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.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What could possibly go wrong????

We saw in my last post about how weak gun laws and weak laws in general can lead to innocent people being shot and killed. We saw what could go wrong when people who shouldn't have guns get them anyway. The recent Texas domestic shooting of 6 has a lot of people talking about the fact that domestic abusers have ways of getting guns in spite of committing previous crimes and/or being put on the list of those who should not be able to buy guns. We make it easy for these folks to get their hands on guns. The Supreme Court ruled recently that those guilty of violent domestic misdemeanors should not have guns but left it up to states to determine how this will work. In light of recent domestic shootings it would make a lot of common sense to make sure that domestic abusers, those with restraining orders/orders for protections do not have guns. The evidence has shown us that too many things can go wrong when domestic abusers and/or those involved in domestic disputes have guns. So why does the gun lobby oppose measures to get guns away from domestic abusers and stalkers?

Other recent incidents have come to my attention that fall into the category of "what could possibly go wrong?" First is this one about the self appointed militia groups in Texas who are "keeping our country safe" from immigrants. From the article:
Groups describing themselves as militias have set up a training area near San Antonio and say there already are four "operations on the ground" along the US-Mexico border in Texas.
The groups, which supported Cliven Bundy at a standoff at his Nevada ranch earlier this year, posted an update on a website used to organize the efforts Tuesday night that said there are currently three "troops on the ground" on the Arizona border, and "four credible operations on the ground" on the Texas border.
The Texas militia, known as "Operation Secure Our Border," is being led by Chris Davis, a 37-year-old truck driver who was discharged from the Army in 2001 "under other than honorable conditions in lieu of trial by court martial," according to a summary of Davis' military service obtained by the San Antonio Express-News.
The details of Davis' discharge are protected from public view through the Privacy Act of 1974. Davis, originally from Florida, served in the Army from 1996-2001 as a mechanical systems operator-maintainer and was ranked as a private at the time of his discharge. 
He does not appear to have any arrests, according to public record sources. Last year, Davis was one of three men in the group Open Carry Texas cited by the San Antonio Police Department for disorderly conduct while openly carrying rifles outside a Starbucks. The incident sparked an open carry rally at the Alamo that drew hundreds of armed protesters.
Something is bound to go terribly wrong when armed American thugs form their own militia groups in our border states with Mexico. What happens if and when mistakes are made or the armed thugs decide to shoot someone they shouldn't or even a border agent? This article from the LA Times examines that possibility:
The leader of an armed militia mobilizing to deploy along the Southwest border has drawn criticism for a YouTube video in which he appears to advise members to confront and intimidate those caught crossing the border illegally.
"You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, 'Get back across the border or you will be shot,'" Chris Davis says in the 21-minute video posted on his YouTube channel.
After the McAllen Monitor wrote about the video Friday, Davis removed it. He plans to go on Fox News on Monday night to clarify his message and his group’s intentions.
“We’re here to supplement and be where law enforcement is not and help them support the border,” Davis told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “There’s nothing malicious, there’s no malicious intent — every person is vetted. We’re just here to serve freedom, liberty and national sovereignty."
These folks are serious about this sovereignty stuff. Take Mike Vanderbough, inveterate gun rights and far right extremist. Here he is talking to a group of Texas Open Carry folks, always ready for some talk about liberty and freedom:
He said the Founders had offered a remedy to curb their appetite for power that no oath or law could restrain, and — standing before a banner bearing the image of an AR-15 rifle and the words, “It’s a right, not a privilege” – Vanderboegh asked the gun enthusiasts search their own feelings for the answer.
“Let us first be honest enough to admit first to ourselves and then to proclaim to those domestic enemies of liberty — and thence to the world — that failing all other appeals to peaceful means, that the founders’ solution to such tyranny is still available, still potent, and still waiting, for when democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizenry still gets to vote,” Vanderboegh said, as the crowd cheered wildly.
“This is the promise, this is the warning,” he continued. “The threat embodied by the Gadsden flag of our founders. Don’t tread on me, it says. Don’t. Tread. On. Us.”
Yes, he said this. Does anyone remember the recent Las Vegas shooting involving the Gadsden flag? Inciting violence is not a good idea to say the least. What could possibly go wrong with this kind of talk? We have a problem with home grown terrorists in America and if the above militia groups and others like them keep up their rhetoric, we will see more violence. According to the linked article from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Cliven Bundy may have faded from public view, but the movement that spawned him is boiling. Government officials need to understand what motivates this movement because the Millers will not be the last to demonstrate their antigovernment rage with bullets. Law enforcement officials also need training on a movement that increasingly targets them. Two decades after the Waco debacle, federal officials continue to struggle with their approach to radical right extremists. What they learned from Waco was that a heavy-handed approach risks a major loss of life. Yet, allowing the antigovernment movement to flout the law at gunpoint is surely not the answer.
The recent announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder that the Justice Department is reviving its Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee is welcome news. The committee was established after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and was instrumental in bringing swift prosecutions that stemmed the tide of hardcore antigovernment activity; it should never have been allowed to become moribund after the 9/11 attacks. The militiamen and others who pointed their weapons at BLM and Las Vegas officers need to face criminal prosecution because the rule of law must be enforced or it will be challenged again.
These type of challenges could end very badly. Armed vigilante and militia groups are filled with angry and fearful people who are ready to use their guns to threaten and even kill and injure other innocent Americans. Things could go terribly wrong. But things go terribly wrong every day in America when people misuse their right to own guns. Another Wisconsin domestic shooting incident is a prime example of what can go wrong when family disputes, alcohol and guns are mixed together. From the article:
An intoxicated Glendale man who shot his two sons, killing one and wounding the other, told police he was being bullied and disrespected in his own house by his wife and children and that some rough play by one of the boys during a game of basketball was the last straw, according to a criminal complaint.
Robert C. Washington, 57, is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Robert Curtis Washington II, 20, on Thursday at their home in the 1000 block of W. Theresa Lane, according to the complaint.
He also is charged with first-degree reckless injury for allegedly wounding Wesley Washington, 15.
According to the complaint, on the afternoon of the shooting, Robert Washington Sr. had been drinking vodka while watching Wesley play baseball.
Later, as his sons played basketball in the driveway of their home, Washington Sr. appeared intoxicated when he came out of the house, got in their way and was knocked over by Wesley.
"You do that again, you ain't gonna wake up," Washington Sr. allegedly told Wesley before going back inside the house, according to the complaint.
Something went terribly wrong here. And what could go wrong when a mother buys an AK-47 and her son, who can't purchase guns legally, gets his hands on it and shoots a police officer? Let's take a look at this recent shooting of an Indianapolis police officer: 
The gun used to kill Officer Perry Renn was purchased by the accused killer’s mother, Cynthia Davis. Officials said the assault rifle was purchased four years ago from Don’s Guns.
Local and federal investigators have already visited the gun store on 38th Street and Lafayette Road. Sources said store owner Don Davis was cooperating fully with the investigation and has turned over records of the purchase to federal authorities.
How the gun got into the hands of Major Davis Jr. remains unclear, but his criminal history would not have allowed him to purchase the firearm, at least from Don’s Guns.
"If he had anything on his record, he wouldn't have been able to buy it. He couldn't buy it. So the only person that could have got it was the lady that bought it," store owner Davis said.
It remained unclear if the suspect’s mother would face charges in connection to Officer Renn’s murder.
What could possibly go wrong when an obviously mentally ill man is given his gun back the day before he killed his wife in a murder/suicide after threatening to kill himself in May? Are gun rights more important than the right of people to be safe from people who so clearly shouldn't have guns? Why should people like the shooter in this case get their guns back when they so obviously shouldn't have a gun available to them? But rights have come to trump common sense over time in America, thanks to the corporate gun lobby's influence on public policy.

And finally, I found this incident where an Indianapolis man, presumed "law abiding"gun owner, pulled a gun out at a neighborhood day care center. We don't need people with guns threatening young children in our neighborhoods. We know how that can go terribly wrong with one squeeze of the trigger. Too many things go wrong with loaded guns. They are weapons designed to kill or injure another human being. But far too often they are used in homicides, suicides or accidental shootings like the one in the linked article here. When a gun is available, it just may get used in the wrong way.

Too many families are devastated by gun violence in communities all over America. The incidents I have included highlight how quickly things can go wrong with a loaded gun. Even law abiding gun owners make stupid mistakes that can result in injuries or death to themselves or others. And far too often the injuries and deaths are intentional. We need to decide how best to deal with our nation's public health and safety epidemic. That will require us all to be "all in" for solutions that should include changing laws, educating the public about the risks of guns in the home, and changing the conversation about guns and gun violence. Let's get to work.


And what could possibly go wrong when a law abiding permit holder gets mixed up in a crowd of folks outside of a bar and starts shooting? This happened in Stamford, Connecticut this morning:
Stamford's Bureau of Criminal Investigation responded and recovered video evidence which shows Wills firing his weapon "into a crowd and towards the crowded downtown are, thus striking five innocent persons," police said.
Wills told police he pulled out a handgun and began shooting the other person involved in the altercation and then discarded his weapon.
Police found a loaded .40 caliber handgun near the intersection of Atlantic Street and Bank Street, where Wills said he left it.
Police said Wills does have a valid pistol permit and was legally registered to carry the weapon.
Police said they also seized a small amount of marijuana from Wills.
Wills was charged with five counts of first degree assault, first degree reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge of a firearm and possession of marijuana.
Oops. So much for making everyone safer with that permit to carry a gun in public. And so much for not carrying when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Another article shows a video taken by a bystander of the shots fired randomly into the crowd by this gun permit holder. Amazing. He just kept firing his gun repeatedly.


And what could possibly go wrong when the founder of a group called "Moms With Guns" posts a statement on her Facebook page calling for the assassination of President Obama? From the article:
Sharing a photo on her Facebook page of President Obama’s recent visit to Texas, the founder of the Moms With Guns website commented on the photo, stating: “Where is an assasin (sic) when you need one?”
The post has since been taken down and the Moms With Guns Facebook account has been closed by founder Kathy Perkins, but not before Liberaland was able to save a screen capture, seen below.
One commenter, Todd Thozeski of Seven Hills, Ohio, commented on her Facebook share, “Duh,’ while Liberaland noted another wrote, “I know…I’m amazed it hasn’t happened yet.”
Perkin’s Moms With Guns website and her twitter account, @MomsWithGuns , are still up, but contain no reference to her wishing for the assassination of the President of the United States.
Perkin’s website Moms With Guns (“Because an armed society is a safe society“) states as their mission: “By Remaining Armed Moms of America We will NOT be Victims!!! Our Mission is to Normalize the Open Carrying Of FireArms(sic) in the State of Texas and Inspire Other States to Normalize the same. We are Law Abiding Citizens of this Great Republic of the United States of America from ALL walks of life.”
Yes. She said this and she did this. There is something terribly wrong with the American gun extremists. They shouldn't be allowed to be involved in public policy decisions or influence our elected officials. It's time for a change before the violence these folks are calling for actually happens.

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