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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An ounce of prevention

I wrote a post and put it on my blog this morning.
One of my readers pointed out that I had made an
error. In trying to change it while on my iPad in my
car while driving through Illinois into Wisconsin,
I deleted it! Frustrating, to say the least. So forgive
this odd configuration while I try to re-write my
thoughts. I wanted to talk about how we can
actually prevent shootings. We have decided
to tackle all sorts of other health issues by launching
preventative programs, through research and better health care and educational campaigns. We can do the same for gun deaths and injuries.

If you remember, Julie Andrews sang this famous song from the musical, Mary Poppins- A Spoonful of Sugar.

So something bitter can be made sweet with the right medicine. Why can't we apply this to the prevention of gun deaths and injuries? Simple. The NRA. We know that gun deaths and injuries are not only an emotional and physical cost to the victims and their families and friends but to the health care system in general. This affects all of us. Here is an article that gets into the overall costs to individuals and society for shootings:

Why is it that the United State’s life expectancy remains far behind most other affluent countries?

Dr. Jean Lemaire’s recent article in the Journal of Risk and Insurance suggests that the difference, in part, is a result of the availability of firearms in the US. 
Dr. Lemaire, a Professor of Insurance and Actuarial Science at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, highlights the impact of the disproportionate level of firearm homicides for the US in
comparison to other industrialized countries. In 2000, the US experiences 10,801 firearm homicides, while the European Union, with a population that is approximately 25% higher than that of the US, experienced 1,260 homicides. Among the 35 countries and territories with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of at least $20,000, the US ranking for life expectancy was 30th for men and 29th for women.

To examine the connection between the high count of firearm deaths in the US to the reduction of life expectancy, Dr. Lemaire utilized multiple decrement life tables, which allow examination of competing causes of death to estimate life expectancy. He calculated that all US firearm deaths in 2000 reduced the life expectancy of American’s by an average of 103.6 days (45.9 days to homicide and 52.3 days to suicide). Furthermore, he noted the considerable difference by race; black males lose nearly 300 days due to firearm homicide and white males lose over 100 days due to firearm suicide. The increase in the cost of insurance as a result of the reduced life expectancy from firearm deaths is similar to the total medical costs of firearm injuries ($2-2.3 billion) and the costs of administering the criminal justice system due to gun deaths ($2.4 billion). 

So yes, we can and should do something about gun deaths and injuries. Not to is irresponsible. Because my Dad had colon cancer and my Mom had breast cancer, I am at risk for both and so go through screening measures that could save my life. They are inconvenient and I don't particularly like them. But they are necessary. They also save the health care system money because prevention costs less than expensive treatments, and/or surgery and medications. 

Background checks on all gun sales should be part of the cure. They are only slightly inconvenient and worth that if it will save lives and costs. It is widely agreed that doing so is a good idea. Polling over many years has informed us about public opinion on the issue of background checks.  This is just one:
-- 86 percent of Americans and 81 percent of gun owners support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter who they buy it from.
-- 89 percent of Americans and 85 percent of gun owners support a law to require background checks for all guns sold at gun shows.
So ask for a cure from Congress and tell your Senator to oppose this law that would allow the George Zimmermans and Jared Loughners of our country to carry their loaded guns around wherever they choose to go. Demand that our leaders represent the people's lobby and not the extremist gun lobby. If you don't think the organization is extreme check out who will be speaking at their national convention this coming week- end in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Boykin received international attention in 2003 after the Los Angeles Times and NBC News reported on speeches he had given in full military dress at religious events suggesting that the United States was fighting a "spiritual battle" in the Middle East against "a guy called Satan" who "wants to destroy us as a Christian army." He subsequently drew criticism from then-President Bush, among others.
Since his 2007 retirement, Boykin has continued to use a variety of religious and media platforms to attack Muslims and Islam. For example, he has said that while "every Muslim should be allowed to worship freely," "Islam itself is not just a religion -- it is a totalitarian way of life," which he said "should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with Sharia law."
In January Boykin withdrew from a similar event at the United States Military Academy at West Point in the face of criticism from MPFF and other civil rights groups of his divisive rhetoric.
The April 15 prayer breakfast comes on the final day of the NRA's convention, which will be held in St. Louis, Missouri and feature speeches from Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and a variety of Republican officeholders.
If you don't think the NRA is extreme how do we explain the urging for and passage of the extreme Stand Your Ground laws now on display in the Trayvon Martin case? Speaking of the Trayvon Martin case, I am wondering how it could be more bizarre. George Zimmerman's lawyers, who have never met him, now have left him. They have claimed not to know where he is once they lost contact with him. And what is going on when Zimmerman called both the Prosecutor and then Fox news' Sean Hannity? And now, finally, perhaps a bit of medicine for the grieving parents and concerned nation as charges have finally been filed against Zimmerman. Perhaps now the process of justice can begin. That is what is needed here for healing to begin. Common sense tells us that,something has been wrong with this case from the beginning.  George Zimmerman has just been charged with 2nd Degree Murder for the killing of Trayvon Martin and is in custody after an arrest. Though questions were raised about where George Zimmerman was hiding and about whether he could flee, the Prosecutor in the case assured everyone that law enforcement did know where Zimmerman was. At least now, he will be someplace where Trayvon Martin's family can be assured he will not leave and he will also be safe from harm to himself, as was also a concern. After 45 days, many people have breathed a sigh of relief. Now Trayvon Martin's family can at the least, find out what happened on the night of Feb. 26th, the night their son was shot to death. Now the case can be tried in front of a jury of George Zimmerman's peers and hopefully justice will be served however it turns out.

Trayvon Martin is dead. His parents have lost a son. As we approach the 5th anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting, attention will again be turned to the many shooting victims in our country and the laws that have made it easier for people who shouldn't have guns to get them anyway. These families are still grieving and still hurting. They have been asking for better laws with no action. Fixing our background check system is one way to heal wounds and prevent more shootings. This video below with Colin Goddard, survivor of Virginia tech shows how easy it is for anyone to buy guns from private sellers without background checks:

What the public wants is common sense. What the NRA wants is a mystery to me. Is it power and control? Is it protection of the gun industry? Law abiding gun owners can still have their guns and their rights. Ask one of them why they don't want to stop criminals from getting guns. If the answer does not include changing some of our laws to prevent senseless shootings, then he/she is not sincere. Ask a gun rights extremist if he/she really believes it was O.K. for George Zimmerman to have been carrying his loaded gun on Feb. 26th. Ask that same person if it's really O.K. to shoot an unarmed teen- ager.  Then ask what their idea of public health and safety is and what their plan is to reduce and prevent gun injuries and death. 


  1. "What the NRA wants is a mystery to me. Is it power and control? Is it protection of the gun industry? Law abiding gun owners can still have their guns and their rights."

    Prior to Heller, the BC said that there was no right to an individual to keep and bear arms. Forgive me if I'm a little skeptical of a turn around occurring in four years. Read their "Friend of the court" brief.

    "Ask one of them why they don't want to stop criminals from getting guns."
    Objection! Leading question

    "Ask a gun rights extremist if he/she really believes it was O.K. for George Zimmerman to have been carrying his loaded gun on Feb. 26th"
    He had a legal permit to do so... so yes. Does that mean I condone what he did? Nooooooo

  2. Opposition to mandatory background checks to all gun purchases is hypocritical of the Gun Guyz. On the one hand they bemoan the fact that too many criminals are armed and use that reason to advocate for carrying hidden guns in public, but on the other hand they oppose any and all legislation (like mandatory background checks) which would keep many criminals from getting guns in the first place.

  3. Now that Zimmerman has been charged, how do you reconcile that with your previous position that Stand Your Ground laws prevent arrests so long as the defendant claims they felt threatened?

    1. It took 45 days. If attention had not been drawn to the case, George Zimmerman would have walked away and gotten away with murder. That is what the law is really all about, right? No charges, no arrest, immunity from prosecution. It's already happened in many cases in Florida and other states.

  4. You can keep trying to convince yourself that the 81% of gun owners want gun control all you want to but that is not going to make it true. I assure you that if 64 million people agreed on somethingm, that laws would get passed.

    There will be over 70,000 attending the NRA Convention this weekend. These are people that travel hundreds of miles to spend the weekend with a very nice, like minded folks. If you want to know why you cannot get your laws passed, ask yourself, how many will be attending any Brady meeting this year? There is your answer.

    1. 81% of Americans polled, and many of those NRA members, are a heck of a lot more than 70,000 NRA members attending a convention.

  5. Fat White Man- enjoy the convention. I hear that guns are not allowed inside. I wonder why not? And don't continue to be so snarky and snotty. It doesn't make your points go over well.

    1. CCW is not allowed inside due to local law--not due to any NRA rules. Last year in Pittsburgh, carry was allowed. The year before in Charlotte, NC state law prohibited carry. The two prior years in Phoenix and Louisville, ccw was permitted.

      Yes I was being snarky but seriously I would like to ask since I do not know:: does the Brady Board gather and meet once a year? Is it open to Brady supporters? If so, how many bring their families and attend?

    2. Is the NRA convention a Board meeting of the organization?

  6. " I hear that guns are not allowed inside. I wonder why not? "

    Do some fucking homework and find out you stupid bitch.

    1. Yup- I did misplace the "f" word. It was the homework and not the bitch part.