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, January 5, 2013

Gun extremists' response to proposed legislation

Starting with Wayne LaPierre's clown show during the press conference called to respond to the Newtown school shootings, one could just tell that the NRA was going to dissemble. And dissemble it has. In response to the most mass shootings for one year and the increase in mass shootings, the NRA doesn't really have anything useful to say. It has bullied this country for far too long. When you are a bully your only answer is to respond with force, anger, blame and excuses. Owning up to your part of the situation is not part of a bully's nature. For if you do, you have to give up some of your perceived power and control and then you will be equal with those you have bullied. Bullies are scared, actually. But they can't let you know they are scared so they scare you instead. After 20 innocent little children were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the whole country was frightened of the idea that a crazed young man could shoot his way into a school and mow down everyone in sight with an AR-15. AR-15s with multiple rounds of bullets are not meant for hunting deer. They are meant to kill a bunch of people at a time. High capacity magazines are not meant for hunting. They are meant to kill a lot of people at once. That is the very reason for their existence. People who like these type of guns and ammunition must picture themselves on the battleground ready to mow down the enemy. Of late, that enemy is the government, law enforcement, and yes, even zombies. But surely it is not little children.

So we must ask why this is happening. Only in America is it happening. The facts are there for all to see. We have seen them over and over and over. So how can the NRA deny the facts? For too long they have managed to bully elected leaders into doing their bidding while Americans have become victims of bullets. For too long the NRA leaders and lobbyists have somehow convinced their own members that if they don't have this kind of fire power, the government is coming for their guns. They demonize and bully me and others like me who only want a peaceful community without fear of bullets flying in every public place. Their illogical argument is that there are bad guys with guns everywhere who are waiting to get them so only a good guy with a gun can counter this enemy. From the linked article in Mother Jones, above:
A closer look reveals that their case for arming Americans against mass shooters is nothing more than a cynical ideological talking point—one dressed up in appeals to heroism and the defense of constitutional freedom, and wholly reliant on misdirection and half truths. If only Sandy Hook's principal had been packing heat, the argument goes, she could've stopped the mass killer. There's just one little problem with this: Not a single one of the 62 mass shootings we studied in our investigation has been stopped this way—even as the nation has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of recent laws has made it easier than ever for ordinary citizens to carry them in public places, including bars, parks, and schools.
Gun rights die-hards claim the Portland mall shooter saw an armed good guy—who ran for cover instead of firing—and promptly shot himself dead. Obviously.
Attempts by armed citizens to stop shooters are rare. At least two such attempts in recent years ended badly, with the would-be good guys gravely wounded or killed. Meanwhile, the five cases most commonly cited as instances of regular folks stopping massacres fall apart under scrutiny: Either they didn't involve ordinary citizens taking action—those who intervened were actually cops, trained security officers, or military personnel—or the citizens took action after the shooting rampages appeared to have already ended. (Or in some cases, both.)
But those facts don't matter to the gun rights die-hards, who never seem to run out of intellectually dishonest ammo. Most recently, they've pointed to the Portland shopping mall rampage earlier in December, in which an armed civilian reportedly drew his gun but thought twice about potentially hurting an innocent bystander and ducked for cover instead of firing. The assailant suddenly got scared of this retreating good guy with the gun, they claim, and promptly shot himself dead. Obviously.
The other problem with that logic is that too often, it is the very good guys with the guns who are committing the violence. They are "good" because they have managed to pass a background check. We need to remember where the guns used in these mass shootings came from in the first place. Adam Lanza took his mother's guns after he killed her with her own gun. Cho (Virginia Tech shooter) should not have been a legal gun purchaser because of his history of mental illness. But his name was not on the list of prohibited purchasers. The Columbine shooters turned to a friend to get guns at a Colorado gun show with no background check. The Red Lake shooter took his grandfather's guns, shot him and then shot up his school. I could go on and on. What if these guns had not been so available? What if the owners of the guns had made sure they were very safely stored? What if we required background checks on all gun sales? But we have made it too easy for some of these folks to pass a background check. And if they can't, no matter. Guns can be had by all. They are stolen. They are trafficked easily in the illegal market. They are bought through a straw purchase or from private sellers who don't ask for background checks. Almost all guns start out as legal purchases in the first place. Our system is broken. It is not working. That is why we need to have the national discussion that is finally happening way too late to save those 20 little children.

Becoming self aware is a good thing. I wrote in my last post about the many NRA members who have awakened to the nonsense spewed by their organization. These folks aren't afraid of their guns or their rights being taken from them. They are afraid of their children and grandchildren being taken from them. They have rejected the extremism of Wayne LaPierre and the crazy and extreme folks who head up the organization. They want to be part of the movement to prevent the next mass shooting or the next stray bullet from ending up in a child's head, or the next domestic shooting or the next child who finds a loaded gun carelessly left around the house. But then, these are the reasonable majority of gun owners and even NRA members who happen to agree that reasonable restrictions on guns won't be the end of the world as we know it. The others? The minority? The bullies who have had their way for far too long? Let's take a look at their lunacy.

You can always count on the most extreme members of the gun lobby to be against anything the gun violence prevention movement (and the majority of Americans, including NRA members) are for. This latest ludicrous reason for why the NRA and gun owners should be opposed to an assault weapons ban as proposed by Senator Diane Feinstein, has to do with discrimination:
Former National Rifle Association president Marion Hammer compared a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to ban assault weapons to racial discrimination. According to Hammer, "banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It's just bad politics."
Hammer's comparison came during a discussion on NRA News about Sen. Feinstein's plans to introduce legislation to ban assault weapons during the new Congress. Hammer warned that the United States government could engage in firearm confiscation "in order to control the masses."
You just can't make this stuff up. But let them talk. Does the public agree with this lunacy? I doubt it. And it gets loonier and loonier. Check out what Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert just said about weapons used in mass killings:
Appearing on the Dennis Miller Show, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told guest host Larry O’Connor that he “refuse[s] to play the game of ‘assault weapon.’ That’s any weapon,” said the Texas congressman. “It’s a hammer. It’s the machetes.”
O’CONNOR: I want to ask you a question about one of your colleagues, Rep. Peter King in New York. He’s a very passionate guy, a great defender, he’s a great patriot. But he’s on board with this assault weapons ban. He was actually on MSNBC yesterday, openly saying, “I don’t understand why anybody would need an assault weapon.” I personally get nervous whenever a politician is asking me as a citizen why I need my right, but can you answer that question for your colleague? He might need some help here. Why would anyone need an assault weapon as they’re defining it?
GOHMERT: I refuse to play the game of “assault weapon.” That’s any weapon. It’s a hammer. It’s the machetes. In Rwanda that killed 800,000 people, an article that came out this week, the massive number that are killed with hammers.
Of course, Gohmert is very wrong but never mind the facts. Here is the truth (below) about deaths by hammer. And raise your hand if you ever remember a mass "hammering" anywhere in the world. From the article:
According to the FBI, in 2010, there were 8,775 people who were murdered with guns, compared to 540 people who were killed with blunt objects, a small minority of which were people armed with hammers. The exponentially-higher number of people killed by guns also includes many innocent people killed by indiscriminate gunfire, such as drive-by shootings. After all, there are no “drive-by hammerings.”
Still, hammers are not the only “weapon” that conservatives are equating with firearms in an attempt to undermine any gun control legislation. A state representative in New Hampshire,warned of another deadly weapon: credit cards. “Anything can be used as a deadly weapon, said Rep. Dan Dumaine (R). “A credit card can be used to cut somebody’s throat.”
See what I mean? It just gets loonier and loonier. Are these folks going 'round the bend in their hysteria in the face of mass shooting after mass shooting in America? Good grief. Get a grip. This is ludicrous. Looks like Gohmert was wrong about everything he said. The Rwanda genocide was completed, awful and horrific as it was, by a combination of machetes, rocket launchers, guns and grenades. Take a seat Congressman Gohmert. Your fact free hysteria is making you look really bad.
But nearly three weeks after the Dec. 14 bloodbath, the American far right – from elements of the Tea Party to bigoted bloggers to conspiracy theorists – is working itself into an absolute frothy uproar at even the possibility that it may become more difficult to purchase a military-style assault rifle or a magazine that carries dozens of bullets.

It’s reminiscent of the reaction that surrounded the 1994 assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. That legislation, which applied only to newly manufactured guns, helped fuel a powerful militia movement – one that has been eclipsed by the recent surge in the anti-government “Patriot” movement, which includes armed militias.

One particular rant that has gained traction on white supremacist websites was posted on Dec. 28 by a blogger named Bob Owens and is entitled “What you’ll see in the rebellion.” In the piece, Owens speculates about what would happen if the “gun grabbers … confiscatory fantasy plays out.” It has already has received more than 160 comments on Owens’ website, including this one: “Everyone talks of dying for their cause, because it’s glamorous. Killing for our cause is what it will take.’’

In Owens’ vision, the enactment of legislation being proposed in Congress would result in civil war and a targeted campaign of assassination that forces the president to stay in “his gilded cage except in carefully controlled circumstances.’’

“Even then he will be forced to move like a criminal. He will never be seen outdoors in public again. Not in this country.’’

“The 535 members of the House and Senate in both parties that allowed such a law to pass would largely be on their own; the Secret Service is too small to protect all of them and their families, the Capitol Police too unskilled, and competent private security not particularly interested in working against their own best interests at any price. The elites will be steadily whittled down, and if they can not be reached directly, the targets will become their staffers, spouses, children, and grandchildren. Grandstanding media figures loyal to the regime would die in droves, executed as enemies of the Republic.

“You can expect congressional staffs to disintegrate with just a few shootings, and expect elected officials themselves to resign well before a quarter of their number are eliminated, leaving us with a boxed-in executive, his cabinet loyalists trapped in the same win, die, or flee the country circumstance military regime loyalists, and whatever State Governors who desire to risk their necks as well.’’
Whoa there. Isn't this called treason? Or terrorism? The crazy gun rights advocates are saying things that we should all be afraid of. They are the "guys with the guns" who have been making the rules for far too long. But listen to what they are saying. They are so afraid of reasonable gun laws that they are saying things that the rest of us should be quite afraid of. Who should be frightened when these guys spew their lies and insanity? It is an ugly underbelly of American culture that has been arming itself quite easily thanks to our loose gun laws. They may be afraid of their own shadows, their own government or zombies but we are afraid of these guys. They are likely NRA members and their frightening threats are supported by and encouraged by the gun lobby. That is how a bully controls the situation. I hope reasonable NRA members and gun owners will call out this lunacy and ask that the NRA stop spewing fear and paranoia and start dealing with facts. When real people are being killed every day and real parents are burying real children in real graves, the lunacy of the NRA is just plain stupid and dangerous and should not be tolerated.

And there's more where that came from as documented in this blog post at New Trajectory. Raise your hand if you think these guys are sane and rational. And while you're at the New Trajectory blog, I suggest you check out this illuminating video "discussion" to actually watch some of the gun guys come unglued over reasonable gun laws.

And speaking of zombies, whenever they enter the conversation, you just know you are not talking to a rational, reasonable person. Check out this video of a pro gun activist outside of the venue where NRA V.P. Wayne LaPierre gave his crazy speech:



So if having a reasonable conversation about gun violence prevention causes this kind of lunacy, we are in for an interesting year. The ugliness is coming forth. It has always been there. Those of us writing about the issue have been subject to it for a long time. The only good thing about what's happening is that now the public is being exposed to it and is not in the mood to be bullied. The public wants common sense. The citizens of America know that we are better than this.

UPDATE:

Another article written by someone who dared to challenge the gun lobby's extremism by offering suggestions meant to be satire, shows the vicious and frightening nature of the gun rights extremists:
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a thoughtful, well-reasoned column suggesting ways to cut down on gun violence in our ever more violent society. It proposed, among other things:
Repealing the Second Amendment and with it the right to buy assault weapons at will.
Declaring the National Rifle Association a terrorist organization and making membership illegal.
Confiscating all assault, semi-automatic, and other military-style weapons designed to kill large numbers of people very quickly.
As I said, thoughtful, well reasoned.
I also proposed, satirically and more in sorrow than in anger, tying House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to the back of a pickup truck and dragging them around until they agreed to exert some control over guns.
Well, you would have thought I’d suggesting selling Sarah Palin to the Taliban. The Internet exploded in outrage and emails by the hundreds — hundreds! — came flooding in. My phone started ringing incessantly too.
Most of the emails were abusive and a few were borderline threatening. Gun owners, it seems, are a sensitive group whose feelings are easily hurt.
Yes, I've experienced some similar responses. It is in the nature of bullies to get their feelings easily hurt. They are actually, as I said above, scared and weak people and get pretty touchy when challenged. And then, watch out. They will do more than hurt your feelings claiming theirs are hurt. Not a nice group of folks. More from the article:
I may now be closer to believing the NRA is an organization of terrorists, however. I’ve been getting hostile telephone calls at all hours of the day and night for the past several days. Why would you call a stranger at 3 a.m. if you weren’t trying to frighten him? It’s what terrorists do — frighten people.
I rest my case.
The more reasoned of the angry e-mails I’ve received recite the NRA catechism in justifying the Second Amendment — outlaw guns and only outlaws will have them, blah, blah blah.
But none of them mentioned assault weapons. Not one. And that’s what we’re talking about. Not hunting or target practice — assault weapons.
As always, the gun nuts miss the main point and distract by attacking the messenger. Even when they attack the message, they can't seem to abide satire. I guess when you are a zealot and take yourself so seriously, humor and satire is lost. Get a grip. Take a deep breath. Stop threatening and blustering. To say the least, it's unbecoming. But if you don't want to be quoted or made to look like a crazed and dangerous gun guy, I suggest taking a rest and thinking about what this is all about- the children at Sandy Hook elementary school and the many other victims of gun violence. And then take another look at yourself and think about it again. This is not just about you. This is about common sense and keeping children and others safe from violent and untimely deaths.

UPDATE #2:

They just keep coming. This one is particularly disgusting. When a 3 year old can talk gun talk on a video while holding a gun, we have a problem. Please think of the 20 small children killed at Sandy Hook elementary school when you look at this one and then do demand a plan that takes guns away from 3 year old children like this little girl. It's another attempt at gun guy satire in mocking the Mayors Against Illegal Guns demand a plan. Is this supposed to be funny? Raise your hand if you think it is.



2 comments:

  1. You aren't a little bit concerned about using the first amendment for toilet paper by endorsing Mr. Kaul's extreme ideas?

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Don't you think that if we allowed Pres Obama or the Attorney General to unilaterally declare the NRA to be a terrorist organization without any due process and start hunting down members, some future evil right wing Republican administration might do the same thing to a political interest group that they dislike?

    That seems like a bad precedent to set even if you really don't like the NRA.

    If individuals are making terroristic threats they should be charged. If an organization is encouraging such behavior then criminal charges for conspiracy can be pursued.

    Remember when the ACLU defensed the Nazi party's right to march in Skogie? Notice how the police haven't rounded up the Westboro Baptist Church when they show up to do their horrendous protests? We don't outlaw free association or political groups in this country because we disagree with them or find them to be hateful.

    I know you hate the second amendment but I'm surprised to find you also despise the first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Missing the point again. Did you read the post?

      Delete