The shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida was the eighteenth school shooting in the United States since the first of the year. That is an average of one every two and a half days. It is the thirtieth mass casualty shooting since January 1. No other country can match this. It only happens here. …
Feb 15 2018
#18 Parkland, Florida
Apr 11 2017
Gun Safety Update
Only three of these stories are not from The Onion. NRA Employee Accidentally Shoots Himself On The Job An employee for the National Rifle Association accidentally shot himself Thursday during a firearms training session. The 46-year-old man was holstering his pistol when it accidentally discharged, NBC Washington reports. The incident happened at the NRA’s …
Mar 10 2016
Florida Toddler Stands His Ground
“I Feared for my Life!” says mini George Zimmerman Gun-loving Florida mom shot by 4-year-old son hours after bragging he ‘gets jacked up’ to shoot Travis Gettys, Raw Story A gun-loving social media activist was shot and wounded Tuesday by her 4-year-old son while driving. Investigators said Jamie Gilt was driving a four-door pickup truck …
Oct 02 2015
They Need to Do More Than Pray
The mass shooting yesterday at a small community college in Roseberg, Oregon, took the lives of nine people and the gunman, despite the fact that there were students in nearby classrooms who were carrying guns themselves. Despite arguments by gun activists, that didn’t deter or stop the shooter until police arrived. This has become routine in the United States to the point that it should be considered an epidemic. This latest mass murder is the 994th since the mass murder of 26 students and teachers in Sandy Hook, Connecticut in December, 2012. There have been nearly 300 shooting that have taken four or more lives, the FBI criteria for a mass shooting, so far in this year alone. In the face of these horrific statistics what have our government representatives done? Nothing except pray and criticize anyone calling for better gun control laws as politicizing the lives of the victims.
It is not just mass shootings that are the problem:
While conservatives are busying trying to shutdown any debate on gun control following the 45th school shooting this year by yelling about Chicago’s murder rates – apparently unaware that Chicago is the third largest city in the country but not even in the top five cities with the highest murder rate per capita – and reflexively decrying any mention of gun control as a “gun grab,” what if we just entertained their wildest conspiracy theories for just a bit?
A 2015 study found that when guns are used to kill people in the United States, they are overwhelmingly used for murder rather than self-defense. That study found that in 2012, there were only 259 justifiable homicides, or what is commonly referred to as self-defense, compared to 8,342 criminal firearm homicides. In 2008-2012, the report says, guns were used in 42,419 criminal homicides and only 1,108 justifiable homicides.
We are told by pundits and politicians that nothing can be done because of the Second Amendment. That is pure nonsense. Laws requiring strict licensing and ban on ownership of certain weapons, such as semi-automatic assault type weapons, have been on the books in cities like New York for years and have withstood court challenges. Tightening the sale of guns at guns shows and by individuals without adequate regulation and background checks of the buyers needs to be made federal law. Requiring a person to demonstrate that they are qualified to own the weapon they are buying by showing that they have attended classes in safety and handling by a certified instructor would go a long way in curbing some of the accidental incidents as well.
The idea pushed by the NRA and gun manufacturers that better and smarter gun laws won’t make a difference is a myth. Just look what Australia did after a mass shooting that took 35 lives in 1996. They passed 12 new gun laws and regulations within days after the shooting:
The National Firearms Agreement and Buyback Program, as the package of legislation was called, prohibited the sale of shotguns as well as semiautomatic and self-loading rifles. Waiting periods and safety courses became mandatory for new gun owners and limits on the sale of ammunition were imposed.
Most importantly, perhaps, the legislation allocated $250 million for a gun buyback program, allowing for newly outlawed rifles and shotgun to be destroyed by the Australian government. Ultimately more than 640,000 firearms were either purchased by the Australian government or voluntarily handed in.
And it worked.
In the years after the Port Arthur massacre, gun-related homicides decreased 7.5 percent per year while suicide by gun dropped by a whopping 80 percent (pdf) until the the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia fell by more than 50 percent in the decade following the attacks.
It didn’t completely stop the incidents but there have only been six people killed in mass shooting since the laws were passed.
America could do the same if we demand it of our elected officials but first end Americas obsession with guns to debunk the myths of the NRA and gun nuts that guns keep us safer. They don’t.
Full disclosure: I am a licensed gun owner.
Oct 02 2015
Real Fake News
ROSEBURG, OR-In the hours following a violent rampage in southwestern Oregon in which a lone attacker killed 10 individuals and seriously injured seven others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Thursday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place.
“This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said Ohio resident Lindsay Bennett, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this guy from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what he really wanted.”
At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past six years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”
Jun 21 2015
Tell FBI Director to Read the Law!
The murder of nine people in the AME Emanuel Church in Charleston, NC Wednesday night was a racially motivated hate crime. It was also an act of domestic terrorism, just not according to FBI Director and war criminal James Comey
“Terrorism is act of violence done or threatens to in order to try to influence a public body or citizenry, so it’s more of a political act and again based on what I know so more I don’t see it as a political act,” Comey said at a press conference Friday in Baltimore.
Authorities arrested Dylann Roof, 21, earlier this week in connection with the killing of nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Some have called the incident an act of terror. The FBI’s official definition of terrorism is: “The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.
The Department of Justice thinks otherwise
Federal officials are investigating the shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina as a potential “act of domestic terrorism” as well as a hate crime.
“The department’s investigation of the shooting incident in Charleston, South Carolina, is ongoing,” Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said in a statement Friday.
“This heartbreaking episode was undoubtedly designed to strike fear and terror into this community, and the department is looking at this crime from all angles, including as a hate crime and as an act of domestic terrorism,” she added.
Someone needs to tell the Director to rad the law. Here is the legal definition of “domestic terrorism” from 18 U.S. Code § 2331:
(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that –
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended –
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion ; or
(iii) to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
What part of that law did Comey miss? The assassin, Dylann Roof made it abundant;y clear in his manifesto what his intentions were. On, wait, it’s a white guy that’s not a Muslim.
Jun 19 2015
You’ ve Got to Be Carefully Taught
If racism, as many right wingers are claiming, is a mental illness, there a lot of mentally ill people in the world and too many of them are given access to guns. But the Republicans who can’t seen to admit that the murder of nine black women and men in a church in Charleston, South Carolina by a 21 year old male, white supremacist is an act of racial terrorism of the black community, not mental illness. Racism is taught. You have to be taught to hate and fear, you have to be carefully taught. The United States has a problem racism that a good many prominent whites are refusing to admit.
Why the GOP Hates Talking About Hate: Conservatives Can’t Confront Racism in Charleston Shooting
By Ana Marie Cox, The Daily Beast
In the 24 hours after the massacre inside Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, GOP politicians and members of the conservative commentariat have tried to explain Dylann Storm Roof‘s motivations on a spectrum that runs from merely murky to the explicitly anti-religious.
They have taken pains to avoid the abundant evidence that Roof was a sadly familiar figure: a young man motivated by racism to violence.
Louisiana Governor and passive presidential aspirant Bobby Jindal inserted the shruggie icon into the debate, averring that we should defer to the expertise of police detectives in sussing out the connection between Roof’s documented history of racist sympathies and his perhaps coincidental murdering of black people: “Law enforcement will figure out what his so-called motivations were.”
South Carolina Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham pointed out that it’s Christians who are the serial killer flavor of the month: “It’s 2015, there are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” His fellow campaign traveler Rick Santorum opined that the slaughter was part of a larger “assault on religious liberty.” And Rand Paul blamed the massacre on “people not understanding where salvation comes from.”
Fox & Friends couldn’t help dumbing down the debate by framing it simply as an “Attack on Faith,” while anchor Steve Doocy wondered aloud how people could “unbelievably” “call it a hate crime.”
Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?
By Althea Butler, The Washington Post
Police are investigating the shooting of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as a hate crime committed by a white man. Unfortunately, it’s not a unique event in American history. Black churches have long been a target of white supremacists who burned and bombed them in an effort to terrorize the black communities that those churches anchored. One of the most egregious terrorist acts in U.S. history was committed against a black church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. Four girls were killed when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, a tragedy that ignited the Civil Rights Movement.
But listen to major media outlets and you won’t hear the word “terrorism” used in coverage of Tuesday’s shooting. You won’t hear the white male shooter, identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, described as “a possible terrorist.” And if coverage of recent shootings by white suspects is any indication, he never will be. Instead, the go-to explanation for his actions will be mental illness. He will be humanized and called sick, a victim of mistreatment or inadequate mental health resources. Activist Deray McKesson noted this morning that, while discussing Roof’s motivations, an MSNBC anchor said “we don’t know his mental condition.” That is the power of whiteness in America.
U.S. media practice a different policy when covering crimes involving African Americans and Muslims. As suspects, they are quickly characterized as terrorists and thugs, motivated by evil intent instead of external injustices. While white suspects are lone wolfs – Mayor Joseph Riley of Charleston already emphasized this shooting was an act of just “one hateful person” – violence by black and Muslim people is systemic, demanding response and action from all who share their race or religion. Even black victims are vilified. Their lives are combed for any infraction or hint of justification for the murders or attacks that befall them: Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie. Michael Brown stole cigars. Eric Garner sold loosie cigarettes. When a black teenager who committed no crime was tackled and held down by a police officer at a pool party in McKinney, Tex., Fox News host Megyn Kelly described her as “No saint either.”
That has been evident today on both Fox News, who trotted out conservative racist Rich Lowery, and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was pushing the mental illness meme. Heavens forbid, they should call Dylann Roof what he is, a racist terrorist.
Along with Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Butler discussed the double standard with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman.
Transcript can be read here
No, people, racism in NOT a metal illness but it does have an effect on the mental state of its targets.
Racism Is Not A Mental Illness
By Julia Craven, The Huffington Post
Racism is not a mental illness. Unlike actual mental illnesses, it is taught and instilled. Mental illness was not the state policy of South Carolina, or any state for that matter, for hundreds of years — racism was. Assuming actions grounded in racial biases are irrational not only neutralizes their impact, it also paints the perpetrator as a victim.
Black people, on the other hand, do suffer actual mental health issues due to racism. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the media digs into Roof:
Black people are often expected to “shift” away from our cultural identities, which can heighten our vulnerability to depression and other psychological issues, as well as cause us to internalize negative stereotypes.
Racial discrimination, according to The Atlantic, increases the risk of stress, depression, the common cold, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, hypertension and mortality — all of which exist at high rates in my community.
Race-related stress is a stronger risk factor for mental duress than stressful life events are.
Black people’s physical health takes a hit as well due to the perception that whites want to keep us down.
Racism created socioeconomic barriers that also can be detrimental to black mental health.
For black women, the common “strong black woman” trope leaves no room for mistakes, which can force black women to internalize perfectionist tendencies in terms of our professional and academic work, our bodies (which are held to European standards) and our social lives. This leads to a tendency to not seek help and, in turn, heightened suicide rates. [..]
Racism isn’t a mental illness, but the psychological, emotional and physical effects on those who experience it are very real. And I’m exhausted.
It is long past time that American and the news media stopped skating around the issue that racism has gotten worse in this country. Racial hatred needs to be confronted not buried under the guise of mental illness.
Feb 09 2015
TBC: Morning Musing 2.9.15
I have 3 things for your perusal this morning.
First, on the big oil worker strike going on right now:
First Nationwide Oil Worker Strike In Decades Grows Even Bigger
In January there were at least four major mishaps at a U.S. pipelines that resulted in costly explosions or spills. In 2013, Texas led the country in oil and gas sector fatalities with 106. Overall, oil and gas workers are six times more likely to die on the job than average Americans. With the recent growth of the industry due to the proliferation of new drilling techniques such as fracking, safety measures can suffer. In North Dakota, which has been at the forefront of the oil boom, the fatality rate for industry workers was three times the national average in 2013.
On Friday, the local Toledo union posted on its Facebook page that the “strike is NOT about money, this is about addressing safety issues that have been ignored for way too long … 138 workers were killed on the job while extracting, producing, or supporting oil and gas in 2012 … the number was more than double that of 2009.”
Apr 23 2013
Lack of Common Sense
Lack of Common Sense
I believe we seriously have a problem with our elected representatives in that there is a lack of common sense. Let me ask a few questions.
Why does anyone need an automatic weapon with a 100 round clip? Common sense tells us; no. The second amendment would still allow handguns, shotguns and rifles. This rush to protect automatic weapons from governmental laws will only increase violence. More guns, more deaths. Multiple deaths of innocents. If I have to get a license to drive a car from the DMV and I have to get a license for my dog at City Hall, wouldn’t it make sense I would have to get a gun license from a place within our government? I would think background checks would be more accurate than at a local gun show. I also have to have insurance for my car and my dog is covered by my house insurance in case of any unforeseen accidents. This would be a boondoggle for the insurance companies if insurance was required for any type of weapon. The bigger the gun, the bigger the policy. Why are we continuing to be a violent nation when all we have to do is use a little common sense? How many dead children and devastated families does it take before we do the right thing? Please give me the number and I will cry until we reach it.
When an individual is elected and swears to uphold the constitution, why are they allowed to sign a pledge with someone to not raise taxes? Two masters is one too many. Choose one or the other. Is Grover more important than the constitution? To me this seems treasonous.
Come on now, is a corporation really a person? When a corporation signs up for a colonoscopy, I personally will grant them personhood.
Money is speech? Here’s a dollar. I have two words for you. Get’em for fifty cents apiece.
Torture not prosecuted? Dick Chaney and Dubya and Rumsfeld did more to tarnish our image around the world than any other administration in the history of our nation. Why do we allow this from our elected officials? We say we are a nation of laws, but only for the people, not the Executive Branch? I wrote this to Holder way back when:
To have accountability or not to have accountability,
That is the question:
Whether tis nobler in the mind to just look forward
And forget the torture and lawlessness of the Bush Administration,
Or, to take up the rule of law, and prosecute them.
And by investigation and prosecution, end them.
Accountability or not-
No more-and by that we say, stop this.
This heartache and thousand felonious shocks
That Bush suffered the country with his legacy.
Tis accountability, devoutly to be wished.
Accountability or not-
Investigation and prosecution. Ay, there’s the rub,
For with that sunshine of facts what crimes may come
When we have revealed the truth of the Neocons
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
For the rule of law that makes us all equal.
For who would spurn the Constitution and its laws,
The cronies backdoor, the corporations outsourcing,
The pangs of Darth Vader, Gonzales’ no recall,
The insolence of Bush, the spurns
That merited the cries of Impeachment!
Then we learned the house and senate
Left our table bare.
How can these representatives say,
To those that grunt and sweat under a weary life,
That the dread of something other than Bush,
That history will prove him a great visionary,
It puzzles the will.
And makes us bear this shame upon our country,
That will last for eternity.
Will investigation make cowards of us all,
Will prosecution derive a resolution
Of the administration that had no law?
With this regard the rule of law
Must not lose the name of action.
Let’s just start with these issues. Why can’t our elected officials deal with these issues with common sense? What is stopping them from doing the right thing? Someone please tell me. Thank you.
Apr 15 2012
Rant of the Week: Rachel Maddow
Rachel Maddow reports on Mitt Romney’s confused attacks against President Obama at Friday’s NRA Conference in St. Louis. Rachel also talked with Pittsburgh councilman Ricky Burgess about the conversation the country should be having about gun violence and the need for tighter gun control laws
Andrew Rosenthal: Keep, Bear and Use
The modern drive against gun control started with an expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment as bestowing an absolute, individual right to “keep” and “bear” arms, rather than a societal right based on the need for a “well-regulated militia.”
But we are now in a new and dangerous phase of the gun movement, in which extremists led by the National Rifle Association are pushing beyond “keep” and “bear” to “use.” They are pressing state and federal lawmakers to make it easier for people to shoot other people. [..]
They certainly will not discuss these statistics, compiled by the Violence Policy Center, on the homicide rate for African Americans, which is more than three times the overall homicide rate. The overwhelming majority of victims are killed by guns, and the majority of those are killed by handguns. Missouri leads the nation in this appalling statistic.
Washington, DC–Missouri leads the nation in the rate of black homicide victimization for the second year in a row according to a new analysis of unpublished Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC).
The annual study, “Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2009 Homicide Data,” (http://www.vpc.org/studies/blackhomicide12.pdf) uses 2009 data–the most recent data available from the FBI–and ranks the 50 states according to their black homicide victimization rates. The study found overwhelmingly that firearms, usually handguns, were the weapon of choice in the homicides.
Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund: What a Difference a Gun Makes
On April 16, 2007, our nation suffered its deadliest shooting incident ever by a single gunman when a student killed 32 people and wounded 25 others at Virginia Tech before committing suicide. Five years later, have we learned anything about controlling our national gun and gun violence epidemic? A look at just a few of the sad headlines across the country so far this year suggests we haven’t learned much or anything at all. [..]
As a nation we can’t afford to keep waiting for common-sense gun control laws that would protect our children and all of us from indefensible gun violence. It’s time to repeal senseless gun laws like the “Stand Your Ground” laws enacted by 21 states that have grabbed so much attention in Trayvon’s case and allow people in Florida to defend themselves with deadly force anytime and anywhere if they feel threatened. More than two million people have signed online petitions saying they want to repeal these laws. It’s time to require consumer safety standards and childproof safety features for all guns and strengthen child access prevention laws that ensure guns are stored safely and securely to prevent unnecessary tragedies like those in Washington state. And in a political environment where the too-secretive and powerful advocacy group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushed “Stand Your Ground” laws in other states along with other “model bills” that benefit some corporate bottom lines or special interests like the NRA, it’s time for all of ALEC’s corporate sponsors to walk away from enabling or acquiescing in destructive laws that protect guns, not children.
It’s a tragedy that five years after Virginia Tech so little has changed. How many years must we wait until tragic headlines about school shootings, children dying, and people using the “shoot first and ask questions later” defense to take the law into their own hands go away? When will we finally get the courage to stand up as a nation and say enough to the deadly proliferation of guns and gun violence that endanger children’s and public safety?