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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

More and more and more shootings......

The numbers of the dead and wounded are adding up to more than we should tolerate. Guns plus anger plus domestic disputes equals dead children and adults. Domestic disputes minus guns may not equal death. Guns make it all too easy. If we multiply the affects of the mass shootings in America, it equals a serious public health and safety problem. We can subtract some of those numbers in the dead and injured column by passing some common sense gun laws. Don't you think, at long last, it's time to change the numbers?

The lead-off shooting today will be, of course, the latest American mass shooting. Four, yes count them-1,2,3,4 children are dead and 2 adults in an apparent execution style shooting by a relative of the victims in a quiet town near Houston, Texas. Sigh. Isn't this getting to ENOUGH yet? From the article:
The shootings happened Wednesday at a home in the 700 block of Leaflet in the Enchanted Oaks subdivision.
“He came to this location yesterday afternoon – late – and came under the guise of a FedEx driver wearing a FedEx shirt,” said Constable Ron Hickman. “…came to this residence, gathered up the children that were here and awaited the arrival of the parents. Sometime later the victims were shot in this residence, and we now learned that Mr. Haskell was married to a relative of the residents of this home.”
Haskell’s estranged wife lives out of state and was not at the home.
Authorities described the dead as two boys, ages 4 and 14; two girls, ages 7 and 9; a 39-year-old man; and a 33-year-old woman.
In court early Thursday, prosecutors said Haskell tied up the family, placed them face down, and then shot each of them in the head execution style.
Deputies said a 15-year-old survivor of the mass shooting suffered a bullet fracture to her skull. She played dead until the suspect left and then alerted authorities that the gunman was on his way to her grandparents' home to kill more relatives.
The deputies beat him to that home and a standoff ensued. After more than three hours sitting in a cul-de-sac, Haskell surrendered.
This is a heinous crime of apparent passion or anger of some sort. We will learn more as the investigation continues. All we know is that this shooting reminds us of how guns can make shootings like this possible. Shootings often occur amongst those who know each other rather than stranger shootings. Many of our mass shootings are the result of domestic disputes of some kind. Take the shooting at the Milwaukee spa when a man opened fire, killing 3 and wounding 4 others.:
What prompted the 45-year-old former Marine to open fire at a suburban Milwaukee salon Sunday -- killing his wife and two other women, and wounding four others -- was foreshadowed in no uncertain terms by his estranged wife just three days earlier.
At a restraining order hearing Thursday, the wife, Zina, begged the court for protection, saying her husband would surely kill her.
With her voice shaking, she outlined how he'd threatened to throw acid in her face. How he accused her of cheating on him. How his red hot jealousy terrorized her "every waking moment."
 Witness: Woman ran out of spa screaming Suspected Wisconsin shooter dead Suspected Wisconsin spa shooter revealed
"Things have gotten so bad. We need to separate," she said at the hearing, according to a recording obtained by CNN affiliate WISN. "We need a divorce before you hurt me. I don't want to die."
The judge sided with her. Haughton was ordered to stay away from his wife for the next four years. He was forbidden from possessing a gun.
But on Saturday, he bought a .40-caliber handgun from a private seller. Wisconsin law only requires background checks for purchases from a dealer.
This story, of course, lends the lie to the corporate gun lobby's excuse that people don't buy guns from private sellers without background checks. This is actually believed by many in America. NOT all gun purchases require background checks. And yes, the Internet does allow gun sales with no background check. Radcliffe Haughton was a prohibited gun purchaser. But not from a private seller where it's legal to sell to anyone without asking for anything from them. So he bought his gun on Armslist.com where private sellers advertise guns for sale with no background checks. Easy Peasy.

We can prevent some of the shootings in America by demanding that Congress Finish The Job on gun background checks and require background checks on all gun sales. We can make sure that those with restraining orders have their guns removed from them as the recently passed Minnesota law will do. Guns are dangerous. During angry disputes, bouts of depression or other mental illness, domestic abuse and other situations that could cause someone to want to kill another human being, guns should be less accessible.

There was another recent shooting by someone having problems with family members. A Colorado man threatened to shoot up a bunch of people and said he wanted to die by "suicide by cop." Instead, he ended up ambushing the cops and shooting 2 of them. Here's more from the article:
In a 911 call, a Lakewood man warned that he was lying in wait with three guns in his pickup outside his home "ready to kill a bunch of people," before he shot two Lakewood police officers with a semiautomatic rifle when they responded to the call.
"The call taker asks Gordon why he wants to hurt people and he stated, 'Good question ... I tell you what, you'll find out when you get here,'" the newly released arrest affidavit states.
The chilling account of the Saturday night shootout that left the two officers and the gunman wounded was revealed in the affidavit for 54-year-old Gordon Moench Jr. The document became public after he made a video court appearance on Tuesday, where a Jefferson County judge set his bond at $2 million. (...) 
The shooting happened after a despondent Moench spent the Fourth of July holiday arguing with his wife and teen stepson, and he was sure she was leaving him, the affidavit said. Moench, a diabetic, later told police that he had attempted to kill himself by injecting an overdose of his insulin medication on Friday night, but it didn't work.
On Saturday night, Moench continued his emotional spiral as he argued more with his wife, 18-year-old stepson and the stepson's friend. Moench later told investigators from his hospital bed that he "felt very disrespected by the entire group."
This is a bizarre incident but not uncommon. This was one angry man with a gun. He shouldn't have had a gun but he did. This is a case for a Gun Violence Restraining Order or a "regular" restraining order along with the temporary removal of guns until a decision is made as to the dangerousness of the gun owner. And the question has to be asked. Were the above shooters otherwise "law abiding" gun owners? Many are until within seconds they aren't. That's the problem with our loose gun laws and the idea that just about anyone can and should have a gun for self protection or sport. The corporate gun lobby encourages it but they also encourage the fear and paranoia that cause people to have guns for other reasons. And when a gun is available, many arguments turn deadly. We know that there is a risk to having guns in homes where they can be accessed easily for gun homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. It doesn't have to be this way. We need a huge dose of common sense when it comes to access to guns in our country. Little children should not be vulnerable to an angry father with a gun. Little children should not be shot in large numbers no matter where they are. And we should be safe in our homes and communities from the epidemic of gun violence.

Cliff Schecter, writing for Daily Beast, has written about this incident and also what the corporate gun lobby is up to in the face of a public health and safety epidemic to upend gun laws that are saving lives:
Meanwhile, state legislatures in Kansas, Missouri and others along the Evangelical and Mormon Belts, are passing "nullification bills" claiming they simply don't have to enforce federal gun laws. Their bilious resentment, right down to the terminology they employ to describe their treason, only serves to remind us of the price we're still paying for Rutherford B. Hayes' "Corrupt Bargain" to gain the electoral votes necessary to be President in 1877—leaving an unreconstructed South to its own devices. 
John C. Calhoun and his ilk were so very, very wrong when they spoke of nullification in the mid-19th Century, and yet these dunderheads posing as legislators have decided to give ignorant pigheadedness another try. From a more recent time:
The Supreme Court ruled on nullification in the 1950s, when states sought to resist integrating their school systems after the landmark ruling Brown v. Board of Education. In the 1958 case Cooper v. Aaron, the court ruled that states could not nullify federal law, citing a century-old declaration from Chief Justice John Marshall that, "if the legislatures of the several states may at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the Constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery."
Their put-a-pan-on-their-heads-and-bang-on-it-with-a-soup-ladle stupidity is thankfully also being challenged in the present, with Governor Jay Nixon in Missouri vetoing this nonsense and the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence swatting away Kansas' silly attempt at lawmaking in court.
The thing is, the gun lobby is doing the exact opposite of common sense with the help of the far right extremists who seem to believe that laws make no difference. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with this stupid and dangerous nonsense. We know that we can't prevent all shootings just as we can't prevent all cases of breast cancer or all auto accidents or all drownings. But we have made laws, done research, educated the public, performed public and personal health testing and advanced science and prevention tools for most other public health epidemics in this country. We should do the same for gun violence. Not trying is inexcusable at the least. Let's get to work.


More information is becoming available about the shooter in the Texas domestic incident. He has been charged with domestic abuse and has had run-ins with Utah law enforcement several times. From the article:
Authorities say 33-year-old Ronald Lee Haskell, who's accused of killing four children and two adults in Spring, had previous run-ins with Utah police and was accused by his own mother of domestic violence just last week in California.
The Cache County Sheriff's Office said Thursday in a news release that 33-year-old Ronald Lee Haskell was booked in June 2008 on suspicion of simple assault and domestic violence in presence of a child. He allegedly punched his wife and pulled her hair in front of their children.
Utah online court records show Haskell pleaded guilty to assault and not guilty to the domestic violence charge. Both were dismissed the next year.
And there's more. So the question is, where did this man get his guns? In Utah, one can purchase guns with no background check from private sellers. A law that would require people like Haskell to turn their guns over to law enforcement or another agreed upon party could potentially prevent shootings like this one. But we aren't passing universal background check laws or state laws to get guns away from domestic abusers. The corporate gun lobby makes sure of that. And people are dying senselessly every day.


Mother Jones has posted this article about why it is so easy for domestic abusers to get guns in America. From the article:
It's not yet clear if Haskell possessed his guns legally, but his case appears to be the latest example of how easy it remains for domestic abusers to possess firearms, thanks to weak legislation. Under federal law, Haskell's protective order should have prohibited him from owning guns, says Laura Cutilletta, a staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. However, in October 2013, Haskell's protective order was converted to a "mutual restraining order" as part of their divorce and custody proceedings. (You can read the protective order docket, obtained by Mother Jones on Thursday, here.) This crucial step likely meant that Haskell was legally allowed to have guns again, under both state and federal law.Had the first protection order not been dropped, Cutilletta added, "likely he would have been prohibited​." Nor is it likely that Haskell's 2008 conviction barred him from owning a gun in Utah or Texas, Cutilletta says, because he was convicted of simple assault rather than domestic violence. (Haskell's attorney in his 2013 protective order proceedings did not respond to Mother Jones' request for comment.)


  1. Take the guns away then you will hear about bashings with bats, stabbings with knives, an increase in vehicular slaughter. Sorry but the problem is not an inanimate object but the individual that is disturbed enough to use violence as their solution. Address the problem not the object used.

    1. That is speculation on your part. You have no,way of knowing that other forms of killing would increase. That is just an excuse not to do anything about guns and gun laws.

    2. Speculation is based on history and social problems that occur in large metropolitan areas. The fact is the UK banned private ownership of firearms and doing so... violent crime increase exponentially. To date they are still the one of the most violent nations in the EU. Australia experienced the same problem.

      For that matter the UK police rarely ever used firearms prior to the ban, now it's common place to see the police armed units out and about. History and facts and human nature in large metropolitan areas are what fuel the "speculation".

      Personally I will keep my firearms and maintain responsibility for mine and my families safety. On a side note there seems to be a misconception that A: the police are there to protect you. False and this has been upheld in the supreme and several circuit courts. B: Banning guns will reduce violence with guns. Again False, and this is being played out in Mexico, Chicago, Washington DC and so forth.

      The object is not the problem, it is humans packed into large cities with broken values and families that are the problem.

    3. I am happy to hear that you lock up your guns. That is the responsible thing to do for those who own them.

      The gun death rate in both England and Australia is miniscule compared to the U.S. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/09/19/u-s-has-more-guns-and-gun-deaths-than-any-other-country-study-finds/
      My blog concerns itself with gun deaths and injuries and not general crime and crime rates. The guns coming into Chicago, which has stronger gun laws, are largely coming from Indiana where the gun laws are much looser. The same is true of Washington D.C. Mexico has its' own problem with the drug cartels but many of the guns are coming from the border states of the U.S. ( http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/counting-mexicos-guns/) Gun deaths and injuries are often higher is large urban cities. Deaths due to suicides and accidental shootings happen everywhere in the U.S. and we know that many domestic shootings for example also occur in small towns all over the U.S. Whether that is due to broken values as you suggest is open to question with no proof that it is true. Domestic shootings happen often in divorces and separations in moments of anger or jealousy. Sure, one could say that is broken values but since divorce occurs in about 50% of marriages, that is a pretty sweeping statement to make.

      Gun deaths and injuries happen to poor families, wealthy families, married people, divorced people, white people, black people. Asian people, straight people, young people, older people, children and toddlers, gay people. Gun deaths know no discrimination. Your statements are speculation with no facts. I suggest that you check your facts before making your claims. You might want to read this one about your statement about the UK and violent crime before continuing with this false claim- http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jun/24/blog-posting/social-media-post-says-uk-has-far-higher-violent-c/ " The meme said "there are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the U.K.," compared to "466 violent crimes per 100,000" in the United States. Our preliminary attempt to make an apples-to-apples comparison shows a much smaller difference in violent crime rates between the two countries, but criminologists say differences in how the statistics are collected make it impossible to produce a truly valid comparison. We rate the claim False."