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, May 30, 2014

What's new in the world of guns?

Since the shooting at the Isla Vista neighborhood of Santa Barbara, California last Friday, lots has been said and written about guns and gun violence. The conversation has again turned to why our politicians haven't done a thing to make us safer since the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school on Dec. 14, 2012. Actually, nothing has changed since the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 and even before that.
But the gun world has carried on as if nothing has happened. Shootings have continued unabated. The Texas Open Carry folks continue their nonsensical and pathetic attempt to get people to become comfortable with a bunch of folks with assault rifles slung over their shoulders. Children continue to find guns and shoot loved ones or themselves. Domestic shootings go on and on. The daily carnage continues to devastate families all over the country. Let me elaborate.

I'll start with this video made by a group of Open Carry folks about their own members harassing a former Marine who actually did some videoing of his own. Check it out below:

Right. I don't know about you, but I would feel intimidated and harassed if guys with assault rifles started following me down the street yelling at me. This is just not the kind of communities we want or deserve to have. Where is common sense?

And then there's the 6 year old Florida boy who found an AK-47 on a table at a family event and shot and killed his grandfather. From the article:
A Florida man is facing negligence charges after leaving his loaded AK-47 unattended, resulting in his 6-year-old nephew picking it up and accidentally shooting his grandfather.
According to WSVN, Juan Manuel Martinez Jr., 28, has been charged with culpable negligence of a firearm for not keeping an eye on his loaded AK-47, authorities said.
According to police, Martinez was having a beer with his father, Juan Manuel Martinez Sr., at a family barbeque when talk turned to hunting. Martinez Jr. brought out his AK-47 to share, handing it to his father who then set it on a table.
A nephew of Martinez Jr. picked up the unattended assault rifle and pulled the trigger, shooting his grandfather in the chest and killing him.
“It’s not his fault. He didn’t know what he was doing,” Martinez Jr. said. “He’s just a little boy. I love him. He’s my family. I love all my family.”
Martinez added that he was unaware that his nephew was nearby.
“We heard the gun shot go off. My father was struck in the chest before he was airlifted to the hospital, and they told us that he passed,” he said.”I should’ve never brought the firearm out.”
“In this particular case, investigators informed us, that there was alcohol involved. Not only alcohol. We also had drugs. We had cocaine,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
Martinez admitted to WSVN that he had been doing drugs and drinking before the accident, saying, “I was smoking marijuana. I was doing cocaine, and I had two beers.”
And then Martinez said this ( from the article): " Martinez called the shooting an accident, saying no one was to blame.

“The family is not trying to point the finger at anybody,” he said. “This is a tragic event that occurred. We can’t say it was my fault, it was my nephew’s fault, it was my father’s fault. It’s just a tragic event that occurred. If there was anything I could do to bring him back, God help me I would.” "

Yes. Someone is to blame. The whole family is to blame. People shouldn't be drinking around guns or doing drugs. Small children should not be able to get their hands on guns, most especially AK-47s. This is an unimaginable tragedy that will haunt this family for many years into the future. Obviously there was no common sense going on at this family event.

Senseless and avoidable.

Another near tragedy happened right in the same neighborhood as the Isla Vista shooting when a young man was playing with his gun and it went off, sending a bullet through the wall to an apartment next door. From the article:
Sheriff’s deputies seized several guns and about 1,000 rounds of ammunition from the Isla Vista apartment of a UC Santa Barbara student who was arrested after he accidentally fired one of his weapons Tuesday, officials said.
Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies were called about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to an apartment in the 6500 block of Pardall Road after a resident reported a bullet being shot into her home. Deputies found that the bullet had been shot through her wall from a connecting apartment, narrowly missing her.
Guns are dangerous. They are designed to kill other human beings. Don't play with guns. Where is common sense?

And yet another California mass shooting happened with 4 dead and   injured in what appears to be a domestic shooting. From an article:
Authorities have identified a family of four found dead inside a Mission Viejo home Tuesday in what investigators said appeared to be a murder-suicide begun by a 21-year-old son.
Michael Harrison Davis Sheer is suspected of fatally shooting his father Mark Harrison Sheer, 55, mother Lydia Ann Sheer, 54, and younger sister Amy Joanne Sheer, 15, with a shotgun before turning the gun on himself on Memorial Day, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
According to the video in the article, this was the "perfect family" and a church going family as well. The gun used was a shotgun.

I have a question. Why are there so many young men with guns shooting others or playing with guns and acquiring thousands of rounds of ammunition? What's up with that? I think it's worth exploring why this is happening all over America? What is the appeal of guns for young adult men? And many of the shooters happen to be mentally ill. From this article:
In recent years, Americans have watched as a series of mass shootings have involved young, mentally and emotionally disturbed young men with apparent easy access to firearms.
They include: 32 killed at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, in 2007; 27 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012; 13 killed at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999; 12 killed and 58 wounded in a shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater in 2012; eight killed at a mall in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2007; six killed and then-Rep. Gabby Giffords badly injured in Tucson, Ariz. in 2011; six killed and 21 wounded at a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in 2008.
Some people should not have guns or at least, easy access to them. It's time for something to change both with our gun laws and the gun culture that encourages young men ( and others) to own and carry guns around in public. It is becoming a national concern, to say the least. Surely we are better than all of this.

The latest Gun Report in the New York Times highlights the latest shooting incidents. It's disturbing and devastating. This post starts with this information:
Recent shootings involving children have rocked two American cities.
Michael Day, 13, died after being caught in the crossfire between two groups in the Edison Neighborhood of Kalamazoo, Mich., on Memorial Day. This wasn’t even the first time Day had been a victim of gun violence: On April 6, he was shot in the back while leaving a party. He told police he was walking when he heard a gunshot and realized he had been hit. (...) Meanwhile, on a playground at a school in Milwaukee last Wednesday, 10-year-old Sierra Guyton was caught in the cross-fire of a shootout. She is in stable condition, but as of yesterday, she is not responsive. A fund has been created for her family, and a rallywas held in her honor on Memorial Day.
The suspect is an 18-year-old with a long criminal record, who had been wounded by gunfire a week before he allegedly shot Sierra. A witness said 20 shots were fired in the direction of the playground. The suspect told police that he fired his gun until it was empty, then sold it for $250.
What is going on in America? Check out the long list of shooting incidents if you want to undertstand what is actually happening in the gun world of America. It's not a pretty picture. We are talking about crossfire here. Are we at war? This is ludicrous and shameful. 10 year olds should not be shot on playgrounds. No one should be shot in crossfire on our streets. It's time to take our country back. Our streets and homes should be safe from devastating gun violence. There are too many guns on our streets and in our homes that are used carelessly or purposely to shoot another human being. If we are to be a civilized society, then we need to change something. We seem to live in different worlds. One wants guns everywhere owned by everyone and anyone. The other wants gun safety reform and a world where people are not shot every day in their homes and on the streets and public places.

In the world we have, criminals, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people and others who shouldn't have guns get them anyway. Legal gun owners are careless or sometimes get caught up in an angry moment or drink too much and suddenly someone is dead or injured. Guys ( mostly guys) swagger around on some of our streets and try to insist on carrying their assault rifles into restaurants and think that's their right. My fellow blogger at New Trajectory has written this about the Open Carry movement:
I’ve been shaking my head lately at the antics of “Open Carry” extremists.  They seem to think that showing up in force at restaurants and other public venues, with handguns on their hips and assault rifles slung over their back, is somehow going to “educate” the public or “normalize” guns in our society. 
Naturally, the normal folk who are there to eat or enjoy a family outing are alarmed to see a large bunch of stern men with loaded guns come stomping into the room, proudly proclaiming their extremist views.  Police are called. Families flee.  It’s a sad sight.  But so blind are these men to their fetish that the simply can’t understand why everyone’s alarmed and the restaurants boot them out.
And then he lists the places where the Texas Open Carry folks have failed to find a welcome for their guns with their hamburgers or coffees. It's not working but they stubbornly keep hoping the public will just accept their antics. The thing is, the public knows that guys with guns on the streets often shoot other people. Remember the Isla Vista shooting? I'm sure you do. Remember Tucson? I'm sure you do. There are too many others to list. You know them.

Enough is enough but we keep saying it and the shootings continue and Congress and legislatures continue to ignore what's going on all around them. One good thing happened this past week, however, concerning gun safety. The NRA got out of the way and let the House of Representatives vote to increase funding for sending records of those who shouldn't have guns to the FBI's NICS background check system. It's amazing what happens when the corporate gun lobby stands down. Congress can stand up and do the right thing for a change. But it's also shameful that this lack of courage on the part of elected leaders is on such full display. It's time for that to change as well. Stand up Congress. What really matters to you? Common sense gun safety measures or your funding from the corporate gun lobby? The question needs to be asked and answered. We all have to live in this world together. It's time to make it a safer and better place to live. We can do this if you all get together and do the right thing in the name of public health and safety. Let's get to work.

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