Today, though, there have been gunshots. My husband, a hunter with a hunter's ear, thinks the sound is that of a shot gun. But then he said it could be a hunting rifle. If the latter, it makes me nervous. Bullets don't know where to stop and I have written before on this blog about stray bullets hitting innocent people when others have been target shooting in their yards or in the woods don't pay good attention to safety rules. I posted about this on my Facebook page and one of my friends noted that you can shoot in your yard ( outside of the city limits) if you are more than 50 feet from the road and 100 feet from property of someone else. And sound travels, as someone else pointed out. All true. We think we know where this is coming from and it is unlikely it is more than 50 feet from the road. There is a park and a boat landing across the lake and near to where the sounds of gun fire are coming from. Next week-end (Memorial Day) there will be people fishing and enjoying the park- maybe even camping there. Our grandchildren will be here playing on the beach by the lake and we will all be pontooning, canoeing and kayaking. This is not a good recipe for a safe time if the person shooting decides to do it again next week-end.
The thing is, I get that people love to target shoot and skeet shoot. I know many who do and it is fun for those folks. I get that part. But I also know how many times I post on this blog about accidents happening. When they happen it is a tragedy for the person shot, that person's family and friends and for the shooter. Guns are dangerous. They are designed to shoot ( and kill) animals and people. At the least, we have to require that if people are going to participate in shooting sports, they do so safely with the idea in mind that they could endanger the life of another. It's only common sense. What I worry about is that some folks with guns have none.
I just returned from a trip to the nation's Capitol for a meeting. I had read an article before going about a proposed rally to rid the Capitol, and therefore the country, of President Obama and others who are not to the liking of the group. Speaking of no common sense, this group called Operation American Spring, hoped that 10-30 million "like minded" people would come to this show of force on Friday ( yesterday) while I was also there. Here is what happened ( from The Rachel Maddow show) instead:
Yes. It was a busy time in DC. Lots of conventions and graduations were going on. The traffic was nuts. I guess that's one excuse. And then it rained. I guess that's another. But I would have noticed tens of millions of people rallying on the National Mall had they been there. They weren't. What is this about anyway? Are these folks serious? From another article about the "non-event":
Dismal is hardly the word. Just loony is better. I see loons on my lake already this season. Why have more of them flocking to a ridiculous cause such as this one? Here is what they are about ( from the article):
Operation American Spring aimed to “restore the balance of our Bill of Rights and the Constitution,” in part by replacing “a handful of the worst Republican and Democrat” holders of office.I rest my case. How do these folks intend to carry out their plans? I'm just asking. In other crazy gun news, the NRA's leaders are trying really hard to appeal to women and minorities with their new web series featuring Colion Noir. From this Media Matters article:
Early reviews of Noir report that it reeks of inauthenticity. Indeed the 16-minute premiere episode is rife with product placements and lame pop culture and sports references, all awkwardly interspersed between features on high-powered, expensive-looking firearms.
In one cringe-worthy moment, Noir complains that the cardboard box his $5,000 rifle came in looks like "a Build-A-Bear beginning set of a homeless guy's apartment." During a glowing review of a compact Smith & Wesson handgun, Noir analogizes the pistol to Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson: "Sure he is small and unimposing, but the moment you drop your guard he will tear your ass up." There is also an obligatory twerking reference. (...) As the reviews of Noir invariably point out, millennials are less likely to own guns and more likely to support regulation of firearms, compared to older generations.
Beyond the widely noted production and messaging problems, the NRA has failed to create a different message that can resonate with young people with Noir. The NRA must realize that young people are unlikely to embrace the bombastic paranoid rants of its executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. But as the video below shows, Noir is more of the same from the NRA, only delivered with a less abrasive tone and buried between pop culture references.And here is a video from the linked article, above so you can judge for yourselves:
"We're coming for you"? Really? This is pathetic. And what does it mean? How are "they" coming for us? With guns blazing? For that is what seems to be intended by that statement. Such encouragement to insurrection is a really bad idea. Apparently LaPierre and others believe this stuff. The lies and deceptions are just beyond belief. Raise your hand if you are a fan of this nonsense. "A bare knuckles street fight"? And the paranoia about Hillary Clinton is above pathetic and loony. And more, the NRA's own leader, Wayne LaPierre says that "they intend to finish the job..." and rattles on with his jibberish creating fear in the hearts and minds of those who don't seem to care about the truth.
Yes, Mr. La Pierre, we need to finish the job. We need to finish the job started when Congress passed the Brady bill into law 20 years ago requiring background checks for gun sales at Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers. About 40% of gun sales in today's market- at gun shows, flea market, Internet sales and private sales go without background checks because Congress has decided that the NRA's lobbyists and leaders represent their voters. They are wrong of course. This group of folks represents a minority of Americans who have been scared into believing that this simple system of stopping people like felons, domestic abusers, those who are dangerously mentally ill, minors and others from getting guns will somehow affect their own rights to own guns. Crazy talk.
What is really happening because of our loose gun laws are cases like the Chicago man who was caught gun running in March of 2012. He was buying guns at an Indiana gun show and bringing them into Chicago to sell to gang members where they have been used to injure and kill others. Now he has been sentenced for his crime. From the article:
This is not illegal. Private sellers can sell guns to anyone at gun shows all over America. It's not illegal and it's nuts. But we allow it to happen and lives are lost as a result. Illegal guns don't fall from the sky. Gun shows are one source of the illegal guns found on our streets.On Wednesday, a federal judge sentenced Lewisbey to almost 17 years in prison for running a large gun-smuggling scheme that helped illustrate how firearms sold in other states end up on some of Chicago's most violent streets.“This case is a perfect example of where the guns come from,” U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman said in handing down the stiff sentence for David “Big Man” Lewisbey. “This is how the guns get onto the streets of the city of Chicago, into the hands of gangbangers who then shoot them and kill people with them.”A front-page story last year in the Tribune focused on the case as illustrating the tidal wave of illegal guns confronting Chicago police as they battle the city’s seemingly intractable violence.
"Bad apple" gun dealers also account for a number of illegal guns through allowing straw purchasing. A case was just settled in Mississippi against one such "bad apple"dealer. From the article:
We can stop if this if we have the will and the courage to face down the lies and tell the truth about what is really happening on our streets and in our homes. Guns are dangerous. They should be harder to get- not easier.Thomas Wortham IV, 30, was killed May 19, 2010, in front of his parents' South Side home as he tried to stop four men from stealing his motorcycle. He had recently completed his second tour of duty in Iraq."Our son survived the battlefields of Iraq, but could not survive the streets of his hometown, and nothing can undo that tragic fact," Carolyn Wortham said. "I know that Tommy would have wanted me to fight so that other families would be spared the tragedy ours has suffered."Telephone calls to Ed's Pawn Shop & Salvage Yard for comment from owner Bruce Edward Archer weren't answered.The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the Worthams by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Legal Action Project in federal court in Mississippi."It is far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to obtain guns in America," said project director Jonathan Lowy. "To reduce the flow of guns to the criminal market, the gun industry needs to be a part of the solution, and stop being a large part of the problem."The lawsuit alleged that Ed's Pawn Shop & Salvage Yard "knew or should have known at the time of the sale that the sale of the handgun to Michael Elliott, a straw purchaser, was illegal, as Elliott was conspiring with a gun trafficker."
It's time for all of this to change. This is not the America we want or deserve. Let's get to work and make the changes that will lead to a safer America.