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, July 22, 2012

Another mass shooting, another anniversary

Anders Brevik's name is now in the history books. That is likely what he wanted. He shot and killed 77 people in Norway one year ago today. Now James Holmes' name is in the history books. So is Seung Hui-Cho. So is Dylan Klebold. So is Eric Harris. So is Timothy McVeigh. So is Jared Loughner. The common theme is fascination with guns, violence, hatred, mental illness, and perhaps insurrection. Guns. Guns. Guns. Guns. And more guns. Ammunition. High capacity magazines. Assault weapons. Easy access to guns. Gas canisters. Black clothing. Fascination with the military. Assault weapons. High capacity magazines. .40 Caliber Glocks. Military style clothing. Kevlar vests. Easy access to guns. War games. Assault weapons. Men playing war. Men shooting people. Reclusive. Scary. Shy. Bully. Revengeful. Bullied. Insecure. Normal? Paranoid. Misunderstood? Odd. Quiet. Crazy. Awful. Intelligent? Senseless. Avoidable. Preventable. Horror. Sadness. Outcry? Nothing happens.

from the Denver Post
This is the outfit of someone on a mission- a killing mission.  It was the outfit of James Holmes on Friday morning early. Who dresses for battle like this? It's right out of a movie. Right. It was right out of a movie. Mass shooters live in a fantasy world aided and abetted by weapons of mass destruction.

What are we doing? What's happening? Why are talking and not acting? Why are listening to the crazed and extremist NRA? Why are politicians so anemic? Where is the adult conversation? Where is common sense?

We remember the victims. We should remember the victims. The shooters go down in history books. The victims just get forgotten. The victims' families never forget. They were loved. They loved. Their futures gone in an instant because of a bullet. Their families and friends left to grieve. Their communities victimized and terrorized. Their communities scared and powerless to do anything. The NRA keeps its' power and control. The rest of us cry, blog, sign petitions, speak out, plea for common sense, beg our politicians to do something. Nothing changes. Nothing happens. Well, something happens. More mass shootings happen. Sad. 32 Americans a day die from gun homicides. Over 80 a day die from gun injuries. 100,000 a year are shot. 30,000 die in America. 8 children a day die from bullets. The NRA keeps resisting laws to stop the carnage. The carnage continues. The NRA stops the conversation. The carnage continues. The NRA gives money. The carnage continues. The NRA threatens. The carnage continues. Wayne LaPierre rants. The carnage continues. President Obama doesn't mention guns or gun policy after mass shootings. The carnage continues. Mitt Romney is endorsed by the NRA and its' most extreme board member, Ted Nugent. The carnage continues. People buy lots of guns and lots of ammunition. The carnage continues. People shoot innocent children and women with stray bullets. The carnage continues. People shoot themselves by accident. The carnage continues. Law abiding gun permit holders kill other people. The carnage continues. Women are shot in domestic disputes. The carnage continues. Gun extremists write and say threatening and abusive comments. Nothing happens. The carnage continues.

Guns are the most common method for suicide causing more gun deaths than homicides. The carnage continues. The gun industry is in bed with the nation's most powerful lobby- the NRA. The carnage continues. Stolen guns get used to shoot innocent people. The carnage continues. Stand Your Ground laws are passed. The carnage continues. George Zimmerman kills Trayvon Martin. The carnage continues. Law abiding gun owning parents don't store their loaded guns away from their children at home or in their cars. The carnage continues. Militia groups increase in number and make threats. The carnage continues. The far right fringe gets louder. The carnage continues. We don't speak out against the fringe element. The carnage continues. A U.S. Congresswoman is shot and almost dies. We do nothing. The carnage continues. School shootings continue. We do nothing. The carnage continues. People are shot in movie theaters, at malls, at nursing homes, in churches, everywhere. The NRA says that's why we need more guns. More guns don't make us safer. People with guns don't stop other people with guns often. The Second Amendment is used as cover to do nothing. Sad. The carnage continues.

Other countries act after mass shootings. The U.S. does nothing. The carnage continues. Other countries experience the carnage only rarely. In America it is an every day experience. The carnage continues. Until we do something to prevent it. Prevention is possible. We do nothing. The carnage continues. We can protect our citizens from the carnage. But we do nothing. The carnage continues.

Today we remember the victims of the shooting in Norway one year ago. They have names. Their families and friends miss them. Their lives were snuffed out in an instant by a deranged gunman. It happened quickly and unexpectedly. Senseless carnage. 77 in just hours. Today there will be a memorial service for the 12 who died in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. What will President Obama say? Will he have the nerve to be bold? Or will he fall into the same old mantra of supporting the Second Amendment, but......We shouldn't let him get away with that. We should demand action. Without action, the carnage continues. The public wants action. They don't want more words. Senseless. More lives will be snuffed out in minutes. More candles lit. More words of sympathy. No action. Senseless.


Dear readers,

Occasionally a piece crosses my computer that must be shared. Such is this wonderfully written piece about the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado and our American gun culture. New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik has this to say:
Only in America. Every country has, along with its core civilities and traditions, some kind of inner madness, a belief so irrational that even death and destruction cannot alter it. In Europe not long ago it was the belief that “honor” of the nation was so important that any insult to it had to be avenged by millions of lives. In America, it has been, for so long now, the belief that guns designed to kill people indifferently and in great numbers can be widely available and not have it end with people being killed, indifferently and in great numbers. The argument has gotten dully repetitive: How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom to have guns, or rather to have guns that make us feel free? You can only shake your head and maybe cry a little. “Gun Crazy” is the title of one the best films about the American romance with violence. And gun-crazy we remain.
All I can say is thank you, Adam, for your eloquence. This morning at my church, there were tears and prayers for the victims and prayers for common sense. If I asked every person sitting in the pews if they thought we should pass reasonable gun laws, the answer would have been a resounding YES! The public is fed up with the NRA and our own elected leaders hiding behind the Second Amendment as an excuse for failure on their own part to protect us all from shootings by crazed and revengeful people.  Kids and adults alike should be able to go to school, movies, the mall and anywhere else without fear of being shot. And the answer is not for more people to be carrying guns in those places. More guns do not make us safer. The answer is not to have metal detectors in every nook and cranny of our communities. Enough. The answer does not lie with the pathetic attempts of our own President and lawmakers to avoid the obvious. I heard in church this morning that if you observe something, you are obligated to do something- to act. We have all observed yet another horrific mass shooting in America. We are obligated to act. The time is now. More from the article:
But nothing changes: the blood lobby still blares out its certainties, including the pretense that the Second Amendment—despite the clear grammar of its first sentence—is designed not to protect citizen militias but to make sure that no lunatic goes unarmed. (Jill Lepore wrote about the history of the Second Amendment in The New Yorker recently.) Make sure that guns designed for no reason save to kill people are freely available to anyone who wants one—and that is, and remains, the essential American condition—and then be shocked when children are killed. For all the good work the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence tries to do, nothing changes. On the last episode of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” Jeff Daniels’s character, in a scene set shortly before the Gabrielle Giffords gun massacre, was thought to display political courage by showing, accurately enough, that it’s a lie to say that Barack Obama is in any way in favor of gun control. This was said in Obama’s defense.
Sad. The carnage continues. Senseless. Hypocritical. Unacceptable. Time for action.


  1. The reason politicians are anemic is because they don't know what to do. I've heard the arguments about easy access to guns making tragedies like this possible, but I believe tragedies like this could still occur without a gun. I saw a BBC TV show (where guns are illegal) that clearly showed a psychopath killing about the same number of people in an office building as in the Aurora theater with a water pistol full of muriatic acid and a hammer. That type of assault is entirely possible in a crowded area where there are NO GUNS, surprise, confusion, and barriers to exits. That could never happen, right? Fantasy, right? When and how did Holmes get the ideas to do what he did? I understand this is a gun-control forum, but I believe this problem has more to do with the lack of empathy and compassion in a high pressure society where minor mistakes can bankrupt someone and destroy the rest of their lives. Holmes access to an empathic and non-judgmental individual that could have dissuaded him from his horrible reasoning might have been far more effective than any new gun control laws.

    1. So you are saying that Holmes could have accomplished the same carnage with, say, knives or hammers? Come on. How often do you read about assaults like the one you described. About once. There have been at least 36 or more mass shootings in the U.S. in the last 30 years. That is more than one per year. Where else do you find that? It's the guns. Period. Yes, we need to pay more attention to mentally ill people. We also need to do a heck of a lot better job of keeping them from buying guns. But we don't. And that's a fact. There are no excuses, Migo. Please do not offer any. It is unbecoming and just insults the victims.

    2. Migo, I can't find any indication that the scenario you described ever took place in the UK.

      Further---putting acid in a water pistol would result in the acid eating through and destroying the water pistol wouldn't it?

      And there would be lots of ways that people in that situation could fight back that they couldn't do against guns -- lots of barriers that would block acid long enough for people to over whelm the attacker. Layers of clothing would work well, for example, bunched up.

      This is a stupid argument. The reality is that guns are more lethal than acid and hammers for killing people. Since stricter gun control was enacted after the mid 1990s in the UK, they have had ONE instance like this, over a period of almost twenty years.

      We had two mass shootings in just the last week.

      Don't be stupid and don't be dishonest. That is the biggest fault with progunners - they think poorly and they lie and deny facts.

      Most of the people who commit mass shootings are male, and NOT crazy, just vengeful and angry failures.

  2. No knives, just acid in a large water gun to keep people away and crippled and a hammer to kill. There's no need for more details. I agree with you that guns are much easier to use than the acid/hammer scenario, but the point is that a person determined to kill many, will kill many. Given that, I believe intervention could do more than more laws. Incidentally, Holmes may have looked frightening, or like an idiot, depending on your point of view, but he couldn't have been bulletproof, because it's already illegal for ordinary citizens to possess bulletproof vests. I also agree with you that those 100 round magazines are unnecessary and I disagree with the marketing used to sell some of those products, like "Omega Elite urban assault vest", but banning all of that won't stop someone in the US from killing. Finally, please don't imply that my views are insulting the victims. I can only hope that I would be as brave and courageous as many of them were during that horrible night if that ever happened to me.

    1. Migo- if people don't want to be insulting to the victims, they will acknowledge that it was guns that made this mass killing possible. Stop talking about other methods of killing. You miss the point and you do so on purpose because you can't admit that guns do more damage than almost any other form of mass murder. We are not at war in America- or are we? Guns account for the largest percentage of homicides by a large margin. Trying to pretend they don't is just plain silly and cynical. So stop saying that. And thanks for agreeing about the 100 round magazines. It's about time some of you guys agree with that. If you continue to say these are O.K. no one will believe you. People understand that no one needs these things.

    2. By the way Migo, you will need to provide proof of the incident of the water pistol that killed so many people. I provide copious links to articles to show my reasoning and my facts. If you don't have the facts or proof how can anyone believe your assertions?

    3. The deluded and factually averse Migo wrote:

      but he couldn't have been bulletproof, because it's already illegal for ordinary citizens to possess bulletproof vests.

      Are you really this ignorant?

      Please, by all means, cite me one statute that makes this true in most states, but especially in this case in Colorado.

      Then educate your incredible ignorance, by doing a quick check to see how easily AND LEGALLY you can buy the same equipment that Holmes did.

      A google search for ballistic armor sale produced
      About 2,720,000 results (0.37 seconds)

      Here are a few:
      Advanced Body Armor | SafeGuardArmor.com
      Ultra High-End Body Armor Made from Kevlar™. Used by 10000s Worldwide!
      Tactical Armor
      Concealable Armor
      Ballistic Plates
      Bullet Proof Vests

      Advanced Body Armor | safeguardclothing.com

      Ultra Durable Kevlar® Body Armor With Next Day Delivery Available!

      Seriously, do you gun nuts EVER fact check ANYTHING?

      Because there is a consistent problem with your logic, and esspecially with your grasp of facts as distinct from fiction or propaganda.

    4. Migo might want to pay attention, I believe he may be referring to Alex Cowie, which was the only story similar to what he mentions in the BBC News Archives:

      Nothing came up in the archive search for "hammer muriatic acid".

      Sorry, Migo, but guns just make it easier to kill--especially on a mass scale.

      "Hammer Acid" turned up this:
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1950414.stm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1945177.stm both of which are stories about Robert Blake--sorry, Migo, but Blake's a septic.

  3. "Please, by all means, cite me one statute that makes this true in most states, but especially in this case in Colorado.

    Then educate your incredible ignorance, by doing a quick check to see how easily AND LEGALLY you can buy the same equipment that Holmes did."

    Wow, I agree with DogGone on something. I have been correcting many on blogs and social networks about this. The stuff the guy had, at least as what is being reported now, is not very hard to come by and is not very expensive. I don't think very "bullet proof" either, BTW.

    I wonder where the whole "can't own a bulletproof vest" meme is coming from? I've seen it on both sides of the debate. Like I say, I hate to agree with DoGGone but this is one thing spread by a lot of folks that is just plain incorrect.

  4. OK, Migo, now that we've punctured your delusions and fantasies with our sharply pointed fact stick, both the never-happened no-mass-killings with a squirt gun and a hammer, and the you can't buy ballistic body armor nonsense, what else can we do to help remediate your education on the topic of gun reeality.

  5. @dog gone: You know nothing about me, so your statements like "deluded and factually averse Migo", "incredible ignorance", etc. are laughable. Please continue judging strangers if it helps you feel more secure. Yes, it's true one can own a bullet proof vest. It's also true that it's illegal to use one while committing a crime. Thank you for letting me know where I can buy a bullet proof vest. I really don't want one or need one. Can you use your research skills to determine if Holmes really was bullet proof that evening?

    @japete: I said the acid pistol (not water pistol) was something I saw on a BBC TV show. It's not real - yet. It's simply a creative realization from a nation without guns of how to commit mass murders without guns. My point is that even if we banned the many things you want banned, and we created more laws, Holmes still would have killed many indiscriminately. The Remington 870 that he used is not a gun you've said you wanted controlled in the past, because it's a common hunting gun. He didn't need that stupid 100 round magazine (not sure he even used it). He was wearing gear that gave him fast access to multiple magazines which can be changed in a couple of seconds. And even if all guns were banned, which you've said is not your goal, he would have simply spent more time on the elaborate bomb he left behind in his apartment complex. He clearly wanted to kill. That's the REAL problem! We as a nation need to understand why people like that are so hopeless, desperate, deranged, or angry that problems have to be solved with a drive-by shooting instead of a fist fight in a parking lot. We need to understand why people today feel compelled to judge others as ignorant, when "that's not true" would suffice.

    1. Of course, you are only speculating. None of your statements can be made with any certainty. You just don't want to admit that guns are the problem.

    2. Can you use your research skills to determine if Holmes really was bullet proof that evening?

      Why yes, I can. All you have to do is listen to the press breifings by the police chief over the past several days, indicating that he was in fact quite bullet proof. I don't know where you get the idea that the available products are not bullet proof, no doubt from the same source as your premise that such equipment was not legal.

      YOU yourself have demonstrated here so far you are not a factual person. What you describe having seen on the BBC is stupid; to claim it would kill as man people as the Aurora Colorado shooter is ludicrous. To assert, as it appears you do, that the muric acid / hammer scenario is plausible is ridiculous, BBC or not.

      Asserting something is ignornt is fair when you present something as fact that is not true; you represent that it is your belief. If you are in the habit of holding beliefs in such things -- and you've shown a pattern here so far of doing that -- as distinct from a transcription error, or a slightly outdated fact -- that would be a different situation, where 'that's not true' would be appropriate.

      You however are positing an entire argument incorrectly

      Yes, the problems of people underly these incidents.
      But that is precisely why we should not be allowing legal lethal force that is so easy to use, and which has beend documented to be a more impulsive choice than bombs or squirt guns with acid. This is true for mass killings and it is true for suicides and murder suicides, many of which are the escalation of domestic or partner violence.

      When it is obvious that other countries with fewer guns have less violence, especially less gun violence, and fewer people killed in the suicide / murder suicides, and that people in those countries have just plain come as close to totally eliminating mass killings entirely,(especially in schools), there is no reason not to emulate their solutions.

      YES he appears to have used the 100 round magazine. We know the bombs in his apartment might have gone off, but bombs are far less reliable and require far more expertise to use properly than firerms.

      You are speculating that without firearms Holms would have killed many indiscriminantly; we don't know that he would have been successful with other means. He might have simply committed suicide without taking other people with him, without firearms.

  6. Of course I'm speculating. I respect you Joan, especially your tenacity in keeping this blog going as long as you have, but isn't it also speculation that banning 11+ round magazines, certain black semi-automatic rifles, etc. would have saved the victims of Aurora? If that theater had modern stadium seating, then there were no exits at the top where he appeared to be focusing his assault. People had to exit by running over other victims towards him. Any hunting rifle, shotgun, or 8 round 1911 pistol is devastating in that environment. It takes an extremely disturbed and obsessed individual to plan such an attack, which he apparently had been doing for months. What kind of person would want to kill an innocent child?!? I wish guns were the problem. Then the solution would be simple.

    1. Well Migo, there is only reason that I can think of to have 100 round magazines and that is to kill as many people as possible. That is why the military uses them as well as assault weapons. So I don't believe that is speculation. The proof is in the numbers. 71 people were killed or injured because of the assault weapon and multiple other guns. More bullets equal more deaths and injuries. That's just common knowledge. Unless of course, someone is a really bad shot. What are you saying? I think you are saying that the only reason so many people were killed or wounded is because they were in a space like a theater with no exits. Of course, the shooter knew that. Harder to get away from all of those bullets flying. No, I don't believe for a minute that any rifle would have done that much damage. He was loaded for bear, so to speak, and ready to take out as many as possible. I am tired of this now. Why can't you just admit that the gun was the problem? It was plain and simply the gun. To deny that is just foolish and makes you look puny. It's also ridiculous. People kill children with guns every day in America. That is the sad thing about our gun culture. Innocent children are shot to death. Tucson- another child. School shootings- more children dead. Gunmen do this all the time. Or will you deny that too? You are really living in an insular world of your own making. If you admitted the truth, you might have to change your mind. Too bad for you that you can't just work with those of us who want common sense to stop the carnage. That would be living in the real world and doing something heroic.

    2. "there is only reason that I can think of to have 100 round magazines and that is to kill as many people as possible"

      There have been thousands and thousands of these drum mag sold. Do you really think the only reason people buy them is to murder people?

    3. Good night Anthony. I don't need any lectures from the likes of you.

    4. Anthony the only reason these mags were designed was to make shooting more rounds without stopping possible.

      Do you deny that the only activity where this is necessary is the intentional slaughter of people?

      YES, I believe the primary reason people buy them is to facilitate the eventual shooting of other people.

      Migo writes but isn't it also speculation that banning 11+ round magazines, certain black semi-automatic rifles, etc. would have saved the victims of Aurora?

      Migo, there is a difference in wild, unsupported speculation like the notion of muric acid in water pistols being feasible as an equivalent method of killing to a mass shooting, versus a logical extrapolation of what works in so many jurisdictions.

      There is ample documentation that gun control is effective; if we had such gun control in place is it highly unlikely, although not impossible, that the killings that took place in Aurora Colorado would not have happened.

      EVERY developed country that has gun control - effective real gun control -- has avoided this kind of incident with only very rare exceptions; Anders Breivik in Norway is one example, and a 2010 incident in the UK is another. But those countries have gone DECADES without such an incident, and only have the one in recent memory. We had two last week in the U.S., and it is likely that guns from the U.S. are the cause of two such mass shootings in Canada recently.

      Further, every state that has more gun ownership has more gun crime, more gun violence and injury, more gun homicides and more gun suicides.

      Clearly, gun ownership correltes to these events and other undesirable shootings.

      So it is NOT speculation to state that gun regulation works, and NO, the specifics of this particular shooting do not negate that or make the clear evidence invalid.

      This is where the assertion of ignorance comes in Migo; and lack of critical thinking. Those are two things where in asserting an opinion you have not first checked out your facts - in essence educating yourself instead of parrotting the same old same old junk promoted by the pro-gunners without questioning it. And you have not applied the kind of critical thinking with such facts that would make the distinction between plausible and ludicrous.

      Anthony, I'm reasonably certain there are no comprehensive stats on how many of those drum magazines have been used to kill people. Given we have an excess of 1,000 gun related deaths every day, the odds are pretty good that plenty of them have been involved.

    5. Thanks doggone. Before the gun guys come unhinged, let me just say that about 80 Americans die from gun injuries every day. A good many more are injured, on average, every day. About 100,000 Americans a year suffer from gunshot injuries. Of these, 30,000 die.

  7. Joan, here's an example of my real world. Several years ago I used to ride with a man who was depressed and took to drinking. He was a good man, kind, friendly, and loving towards his wife and daughter. Long story short is that I did nothing to get more involved in his life. A few years later he put a gun in his mouth and ended his pain. Upon reflection, I realized that I lost the potential for a life long friend because my problems, my life, whatever, were seemingly more important than getting closer to him and being a friend. A potentially mutual friendship because there were many interests we both had in common - many future rides we could have shared. My mother taught me to accept responsibility for my actions so when I was there to bury him, I didn't blame the gun, I blamed myself for not reaching out more. I've had other gunless, suicidal friends. One woman loved the ocean so her plan was to swim west into the Pacific until she drowned. Another man's plan involved a car. Another wanted to flip his wrist on his high speed motorcycle and suddenly swerve into the path of an oncoming 18 wheeler. Thankfully, none of them went far with their plans. Now was that because they were gunless or because they had far more support, love, and personal strength than my first friend? Time for more speculation, but I still wonder what is it about our world that causes so many to think killing is the solution? Another anniversary indeed, but on such anniversaries my ignorant mind is triggered to reach out and do more for those in my life who are in pain. Nothing heroic. Just simple empathy and compassion.

    1. Yes, Migo. I understand what you are saying. My husband's brother and only sibling committed suicide by jumping off of a very high bridge. I was the last person to talk to him and he said some things that, in retrospect, were warning signals. I know better now. I have not blamed myself but I sure recognize the signs better now. But the fact remains that guns cause more suicides than other methods. I didn't make that up. Guns make it more lethal and easier. Many people attempt suicide by other methods and are not as successful. Boys and men use guns more often and thus, are more successful. So to try to make an excuse about guns here doesn't further your cause. It just shows a denial of the truth. Empathy and compassion are, of course, needed. But prevention is needed as well. We can do better at that and common sense gun laws can help.