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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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Capitol Experience

Today I went to the beautiful Minnesota State Capitol for Action Day to End Violence Against Women. But a lot of the talk turned to how happy people were with Governor Dayton's veto of the Shoot First bill which came last night. The Governor was scheduled to speak to the group but he got sick with a stomach virus. Could it have anything to do with Shoot First?  But I digress. I met a lot of supportive people who signed petitions and thanked the Governor and legislators for their votes against a bill that is one of the centerpieces of the pro gun extremists.

The main purpose of the visit today was to lobby in favor of legislation that will keep women safe from violence. I went as a Board member of Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs and because of my work in gun violence prevention. Many of the people there were victims themselves and could speak with authority about their own situations. Some of the people we were representing are no longer alive to tell their own stories. We all received the Minnesota 2011 Femicide Report. In 2011, 23 Minnesota women died from domestic violence and at least 4 children died from domestic violence. In addition, 6 family members/friends died and 1 man died as well from domestic violence. A brief synopsis of each woman and child's death was included in the report. Of the 23 domestic violence deaths, 12 were due to gunshot injuries. The others were strangled, beaten or stabbed. The report stated that, "While the percentage of femicides using firearms fluctuates year to year, murder with firearms is the most frequent weapon of choice, supporting the studies showing that possession of firearms can increase the risk of lethality. In 11 of the 12 gunshot cases, the perpetrator then killed himself. 5 of 6 family members, friends, and interveners were killed by gunshot."

The women and men who participated in the rally today know very well that guns are a factor in domestic killings. They don't need me to remind them. They know that the Shoot First bill, had it passed, would give domestic abusers a possible excuse in the shooting of a domestic partner. Of course, in most of the cases for 2011, the men also killed themselves knowing that facing the penalties for the taking of another human life would be unendurable. But I have personal experience with the man who killed my sister and lived for a while until he eventually took his own life - not with a gun. In his story to people with whom he came in contact after the murder, he mentioned that he felt weak compared to my sister and her friend, neither armed or dangerous. Was this a case for self defense? We will never know because he didn't live to try to make that case in a trial. But the victims were dead and couldn't tell their own story. That is the problem with taking the subjective word of the shooter when he/she shoots as a first resort rather than as a last resort. We should be making it harder to take another's life rather than easier. And so far, no one in Minnesota has been sentenced for justifiable self defense. Until we can prove that we have a serious problem with people not being allowed to use self defense when it is justified, we don't need a law to give people license to kill another and extend it to places outside of the home.

What we do know is that we have too many victims. Too many women die every year at the hands of an abuser. And the majority of the murders are due to bullets fired in the heat of passion from a gun that makes it all too easy. What's left is the stories of the women that are told by the rest of us when we lobby in favor of bills to protect women and against bills that will make them less safe. We also have the Clothesline Project about which I have written before. My sister's name is on one of the thousands of tee shirts that are strung up each year in various places. Today, the shirts of the 2011 Minnesota domestic murder victims were hung up on clotheslines at the Capitol. One can hardly look at them without tearing up. It is a powerful visual of a problem that continues to be with us. As long as there are tee shirts to be hung up with names and drawings and words about these murdered women, people like me and the hundreds who joined me today will continue to work on common sense solutions to save lives and protect women and children from senseless deaths and injuries.

10 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what the point of this is, seeing as though as demonstrated via your own statistics, your just as likely to die from being beaten, stabbed, or strangled as you are from being shot. Are you saying that had guns not been available, the criminals would not have turned to another method, subsequently cutting these death figures in half?

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  2. You must have missed the point then. Guns accounted for more than half of the murders in the last year's stats. Some years guns are the weapon of choice in closer to 2/3 of the murders. The other methods combined were the minority of the methods of death. And what's your point anyway? Do you not want to admit that guns are used more often than any other type of weapons or method to kill women?

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    1. Actually, I'd like clarification of your figures before i respond. You cite 34 examples of death due to domestic violence, yet only include the 23 women when showing the 12 deaths via gun. Was this done purposely so that you could arrive at a figure greater than 50%, or do you just not care about the men, children, and friends who have also died via a means other than a gun?

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  3. 12 of 23 women killed were killed by guns- I was clear in what I said about it.

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    1. Crystal.

      35% of ALL domestic violence deaths in MN via a gun doesn't have the same wow factor.

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  4. Since the majority of domestic killing victims are women and the majority of them are killed with guns, it is a factor indeed. It is consistent year after year.

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  5. What about the ones killed with baseball bats, knives, fists, cars, etc. Do they not matter or is it just about firearms? Please excuse any "snark" you may read into this. I am asking a serious question.

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    1. It's a shame and a sham that you even ask that ridiculous question. I have written about this so many times. Do you guys actually believe this crap? Who is feeding you information that claims that any number of people are killed by baseball bats, knives, fists, etc. The number is so low compared to gun homicides that it's hardly worth the comparison. I am not even going to dignify this "discussion" by offering numbers. Look them up yourself on the CDC WISQRS report for violent deaths, 10 leading causes of death, injury deaths, etc. As to cars, I just finished with that ludicrous discussion a few posts ago about the miniscule number of deaths by vehicular homicide compared to cars. Car accidents account for more overall deaths than guns. As you know, as I have said ad nauseam on this blog, we are at the least trying to prevent deaths and serious injuries through seat belt laws, air bags and other safety features, speed limits, etc. Cars are not designed to kill people however. Guns are. Please don't bother me with this stupid argument again. It doesn't stand up anywhere to the facts.

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    2. Well an acquaintance of mine was recently killed in a domestic dispute. You might have seen the news reports on Carolyn Leete you might even see her family next year at the capital. You can tell them that "It is not worth the comparison"

      While a applaud you work in Domestic abuse prevention it seems like you might have forgotten some victims that are not killed by firearms.

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    3. Anthony- it is dishonest for you to say that. I included them in my blog post. When I work on domestic abuse issues, it is from all angles. No matter how a woman is killed, she is dead nonetheless and we abhor all violence against women. But, as you know, my other work in the area of gun violence prevention intersects a lot with DV. They go together unfortunately. So don't lecture me about what I should or should not include. I care about it all. I focus my efforts on one. The tee shirts at the Capitol included all of the women. It is sad and the tee shirts don't say how they were killed. I'm sorry for your friend. I hate all domestic violence. I hope you do, too. I hope you also care about the women who are shot to death and work with me to prevent that from happening. That is the only way change is going to happen.

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