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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Monday, May 26, 2014

Enough! Is this one too many shootings?

Wake up America. We have had another mass shooting. Was this one too many? Was this one the one that "broke the camel's back?" It should be but who can tell when we are dealing with the corporate gun lobby? I was not going to write another post for a few days but this latest one cries out for our attention. As you all likely know by now unless you have been away from the media ( as we should be actually on this national holiday) a young man bent on a vendetta of his own making, stabbed 3 people, shot and killed 3, and injured up to 13 others. He died of a gunshot injury, most likely by his own gun. Really, there isn't much more to say about this that hasn't already been said. The country is outraged, as well it should be. Even the father of one of the victims made such a powerful statement that is being talked about wherever I look. Finally some truth. Here is his statement:
Martinez's father gave a wrenching statement to the news media Saturday afternoon. He was "a really great kid" whose "death has left our family lost and broken," Richard Martinez said.
"Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don't think it will happen to your child until it does," the visibly emotional parent said, his voice rising to a shout in obvious agony.
"Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the (National Rifle Association). They talk about gun rights -- what about Chris' right to live?" he continued. "When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say stop this madness, we don't have to live like this? Too many have died. We should say to ourselves -- not one more."
In response to this amazingly truthful statement, Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said this:
“We at the Brady Campaign stand with Mr. Martinez. He got it exactly right. Americans are dying every day because of the corporate gun lobby and the politicians it has in its pocket.
Real solutions exist that are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans -- solutions that would prevent many of the 90 gun deaths that happen in our nation every day. And yet, the corporate gun lobby relentlessly blocks progress toward every commonsense solution. It gives substantial sums of money to buy politicians to ignore the will and well being of the American people -- by opposing expanded background checks; and calling research into gun violence ‘unethical.’ These politicians do not care who is buying guns – convicted felons, domestic abusers, rapists – just as long as the corporate gun lobby is happily making the biggest possible profit.
It is time for the American public to know the truth about why people are dying every day and, thanks to Americans like Mr. Martinez, that truth is starting to be heard.
Tragically, it becomes more essential every day that we Americans rise up and show the courage and rage that Mr. Martinez has, and call out the corporate gun lobby and the ‘craven’ politicians who do their bidding.” We at Brady are committed to making the voice of the American public heard, and preventing every act of gun violence until we make this the safer nation we all want.
We all stand with Mr. Martinez. The daily carnage due to gun deaths and injuries is unacceptable and a national shame. And yet, we just let it happen. We all know why. The corporate gun lobby doesn't want anything done if it may eat into sales of firearms. Firearms- one of the few consumer products designed to kill other human beings- are purchased and owned by millions of Americans. At times, one has to wonder if we actually live in a civilized country when reading or hearing the daily news. It's an endless cycle of violence and grief- looping every day and sometimes more. If this is acceptable to you, raise your hand. It only makes common sense that we, like every other civilized country when facing such devastation, do something to change it. This latest shooting is prompting calls, once again, for making changes to our laws and having the national conversation that we deserve to have about our country's epidemic of gun violence.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Representative Peter King of New York are calling for their colleagues to get their courage up to challenge the corporate gun lobby and do something preventative to reduce the carnage. Will this be the shooting that was one too many? Below are statements from Senator Murphy and Representative King:

From Representative King ( linked article above):
“This tragedy demonstrates once again the need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” King said in an interview with The Washington Post.
King, who represents a suburban Long Island district and is one of the GOP’s most prominent gun-control advocates, also pushed Republicans to buck powerful gun rights groups.
“Even though this issue may not be popular in particular congressional districts, if we want to be a national party, we ought to be looking closely at it,” he said.

From Senator Blumenthal ( linked article above):
The Democrat from Connecticut, appearing on CBS’s "Face the Nation," said statements from the California victims' families bring the nation back to "when it seemed like we were on the verge of, potentially, legislation that would stop the madness and end the insanity." (...) 
"The legislation that failed to pass - it got support from 55 senators - would have provided a mental health initiative with more resources, greater ability for the Santa Barbara police to intervene," Blumenthal said.
"I am going to urge that we bring back those bills, maybe reconfigure them to center on mental health, which is a point where we can agree that we need more resources to make this country healthier and to make sure that these kinds of horrific, insane, mad occurrences are stopped - and the Congress will be complicit if we fail to act."
This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is an American issue. This is an issue of great concern to all of us. We are all complicit if we fail to act- if we fail to recognize that our gun culture has gone terribly wrong- that the corporate gun lobby is all about profit and not about saving lives- that we must both pass common sense measures to save lives and change the conversation about guns and gun violence.

I like the way Cliff Schecter writing for the Daily Beast, put is here:
Because anyone who does statistically significant research on a public health problem from the angle of helping people and not profiting from misery, and again and again finds obvious truths such as owning guns makes you more likely to get shot, is not someone the NRA and its allies will countenance without smearing. I debated one of these types from the Second Amendment Foundation on NPR recently regarding the CDC. It is amazing how tongue-tied they get when you present them with irrefutable information. (...) 
The NRA's fight to suppress information couldn't be more apparent than it is in a rather pathetically titled column in Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller this past Friday. (Side note: As the NRA usually shuts up for at least 72 hours after a shooting, lest they remind people of their position as an accessory, having their views aired mere hours before this latest tragedy is enlightening).
The piece, written by chief NRA lobbyist and super-shill Chris Cox, was actually named, “We Love Our Moms and Trust Our Doctors, But We Still Don’t Want Gun Control.” Yes, we're at the point where one of the top officials in the NRA feels the need to point out he has warm feelings for those who give life and those who save lives.
Right. Facts matter. Let's move on, shall we? Reasonable gun owners ( the majority of them actually) are beginning to speak out lest they be lumped in with the unbelievably insensitive, ludicrous, and false statements made by those at the top of the corporate gun lobby in their lame efforts to deflect us from the truth. The truth is what this hunter/gun owner says in a piece written after the Santa Barbara shooting for Raw Story:
I used to hunt and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the hell out of it. But I wouldn’t consider attempting it now, in an age where gun-owners lump AR-15′s in with sporting guns. Where a lousy shooter can disguise his inability to shoot with an extended clip that allows him to keep shooting until he finally hits something, anything. Where hunters feel the need for silencers for God knows what reason.
The NRA has killed off the sportsman with their neglect and replaced him with the gun nut who spends more money on more guns, not out of a desire to feed his family, but to stave off a mythical jack-booted government bogeyman coming to take away those guns. This paranoid vision of America  that the NRA sells is why we have the gun violence that we have today, because no sensible gun legislation can be passed because of what the father of one of Elliott Rodger’s victims described as “craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA.”
I’m not the NRA poster child that I was at age 8 anymore. I want nothing to do with those people.
I may be a natural born killer, but I’ll be damned if I’ll be an accomplice to murder.
Enough said.

And one more article that speaks to the matter of what the corporate gun lobby has managed to pull off in America:
Speaking clearly also lets us examine the elements of a proposition plainly. We know that slogans masquerading as plain speech are mere rhetoric because, on a moment’s inspection, they reveal themselves to be absurd. “The best answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” reveals itself to be a lie on a single inspection: the best answer is to not let the bad guy have a gun. “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” No: obviously, people with guns kill more people than people without them. Why not ban knives or cars, which can be instruments of death, too? Because these things were designed to help people do things other than kill people. “Gun control” means controlling those things whose first purpose is to help people kill other people. (I’ve written at length about farmers and hunting rifles, and of how they’re properly controlled in Canada. In any case, if guns were controlled merely as well as cars and alcohol, we’d be a long way along.) And the idea that you can be pro-life and still be pro-gun: if your primary concern is actually with the sacredness of life, then you have to stand with Richard Martinez, in memory of his son.
There, that isn’t hard, is it? The war against euphemism matters most because it forces us to look at the truth we already know. The actual consequences of the N.R.A. and the gun policy it frightens those craven politicians into sponsoring is the death of kids like Christopher Michael-Martinez. This truth may not triumph tomorrow, but the truth remains the truth. It would be nice if the President, who knows all this perfectly well, put aside his conciliatory manner and his search for consensus and just said it. Speak up, Mr. President! Speak plainly. Just say, “Last night, I heard Chris’s dad. He’s right.”
Mr. Martinez, in the first moments of his grief, had it right. He said what the rest of us have been thinking for far too long. He and his family now join the elite "club" of those of us who have lost a loved one senselessly to gun injuries. He has sparked a national conversation that must be had in this country. The fact that we have waited through mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting to begin speaking the truth is too sad and shameful to contemplate. Surely we are better than this. This national public health and safety epidemic is an emergency. It's time we started treating it as such.

Please join me and the many others who are calling for our leaders to do the right thing. There are many organizations doing the work of gun violence prevention. You know who they are. I refer to them often on this blog. Speak up. Make your voice heard. The next tragedy could involve you or someone you know or love.

UPDATE:

There will be much more about this coming up, unfortunately. But the families will continue to grieve forever and the community has been traumatized. This article is about the vigil held last night with thousands of people in attendance. Read more here:
Thousands of UC Santa Barbara students and community members marched in silence Saturday night from the campus to a park in Isla Vista, where a candlelight vigil was being held for the victims of a mass shooting that rocked the seaside town.
At least three innocent UCSB students lost their lives in the killing spree that stretched for several blocks, including 20-year-old Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, who was at a deli when gunfire sprayed the crowd.
"You always think, ‘Oh, that doesn't happen to me, that doesn't happen in my town. That's always just something on the news.' But that did happen and it’s just, like, very overwhelming,” said Jeff Dolphin, Michaels-Martinez’s roommate. “A lot of shock hasn't even settled. This morning was like a complete haze. Not a lot of sleep last night for anybody.”
Oh, but it does happen to you and in your town. It is happening in towns all over America.

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