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, November 20, 2012

Local shootings- no laughing matter

It is always sad to read about shootings in my area of the country. No more sad, of course, than shootings anywhere. But when it's in the local paper and people are named, one realizes how often tragic shootings happen anywhere and everywhere for all sorts of reasons. I have read of a few accidental hunting shootings this hunting season as I always do. It is usually a friend or family member who shoots at what is thought to be a deer or other animal, and then discovers the bullet ended up in the body of someone they knew. Such is the case with this latest of these shootings in Wisconsin. From an article:
"A man died Monday evening in the Town of Superior when he was accidently shot by his deer-hunting companion, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department reported.
The death was the fourth reported hunting-related fatality this season in Wisconsin.
Emergency crews were called to the area of County Road W and Barnes Road near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border just after 5 p.m. Monday. Police said the man died at the scene.
The identity of the man won’t be released until today. The accident remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the medical examiner’s office.
Three other hunters died Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities say 51-year-old Shawn Lemanski of Green Bay died from injuries suffered when he fell from a tree stand in the Marathon County town of Cassel.
Fifty-one-year-old Steven Jackson of Antigo died after he was found unresponsive in the woods near Gleason in Lincoln County.
And 22-year-old Thomas Stamborski of Milwaukee died of a gunshot wound while hunting on the grounds of Fort McCoy on land approved for hunting."
So the victim will not be spending Thanksgiving with his family. And the shooter, his friend, will surely have a less than thankful holiday feast.

There's been another mass shooting, this time on a North Dakota reservation:
There authorities found four victims, a woman and three of her grandchildren, identified by the Mountrail County Sheriff’s Office as Martha Johnson, 64; Ben Schuster, 13; Julia Schuster, 10; and Luke Schuster, 6.
Neighbors said the 12-year-old boy who called 911, also Johnson’s grandchild, survived by playing dead, which New Town Police Chief Arthur Walgren confirmed.
About 7 p.m. Sunday, law enforcement learned a man had made statements about the crime.
While investigators were questioning him in Parshall, about 17 miles east of New Town, he killed himself with a knife, according to Sheriff Ken Halvorson.
Johnson was caring for five grandchildren, according to friends and neighbors. (...) 
The shooting left residents of both towns shaken.
Some New Town residents left town after reports of the shootings, and many offices were closed Monday, Walgren said. A woman who lives across the street from the Johnsons was loading clothes into her car Monday and declined to comment.
New Town Superintendent Marc Bluestone said he made the decision to call off classes about 9 p.m. Sunday because he hadn’t received confirmation from police that there was no longer a safety risk.
Classes will resume today and counselors, social workers and clergy will be available to assist students and staff. Today is the last day of class before Thanksgiving break.
All five of Johnson’s grandchildren were enrolled in the district, ranging in age from first through eighth grades, Bluestone said. They began attending school in New Town in late September, Bluestone said.
People in towns all over America are left shaken after a mass shooting. It is not supposed to happen where they live. There is often surprise and fear, as there was in this small North Dakota town. But happen they do. The shootings keep coming. As more comes out about this shooting, authorities may be able to find a motive. These shootings are sometimes committed by mentally ill people who just want to shoot up a bunch of people because in their twisted minds, it seems like a good idea. See Aurora, Colorado theater shooting and Tucson shopping mall shooting for just a few. Or people with guns sometimes have a motive that involves a domestic dispute, intolerance towards a group of people or anger about something someone did or said and a gun seems like the answer. See the Sikh temple shooting, the Wisconsin spa shooting for just a few of these type of shootings.

I will point out to my readers that many of these shootings are not committed by people with previous criminal records. It is not just criminals who shoot people. But once a shooting happens, the shooter becomes an instant criminal unless he/she takes his/her own life in the process which is the usual scenario. Some are actually prohibited purchasers or should be but they can get guns anyway. That is because we, as a collective group of people, are not stopping them from accessing guns. We could but we don't. The NRA has made sure of that with its hyped up fear and paranoia which encourages violence:
The NRA's election-year slogan is meant to evoke a bit of the Wild West tough guy imagery that remains central to American gun culture. The phrase comes from poker, the card game of the frontier, and the desired picture is that of a noble, steely-eyed gun lobby pushing its mountain of chips across the table of America's destiny, betting everything on one last high-stakes hand. In NRA land, where impending Second Amendment Apocalypse is a state of mind and a business strategy, the next election is always the final hand. As he did in 2008, chief NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre describes 2012 as "the most important election of our lifetime."
For a group with a self-replenishing supply of chips, the slogan "All In" is absurd. Recent years have seen record profits for the gun and ammo industries, of which the NRA is an integral part. During Saturday's Leadership Forum, two grateful firms -- Ruger and MidwayUSA, the sponsor of the convention -- together donated more than $8 million to the NRA's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action. These two gifts alone -- raised through a "round-up" campaign on sales -- nearly equal the group's record spending for the 2008 cycle.
Flush with cash from the Obama-era gun boom it's done so much to fuel and drive, the NRA is today a very different beast than when it faced the possibility of bankruptcy in the mid-1990s. It has even mutated in large and important ways since 2007, when one of its former lobbyists, Richard Feldman, described the organization as a "cynical, mercenary political cult." Today's NRA is less a lobbying and campaigning organization than a highly profitable, multi-division industry, merchandising, and fundraising machine. It has an annual budget of between $220 and $250 million and executives eligible for the Buffet Rule. An election year for them is a night at the blackjack table for Michael Jordan.
You can read about a "joke" concerning assassinations contained in this post:
Burke is a loud and boastful retired lance corporal who displays a photo of himself with NRA Executive Vice President & CEO Wayne LaPierre on his professional website. The only thing he abhors more than gun control is silence. When a conversation about former New York Governor George Pataki's pro-gun record entered a lull, he asked the group what sounded like an American history riddle or piece of trivia: "What do Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama have in common?"
The collective intelligence of the minibus was stumped. After a few beats, he delivered the answer: "Nothing. Yet."
Most of the bus erupted in laughter, but the father from Long Island looked out the window, embarrassed.
Parents who want to shield their children from presidential assassination jokes should consider vacation destinations other than NRA conventions. The group's leadership has in recent years expertly cultivated a very profitable hatred and paranoia among its membership. This fact was on majestic display in St. Louis, where NRA officials painted the president as a dedicated "enemy of freedom" quietly implementing the early stages of a master gun confiscation plan. The convention marked the opening salvo in the group's campaign to defeat Obama and his gun control allies in November. The official battle cry for this effort, unveiled on Friday, is "All In."
You decide. Is this a laughing matter? I don't think so. It is not only distasteful. It is disgusting and unacceptable. But when gun toting people joke about Presidents being assassinated, we have a problem. It is no laughing matter. Real people lose their lives every day from real bullets. Guns and the people who carry them are killing people every day. Many people will not be joining their families this Thanksgiving where meals will be sober and full of grief. That is no laughing matter. The NRA has also made sure to get guns into the hands of as many people as possible. When a gun is there, it may be used. These shootings are not the norm in other developed countries not at war. They are unique to our country. Surely as a country we are better than this. We need common sense about not only reasonable laws but about our culture of guns and the result of too many people with too many guns in too many places who just might use one or more of them to shoot someone in a tragic moment of anger or despair.

4 comments:

  1. "This fact was on majestic display in St. Louis, where NRA officials painted the president as a dedicated "enemy of freedom" quietly implementing the early stages of a master gun confiscation plan."

    "There is actually a war on women ... Abortion is one issue, but contraception and family planning and birth control are opposed by this crowd too ... We have a big fight on our hands, in terms of respect for women, and our, what is right for our country in terms of our family decisions".
    Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

    As you can see, extreme rhetoric occurs on both sides. The challenge is to get both sides to sit down and discuss things without the inflamatory speech. Both sides love to call each other names such as gun grabbers or gun nuts. Both sides have extreme fringe elements that fuel worries about what the other side will do. And then each side points to the other side's fringe members and suggest that they are the norm.
    There are things that both sides could do to calm things down. This is likely an issue that neither side will ever see eye to eye, but the extreme views always seem to attract media attention, which tends to encourage them.
    If 80-some percent of the populace want some gun law, perhaps trying at the state level would be more effective,since state legislators are more accessable. Then if it doesnt pass, then the people have spoken.
    I still believe that the issue of gun violence is only being looked at from one direction. Everyone is looking at the gun part, but many years of many gun laws have failed to come up with a solution. Perhaps we should start looking at the violence part of the equation.

    You have to affect the behavior of people who turn to guns in troubled neighborhoods and big cities. It’s essential. You’re never going to solve the gun violence problem with gun control alone.” [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]
    http://kosu.org/2012/11/a-book-to-break-the-gun-control-stalemate/

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    Replies
    1. What's extreme about the examples you provided? There are no threats, no accusations, no violent language. Nancy Pelosi is spot on and the majority of Americans agree with her as evidenced by the election results. Your first quote just happens to be a fact. It is what the NRA is saying. I don't get why you sent me these as examples. It's likely because you couldn't find many examples to send- or at least nothing compared to the extreme right wing conspiracy theorists and people who laugh about assassinating Presidents.

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    2. "That was George Bush. So when does Seal Unit 6, or whatever it’s called, drop in on George Bush? Bush was responsible for a lot more death, innocent death, than bin Laden.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mike_Malloy_Show

      Or how about a film made about President Bush being assasinated and released while he was still in office?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_a_President_(2006_film)

      Keep in mind, that these people werent just telling a dumb joke on a bus. I think they would be called media spokepersons.
      The movie was so explicit, that then Sen. Hillary Clinton called it despicable.

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    3. You are really tiresome Mark. Are we going to go "tit for tat" or what? I can provide a whole bunch more of you want them. The Mike Malloy show sounds pretty seedy and inappropriate to me. I don't know if he mentioned any sitting President's assassination but maybe he has done that as well. As to the fictional British made movie about the fictional assassination of George W. Bush, made 4 years after his presidency was over, also tasteless and inappropriate to say the least. I find it different than an NRA member joking about the assassination of the current President or NRA Board member Ted Nugent's violent rants.

      Don't send me any more of these. Then I will have to send you more from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or some of the many right wing conspiracy theorists or militia groups and I really don't want to get into that back and forth. It is not productive. Have a nice evening Mark.

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