Before I write about the 2 threads above, I wanted to talk about something else that's on my mind. So my readers know that many of their comments are not published because they are either inappropriate, repetitious, nonsensical, offensive, rude, infantile, threatening, boorish or just plain stupid. I can't say it any other way. Any of us who dare to write about gun violence prevention suffer from the trolls and gun bullies who wait to get on blogs and articles. For example, in my last post, I got into it with some of the guys about whether or not there is such a thing as private gun sales with no background checks and whether they can be called commercial sales. Oh, yes, also, some of the guys have been deceived into believing that all Internet sales require background checks. They are wrong. Armslist.com provides a new market for gun sales. Some of the sellers advertise "no background checks" and do not require the buyer to go to a federally licensed firearms dealer for the gun pick-up. These are the facts. Arguing about it serves no purpose.
We also know that there are private sellers who actually are in the business of selling guns at gun shows and other venues for profit. Some sell many guns and the same ones sold by federally licensed firearms dealers right down the aisle. Some of them sell many guns with no background checks and are not just occasional sellers of their private collections. There are many hidden camera videos of such transactions at gun shows and some investigations about how easy it is to buy guns on the Internet with no background check. Here is just one of the hidden camera gun show videos:
So we do have proof of these kinds of sales. We know they are happening. We know we can prevent them if we pass a law to require background checks on all commercial sales which would include these private sellers at gun shows and on the Internet. But we don't. The corporate gun lobby and gun rights extremists make sure of that.
So now, let's talk about gun bullies, the other topic of this post. You may remember that I linked to an article a while back by Lt. Colonel Robert Bateman. He got into "trouble" with the gun guys by daring to write about why common sense gun laws should be passed. Lt. Bateman has written another article about the ugly comments he received as a result. From the article:
Right. This is not OK. For the courage to write an article in support of reasonable gun laws, Lt. Colonel Bateman received over 2000 e-mails, some containing threats and most also obnoxious and offensive. What are these folks thinking? They are the ones with the guns. It's not a good idea to make threats when you are talking about the gun issue. It's not a good idea to make threats no matter what. And further, most gun owners and even NRA members do not agree with them.A large percentage of these threats seem to have originated from the National Rifle Association, which posted an essay on their page about me.So what do you think about the NRA's advocacy? Just curious, since their essay resulted in death threats to me, threats of rape to my wife, and threats of abduction and murder of my six-month-old daughter from the people who read the NRA's column. Personally, I think a little bit less of an organization like the NRA, which incites their members to threaten rape and murder and the abduction of babies. But perhaps, if you are an NRA member, you may approve of some of the messages above. That, of course, is your right.
I was called some interesting names after I posted my last post. Here is what one of my readers sent to me:
"...you will never listen to reason because, you are a libtard gun grabber. You spew filth and lies, and will never wakeup until perhaps you leave the intercity.
We as American's have the fundamental right to own firearms. In the event, I want to sell my personal firearm to my neighbor it is and never will be the governments business. Universal background checks in reality are ignored by the public, as I live part time in New York State I know this first hand. The people simply ignore background checks for private gun sales."And more:
"Hey gun grabber, you will distort the truth , fabricate ,and manipulate the truth just to try and convince a few ignorant people to support gun control. We as American's have the fundamental right to own firearms, and people such as yourself will never take that away from us. Japete you are full of garbage, and you spew filth. In Minnesota, you will never succeed on infringing on our gun rights, move out of the inner city and open up your eyes idiot. "Nice, right? First of all, I don't live in the inner city. Second of all, the argument presented here is ridiculous. The reason we need stronger gun laws is because we make it easy for people who shouldn't have guns to ignore the laws. We do have laws to regulate speeds at which we can drive. Most people obey. If they don't, they get a ticket or worse, they get into an accident. We can't stop all stupid and dangerous behavior but we certainly owe it to the public to try. And, of course, background checks are not ignored by the public because most people actually purchase guns from licensed dealers where they undergo a background check. In the course of the 20 years the Brady background check system has been in place, millions of people have undergone background checks and almost 2 million have been stopped from a gun purchase because they couldn't pass a background check. So we know that even felons and other prohibited people at least try to buy guns from licensed dealers. The system works. It needs to be expanded to all commercial sales of guns.
But I digress. We need to talk a little about the shootings that have continued over the holidays. Domestic shootings happen often at holiday time. Holidays can be stressful enough for some who are going through family problems. But guns can make ordinary arguments deadly as this incident in Utah did:
"An argument turned into a devastating tragedy as a Utah man killed his wife and then shot himself early Sunday morning with the couple's three children in the house, police said.
Christmas for that family was a tragic disaster. Senseless.Bret Pepper, 39, got into a heated argument with his wife Jill, 37, in the couple's bedroom around 1:30 a.m. when he pulled out a handgun and shot her, Lt. Shawn Horton of the Layton Police Department told the Daily News on Monday. Pepper then turned the gun on himself, Horton said.The shocking incident occurred as the couple's 20-year-old daughter listened outside the room. The girl, who was home from college, then alerted police, Horton said. The couple has two sons, ages 10 and 13, who were also home at the time of the shooting, he said."
And then there are the stray bullet deaths. An Orlando, Florida area man was shot in the chest while in his yard on Christmas Day. He died. Senseless and tragic. Can't people put their guns away for one day and what is a gun range doing so close to neighboring homes? Bullets sometimes don't know where to stop.
And I do have to mention yet another "accidental" gun discharge by a family member on Christmas Eve that resulted in the death of a two month old baby. We should all be horrified by this incident and the many others involving the unintentional discharge of a gun by a law abiding gun owner. These incidents should not be happening. The gun rights folks don't like stories like these because they don't fit with the idea that more guns make us safer.
Here's more about the shooting which I referenced in my last post, at a Nevada hospital. This is more proof that we are living in a society where guns are seen as the way to get even with someone with whom you disagree or have a problem of some kind. This is about a gun culture gone wrong. When guns are promoted for self defense and to be carried everywhere, this is what we will see in public places. Actually this is what we do see in public places all over the country. It's a sick system and needs fixing. Doctors should not have to fear for their lives from unhappy patients. There are other and better ways to settle disputes about medical procedures.
We are not dealing with the devastation of gun violence for our families and our communities. Until we get down to the business of finishing the job to expand background checks to all commercial sales, we are sending a message that it's OK for just anybody to buy a gun. Until we deal with the culture of guns that promotes guns for self defense in the home without also promoting the truth about the risks of guns in the home, we are sending a message that guns are the only way to protect one's family. Until we deal with the fact that unsecured guns in homes can and do lead to tragic consequences we are sending the message that leaving loaded guns around is OK and will somehow make you safer. Enough is enough. Let's get to work and make the changes Americans deserve and want.
Oops. It only took a few minutes before I found this article about a gun toting citizen thinking he could help out in an armed robbery at an Indiana Walmart store. From the article:
This is why the gun rights advocates think they need guns. But as you can see by the comments from law enforcement, this "law abiding" gun carrier didn't really do them any favors. And, in fact, he could have caused more trouble and endangered the public.Law enforcement officials and policing experts said that although Jeff helped apprehend a suspect in a violent crime, he put the public in danger."If you pull a weapon in a crowded place you need to be highly trained in how to use it," said Jim White, a former Indiana state police officer who is a senior lecturer at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis' School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "There are just so many things that can wrong. Police and soldiers go through thousands of hours of training for this, and it is still the riskiest thing they will encounter on the job." (...)Minutes later, IMPD officers arrived. They pointed their guns at Jeff and told them to drop his."I said, 'OK, OK, I'm the good guy here' and laid down my gun on the pavement," he said.He said the police handcuffed him and put him in a police car until they figured out what had happened.White, at IUPUI, said Jeff's actions put the police in a difficult and dangerous situation."They don't know what they're dealing with. All they see is a guy point a gun at another person's head," he said. "That was remarkable discipline on the part of IMPD. It could have ended in disaster."
Again, it doesn't take long for the stories about Christmas shootings to make the news. I don't know about you, but I would think that common sense would dictate that wearing a holstered gun around the house and wrestling with grandchildren is a really stupid idea. This Washington grandfather thought it was a good idea, apparently, until suddenly it wasn't:
The boy and his grandfather were roughhousing together in the living room of a home on the 14000 block of East Jacobs Road when a handgun in a concealed holster on the grandfather’s belt went off, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The bullet went through the boy’s right calf.Senseless. Avoidable. Guns are dangerous. Why wear one around the house where it is much more likely to hurt or kill someone you love than to be used in self defense?
At some point, I will have to stop updating this post and start another about all of the senseless shootings during the holiday season. A Louisiana man who shouldn't have had a gun went on a shooting rampage yesterday:
A man embroiled in a custody fight with his ex-wife attacked his former in-laws, his onetime boss at a hospital that fired him and his current wife in a rampage that spanned two parishes in Louisiana, leaving three dead before killing himself, authorities said. (...)
Jeanne Gouaux had filed several protective orders against Freeman, who had pleaded guilty to harassment charges and was allowed only supervised visits with their four children, said Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre. The last protective order expired less than a month ago, he said.
"Clearly, there has been a very difficult and complicated divorce/custody issue going on," Webre said during a news conference late Thursday.Yes, those "complicated divorce/custody" issues can cause a lot of tragedy. I know that from personal experience. But the main question is why and how did this man have a gun in the first place? Clearly there are some people who should not have guns but we have made it very easy for them to get them anyway. That is why we need to change what we are doing because what we have now is just not working. Four people dead and three injured in one incident. What are we going to do about this? Just let the bodies pile up and shrug our shoulders?
A note to my readers. Take a look at the shooting incidents I have included in this post. All but one of them were committed by otherwise "law abiding" gun owners. The Walmart incident involved a law abiding gun permit holder who actually could have caused injury or death by his actions. Yes, people have a right to their guns if they choose to own them. But people should have a right to be safe from those same guns. Guns are dangerous and pose a risk when they are in homes and in public places. In the latest incident a man who shouldn't have had guns got them anyway. We have to figure this out in order to keep people safe. It is not the felons causing most of the shootings. Law abiding gun owners can become felons in a split second after using a gun on purpose or even accidentally.