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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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What will it take?

So it's true. More Americans have now died from gun injuries since 1960 than from injuries suffered in ALL wars fought ever by Americans! Seriously. What kind of country do we inhabit? Is this something to be proud of? What will it take for Americans to wake up? What will it take for Congress to act? How many more need to die?

Knowing how many Americans have died from gun injuries with no action from Congress should make the average person angry enough to demand that something be done. What will it take? Is this it? Three teens decided to shoot someone because they were bored.
"With the simplest of motives — breaking up the boredom of an Oklahoma summer — three teenagers followed an Australian collegiate baseball player who was attending school in the U.S. and killed him with a shot to the back for “the fun of it,” prosecutors said Tuesday as they charged two of the teens with murder.
As the boys appeared in an Oklahoma courtroom, a 17-year-old blurted out, “I pulled the trigger,” then wept after a judge told him that Tuesday’s hearing wasn’t the time or place to sort out the facts of the case.
Prosecutor Jason Hicks called the boys “thugs” as he told Stephens County Judge Jerry Herberger how Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne, died on a city street.
Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15, of Duncan were charged with first-degree murder and, under Oklahoma law, will be tried as adults. Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, of Duncan was accused of using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court.
“I’m appalled,” Hicks said after the hearing. “This is not supposed to happen in this community.”
In court, Hicks said Luna was sitting in the rear seat of a car when he pulled the trigger on a .22 caliber revolver and shot Lane once in the back. Hicks said Jones was driving the vehicle and Edwards was in the passenger seat.
Edwards has had run-ins with the law previously and had been in court Friday, the day of the killing, to sign documents related to his juvenile probation.
“I believe this man is a threat to the community and should not be let out,” Hicks said as he requested no bond for Edwards. “He thinks it’s all a joke.”
More young boys with guns. Perhaps we need to think differently about how we raise boys in America. I'm just saying...I can hardly write more about this one. But I will say again- Is this the kind of communities we want? Is this the kind of gun culture the country should be tolerating? If not, what are we going to do about it? Who let these kids get their hands on a gun or guns? Whose example were they following? Kids do learn a lot in their homes. Is this the kind of stuff their parents allowed or did their parents have such a cavalier and careless attitude about guns that their kids thought this was OK? Where do kids learn that guns are for randomly shooting strangers who did nothing but run by their house? Where do kids learn that shooting guns is a way to keep them busy? Where do kids learn that taking another human life is for fun?

This is the American gun culture gone very wrong. How many more of these will I be writing about?

Well, let's see- a Tennessee man and his son died in a fire started by the discharge of an AR 15 in the home. You just can't make this tragic stuff up. From the article:
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the deaths of a father and son after a fatal fire reportedly started after the accidental discharge of an AR-15 rifle.
According to a TBI spokesperson, the Henderson County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments responded to the fire and explosion in the 2900 block of McCaney Mill Road in Huron, Sunday.
Witnesses said that Terry York, 48, who lived at the residence with his family, was showing a friend the AR-15 rifle when it discharged accidentally. The witness told investigators that a fire and possible explosion ensued instantaneously. The person who witnessed the incident was able to escape the engulfed home, but Terry York and his 12 year-old son Luke had to be pulled out of the burning house. 
Terry York was pronounced dead at the scene. Luke York was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was pronounced dead . An autopsy of both Terry and Luke York has been requested. 
Just about anyone can own an AR-15- a weapon designed for war but now commonly used for self protection and hunting. Why? Because the corporate gun lobby has pushed for people to think these are guns they need for self protection and hunting. They don't of course. There are many other effective guns. The corporate gun lobby promoted fear and paranoia about gun confiscation and rights being taken after 12/14. They are wrong, of course. But people went out and stockpiled these guns even though they couldn't afford them. Why? Fear and paranoia, of course. But assault type weapons bring in a lot of profit, or they did, anyway, but that seems to be changing. Follow the money.

A mass shooting, also in Oklahoma, took the lives of 4, including a 6 month old baby who was shot point blank in the forehead:
Sallie Green, 57, Rebecca Cizek, 34, Katherine Cizek, 16, and Mario Dominguez, 6 months old, were found dead inside a home in the 4600 block of Southeast 79th Street around 11 p.m. Wednesday.
According to the ME, Green was killed by a penetrating gunshot wound to the head. The baby, Mario, was killed by an intermediate-range, penetrating gunshot wound to forehead. Both manners of death were ruled a homicide.
The cause and manner of death for Rebecca Cizek and Katherine Cizek, who would have been a sophomore at Del City High School, are still pending, the ME said.
Daniel Green, 40, was arrested on complaints of first-degree murder in the case.
Police say the suspect and the victims all lived in the home. Family members say Daniel Green was the son of Sallie Green, the brother of Rebecca Cizek, and the uncle of Katherine Cizek and Mario Dominguez.
The baby's father, Amario Dominguez, said he is absolutely devastated. He is vowing to always remember and continue living for his 6-month-old son, his fiancee, Rebecca Cizek, and her daughter, Kathy.
"He was such a happy baby. He was very good. He didn't cry a whole lot and I just loved him so much," said Dominguez.
He said his fiancee was the love of his life.
Dominguez said Daniel Green suffers from schizophrenia, but was taking medication and never showed signs of violence.
Was the shooter dangerously mentally ill? Was his name on the list of prohibited gun purchasers? Did he own the gun legally? Why did he have a gun? He could have bought it through a private seller with no background check, of course, even if his name was on the list. Why? Because we have failed to prevent people like him from being able to buy and own guns. Because we have a gun culture that encourages gun ownership by anyone and everyone. Sad, but true. It's the America we have. Is it the America we want?

There was another shooting in Minneapolis yesterday. It was a hot night. Families were standing around as they do on hot nights in Minnesota. Shouldn't families be able to stand around on a hot summer evening and enjoy the weather without fear of being shot up? From the article:
As neighbors talked and children played Tuesday, a string of gunfire shattered the hot summer night in north Minneapolis, wounding a 14-month old girl, a 19-year-old pregnant woman and a 17-year-old boy.
All three were being treated Tuesday night at nearby hospitals for injuries that weren’t life-threatening while police searched for a man who had approached a group of people as they stood around a parked car, fired repeatedly and then ran. As police scoured the area for shell casings, interviewed witnesses and knocked on doors, some residents gathered on street corners outside the yellow police crime tape. Others sat on front porches watching and waiting for news.
For those new to the 2900 block of Lyndale Avenue N., the sound of shots on the street was almost too frightening to comprehend. For some longtime residents, the crackle of gunfire was all too familiar.
But for all of them, the idea that a toddler had been shot seemed incomprehensible.
Jamil Jackson heard the gunshots from the nearby Farview Park football field as he coached a team of 8- to 14-year-olds. “I’m not sure the kids knew, but I did. The first thing I did was look up to see if anyone was running and what direction so I would know to take my kids in the opposite direction.”
Unfortunately, he said, it was a familiar response. “Where I live, it’s pretty common to hear gunshot in the evenings. … I love my community, but I tell my kids to leave. I don’t want my kids around this.” (...) 
“It’s sick that [shots fired] has become normal to some,” City Council Member Don Samuels said. “It’s just a matter of time. It’s a game of the odds. … It’s totally unacceptable … I find it so odious that this is what life has become that a 14-month-old baby can be shot. … That’s a bizarre reality. It’s very sick. It just breaks my heart.”
Sigh. Also yesterday, America averted yet another tragic shooting at a Georgia elementary school. Welcome back to school, America. Get ready to duck and cover. Crazed gunmen may be on the loose at a school near you. From the article:
The Atlanta metro area briefly suffered the terror of another school shooting Tuesday, but the day ended in relief.
The suspect, Michael Brandon, 20, was in custody, accused of of firing an assault rifle at an elementary school in a confrontation that forced the evacuation of 800 or more students and prompted police to return fire.
A school office worker said she talked him into putting down his weapon.
No one was injured, school spokesman Quinn Hudson said.
DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander said the suspect fired at least a half-dozen shots with an assault rifle from inside the school, and officers fired back.
The shooting took place at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, a 5-year-old school named for an astronaut who died aboard Challenger, the space shuttle that exploded after takeoff in 1986.
The incident came as schools around the country are resuming for the fall academic calendar. Many districts took steps over the summer to improve security in light of the Newtown, Conn., shootings in December, when a 20-year-old gunman killed 20 children and six adults with a high-powered weapon before killing himself.
Alexander said the McNair school has a system requiring visitors to be cleared and buzzed in, and the gunman gained entry by slipping in behind someone authorized to enter. He said the man did not get past the school's main office.
School clerk Antoinette Tuff said she worked to convince the gunman to put down his weapons and ammunition.
"He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die," Tuff said in an interview on ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer.
She said she told him her life story, including about the end of her marriage after 33 years.
"I told him, 'OK, we all have situations in our lives," she said. "It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could, too."
Tuff said she asked the suspect to put his weapons and backpack down.
"I told the police he was giving himself up. I just talked him through it," she said.
Assistant Police Chief Dale Holmes said the suspect was not injured and was undergoing police interrogation.
No one was hurt this time. It could have been another Sandy Hook shooting. And note that it didn't take a "good guy with a gun" to get the "bad guy with the gun" to put it away. I'm just saying....The shooter ( another young angry man) has a prior arrest record for terroristic threats. Where did he get his gun? The question should be asked and answered. It's important to know this information. An AK-47? What the heck? Who needs a weapon designed for war? We all know what that gun could have done to the bodies of little children. It would not have been a pretty picture. In Georgia, there is a town that requires its' residents to own guns. Huh. I wonder where this young man gets the idea that guns are good and he should have one? I'm just asking....At what age is it legal to buy an AK-47 in Georgia? This is the America we have. Is this the America we want?

Is that enough for Congress? Is this what it will take?

Where is common sense? Congress needs to act. Will they?

UPDATE:

Can you imagine thinking your child is going to be or was shot by a suicidal young man with mental health issues and anger? Why wouldn't you? It's happening in America on a too regular basis. Please read this article about what the parents of the Georgia elementary school students were going through as they learned of a shooter in their child's school. From the article:
Morrow said he almost cried as he told his supervisor why he needed to leave.
"Just the mere thought of what happened at that other elementary school happening here, it was just devastating to my soul," he said, referring to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut in December that left 26 people dead, 20 of them children.
He wasn't the only one whose thoughts went to that shooting that has dominated arguments over gun control in the U.S.
"I thought it wasn't going to be all right," said his 10-year-old daughter, Dyamond, a fifth-grader. "I thought he was going to come into the building and hurt everybody like what happened at the other school."
Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Police questioned him for hours at headquarters. There was no information on a possible court date. Alexander said police were unsure of Hill's motive and that Hill, who had an address listed in court records about three miles from the school in Decatur, had no clear ties to the school.
A woman answering the phone at a number listed for Hill said she was his mother but that it wasn't a good time and rushed off the phone.
Other parents also feared the worst for their children.
"I was terrified," said Romaine Hudson as she clung to the hands of her 6-year-old and 8-year-old daughters, both of whom are students at the school. "The only thing I could think of when I first heard of this situation was Sandy Hook."
Authorities believe Hill must have walked in behind someone authorized to be there, Alexander said. He never got past the front office, where he held one or two employees captive for a time. School bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff says she was one of the hostages.
In an interview on ABC's "World News with Diane Sawyer," Tuff said she worked to convince the gunman to put down his weapons and ammunition.
"He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die," Tuff told ABC.
Speaking Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Tuff said the suspect told her he hadn't taken his medication.
She told him her life story, about how her marriage fell apart after 33 years and the "roller coaster" of opening her own business.
"I told him, `OK, we all have situations in our lives," she said. "It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could, too."
Then Tuff said she asked the suspect to put his weapons down, empty his pockets and backpack on the floor.
"I told the police he was giving himself up. I just talked him through it," she said.
She told WSB-TV in Atlanta that she tried to keep Hill talking to prevent him from walking into the hallway or through the school building.
"He had a look on him that he was willing to kill – matter of fact he said it. He said that he didn't have any reason to live and that he knew he was going to die today," Tuff said, adding that Hill told her he was sure he'd be killed because he'd shot at police officers. "I knew that if he got out that door he was gonna kill everybody," she said.
Dramatic television footage showed lines of young students racing out of the building with police and teachers escorting them to safety. They sat outside in a field for a time until school buses came to take them to their waiting parents and other relatives at a nearby Wal-Mart. As each bus arrived a couple hours later, cheers erupted in the store parking lot.
Morrow was one of those parents and held his 10-year-old daughter close to him during an interview after the two were reunited.
"My stomach was in my throat for the whole time until I saw her face on the bus," he said.
His daughter, a fifth-grader, told The Associated Press that a voice came over the intercom saying school was under lockdown and instructed students to get under tables. She said her teacher told the class to sing and pray.
"There were a lot of girls crying, I was feeling scared but I didn't cry. I was just nervous," she said.
Tuff called WSB-TV as it was happening to say the gunman asked her to contact the Atlanta station and police. WSB said during the call, shots were heard in the background. Assignment editor Lacey Lecroy said she spoke with Tuff, who said she was alone with the man and his gun was visible.
"It didn't take long to know that this woman was serious," Lecroy said. "Shots were one of the last things I heard. I was so worried for her."
We shouldn't have to keep reading stories like this. The best part of this one, though, is the heroism of Antoinette Tuff. She talked the shooter down. She didn't need a gun to do it. This whole thing could have had a different outcome. Would the young man have started shooting if someone else challenged him with a gun? We don't know but we can guess and it might not have worked out so well for the person challenging a guy with an AK 47 intent on killing. We can imagine how much worse this whole thing could have been.

UPDATE #2:

It turns out that the Georgia school shooter had 500 rounds of ammunition. He was loaded and ready to massacre a whole bunch of kids. He also had mental illness and had not taken his medication. From the article:
The suspect in a Georgia elementary school shooting who fired six rounds in a front office before surrendering to police had nearly 500 rounds of ammunition with him, authorities said Wednesday.
A jail booking photo of school shooting suspect Michael Brandon Hill, 20, in Decatur, Georgia, USA, on Tuesday. Hill is accused of entering the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy elementary school, armed with an assault style rifle.
Michael Brandon Hill, 20, walked into Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., outside Atlanta with an AK-47 type assault rifle, along with bags containing hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a couple of magazines on Tuesday, DeKalb County officials announced at a press conference on Wednesday. 
On Wednesday, DeKalb County lead investigator Ray Davis and police chief Cedric Alexander outlined what could have been a massacre for the school, but ended with nobody hurt. The suspect surrendered peacefully to police after exchanging gunfire with them.
"He walked in with 498 rounds of ammunition. Fortunately this came to an end quietly, without incident," Alexander said. "I think we can all make a reasonable assumption he came here to do some harm." 
Hill "did not have anything else in the bag that would harm people," Davis told reporters. Only one weapon was recovered, authorities said Wednesday, contradicting earlier reports that he had multiple firearms. 
As part of their investigation, authorities are looking to locate the owner of the AK-47, who they believe is an acquaintance of Hill's. Davis said officials believe Hill got the weapon from an acquaintance's house, although he wouldn't say whether the weapon was stolen or not. 
A photo of Hill holding an AK-47, believed to be the same one used in Tuesday's shooting, was found on Hill's cellphone, Davis said. 
Also Wednesday, the brother of Michael Brandon Hill, said Hill previously threatened to shoot him and that he suffers from mental disorders.
Timothy Hill told NBC News his brother "was bipolar and suffered from ADD," and that the two have not spoken recently.
Davis said Hill told investigators he was on medication.
"He indicated that he was on medication and had stopped taking it," Davis said.
Hill waived his first appearance in DeKalb Magistrate Court Wednesday afternoon. 
Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, making terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was questioned for hours by police, but police have no clear idea of what may be a motive or whether Hill has ties to the school. 
Police chief Alexander said Hill "may have had prior contact" with someone at the school, but the investigation was still pending.
No other individuals are expected to be charged.
A sheriff's official in Henry County, Ga., south of Atlanta, said Hill was also charged there in March with making terroristic threats — a felony in Georgia. The indictment is for an incident between Dec. 30 and 31 of 2012 to "unlawfully threaten to commit the crime of murder, a crime of violence, for the purpose of terrorizing another." 
Timothy Hill told NBC News the charge stemmed from Hill threatening to shoot him. Michael Hill was issued a no-contact order afterwards, Timothy Hill said.
Court records show that Hill pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years' probation and anger counseling.
DeKalb police release a picture of Georgia elementary school shooting suspect Michael Brandon Hill carrying a rifle the same rifle they say he had when he was arrested.
As part of their investigation, authorities are looking to locate the owner of the AK-47, who they believe is an acquaintance of Hill's. Davis said officials believe Hill got the weapon from an acquaintance's house, although he wouldn't say whether the weapon was stolen or not. 
A photo of Hill holding an AK-47, believed to be the same one used in Tuesday's shooting, was found on Hill's cellphone, Davis said. 
Also Wednesday, the brother of Michael Brandon Hill, said Hill previously threatened to shoot him and that he suffers from mental disorders.
Timothy Hill told NBC News his brother "was bipolar and suffered from ADD," and that the two have not spoken recently.
Davis said Hill told investigators he was on medication.
"He indicated that he was on medication and had stopped taking it," Davis said.
Good grief.

15 comments:

  1. Our "democratic" system is clearly broken. It's special interest groups that own the national government.

    ReplyDelete
  2. More young boys with guns, indeed. While I know this site is all about attacking the notion of owning guns for self defense and eliminating the notion of concealed carry, I think you're oversimplifying this situation.

    These animals claim they killed Lane because they were bored. Bored. Think about that for a second - they snuffed out the life of an innocent because they had nothing better to do. Guns have always been around and despite your best efforts, will always be around - I think this is a sad societal indicator more than anything else - that society is spiraling downward and be it because a lack of parental guidance, an addiction to all things media and call me a hippie, but a lack of respect for human life?

    Our system isn't broken. Our gun laws aren't broken - its our very national soul that is broken, be it the negative influences above or the economy or whatever, but I don't see gun laws doing anything to take care of this. I do see that the young men involved being a disgrace to humanity, one that should be answered with a rope, but beyond this, I think as a country, we really need to look into this utter lack of soul we have going on here. Im not a religious person, but Im starting to see the cracks in humanity and it bothers me. This isn't something you can blame on the NRA or its membership, this is something you blame on American society and its willingness to overlook bad behavior, failings in parenting and a whole host of other social ills.

    If nothing else, it justifies firearms for self defense.

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    1. A rope? In what century are you living? Good grief. Self defense? Are you crazy? How can someone defend themselves from people who attack them from behind and shoot them in the back? In what world are you living? This is a ludicrous and stupid solution to the problems. Guns matter. Guns take lives. Kids with guns shoot people. If the guns were secured, as they should have been, this would not have happened. This IS an issue about gun violence and most especially about our gun culture. And your answer tells me that you are part of the problem and not the solution.

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    2. We don't really know yet where the gun came from Japete. However, it seems it might be the hip-hop ganster culture that might be a contributing factor in this case. And this culture which seems to glorify violence does have that effect.

      "One of the teens charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane in Duncan, Okla., previously posted anti-white statements on his Twitter feed."
      http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/21/black-teen-who-murdered-australian-jogger-posted-racist-tweets/

      His Facebook page also seems to still be up and looking at his photos shows he seems to be into that. And of course, there a some photos of some guns too.
      https://www.facebook.com/blackcoon44

      I'd invite all to take a look, and make their own decisions.

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    3. Looks like you can't say that for sure, Mark, though I know you would love to think that the 2 Black teens who shot the baseball player were just more of those black "gangsta" types. From the article you linked to in the right wing rag, The Daily Caller- " Ford said he hasn’t seen any racial tension or gang activity in the town which is home to about 24,000 people in the south-central part of Oklahoma. (RELATED: Jesse Jackson says ‘this senseless violence if frowned upon’)

      “We haven’t had any problem in this community,” he said. “Zero.”

      But the man who reported the three teens to police has claimed that gangs do exist in Duncan.

      James Johnson claimed that the three were after his 17-year-old son Chris to join the Crips street gang. Johnson called to report that the three teens were near his house with guns and threatening his son’s life on the evening of the shooting. He claimed that gangs had begun spilling over into Duncan from nearby Lawton, a larger city to the west."

      While learning more about these teens I came across this totally offensive right wing gun nut rag. It's disgusting and if you want to start this discussion, I hope you are ready for me to stop allowing comments from you. Racist stuff is not going to be published on this blog. Take a look at this one and make your own decision- http://scaredmonkeys.com/2013/08/20/three-teens-two-black-one-white-murder-white-australian-baseball-player-in-oklahoma-they-were-bored-so-they-decided-to-kill-somebody/
      " Three teens who could have been Barack Obama’s son murder a white Australian baseball player Chris Lane in Duncan, Oklahoma." and then this:
      "And while we are questioning adults … where are the cries from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama? Can you imagine what would have happened had three white kids had gunned down a black kid because they were bored?"

      Disgusting. Everyone is talking about this heinous crime. It doesn't matter what color the shooters were. It was one of the worst I have seen. But I don't think there is proof that this was a reverse racist crime. One of the boys was white.

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  3. "While learning more about these teens I came across this totally offensive right wing gun nut rag. It's disgusting and if you want to start this discussion, I hope you are ready for me to stop allowing comments from you."

    I don't believe I've ever given any indication that my thinking went in that direction. You seem to lump the "gun culture" into one big group and don't differentiate between the portion that is law abiding and the criminal side. The gangster lifestyle holds life cheaply, which seems to be common theme in many who display the mindset that its ok to kill or maim if your bored. The presence of a white friend has no bearing on this mindset. A thug is a thug.

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    1. One more and then I'm done with you since you seem to think you have to comment on every post. When you stop lumping all gun violence prevention advocates into one big group, perhaps I will do the same. And you are right- a thug is a thug. On that much we can agree. Have a nice evening Mark.

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  4. FOX News weighed in on the Oklahoma shooting by 3 teens. It's all about Facebook and third trimester abortions. Yup!! Makes sense, right? Take a look http://thinkprogress.org/media/2013/08/21/2505801/fox-news-suggests-that-facebook-abortion-pushed-teens-to-kill-for-the-fun-of-it/

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  5. "No one was hurt this time. It could have been another Sandy Hook shooting. And note that it didn't take a "good guy with a gun" to get the "bad guy with the gun" to put it away."

    I'm very glad the bookkeeper was successful in talking him out of continuing his assault. Kudos to her. However, just because it worked this time doesn't mean its a viable option for all situations.

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    1. Someone with a gun is not the answer either. But one solution is to make it harder for certain people to get guns in the first place.

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  6. Max,

    When you say you fear for our country due to it's lack of soul I must wholeheartedly agree with you. Traditionally, the U.S.A. has been a nation of ideas and principles and lead the world as a result. But we've gone flabby in recent decades - lost our moral compass. But heaping more/harsher punishments on offenders may not work in general. We already have more persons incarcerated, per capita, than our peer nations.

    But if we look at peer nations with lower crime (gun violence being just a part of it) we see a more scientific approach to the subject; better schools, better drug rehab programs, tighter communities & families, an emphasis on offender rehabilitation.

    But they also have some tighter gun laws. Depending upon the particular nation's history & traditions, government structure, values, etc, those laws can go from very restrictive (Japan) to rather lenient (Switzerland). But they are all apparently effective, given the low gun crime. We can strengthen our gun laws by closing their loopholes, having serious penalties for gun traffickers (one place where more punishment would likely work) and promoting, if not mandating, safe gun storage. I personally don't favor bans on certain classes of guns - this is America after all and such laws would neither pass or be effective.

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    Replies
    1. Brent -

      Ive never opposed reasonable legislation that could potentially keep arms out of the wrong hands. Im open to ideas, the groups I work with are open to ideas - the problem comes in when we address things like cultural decline, too often, the other side of the argument says we're out of line, irrational, or they roll out the old chestnut of racism to squelch all arguments.

      I for one am tired of it and would prefer we have a rational discussion - one that is geared towards actually solving more than the shootings, but the damned causes of said shootings.

      Lets look at a few - the failed war on drugs, that's created more crime than its
      prevented. We need a society that values individual freedom and the free market - a healthier attitude towards "illicit" drugs such as marijuana would go a long way in reducing street crime as well as that we see coming from Mexico.

      Education - lets face it, we spend TONS of money on public education and the return on investment is laughable. Such an infrastructure leads to people being out of work and more likely to turn to crime.

      A culture of trash - we have a nation fixated on the Kardashians, Big Brother, Fantasy Football and celebrity worship. We have this as our economy remains in steep decline, our schools are in tatters and our President focuses on exporting terrorism for the corporatocracy, while robbing us of essential civil liberties at home.

      Yes, these are larger, macro-level concerns, but if we educated our people, opened their eyes to the cultural rot, we could actually sit and talk like rational human beings instead of the usual finger pointing and blaming that goes on in any political discussion. Too often however, ANY debate is reduced to calling people names and posturing instead of solving problems - this is a national problem that betrays the lack of respect Americans have for intelligence overall.

      We used to be a nation of ideas - now, we're a nation of cheap shots and sound bites.As said, Im more than willing to talk, Im more than willing to hear the other side on solutions that fix the whole of the national soul, but Im not willing to do so if its simply the usual blame-fest and finger pointing. While I am willing to talk about measures to keep people safe, Im not going to go into such a conversation when the end goal of the other side is to demand a sacrifice in the rights I already have.

      A balance can be achieved through law, for certain, but until we address the glaring cultural inadequacies of this country, Im afraid all you're going to hear is white noise. Either way, theres no shortage of like minded people who will ultimately resist and refuse to cooperate with bad ideas. I fight for this right JUST as hard as I do the right to speak my mind free of government interference -- we should all have the same goals.

      maxbyron530@gmail.com

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    2. Nice expose Max. What I'd like to know is who is asking you to sacrifice your rights with reasonable gun violence prevention measures? As long as you think that is what this is all about, we probably won't be able to have a discussion. But thanks for the thoughts. I don't agree with all of them. I love my country and am not sure it has degraded to the point you have written about. I hate the blaming and finger pointing. What I hate most of all, being a liberal, is the hateful stuff coming from the far right. The fact that they want a government shut-down over providing every American with health care is ludicrous. The fact that they are willing to defund Head Start and all kinds of other useful and important government programs and not fund jobs programs or ways to fix our infrastructure is so puzzling to me and selfish. I want us to care about everyone and I think the government has a role in all of that. I am not anti-government. I like government. It takes care of all sorts of things people need. Like roads, bridges, Social Security, keeping us safe, etc. etc. etc. So speak your mind if you want but if this is your point of view, we are miles apart and will unlikely agree on much, And I am not intending to get into a lengthy discussion with you or anyone else about our philosophical differences. I don't have time. I have a busy week-end celebrating my anniversary, my grandson's birthday and babysitting and hanging out with my kids and grandkids. Have a nice week-end Max,

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  7. Max & Japete,

    Look out 'cause here comes Expose # 2:

    Have you two read the book "American Soul", by Professor Jacob Needleman (not sure of the spelling)? From what you've both said above your thinking is in line with the book's premise - even though you seem basically at odds for the most part. That's because the premise is kinda' like "America, it's complicated". We do have some serious cultural deficiencies and you've both named many of the ones discussed in the book.

    Prof. Needleman has mainly a liberal political bent. Still he chastises the left for being close-minded at times. He's also very pro-America.

    I've personally swung more to the left as I've gotten older but a lot of my right-wing ideas remain with me. I think both political sides are correct on some things and wrong on others. That's just human fallibility.

    I make custom muzzle loading guns as a business, largely with hand tools. All kinds of hand tools. Many I've picked up at antique shops where the proprietor couldn't tell me what the tool's name or intended function was. To me the function was obvious & I'd buy the tool for my shop. All technical crafts, gun making among them, teach you how to "see".

    To me, differing approaches to social organization, and differing political views, are much like tools. Each is great for some functions but not others. Thankfully, there's always a proper tool for the "others". You just have to find or make them.

    Tools have to be used correctly and given respect. A chainsaw can provide enough firewood in a weekend to keep even a Northwoods home toasty-warm for an entire winter. But don't respect that saw and it'll take your leg off right now.

    The free market system, I feel, is like a chainsaw. No other system comes anywhere near as close to satisfying the material needs of humanity. (And for those directly involved in free market activity - i.e., entrepreneurs, it's almost a calling that satisfies higher needs in them. I can personally attest to it.)

    But unfettered market activity can be unhealthy as well. For example, the art & science of modern advertising is a prime example of what can be bad regarding an unregulated free market. It's materialism for it's own sake. (Prof. Needleman said that materialism is a symptom of a mind starved for ideas.)

    Another problem is environmental damage. Rampant materialism gobbling up resources and spewing out hazardous waste. As a hunter I've seen how habitat can get degraded by it.

    Also, though the free market is super for material needs, it is not the right tool in the kit for others. Like my need to get into the woods and tip game over. Or someone else's need to study the arts or help the sick or needy. The free market is largely "pay to play" and many folks will never be able to afford it adequately. Yet they're humans with the same dignity as us three and should not be left out in the cold.

    The solution is to use the free market, and use it world-wide, but respect it enough to properly regulate it.

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    1. That was an expose Brent. It's too hot to give an answer.

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