Showing posts with label Gun Violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gun Violence. Show all posts

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Only Numbers That Matter This Memorial Day

Saturday, May 26, 2018

If I Die In A School Shooting...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Guns: Where We Currently Stand

With the Sante Fe High School shooting, the number of school children killed in school shootings has surpassed the number of servicemen killed this year. The blame for this lies directly at the feet of gun owners. If they want our children to stop being killed in schools, they need to figure out other ways to feel secure in their lives. The particular group who are most at fault are members of the NRA, gun rights activist and any gun bloggers and gun blog commenters who, on a daily basis, advocate for unstable people to remain able to acquire firearms. In short, this particular group of individuals are domestic terrorists. They should be arrested by the Department of Homeland Security and summarily Gitmo'd.

At this point, I think it's important to summarize many of the ideas that I've had  for how we can change this and cease living in a fucking war zone. The first step in considering the problem we have with gun violence in this country is to look at the intent of the 2nd amendment. It was written by James Madison and was meant for local militias at the time to protect themselves against possible tyrannical governments in the future. That's why it says...

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 

It does not mean that people can carry guns with them whenever and wherever they want. Recall that both Madison and Jefferson voted to ban guns on campus of the University of Virginia when it was founded. Further, Alexander Hamilton explains the meaning of  the 2nd Amendment quite well in Federalist Paper #29:

This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by congress.

If a well regulated militia be the most natural defence of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security...confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority...(and) reserving to the states...the authority of training the militia

Since the time the 2nd amendment was written, the ensuing tort has shifted towards broadening individual gun ownership.

Yet even Justice Scalia, writing for the majority in DC v Heller (2008) wrote:

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. ... For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.(54)

Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our [majority] opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. (54-55) 

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. [Precedent says] that the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time' [the Second Amendment was approved]. ... We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons. " (55) 

So, with all of this, here's is what I think we should do based on why gun violence continues to happen.

First, the current gun regulations are terrible. It’s very easy to obtain weapons that make mass shootings more efficient. People with little or no training can buy a gun at Wal Mart. Mental health history doesn’t matter. Some gun sales and transfers of ownership don’t even require a background check. Many states have very loose gun laws and some now allow guns in schools and churches. Here is how they should be changed.

-Background checks on every single gun purchase. This would include private transfers of sale.

-Mental health checks for every single gun purchase followed by annual mental health checks for every gun owner.

-Regular training similar to what police and military must accomplish in order to use their firearms. Organizations like ALERRT could be used.

-All restrictions removed at the National Trace Center in Virginia

-All restrictions removed from the CDC in their research into the public health issue of gun violence. -Insurance required for gun owners

-All gun manufacturer exceptions for liability removed

Second, mass shootings are #trending and have been since the Columbine shooting in 1998. People in the United States believe that they can solve their problems by shooting up some place. I think that many mass shooters want attention and the media certainly gives it to them.

Third, The United States is very rooted in gun culture even though less than a third of its citizens owns guns. Our entertainment (films, video games, television) are very violent. Even our language is gun based. Here are some examples…

“Number one hit—-with a bullet” (music)

“Rodgers, out of the shotgun” (football)

“Faster than a speeding bullet (comics, films)

“He went off like a loaded gun” (common phrase)

With so many references to guns, it’s no wonder we don’t have more mass shootings.

Fourth, there is still a stigma in this country regarding mental health. Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook, was severely mentally ill. He was not given adequate treatment and was likely shunned by the people around him. His mom, an ardent 2nd amendment supporter, was ill equipped to deal with his issues. She paid for it with her life. If we addressed the mental health issue by removing the social stigma surrounding visiting a therapist, we’d have less mass shootings. It should be as common as going to the dentist with an equal amount of indifference when someone says they are seeking psychological help.

Fifth, the United States has a gun culture that makes it easier for unbalanced people to obtain weapons. These folks allow their own hubris and emotions about guns to override public safety. They don’t really care if people die in mass shootings. Their first reaction after a mass shooting is “Don’t take my guns!!!” or “More guns in more places” as opposed to “Hey, how can we help? Let’s make it safer out there.”

They are enablers to mass shootings and bear a great deal of responsibility for all of the deaths the US has experienced from gun violence. In short, they are domestic terrorists and should be labeled as such by the Department of Homeland Security. Given that we have lost more people to gun violence just in the last 50 years than all of the wars we have ever fought in, they are a danger to public safety. 

Finally, it’s hard to implement changes to existing gun law because there is no equivalent of the NRA on the gun safety side of the equation. Gun rights activists vote more reliably. It’s just that simple. This may be changing, however, as Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America just had their fifth anniversary. As more of these shootings happen, more people join their cause. This is the kind of group that could easily counter or even surpass the NRA if more people helped their cause.

Until there is a significant counter balance to the NRA, we aren’t going to see any changes soon.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Accomplices in School Shootings

Thursday, May 17, 2018

This is America

I've been a fan of Childish Gambino for many years. No doubt, he's going to be fab as Lando Calrisian in the new Star Was film.

His newest video is called "This is America" and it's the best damn video I have ever seen. What a massively spot on statement of the United States in 2018, especially in terms of gun violence.


Here's a list of all the Easter eggs if you are interested.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Gun Sharing

Take a look at this.

Welcome to the Metro Gun Share Program in Chicago. Wanna a problem solved? Just go pick yourself out a gun and take care of it! Tyrannical governments will quake in their boots....shiver...shiver...

OK, full disclosure...this isn't an actual thing. Well, it sort of is because that's how easy it is for anyone to get a gun. This is a protest art piece that came about as a partnership between Chicago-based advertising agency The Escape Pod and gun safety organization the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. It's currently located on Daley plaza in downtown Chicago.

I'm hoping we will see more exhibits like this in the future!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Memo to Gun Humpers: Start Shitting Yourself

I had several students and their parents trek out to DC for the #NeverAgain event on March 24. Here are a couple of photos that they took.

Remember when gun humpers used to make fun of crowd size at gun safety events? Something tells me that those days are over.

If all of these people vote, we are going to see significant change to our nation's gun laws.

John Paul Stevens is Right

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens recently penned an Op Ed calling for the repeal of the 2nd Amendment. I wholeheartedly support his assertions and call for the students of this nation that risen up against gun violence across the country to aim for this goal. It might not be as difficult as we think.

Of course, we would need a 2/3 vote of both chambers of Congress and 38 states to ratify such a repeal. If a vote were held today, how close would we be? California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island all have 2 Democratic Senators who would vote for repeal. That's 10 states and 20 Senators. Washington and Oregon have shifted leftward so that would give us four more senators and 2 more states. Our total is now 12 states and 22 Senators.

Looking at the states that fall into the middle (Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania),  I see about six senators and maybe 4 states that would vote for repeal. I'm being conservative and clearly this could all change in the 2018 midterms but I think it's safe to say that 28 senators and 16 states would vote to repeal the 2nd amendment.

Obviously, this far short of what we would need but it's a pretty solid foundation on which to build. We could start by focusing voting efforts on these states in the middle and then branching out to those states that lean more right. It's also far closer to the goal than gun rights activists would probably like to admit.

For decades they had the numbers on their side in terms of reliable voters. Parkland has changed all of that and we now have a retired SCOTUS justice calling for the repeal of the 2nd amendment. Each mass shooting that happens from here on out will put more and more pressure on the NRA and other gun rights activists to cave. They probably won't.

And that means that the end is nigh for them:)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Guns: What The Experience of Each State Shows

Take a look at this article (I had to scan it in because it's not available online).

There are several things I love about this article. First, it's a nice summary of all the states that have decent gun safety laws and the ones that are severely lacking.

Second, it illustrates quite clearly that the states that have lax gun laws have higher rates of gun violence per 100,000 people. Take a look Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. They have very high rates of gun violence and very lax gun laws. Compare those three states with the favorite punching bag of the gun humpers, Illinois. Very tough gun laws and lower rates of gun violence per 100,000 people. Look at New York, for pete's sake. It's the lightest color of red on the map!

Third, it gives gun safety advocates a path forward for each of their states. With the current make up of the federal government being run by cowards, the state governments are where the battle should be fought. Look at how much success we have seen so far.

Fourth, this article is free of emotion about guns. It's just the facts. The good thing about facts is that they are true whether you believe them or not.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Archie Bunker on Gun Control

The above was 45 years ago and supposed to be a parody. Look at what's happened today...

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Guns + Classroom=Epic Fail

Former marine Anthony Swofford wrote an excellent piece on why having firearms in classrooms is really bad idea. Here are some highlights.

The military issue M-16 is the model for the AR-15 assault rifle that the accused shooter used to kill 17 people this month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The shooter bought the weapon lawfully. He received zero hours of mandated training. There is no reason that any civilian, of any age, should possess this rifle.

Yep. Based on the response to this shooting, I think the AR-15s days are numbered. In fact, I think anything beyond a single shot rifle/shotgun and a handgun aren't going to be in civilians hands much longer. If there is one more school shooting between now and the time they try to pass some kind of legislation, they are toast. The people that support them are going to be voted out of office.

This is absurd. More likely, had Mr. Feis been armed, he would not have been able to draw his weapon (a side arm, presumably) quickly enough to stop the shooter, who with an AR-15 would have had the coach outgunned. Even if the coach had been able to draw his weapon — from where? his athletic shorts? — any shots he managed to fire would have risked being errant, possibly injuring or killing additional students. As some studies have shown, even police officers have missed their targets more than 50 percent of the time. In firing a weapon, Mr. Feis would have only added to the carnage and confusion.

I have to wonder what goes through the head of a gun humper when they read this. Here's a guy who was trained with all sorts of weapons speaking the cold and logical truth. A handgun is no match for an AR 15. According to The Shooter's Log, "a properly configured AR-15 is easily capable of good performance at 500+ yards. Good performance means it can hit a 1-foot-square target all the time." Yet, most handguns average out at effective ranges of around 100 yards or less. So, do we arm all teachers with AR 15s?

Here is something I didn’t think about: I did not think about arming myself to protect my students. President Trump on Thursday specified that he wants only certain teachers — “highly adept people, people that understand weaponry” — to be armed. I will immodestly state that among professors in the United States, I am almost certainly one of the best shooters. But I would never bring a weapon into a classroom. The presence of a firearm is always an invitation to violence. Weapons have no place in a learning environment.

No, they do not.

But it's important to note that this debate is a purposeful distraction. The gun humpers are trying to shift the responsibility away from themselves and into a silly argument that will drive their opponents nuts. The focus should stay on voter registration, calling lawmakers out who support the NRA, and finding people to replace them who will change our gun laws forever.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Comparing Maps

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Obvious Cowardice of Gun Humpers

Every gun humper with a whole bunch of firearms and a dream of being Jack Bauer will tell you that he can save the day should the need arise in a school shooting. President Trump himself has been touting arming schools since the the Florida shooting. Yet I have to wonder if these gun rights folks would actually jump in and save the day or would they just run?

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had an SRO (Security Resource Officer) so there was a good guy with a gun on site. Today, he resigned because he never went into the building. SRO's are police officers that are supposed to take bad guys out. He didn't. This was someone who was trained to do this shit and he failed. Do the gun humpers actually expect me to believe that they are going to rush in and save the day where the cops failed?

I don't believe it for a minute. The first thing they would do is likely shit their pants because the only thing they have the courage to do is troll gun grabbers on the internet from the parent's basement. They've never been trained nor do they have the training to take out a live shooter. Playing Call of Duty doesn't count, by the way.

So, yeah...I think they would just run. They wouldn't save anyone but themselves.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Children Continue To Speak

The Children Continue To Speak

Donald Trump's tweet about the Florida shooting has garnered many comments from students who were actually at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Here's my favorite.

“I don’t want your condolences you fucking price of shit, my friends and teachers were shot,” she tweeted. “Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from happening again.”

I'll extend Sara's fucking piece of shit comment to all the gun rights activists in the United States along with this promise. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that YOU are held responsible for the deaths of every single person who has died in a school shooting.

If I were in charge, you'd be at Gitmo right now and you'd never see the light of day again.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Thoughts and Prayers

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

A Decline in Accidental Gun Deaths

A recent report from the CDC shows that gun deaths in 2015, the most recent year for which they are available, numbered a little more than half of what they were in 1999. In 2015, there were 489 gun deaths from accident whereas in 1999 there were 824 gun deaths from accident.

Experts attribute the decline to a mix of gun safety education programs, state laws regulating gun storage in homes and a drop in the number of households that have guns. While the improvement occurred in every state, those with the most guns and the fewest laws continue to have the most accidental shooting deaths. This is true of overall deaths by firearms.

It's most interesting to note that Illinois has a lower rate of gun violence then does then all of the the southern states where gun laws are very loose. California, as well as my home state of Minnesota, are among the lowest. The Gun Cult tends to focus on the raw number of deaths never taking into account the size of population. Size (ahem) matters because you have to take into account the number of people in an area and compare that to the number of deaths.

Of course, the Gun Cult would never admit that the states with the loosest gun laws have the higher rates of gun violence. That would completely destroy their "gun free zone" myth. It can't possibly be that states like Alaska, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Mississippi have a greater rate of gun violence.

Say it ain't so!