made on blogs and articles written by people in the gun violence prevention movement or any article posted on-line. If you read comments on the articles it doesn't take long before the extremist rhetoric takes over the comments section and we are down in the weeds with rude, offensive, name calling and demeaning comments.

On Valentine's Day, the National Gun Victims Action Council launched a boycott against Starbucks because of its' refusal to ban guns in stores all over the country. This started when the Open Carry movement in California and Washington state decided to carry guns into Starbucks stores and other stores in their area. Some of the stores- California Pizza Kitchen and Peet's Coffee &Tea responded by posting signs banning guns. Starbucks refused even though the organization does not allow guns in their corporate offices. They claim they are just following the laws of the states where they are located not admitting that the laws allow for private businesses to post signs banning guns in private businesses. So leave it to the extremists in the pro gun movement to make a mountain out of a molehill. They decided to purposely flaunt the carrying of their guns into Starbucks stores. And not only that, they have been posting photos and comments on the Starbucks Facebook page. You can see them here. What is the matter with Starbucks for allowing this to continue? This movement is actually backfiring on the gun lobby and even one of their own recognized it and encouraged them to stop. But no matter. They have continued because they believe they can just say and do anything. Don't bother them with civil discourse or responsibility. No one gets in their way. It this O.K.? Where is common sense?

32 comments:

  1. http://www.timesherald.com/article/20120223/NEWS01/120229792&pager=full_story

    One barber shoots another barber in an argument. It seems like he was trying to claim self defense? Hmmm.

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  2. Seriously, Thomas. Give it a rest. You're done here. Go find someone else to bully and harass.

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  3. More bad news for "law abiding" gun permit holders- http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/02/a-matter-for-donnelly-do-not-post-yet.html

    Republican CA Assemblyman tried to bring loaded gun through airport screening. Oops.

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  4. This is where I fear you want to take us. http://www.therecord.com/iphone/news/article/676150--man-shocked-by-arrest-after-daughter-draws-picture-of-gun-at-school

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    1. What makes you think anything I do would lead to something like this? You guys are paranoid. This was an unfortunate incident and sounds like over reaction to me. I wonder why that little girl said what she said, though? They may have been erring on the side of caution given recent shootings in schools by kids as young as 9. Schools understand that gun talk in schools is not to be ignored, for good reason.

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    2. The Superintendent explains why he did what he did. I wonder if these co-parents will Co-pay for college

      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/a-canadian-educators-odd-response-to-media-attention-on-the-gun-sketch-story/

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  5. Remember folks.....only 'well-trained, professional law enforcement personnel should be allowed the "privelage" to carry firearms.' Like this guy....


    "A Massachusetts district attorney says an off-duty sergeant shot a police officer from a nearby town, then returned to the scene and killed himself as authorities closed in.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/25/massachusetts-off-duty-sergeant-shoots-officer-then-kills-self/?test=latestnews

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    1. The statement you made was yours, not mine. Wasn't it interesting that this shooting took place at a Starbucks store?

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  6. japete writes:
    "The proponents of gun rights seem willing to say anything to get their way."

    I'm only willing to state what is factual - and what I feel can be backed up my facts.

    I do wonder though if those opposed to legislation like the recently passed HF1467 here in Minnesota are willing to do the same? This bill has been highly misrepresented by those that support gun control.

    "It just blew me away to think that she wants permission to blow someone away with her gun if he wanders onto her property. Really? Is this what we want in our communities? Is this O.K?"

    This action as you describe it would be an unlawful use of deadly force under the revised law - just as it would be illegal today.

    "The wording in the law says that these shooting incidents would be granted immunity from prosecution."

    Immunity only applies if the conditions within the statute apply.

    "You are legally protected if someone is threatening you with great bodily harm, and you don't have an alternative, you can kill them. It's not a right, however. It's an exception to the murder law, and people legitimately acting in self-defense are protected. "

    Minnesota law requires retreat outside of the home - which is not, I believe, conducive to a proper right of self defense.

    Minnesota law, as written, does not apply to detached buildings or elsewhere on your property - only inside your abode. The revised law passed by the legislature fixes this issue.

    "When people are under stress in national emergencies, it is the opposite. Guns are just not a good idea. Senator Harrington, former St. Paul Police Chief, brought up the fact that during the 1965 Los Angeles riots, the rioters raided gun shops and stole the guns. Should the government be allowed to seize those guns? "

    In a national emergency, government should not have the authority to seize lawfully owned firearms.

    The point you make above does not apply. A firearm in one's possession illegally, such as if they were taken in an act of theft, can still be seized.

    Can gun control proponents just say anything? What you're claiming isn't at all backed up by the actual text of the statute.

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    1. You missed the point, Bryan. I am saying that you can't back up what you are saying with the language in the bill. We disagree.

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  7. I know that some of my readers don't believe the Shoot First will result in what could actually happen. Check out this political cartoon from the Star Tribune for how it could play out in real life if it is signed into law. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/140480293.html

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  8. japete writes: "I know that some of my readers don't believe the Shoot First will result in what could actually happen. Check out this political cartoon from the Star Tribune for how it could play out in real life if it is signed into law. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/140480293.html"

    This action, as depicted in this cartoon would still be illegal if the governor signs HF1467, just as it is illegal now.

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    1. I don't think so, Bryan. It is just like Senator Hoffman's example. If someone inside the house feels threatened by a campaign worker or a pollster, that person will be allowed to shoot and be immune from prosecution under the presumption that the person intended harm. It's the word of the person shooting against a now possibly dead person who can't speak for him or herself. The prime example is the Japanese student on Halloween. We don't need any more proof than cases that have already occurred in other states where the law is in place.

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    2. If I'm not mistaken, the man in that case was acquitted

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    3. Yes he was. That's the point.

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    4. Can you back up the cartoon with language from the bill?

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    5. No need. The cartoon says it all.

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  9. In response to those who think I have no reason to say what I say- we can slice and dice the wording of the new law and we won't know with total certainty how prosecutors and judges will apply it unless/until it becomes law.

    The Shoot First bill adopts a subjective standard of threat, and therein lies its pernicious nature. And this is what will make prosecutors' lives so difficult: how do you disprove a state of mind? It should be hard to kill another, not easier.

    The bottom line is that we don't need this law. Self defense is allowed without duty to retreat inside the home. No one has been charged with a crime in justifiable self defense in Minnesota. We don't need people shooting at others outside of the home with a presumption clause to protect them from prosecution. This bill would make it way too easy to use a gun when it may not be necessary. Senator Hoffman's description of a younger man entering her property with some sort of intent that even she may not know would allow shooting someone before you know intent. This is a dangerous precedent. The difference between us that you guys think a gun should be used as a first resort. I believe it should be used as a last resort.

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  10. "No one has been charged with a crime in justifiable self defense in Minnesota"
    That is because you do not get convicted in a justified shooting by definition. The real question should be how many people have been charged with murder in a self defense shooting to be found not guilty.

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  11. That's a myth on your part. You can't answer that question. Neither could the Senators on the floor on Thursday. Can you answer that last question or did you just make that up?

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  12. Justifiable homicide by definition can not also be murder. That is a fact. Here is the WIKI article on justifiable homicide
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justifiable_homicide

    While not in MN here is a recent example. I wish I had access to a court database to find more.

    http://thecabin.net/news/local/2011-07-29/waller-collapses-murder-trial?page=1#.T0v1gIcgeYY

    and the video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoALOGnl76A&feature=related

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    1. Why did you send me this? It proves my case? Was the guy jailed? No. He was allowed to go free. He was found guilty. Next?

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  13. Actually he was found not guilty of murder I guess he was by default found guilty of justified homicide. He was also jailed that is what they tend to do to people when charged with murder.

    You asked for a example where someone was charged with murder and found not guilty in a self defense shooting. When he was found not guilty it magically became a justified shooting. This is why your no one has been convicted of justified homicide is nonsensical.

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    1. Anthony- your logic, or lack thereof, just amazes me.

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    2. I seem to feel the same way as you. There must be some misunderstanding between us the each of us are missing. It would be nice if a lawyer could respond with actual case law or untangle the misunderstanding we are having.

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    3. There really isn't a misunderstanding Anthony. No one in Minnesota has been found guilty of justifiable homicide and put into prison for it. The case you sent to me was not a good example for you. The man was released once he had a jury trial. In the Shoot First law, there will be immunity from prosecution and perhaps not even a trial. A jury should decide these cases if they warrant going to trial. The shooter should not get to be judge, jury and ( when someone is killed) executioner. That onus should not be subjective. The law we already have on the books should be the one we use, as you guys are always saying. It isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed.

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    4. You are correct you can not be imprisoned for a justifiable homicide.

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  14. Maybe I can help:

    No one has ever been convicted of “justifiable homicide” because justifiable homicide is not a crime. So your statement is always true, and doesn’t say much. If someone is serving a prison sentence for killing someone in self-defense it is because the prosecutors sought a murder conviction and got it.

    I think another point Anthony was trying to make is that people are quite often arrested, jailed, and put on trial for murder for cases that end up being justifiable homicide (losing their freedom during that time). Strong castle doctrine helps favor the innocent in the balance of the justice system, and would prevent some of those from going to trial. I know you disagree and would rather the balance shift towards easy convictions. That is just a philosophy difference between us.

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    1. That is one of the more reasonable responses ever made on this blog. Be that as it may, you are presuming all of these folks to be innocent because they claim they are. I prefer the system we already have given the fact that one could count on one hand cases like your example. It's not broken.

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    2. We are all innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof should fall on the state to prove murder, rather than on a defender to prove justifiable homicide. I know there's a famous dead guy quote regarding how our justice system should allow some large number of guilty men to go free rather than imprisoning one innocent man. Is this too high of a cost for true justice in your opinion, especially in a case involving a potential DGU? What if the defender uses a katana, baseball bat or claw hammer? If you stop and think about it for a moment, any amount of time spent in jail awaiting trial, is a hardship that no innocent person should ever have to endure, and at the very least it is time that that individual will never have back.

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  15. Congratulations for the moment.


    http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/141497673.html

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