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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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving shopping shooters

Thanksgiving and "Black Friday" are American traditions. Personally I never do the "Black Friday" thing. Here in my city shoppers waiting in line for those bargains were greeted by a snow storm. It couldn't have been pleasant to be standing for hours in blowing and cold snow. But wait in line people did. Inconvenience and cold stormy conditions don't seem to matter to some. Others, however, took matters into their own hands and decried the usual holiday traditions by acting irresponsibly and dangerously over getting a place in line or a parking spot. Really folks. Who thought shopping could be so dangerous? Two people were injured at yet another Walmart parking lot shooting in Tallahassee, Florida. From this great new blog that keeps track of Walmart shootings:
In what appears to be a dispute over a parking space, two people, a man and woman, were wounded in a shooting in the parking lot of a Walmart in Tallahassee, Florida.  It happened on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
You can read the article about this incident on the blog. Luckily the victims were only injured. It could have been much worse. In what has become a public safety problem, the number of shootings and gun incidents at Walmart stores are increasing . Check out the video on this Penigma blog post. Towards the end ( but couldn't find the exact minute) there is a discussion about the violence at Walmart stores and lack of security at stores. The PBS Frontline special video in the above blog examines the business practices of the Walmart corporation and the culture of the stores. There has been scrutiny of late about the low pay of workers and workers at some Walmart stores went on strike on Black Friday. I have a suggestion. While scrutiny is centered on business practices, treatment of workers and the low pay for workers, there should be a close examination of the shooting and gun incidents at Walmart stores all over the country. Something is wrong. Since Walmart has reintroduced the sale of guns (2011) and ammunition after stopping the practice, one does have to wonder if any dots can be connected or is it just that gun toting folks do their shopping at Walmart? In fact, Walmart is now the biggest seller of guns in the country and has found itself on the other end of at least one lawsuit involving the sale of ammunition to an under aged person who then killed someone:
Walmart, the largest seller of firearms in America, expanded sales of guns from 1,300 to 1,750 stores -- about half of its U.S. fleet -- last year, according to Hargrove.
Walmart fired Martha Parker, the worker who sold Moore the ammunition, a few days after the shooting occurred. Parker claimed in court that she had not known the bullets were for the underage Moore, and thought she was selling them to his friend, Ladarius White, who was shopping with Moore. But the shooter claimed he had given White money in plain view and lied to say he had forgotten his ID.
The court said that even if Parker knew she was selling to someone underage, Walmart wasn't responsible for the death because it was impossible to know that Moore would use the bullets to commit a violent crime. But dissenting judges argued that anyone could guess that a minor is more likely than an adult to misuse a firearm, the very reason why there is a law prohibiting young people from possessing guns in the first place.
"Though 18- to 20-year-olds make up only about 5 percent of the population, they account for about 20 percent of homicide and manslaughter arrests," said Daniel Vice, the chief attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a non-profit that lobbies for gun control. "This was a flawed ruling."
A 2005 law gives gun sellers and manufacturers broad protection against lawsuits. Gun control groups, like the Brady Center, have been fighting the law in courts ever since, Vice said.
The National Rifle Association, the largest gun rights lobby, did not return a request for comment Tuesday.
The NRA was behind the passage of the Gun Industry Immunity Bill so cases like the above cannot win against gun sellers. Shame on us for allowing that to happen. In the case of the 20 year old who bought the ammunition from a Walmart clerk and a judge ruling that the clerk could not have known the ammunition would be used in a shooting later, one does wonder about our gun culture. What would you imagine ammunition would be used for? The clerk was fired but more should have happened. Someone is now dead because a person who should not have been able to buy ammunition or guns bought them anyway. Gun laws matter. Just follow the money and connect the dots between the NRA and the gun industry to find out why laws like this get passed. But I digress. As to the first shooting mentioned above, I think it is worth taking a look at gun laws in Florida to see why it's sometimes not safe to be out and about in Florida. From the above article:
And while the sudden uptick in firearm sales is occurring nationwide, Florida's surge brings us that much closer to another alarming threshold: being the first state to surpass one million concealed weapons permits.
The state currently has about 950,000 citizens with concealed weapons permits and that total is increasing by 15,000 every month, according to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
Although one in every 17 Floridians already has a license to carry a hidden firearm, state officials have recently made it even easier for residents to arm themselves.
Effective July 1, a new state law lowered the cost for a concealed weapons permit from $85 to $70, and a renewal license from $70 to $60.
So which Florida county is the most armed?
You guessed it -- Miami-Dade, which as of June 30, had 84,940 citizens packing heat.
Broward County follows close behind with 74,439 concealed weapon permit holders and Palm Beach County comes in third with 60,315 permits.
It doesn't take rocket science to connect the dots between loose gun laws and lots of people getting shot. Florida ranks 17th of 50 states in firearm deaths coming in at 12.67 deaths per 100,000. Nothing to brag about.

In another scary story, this Texas law abiding gun permit holder will not be charged for pulling his gun out when a man tried to get ahead of him in a "Black Friday" shopping line. Was this the law that was is in effect in the case above? Was the permit holder just "traveling" while waiting in line for bargains? Yes, there was an altercation in the line. No, the man's life was most likely not in danger. When there's a gun involved, however, everything changes. If the permit holder had shot the gun, for example, how many innocent people could have been hit with the bullet? Why is this man protected by the law in Texas? Are we enacting the laws already on the books? If the laws allow for this to happen, we have some really bad gun laws in some states in our country and in Texas in particular where gun owners are now given even more latitude as to where they can carry their guns. Why not? Take a look at gun deaths in Texas compared to other states to see why Texas gun laws are dangerous to the public health and safety of Texans. The Violence Policy Center ranks Texas as 26th with 10.60 gun deaths per 100,000 population. Aren't we better than this? 

And this is just the beginning of the holiday season, folks. Merry holiday season. And please use common sense when shopping. Leave your guns at home. I have yet to know what people are so afraid of while shopping. I've written about accidental discharges and shootings at stores many times before on this blog. Almost all of them have involved law abiding gun permit holders. We are more at risk from the folks who think they need their guns to go shopping than from whatever those folks are afraid they will encounter while shopping.

UPDATE:

The suspects from the Tallahassee Walmart shooting have been caught.
Sgt. Ralph Hall said Earl White III, 31, and Tiffany Leanne Yancey, 27, were arrested yesterday after Gadsden County Sheriff's Office officials chased them into Georgia, south of Cairo.
The two were chased by deputies until they reached a road block, which was set up by Grady County deputies. Spikes were deployed and the two suspects crashed into a ridge, ending the chase. Hall said Yancey and White were checked out by EMS before being released back into police custody.
"They're both waiting on authorities from Florida to come and start the extradition process," he said.

UPDATE #2:

Here's something interesting to add to this post. A Walmart store in Indiana has removed "tactical" weapons from its shelves because it violated an agreement not to sell them:
ABC 57 found tactical guns and .223 high-powered ammunition it promised not to sell. Now, because of our news report, the retail giant is now taking those guns off the shelves.
Common Council Vice President Oliver Davis held a phone conference with Wal-Mart on Monday morning. Davis said the store was very apologetic and eager to fix the problem.
Reverend Greg Brown, a local minister on the city's West side, became concerned about Wal-Mart’s gun sales after two of the kids in his youth group said they were offered $50 to steal ammunition from the store.
"A gentleman came to them with a gym bag and asked them to load it up with ammunition and come out where they get tires," Brown.
ABC 57 went to the Wal-Mart off Ireland Road in South Bend. That is when we found a 12 gauge tactical shotgun in the display case, next to .223 high-powered ammunition.
Both items are not supposed to be sold at the store based on a written agreement with the City of South Bend.
"We had a great relationship with them and this is why it was alarming to me that they had not honored their part of the bargain," said Davis.
"A .223 round can shoot through a bulletproof vest, so we are concerned about our police officers safety and anybody else," said Councilman Tim Scott.
After our news report aired, the common council took action. Davis sent a letter to Wal-Mart notifying the store that it was not in compliance with the agreement. 
One week later, at Monday's Common Council meeting, Davis updated council members on his correspondence with Wal-Mart.
"I had a meeting with Wal-Mart and some of their officials via phone. We met for about a half hour and talked about the situation going on," said Davis.  
In the conference call, Wal-Mart agreed to get the store in compliance and has since started removing those prohibited items from its shelves. Council members said they are pleased with Wal-Mart's swift action and response to the matter.
Too bad it took an investigation by a media outlet. But maybe there's hope yet.

UPDATE #3

It's really unbelievable that yet another shooting incident at a Walmart store has come across my "desk". In this case, a Tennessee law abiding gun permit holder was angry at a woman in the parking lot and took a shot at her. From the article:
A Clinton man says he fired a gun at a woman's car because she was in his way as he rushed to shop on Black Friday.
Jerry Leon Poe, 62, is charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving.
According to the arrest warrant, Poe told a deputy that he was at the Walmart in Clinton trying to get a stereo for his grandson. He said he'd waited in line for five hours, but they sold out before he could get one. Poe said he decided to go to the Oak Ridge Walmart before they sold out of the stereos.
As he was driving on Oak Ridge Highway between the Clinton and Oak Ridge city limits, Poe admitted to firing a gun at a woman's car who "wouldn't get out of my way."
The woman's husband was in another vehicle and witnessed the incident. He said that Poe was "driving erratically" and almost struck his wife's vehicle. He said that when she pulled into the other lane to let Poe pass, he followed her, "tailgating her," so she switched lanes again. That's when her husband claims Poe "stuck a gun out the driver's window and fired a shot at her vehicle."
Poe admitted he fired the gun, saying "She wouldn't move out of my way, so I got mad and shot out of my window to scare her into moving."
He also told the deputy that he didn't know what had come over him and he knew what he did was wrong.
Poe does have a permit to carry a gun. He is being held in the Anderson County jail with no bond.
Watch out for all of those permit holders out there. They are becoming more and more dangerous.

20 comments:

  1. The story in Texas was self defense. No charge needed

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    1. Sounds like, according to another story, the man with the gun was rude towards the guy before he punched him. Was he asking for trouble? Could be. I don't think you shoot someone for punching you in the nose. Good grief. The country would be littered with dead bodies if that happened. Oh yeah, we already are but it could be even worse. The man was a jerk. He didn't need to show a gun.

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  2. Things do appear to be improving a bit in Florida. The statistics on gun deaths you supplied were from 2008. I used another source that you sent me in the past and Florida has now moved to 21st in the nation. Right behind it is Maryland, a state with very strict gun laws. And right behind Maryland is Texas.
    http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa/florida-firearms-death-rate

    I tend to believe that the shootings at Walmart arent related to it's gun sales.
    In two of the shootings listed,the police were the only people who opened fire. It's very possible that similar statistics could be put together for say, 7-11.

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    1. Great!! It's so good to know that there are slightly fewer people being shot to death. You can't prove that Walmart gun sales aren't related. I can't prove that they are. I'm making a suggestion since it seems so obvious. Find me a bunch of shootings at 7-11 stores and maybe someone can start blogging about 7-11shootings.com. You have missed the point of my writing about Walmart shootings. But then, that is no surprise. As we have "discussed" ad nauseum on this blog, some states with strict gun laws have a good number of shootings for several reasons- high concentrations of populations in large metropolitan cities and surrounding states with loose gun laws allowing for guns to come into the state. You might be interested in this study from the VPC showing that gun deaths in Maryland, Virginia and DC outpace motor vehicle accident deaths. http://www.vpc.org/studies/dmv.pdf

      Of course, as always, you guys insist on picking away at details when the facts show us that there are just plain too many gun deaths everywhere.

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    2. Japete,
      I thought I was clear that my belief was that the violence occurring in Walmart parking lots are a function of the store drawing large numbers of people. We just have opposing beliefs.
      We also discussed the article in your link just last month. The link you supplied this month was also a part of it. If you'll recall, I had mentioned that the VPC only uses statistics mentioning DC when it helps the premise of their article, such as in the article about auto accidents and gun deaths.
      When they rank gun deaths across the country, as in the link you supplied earlier, DC gets left out because it ranks first.

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    3. Yes, Mark, you were clear. That doesn't mean you are right. I was just at my local Target store. There were a lot of people and cars there as there were at the local Mall. The Mall of America, I'm sure, had many more people and cars than the local Walmart stores. And yet- we aren't hearing about a lot of shootings in the parking lots of these places. I wonder what the difference is? Can you explain that one to make some sense out of it?

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    4. The Mall of America is run differently than a regular mall because of it's unique status as one of the nation's largest malls. I'm thinking that having a substation of the Bloomington Police in the mall might help. They also have a security staff of 100 people.
      They also make rules as they see fit. Just recently they put out that unacompanied juveniles wouldnt be permitted on the property during Black Friday. The security force has also attracted notice as being very aggressive for what can be harmless behavior.
      http://www.npr.org/2011/09/07/140234451/under-suspicion-at-the-mall-of-america

      As for Target stores, in about tem minutes of searching I found six shootings at Target stores this year, the most recent one taking place on Black Friday.
      http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/24/black-friday-mayhem-apocalypse-death-zone-roundup-2-shot-1-gun-brandished-target-targeted/
      I dont see the necessity of posting all of the articles, though I can send them along if you wish.

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    5. Do you ever just take something someone says at face value and move on, Mark? You are truly an argumentative and annoying person. So far there have been over 40 shooting or gun incidents at Walmart stores. That is my point. Give it up. You won't win this one. What the heck is your point about the Mall of America again? Oh yes, they have security. Did you read my blog? I said that in the video included in my post, it was noted that security is a problem. Perhaps if Walmart would spend a little more of its' profits, a good part of made on gun sales, on security and worker pay, they would have safer stores. PLEASE do not provide me with any more articles. We are done with this one. Stop trying to one-up me. No more comments from you will be published on this post.

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  3. Well if that story is correct n he was rude that still would be no reason to be assaulted. How would he know if the attacker would keep attacking him. Sometimes just drawing a gun if enough to defuse the situation.

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    1. So if you, yourself, are rude in public and actually instigate someone to punch you in the nose and you draw your gun on them to show that you can defuse a situation you started in the first place, that's a good idea? I disagree. Guns add a different element to what starts as a fist fight. Check out George Zimmerman. Guns kill people quickly. Fist fights usually end with a few bloody noses, bruised egos and maybe a call to 911 and an arrest.

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    2. In this case, the man with the gun was the innocent party, being the victim of assault. Are you suggesting that telling someone not to cut in line is instigating violence? Why should the innocent party be obligated to engage in a "fair fight" with an assailant?

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    3. It's definitely time for you to find something else to do with your day. Read my blog and my comments and you find out what I think. I don't need to explain it further. It won't add a thing to the discussion.

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    4. "Fist fights usually end with a few bloody noses, bruised egos and maybe a call to 911 and an arrest."

      Really? According to the FBI over 9000 people have been killed with feet and fists between 2000 and 2009. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0310.xls line 47

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    5. Do you really want to go there, Robin? O.K. let's- between 2000 and 2009 roughly 100,000 people have been killed in gun homicides. Your logic and facts are all off. The number is most likely higher depending on which figures are used for yearly gun homicides. I used 10,000 to round it down. In some years, it was closer to 12,000 a year. I did say "usually" didn't I? Quit being petty. It gets you into trouble.

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  4. Exactly what does the traveling law have to do with a concealed permit holder? How on earth did you manage to connect them?

    With a concealed carry permit you don't have to worry about traveling. Actually without one you no longer have to worry.

    Texas law allows a person to carry a shotgun or rifle in a vehicle. Handguns could only be carried in your vehicle in the past without a permit if you were "traveling." Because "traveling" was not defined a number of citizens got in trouble with zealous anti-gun prosecutors. So the legislature passed a law saying that if you were not a gang member, not banned from possessing a gun, not committing a crime other than a traffic violation, and the gun was concealed you were presumed to be traveling. However, the prosecutors in Austin and Houston in particular, decided that they didn't approve of that and therefore if you were caught with a gun in your car in their counties that even though you weren't breaking the law they would have you arrested, confiscate your gun, force you to pay a bailbondsman and a lawyer and go to court. You might win but it would be expensive. This aggravated the legislature to no end and in the next session they decided that traveling no longer applied and provided you met the above criteria you could carry a handgun in your car without a permit. You may also transport the handgun to and from your vehicle since naturally you have to be able to get in the car if you intend to have it there. By the way, both prosecutors ended up out of office with legal problems of their own. I guess a disrespect for the law can show up in more than one area of your life can't it?

    You cannot legally take a handgun from your car into a store without a permit.

    When the traveling law was first modified and then when the law was changed to allow handguns in cars the anti-gunners swore that it would invalidate concealed carry laws and everyone would carry without a permit, cats would live with dogs, their would be blood in the streets, people would be shot in countless numbers and the world would end. It hasn't happened.

    Back to my question, since we know that the guy has a permit, what does the no longer applicable "traveling" law have to do with the incident?

    BTW, punching someone in Texas is assault and could have ended with the person throwing the punch in jail for a year. Why, when you are so vehement about domestic abuse, are you willing to approve it in public against a stranger?

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    1. As usual, Robin, you have missed the point of my post. We disagree about whether carrying concealed guns in public is a good idea. I have shown why it is not. You still think it's O.K. in spite of people with permits for their guns shooting others or threatening others with guns. So why bother to ask me these questions?

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  5. In that Penigma video, got to timepoint 1:16:11 until 1:25:06.

    It's particularly interesting to note that Walmart conducted a study, which found that 80% of the assaults, shootings, and other violent crimes occurred in the parking lots, and adding just one roving guard would drop incidents to nearly zero. And yet, they buried the study and took no action.

    At the Walmart Shootings blog I am finding a similar statistic for shootings. Of the 49 shootings I've found so far for 2012, 39 of them were in the parking lots.

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  6. Dear readers- please read my blog for my views about the subject matter. I wrote what I wrote. I know some of you are sure you know better than me or have better information than I. I research what I write and provide links. You don't like my links and criticize them. That is your prerogative. But you don't have to make a comment on every little detail in the article trying to find fault with it. I know you don't like what I say. Just keep it to yourself and move on. I am not going to be in a p$%#ing match over your facts versus mine. Comments are not published when they don't add anything to the debate or provide new information.

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  7. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-11-18/news/os-atm-attempted-robbery-fairwinds-20121117_1_gunman-atm-robbery

    Another entry for Jason Kilgore to add to his kid shootings blog and one for you to use to show that you don't need to carry a gun. Because of Florida's Stand Your Ground law a child is dead and a poor disadvantaged criminal's life is ruined. They might have let their assailant go after taking his money if he hadn't had a gun. Now we'll never know. Where is the common sense? I bet the shooter profiled them.

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    1. I am totally confused as to why you said what you said in your comment. This does seem like a justified self defense. The young men had knives and approached someone with them as he came to an ATM. Someone who didn't have a gun in their car might have had to give the guys money from their checking account. Who knows how it would have ended? The Kid Shootings blog deals with kids 17 and under who are involved in shooting someone or being shot or having access to guns. This would not fit into that category. You guys are the ones who hate it when those of us on the side of preventing gun deaths refer to teen-agers as kids.

      What's your point, Robin? Or did you just want to give me a pinch? It didn't work.

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