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, August 1, 2014

Taking a vacation from gun issues?

It's tough to get away from the news these days what with social media and easy access to sources that weren't available not so many years ago. As I am traveling and now in a place where I can write more on my blog, I have been reflecting on the news and about where we are as a country when it comes to our values. Since I am now in Wyoming ( more on that in the next post) I do understand the different culture of the good folks who live in this state. It is beautiful with wide expanses of land rich with grasslands, prairies, buttes, interesting rock formations, high desert, magnificent mountain peaks, deer, Elk, Antelope, and other wild animals, natural hot springs and geysers, rivers, lakes, and rolling hills. It feels desolate to me with homes spread far apart from each other and the risk of wild animals or possibly intruders causing trouble. The land of cowboys and guns exists for a reason. Life here is quite different from life in Chicago, New Orleans or Miami. The gun culture is different here but I am guessing that even the gun owners in Wyoming support common sense. Indeed they do. From the article: " “Wyoming has the highest level of gun ownership in the country,” Debnam said. “And voters there across party lines still strongly support expanded background checks for gun purchases.”" Recently a Wyoming gun rights group with an extremist leader sent out a survey that didn't get good reviews from reasonable gun owners.

But back to my original purpose. Because I don't have a lot of time, I am going to make a list of what I have perused in the past few days while periodically checking social media, other media sources and e-mails. First I want to write about some of the recent senseless shootings in the country.

  1. A St. Paul, Minnesota area police officer was shot and killed by a felon during a routine traffic stop. Where do these guys get their guns anyway? Why do we make it so easy for them to get guns? Just asking an obvious question.....
  2. A Chicago man shot his boss and himself over a demotion. Why not? Don't like what your boss does? Just get out your gun and take care of things. And now two more families are devastated.
  3. A Maine man shot up his family because of financial distress. Three small children, a wife and a husband dead. Another domestic dispute gone wrong.
  4. An angry North Carolina man shot his father-in-law and sprayed bullets at others with AR-15. Why? Another domestic dispute gone wrong because a gun was at the ready.
  5. Speaking of domestic shootings, there was a hearing in the U.S. Senate yesterday regarding a bill to take guns from stalkers and dating partners as well as partners. Unfortunately Arizona Senator Jeff Flake skipped the hearing. Not a good idea considering the statistics regarding domestic shootings in his home state. 
  6. A Texas attorney, presumably a "law abiding gun owner" shot and killed someone and has now been arrested.
  7. An 86 year old Chicago legal gun permit holder interfered with police apprehending a burglar. He should have left his gun in the holster. The bullets almost hit the officer and the burglar got away.
  8. A "shoot-out" in North Carolina resulted in 3 dead and 3 wounded officers.
  9. A man showing off his gun killed a pregnant friend when the gun discharged. Where is common sense?
Now for the gun lobby's extremism.
  1. NRA Board member Ted Nugent has found himself in some much deserved trouble over his outrageous and incendiary remarks. His concerts are being cancelled of late because of his racist remarks about Native Americans. But apparently he can't take a hint. His narcissistic view of the world suggests to him that when people are offended by his remarks, it's all their fault.
  2. There has been lots of reaction to the Florida ruling allowing the gun lobby sponsored and written law to silence doctors about patient health and safety. Here is one from MSNBC. Here is another. There are more but I will not take the time to highlight all of them.
  3. The Texas armed self proclaimed border guards are marching to the Mexican border to take matters into their own hands. What could possibly go wrong?
And now for what reasonable people have to say about the American gun culture gone wrong. This great editorial from New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof says it directly and to the point. From his article:

That question is a reflection of our national blind spot about guns. The truth is that we regulate cars quite intelligently, instituting evidence-based measures to reduce fatalities. Yet the gun lobby is too strong, or our politicians too craven, to do the same for guns. So guns and cars now each kill more than 30,000 in America every year. 
One constraint, the argument goes, is the Second Amendment. Yet the paradox is that a bit more than a century ago, there was no universally recognized individual right to bear arms in the United States, but there was widely believed to be a “right to travel” that allowed people to drive cars without regulation. (...) A century ago, we reacted to deaths and injuries from unregulated vehicles by imposing sensible safety measures that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives a year. Why can’t we ask politicians to be just as rational about guns?
Of course. Kristof is spot on. Common sense just may be happening. The country is behind reasonable measures to stop the senseless taking of lives that are valued by their families and friends. It's definitely time for our Congress and our state legislators to stop the bidding they do to the corporate gun lobby. The agenda of that group is not about saving lives but about preserving what they see as their rights without thinking about the rights of people to be free of gun violence. The two are not mutually exclusive. It's time to come together for what we are doing now is just not working.

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