Shame on them all for failing to bring forward a bill that is supported by a large majority of
very same legislators who were willing to vote against a popular gun background check bill voted in favor of this bill. Why? Today the bill passed in the Minnesota Senate and will be signed into law. Minnesota will be the 12th state in the nation to pass a marriage equality bill. I am proud to be a Minnesotan and this is a great day for all of us but most especially for my gay/lesbian friends and a few relatives. There was a lot of talk about the courage it took for some to vote for this bill and a lot of chants of "We have your back." Yes, indeed. It does take courage to do the right thing sometimes. And the same would be true for a very simple background check bill. It shouldn't take so much courage but when up against armed citizens who are funded by the ever present NRA, some legislators lose their nerve. I watched as the celebration took place at the Minnesota Capitol Rotunda this afternoon. It brought me to tears. I would be surprised if there wasn't one person in that rotunda who was against the background check bill. We will work to make sure those folks join us in our fight to do the right thing for gun violence victims and stop the contradictions.
People should be able to have marches, walks, runs, parades, rallies and vigils without fear of being shot. Some of the Minnesota gun rights extremists made some noise about showing up at our events armed. They didn't come but we were ready. Not with our guns, but with our passion and a well placed police officer. Sure, openly carrying guns is legal in the public park where our event was held and on the street corner where the Minneapolis group held a vigil on Saturday. But why? What in the world is so dangerous about a walk in a public park where families are gathered? Apparently the most danger comes from those armed folks themselves. At a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans, one or more armed people thought it was OK to shoot at people marching in the parade. 19 were injured, including 2 children. From the article:
This could have been so much worse. There is a culture of violence in New Orleans and some other American cities. But what are we doing about it? Street guns or illegal guns start out as legal purchases and end up in the illegal market because they are stolen, because of straw purchasing, because of private purchases with no background checks. Are we passing laws that could stop some of this? No. It's time we do. Why don't we? With all of this violence on our streets and in our communities, why does the gun lobby work so fiercely against laws that could help prevent some of the violence? If they are so scared of all of those folks on the streets with their guns that they have to buy their own to protect themselves, why not do something about the first problem? A contradiction for sure. Unless you connect the dots to the gun industry and making sure it continues to profit from gun sales.Security camera video released today by New Orleans police appears to capture the moment when a gunman opened fire on a crowd at a Mother's Day parade. Nineteen people were wounded, including two children.Video images show a man in a white T-shirt waiting by a house as the procession goes by, running up to the crowd and opening fire at close range.The crowd instantly scatters and flees from the suspect, who keeps his gun elevated as people run away, some falling to the street. The gunman then runs away. It's not clear if he was targeting a particular person.No arrests had been announced as of today.Ten men, seven women, and a girl and a boy both age 10, were hit when gunmen opened fire at the parade. Police said they were looking for three suspects, adding that a motive for the shooting was unknown.Two victims underwent surgery and the children were grazed but in good condition, police said on Sunday. It was unclear if the victims were marching or watching the parade.Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas has said a witness reported hearing two different types of gunshots, indicating two weapons were involved.The FBI attributed the incident to "street violence," not terrorism.Serpas told reporters that officers saw three suspects running away, with one about age 18 to 22."It appears that these two or three people, for reasons unknown to us, started shooting at, towards or in the crowd," Serpas said, adding that the incident was over in "just a couple of seconds."Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the shooting part of "the relentless drum beat of violence" on the streets of New Orleans."It's a culture of violence that has enveloped the city for a long, long period of time," Landrieu told a news conference outside University Hospital, where three victims were being treated for serious injuries.
Here is another contradiction. You may remember the campaign in California and Washington state for the gun advocates to carry their openly holstered guns into Starbucks stores and other such shops. They insisted it was their right and they were perfectly safe. They just don't get it do they? Who wants people with guns around in places where they are relaxing with friends and family? These folks were advocating for unloaded holstered guns. Why? What good is a gun if it's unloaded when your point is that you may have to use it for protection? Merely a show by the gun guys. After this "protest" and the reaction to it by the Brady Campaign and other groups, this incident happened at a Wyoming Starbucks. And then other groups decided to protest guns in Starbucks stores nation-wide so, of course, the gun guys decided to launch their own counter campaign to encourage people with guns to go to Starbucks stores. Whatever. Their message is flawed. Not only have there been very rare, if any incidents, of people with guns saving customers or themselves at a Starbucks or similar store, but the opposite has happened. I have written about guns discharging in public places before here and here. And the most famous shooting at a coffee shop happened when an armed man shot and killed four armed police officers near Tacoma, Washington, thereby lending a lie to the fact that being armed in a public place will protect you. And now, another accidental gun discharge has occurred at a Florida Starbucks.
When do we think Starbucks will re-think allowing loaded guns in their stores? Perhaps when a lawsuit happens? Follow the money.
Guns are dangerous. The more of them carried into more public places the more we will see incidents such as this. Again, check out Ohh Shoot ( where 2 recent entries are people accidentally discharging loaded guns at gun shops) for much more about this. The media is beginning to notice that law abiding gun owners can be dangerous with their guns in public places and even at home. Accidental shootings are being recorded by more than one source. For instance, over at Accidental Shootings, a running report is being kept. Also, I have referred previously here to the blog, The Gun Report by Joe Nocera of the New York Times in which he reports on the shootings he knows about over a week-end or several days' time. Here is the most recent from Mother's Day week-end. Shootings of all kinds occurred in many different states. There were homicides, kids shooting other kids, people shooting people marching in parades, domestic shootings, police shootings, drive-by shootings, gang shootings, etc. They took place in New York, Minnesota, North Carolina, California, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Nebraska, Delaware, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Idaho, Maryland, South Carolina, Iowa, Kentucky and Indiana. And yet, some of the gun rights extremists believe that shootings are only amongst gang members or in the inner city of large cities. They just aren't happening where they live- wherever that may be. But they happen everywhere and anytime. The denial of reality is just not working any more now that so many people are reporting on actual shootings.
What about guns in the home for self defense? What the gun lobby doesn't want you to know is how often they are used by children for suicide by gun or in accidental shootings. ( not to mention shootings of women in domestic abuse cases but that is for another post). Remember to check out the Kid Shootings blog for much more about kids and guns and gun deaths. And so, here is a new article- yet another- showing how far too often, those guns owned for self defense are used by children in accidental shootings. From the article:
Enough said. More contradictions. Wouldn't you think that all of this would be embarrassing for the gun lobby and their apologists? In fact, these incidents usually fly under the radar. Most people don't know about the daily shootings unless it's happened to them or someone they know- or in their own community. When informed, they are often surprised. For example, when I told a young couple pushing a baby in a stroller at the march on Sunday, that in Minnesota it's legal for gun permit holders to carry their guns openly, they were not only surprised, but horrified. That is because the NRA has been so clever that they manage to pass things in bills that go unnoticed or fly "under the radar." So when someone carrying a gun in a Starbucks store accidentally shoots a customer, it's an eye opener. Most reasonable people don't need guns in public nor do they want them in public. It's about 2-3% of Americans who carry guns in public and who assume that all shootings are committed by prior criminals, "low lifes" or gangs and so they feel a need for their guns to protect themselves from these same folks.He didn't know the gun was loaded.The 14-year-old Massachusetts boy had recently found his mother's handgun, which she kept hidden under her mattress for protection."Promise me you'll never touch it," his mother, a single mom, had asked him.But the lure of the gun was irresistible. He decided to show it off to his neighbor, 12-year-old Brian Crowell."He was going, 'Click, click, click,'" pretending to shoot the gun, says Brian's mother, Ann Marie Crowell, who spoke to the child and his mother after the incident. "But there was one last bullet. It went into Brian's neck."And just like that, Crowell's son was gone.Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.
I say enough is enough. We need the facts. We need common sense. We need our leaders to stop being beholden to the NRA and to start listening to what the majority is telling them. I see the tide changing. The more crazy the gun rights extremists get, as in this video from The Rachel Maddow Show, the more we can see how unreasonable and nuts these folks are.
We are better than this. Such paranoia has no place in America. It is leading to craziness and to people stock piling guns, fear of government, potential tyranny and domestic terrorism and who knows what else? The exposure of this craziness is helping to inform the public about the extreme positions of some on the far right. And the more facts we have, the better we can be at dispelling the myths. But will it be in time? Will this stupid and dangerous talk lead to further problems? Time will tell. The fact that our leaders are not doing anything to prevent senseless shootings and acts of violence is irresponsible. As long as the extreme gun culture is allowed to get away with this kind of behavior and rhetoric, we are the worse for it as a country. It's time to demand that our leaders act in the best interest of public health and safety. Lives depend on it.
The shooter at the New Orleans Mother's Day parade has been identified. From this article:
How and why did this young man keep getting guns illegally? Something needs to change to get these guns off the street along with the people who buy, steal and sell them. Gun laws can make a difference. Let's get to work.New Orleans Police Supt. Ronal Serpas said the department is searching for Akein Scott, 19.Serpas said an arrest warrant has been issued for Scott, and said he was positively identified by more than one person.Search warrants were executed at three addresses Monday night, where police hoped to find Scott. Those efforts were unsuccessful.Serpas urged Scott to turn himself in to authorities."We are coming to find him. We will find him," Serpas said.Scott has two previous arrests, according to Sheriff's Office records. In February 2012, he was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm. In April of that year, the district attorney refused the charges.In March of this year, he was arrested and charged with resisting an officer, illegally carrying weapons, possession of heroin and illegal possession of stolen firearms and illegally carrying weapons with controlled dangerous substance.Based on court records, all the charges were refused, except for illegally carrying a weapon with a controlled dangerous substance. His bond was set at $15,000 on that charge.He was officially indicted on April 22 on that charge, records show. He was set to appear in court on Thursday.
There were rallies all over the country last week-end, drawing hundreds of supporters. But, of course, the gun guys had to show up as if the rallies were theirs. This one in Pennsylvania drew the usual nonsensical NRA promoted signs and protests from armed citizens:
The man who was checked three times must be suffering terribly for that inconvenience. Come on. People want to kill us? Who is the guy talking about? People are killing us at the rate of 32 gun homicides a day. But most of these are not random shootings by criminals. Most are domestic or people who know each other in some way. The Newtown shooting was horrific but actually more unusual than the every day shootings in America. And the idea that a gun background check would not have prevented the Newtown shooting so let's not prevent the many others we could prevent is specious and ludicrous. We have to make sense or nothing else will matter.Steve Kesselman of Holland raised his voice above the crowd to briefly talk about the loss of his 20-year-old son from a deadly shotgun blast after an argument last year.“My son is dead! His mother cannot enjoy him anymore because of gun violence! Universal background checks is all we’re looking for. I have nothing against guns!” Kesselman yelled into the microphone.“Do you believe in unicorns?!” a pro-gun supporter yelled from the crowd.When Kesselman was done speaking, many erupted in applause and some personally came up to him and his wife, Sheryl, to thank them.“I think it’s ridiculous the way they’ve been acting. I’m so numb to the idiots out there,” he said of the gun supporters.The rally in Morrisville culminated in a Pre-Mother’s Day Gathering, March and Rally against Gun Violence organized by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action.The event forced the cancellation of several Little League games that that had been scheduled for the same time at the park.The group coordinated the rally to raise awareness of the need for new gun safety legislation, despite the recent failure of the U.S. Senate to pass new gun safety laws.“The message is that we are persisting in our advocacy for common-sense gun safety laws and first and foremost about that is universal background checks,” said the Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Coalition for Peace Action. (...)Gun owners from groups such as Concerned Gun Owners of Bucks County, the National Rifle Association and a New Jersey group called the NJ2As gathered at Williamson Park before the marchers arrived. Many wore guns and rifles.Though a borough ordinance forbids firearms in the park, state law allows citizens the right to carry firearms and state law supersedes the borough ordinance, Chief Herron said.Scott Smith of Narberth attended the rally but left his pistol and shotgun home out of respect for the borough ordinance.He is against universal background checks. “We could outlaw guns and still have problems,” Smith said. “No background check in America would have stopped Adam Lanza,” he said, referring to the man who killed 26 people, including 20 children, in the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last year.Dennis Cioffi of Berlin, N.J., said he attended the rally because New Jersey gun owners already have laws that are too stringent and he wanted to support Pennsylvania gun owners.“Every one of us (New Jersey) gun owners has had multiple background checks. I was checked three times!” Cioffi said.Steve Scheetz of Tullytown said he was there to support gun owners. He said all Americans should be trained in self defense, including the use of firearms.“We’re living in a world where people want to kill us,” said Scheetz, who owns two guns.Jason Gass of Royersford said: “My simple message is the right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed upon.”The rally ended with Rev. Moore telling the crowd that gun safety is not a partisan issue.“The vast majority of gun owners are responsible gun owners and I want to thank you right here in public for being responsible,” Moore told the crowd. “The problem is that some gun owners are not responsible. This is about human suffering.”