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.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Relieving stress by shooting someone and other gun obscenities

Just when you thought you'd heard it all, something new pops up. This time it's a June gun homicide in a Minneapolis suburb that grabbed the news headlines. Here are the headlines: "Charges: Man fatally shot robbery victim in New Hope to 'relieve stress'. Yup. That's right. Some people shoot others to relieve stress. I mean why not? People do all kinds of other things to relieve stress- smoke cigarettes, exercise, yell at someone, drink alcohol, and other things. This is the first I've heard about killing someone to relieve stress. From the article:
"Two men are charged with murder for a botched robbery-turned-slaying in a New Hope parking lot, where the accused killer allegedly fired the fatal shots “to relieve stress.”
Damin Lee Shufford, 29, of New Hope, and Adaiah Deontraie Townsend, 20, of Crystal, each face first-degree murder and robbery charges for the June 26 shotting death of Kent Lee Walker, Jr., 59, of Fridley.
Walker was discovered shot to death inside his car at the Crystal Towers Apartments at 7600 Bass Lake Road, where witnesses reported having heard popping sounds the night before. (...) 
Shufford returned and said he had to “slump” the guy because the man tried to grab his gun. The witness said he saw the body in the car and they all ran away, fearing the gunshots would attract police officers.
A few hours later, the witness said that he, Townsend, a third witness and Shufford went back to the car and saw Walker inside. When the fourth witness knocked on the window, Shufford said, “He’s not going to wake up because I shot the man.”
The third witness then opened the door and took Walker’s money. When they argued about splitting it, Shufford allegedly said they wouldn’t have any money if it weren’t for him.
Charges say Townsend told police that Shufford sold him the Charter revolver, but asked to borrow it on June 26 for a robbery. He returned it later and said the “situation went sour.”"
Hmmm. A private gun sale. "Borrowing a gun." Do you trust anyone and everyone when you sell a gun privately without a background check? I wonder what a background check would have turned up on this guy? The article doesn't mention prior problems with the law. Perhaps we will find out. And if there are no disqualifiers for legally buying a gun, then we have another "law abiding" gun owner just shooting someone to relieve stress. It must have felt mighty good. I wonder when common sense will break out in America and people will be alarmed that their lives could be at risk because someone had a bad day and needed to relieve the stress with his gun?

On to the next one. Having been an educator myself, I'm all for educating people so that citizens can make informed decisions about important things in their lives. But interestingly, when the "good guys with guns" show up with their loaded guns to educate the public about how safe gun toting folks really are in public, it actually doesn't work out so well. Why? Because then the public does get educated as to the extreme agenda of the corporate gun lobby and its' followers. So when a gun guy showed up at the New Mexico state Capitol with a loaded assault rifle, at least one legislator got an education:
The man brought a copy of the New Mexico Constitution and read aloud his rights to the guards. While guns are banned from schools, banks and bars, they're not specifically forbidden at the New Mexico Capitol.
"People need to be comfortable because it's our constitutional right to carry a firearm, and it's my New Mexico constitutional right to carry it openly in the state Capitol," the man said.
Two state police officers arrived and spoke with the man, but in the end, he was allowed to tour the building with his gun—accompanied by police and security.
"Generally speaking, if someone brings in a long gun, we will call law enforcement. And ask them to come over and talk to the person," John Yaeger with the Legislative Council Service said.
A handgun in a holster, not a problem, but the gun guy's visit had lawmakers in both parties thinking about changing the rules.
"I'm a strong supporter of the second amendment. And I'm also a member of the NRA, but I tell you there's many buildings that you should not be able to carry a firearm into and one of them is the state Capitol," Republican Sen. Carroll Leavell said.
"Unquestionably, I think we need to ban guns from the state Capitol, and anywhere there's large numbers of individuals that gather for a very specific purpose," Democratic Sen. Carlos Cisneros said.
A bill to ban guns in the Roundhouse was actually introduced in the last legislative session, but it didn't go anywhere. Bills expanding background checks for gun sales and banning assault-style weapons also failed.
The thing is, people are just NOT comfortable with seeing guys with loaded guns in public. I wonder why not? Let's see- Sandy Hook? Aurora? Columbine? Navy Yard? Virginia Tech? And isn't it interesting that legislators have a different take on guns in public when they are in their work place? Of course in Minnesota, some legislators carry their own loaded guns around while doing the people's business. I guess that is to protect themselves from the other "law abiding" gun carriers since virtually no one else carries a gun into the Capitol. Facts don't matter to these folks because they seem to want to make some kind of point. So did Jared Loughner, Aaron Alexis, James Holmes and other mass shooters. How will we know the difference between those who are trying to "educate" us and those who are trying to massacre us? I have not heard a good answer to that one.

No one wanted this "good guy with a gun" at a youth soccer game in Michigan. I wonder why not? Let's see:
After a Western Michigan Christian assistant coach noticed the man carrying a gun and holster, he alerted WMC head coach David Hulings and assistant athletic director Fred VandenBrand to the situation.
"I asked the man (to leave), and when he finally agreed to, he went to his car and put the gun back in the car," VandenBrand told MLive.com. "I had called 911 and had to meet the (Muskegon Police Department) officer on the other side of the field (to unlock the gate)."
Hulings noticed later that the man returned to the field without the gun in the holster. Hulings determined nobody could assume that the man had removed the weapon from the field, and called an early end to the match.
The match was stopped 15 minutes into the second half. Freedom Christian led 2-0 at the time of stoppage and is being awarded a forfeit win.
"I thought it was necessary to clear the field of players and parents," Hulings said. "It is regretful that the boys on both teams could not finish. I am sorry for the inconvenience, but I thought it best to err on the side of caution.
"Although I personally have no objection to, and do support, his right to carry (a gun), the school also has a right, under the law, to ask him to leave."
It would be truly stupid, dangerous and obscene if people who really don't like having loaded guns around where they go for sports, for worship, for learning, for pleasure or shopping lost their right to say NO. The minority of gun permit holders are trying to force their beliefs and their guns on the rest of us who know for sure that guns are dangerous and we don't want them around.

There are good reasons for not wanting to have guns around wherever you go. Guns are dangerous. We know that people with guns kill other people on purpose or accidentally. For example, when hugging someone. Don't do it while wearing your gun as this young man did:
24-year-old Amanda Mosley, of Phoenix, Arizona, was hugging her 18-year-old boyfriend. She complained because the handgun sticking in the waistband of his pants was uncomfortable to her. When he went to remove the handgun from his waistband he unintentionally discharged the weapon, shooting Amanda. 
She died. Oops. Does a loved one now have to worry about hugging, kissing and more with someone who insists on wearing that gun wherever he goes? Ridiculous and tragic. And Joe Nocera of the New York Times has listed more cases of accidental shootings in his recent Gun Report. You should read about these because you might just change your mind about having a gun around for self defense or carrying a gun around in public. It turns out, of course, that guns are more likely to kill or injure you or someone you know and love than to be used in self defense.

One more- they just keep coming. An Oklahoma college student took hazing a pledged fraternity brother a little too seriously when he pointed a gun at the student's head:
Hossack is accused of holding a loaded gun to a pledge's head on Aug. 16 in an extended cab pickup truck and asking the student if he would take a bullet for his frat brothers. When the pledge said no, Hossack allegedly became angry and yelled before placing the gun up to another pledge and asking the same question, according to an affidavit. Shortly after the second pledge's response, a flash of light was seen and the passenger window exploded.
No one was hit by the bullet.
The corporate gun lobby thinks it's a good idea to allow guns on college campuses! They are wrong.

In Vermont a domestic dispute resulted in the shooting of an innocent woman in a road rage incident. You really can't make this stuff up. But let's take a look:
Wednesday's chain of events began with a dispute between Webster and his wife, then escalated after Webster ran a red light and nearly collided with Alger's car. Alger pursued and then confronted Webster, who responded by killing her on the side of in St. Albans, population 7,000, said Lt. Ron Hoague of St. Albans police.
A video shot by witness Kyle Gagne and shared with the Burlington Free Press showed police holding down a man and later taking him to a cruiser. A voice can be heard talking about "slowing down" and saying he "was sorry."
Webster was driving home Wednesday afternoon after breaking up with a woman with whom he had been having an affair, his wife told police. She had driven after him to ensure he went through with the breakup.
Webster and his wife stopped at a gas station where they had an argument but then agreed to go home and talk, according to interviews with both Webster and his wife detailed in a sworn statement to police.
Webster told police he had a gun in his hand as he was driving and intended to kill himself. Webster "began squeezing the trigger but could not do it," he told police.
On his way home, Webster ran a red light and Alger's car nearly struck him. His wife saw him run the light and called to tell him he had done so, court documents stated.
After Webster got the call, he pulled over, realizing he was in no condition to drive. He got out of the car but didn't realize he still had the gun in his hand, according to court papers.
Alger had followed him, and she got out of the car to ask Webster why he cut her off.
With his wife watching, Webster told investigators that Alger charged "like a six-point buck coming over a hill," another officer wrote in an affidavit.
Webster, who still had the pistol in his hand, shot Alger because he thought that would stop her, he told police later. But she kept coming, and he emptied the clip.
Alger was shot in the head and chest, court papers stated.
Good grief. This started as a domestic dispute and ended with the killing of a totally innocent woman, all because this man had a gun in hand. From the article, one can question whether this man should have had a gun. Some people should not have guns. One of the mantras of the corporate gun lobby is that "an armed society is a polite society"and also in this opinion piece by a gun rights advocate. Really? Think about all of the lives affected by this senseless shooting. It is more than obscene. It is a national public health and safety epidemic.

And then there's the comparison of anyone who dares to criticize the "good guys with guns" to Hitler, always a non-starter. That's what NRA supporter Tony Makris said on the NRA's own radio show, Cam & Company, after he was criticized for his shooting of an elephant. You can read what he said below from the Media Matters article:
Makris has longstanding ties to the NRA. According to the Los Angeles Times, "he helped install Charlton Heston as president" of the NRA in 1998. Makris has also been previously identified as an employee of Ackerman McQueen, an ad agency employed by the NRA for decades that was responsible for a controversial ad that politicized security measures that protect the president's children.
On the NRA News show Cam & Company, Makris offered a number of rationales for shooting the elephant, including suggesting that people who oppose elephant hunting but accept other forms of hunting are practicing "animal racism." He added that he would respond to someone who said elephants should not be hunted because of their size, scarcity or intelligence by saying, "Hitler would have said the same thing."
Really Tony? I don't think so. But you probably convinced the few thousand "good guys with guns" that what you said was true because they are willing to believe anything that comes from the NRA and the corporate gun lobby. Raise your hand if you have ever heard of "animal racism" before? Where is common sense?

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the guy with the assault weapon at the New Mexico Capitol.... Early last year, here in Oregon, the gun guys held an open carry rally at the state capitol in Salem. Some of them went into the building, openly carrying their assault rifles and dressed in camo, which is completely legal to do. Naturally, the lawmakers and citizens doing their work there got a little nervous about this.

    Did the gun guys succeed in "educating" them? Well, a bill was proposed by those lawmakers to ban carrying of guns in the Capitol building and other public buildings in Oregon. Though it had wide support of citizens and even some GOP members, it, along with other new gun regulations, were killed by pro-gun GOP members in committee (including a universal background check bill which enjoyed 90% support by Oregon citizens).