Archive for category Gun Control
It’s always there, the lack of empathy on the part of right-wing extremists. We all remember the GOP presidential debate audience that cheered for letting people die without health insurance. More recently, we’ve seen an eruption of fear and hatred on the right directed at children fleeing the violence in some Central American countries.
Today we have the story of a California man who came home and discovered two burglars in his house.
“The lady, she couldn’t run as fast as the man, so I shot her in the back twice,” Greer explained. “She’s dead, but he got away.”
“She says, ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m pregnant! I’m going to have a baby!’ And I shot her anyway,” Greer said.
John Amato attempted to explain the “vile behavior” of wingers as an effort to emulate their heroes, the rich:
The thing about right-wing populism is that it’s manifestly self-defeating: those who stand to primarily benefit from this ideology are the wealthy, which is why they so willingly underwrite it. It might, in fact, more accurately be called “sucker populism.”
The 1 Percent want to keep us afraid, desperate, and divided by ignorance and prejudice. Otherwise, Americans might decide to blame Wall Street for crashing our economy. We might demand an end to pointless wars, or want to get rid of tax laws that are unfair to the middle class. We might realize that government health insurance is the best kind. Who knows, we might even want other good things from government such as infrastructure improvements, Internet access, cheap renewable energy programs…
California 80-year-old satisfied after gunning down fleeing pregnant home intruder
Hey, gun nuts: Shooting someone who is running away in the back is not self-defense
Fox hosts outraged that Texas 911 operators are ‘forced’ to help dying non-English speakers
Tea Party town hall erupts as Texas state Rep urges ‘compassion’ for migrant kids
“The Utah Shooting Sports Council is offering a free class Friday to qualified educators who want to carry concealed firearms in schools.
“The class is open not only to teachers but also all other staff that work in schools,” said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the council. “Because of the popularity last year, we wanted to offer it again.” SLTrib article
March 2013: I wrote a detailed character sketch when his loaded assault rifle gun was first taken from his car (not far from my house).
May 2013: Clark was arrested and jailed for driving a 2-ton army truck to his ex-wife’s house in Cottonwood Heights and making threats to one of the people who lived there. A few days later, the Judge confiscated his guns.
Via Think Progress:
The largest study of gun violence in the United States, released Thursday afternoon, confirms a point that should be obvious: widespread American gun ownership is fueling America’s gun violence epidemic.
The study, by Professor Michael Siegel at Boston University and two coauthors, has been peer-reviewed and is forthcoming in the American Journal of Public Health. Siegel and his colleagues compiled data on firearm homicides from all 50 states from 1981-2010, the longest stretch of time ever studied in this fashion, and set about seeing whether they could find any relationship between changes in gun ownership and murder using guns over time.
…The conclusion: “for each 1 percentage point increase in proportion of household gun ownership,” Siegel et al. found, “firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9″ percent.
Remember that previous studies have already established that rates of gun ownership are strongly correlated with gun deaths (including accidents, suicides, and homicides).
The three states with the highest rate of gun ownership (MT, AK, WY) have a gun death rate of 17.8 per 100,000, over 4 times that of the three lowest-ownership states (HI, NJ, MA; 4.0 gun deaths per 100,000).
Scientific studies have consistently found that places with more guns have more violent deaths, both homicides and suicides. Women and children are more likely to die if there’s a gun in the house. The more guns in an area, the higher the local suicide rates. “Generally, if you live in a civilized society, more guns mean more death,” said David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. “There is no evidence that having more guns reduces crime. None at all.”
Going back to the done to death argument over George Zimmerman, it should be noted that there are some things that are completely overlooked in this case. One major thing is his behavior. He was first off a Neighborhood watch captain. Secondly, he decided to confront someone who he thought was dangerous. If that wasn’t enough, four days after Zimmerman was acquitted, he “rescued” a family from a car accident. If this country wasn’t this polarized, this should have alarmed everyone because this behavior strongly correlates with Hero Syndrome. Hero Syndrome is a behavioral pattern where a person wants to be recognized and appraised for heroic deeds and these people are known to look for trouble and even cause trouble to be the hero of the situation. Even the FBI has stated that Zimmerman has this.
This is important because this raises a question. Why was he able to own a gun in the first place? You are telling me that he has a personality problem where he actively seeks trouble and can even create trouble for others just so he can be a hero and yet he can own a gun? In about ever mass shooting in the US, the underlying factor has always been mental disorders. Yet most of these killers have been legally capable of obtaining a gun even when psychologists have diagnosed them as dangerous to themselves and others. Why is psychology not being addressed?
I haven’t been following it, but I’ve heard the Zimmerman trial has been all over the cable networks, which I canceled years ago when my local outlet decided I needed to get a box in order to get a C-Span channel I already had.
Maybe somebody can tell me, but did the “American Legislative Exchange Council” come up in the trial or on the cable coverage?
Was Zimmerman emboldened to shoot his gun due to legislation passed in multiple states, due to secretive ALEC legislation?
As an American, I believe these are questions that need to be asked.
You don’t need to depend on me. You can get your information from one of the best journalists left in America:
Update: I’ve had a request to provide the transcript to the Bill Moyers program. You can find it here.
Update May 28, 2013: Utah gun rights advocate Clark Aposhian arrested
March 29, 2013
Clark muttered under his breath when he discovered his ‘baby’ had been stolen out of the the back seat of his car as it sat parked in front of his house. He walked back toward his open garage.
For the first time in his life, Clark knew the meaning of pants-around-ankles. He shuttered to think about his next move. ‘Do I call the police,’ Clark thought to himself, ‘how will I face my gun safety students…or do I keep quiet and hope no one notices?’
“Shoot, shoot, SHOOT” he said, out loud this time.
Ever since the accident at the gun range, saying ‘shoot’ three times in a row always got Clark’s adrenaline going. This time was no different. Clark’s instincts kicked in. With the deftness of an eagle in flight, Clark swept the Glock out of his waistband cocking it with his arms outstretched above his head. Widening his stance, Clark slowly lowered the gun to eye level and squinted as if transfixed on an imaginary enemy. Clark was a huge Clint Eastwood fan. He had perfected the “Clint squint” by first grade.
Seeing no immediate threat on the bucolic street at the end of his driveway, Clark spun around, crouched, and with both hands, aimed his gun toward the garage door.
“Don’t fuck with me,” Clark warned out loud as he crept back through the empty garage into his empty house, hoping none of the neighbors had noticed.
A tingle ran up his spine. His mind raced back to his childhood and the endless days playing Cops and Robbers with his best friend Lil’ Clyde.
“Damned, those were the days” Clark said to himself as he straightened out and placed the Glock back in his pants. Stepping into the serenity of his empty kitchen, his mind went blank as it often did, without notice.
Unable to remember what he had come into the house for, Clark went over to his old vinyl record player and put on his favorite ZZ Top album and began doing air guitar. As he arched his back, he felt the barrel of the Glock press into his flesh.
“Shoot” Clark said out loud, remembering the was a bullet in the chamber. Then Clark remembered why he had come back into the house.
By now everyone has heard about this story. It highlights a couple of things.
1. Even the most responsible gun owners cannot protect us from the unintended consequences of gun ownership.
2. Refer to #1.
Personally, I’d like to know why Clark had a thermal-imaging scope attached to his rifle. As a lobbyist for the gun industry, I imagine Clark Aposhian has plenty of exotic freebies kicking around his house. But why was it actually ON THE GUN? What the fuck? Is there a new shooting sport we should know about?
Don’t miss the Wonkette’s satirical reflection on Clark’s big ooops: “Utah Gun Lobbyist’s AR-15 Stolen Because SUV Couldn’t Defend Itself“
Map of former USA from NBC’s “Revolution”
The most recent national survey of registered voters from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind finds that attitudes regarding the perceived likelihood of an armed revolution to protect liberties are influencing the debate over gun safety legislation.
Supporters and opponents of gun control have very different fundamental beliefs about the role of guns in American society. Overall, the poll finds that 29 percent of Americans think that an armed revolution in order to protect liberties might be necessary in the next few years, with another five percent unsure. However, these beliefs are conditional on party. Just 18 percent of Democrats think an armed revolution may be necessary, as opposed to 44 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of independents.
Only 38 percent of Americans who believe a revolution might be necessary support additional gun control legislation, compared with 62 percent of those who don’t think an armed revolt will be needed. “The differences in views of gun legislation are really a function of differences in what people believe guns are for,” said Cassino. “If you truly believe an armed revolution is possible in the near future, you need weapons and you’re going to be wary about government efforts to take them away.”
This is one poll that I hope is wrong. Almost a third of Americans believe a bloody revolution is coming soon to our country? Nearly half of Republicans believe it?
Many adults don’t understand that guns are not toys. They are deadly weapons. Until this week, I was blissfully unaware that the Gun Lobby is peddling .22 caliber rifles for kids as young as 4 and 5. These weapons were prominently featured at the NRA annual convention just after another accidental shooting tragedy.
On Tuesday, a five-year-old Kentucky boy accidentally shot and killed his two-year-old sister with a gun he’d been given as a birthday present. The weapon, a small rifle, was manufactured specifically for children’s use.
In one week alone last month, four people were shot by toddlers.
I ran across a comment by the philosopher Jeff McMahan on gun control recently, and I have been thinking about it for the past few weeks. I should probably do some research and see where he was going with it, but I haven’t had time. Instead, this is a bit of thought that has been going on in the background since I heard him. He said (roughly, I heard it, and as I said I haven’t had a chance to look it up) that generally philosophers don’t bother to discuss gun control as philosophy, because we assume that the weight of the facts alone will show that no rational person would support gun ownership. That gave me pause for two reasons: first, he is right, I assume that the facts are enough to show that owning guns is generally a bad idea, and second, that it may be a huge moral mistake for the simple reason that while gun ownership seems like a private matter, it clearly isn’t. As I mentioned, I don’t know where he was headed with the topic, but he is certainly implying that it is a mistake to pass up the opportunity to think philosophically about gun control.
So how exactly do we think about gun control in a philosophical manner? My first reaction is to simply break it down to its basic components and then look for assumptions and relationships. Read the rest of this entry »
I am about out of energy for this week. But I do have the smoking remains of an irony meter sitting in the corner crying to be heard. And a tiny little mangled… something. Something Confucius might have called Ren. Something I almost forgot about. Read the rest of this entry »
Tucson shooting survivor Patricia Maisch spoke for 90 percent of Americans today. After the Republicans stopped a weak firearm background check bill with a silent filibuster that required a 60-vote super-majority, she called out “Shame on you!” from the Senate gallery. The bill failed despite the support of 54 senators. Only four Republicans voted to break the filibuster (Utah senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee voted to kill the bill).
President Obama commented on the absurdity of this vote:
I’m going to speak plainly and honestly about what’s happened here because the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen. We had a Democrat and a Republican -– both gun owners, both fierce defenders of our Second Amendment, with “A” grades from the NRA — come together and worked together to write a common-sense compromise on background checks. And I want to thank Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for their courage in doing that. That was not easy given their traditional strong support for Second Amendment rights.
As they said, nobody could honestly claim that the package they put together infringed on our Second Amendment rights. All it did was extend the same background check rules that already apply to guns purchased from a dealer to guns purchased at gun shows or over the Internet.
Broadcast and cable networks interrupted regular programming to bring viewers Obama’s remarks, except for the Faux News Channel.
Four Democratic senators voted against the baby-step background check bill, but the filibuster was 100 percent Republican – so they get the blame. Must be used to wearing the black hats by now, anyway.
Gabrielle Giffords: A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip
I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear…
UPDATE: Gun Violence Victims Detained, Put Through Background Check For Yelling ‘Shame On You’ At Senators. Imagine that, a background check.