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, December 20, 2013

Of snow blowers and chickens

Sometimes things have a way of converging in an odd way and making common sense. I wrote a while back about guns and skating rinks. What is it about the American gun culture that people think they can just use their guns to shoot people over disputes that should result in maybe a verbal argument or a fist fight? Guns should not be in the mix. But they are, all too often. Guns don't belong at skating rinks, at hockey games or at squabbles about snow blowers. But yet, someone shot another human being over a dispute about a snow blower. Yikes. From the article:
"Two men with a history of disagreements clashed Tuesday night over a snowblower - a confrontation that left one man dead and the other in jail on a criminal homicide charge, according to police.
Brian Pavia, 39, of 103 Union St., Plains Township, claimed Hanover Township resident John Dulsky punched him in the face so he shot him in the neck and back, killing him, police said.
Both men were laborers contracted by Limongelli Law Office and were there legitimately, Forty Fort police Chief Daniel Hunsinger said. Dulsky, 38, of 23 E. Liberty St., Hanover Township, was working on a building at the site and Pavia had gone to the location to pick up a snowblower he needed for another job, he said. (...) "There have been incidents in the past where they've argued and they just didn't get along," Hunsinger said, adding that Pavia apparently took the dispute too far. "He brought a gun to a fist fight.""
I live in snow blower country. I can see how someone could get into it about snow blowers. It can be stressful removing all of the snow we have had in my part of the country. When it snows as much as it has snowed in my neck of the woods, one NEEDS a snow blower. I mean, I'm stressed already and it's just December. Just after I post this, I have to go and shovel more snow left by the snowplow in front of my sidewalk and driveway. It's enough to cause physical and emotional strain. But not being a gun carrier, at least I won't be shooting the snow plow driver or my neighbor who might throw a little snow from his sidewalk onto mine. That's the thing. Our gun culture in America has now converged with reality. And the reality is that when more people have more guns and carry them into more public places, it is inevitable that more incidents involving disputes over snow blowers, at skating rinks, in back yards, in bars, schools and other public places will end in death. When a gun is available, it just may get used. (The article doesn't mention it, but I am curious about whether the shooter was a "law abiding gun owner and permit holder. One can assume that he might be given that he was not likely a felon.) It turns out that the above incident is not the only one involving shooting someone over a snow blower. This one in Chicago also involved a robbery of a snow blower and a shooting injury.

And that is why we need to send a message to our country that we will not tolerate gun homicides, suicides or accidental shootings. We need to strengthen and change our gun laws. Doing so will make it clear that in America, we don't do 30,000 gun deaths a year. In America, we set a standard that we will do whatever it takes to prevent shootings.

Instead, we have the chicken scenario nicely laid out in this editorial piece. The writer writes about
Colorado gun laws and constitutional sheriffs who have said they won't enforce the newly passed gun laws in the state. From the article:
The Times article reports that "Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County explains in speeches why he is not enforcing the state’s new gun laws" by holding up "two 30-round magazines".  He tells audiences "maybe" he purchased one after the new law banning bigger than 15-round clips went into effect but who knows which one? 
He argues that the law is unenforceable, but that's not really why he's on a personal crusade.  The fact is, he doesn't like the law, and he's got company aplenty marching in the serried ranks.  Last May, all but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado joined a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes. 
A lot of Colorado voters, especially outside of Denver, are opposed to tighter gun controls, too. 
People have a right to their opinions.  Sheriffs are people.  The question is whether sheriffs have a right to act on their opinions by not enforcing laws they don't like.
Correct answer:  No.  
And then, here is where the chickens come in ( from the article):
"The proximity of these horrific shootings at suburban – not inner city – schools is stunning and pernicious.  What's even more stunningly pernicious is that elected country sheriffs in Colorado of all places would refuse to enforce laws aimed at protecting the innocent from senseless gun violence.          
Everyone who's ever tried to raise chickens knows that no chicken is safe when there's a fox around.  If the voters are too chicken to get rid of a county sheriff who places himself above the law, and elected officials at the state and federal levels look the other way, the rule of law is dead.  And nobody is safe."
"And nobody is safe". Indeed. We should have an expectation that law enforcement officers will actually enforce the laws of the land. If that doesn't happen, we aren't safe any more. The ultimate goal is to keep our children and our families safe from the gun violence that is devastating our communities. If we can't even do that, who have we become? Surely we are better than this.

So last night this all came together in an odd way for me. I was at a church progressive dinner with other adults who get together every holiday season for food and fun. This year, the 3 homes chosen were in the rural areas of Duluth. That meant some driving and the need for the hosts to have used their snow blowers and/or plows to clear the path for the cars and people. It meant people car pooling and being courteous about parking. It also meant dressing for the snow, since it snowed last night. That being said, one of the conversations my husband and I had at the dinner table while at the second home of the progressive dinner, was with one of the guests who is a professional photographer. He has taken some wonderful photos of chickens raised by members of our congregation. His photos are actually quite beautiful and unusual as are the chickens he photographed. He now sells photo cards of these chickens.

So the message for this post is- use your head and your common sense. If you are a gun owner, don't, as the article above said, "bring your gun to a fist fight". Having a gun available just may end in tragedy. And don't assume it won't happen to you just because it hasn't. I know that from personal experience. Guns are dangerous and designed to kill people. And kill they do.

And secondly, don't be a chicken. Stand up for the changes we deserve and want in America and don't let your elected leader avoid the much needed conversation about the best way to prevent gun injuries and deaths. Don't let the corporate gun lobby run around like Chicken Little and try to make you, or anyone else, believe that if we pass reasonable gun laws, the sky will fall on all gun owners. It isn't true. The gun lobby is running around like "chickens with their heads cut off" as they promote their agenda of fear and paranoia.

If you live in areas with a lot of snow, leave your guns in the house when snow blowing. It will be safer for all. If you raise chickens, good luck. My friends who do love doing it. It's not for me. But then, neither is snow blowing.


  1. Actually, by your logic we should ban both guns and snowblowers. After all, no one really needs a snow blower, the founding fathers got along with shovels just fine.

    1. Very funny, Robin. The founding fathers also got along with muzzle loading weapons as well which got off one shot at a time and required the shooter to stop and re-load.