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.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's a guy thing....

The last few days have not been so good for the guys in America. Yesterday a panel of guys came to a House hearing, led by Republican Darrell Issa, entitled, " “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State.  Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”" Really? No bias there. So whose freedoms are being trampled here? This panel of guys were going to let the country know about why some women should be prevented from getting the health care most women will now be getting under the Affordable Care Act. This, of course, if you have been paying attention, involves free access to birth control bills and other forms of contraception. Last Friday, a compromise was struck that should have ended this kerfuffle. But, of course, the Republican extremists are not letting it go. Like bulldogs, they have refused to let a controversial issue die. This is not a winning issue for the Republicans. 99% of women have used contraception at some point in their lives. Even 98% of Catholic women have used contraception even though the Catholic church doesn't condone it. The majority of Americans think this controversy is bunk. But never mind, the guys have proceeded down a path leading to the cliff.

Thank goodness, common sense broke out at the hearing when the Democratic women on the committee walked out on Chairman Issa. Good for them. From the article:
Ranking committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had asked Issa to include a female witness at the hearing, but the Chairman refused, arguing that “As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”
Ms. Fluke was most certainly an appropriate witness. She just wasn't a convenient witness to what the guys wanted to hear. And she wasn't a "fluke." They didn't want to hear the story from the (Catholic) Georgetown University law student about her friend who was denied birth control pills to treat a condition leading to the growth of cysts on her ovaries. When the student could no longer afford to pay for the medication herself, a large tumor grew and eventually led to the removal of the ovary. But don't bother the guys with the facts. This photo, courtesy of Think Progress, was all over the Internet yesterday.

So I have been thinking about the guy thing. Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive VP, made his now famous sentence, "...the guys with the guns make the rules" at the CPAC conference a few years ago. This he attributed to the "founding fathers". The guys. With guns. Making the rules. Hmmmm. Let's think about that for a while. First of all, apparently there were no founding sisters or women involved in the beginnings of our democracy. Who made the rules back then? Who got to decide about the wording of our Constitution? As Congresswoman Caroline Maloney said at the hearing yesterday, "What I want to know is where are the women?" It really is an affront to over half of the American population that the men believe they know better about health care and safety issues for women.

Remember now, these guys ( and a very small group of women) with guns make up about 2-3% of Americans eligible to own and carry guns. Should they get to make the rules for the rest of us? Should the guys in the photo, above, get to make the rules for the 99% of women who have or will use contraception? How about if a panel of women decided that vasectomies should not be paid for for men? Can you imagine the outcry? There is something very cynical and ridiculous about the world view of people who think they get to make the rules for the rest of us. This is a representative democracy. At the least, everyone should be at the table and facts should be a part of that discussion.

The guys with the guns and those they have intimidated into believing their world view, have passed laws in 49 states now allowing some form of carrying concealed weapons around in public. When the laws passed, these guys convinced legislators that we would all be safer if they were allowed to carry their guns into every nook and cranny of our communities. Some of them may have mentioned that this would also make they and their families safer, thinking there is danger lurking everywhere they go. I don't know why the 97% or so of Americans who don't carry concealed or openly displayed guns don't feel that same danger risk. So for those folks who feel unsafe wherever they go, we have passed laws that allow for loaded guns in Starbucks stores, in churches, in colleges ( or so they hope) in grocery stores, malls, etc. Yes, shootings have happened in all of these places, mostly by crazed people who shouldn't have had guns in the first place. And even people with guns could likely not have stopped these shootings. Some commenters on this blog even wrote that they wouldn't try to protect the public in these cases. It would be every "man" for himself.

Instead, what I write about regularly on this blog is the incidents of permit holders and law abiding gun owners shooting other people in homes and public places all across our country. I even write about shootings of people with loaded guns on their person getting shot in surprise attacks such as the shooting of 4 police officers at a cafe in Tacoma, Washington. Just yesterday, I wrote a post about the most recent incidents of stupid and dangerous things done by law abiding gun owners/permit holders with loaded guns. And the breaking news of last night about a shooting at a Long Beach office building turns out to be a workplace violence situation. Again- not a random shooting but an immigration officer with a gun got into an argument with a co-worker and shot and injured him. Then he was shot to death by another agent with a gun. From the article:
The 5:54 p.m. Thursday shootings were described by the FBI's Steven Martinez as a case of "workplace violence involving two federal agents in their office space." He offered no other details about what led to the initial shooting.
But the Los Angeles Times, citing multiple law enforcement sources, reported Friday that the initial shots were fired by an agent at his supervisor during an unspecified dispute.
"Another agent, working nearby, intervened and fired his weapon to prevent additional rounds being fired at the victim," said Martinez, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office.
I guess we could say it was lucky the other agent had a gun to stop further damage. We could also say that arguments like this in the workplace or any place, for that matter, would not end in injuries and deaths without the presence of a gun. If the first guy hadn't taken out his gun in his moment of anger, the other guy wouldn't have had to get his gun out to shoot him dead to stop more carnage. These incidents are examples of the many senseless and avoidable gun deaths all over our country.

We just don't need loaded guns everywhere in our communities. They may, indeed, make us all less safe while providing their owners with a false sense of security. Instead, we can use other means to protect ourselves from crime. Police often recommend home security systems, more lighting around your home, keeping doors locked, dogs, other ways to keep safe in your home. Here's a good idea in my local paper today- getting citizens more involved in reporting crime. From the article:
Citizen Patrols have been effective in improving neighborhoods throughout the city because residents take an active role in looking out for their neighbors and bring their problems to the attention of police. Police are hoping it can work downtown, too.
Notice- no guns mentioned. This is a non confrontational method of preventing and reporting suspicious behavior that could lead to a crime. It won't stop or prevent all crime. It won't stop people from shooting each other in their homes in domestic disputes. It won't stop kids from picking up a loaded gun and shooting themselves or someone close to them. It won't stop a teen or adult from using a gun in a homicide. That will have to come from the owners of the loaded guns who should take more responsibility with weapons designed to kill people. That will also come from more awareness that guns are actually more likely to kill you or someone you love than to be used in self defense. It is a choice to have guns in the home for self defense or to carry them around in public places. Not many have chosen to do so as the numbers of gun owners are decreasing.

But back to my original point. As long as the guys get to make the rules in our country about issues concerning women, including contraception and guns, the country will not be in a better place. As long as some older Rick Santorum supporter gets to make an offensive joke about women using aspirin between their legs to prevent pregnancy, the country is not in a better place. It's not funny. As long as "jokes" like this are perpetrated by the guys, our country will not be a better place. As long as the guys with the guns make the rules we will not be in a better place. I'm very happy that the guys in my life are not like the guys I have described in this blog post. Change is coming. Women are speaking out and claiming their place in the important debates of our time.


  1. It's worth noting that recently, when I go to the shooting range, I see quite a few women there. And at my CCW class, there were quite a few women who signed up. "Women are speaking out" as you say, but several are speaking out on our side.

    1. "They are a small group."

      Who are going to become a large group. Once I have sufficient capital I plan on starting a firearms company that builds weapons designed for women.

  2. japete you are correct, women ARE taking their place, especially so in the shooting world. Many bloggers have noted that the rising number of female shooters is changing the way training is offered, and the focus of same. Shoot, the phenomenon of the pink gun has become so common it's now passe...

    Reference #1: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11107/1139929-358-0.stm
    Reference #2: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3197/is_n5_v43/ai_20901088/
    Reference #3: http://www.womenshooters.com/index.html

    Per my promise in an earlier (unpublished) comment, I have not used any sources from the NRA or ILA.

  3. Good grief. What's next? http://www.registerguard.com/web/newslocalnews/27626903-41/callaghan-shooting-state-hutchings-camping.html.csp

    " According to court documents, the victim told police O’Callaghan called him “one of those satanic” people after shooting him. Previous news stories linked the incident to radio evangelist Harold Camping’s failed prediction that Jesus Christ would appear on Earth on May 21, taking Christians to heaven to spare them the ensuing destruction of the world. The victim’s mother told The Register-Guard after the shooting that her son told her O’Callaghan was upset over “ribbing” by co-workers about his alleged dashed expectation that he would be “taken up in the Rapture” based on Camping’s prediction.

    But O’Callaghan “was not a believer in Harold Camping,” Hutchings said Thursday.

    “He has some solid Christian beliefs, including in the Rapture, but he will quote to you where it says in the Scriptures that no man knows the day that is coming,” the defense attorney said."

  4. New polling- http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72895.html

    Majority of Americans support the President's plan for contraception coverage in health care plan.

  5. And another "law abiding" gun permit holder with loaded gun threatening to shoot his boss at Walmart- http://www.rgj.com/article/20120216/NEWS01/302160043/1002

    just not a good idea. What's wrong with gun permit holders?

  6. "Majority of Americans support the President's plan for contraception coverage in health care plan."

    I also support the contraception coverage compromise.

    But before the President compromised -- did you support forcing major religious organizations to offer and pay for that which violates their long-held religious principles?

    1. To be honest, I was on the fence about that one. Since 28 states were already doing the very same thing, it didn't seem like it was violating long held religious principles in those states so what would be different in making it a national plan? I am not Catholic but my son went to a Catholic University and several relatives have worked at a Catholic Hospital. The majority of students and staff at both places were not Catholic. I would hope that the women who work and study at those places would have the same access to contraceptives as women who work in other places. I also have many Catholic friends who supported the President on this one. I'm happy that a compromise was reached for the good of all.

    2. "I would hope that the women who work and study at those places would have the same access to contraceptives as women who work in other places"

      I would agree that everyone has a right to use contraceptives. I am not so sure that everyone has a right to free contraceptives paid for by others. Although free contraceptives paid for by others may be good public policy that I would support, I would not call it a "right" as some do.

      I am most uncomfortable with trying to force mainstream religious organizations to offer and pay for that which violates their religious principles. However, I am equally opposed when religions try to put their own religious principles into laws that affect others.

  7. Perhaps Rick Santorum should reconsider some of his views- they are way over the top and out of the mainstream- http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/18/opinion/blow-santorum-exalts-inequality.html?_r=1&src=tp

    His religious beliefs should not be foisted on the rest of us.

  8. the country won't be a better place becuz men run the show, and that's why we have had wars and violence regularly for 5,000 years. guns are part of man's culture. before the gun, it was the spear and sword. humans prior to 'civilization' where more evolved, ironically. the world will only be saved by women once again predominantly influencing the culture. i don't mean the women succumbing to the male culture of shooting guns. i mean the life-giving women who typically organize those neighborhood patrols.

  9. 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.....

  10. I have kicked Thomas off of my blog but I want the public and the pro gun guys to see the kinds of things that are sent to those of us in the gun violence prevention movement. This is not only despicable and outright offensive, it is racist and needs to be stopped. If you guys can't monitor your own, then this is how you will be seen by the public. This is disgusting. Thomas, go away. I hope your family is disgusted with you as well. I would love to send this to your mother or your wife or your kids or your best friend. Did you just wait long enough to see if I was going to do something about your comments?

  11. Oh, and Thomas- internet harassing is not a good idea.

  12. Oh dear, Thomas. You really need to stop. You are digging yourself into a very deep hole that you won't be able to get out of. I am posting your comments wherever I can to expose the idiotic, immature, offensive, rude, mysogonistic, racist, etc. comments you have sent to me. I really don't understand the mind set of small minded people like you. You have totally misplaced your anger and it's very sad. If I wasn't so offended by you, I would feel sorry for you. I hope you have a nice life in spite of being such a despicable human being. Time to quit now- enough. Please greet your wife. Does she know what you are writing? If so, I feel sorry for her, too. I hope you are nicer to her than you are to people you think you can intimidate and bully.

  13. Oh, and Thomas- " You did not have to post my comment you idjit, I would not have been the worse for wear, and you are still a pin-headed, bowl-cut polly-anna, statist, EFF-tard...." Yes, I really did have to publish your comments. If you don't want me to, stop sending them. If they keep coming like this, I will figure out what else to do with them.