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.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Corporate gun lobby follies

This post has been edited since first posted.

In my last post, I wrote about some "believe it or not" gun incidents and points of view. I got some pushback from one of my readers who apparently does believe that a blind person ought to be able to carry a gun in public because it is that person's constitutional right to own guns. With rights come responsibilities. It would be irresponsible for a person who is blind to carry a gun around in public in my opinion and I am not alone. Another comment agreed with that point of view. Doesn't common sense come into play here? If not, it should. Guns are deadly weapons designed to kill another human being.

As the NRA and corporate gun lobby become more bold and extreme and as the public is taking notice, the true agenda of the gun lobby is under scrutiny. And the public isn't liking what they see or buying the fear, paranoia and extremism.

This article gets right to the nub of it:
This week the group yanked a much-mocked video in which “NRA news commentator” Dom Raso demanded that “Every law-abiding, blind individual should be able to have whatever guns they want.” Not everyone thought this was a brilliant idea, including the advocate for the blind who called it “disturbing.” And “misleading.” And “cynical.“
This new twist on “gun blind” followed another much-mocked NRA video in which another much-mocked “NRA commentator” — Billy Johnson — mused that firearms classes, like reading, writing and ’rithmatic, should be mandatory in elementary schools. The video prompted a fair amount of debate basically between those arguing that Johnson is a cynical tool of the gun industry and those contending he is more of a mad fool.
And, of course, the NRA’s recent spate of public-relations fiascos began on May 30, when it posted a criticism of Open Carry Texas, the group that keeps getting banned from restaurants on the grounds that they’re basically a bunch of scary guys carrying rifles. The NRA’s betrayal of the gun movement’s de facto creed — All Guns, All Places, All The Time No Matter How Reckless, Uncivil or Insane — resulted in an avalanche of public abuse from open-carry advocates and a shamed retreat by the NRA. (...) 
The NRA needs to keep up the appearance of corporate sanity on Capitol Hill. But when the NRA called the behavior of Open Carry Texas “weird,” it all but invited the Gun Owners of America to poach some more NRA members who fear the old guard is too establishment and soft.
The other problem is success. Having pushed guns onto campuses and into bars, parks and churches, the NRA is running out of virgin territory. In order to maintain the aura of panic, and the permanent war footing on which its vast fundraising apparatus depends, it must have villains (see Obama, Barack, gun seller in chief) but also new worlds to conquer. Once you’ve convinced legislators in Georgia to allow guns in bars, giving guns to schoolchildren and the blind isn’t all that much of a stretch.
Oh yes, and then there's NRA Board member Ted Nugent about whom I have written many times before on this blog. This time he met with more than a little resistance to his offensive remarks while playing at a concert sponsored by the Toledo ( Ohio) Blade newspaper. Here is an article about how that appearance went for Nugent and the Toledo Blade:
"According to an August 9 Blade article, Nugent "and about a dozen people protesting his appearance overshadowed" the festival, with the sign-toting protestors receiving "support from numerous honking motorists who drove by and a few who flashed a thumbs-up sign." During the festival, Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence founder Toby Hoover delivered more than 6,200 petition signatures collected by CSGV to the Blade's sales director, according to the group.
Nugent responded by lashing out at the protestors, President Obama, and the Blade from stage:
From the stage, Nugent blasted the protesters, calling them the "Barack Obama fan club." 
"How much crazier can you get than having a President of the United States who hates the United States?" he asked.
Neither Nugent nor the protesters were happy with the newspaper.
"The Toledo Blade hates you," Nugent told the crowd. "They hate your guts ...; They hate me. They hate freedom. So as long as you know the Toledo Blade hates you, you're a good American."
At least four Nugent concerts have been cancelled this year in response to Nugent's commentary, and several more have been subject to demonstrations. American Indian groups in particular have been protesting Nugent over his past racial comments, with tribes cancelling planned casino concerts and the president of the American Indian Movement Grassroots reportedly stating that the group "will always" protest the concerts.
Music industry experts say that Nugent's rhetoric has hurt his image to the point where he could seriously damage his music career."
His performance speaks for itself. If the NRA wants to keep this guy on their Board, they are doing so at their own expense. Nugent is creating his own problems and others are noticing. His behavior is on display and has been found to be offensive and incendiary.

And then there's this article with examples of reviews of a book written by two gun advocates, "My Parents Open Carry",  which I wrote about also in my last post. Here is just one review from the above article:
"Geofftoons - After saying our prayers to Jesus and Charlton Heston, I sat on the edge of my kids bed to read them this book, when I shifted my position and accidentally set off my 9mil that was strapped to my hip, shooting myself in the thigh. This wouldn't have been so bad,
(and it goes on hilariously in a macabre way from there)"
I checked out some more reviews on Amazon.com. Here are a few:
""This is a book the explains to little children that guns don't need to be feared. It sends the positive message that guns are our friends, that we should trust in guns. I can't wait for the sequel: "My little brother accidentally blew his head off."" 
And this:
""Jeffs and Nephew say they were moved to write the book because they "looked for pro-gun children's books and couldn't find any"."
Couldn't find any-pro-gun children's books? WTF, OBAMA???
Here wait a second-let me look...
Hmmm, nope! And you know what? I can't find any pro-brass knuckles children's books either!
And for some reason there's no pro-sword, pro-taser, pro-baseball bat, pro-noose or pro-hand grenade books on the market AT ALL!
And more:
"Republican Jesus came to me during my prayers and recommended this book.
My kids became fearful a few months back when our neighbor shot his wife in front of their children. Thank you white, middle aged, republican Jesus, this book has helped shown them to trust adult strangers with weapons and how natural it is to open carry AK-47s and now they sleep peacefully.
You don't need any training to carry semi automatic weapons and i'm glad this book is finally pointing that out to our children. I mean, we are Americans! Don't Tread on Me!!!
It was high time they realized that alongside the lord, fear and paranoia is an essential part of our life.
If you are a god fearing patriot it is time you stand your ground and get this book for your children."
It's hard to take a book like this seriously but apparently it is a serious attempt to explain to children why their parents have chosen to carry guns in public. One has to wonder why an explanation is needed.

Moving right along, I love this sarcastic article about a Colorado "open carry" activist roaming the streets of Aurora, of all places, with his shotgun over his shoulder. From the article:
Now these guns-ibitionists say they do it to help educate Americans that good guys wear guns, too, and that it’s legal, and that they can help protect y’all because the police just take too long to save you from Aurora’s hordes of marauding pirates. There are no laws in Colorado about kids carrying shotguns or rifles. “A 10-year-old could walk down the street with a rifle, there is no law (against it),” said Danielle Thompson, a spokeswoman for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. It’s going to happen. If this is starting to make your head spin, just wait. This special breed of whacktivist is congealing on YouTube and other websites, where they encourage and incite each other to get out there with the biggest, baddest, stupidest guns ever in the most controversial places they can find and share it with the world. A few members of this growing gun cult from Michigan have written a children’s book called, “My Parents Open Carry.” It’s a sinister, moronic attempt at propaganda, telling people that strapping on a heater before you head out for groceries is as responsible and practical as making sure your seat belt is buckled.
I’m not OK with this because people who get satisfaction from showing off their hog legs are the very people who shouldn’t be doing it. Since state lawmakers are increasingly cowardly about gun control laws in light of political extortion ploys by gun-rights extremists, our only hope is to enact meaningful laws keeping guns away from mentally unhealthy people. Problem solved.
With rights come responsibilities. In case the gun lobby thinks these kinds of antics are helping their cause, they should think again. They are actually hurting. No one wants to see folks with loaded guns wandering around their streets.Who knows if the gun carrier is the next James Holmes or Jared Loughner? We don't of course. I hate to use this cliché but they are "shooting themselves in the foot." The general public sees right through this stuff. But the gun rights extremists buy it- literally and figuratively. This is a minority of Americans and even a minority of gun owners who are trying desperately to stand by the Second Amendment as their excuse to get guns into the hands of just about everyone and also to bring them into all public places where families and members of the community hang out. It's not working out so well. The daily carnage continues all over America and we are sitting back and watching it happen without taking action.

And by action I mean figuring out where all of the guns are coming from on our streets. We know that some gun owners have decided to carry theirs around. But what about those who are not legally allowed to buy guns but get them anyway? Where do the guns come from? It's time to start talking about how easy access to guns is leading to more shootings. We haven't worked hard enough to make it harder for people who shouldn't have guns to get them. That is because any reasonable measure suggested is turned away by the gun lobby and our leaders have been intimidated rather than standing up for what's right. This letter from an Montana legislative candidate speaks the truth:
What got my goat more was the paragraph in bold letters that warned me that failure to reply to this questionnaire would be considered by the National Rifle Association as being against the Constitution of the United States of America.
In 1971, while still in high school in Libby, I took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies, both foreign and domestic. I gave over 26 years doing just that. My military record will show that I honorably served Active and Reserve Naval Service and the Montana Army and Air National Guard. I refuse to be blackmailed by this organization. I would hope that other candidates feel the same.
So because a candidate doesn't choose to answer an NRA questionnaire, he/she is suddenly against the Constitution? Is there a First Amendment? And this, dear readers, explains at least in part why our leaders stand back rather than stand up to what's right. It's time for that to change. Lives are at stake. When 30,000 Americans a year ( give or take) die from gunshot injuries from gun homicides, suicides and accidental gun deaths, there is a national public health and safety problem. Any other cause of such death would be at the top of a list of problems that must be solved. In addition, another 70,000 a year are injured by bullets. This is not acceptable. We can have a different America where families are safe from devastating gun violence in their communities. The majority of Americans understand that. It is incumbent upon that majority to get involved and demand action. If the gun lobby and gun extremists continue to push their agenda of fear and paranoia into more public places, they might find themselves in a different position.

The real American folly here is the daily media reports of senseless shootings while we allow the extremists and the corporate gun lobby to deny it and keep us from doing the right thing in the name of common sense, common decency and public health and safety.

1 comment:

  1. Shhhh! Japete, what are you doing? Don't point out to them how they're hurting their own cause....

    I mean... "Oh, no! The open carry folks are so making it 'normalized' to see guns. Oh, dear. Our cause is lost. I guess I should just go buy an AR and join the other 'normal' gun-toters at my local Chipotle's."

    Oh, wait, maybe not Chipotle's where the "open carry" movement backfired and they are now banned... or Starbucks... or Chilis, Sonic, Texas Roadhouse, Jack-in-the-Box, Whataburger, or Target. It's getting harder every day to be 'normalized.' http://newtrajectory.blogspot.com/2014/07/open-carry-backfires-again.html