Whenever the country suffers from a mass shooting, in other words – every few weeks, we hear a familiar line from the minority of Americans who oppose stricter gun laws. My “freedom” is more important than your right to live.
If my freedom to own an arsenal of deadly weapons with no insurance requirement, qualifications, or tracking is vital to the preservation of liberty, then why stop with assault rifles? What right does my government have to block my access to landmines?
From a prior post:
Would landmines pose a threat to neighborhood kids, dogs, and postal workers? Maybe, but what price are you going to place on my liberty? What ever happened to individual responsibility?
Sure, some kid might miss the skull & crossbones markers I place next to the sidewalk. They might drift into the wrong spot in pursuit of a stray Frisbee and lose a leg. It happens. Freedom isn’t free. How is that different from the school kids, movie-goers, cops and church members regularly gunned down by super-armed psychos using guns? That’s right, there is no difference.
If Americans didn’t possess nearly half the world’s total inventory of guns in private hands it would be harder for the occasional lunatic get his hands on a weapon and mow down a Bible study group. So what? We need those weapons to protect our liberty from the gangs of roaming thugs who want to oppress us. And from Obama.
The rest is here. When these events stop happening so close together I’ll stop re-posting the same pieces.
Look, I really, really like guns. I learned to shoot in my back yard in East Texas. My kids learned to shoot there too. Guns were an everyday part of life. And in my opinion, they still should be.
We have allowed our enthusiasm for guns to bleed over into our deep stores of racial paranoia, creating a toxic and politically intolerable blend. Our refusal to embrace the simplest measures to limit the spread of firearms is building up a terrible backlash. In a previous post I described a proposal to require liability insurance as a condition for gun ownership. Believe me, if we continue down this path much longer, gun owners who once found that proposal appalling will look back on it as a lost opportunity.
More on potential, valuable legislation to impact gun violence from an unlikely side of the aisle. PA Republican Representative Tim Murphy, a seventh-term congressman and clinical psychologist of 40 years, has worked for several years on legislation on mental illness as a violence contributor. As a commander in the Navy Reserve, he still treats traumatized soldiers at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Who best to offer knowledgeable legislation and address that portion of gun violence that is related to mental illness?
One would think this would be a slam dunk, right? ” What’s at issue in these isolated cases is how to keep guns away from a very small number of profoundly sick individuals.” Appears too profoundly “on target” to get any support from his colleagues, however.
We need to get behind this legislation, HB2646. “Murphy’s sprawling bill would amend the existing federal privacy laws, so that in cases of serious mental illness (and only in those cases), a consulting doctor would have the ability to call the patient’s parent or caregiver and share information about medications and follow-up treatment.” The bill is comprehensive because he knows how the system works and how and what needs to be done within it to help people with mental illness and those who interact with them. Powerful.
I hate to break a discussion thread, but the topic of gun violence more appropriately belongs here.
The NYT has pointed out a gaping hole in preventing gun violence, which was one of the points listed by Every Town as needing to be changed.
“Consider… the federal law requiring licensed gun dealers to notify the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a single purchaser buys two or more handguns within five days. The A.T.F. knows that multiple purchases are an indicator of trafficking, and that traffickers can evade the law by making a single purchase from five, 10 or 20 different gun stores. So why doesn’t the A.T.F. crosscheck those purchases? Because Congress, under pressure from the N.R.A., prevents the federal government from keeping a centralized database that could instantly identify multiple sales. Gun sale records are instead inconveniently “archived” by the nation’s gun dealers at 60,000 separate locations — the stores or residences of the nation’s federally licensed gun dealers, with no requirement for digital records.”
You think maybe some of these young men might have been identified if cross-checking of multiple gun purchases were not legally forbidden?
Or, the neutering of the ATF through staff and budget reductions as well as severely limited authority? The very agency within government which has an official duty regarding gun violence?
“Today’s A.T.F. operates with about the same number of agents as it did 40 years ago, fewer than the number of officers in the Washington, D.C., police force, yet it is charged with investigating violations of federal gun, arson, explosive and other laws nationwide.”
I have to admit, the more I read and study this issue, the more I am convinced that the NRA is a major part of the problem. And, that is especially sad as they could do so much to help.
I too, have a problem going off topic in the next blog entry.
On the NRA, a couple excerpts from their site.
“A related provision now permanently prohibits the creation of a gun registry from gun dealer records that are surrendered to the government when a dealer goes out of business.”
“The bill also prohibits any regulation mandating annual physical inventories by ffls, a laborious and time-consuming process that’s generally unnecessary because of the detailed acquisition and disposition records that dealers must maintain.”
Please go to that page and read. There are several permanent changes in the law that the NRA takes pride in announcing. Several that turn my stomach by the way.
The NRA borders on being a criminal organization, in my mind.
The NRA is becoming arrogant in their successful efforts to shut down any changes that they perceive as intruding on gun rights. Their day will come, and it can’t be soon enough for me. Everything they have blocked that could help prevent gun violence is another nail in their coffin. They have the potential for so much good yet are using their power and money to block meaningful progress.
An interesting (and sad) summary of how recent mass killers got their guns…It is significant to note how many bought their guns legally, which is a valid point raised by gun proponents. It also points out the fallacies in the background check process and linkage to mental health records.
Ah, the subject that just won’t go away……………………..linking religion and guns in TN
“Doug, that analysis is hopelessly obtuse. You know enough about weapons to recognize how ridiculous that statement is.
I have handled my grandfather’s .22. I have handled my friend’s custom AK. That AK was a very special experience (not full auto, obviously).”
Did your grandfather (or great grandfather) happen to have a Winchester 1907? Magazine fed, fires a bullet about three times the size of the AR bullet as fast as you can pull the trigger. It was first produced one hundred and eight years ago. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_WIkQgJnUQ
Or how about a Winchester 1892? 123 years old, and people still use ’em. Much less scary looking than an AK but it holds 15 rounds and you don’t even have to drop a mag to reload. Try this experiment: Buy or borrow a ’92 and a pocket full of ammo. Get 25-30 watermelons, paint them up with frightened faces, and line them up on the ground. Or stack them in the corner of an old barn and pretend it’s a school. Start shooting. After you pop two or three melons and have the others sufficiently cowed, you’ll have plenty of time to jam a few rounds through the gate between shots. I bet with a half hour of practice and you could take them all out in a minute or two.
“It takes a lot of skill to kill somebody with a .22 rifle, even if it’s a semi. It takes enormous skill to kill somebody with a .22 pistol. It takes even more skill to kill multiple people that way.”
It doesn’t when you have a roomful of cowering, unarmed people and you have them stand up one by one for their bullet to the head. A .22 pistol would be the perfect weapon. Ammo is much lighter and there is less noise to alert those annoying cops.
“An AR or an AK, both of which can be purchased legally, is a fine little killing machine. Great for wild pigs. Perfect for a crowd.
Yes, we have a people problem. My friend, you are part of that problem.”
No, the problem is people like you wasting time and resources focusing on scary looking guns and these one-off nutballs that represent 1% of the murders. All rifles and shotguns combined are less than 3%. So get rid of them all and where are you? It makes no sense. You’d be much more productive focusing on the 2-3% of the demographic in this country that is responsible for 50% of the murders (and, by the way, murder victims).
Lots of people could capably handle an rpg or full-auto 50 cal. I bet if there were millions of them floating around in general commerce, we would run into some problems, particularly around our airports.
You’re talking about individuals. I’m talking about aggregates. The reason I’m talking about aggregates is because that reflects the reality.
By the way. The exercise with the watermelons sounds like a hell of a lot of fun. We used to do something similar with fish. We’d go down to the retention pond and lay bets on whether the fisherman could get his catch to the bank before it was vaporized by the shooters on the bank.
Not responsible gun ownership for sure, but it was interesting.
Not for the fish…….
Interesting development in the case of the Oregon suspect…
From New York Times (about the mother of the shooter):
“Laurel Harper, who divorced her husband a decade ago, appears to have been by far the most significant figure in her son’s troubled life; neighbors say he rarely left their apartment. Unlike his father, who said on television that he had no idea Mr. Harper-Mercer cared so deeply about guns, his mother was well aware of his fascination. In fact, she shared it: In a series of online postings over a decade, Ms. Harper, a nurse, said she kept numerous firearms in her home and expressed pride in her knowledge about them, as well as in her son’s expertise on the subject.
She also opened up about her difficulties raising a son who used to bang his head against the wall, and said that both she and her son struggled with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. She tried to counsel others whose children faced similar problems.”
“When a downstairs neighbor of Laurel Harper learned there was a gunman on the loose at Umpqua Community College here, he ran up to tell her, knowing that her son, Christopher Harper-Mercer, was a student there. Like other parents, Ms. Harper started to set out in a desperate search, fearing her son could be hurt.
But as she was leaving, the sheriff and his deputies intercepted her and broke the news that her son was the gunman.”
Not to sound too obsessed with the details on this story, but wasn’t it suspected that Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook massacre) had Asperger’s syndrome (or at least something on the autism spectrum). Adam Lanza also had a father who wasn’t part of his life for years and had divorced his mother. Lanza also lived with his mother in a similarly isolated situation. And lastly Adam Lanza’s mother also took him to the firing range and had a significant collection of firearms that Adam Lanza would probably have little hope of acquiring by himself.
If I didn’t know any better these similarities are collectively very similar to the circumstances of the horrendous Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Similar like a Xerox copy.
Is anyone learning from that episode and the life of Adam Lanza to prevent horrors like this in future? I feel I should repost an earlier comment I made on this subject.
“If you are a parent and have a child with severe mental health issues, “bonding” with such a person on the firing range with high powered semi-automatic weapons is perhaps not a great idea.” -Sir Magpie De Crow
Absolutely, Sir Magpie. It is so obvious that it shouldn’t even have to be stated. So sad.
Another point you made is the similarity of the profiles of several of these young men. IF Congress would authorize the ATF ,law enforcement agencies, and mental health authorities to coordinate information, how many potential lives could be saved? It is unconscionable that a process that is known to be effective is not allowed to function because of politics. If you read the link I posted on EveryTown, it was quite easy to see who continually works against measures that will work to address gun violence. The NRA has actively, knowingly chosen this adversarial role and their efforts are resulting in the death of many innocent people due to gun violence. One day, they will get their due reward.
Just when I think I’ve heard it all… Ben Carson totally destroys that somewhat naive notion and says something that I would hope an educated person would never say.
Behold, the logic of Ben Carson.
From Politico “Carson slams Obama for Oregon visit with shooting victims’ families”
If any of you think Wordsmith Ben Carson (a famed retired neurosurgeon no less) would be able to show a modicum of compassion and sophistication towards the mentally ill and the instances of mentally illness being a central feature of mass shootings… Well, I have a big non-suprise for you!
More sterling commentary from the GOP’s number 2 ranking 2016 presidential contender.
Carson: Gun Control Won’t Work on the Crazies
Another soon to be classic quote from Ben “Truthsayer” Carson that maybe should be used as his campaign slogan when he visits South Carolina for their big upcoming primary.
Carson said he “never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away”.
Timothy McVeigh, Patrick Henry, Barry Goldwater, George Wallace and John Wilkes Booth… You just got served!
Maybe he needs to pick up and read a copy of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and revisit the section on what makes a person a textbook example of a psychopath.
He might find the experience revelatory.
You do realize, that if you are Republican and have nothing substantive to say, that you always are a winner when you bash Obama- Can’t go wrong. I guess when a nice guy who’s been in the limelight for many years, finally retires, he has to find another way to stroke his ego. What better venue than politics. What difference does it matter if he knows nothing about being President – today, that’s a qualification in Republican circles!
More interesting info about the circumstances of the Oregon Shooter/and his mother (plus my own observations)…
Article excerpts courtesy of Salon.com:
“According to multiple reports, the shooter’s mother boasted online about her arsenal and feared that gun ownership would soon be restricted.”
“When the mood strikes,” Harper reportedly wrote on Facebook, “I sling an AR, Tek-9 or AK over my shoulder, or holster a Glock 21 (not 22), or one of my other handguns, like the Sig Sauer P226, and walk out the door.” Shotguns, she said, “are a little too cumbersome to open carry.”
“According to officials, the Harper family moved from Torrance, California to Winchester, Oregon, in 2013. “I moved from So. Calif. to Oregon, from Southern Crime-a-mania to open carry,” Harper noted in that same Facebook post advocating for open carry laws.”
“She said she had multiple guns and believed wholeheartedly in the Second Amendment and wanted to get all the guns she could before someone outlawed them,” Shelly Steele told the New York Daily News. Steele hired Harper to provide care for her sickly teenage son and said that Harper enjoyed talking to her husband, an avid hunter and former member of the military, about taking her son to shooting ranges.”
“Steele said that Harper complained to her husband that the shooting range nearest their home “wasn’t very private.”
“You needed to have a range master with you, and she didn’t like anyone watching,” Stelle explained, “she wanted more privacy.”
“She told my husband she just purchased some new guns a few weeks ago and took him shooting. I thought the whole situation was very strange. If you know your son has mental health issues, do you encourage a fascination with guns?”
My thoughts exactly.
Why did she want so much privacy for herself and her son at a gun range? Was she afraid someone (like a range master) would observe something in the behavior of her child that would give them pause? Remember how I posted info on how the shooter attempted to enroll at a firearms academy but his application was rejected by the schools head instructor and president. Was his mother afraid a similar situation would re-occur at a less private gun range?
What was the reason for the Oregon shooter’s rejection at that firearms academy? What were the reasons for his dismissal from that boot camp when he tried to join the military? What did any of his fellow recruits/instructors think of him (if they even remember) when they trained with him for five to six weeks?
There are a lot of clues left by him indicating he was resolutely unfit to have access to guns/weapons, but the problem is that his mental health providers, the people he encountered who were involved with guns and even the fractured nature of his family (parents divorced and had opposing views on guns) didn’t seem to communicate with each other in any meaningful way.
That has to change. I may be one of the few people here who wish to explore this case further but I really think by examining this case we can maybe advance the debate on how to stop mass shootings. This case clearly shows it is a multifaceted issue… more complex than simplistic (or asinine) comments like “gun laws don’t stop the crazies”.
The more I look into the actions of the mother it makes me want to probe deeper. Her breathtakingly bad decisions truly deserve more in-depth analysis. I am afraid that she, like Adam Lanza’s mother, did not appreciate she was training a mass murderer with weapons they he had no business in acquiring.
But here is the rub.
Both Adam Lanza mother and the Oregon Shooter mother were both individuals who could acquire many weapons legally but both appear to have been deluded/unaware as to how badly their children were marching towards complete psychosis.
And even though both the Sandy Hook killer and the Oregon shooter had mental health backgrounds that one would think would preclude their access to guns, if that information is not passed on to the federal/state databases of people who are barred from owning guns (like with the Virginia Tech shooter) we will have little hope of preventing other young men from committing similar atrocities.
Here is an interesting article that explores the subject from New York Times:
I would hope that there is a real opportunity for experts/investigators will have a chance to debrief the Oregon shooter’s mother fully about her close relationship with her son to perhaps better understand the origins of this tragedy, but given her potential legal exposure (both criminal and civil) she currently maybe advised to stay quiet. This opportunity sadly does not exist with Adam Lanza’s mother because she was his first victim.
Unfortunately, I think the Oregon shooter’s mother is finding out now that embracing the cold steel of her many weapons provides less warmth than when she hugged her son when he was still alive. I think people should really meditate on that.
Photoshop… oh how I love you.
To 1mine, who said:
(I’m going to have to develop an acronym for you….(-:….thinking on it. How about Crow?
Ok. How about Cautious Rationality and Opinionated Wisdom. C.R.O.W.
I think it sounds perfectly ridiculous. You can go with that if you like : )
I think it’s kinda fun if you let me leave out the periods (-: too much work!
You know, Ben Carson once referred to Barack Obama being a psychopath. But now Carson is critical of Obama’s intent on visiting (and likely attempt to console) the families of the deceased victims of the Oregon mass shooting.
Maybe there is a psychopath on the prowl in American politics.
In this instance, I don’t think it is Obama. You all can read between the lines of that statement if you like.
Here is some interesting numbers to contemplate/discuss.
Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech Shooting 2007) killed 32 people and himself. Total dead: 33
James Eagan Holmes (Aurora Theatre Shooting 2012) killed 12 people. Apprehended alive. Total dead: 12
Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting 2012) killed 27 people and himself. Total dead: 28
Aaron Alexis (Washington Navy Yard Shooting 2013) killed 12 people, was later killed by police in shootout. Total dead 13
Dylann Storm Roof (Charleston Church Shooting 2015) killed 9 people. Apprehended alive. Total dead 9
Special note: dozens (if not hundreds) of other people seriously injured or psychologically traumatized during the course of these incidents.
Total dead from these 5 incidents perpetrated by 5 individuals (all with confirmed or suspected mental health issues) who were able to acquire guns legally:
… in less than ten years.
One last point: Because some of the victims suffered profoundly serious physical injuries there is always the possibility that some may succumb to the aftermath of the shootings even years later. Example: James Brady’s death was later ruled homicide 33 years after being shot.
So hypothetically the death toll from these incidents could potentially rise.
A really good opinion piece on Ben Carson and the topic of guns that is on Washington Post.com. A lot of what was said has I feel strong validity and echoes some of the comments already made by Chris Ladd (and others).
Here are some of my favorite parts from the piece:
“I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning. “I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’” …
“As a Doctor, I spent many a night pulling bullets out of bodies,” he wrote. “There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking – but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”
Paul Waldman (columnist):
“Let’s take these one at a time. Was it unspeakably insulting to the victims of the Oregon shooting and their families to suggest that they were killed or injured because they didn’t have the physical courage and quick thinking that a hero like Carson would have displayed had he been in their shoes? Of course. And is it an absurd fantasy that in the instant he was confronted by a gunman, Carson would in the space of seconds organize a bunch of terrified strangers to mount an assault on someone ready to kill them? You bet it is.”
“But this fantasy is nothing unusual at all. In fact, it lies at the heart of much of the efforts Republicans have made at the behest of the National Rifle Association in recent years to change state laws on guns. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” says the NRA, and Republicans believe it, too.”
“Think for a moment about how we reorganized our government, our airline industry and entire swaths of our society, spending hundreds of billions of dollars, creating a new apparatus of surveillance, all because nearly 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. We didn’t like spending all that money, creating all that fear, compromising our privacy and constitutional principles and making everybody take off their shoes at the airport, but it was a price we had to pay because of those 3,000 deaths, right?”
“It takes about a month — every month, month after month — for that many Americans to be killed with guns. Just imagine how we would have reacted to an attack 10 or 11 times the scale of 9/11, which is but a single year of the death toll guns place on our country. In 2013, the latest year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data, 11,208 Americans were murdered with guns, and 505 Americans died due to accidental firearm discharge. Another 21,175 Americans killed themselves with guns (having a gun in the home dramatically increases one’s risk of suicide), for a total of 32,888 gun deaths.”
Another good article on the aftermath of the Oregon Mass shooting, this time from CNN.
“Is it right to hold Oregon shooter’s mother responsible?” by Peggy Drexler
While Harper-Mercer’s mother may not be legally liable, in my view, she is morally liable for encouraging a son who she knew had many problems over many years, in activities involving guns. She will have to live with herself for her choices in this regard; the families of those murdered by her son will have to live with their loss of innocent children and friends.
You may a point on the moral culpability of Laurel Harper in regards to her son’s actions. Here is some more excerpts from an article on the LA Times website.
“In her online postings, Laurel Harper talked about her love of guns and her son’s emotional troubles, but there are no hints of worry that he could become violent, the wire service reported.”
“I keep two full mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags. No one will be ‘dropping’ by my house uninvited without acknowledgment,” according to a three-year-old posting on the Web.”
“She was referring to a Glock handgun and to military-style rifles. A Glock and a military-style rifle were among the weapons seized after the Roseburg shooting rampage.”
“Laurel Harper wrote in another posting: “I love the long guns & I have an AK-47 en route.” She complained about gun-control efforts in “lame states.”
I wonder… how many of her would be allies in the fight against gun control would speak now on her behalf? How much sympathy/and condolences does anyone think they have directed towards her for her obvious commitment to the Second Amendment cause?
I am guessing their words of support today would sound like a small chorus of crickets.
And, you would be very surprised, Sir Magpie. People who are immersed in second amendment rights are not swayed by things we find obvious. (I’m going to have to develop an acronym for you….(-:….thinking on it. How about Crow?
I couldn’t pass on posting this article on the post entitled “Don’t Tread on Me”. It seemed so apropos. Let us hope this man not only doesn’t advance as the GOP nominee, but that he is not returned to the US Senate from TX.
Yet another Signs Save Lives fail. Honestly, it’s simply mind boggling.
I don’t really have a problem with an organization or business stripping me of my natural right to self-defense whilst on their premises, so long as said entity is willing to assume responsibility for my personal safety, and take that responsibility *SERIOUSLY*.
In the case of Umpqua Community College, apparently that responsibility wasn’t taken seriously. There was: a) No armed security presence on campus, b) no secure access control to campus, and c) a public policy *advertising* the campus as a gun free zone. These factors constitute an attractive nuisance for violent nutballs. Were I the parent of one of the slain, I’d be filing a wrongful death suit *against the college* for failing to maintain reasonable and prudent security measures to protect the lives of students and faculty.
As a society, we can have all the gun free zones we want, so long as they are protected. What we can’t afford to have anymore is *unprotected* gun free zones. Our colleges, universities, movie theaters and the like face a really simple decision tree:
If you are going to designate a facility as a gun free zone, then:
a) Provide an armed security presence sufficient to counter any attack in force within a matter of seconds, and/or
b) Provide secure access with metal detectors to ensure that no weapons (of any sort) enter the facility.
If you are unwilling to bear the expense and responsibility of a) and/or b), then you might want to seriously consider the simplest solution of all:
c) Afford your law abiding patrons the right to defend themselves by whatever legal means are available, including the licensed carry of concealed handguns.
And for those who say we can’t afford a) or b), I call B.S. I attend high school football games in Cy-Fair and Katy ISD; armed security and secured access control with metal detectors are standard procedure.
On the other hand, I won’t patronize my local AMC theater, because while they post a 30.06 sign, they refuse to provide armed security of any sort, nor do they enforce secured access with metal detectors. Apparently they don’t think the lives of their customers are worth the effort. Well, screw ’em. That’s why God gave us NetFlix and microwave popcorn.
I’m up for Netflix and popcorn (-:
People are noticing that America has a gun violence problem. From Australia:
I had a bowl of borscht with my last movie. Crazy, but true. I guess no one’s coming to my house on movie night. 🙂
Borscht. Ew. I’m a Icee, Whoppers and Milk Duds man; no disrespect to my distaff ancestors intended. 😉
Well, 1mime, if those visiting Aussies boycott AMC Theaters, it’ll be a win-win. 😉
I luv, luv, Milk Duds…..I’ll have to add them to my Netflix and popcorn (-: A jillion calories later….
The good folks from Down Under are just trying to get our attention….You do know that Australia was founded as a penal colony, so expect they know a thing or two about guns….
Tracy, I must confess that my husband is not a borscht kind of guy either. He has a way of disappearing on the nights borscht is on the menu. He’ll get it into his head to take his motorcycle out for a ride and he’ll come home not hungry and smelling of burritos.
Looks like this week’s mass scheduled shooting got stopped:
Teenagers get a lot of criticism for not speaking out. Gratefully, some did in this case. Still, why? What motivated these high school students to plot something as awful as this would have been?
Well, Mr Lifer, Here you go.
Firearm Risk Protection Act of 2015
Carolyn Maloney has been a force on gun violence. Sadly, I don’t think any of her bills have advanced.
Mime – I assume no gun laws will move until more congressional members see that it’s safe politically to vote for them. But it’s a start.
By the way, I found that link in an article by Nicholas Kristof in NYT. In the same piece there’s a link to an excellent article on suicide. Definitely worth a read.
Unarmed, this announcement just appeared in my email and It is so positive. Recently, a bi-partisan committee achieved a major success in criminal justice reform. One of the first outgrowths of this legislation (which TX Sen. John Cornyn was involved with – good for him) and Sen. Grassley as chairman spearheaded, is the release from prison of thousands of prisoners who had been convicted for minor offenses. I am so proud of these senators for working together to do something so positive in this troubled area. Here’s a little info and the link.
Fifty, I hope you are following as I know you will be interested and supportive of this major step forward for justice.
“The panel estimated that its change in sentencing guidelines eventually could result in 46,000 of the nation’s approximately 100,000 drug offenders in federal prison qualifying for early release. The 6,000 figure, which has not been reported previously, is the first tranche in that process.”
I challenge each of you to take the time to read through the wiki link on gun violence that I posted earlier and again below. I want you to notice how many thoughtful, good ideas and pieces of legislation have been proposed, adopted, and defeated over many years. I want you to notice who is blocking progress at every turn. Then I want to ask you to act on your frustration and concern. I have already mailed copies of the letter from the OR teacher to members of the TX Legislature, but maybe a better idea would be if we each summarized some of the ideas from the Wiki link that we find especially worthy, which have already been researched, vetted and jettisoned, and include them in a letter to your representatives in Congress.( Please include your own ideas.) This would be a valuable, important outreach by each of us. Please Do something.
We need to know how each Presidential candidate feels about actual specific proposals to address this problem. I emphatically do not accept “stuff happens”. I’m going to outline those that I think make sense and make a concerted effort to get them into the hands of those who are conducting the debates. These questions are relevant and we need to clearly hear from the candidates about what they will or won’t do to address the problem of gun violence in America.
Will you join me?
It’s the old “give an inch and they’ll take a mile” fear. Gun owners fervently believe this is a fundamental right given to Americans in the Constitution, the language of the second amendment to be debated at a later time. As such, they think that incremental laws will eventually lead to their guns being taken away altogether. Women are seeing this first-hand as piecemeal legislation has all but made abortion illegal in certain states.
The trick is to define how to balance the right to gun ownership with sensible regulation. And then put enforceable laws into place to get us there.
Undoubted an earlier version of this has been posted before, but the relevance remains:
This is most definitely the dark side of American exceptionalism. It’s a damn shame that we can’t have an adult public discussion about this, and that we can’t have our elected officials actually address this issue. This status quo ought to be 100% unacceptable to every sane person in this county, regardless of where one stands on the issue of the 2nd Amendment. We have this unique toxic mix: socio-economic issues coming to a head, demographic changes making a whole lot of people uncomfortable to raving paranoid, decades of making no real attempt to check proliferation of and easy access to guns, neglect of the issue of mental illness, and a lot of denial and rationalization about just why we need all those guns. As Rob mentioned, each atrocity lets out more rope, but we haven’t reached the end of the rope yet. Here’s wishing that none of you reading this become the next sacrifice towards this national madness.
“Our refusal to embrace the simplest measures to limit the spread of firearms is building up a terrible backlash. In a previous post I described a proposal to require liability insurance as a condition for gun ownership. Believe me, if we continue down this path much longer, gun owners who once found that proposal appalling will look back on it as a lost opportunity.”
It was said on this blog not so long ago that if Sandy Hook couldn’t budge the needle, there wasn’t much hope for a fix to this problem. At the time I thought it was horrid enough, that it would catalyze a change, but I completely underestimated how much the fanatics would dig in (Sandy Hook truthers???????? Seriously???? Have you people even an atom of decency???) and just how much certain members of Congress were beholden to them. But I think a tipping point is possible. Trouble is, it will have to be a massacre so horrible that it hurts to contemplate it even in the abstract. I’d rather see the right for responsible citizens to own guns remain. But this bunker mentality is why Chris’ prediction is very likely to come true.
How about the McCarthy hearings!!!! Out of the mouths of babes……So, let’s consider a wee little prediction. The hope” of having someone chosen as the Republican Speaker of the House who is “moderately conservative”, McCarthy, is actually not going to happen. Now, to prove he is more conservative than Chavetz, conservative enough to get the block of votes from the Freedom Caucus, and moderate enough to work across the aisle, McCarthy is going to have to bend…………more right. You see, that’s the way it works in the Republican caucus.
This means that regardless which of these men are selected, we are still looking at a much more conservative Speaker than we had in John Boehner, who is probably the only person still in Congress who has not a care in the world. He’s done. Stick a fork in it. Done.
McCarthy/Chavetz, they’re just getting started and remember, they have to “out-crazy” the hardest of the hard liners to just get the job, then, they have to govern?!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee! ”
I had never noted the wording significance in the last stanza. We have about 14 months to figure out what we want our nation to be. Not just for ourselves, but “for all eternity”.
Fly, I agree completely. I think there is a cumulative effect. I think there’s a limit ppl will take before they make it an important issue.
I think Sandy Hook ate up a lot of the “rope” but obviously not all of it.
I think the climate is different now from them. So I think it’s a little too easy tobsay “if Sandy Hook didn’t cause action, nothing will.” Because that treats each incident like it happens in a vacuum.
I think if a Sandy Hook style attack happened next week, there might be a different reaction then it then there was when it happened a few years ago.
As some of you know I am a gun owner, sportswoman, hunter and collector as are most of my family going back generations and including my children and grand children. I like to think of myself as a responsible gun owner, I faithfully keep my guns locked away and feel no need to carry one for personal protection although I do possess a concealed carry license. I, like most everyone else am appalled at yet another mass shooting incident and like most of you I am sick of the same old arguments about what should be done about it.
If responsible gun owners don’t get off their collective lazy asses and do something about this they are not going to like what is surely going to happen when this gets down to a tipping point of no return.
There are some sensible things that can be done now that would not infringe on anyone”s “liberty” that would give us some clarity on what actually needs to be done in the future.
1. Repeal laws that keep the CDC and other data centers from collecting statistics on violent crime including suicides and make it mandatory that all law enforcement agencies comply.
2. Make gun laws uniform across all the states.
3. Remove all loopholes in the background checking system and include personal sales.
4. Failure to enforce gun laws by law enforcement officials should be a mandatory removal from their position.
Sassy, I’d like to see the CCL or military shooting certifications be the basic standard for gun ownership. This is the one Constitutional right that can directly kill people, and there has not been enough emphasis on the responsibilities that must be linked to this right.
On that we agree. When I first applied for my CHL training in both the class room and the gun range were required. This training was minimal, in my opinion, and is even less so now. Renewing a license is no longer a matter of refresher training and range qualifications it is now as simple as sending in a fee for a 5 year extension and a completed questionnaire.
Sassy, If you lived in KS, it would be even simpler to own a gun.
“On July 1, Kansans at least 21 years of age who can legally possess a firearm will now be able to carry concealed within the state’s borders without completing an eight-hour training class, passing a background check or paying the require licensing fee.”
My brother collects guns for a hobby/investment, I do not begrudge him for that. Some semi auto, but no modern sporting type weapons. He will purchase a collector set of Colts or whatever , hang on to them for a few years then make a little profit selling them. Older handguns are being kept long term as an investment for the grandkids. He has thousands of rounds of ammunition. My take is that he does not fear the government, he fears the breakdown of government and what that might mean for society. I will bet that’s a driver of some people who buy assault type modern sporting rifles and copious amounts of ammunition. Fear is one hell of a drug so to speak.
So, sassy, how *exactly* do you intend to implement 2.? How *exactly* do you intend to enforce 3., when criminals completely disregard and/or bypass existing background check law? How *exactly* do you intend to enforce 4., when we can’t seem to uniformly enforce federal immigration or drug laws? Just askin’.
I’m “sassy” not Sassy, but, in the spirit of things……..
Just answerin’ – Doing nothing isn’t working out so well. Let’s work together on this big problem and identify a range of actions that can work.
I take it you agree with number1 Tracy? On number two, I honestly don’t know. I do know that, for instance, Illinois has much stricter gun laws than Indiana on the east and Kansas on the west. If you can’t buy what you want in Chicago it is a short 30 minute drive to a state that does little in the way of gun control. Since gun ownership is guaranteed by the second amendment of the Constitution would that not suggest that this should be a Federal issue as opposed to a states rights issue?
Number 3. I know damn well you are not stupid, I also know that you are quite well aware of the loopholes that exist in the system that allow people to purchase guns they would otherwise not be able to purchase if they were subjected to a more uniform background check system. Tennessee is now implementing a public service announcement on a current law that imposes a mandatory 10 year sentence for anyone who purchases a gun for someone else who does not qualify for gun ownership.
Number 4. When you have law enforcement officials publicly stating they will refuse to enforce or implement any gun laws they disagree with they are sending a very clear message that illegal gun use, purchase, or transfer will be ignored. In my opinion that person should be removed from office, period, they are certainly not helping responsible, legal gun owners.
Solid rebuttal, Sassy.
I thought it would be interesting for all to know more about the “Everytown for Gun Safety”. This organization was formed following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, and they have consolidated with Mayors Against illegal Guns to promote and attain their initiatives. This is an organization that is working positively to make a difference on gun violence in its broadest application and deserve your consideration for support.
1mime, honestly, I expect better from you. Every Town is a well known front group for Michael Bloomberg’s extremist anti-gun policies, and has actively avoided participation in any measure aimed at improving gun safety or fostering responsible gun ownership. Every Town is interested in one thing only, and that’s making sure that nobody has guns, for any reason. If you *really* want to “make a difference on gun violence in its broadest application”, there are numerous other efforts underway that actually do attempt to make a *real* difference. See:
TThor, I am open to considering ANY effort to address the problems with gun violence in our country, including those proposed in Every Town and others. I have read through the legislation recorded in the piece and there are some that I think could help. But, doing nothing is not an option. Not anymore. And gun advocates need to help with concrete proposals.
I appreciate the links you posted and will read each one as I can today and comment on them as appropriate. I try to be open-minded on this divisive issue and your extensive knowledge and efforts to share on the blog have been helpful to that end. Let me assure you, I do not want to take away anyone’s guns unless they are mentally ill or a danger to others, but access to guns is far too easy. I don’t like assault weapons for personal use, so that could be an exception – a big one from your perspective. I am not anti-gun, I am anti-doing nothing about gun violence. So far, the NRA has blocked any and all modest efforts to address this problem which is broad and has many contributing factors.
If we can’t come together to develop a multi-pronged approach to reduce gun violence – in its broadest application – we will see a continuing escalation of mass killings of innocent people. However, let me be clear: the death of even one innocent person should be more than sufficient as well. The aggregate is simply unacceptable and it has to change. Environmental and social/economic factors are becoming a breeding ground for those who have easy access to guns but use them to inflict harm. Lead the way, TThor.
While I’m doing my homework reading of your links, perhaps you’ll be interested in reading this NYT piece.
Tracy, I’ve read all of the links you provided. These are good programs. They target responsible people, the same people who wouldn’t normally be involved in using guns for violence against innocent people. Guns may be “inanimate”, but in the hands of angry, dysfunctional people, they are weapons of great danger.
Obviously, to me, more is needed. The “more” will involve the gun community and many other sectors of government and society. Violence on the scale we have in the United States indicates that individuals and society are breaking down. That’s not singularly a “gun” issue, but there are people with problems who access guns who shouldn’t have them, and others who use them inappropriately. We will never be able to prevent all gun violence. But we can try to make strategic, effective changes to reduce the carnage, because that is what it is.
You may disagree that some of the proposals listed below will effect significant change. I understand that. Here’s where I am: until we make a concerted effort to try some of the ideas suggested by those who deal with gun violence, we will never know. I will say it one more time: doing nothing is not an option. We don’t have to do everything all at once. Changes can be phased in, piloted, and implemented selectively. As the Black commentator stated in the NYT opinion piece on gun violence – in Black neighborhoods, you are dealing with many problems – guns are merely the enforcer tool. These areas which have socio-economic issues that result in greater violence will need special efforts. Remember, most of those who have been perpetrators of mass gun violence have been White and come from privileged backgrounds. Their motivations and psychological problems require a different solution. Bottom line: it will take many approaches, tailored for the specifics of the population and demographics you’re trying to reach, and some will work, and some won’t.
I do not support another Congressional committee unless it works in concert with professionals who work in the area of gun violence. We don’t need to waste more time and energy on posturing only to have another mass killing. A lot of studies and smart people who have been dealing with gun violence for a long time can be of tremendous help in assessing which policies, programs, and other ideas should be the starting point. They know what will most likely work and where.
Here is a summary of the proposals from Everytown and others that I believe make sense and should be a part of a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence. I am not an expert, merely deeply concerned and ready to see meaningful action to address this problem.
1. Fully activate the ATF. Staff and fund them adequately and give them the power to implement and enforce changes that will impact the problem. We don’t need a new task force. We have one that can do the job. Give whoever is President the authority to appoint a full time director who is empowered to act.
2. Repeal the Tiahrt Amendment. (Multi-faceted, see link for more detail.)
3. Require all gun sales to have background checks – (to include gun shows and internet) and prohibit any gun sale where a background check cannot be completed within the minimum day requirement. (This may vary with state, type of weapon, etc.)
4. Report mental health records to the National Background Check Program
5. Prohibit domestic abusers from obtaining firearms.
6. Strengthen penalties for gun trafficking.
7. Repeal the Senate amendment that imposes law enforcement with prison time if they use gun tracing data beyond a specific crime for evaluating gun trafficking patterns.
8. Lengthen the waiting period required for obtaining multi-round, semi-automatic guns.
9. Expand and support the programs TThor listed that teach education, use, storage and safety.
10. Study the experience of other countries that have successfully addressed this problem.
I am generally opposed to weapons allowed on college campuses except for security personnel. I do agree that until we make significant progress on gun violence, that additional security and detection equipment should be considered as part of a comprehensive approach.
I am also personally opposed to AK-assault weapons for personal use and oppose large multi-round clips for anyone other than military or SWAT team use.
My comrades in Russia were a bit perplexed about the whole gun thing and mass killings in the US. The folks freely admit to a large amount of vodka-fueled insanity and just general insanity in the population, but these kinds of things don’t happen here. They have private gun ownership but limit it to 10 guns (unless you are a collector and complete some registration) and limit cartridge capacity.
I’m a liberal, so of course I think guns are a problem, but lots of folks around the world have guns, and these things don’t happen. We, as a people, are broken, and that is not an easy fix.
When armed Russians with more hardships and fewer resources can keep their shit together (with an abundance of vodka around) with regard to gun violence, it says something about us as a people that we cannot keep our shit together.
Homer – you hangin’ out with those bad dudes by choice or business? When we travel, I am intrigued by how America is perceived by people from other countries versus how we “see” ourselves. The “other” America, the one that holds itself up as the paragon of Democracy, equality and opportunity? The one that thinks we are best in the world at everything? The country with the highest personal bankruptsy levels in the world due to medical circumstances? The one where we kill one another in quantities and using methods that cannot be touched by other industrialized nations? Yeah, that one.
Have a little more vodka before you return , Homer. Cheers.
“We, as a people, are broken, and that is not an easy fix.”
An interesting point to contemplate. I’ve read opinions that a realization that the standard American Dream spiel isn’t true is fueling some of this, and I think they have a point. You have people who been sold the notion that all you need is hard work, and you too will have wealth and success. But then it doesn’t happen, and some people are looking for someone else to blame and take their frustrations out on. I also think Chris’ points about changing demographics and some White people worried about loosing a monopoly on power and cultural influence is another factor in the equation. Add in lots of guns with very little real effort to regulate them, and we’ve got a big problem.
Also, mental illness is always cited, but for a different opinion on the matter:
Obviously, each case is unique, but it is easier to say “that guy was crazy” rather than “that guy chose to do evil”.
Interesting thought fly.
For sure, there’s a whole lot of moving parts here, one thing that stands out to me is that these mass shootings are almost universally white males.
There has to be a reason for this, and one can connect some dots if we look at it through the prism of ppl being sold a faulty bill of goods a la the American Dream.
It wouldn’t be that big a stretch to say the prototypical “American Dream” was either never really offered to people of color (in general) or they just didn’t believe it.
The crushing bitterness and anger that one must feel to do something like this likely wouldn’t affect someone who never expected anything anyway.
As we learn more and more about what its like growing up Black in America the past year or so (mostly related to dealings with law enforcement and the justice system) its hard to imagine many black men EXPECTED the American Dream. Lowered expectations somewhat prevent the anger and bitterness of realizing its all a sham.
White males however, probably largely “expect” the AD, and that sense of entitlement leads to a very bitter anger when it doesn’t materialize, and often that anger is misplaced, against illegal immigrants, people of color, etc etc.
Maybe way off base, but it that train of thought kind of “feels” like its in the ballpark.
I think you exactly get it, Rob. Further, when people who feel that they “should be entitled” fail to realize their potential or dream, their actions are really about losing control. Couple fear of losing control with a culture of gun violence and you have the perfect storm for someone lashing out at anyone/everyone. Life has really disappointed them and their only recourse is to hurt someone else as much as they have been hurt.
Black people (read the book “Just Mercy” Rob…) are angry for different reasons. They never expect to be successful by American dream standards. That may blunt their rage but it doesn’t stifle a slow, deep sense of futility from the unfairness of the entire situation. As Sara pointed out, that culminates in violence primarily within their own communities.
This problem is tearing our nation apart. Could you ever have imagined seeing 70 and 80 year old people rage over so many issues? We’ve lost our ability to communicate in a civil manner, to think deeply on the complexity of issues, and to accept and tolerate those whose choices are different than our own even when they do not threaten our choices at all?
From Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address:
“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”
These words ring true today. Substitute any current foreign adversary, and you still won’t find one with the power to destroy us, or at least the ability to do so without also destroying themselves. MAD is still in play for Russia and China. Terrorist groups, in fulfillment of their vilest dreams, could conceivably nuke a city. Terrible, but not the same as the total destruction of our country and culture. I see national suicide as far more likely. I don’t think we are doomed with zero chance of saving ourselves, but we do have some unresolved societal issues, and we are closing in on a major nexus point, not dissimilar to the problem posed by Shay’s rebellion and a government under the Articles of Confederation that was too weak to deal with in. The fact that our Legislative branch is so polarized and dysfunctional is a serious problem. A certain amount of inefficiency and obstruction was written into the Constitution as a feature, but it has mutated into a bug. As smart as the Founders were, things have happened that they could not anticipate. Political parties are a prime example. I see no way to be rid of them, but I would love to see the various rules that entrench them relaxed/abolished. We need to address the gun problem, and our messed up immigration policy, and decide the amount of military engagement around the world we will accept, and address the human trashing of the planet, and a myriad of other issues. We don’t need a Congress wasting time with yet another useless bill to defund the ACA, or another Benghazi hearing, or another threatened shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding.
I so agree, Fly, but wanting it to be so, isn’t working. More people need to join us in actively seeking members of Congress who will put real national priorities at the fore. This is going to be a very difficult haul to the 2016 election. I do not see it moderating. Maybe that will finally mobilize more into action. The question is, what action will they support?
I noticed that my above screed dropped a link. It was to this: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/primate-diaries/the-jokers-wild/
Great article Sara. Socio-economic challenges are at the root of so many problems. Given the refusal by the majority party to address the income divide, the problem will get worse as will the consequences. It is a vicious cycle. America has less to worry about from without than it does from within our own borders. And, it is a conscious choice.
Just so I’m completely clear on how I should feel about yet another mass shooting based on the actions of the current configuration/members of the GOP:
I am supposed to freak out over aborted fetuses that have half developed skulls, horrible incurable genetic diseases or are the byproduct of assaults by violent sexual psychopaths because their remains might be used for medical research… that may ironically save lives.
But I am not supposed to freak out and demand sensible background checks or gun rights legislation over young innocent teenagers and adults being cut down in their prime by the severely mental ill because…um… the NRA lobby has turned the GOP into its personal “Gimp” and because as Jeb has elegantly stated, “…stuff happens.”
Also even though GOP has paid lip service to the huge crisis of getting consistent care to the mental ill… they still advocate a curtailment of entitlement programs and expanded health care to the uninsured which would actually help the kinds of desperate mentally ill… who seem to have an easier time getting semiautomatic AR-15’s than regular appointments of cognitive therapy from an accredited mental health professional.
OKAAAAY. Am I understanding things clearly? Does that sound about right?!
Background on the deceased mass shooter in Oregon:
He graduated in 2009 from the Switzer Learning Center with four other students. The school is for students with learning disabilities and emotional issues
He had entered Army basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina before being discharged for “for failing to meet the minimum administrative standards”. Details for discharge still undisclosed
He had been turned away (after seeking to register) to a private firearms academy by the head instructor and president
Lastly, he apparently had some family members who have told investigators that he had mental-health problems and had sought treatment
…and despite all that he was able to legally acquire an arsenal of guns.
Just confirmed: He was not killed by police, he committed suicide.
From Sara’s link, “The Jokers Wild….”
“How many of these lone and deranged gunmen, quietly secluded from the world like brutalized baboons, could have been redirected along a different path if there had been a community that made them feel secure? ”
This young man’s whole life offered one signal after another that something was seriously wrong. Yet, as you point out, Sir Magpie, he was able to acquire 13 guns, ammunition and flack jacket with steel plates. We hold bartenders responsible for selling drinks to inebriated customers who leave and have accidents, why wouldn’t/shouldn’t we hold private arms dealers to similar standards? Is it because a private sale doesn’t offer the same background information that a retail sale does? Not being a gun owner, I don’t know but would like to know. Neither the bartender nor the private gun dealer caused the tragedy directly, yet if a thorough background check is done with the purchase of multiple guns, shouldn’t that be a strong indicator to flag the individual to be monitored?
The Plot thickens…
Excerpt from recent article on the Oregon shooter:
“The mother of the Oregon mass murderer stockpiled firearms because she feared stricter gun laws — and shopped around for a shooting range that would let her and her son fire away without supervision, the Daily News has learned.
Laurel Harper, a nurse who shared an apartment with her son Chris Harper Mercer, spoke openly about her love of guns, said the mother of one of her patients.
“She said she had multiple guns and believed wholeheartedly in the Second Amendment and wanted to get all the guns she could before someone outlawed them,” Shelly Steele, who hired Harper to provide care for her sickly teenage son, told The News in an exclusive interview Saturday.
“My husband is an avid hunter and former military, so she would talk to him about it all the time, how she liked to take her son shooting,” Steele said.”
Doesn’t this new information suggest similarities to Adam Lanza and his gun range activities he had with his mother. He was responsible for the horrible Sandy Hook killings. If you are a parent and have a child with severe mental health issues, “bonding” with such a person on the firing range with high powered semi-automatic weapons is perhaps not a great idea.
It seems extreme paranoia was a trait that was likely shared by both mother and son. I suppose one question to ask is was this paranoia transferred from mother to son or son to mother because they lived together… or was there some kind of genetic predisposition to mental illness that he may have gotten from his mother.
Clearly their interpersonal dynamic appears on the surface just as troubling as the dysfunctional relationship between Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy Lanza.
I think in situations like this it would have been great if both mother and son had been psychologically evaluated.
This whole story remind of something I often tell people about disasters. For me a disaster is simply a situation where everything perfectly goes wrong.
” If you are a parent and have a child with severe mental health issues, “bonding” with such a person on the firing range with high powered semi-automatic weapons is perhaps not a great idea.”
Damn. I wonder if Mom also has some mental issues here. She is probably not legally responsible under the laws as they stand now. But morally responsible?? I think a credible case can be made.
And now this information regarding the Oregon shooter…
From CNN, excerpts of comments by the shooter’s father, Ian Mercer:
“The father of the Roseburg, Oregon, shooter said he doesn’t know where his son got his weapons, and he declined to comment much on his son’s mental state, but he was quick to say what he thought was to blame in the deadly college attack: Guns.
Ian Mercer, during an interview outside his California home Saturday, told CNN that he didn’t know his son had a single gun, let alone 13. He asked, “How on earth could he compile 13 guns? How could that happen?”
“We talk about gun laws. We talk about gun control. Every time something like this happens, they talk about it and nothing gets done. I’m not trying to say that that’s to blame for what happened, but if Chris had not been able to get hold of 13 guns, this wouldn’t have happened,” the father said.
Mercer said he has never held a gun. He doesn’t want to, he said. He laid out his personal philosophy on the issue: “I’m a great believer (in) you don’t buy guns, don’t buy guns, you don’t buy guns.”
The father’s viewpoint clearly diverges significantly from the mother’s, as I discussed in an earlier comment.
“The mother of the Oregon mass murderer stockpiled firearms because she feared stricter gun laws — and shopped around for a shooting range that would let her and her son fire away without supervision, the Daily News has learned.”
“She said she had multiple guns and believed wholeheartedly in the Second Amendment and wanted to get all the guns she could before someone outlawed them,” Shelly Steele, who hired Harper to provide care for her sickly teenage son, told The News in an exclusive interview Saturday.”
It seems to me there was probably significant conflict between the shooter’s parents or at the very least a disastrous breakdown of communication between them in regards to their son. This kind of strife in the family is not good, especially considering the apparent inner turmoil going on inside the mind of the shooter.
This is on one level, aside from the obvious devastation of the victims killed and their grief stricken loved ones, a very sad and tragic story.
Damn straight it does, Sara!
Well stated, Sir Magpie. You really connected the dots.
If these aspiring/mentally deranged killers can catalog mass shootings and conceive of ways of making them more deadly, why can’t I catalog the missteps by society/their communities in dealing with them?
When we allow clearly disturbed individuals to live in a prolonged state of social isolation with easy access to guns of profound destructive capability can we really claim bafflement at the end result?
I have seen this too many times for it not be coincidence.
I just really feel that if GOP presidential candidates start talking about mental health issues when these horrific events happen instead gun control, well dammit… they should really start addressing it in a meaningful manner!
We are beyond ambiguous statements about how our whole culture is sick and the only cure is to seek guidance from “the Lord and baby Jesus”.
Yeah I get it. Gun control legislation bad, background checks bad, helping “crazy” people better is good.
On that last assertion I would say, “How are you going to do it?”
One last thought:
Ever notice another interesting trait that this shooter in Oregon shares with the assailant in the mass shooting last year in Santa Barbara and executed mass murder Timothy McVeigh?
Everyone of them at certain points claimed to be virgins at ages atypical for most males in contemporary American society. Maybe this particular issue isn’t so much about sexual frustration or lack of sexual release as it relates to their horrible crimes.
I now am beginning to think that the real driving force in some of these cases is a fundamental desire for meaningful companionship. Any companionship.
“We have allowed our enthusiasm for guns to bleed over into our deep stores of racial paranoia…”
Can you explain that, please?
The racist idea of the “violent black thug coming to rob me and rape white wimmin” is a largely unjustified fear that convinces scared white men that they need such weapons to defend themselves and scares them away from any talk of reasonable gun control.
Not every gun owner is like this. Or even most. But theres enough of them that it’s not just a tiny fringe. And it’s a problem.
That’s my take at least.
Historically, it’s been a justification to implement gun control. Even the Daily Beast says so. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/10/09/adam-winkler-gun-fight-author-on-gun-control-s-racism.html
Yes there have been periods where certain gun control was favored by some in the name of keeping blacks unarmed, but now that a Democratic government is in power in the year 2015 and there’s paranoia of blacks among a revitalized militia movement (see Erik Rush claiming Obama’s leading a black army) the situation has clearly flipped back to the more default ultraconservative position of whites needing guns to protect themselves. Seriously Doug you don’t HAVE to be the auto-contration everytime what Lifer was saying was pretty obvious and I’m more than slightly suspiscious that you were just waiting for someone to respond so you could use the the usual generic canard of “WHOSE THE REAL RACIST?!”
Actually, I wanted to hear Lifer’s explanation of what he meant. They may be out there, but as long and deep as I have been into firearms, I’ve never heard anyone use race as a reason against gun control.
And, we wonder why Congress does nothing to address massive killing with guns? Two views:
Somehow, before this is all over, I suspect that this argument will end up in white supremacy.
I don’t own a gun. I’ve fired a gun twice in my life. If the government decided to take me out an arsenal of weapons would only delay the inevitable.
So what, who cares.
We’ll end up at white supremacy because that’s the left’s fall back. The sky is falling raaaaaacists!
Why not educate the children on the proper usage of the gun? I’ve not seen this advanced anywhere as a possible solution to the “problem.”
Really, how do sane and rational rules regarding gun usage fit into insane usage? How does normal fix crazy? I don’t think it does. It’s just Obama going at it again trying to take away our freedom.
That’s all it is, a ruse.
I find it interesting how those who dismiss any kind of change of course when consistent mass shooting tragedies happen simply because it doesn’t personally affect “them”. I’m sure that if your child or a close loved one was gunned down in cold blood while going through there normal daily life you would probably change your tune & not just think of it all “a ruse”. If you still resist any kind of incremental legislative change that could have saved your loved one or at least lessen the loss of life because of the flimsily used argument of “freedom”; then you might want to be psychologically examined due to exhibiting sociopathic tendencies.
A little black magic on Saturday? Look, vaginanative, both of us know you are lying. Why keep up the ruse. Come on out with it.
You also a poor excuse for a psychologist. Where’d you get your “training?” Take your crappy fake ass expert sword and fall on it you neurotic piece of toad excrement.
Wow “BigWilly”…..I have obviously struck a nerve since I make a comment about being to empathize with the situation of the mass shooting tragedy & all you can do is respond to me with name calling like “vaginanative” & “toad excrement”? Try a little harder at an intelligent rebuttal next time bro.
“If you still resist any kind of incremental legislative change that could have saved your loved one or at least lessen the loss of life because of the flimsily used argument of “freedom”; then you might want to be psychologically examined due to exhibiting sociopathic tendencies.”
That’s absolutely fatuous. Do you think that such statements are in any way conducive to a discussion, vegetative?
Hey “BigWilly”…please elaborate on why you think my statement is fatuous. Do you not have kids who could be comparable in age to the many kids who have been killed in mass school shootings? Do you have no loved ones who could be gunned down going to the movies or shopping at a mall. etc? Can you not empathize with the pain one could feel getting the notification of the shooting of a family close family member and wondering “why did this have to happen to my family?” You can’t imagine wondering “why did a crazy guy have access to multiple weapons/assault weapons” or “why the private citizens needs 100 round drum for ammo” after a senseless violent act devastates your family? Do you think the parents of the kids at Sandy Hook or the loved ones of those killed in Aurora, or Oregon don’t have those questions on their mind and why so many in the Republican Party think guns are more important than their families? The slippery slope argument to losing your guns rings pretty hollow when your burying your kids.
It’s easy to not even consider the problem by ignoring it; call it “a ruse”; and thinking the big bad Obama man in the White House is “going to take your guns away” If one really wants to put their head in the sand it’s easy to act like there is not a problem in this country of people dying in consistently reoccurring senseless mass shootings…a problem no other country in the advance world has to deal with.
The ones who can’t empathize on any level with that…then it says more about them than the folks who want common sense gun laws as opposed to the status quo.
Btw…good job on having the restraint to call me just one name this time. That shows progress on your part.
You do realize that the shootings in both SC and OR had religious overtones? Yet there’s little made of it because it doesn’t match the narrative they’re trying so hard to maintain of these killers being right wingers or religious fanatics.
I might add that if I were diagnosed as “exhibiting sociopathic tendencies” there could be some problems for me if I were to attempt to obtain a firearm.
There’s alot of pain in this world if I didn’t block some of it out I would probably lose it. There were 8 people killed in Houston a few weeks back and barely a burble about it. Chicago’s gun violence is out of control. I feel like I’m back in the 70’s. Where’s Dirty Harry when you need him?
This is a different generation of punks. All achieving their moment of fame and usually going out in a hail of gunfire. I think we need to get deeper and not act reflexively, as we are wanted to do.
Not sure if that’s an answer, a gasi event, I think what has been happening is truly awful and marks the beginning of something possibly beyond the paradigm.
BW, I would like you to read through the legislative efforts to address gun violence that are stated in the Wiki link I shared for Everytown for Gun Safety. It provides a valuable history of efforts that have been proposed in the gun safety effort. If you would, I’d be interested in what you think is good or bad in their list. As for the religious or far right angle – I don’t recall that being a topic here as a motivator though it probably has been in some cases. Point being, there are some highly dysfunctional people who have access to guns who are using them to kill innocent people.
Current guns laws are discriminatory. If a black guy can’t manage to get an ID to vote, how is he supposed to do that, PLUS pay $140 to the state, another $100 for certification, then travel miles to the training class, forfeit a full Saturday of income, and then subject himself to fingerprinting and a background check just to exercise his 2nd Amendment right to carry? Wealthy white guys have no problem with any of that stuff. It’s racist, I tell ya, and we need to repeal these onerous laws that just keep minorities down.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but, as best I can recall, there has been only one (1) shooter who killed scores of people who was Black. I am not talking about gang violence, that is horrible and it is also a problem. I am talking about innocent people who were victims of gun violence that was pre-meditated.
Now, let’s think about the recent gun violence episodes – Sandy Hook, Columbine, Umpqua – and what race those shooters were? It doesn’t matter to the victims if the shooters are Black or White, they are just as dead. So the argument about focusing on Black gun would-be gun purchasers is pretty shallow.
Focus on the problem. The problem is not race, it is a confluence of factors which culminate in unstable people using guns to take lives of innocent people. It is too easy to obtain guns and specifically, guns which can kill massive numbers of people quickly. Changing that would not eliminate all gun violence, but if it helps, why shouldn’t we take that step? Shouldn’t we at least try it? There are many things that need to be done to help identify people who are dangers to themselves or others and de-link these people to gun ownership. And, again, 13 guns for a 26 year old? If there were a protocol for reporting situations like this which could be properly investigated, it may avert a potential disaster.
Lifer is right about one thing. Sooner or later, people will finally have enough, and when they do, the solution may be much more onerous than gun proponents ever imagined. Why not help now by supporting recommendations that are sensible and effective?
“So the argument about focusing on Black gun would-be gun purchasers is pretty shallow. ”
I think you missed my (admittedly a bit facetious) point. Chris brought up racism as a reason white guys oppose gun laws (at least I think that’s what he said) and BW countered. I merely pointed out that, based on the anti voter ID arguments, white guys have *implemented* racist guns laws. But seriously, if you want to be consistent in your arguments, requiring an ID to exercise a right is either discriminatory or it isn’t.
“And, again, 13 guns for a 26 year old? ”
Why focus on 26? That’s well into adulthood. Many 26 year olds are veterans, married with children and a mortgage, etc. A man of twenty six is not a child. Well, maybe this one was, but by definition he’s an outlier.
Age aside, any avid, well-rounded sportsman could easily have that many, especially someone who competes or collects. Two or three different shotguns, a couple of plinkers, a few different hunting rifles, several handguns for different purposes…really not that extraordinary.
BigWilly, go find yourself another blog to be an asshole on. This is a high-class, civilized joint, and we really value the fact that we don’t talk to each other like that here.
I mean it. Shoo. You’re not fit to be among nice people.
No one wants to compromise. I like guns also, but not to the extent of feeling the need and/or paranoia to own a semi auto and thirty round magazine. Compromise, make semi autos illegal . Allow the private ownership of fire arms limited to bolt action, pump action, or lever action and revolvers. It won’t stop mass shootings, but it might limit the carnage and death just a little. Compromise.
Would I have to give up my sweet little 1936 Remington 241 .22 short gallery gun? Or my WWII Rock-Ola and IBM carbines? How about my century old M1911? Any grandfathering for semi autos from my grandfather’s time?
Doug, you know that I am not a gun owner; however, no one has suggested penalizing people who purchase classic guns for a collection. The problem is people who purchase multiple guns with the intent to kill innocent people. Let’s keep the focus where it belongs.
mime, texan said no semiautomatics. All those mentioned, despite their age, are semiautomatics, and with the possible exception of the 241 will kill you just as dead, just as fast. The 80 year old carbines had 15 and 30 round mags, too.
This is why this is so hard. I still maintain that antique, classic guns are not the intent of more restrictive gun legislation. I am hoping you were not preying on someone who is an innocent (or ignorant) of facts like this, Doug. I am trying to encourage cooperation, not trap someone. I still maintain, classic weapons could be categorized differently but I am not disputing Lifer’s recommendations as he knows far more about guns than I do. The point is to find agreement, not fight on potential, practical and reasonable changes that would help prevent gun violence.
I think you know that.
oops…70 year old. 71 and 73 to be exact. Math is hard on Saturday.
Especially if you’re TCU.
Assumed you were a Football fan, Doug. TCU is TX Christian University and they got stomped by TX Longhorns….A “play” on your math pun…
“I still maintain that antique, classic guns are not the intent of more restrictive gun legislation. I am hoping you were not preying on someone who is an innocent (or ignorant) of facts like this, Doug.”
Not at all. My point is that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between many firearms from early last century and today. A nutball could do a perfectly fine job of killing school kids with a classic carbine. I don’t understand the fear of the AR today, which, come to think of it, is also a fifty year old design. I tend to think we have a people problem, not a gun problem.
Doug, that analysis is hopelessly obtuse. You know enough about weapons to recognize how ridiculous that statement is.
I have handled my grandfather’s .22. I have handled my friend’s custom AK. That AK was a very special experience (not full auto, obviously).
It takes a lot of skill to kill somebody with a .22 rifle, even if it’s a semi. It takes enormous skill to kill somebody with a .22 pistol. It takes even more skill to kill multiple people that way.
An AR or an AK, both of which can be purchased legally, is a fine little killing machine. Great for wild pigs. Perfect for a crowd.
Yes, we have a people problem. My friend, you are part of that problem.
And, I maintain, it’s both.
How about we let your insurance company decide how dangerous they consider your guns? Seriously what are your thought on Lifers thoughts on insurance? I would think your gallery gun would be very inexpensive to insure even though its a semi-auto. A cap and ball revolver, very cheap. Single shot and bolt action rifles, inexpensive. Fixed cylinder Pistols, ditto. Revolvers that can be speed loaded and semi-automatic anything, would cost more. Of course, if you make any non working, display only, then no cost at all.
For you and most of the commenters on this blog, rates would be reasonable. But think about how more thorough background check a insurance company would do if there were warning signs,
You are right that we should not narrow our focus on the AR but think about how efficient the weapon is in a classroom, schoolyard, or theater.
The M1 carbine is not a .22, it’s .30 caliber. Fires a 110 gr. bullet at about 2000 fps. Inside, say, a school, it would be every bit as deadly as an AR, maybe more so. Probably an extra 1/2 second for mag changes, but it makes bigger holes.
1mime, focusing on the problem is going to lead us somewhere you probably don’t expect. To wit: Mass shootings are one problem — but they’re a very different problem than gun violence overall. The two problems require different strategies.
Mass shootings, while tragic and dramatic, comprise only a very tiny fraction of gun deaths in the US — less that 2%. About 60% of all gun deaths are suicides. But the vast bulk of people shooting other people is concentrated in low-income communities of color where the rates of gun violence have doubled in the past 20 years. It’s notable that this increase has occurred *even as the rates of violent crime have been cut in half for the rest of the country.* We have very successfully ghettoized violent crime in the US, so yes, there’s definitely now a racial component here.
And, unfortunately, the overwhelming bulk of this violence involves guns that were illegally obtained. Passing more laws isn’t going to help when the people doing most of the shooting now aren’t even following the ones already on the books — and the states aren’t enforcing the laws they’ve already enacted. Federally-mandated background checks will help some — but this really won’t stop until we actually, effectively address inequality, as noted here: It’s not about guns. It’s about people having no means to achieve a dignified life.
Most Americans totally underestimate the number of gun laws already on the books — unless they’re among the tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners who are bending over backwards to follow decades of piled-on regulations that make them deeply accountable for what they own and carry. Those folks are already following the laws, and they’re overwhelmingly safe with their firearms.
However, this is also the group that most suicides and most mass shooters come out of. When legal owners become unstable, most states also have legal mechanisms in place for removing guns from these people and ensuring they can’t buy more. The problem here isn’t that these laws are violated by owners — it’s that they’re not properly implemented by their governments.
For example: both Virginia Tech and the Giffords shooting would have been averted if the shooters — both known to have mental issues — had simply been properly entered into the NICS background-check database, as legally required. But the officials involved never quite got around to it, so they both got guns they never should have had. Elliott Rodgers’ guns could have easily, legally been taken away by the cops who did a wellness check on him two days before the shooting — if they’d bother to checked the state database that showed he had guns. In all these cases, the officials never got around to properly deploying the information they had — so these guys ended up with guns in spite of existing laws designed to stop them.
One of the things I find most appalling about our reactions to mass shootings is the amount of angst we pour over these tragedies — which typically involve small numbers of white people — while continuing to completely ignore the vast and growing daily carnage that goes on in poor communities of color. As a result, we keep passing laws aimed at “ending gun violence” that don’t even begin to address the places where most of that violence actually occurs. Our focus on mass shootings is a distraction that leads us to wrong-headed policy — and in valuing a few white middle-class lives over the thousands that are lost in poor neighborhoods of color, it’s deeply racist to boot.
And then we wonder why #BLM is pissed. They deserve to be.
I understand the issue better than I have articulated although I am the first to acknowledge that the problem is larger than I can grasp and will be extraordinarily difficult to impact. Looking at the larger area of gun violence, it is my belief that socio-economics has far more relevance than race. The two intersect due to greater poverty and all of the other attendant problems among Black people, which, of course, results in higher percentages of Black people committing crime, including gun violence. It is part of the cycle of poverty.
This is a complex problem and will require a broad and bi-partisan coordinated effort to bring about meaningful, long-term change. I am most pleased at the recent bi-partisan legislation on criminal justice reform. It is a great start and I hope it will be adopted, adequately funded and supported. I would also like to see the ATF better utilized in addressing crime in America.
Mass killings are abhorrent because the victims are so defenseless and the killer(s) so prepared. Reasonable people acknowledge that better information and use of same could avert some of these events, as you pointed out. Undoubtedly, there are many small and large changes which could together make an important difference in reducing gun violence. We have to try. Doing nothing is not acceptable and that is not hyperbole.
I highly recommend to all who want change in violence in America, that you read “Just Mercy, A Story of Justice and Redemption”, by Bryan Stevenson. This is the true story of a young Black attorney (Harvard Law) and his work to found the Equal Justice Initiative – a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the criminal justice system. It will break your heart and shock you as it helps you realize how deep the problems are in our country. There is a fascinating paragraph about the important support of the EJI by Senator Alan Simpson, whose early life began as a multiple offender juvenile felon, turned his life around and served many years in Congress. He had a second chance. Most Black people don’t. BLM is important and I hope it is successful. Read Stevenson’s book and you will better understand why they are angry.
Doug, Someone close to me collects WWII weapons. So your 1911 will kill as well now as it did a century ago, and your carbines, they were excellent for killing the enemy in some distant land. And they will be as dangerous for generations in the future. Every Glock, Colt, Kalashnikov, made in the past and the future will be out there to kill your grandkids and mine.
Can I convince you to come up with some system that will keep a future lost soul from taking innocent lives? Is there any way we can do this?
“If we’re not going to do anything again, I’d just like to make one request: given that we’ve all agreed, if only by our passive acquiescence, not to keep this from happening, can we please quit pretending to care? Let’s just skip the histrionics this time: no pro forma shock, condolence photo ops, somber speeches, flags at half-mast, meaningless noises from liberals about legislation, meaningless counter-noises from the NRA about armed guards in elementary schools. Why bother going through the motions of soul-searching when we know very well there’s nothing to search? If we can’t be brave we might at least be honest: when we see the familiar helicopter shots of ambulances outside a school, the clusters of classmates hugging, the sobbing parents being led away, the makeshift shrines of candles and plush toys, instead of looking stricken or covering our mouths or saying “Oh my God” or “How horrible,” let’s just all look each other in the eye and say: “Shit happens.” (TU Jeb!)
Actually, to be more properly accurate and cold blooded, we should say “The gun gods require frequent sacrifice, and you drew the black bean this time. Oh well.”