Can we talk about gun safety?

safety hazardsOf course I write often about gun violence in general on this blog. It is why I write and why I do what I do. 89 Americans a day die from gunshot injuries. That is indisputable. Never mind. The gun lobby doesn’t want to talk about the “accidental” discharges or the suicides. Accidents with guns are apparently not supposed to happen. But happen they do. And death by gun suicide? It’s happening every day. Guns are the most common method and the most lethal and the most successful. That is not much published since gun suicide deaths don’t often make news and not considered to be crimes.

Can we talk about gun safety like we talk about other safety hazards in our every day lives? There are warning signs all around us about the problems with guns but we are purposely ignoring them at our peril and the for the sake of the lives of innocent Americans.

What we need is more attention paid to the causes and effects of gun violence at the least. But the gun lobby doesn’t want that either. It might blow a hole in their mantra that guns make us all safer. That is why the private research into the causes and effects of gun violence is becoming so important to preventing at least some of our daily victims from becoming a victim. Dr. Garen Wintemute from UC Davis is a hero. He has invested over 1 million dollars of his own money to do important research.

Among the research into gun violence is Dr. Wintemute’s research about the relationship between alcohol use and gun violence. For the evidence, just read local media reports. This one, for example, is proof positive:

“NEVER mix guns & booze,” said the militia member, who calls himself Joe Bleaugh. “Charles got drunk and belligerent and took away his friend’s sidearm and threatened him with it; at which time his friend drew his backup weapon and fired to defend his own life. This is why it is a ‪#‎felony‬ for an intoxicated person to be in possession of a firearm. Guns and booze do not mix. End of story, and unfortunately the end of Charles’ life. What a waste, & by his own hand!”

Texas law prohibits licensed gun owners from carrying firearms while intoxicated, regardless of whether the weapon is holstered or concealed.

Carter and Smith had been organizing the march, which they hoped would remove President Barack Obama and congressional leaders from office ahead of November’s elections.

You can’t make this stuff up. Were these guys both law abiding permit holding citizens? Just asking. How can we stop armed citizens from drinking while carrying? We have laws about this but just as with drinking while driving a vehicle, not everyone follows the law. It does seem as if this one was self defense. But if neither of these guys had been armed, this could have resulted in a fight without a death.

Even the best gun safety trainers cannot stop accidental gun discharges apparently. And that is a real problem in our country. Far too many people walk away from a gun store or after buying a gun from a private seller without the faintest notion of the potential harm that can come from improper training or handling of a gun. Guns are lethal weapons designed to kill and injure. What don’t we get about that? Take this incident at the best of the best gun training facilities- Sig Sauer- where a man “accidentally” discharged a gun while training with the best and shot himself in the leg.

I am particularly saddened by an “accidental “discharge that killed the 8 year old grandson of a Kentucky Brady Campaign chapter activist. It sounds like an investigation may reveal more details. These, and all shootings, are in the category of senseless and often avoidable losses of life. And they happen far too often in our gun soaked country.

Just read “Accidents Happen Guns Kill” if you don’t believe me. It’s only January 14th.

But never mind reality. You should really look at this video of Wayne LaPierre letting NRA members know that the end is near. FEAR.

Good grief. In what kind of world does this guy live? Not mine, that’s for sure, thankfully. Our gun culture is out of control as written by Professor Henry Giroux in this great piece:

Gun violence in the United States has produced a culture soaked in blood – a culture that threatens everyone and extends from accidental deaths, suicides and domestic violence to mass shootings. In late December, a woman in St. Cloud, Florida, fatally shot her own daughter after mistaking her for an intruder. Less than a month earlier, on December 2, in San Bernardino, California, was the mass shooting that left 14 people dead and more than 20 wounded. And just two months before that, on October 1, nine people were killed and seven wounded in a mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon.

Mass shootings have become routine in the United States and speak to a society that relies on violence to feed the coffers of the merchants of death. Given the profits made by arms manufacturers, the defense industry, gun dealers and the lobbyists who represent them in Congress, it comes as no surprise that the culture of violence cannot be abstracted from either the culture of business or the corruption of politics. Violence runs through US society like an electric current offering instant pleasure from all cultural sources, whether it be the nightly news or a television series that glorifies serial killers.

There is so much more to the above article that should be read and quoted. But here is a bit more after the author explains the militarization of our society and the overall corporate influences that have changed who we are as a country. From the article:

Warlike values no longer suggest a pathological entanglement with a kind of mad irrationality or danger. On the contrary, they have become a matter of common sense. For instance, the US government is willing to lock down a major city such as Boston in order to catch a terrorist or prevent a terrorist attack, but refuses to pass gun control bills that would significantly lower the number of Americans who die each year as a result of gun violence.As Michael Cohen observes, it is truly a symptom of irrationality when politicians can lose their heads over the threat of terrorism, even sacrificing civil liberties, but ignore the fact that “30,000 Americans die in gun violence every year (compared to the 17 who died [in 2012] in terrorist attacks).” It gets worse.

As the threat of terrorism is used by the US government to construct a surveillance state, suspend civil liberties and accelerate the forces of authoritarianism, the fear of personal and collective violence has no rational bearing on addressing the morbid acceleration of gun violence. In fact, the fear of terrorism appears to feed a toxic culture of violence produced, in part, by the wide and unchecked availability of guns. The United States’ fascination with guns and violence functions as a form of sport and entertainment, while gun culture offers a false promise of security. In this logic, one not only kills terrorists with drones, but also makes sure that patriotic Americans are individually armed so they can use force to protect themselves against the apparitions whipped up by right-wing politicians, pundits and the corporate-controlled media.

This lengthy and thoughtful article exposes the reality of our country for those who benefit from exploiting the fear and paranoia of American citizens to profit for themselves. It’s the world in which we live but it doesn’t have to be this way.  We don’t have to accept the world of the corporate gun lobby telling citizens that if only they buy that gun for self defense, all will be well with the world and families will be safer. For the truth does not bear this out.

Here’s reality. A man “accidentally” shot his own 14 year old son and will not be held responsible. He thought his son was an intruder.


It’s time to challenge the status quo in a big way and one way would be to change the conversation about guns and gun violence, to allow research about the causes and effects of gun violence, to make sure that Americans understand the actual risks to them when buying and carrying a gun, to make sure that proper training will actually serve to make people more responsible with their guns, to strengthen rather than weaken gun laws, to stop the practice of allowing armed citizens in all of our public spaces, to make appropriate laws to keep us all safer and to have a society less focused on violence and more focused on how to prevent it in the first place.

We are better than this.

Where is common sense?

2 thoughts on “Can we talk about gun safety?

  1. Gun safety includes such topics as safe gun handling, safe gun storage, the teaching of those things to gun owners, as well as teaching young folks to stay away from guns when not in the company of a gun-wise adult.

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