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, September 26, 2012

You can't make this stuff up

This post has been updated since first posted.

Not a day goes by that there isn't a story in the news about stupid and dangerous gun owners gone wrong. I'm not talking about criminals here. I'm talking about reckless behavior of law abiding gun owners. America has more guns per capita than any other country. Gun sales seem to be thriving even though fewer homes own guns. Gun owners are buying more and more handguns and assault type weapons. They are shooting people with them on a regular basis. It's scary out there and not because it's close to Halloween.

So first up, what's with gun guys and pornography? Seriously. I wrote a post the other day about a man and his guns and porn. Today, here's another really bad one:
"A Lakeside man confronted about alleged child porn opened fire inside his apartment, shooting and injuring two deputies before shooting himself, according to the man’s girlfriend.
The suspect has been confirmed as 30-year-old Daniel Robert Witczak, according to the sheriff's department.
Witczak's girlfriend told NBC 7 San Diego she was getting her two daughters ready for school when she found pornographic pictures and video and her two girls in the middle of sexual acts with Witczak on his cell phone.
She was in the process of taking her daughters to school but then went to the sheriff’s office, showed them the photos and then called the suspect on a deputy-tapped phone line to confront him.
Witczak told her he had planned to sell the photos for $50,000 to a child pornography site, NBC 7 San Diego reported.
NBC 7 learned that Witzcak was detained last month for Domestic Violence, but did not appear in court.
The couple had been dating a year when the suspect became unemployed, according to the woman. She said he planned to support them with the money he would have made with the illicit photos."
He was accused of domestic violence. I wonder if he was still a law abiding gun owner? He didn't appear in court so perhaps the judge couldn't order his guns to be taken from him to protect people who spent time with him. This guy was the ultimate sleaze bag.

Now on to the next story about reckless behavior of a law abiding gun owners. How sad that some guys, military personnel at that, get together to drink and watch a football game while in the presence of guns. The cavalier attitude about guns in America leads to all sorts of senseless shootings. This one is beyond the pale. Got the hiccups? Don't we all try to scare the person with a bad case of hiccups? But scaring someone with a gun is over the top as far as scaring goes. This guy didn't take care to find out if there were actual bullets in the gun he used to scare his friend. And now the friend is dead and the soldier is in jail- never to be the same. From the article:
A 22-year-old Fort Hood, Texas, soldier was shot in the face and died after what prosecutors say was an attempt by a fellow soldier to cure the victim’s hiccups.
Patrick Edward Myers, of Spartansburg, S.C., was charged with manslaughter in the case and remains in the Bell County Jail on $1 million bond, according to a news release from the Killeen, Texas, police.
Police say three men were inside a Killeen residence Sunday night watching  a football game and drinking when one of the men produced a handgun, handled it in an “unsafe manner,” and shot the victim in the face.
An arrest affidavit obtained by the Associated Press said Myers apparently pointed a gun at the victim’s head to scare him and stop the hiccups. Myers allegedly thought the gun had dummy rounds when it discharged.
Where is common sense? There is no doubt in my mind that these kinds of shootings will continue in America. There are a lot of guns out there. Gun laws don't do much to prevent shootings. Our gun culture, no thanks to the NRA and its' minions, gives permission for people to play with their guns, to think they can drink and shoot or drink and play around with guns, to engage in sleazy behavior, to threaten people, to abuse women, to leave loaded guns around for children to find, and other such examples- all of which I write about on this blog. We need to demand a plan from our politicians and begin thinking very differently about guns. If people choose to own guns or carry guns, that is their choice, obviously. But we need to be sure beyond a doubt, that those people will be responsible. Guns need to be stored safely. New technology to make sure only the owner of the gun can shoot it is available and deserves some research and attention. If fewer people were allowed to own and carry guns, it is inevitable that we would have fewer gun deaths. Lives depend upon a new plan of action to deal with senseless gun deaths and injuries.

But until we start thinking differently about national public health and safety problem, we will continue to see stories like those posted above and this very awful one about a young boy shooting himself at his school in Oklahoma:
A student apparently committed suicide before school started this morning at an Oklahoma junior high school, police said.
Police Capt. Randy Dickerson said a school resource officer heard a gunshot shortly before 8 a.m. today. The student was found dead in a hallway before classes began, he said.
The junior high school and a nearby elementary school were locked down, authorities said. Classes were canceled for the day, and parents were told they could pick up their children at a nearby shopping center.
“It doesn't appear that anyone else was in danger or threatened,” Dickerson said.
The school, which has eighth- and ninth-grade students, sent a statement to parents saying there had been a “single shooting incident” and that students and staff were moved to a safe location.
Where do kids get their guns? Mostly from home where their gun owning parents or relatives have allowed too easy access to them. Other sources exist but this is the most common. The school was lucky that the boy didn't decide to take others with him. That is too often the case in school shootings. We are better than this. 


Here's yet another one that shows the danger of guns carried by law abiding gun owners as well as the danger of anyone with a mental or physical illness gaining access to a gun. A hospitalized patient found a gun in his wife's purse ( who is a possible conceal carry permit holder) and shot it in the hospital:
"An individual who is a patient at the hospital who does appear to be extremely disoriented went into his wife's purse where there was a gun," said Melissa Bujeda with JSO. "At that time he did fire off a round. It did go into a wall."
St. Vincent's, like all hospitals, has its own set of emergency codes. A code silver was issued throughout the entire hospital moments after the shot was fired.
Every employee has a list of the codes in easy access at all times.
"We have the codes, in fact they're on the back of our badge. We have a variety of codes so all staff is required to wear the badge," Meyer said. 
Meyer says while those codes recently changed, code silver is one everyone knows. He says the hospital did everything right and in a tense situation, there was minimum confusion. 
"The staff responded very rapidly," Meyer said. 
Right now, JSO is looking into whether the patient's wife, Linda Turner Bragg, did have a concealed weapons permit. It's not illegal to bring a gun into a hospital.
They do believe this was an accident and no charges are being filed against the patient.
Where is common sense?


  1. I don't mind the dunces going 'Boo', but going 'bang' is a bit more problematic when they actually have guns to make the noise for them.

    Seriously - you can be sure that the gun nut who tried to cure the hiccups was ABSOLUTELY sure that he was behaving in a logical, law abiding safe manner when he blew his friend's head off accidentally.

    Our gun fetishists hate to admit that there is no place for alcohol and firearms any more than there is for alcohol and driving.

    I personally very much liked the idea that unfortunately never gained any legislative traction, that all places serving alcohol - bars, restaurants, sports facilities - should provide free access to their patrons (voluntarily) to breathalyzers. Heck, if it would help pay for the darned things, I'd be in favor of charging a dime to use it.

    If those were available to wait staff, they could tell how intoxicated a purchaser was instead of having to guess. In the case of a person making the decision to drive, it would give them a specific number. If it was close to the legal limit, but still above, they could make the choice to wait before driving and to check the breathalyzer again to be sure they were street legal, so to speak.

    In theory, the cost of such equipment, and recalibrating it, could be low enough that it was available for people serving alcohol at private parties as well. Someone should invent a reliable version for smart phones, because if supported by mandatory legislation that some credible metric be available, they could make a fortune.

    The problem with alcohol is that, absent an objective method of standardized measurement, the subjective determination of safety is too vulnerable to interference from the alcohol.

    That is true with weapons, that is true with vehicles.

    If we went to treating firearm safety as a public health measure, heck, we could have trigger guards that used finger swipe ID like computers do, and we could require a handy little built in breathalyzer to operate, as some cars are fitted with for problem drivers.

  2. I should add that anytime a minor (which should be defined as under 21) does something with a firearm that is not their own - as this appears to be - that person who owns the weapon should be charged with negligent homicide of some kind, or criminal negligence, and lose their firearms rights.

    It wouldn't take many of those legal decisions to make gun owners sit up and pay more serious attention to their firearm storage security.

    I'm really sick of the gun nuts who sleep with a gun under their pillow, on the nightstand, have it resting on the back of the toilet tank while they shower, who think that is safe storage or being in control of their weapons.

    Or leaving it in an unlocked drawer, etc.

    1. Dog_Gone, The government isnt very consistent about when a person is considered an adult. Originally it was 21 until it was lowered to 18 to match the age the government felt would be good to start drafting young men into the military.
      Then they raised the age you can drink from 18 to 21. And of course there are now some governments that are going in the other direction when it comes to things like birth control and abortion.
      You can now get the morning after pill without a prescription at age 17, and you can go younger than that if you see a doctor. That would be without parental permission.
      I think we need to decide when an adult is an adult, and make it consistent.

  3. There are laws on the books that punish a person who doesnt secure their firearm to prevent a minor from gaining access to it. Part of the responsibility of owning a firearm is to insure that it is properly secured.