|From Wisconsin Anti Violence Effort|
The thing is, an armed society is not a polite society. It is a scared and paranoid society and it will inevitably lead to more gun violence. More guns have not made us safer. This we know for a fact by just opening up a daily newspaper or reading about the many shootings on-line.
Speaking of jarring, take a look at the photo of the mother with her 10 month old twins and an assault rifle hanging around her neck ( in the linked article about the Home Depot rally). In what other country do you see a mother's love for her children displayed in this way? What message is this sending? And really folks, how stupid and ridiculous is it to carry a heavy weapon around with you when you have little kids? Not only is it dangerous, it is inconvenient. How could anyone possibly believe that this weapon could be used in self defense? No one needs a gun like that for self defense in the first place. But guns and kids just do not go together. We have enough evidence of that from the daily shootings of and by kids. Check out Kid Shootings and the Gun Report if you don't believe the truth of the matter. In fact, it's hard to keep up with the shootings of children on these blogs in order to adequately report on them. This is absolutely unacceptable and represents a gun culture gone very wrong.
Even the NRA-ILA thinks the behavior of the Texas Open Carry extremists is pretty stupid:
Duh. Do you think? The rest of us know this. It's about time the NRA's leaders figured this one out for themselves. We don't want your loaded assault rifles in public. Foolish is a mild way to describe what is happening in Texas. But there's an agenda here that might get derailed if these Texas folks continue their foolishness. Let's take a look, from the article:Evidently the National Rifle Association has come to realize that none of this is good for business. In an extraordinary move on Friday, the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action—the organization's powerful lobbying arm in Washington—issued a lengthy statement seeking to distinguish between "responsible behavior" and "legal mandates." It told the Texas gun activists in no uncertain terms to stand down."As gun owners, whether or not our decisions are dictated by the law, we are still accountable for them," the statement began. "If we exercise poor judgment, our decisions will have consequences…such as turning an undecided voter into an antigun voter because of causing that person fear or offense." The NRA praised the "robust gun culture" of Texas—which recently has loosened laws as aggressively as any state—but then laid into those Texans "who have crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness."
Yes. They "control a massive number of votes". And that's what is sick about all of this. And to openly admit that the overall mission is to ease gun laws is even sicker.The problem has been on the NRA's radar at least since April. In a roundtable discussion hosted by a Texas podcaster on April 28, Charles Cotton, a long-serving member of the NRA board of directors based in Houston, and Alice Tripp, lobbyist and legislative director for the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), squared off with CJ Grisham, the founder and president of Open Carry Texas. Cotton and Tripp, who have both been deeply involved in passing pro-gun laws in Texas for many years, warned Grisham that his group's demonstrations were causing them major grief with their allies in the capitol."We do control a massive number of votes," Cotton pointed out."I'm in the capitol three times a week," Tripp added. "Every [lawmaker's] office I went into today asked me, 'Can't you do something to stop the rifle demonstrations?'" One lawmaker told Tripp that he'd gotten a phone call from the Republican mayor of Arlington—the site of several provocative open-carry incidents—who'd been "absolutely incensed." The demonstrations were seriously harming the overall mission to ease gun laws further, she said.
And speaking of Texas, here are the latest comments of their illustrious Senator Ted Cruz concerning guns:
This is beyond sick. "Law abiding Senators"? We have to assume that they are all law abiding, right? A "rush to pass new gun legislation"? Hardly. Folks on my side have been working to expand gun background checks for years. But we have been stymied by the bullying tactics of the corporate gun lobby who Cruz is now apparently defending. And it might surprise Senator Cruz that the truth of the matter is there is nothing unconstitutional about regulating gun rights. Supreme Court Justice Scalia would agree with this. (See article below) It's time to tell the truth. If some Senators don't care that 20 small children were massacred and they were responsible for the nothing that happened after the heinous national tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school, then they represent the extremes amongst us who insist that their rights trump public health and safety. We are talking about the senseless loss of lives of innocent children and citizens here. Surely we are better than this.Cruz also bragged about slowing down new gun control efforts in the wake of the Newtown school shooting that left 20 children dead. Cruz said the Obama administration tried to use the shooting as “an excuse to go after the Constitutional rights of law-abiding senators.”Instead he said that conservative lawmakers like himself were able to slow down the rush to pass new gun legislation, which permitted members of Congress to go home and hear from their constituents about the proposed new regulations.“People would say, ‘How come you are not fighting for the Second Amendment?” the Texas Senator told the crowd at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. “The American people rose up in overwhelming numbers.”Cruz made his comments in the context of urging Republicans to not compromise, pointing to his success of standing up to the administration and to the “graybeards” in his own party.
Speaking of extremists I had a disturbing conversation at a recent event. A young man took issue with the idea of expanding background checks to all gun sales. Why? Because he himself was a prohibited purchaser due to a prior domestic abuse charge. He needed his guns, he explained, because he was trying to "live off the land". Therefore he felt he had a right to buy guns for this purpose even though he legally can't buy them. If private sales would be required to get background checks, then he couldn't buy his guns. The question remains as to whether he currently owns guns illegally. Apparently he does own guns but they are being held by a relative until he can get his rights back. At least that is a bit of common sense. But let's think about this for a minute. Is he one of those "good guys" with a gun? I'm just asking. And in parting, we had an impolite conversation about whether we should just allow shootings to occur because the blood of the victims, he explained to me, is all for his personal freedom to own a gun. After the steam stopped coming out of my ears, I explained to him that my sister's death was not about his freedom in any way. It was avoidable and preventable and there's no reason not to try to stop deaths like hers. He disagreed. People have personal choices. I guess if someone decides to shoot another human being or themselves, that's all OK with him as long as he can illegally own his guns.
And speaking of using the second amendment to hide what these folks are all about, check out this really cogent article from Salon about the lies told by the corporate gun lobby in order to get their way. If you tell a lie often enough, and then bully the other side, you sometimes get your way. The author of the linked article writes this:
"This argument is set forth by gun proliferation advocates as if it has been understood this way from the beginning of the republic. Indeed, “fundamental right to bear arms” is often spat at gun regulation advocates as if they have heard it from the mouths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson themselves. But what none of them seem to acknowledge (or, more likely, know) is that this particular legal interpretation of the Second Amendment was validated by the Supreme Court all the way back in … 2008. That’s right. It was only six years ago that the Supreme Court ruled (in a 5-4 decision with the conservatives in the majority, naturally) that there was a “right to bear arms” as these people insist has been true for over two centuries. And even then it isn’t nearly as expansive as these folks like to pretend.
For instance, that gun-grabbing hippie Justice Antonin Scalia went out of his way in that decision to say that beyond the holding of handguns in the home for self-defense, regulations of firearms remained the purview of the state and so too was conduct. He wrote that regulating the use of concealed weapons or barring the use of weapons in certain places or restricting commercial use are permitted. That’s Antonin Scalia, well known to be at the far-right end of the legal spectrum on this issue. Most judges had always had a much more limited interpretation of the amendment. (...) So, what happened? Well, the NRA happened. Or more specifically, a change in leadership in the NRA happened. After all, the NRA had long been a benign sportsman’s organization devoted to hunting and gun safety. It wasn’t until 1977, that a group of radicals led by activists from the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms took control and changed the direction of the group to one dedicated to making the Second Amendment into a “fundamental right.”
Lives are lost because of this fraud. More than 80 a day actually, to gun injuries. I would recommend your reading this article in its' entirety. For we need the truth when so many lives are lost senselessly. If you look at the video in the linked article, you will see a young man who is promoting shotguns for home safety and most especially to single moms. Does this young man know that in homes with guns, people are more likely to use that gun in a shooting that involves themselves or a loved one than in self defense? Guns are dangerous and a risk to those who own them. But that is not what the corporate gun lobby is telling people. Profits trump public safety. That should be disturbing to us all.
In actuality, 9 children and teens a day are shot in accidental shootings and 80% of accidental shootings of kids under 15 occur in their own homes. Children know where the guns are. They find them and they use them accidentally to shoot themselves or someone else or in a suicide. That is why I am involved with the ASK campaign promoted by the Center to Prevent Youth Violence. This is the common sense approach to keeping our children safe from gun violence. Asking if there are guns where your children play or hang out could save a life and stop yet another shooting. Not one more.
Many people own guns for self defense or shooting sports. Is the young man above also telling those moms to make sure those guns are secured to prevent one more senseless shooting? With rights come responsibilities. And speaking of not one more shooting, there was a spree shooting in Norfolk, Virginia one week after the mass shooting in Isla Vista, California:
Senseless. Tragic.A 17-year-old on his way home from a high school graduation celebration and a police officer where among three people killed in a shooting spree in Norfolk, Va., officials said today.James Brown, 29, is reported to have started shooting randomly Friday night as he drove through Norfolk. According to police, witnesses saw Brown shoot at 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez's car.The teenager was on his way home at the time and was struck by at least one bullet, police said. He was declared dead at the scene.A police officer responding to the attack was also killed after he identified Brown's vehicle near his home. Brown shot officers Brian Jones and Curtis Allison multiple times from inside his home, after they identified his car.
Speaking of spree shootings, we are still waiting for Congress to stand up to the corporate gun lobby and pass laws like expanded background checks so that all guns sold get a background check. Why would this not just be common sense? Well, because the corporate gun lobby is bullying and deceiving our leaders to get their way. So we can expect Congress to back down even in the face of the majority of Americans who want them to pass laws to keep our communities safer.
And speaking of Congress not doing anything, read this piece- a "letter" from one victim to another- a Sandy Hook parent wrote to Richard Martinez, father of Chris Michaels-Martinez, shot and killed in Santa Barbara, California last week. In the words of Mark Bardon of Sandy Hook Promise:
My story, my anguish is shared by more parents than you can imagine. Not just those who lost children and loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary, but the tens and hundreds of thousands of parents who have lost children to gun violence before and since, families across the country whose grief is no less because their tragedy didn’t make headlines. Last week in Santa Barbara, six more families joined that terrible club. I don’t personally know Richard Martinez, but when he said in an interview “you never think it can happen to you,” I hung my head and cried. (...)
Despite my pain and grief, I have great faith we can find a way through this terrible morass with enough voices joined together: voices from the political left and the right, voices of gun owners and those who don’t own guns, millions of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles around the country who look at their children and think, there is something I can do to protect you. We don’t risk any of our freedoms or values. We do it in the shared belief that America is a stronger country when we make common sense choices to protect our innocent children. It’s too late for my sweet little Daniel or for Christopher Michaels-Martinez, or the hundreds of thousands of children already gone, but it’s not too late to protect your children and the children that you love. Please join us.It's not too late but it's past time to do something to protect our children and others from the violence perpetrated daily in America. It's too late for the many victims of senseless and avoidable shootings like those at Sandy Hook elementary school and Isla Vista. Join Mark Bardon, Richard Martinez and the rest of us advocating for gun safety reform and act for the safety of us all. We just can't have one more of the shootings that are so devastating to our families. We shouldn't have to have marches and vigils in memory of victims like this one in the Isla Vista community over the week-end. Not one more of these.
As always, I like to include the latest Week-end Gun Report by Joe Nocera in my blog posts. Nocera is doing us all a favor, if you can call it that, by keeping track of the shooting incidents all over America. In his latest 3 day report, by my count ( which took me a fair amount of time) 93 Americans lost their lives to gun injuries and 166 survived their injuries to live on with what could be life-long disabilities and trauma related mental and physical problems. These shootings occurred in 38 of our 50 states. They were suicides, homicides, murder/suicides, kid shootings, gang shootings, home invasions and robberies, domestic disputes, drive-bys and arguments amongst friends. Some were law enforcement officers. Some were old. Some were very young. If you think this is acceptable and worth the "freedom" of the gun extremists, raise your hand. Otherwise get busy and take action.
Since I focused some of my post on the Texas Open Carry group, my readers should be interested in the fact that not only are those extremists wrong but they are in a distinct minority of folks who don't seem to like common sense when it comes to guns. A new poll by Americans for Responsible Solutions has found that Texans like expanded background checks. From the article:
This is consistent with most other polling over many years but it's quite stunning now that the NRA and the Texas Open Carry folks are having a separation. The NRA leaders have made it clear that they don't like expanded background checks. Are they representing anyone but themselves when they say that? And the Open Carry folks have accused the NRA of lining up with gun reform groups. Which group is more out of the main stream of Texans now? Time will tell.Eighty-five percent of Texas residents recently said they favor background checks on all gun sales, according to a poll released Sunday by Americans for Responsible Solutions.Additionally, 79% of Texas Republicans and 65% of National Rifle Association members in the state said they prefer background checks, according to the poll. Seventy-nine percent of Texans also support denying convicted domestic abusers access to firearms.“Even in states with long, proud traditions of gun ownership like Texas, talking about ways to reduce gun violence does not have to be a political liability – far from it,” Pia Carusone, senior adviser of Americans for Responsible Solutions, said in a statement. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, created the gun-violence prevention group after she was shot outside of an Arizona supermarket in 2011.