Tag Archive for guns

Four dead, three troopers hurt

A protester at Wayne LaPierre's press conference Friday injects a little truth into the proceedings.

A protester at Wayne LaPierre’s press conference Friday injects a little truth into the proceedings.

It’s what you call irony.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Wayne LaPierre was still talking, telling us we need more, not fewer guns, that armed teachers are the solution to mass shootings in schools, as a man walked up and down a street just outside of Altoona, Pa., shooting people, killing four, according to early reports.

Among the injured are three –armed – state troopers. These are people whose job it is to stop people with guns and he shot three of them. We don’t know yet whether any of the dead are troopers.

It seems to me that something is trying to tell us that LaPierre and his ilk are full of shit. More guns is not the solution to gun violence.

Do we put guns on school buses next? Do we arm crossing guards? Remember, this latest shooting was a man walking up and down the street.

Where does the arming cease? Do we provide Sunday school teachers with an arsenal, just in case?

I’m tired of the killing, aren’t you?

I don’t think we should spend another moment listening to the NRA. I don’t even care of you’re a responsible gun owner who loves target shooting and hunting. If you believe more guns will stem the violence, you are wrong. Period.

I have tried to respect other opinions because I have a lot of friends who are responsible gun owners, but we need to control guns. We need to stand up to the bullies in the NRA and tell them where they can put their guns and ammo.

I have listened to the “other side” of the gun debate and I have reached the conclusion that they no longer deserve our time and respect. The NRA represents gun manufacturers, not gun owners. I don’t even care of we repeal the damned Second Amendment. Our gun “laws” now have nothing to do with the founders’ intentions anyway.

We have the Second Amendment because George Washington didn’t believe we needed a standing army; that well-regulated militias would suffice. It wasn’t meant for every person to have an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. That was the totally twisted interpretation by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

As my husband says, “Piss on your Second Amendment rights! What about the rights of innocent people to live their lives?”

It’s time to regulate guns. It’s well past time, actually.

To those who disagree that increased regulation will help stem the tide of violence, with all due respect, piss off. I’m tired of listening to it as people die by the tens of thousands in this country.

 

Bob Costas was right

Let me start by saying I don’t want to take away everyone’s guns. I’ve been target shooting and had a good time. I approve of hunting as long as the hunter uses the animal for more than a trophy.

But the United States has an appallingly high murder rate and it’s because guns are so readily available.

Someone who has had domestic violence charges against him (or her) should not have a loaded gun in the bedside table drawer. Someone who has committed a violent crime of any sort should not have access to a gun.

For someone with anger issues, a gun is just too handy, and Jovan Belcher’s actions followed the classic profile of an abuser. He snapped, killed his girlfriend and then felt so guilty he killed himself.

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, there are 16,800 homicides and 2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence each year, and the cost is $37 billion.

According to the Violence Prevention Center, “an analysis of female domestic homicides (a woman murdered by a spouse, intimate acquaintance, or close relative) showed that prior domestic violence in the household made a woman 14.6 times more likely, and having one or more guns in the home made a woman 7.2 times more likely, to be the victim of such a homicide.”

In other words, if abusers didn’t have guns (and federal law prohibits anyone with an order of protection filed against them because of domestic violence to have a gun), the murder rate among women would go down dramatically.

I’m really, really tired of hearing that guns don’t kill people; people do. People with ready access to guns kill some 10,000 people in this country every year. The only countries that rank higher in gun deaths are South Africa, Colombia and Thailand. Even Mexico ranks below us.

The United States leads the world in gun ownership, with 88.8 guns per 100 people, and 34 percent of Americans owning guns. That includes collectors, many of whom own antique guns that no longer work. But it also includes people who think they need an arsenal of guns to battle the United Nations’ black helicopters.

In terms of gun homicide rate (per 100,000 population), only eight nations — Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belarus and Barbados — beat the United States, which registers 2.97 homicide gun deaths per 100,000 people.

Most other developed nations run just a fraction of our per capita gun death rate:
Switzerland (0.56), Canada (0.54), Germany (0.47), Finland (0.43), Ireland (0.32), Denmark (0.26), England (0.12), Australia, Japan, Korea? way, way below us, and Singapore at 0.02 and Hong Kong at 0.01 barely even register.

We need to have a conversation. This is not about Obama coming to take your guns, it’s about making guns a little less available to people who use them to kill other people. It’s not about whether Bob Costas was out of line when he talked about the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide, it’s about starting a serious conversation.

We don’t need assault weapons. We don’t need guns that shoot a hundred shots a minute. We don’t need guns in every home.

Bob Costas was talking truth when he quoted Fox News columnist Jason Whitlock. And since Costas often offers up commentary during football halftime, his words were not inappropriate.

The National Rifle Association has turned the conversation from responsible gun ownership and reasonable regulation to advocacy for a free-for-all that’s just short of anarchy.

It’s time to steer the conversation back to a reasonable course. Remember, the Second Amendment talks about “a well regulated militia,” not about every home having an unregulated cache of assault weapons.

 

Trayvon Martin belongs to all of us

"Whatever you do to the least of these, you do also to me." Trayvon belonged to all of us, and his death diminishes all of us.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law means that Trayvon Martin’s killer likely won’t be punished for his deed.

The law was written by ALEC (the Koch Brothers and NRA-funded American Legislative Exchange Council) and the gun lobby to enhance the sale of guns. The NRA long ago stopped lobbying for gun owners; now it represents the gun lobby, especially gun manufacturers.

This no longer is about the Second Amendment; it is about selling guns to frightened citizens. Hey, if someone like George Zimmerman were following me, I’d need a gun to protect myself.

Here’s the deal, though: If all the African-Americans in Florida got guns because of the Stand Your Ground law, it would be repealed pretty quickly. I’m certain that if the roles had been reversed and Trayvon Martin had felt threatened and shot Zimmerman, young Trayvon would be sitting in jail charged with murder.

Zimmerman had no reason to feel threatened. He didn’t live in the gated community where he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, and his 911 call that night was not his first; in fact, there were more than 90 such calls to police in the year leading up to the murder, and most were about suspicious looking African-American males.

A newer photo shows Trayvon looking a little less saintly than the one most widely circulated. It is next to a photo of Zimmerman in a suit and tie and it claims media bias because these aren’t the images we see the most. Frankly, I don’t care about the image. Trayvon was a kid who had Skittles and iced tea in his hands. He committed no crime; he died because he happened to walk across the gun sight of George Zimmerman, a stalker who was, and is, dangerous.

I know a little bit of what Trayvon’s mother feels like, having lost a son who should still be alive. But my son was killed by a broken health care system, not a hate-filled vigilante; I at least got to say goodbye.

Trayvon Martin belongs to all of us. He was our child.

When Emmett Till was murdered by a racist gang of white men in Mississippi in August 1955, his mother said that the act that killed her son diminished us all, and that is true of this case. We live in a society where people tout the Second Amendment as an excuse to allow the murder of an innocent 17-year-old.

In my mind, there is no excuse. Laws like Florida’s Stand Your Ground law exist in 23 states, including North Carolina, where I live. That’s nearly half the nation. Could an African-American kid walking through my neighborhood be shot in cold blood and his killer get away with it?

The Second Amendment doesn’t give us the right to murder children who make us nervous.

Zimmerman said in his 911 call that the kid was wearing a hoodie. Hell, I wear hoodies, and I’m hardly a threat. In fact, I wore a pullover with a hood to church yesterday.

A lot of homeless people wear hoodies to keep themselves warm. Does that make them expendable?

These same people who scream that any control of firearms is unconstitutional are the same ones who claim to be pro-life, who believe they have the right to shoot to kill  someone who makes them nervous.

You can’t have it both ways, people.

I’m OK with the Second Amendment, but not with the length to which it has been interpreted to mean we deserve a free-for-all gunfight whenever someone makes us nervous.

 

A mad dash to the right

The NC legislative session isn’t even finished yet and I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. As the effects of this disastrous session begin to be felt across the state, I’m sure other North Carolinians will feel the same way.

Across the state, thousands of classroom personnel — teachers and teacher assistants, will lose their jobs, even though the Republican leadership denies it’s happening. As usual, if they say something isn’t real, then it must not be happening. That’s what you get when you live in your own little bubble where you don’t have to have compassion for anyone else.

Women who seek to end their pregnancies will have to listen to an anti-abortion lecture and wait 24 hours, even if they’re pregnant by an abusive partner who would beat the crap out of them if he found out. It’s as though we shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions about our own bodies unless the right agrees with those decisions.

The new “austerity” budget, which contains deep, deep cuts to education and health care programs, wasn’t about money, according to Rep. Tim Moffit, whose district includes Arden and Candler, “it’s about policy.”

Well, policy follows the money. Your priorities are where you put — or take away — the dollars, and it’s clear that this legislature prefers corporations to humans and right-wing “moral” values to compassion.

Medicaid will lose some of its “optional” services, such as specialized housing and other necessary services for people with severe disabilities. Instead of living in intermediate care facilities, they will be moved to nursing homes, where they won’t get the occupational, physical and speech therapy and other amenities that make their lives worth living. They’ll be warehoused.

People on Medicaid will lose their eye and hearing care. No glasses, no hearing aids.

I don’t see these things as optional, but the people in the North Carolina General Assembly do.

They have gutted environmental protections and made it harder for the state to collect taxes from corporations.

They have made it harder to vote, eliminating same-day registration, shortening early voting and requiring a photo ID from every voter. These measures affect poor and minority populations the most — those who would be most likely to vote against the right.

And if you get really pissed off and want to yell at one of these cads? Well, they’re trying to pass a law that allows them to carry guns into the legislative parking lot, so you don’t want to make them feel threatened.

But you don’t have to vote for them again. Remember this session come Election Day, and you might want to shoot an e-mail to your representative and senator to let him or her know you’ve been watching.

 

 

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