Blogging for gun safety reform and changing the conversation about the role of guns and gun violence in our communities. Common sense gun laws and gun safety reform and gun rights are not mutually exclusive.
Yesterday President Trump actually told British media personality Piers Morgan in an interview that AR-15s are used for entertainment. Yes. He said that. He is parroting what the gun lobby is trying to sell to us about the necessity for these weapons meant for war. And coincidentally the President was in Britain, and then in Normandy, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day where thousands of U.S., British and Canadian troops were shot on the Omaha, Utah and Gold beaches.
Let’s look at Trump’s words from the linked article:
“In London you have stabbings. I read an article…they said your hospital is a sea of blood…Piers, when somebody has a gun illegally and the others [don’t] they have no chance. The bad guys are not getting rid of their guns…The people who obey the laws are sitting ducks. The thing I think about the most is Paris…if there was a gun on the other side.”
Where is common sense? Inexplicably he also tried to slough off any criticism of America’s public health gun violence epidemic by blaming the British for all the blood running in England from knife deaths. Good grief. You just can’t make this stuff up but this is also the gun lobby’s turning the conversation away from all of the blood running in the streets and homes of Americans from gun violence.
According to the above article knife deaths are up in the UK and so are gun deaths- they are up to 29. America’s are up,too- about 40,000! No comparison.
My brother fought in Viet Nam and was under fire much of the time he was there. He came home with Malaria and now suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and PTSD. He doesn’t think of assault rifles as entertainment. To him they mean death and destruction.
My Dad was a World War ll Veteran. He served in an Infantry Brigade in North Africa and Italy. He rarely talked about the horrors of war but clearly suffered from Panic Attacks. He was involved in a lot of gunfire as they marched over the mountains and into Rome. He did not live long enough to mourn the death of my sister who was murdered in a domestic shooting. I am quite sure he would have been horrified at the proliferation of shootings and mass shootings, some of which were the result of shooters using AR-15s to kill as many people as possible in as short a time period as possible.
Some 2,501 Americans gave their lives that day, according to historic estimates. Another 1,913 soldiers from other Allied countries also died, bringing the total death toll from the immediate invasion to 4,414.
It took until late April before the number of people killed by guns in the United States in 2019 topped that number, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive. (This data excludes suicides.)
This is so stunning that there are really no good words to talk about it.
Too many other incidents like this have happened to enumerate here. Guns are not for entertainment. Their sole purpose is to kill animals or humans. That is what they are designed to do.
There are so many other things that people can do for entertainment. Bowling. Movies. Sports. Music. Theater. Playing games with friends. And yes, I get that some like to shoot guns for fun at gun ranges. But the slippery slope has created a gun culture where military style weapons have become common place for just about anyone who wants one. That is not entertainment.
The President is wrong. The gun lobby is wrong. Guns are not their playthings that they can do anything they want to do with them.
It’s been 100 days since the House passed H.R. 8 to require background checks on all gun sales. The Senate companion bill, S. 42 is in limbo because……rights? fear? paranoia? power and influence? campaign contributions?
400 children and teenagers (1-17) were killed in shootings;
800 children and teens were shot in family fire;
6,100 Americans died from suicide with a firearm, with another 1,000 attempting.
A reminder to my readers- this is NOT NORMAL. This is a public health epidemic. The Republicans in the Senate are letting America down. They seem to feel no shame or responsibility when mass shootings occur every week or so and 12 or more innocent people are mowed down for no apparent reason except a gun was readily available. And for the domestic related gun deaths and for the suicides by gun and the little children shooting each other with a gun found at home. They have no conscience.
Since my return home from my trip to Greece, the Minnesota House of Representatives has passed an Omnibus Public Safety Bill containing both background check and Extreme Risk Protection Order provisions. The vote happened at about 2:00 a.m. last Tuesday after the gun rights Republicans tried every trick in their tired old bag to weaken the bills. Stand Your Ground and Constitutional Carry- ever favorites of the now imploding NRA were tried but failed. One Representative suggested that, in the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, other things besides firearms should be taken from those who could be dangerous to themselves or others. He suggested cars, knives, golf clubs and bats for just a few. Yes. He said that.
This is the first time ever that a common sense gun safety reform bill has passed in a Minnesota legislative chamber. There was a rally on Monday which I attended and at which I spoke, to call attention to the bill and make noise about wanting it to pass. They heard us in chambers and knew we were there. Also there were a couple of obnoxious gun rights guys, dressed in suits can carrying their tripod with iPhone around on it to record the rally. Paranoid as they are, they must find out what we are doing and report it to their fearful followers in case we do something like spread out in the area and start confiscating their guns.
There was a group of students visiting from their school who these guys decided to record without asking permission. Several of us stood between the phone guy and the kids and answered questions about what we were doing. They were uniformly against the gun guys and understood the stakes for themselves when people who shouldn’t have guns use kids in schools as sitting ducks. Listen to the kids.
All in all it was a good day. We spoke with legislators and made our cause known. Speakers were inspiring, including Governor Walz who pulled his pen out of his pocket and said he was ready to sign the bill into law.
It was a Pyrrhic victory and we knew that. It will now be in the hands of a conference committee where the Senate, full of gun rights members, will not vote in favor unless a miracle happens. Why? Great question. No gun registration or confiscation will occur. No legal gun owners rights will be affected. There may be a few minutes of extra time involved in getting a background check from private sellers but so what? Not a reason to oppose. We know the reason. Follow the money and the influence of the corporate gun lobby.
The Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka declared the bills dead. My sister is dead. Hundreds of Minnesotans die every year. We can’t make them alive again but he can make the bills alive again. We can save lives and stop people from becoming dead in senseless and avoidable shootings.
In fact, from the article above, after the Parkland school shooting, 97% of gun owners wanted to strengthen our gun laws. Remarkable. And also from the article:
A question remains. If gun owners across the country like Ware no longer identify with the organization, and polls show that they increasingly support gun control measures, who is the gun rights group fighting for?
Good question. And the other question that I asked on Monday in my speech was of whom are the legislators so afraid? This small group? The biggest problems is that the NRA is now an arm of the Republican party and part of the overall ideological bent of the party. It almost has nothing to do with guns anymore. They are a paper tiger but they have managed to wield a lot of influence anyway. Money talks. Corporations are people.
As the bodies pile up, our legislators will need to explain the real reasons they oppose reasonable gun laws. The archaic thinking that goes with their opposition is going out with those who are clinging to the old world order of mostly white guys having power and control. And when the NRA explodes, the road to victory will happen more easily.
Times are changing. Laws will change. The culture will change. Minnesota will change its gun laws. It may not be this year, though I still am hopeful. But it will change. Gun safety reform is here to stay and will be one of the most important issues of the upcoming campaigns and elections. We are not afraid any more of the “guys with the guns” who believe they make the rules.
This morning I want to share with you my Local View in the Duluth News Tribune. It reflects the views of the majority of Americans. Below is the article in its’ entirety.
President Donald Trump on Jan. 10 tweeted, “We lose 300 Americans every week (to heroin), 90% of which comes through the Southern Border. These numbers will be DRASTICALLY REDUCED if we have a Wall.” Trump also has called the immigration debate a national emergency.
It is not a national emergency.
Climate change is a national emergency. The lack of affordable health care is a national emergency. Americans living in poverty with no way out is a national emergency. Gun violence is a national emergency. If the fact that about 700 Americans a week are shot and killed in homicides, suicides, and “unintentional” shootings isn’t a national emergency, I don’t know what is. The Gun Violence Archive reports that, as of Jan. 18, 683 Americans had died in gun homicides so far this year. This does not include suicides that account for 80 percent of gun deaths in Minnesota and more than 60 percent nationwide. You do the math. That’s about 40,000 deaths a year.
On Jan. 8, a bill to require background checks on all gun sales was introduced in the U.S. House. One in five gun sales now goes without a Brady background check. If one in five passengers was allowed to board planes without going through TSA security, we would fix the problem. Criminal background checks are necessary for public safety but will not end all gun violence. Just as safety measures for cars and drivers led to fewer deaths and injuries, so, too, can stronger gun laws. Just as passing laws about public smoking has saved lives, so, too, can stronger gun laws.
Most mass shooters are homegrown American terrorists. They are not coming from across the border. They are living among us. Shooters are your neighbors killing their wives or their kids. They are friends of your kids using a gun in a suicide. They are a friend’s young child getting a gun and shooting himself or herself or someone else nearby. They are your neighbor’s teen bringing a gun to school and shooting up his classmates. They are police officers getting shot or shooting someone. They are grandparents who may not have the judgment to handle guns safely. They are young gang members with guns they shouldn’t have shooting each other on our streets. They may be people with severe mental illness who can’t handle the responsibility of a lethal weapon. They are people carrying guns in public who don’t act responsibly. These things happen every day in our country.
The pile of bodies and the number of survivors grow daily, affecting us all. We can figure this out and do it together, but we need common sense and a will to act. Gun rights and gun-safety reform are not mutually exclusive, as most gun owners agree with the 97 percent of Americans who favor background checks on all gun sales. This is a no-brainer for Congress and the Minnesota Legislature. As long as Congress refuses to get serious about a national public health epidemic, we can expect to see more shootings They will happen anywhere at any time. Just because a shooting hasn’t affected you so far doesn’t mean one won’t. I never thought my sister would be murdered in a domestic shooting, either. It changes one’s perspective. A year ago, on the 14th of February, 17 were murdered in Parkland, Fla. Since then, the brave surviving students have changed the conversation about gun violence in our country. Voters this fall chose majorities which want change to our gun laws and our gun culture. The Minnesota House this session is expected to consider a bill to require background checks on all gun sales. There also is to be a “red flag” bill that would make sure people dangerous to themselves or others don’t have guns. Tell your Congress members to act. Tell your state legislators to act. Don’t let the president’s rhetoric about a national emergency on our southern border deflect and distract from the true emergencies.
One of the tenants, Manuel Velasquez, told police he got into a fight with Stokoe on Thursday evening because the landlord kicked the door and put him into a “very serious” chokehold, court documents obtained by the paper say. Velasquez, 31, told cops that while he was being subdued, he grabbed a handgun inside the fannypack he was wearing and shot Stokoe multiple times.
It will be interesting to see if the perpetrators try to use it in their defense.
If your state doesn’t have one of these laws, watch for it because the corporate gun lobby loves these laws and looks to pass them everywhere.
Meanwhile, since I wrote my Local View piece, the Gun Violence Archive has added the numbers of victims of bullets and it’s increased by almost 200 since Jan. 18th.
This is a national emergency that must be addressed. It’s more than common sense. It’s a national emergency and an American tragedy happening everywhere in our country.
It’s imperative that we act. One person dead from bullets is one person too many. Families are hurting all over America because of the government shut down, because of poverty, because of lack of access to health care, because of gun violence.
Chaos is surrounding us and the government shut-down is exposing the worst of who we are. We are better than this and we can work together to exercise our rights as Americans to be free of the chaos and to save our country from true emergencies staring at us.
It is difficult to try to remember the dates of all of the mass shootings in America. You see, mass shootings have happened in every month of the year and almost every week of every month. And when we honor and remember the victims of the high profile mass shootings we don’t want to forget or dishonor the victims of “everyday” shootings- about 90 per day as it turns out.
I just wrote a post about the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. And then the shooting happened at the baseball practice and left a U.S. Congressman ( and others) critically injured. And then a mass shooting happened in San Francisco at a UPS building. And then the verdict in the Philando Castile case left a community reeling when the officer involved was acquitted. This case highlights the tensions between people of color and law enforcement- something about which we need to deal seriously and purposefully.
Churches should be places where people can gather without fear of being shot. In America no place is a place where people can gather without fear of being shot. Baseball practices, schools, malls, cars, parks, college campuses, workplaces, office buildings and homes are all vulnerable to shooters with anger, hate and revenge in their hearts. And when guns are so easily accessible, it is all too easy.
The shooter of the 9 people that were killed that day two years ago should not have been able to purchase his gun. But because the gun lobby lapdogs in Congress made sure there was a loophole in our gun laws, he got his gun anyway. We know the result. From the article:
Nearly three thousands guns were sold to people with criminal records, mental illnesses or other prohibitive circumstances in 2015, according to the FBI’s latest operations report on background checks, released in late September.
That’s the result of what many see as a flaw in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). At licensed firearm dealers–but not private shows or sales, including those facilitated online–a background check is required to determine the prospective buyer’s eligibility. Data show that roughly 90 percent of these checks come back with an answer immediately, but the remainder are delayed so the FBI can further investigate eligibility.
If three business days pass without a verdict from the FBI, licensed dealers can sell the gun anyway, unless prohibited by local law. If the background check later comes back negative, federal authorities are supposed to retrieve the weapon. (…)
Since 1998, the delayed denial provision has put a total of 58,779 guns in the wrong hands
“Lawful gun owners should applaud this legislation. The only people who should fear this legislation are people who are unfit to carry a gun,” said Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, one of the co-sponsors of the bipartisan bill, along with Sen. Greg Gregory, R-Lancaster.
Alas, the bill failed. Gun lobby lapdogs won’t even stand up for the victims of one of the worst mass shootings in our country.
What does it mean to honor with action? Passing this bill would be one big action and it should happen in Congress.
But quietly, other actions are taking place to honor the victims. From the linked article above about the second anniversary of the shooting:
Taylor, a retired nurse, once worked in hospice, but, like so many here, still struggles with the heavy yoke of loss that clings to the regal crimson and dark wood sanctuary.
“We’ve just got to face the reality. Death is hard for everybody,” she says. “It’s something you never get over. We all hurt. But we’ve got to move on.”
She tries to heal by honoring those who died.
Before Pinckney’s death, Taylor was helping him launch a new community outreach. Since his death, she has continued to organize what is now called the Clementa C. Pinckney Community Health Fair each year. She also expanded the outreach to include feeding people facing homelessness. Pinckney’s wife and younger daughter, who both survived the shooting by hiding in his secretary’s office, have attended the health fairs along with his father and older daughter.
Now Taylor has eyes on expanding both outreaches. In August, she hopes to hold a health fair for children returning to school. In November, she wants to begin holding the homeless event monthly.
Emanuel needs it. The broader community needs it. And Pinckney would have wanted it.
“Everybody knows Clementa Pinckney was a community man,” Taylor says. “That was just his heart. He loved to help people in the community. He was full of love and grace and kindness.”
Taylor wants to ensure that, away from the spotlight, Emanuel lives out that commitment. She isn’t alone.
Away from the spotlight of high profile publicized shootings like that at Mother Emanuel church, people are trying to heal and take action. Their loved ones live on in their hearts leaving a hole that will never be filled.
I have met Clementa Pinckney’s wife who is a quiet beautiful woman trying to raise her children alone after the horror of that day two years ago. I have met others who are working with the Charleston community to prevent gun violence. I honor all of them and grieve with their survivors as they remember and try to forget this day. To the victims:
Last Sunday, my minister said that the world is both beautiful and scary in a sermon relating to one of the readings of the day. She is so right. Most of the time, I find the world to be beautiful. In spite of my family’s having dealt with the domestic shooting of my sister, we have all moved on the best we could living around the hole left by my sister’s death. Life seems beautiful and we are lucky for that.
But then something happens to bring the grief and sadness to the surface again. Recent shootings, especially the very public shooting of 2 reporters in Virginia, brought those scary feelings back instantly. Gun violence is so unexpected and violent. Thoughts of a loved one experiencing that horror, pain, violence and fear are hard to push back down again. People die from auto accidents, household accidents, diseases, and sometimes by homicide. But gun deaths for the most part are so senseless and preventable.
So maybe we should all put our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. We could roll ourselves up in a ball and move on. But many of us have not done that. We have made ourselves advocates for preventing the awful effects of gun violence on other families. So I read. I act. I write. I talk.
The daily news of gun incidents is hard to ignore. But it’s important to keep writing and talking. Most people become numbed to the issue and just want to live their lives without thinking about gun violence. But just as with auto accidents, diseases and other causes of injury and death the majority of parents do what they can to keep their families safe and healthy. Gun safety reform and awareness of the dangers of guns should be a part of the safe and healthy life styles that we all practice . We, as adults, will not be here forever. Our children will be around longer than us and we owe it to them to keep them safe and teach them healthy habits. We should do #WhatEverItTakes. When 8 children a day are dying from gun homicides, suicides or accidents, we can’t take it lightly. And many more are injured and suffer life long disabilities and/or emotional distress.
Earl Carswell said Sunday’s incident could have been much worse.
“If (Minter) had been aiming, and wasn’t somebody pulling on him, he could have killed three, four or five folks,” Carswell said. “But thank the Lord he got pulled off. As soon as that gun appeared, they grabbed a hold of it.”
Despite struggling with several churchgoers, Carswell said Minter was able to squeeze off seven rounds.
“Bullets don’t got any sense, they just go whichever way,” he said. “It could have been a hairy thing quick, I mean sure enough.”
(…) “When I think about it (today), I get jittery,” he said.
Jackson said he believes residents “are still in shock that something like this could happen in Selma.
This is probably the first church shooting we have had, but unfortunately this is the world we live in now,” he continued. “Church used to be off limits, even to the worst criminals, as far as committing a crime in the church. Now times have changed.”
Carswell said he has lived in Selma for 61 years and many churchgoers have been known to carry guns into worship service. Carswell said himself carried one into church for 10 years.
“This is the first time anyone has ever pulled it and even showed it,” he said.
“…. but unfortunately this is the world we live in now.”” Yes. It’s unfortunate but not inevitable. It’s hard to believe that this is the first time there has been a problem with guns in worship services in Selma given that people have been carrying guns into churches for years. Why? Why are guns needed during church services? What are people scared of in church? Church services are mostly beautiful and peaceful or joyous. If we are scared of people with guns coming into churches, it’s because we, as a country, have allowed our laws to be weakened to the point of allowing guns in our churches.
And why is that when people “snap” it’s a gun that they turn to to “solve” their problems?
Our gun culture encourages almost everyone to own and carry guns and we don’t make serious attempts to stop people who shouldn’t have guns from getting them. When someone like the man in the Selma church “snaps” a gun changes everything in an instant from normal, beautiful, calm, happy,…. to scary. The shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston was scary not only because 9 people were shot but because of the shooter’s motives. He was associated with white supremacists and had racist sentiments. The recent fomenting of racism and anti-Muslim statements made by Republican Presidential candidates is making our world scarier. Combined with people who shouldn’t be able to own guns, we have a potential “perfect storm”.
Part of this is the consequence of a culture of guns that is based on fear of others who are not like us and fear of others with guns. It’s a vicious circle.
Bullets don’t have any sense of course as is mentioned in the above linked article. That’s the point. They have trajectories that can be predictable or not. Guns with bullets in them are dangerous and people who carry guns and own them can become dangerous in a split second.
Speaking of becoming dangerous in a split second, we really do need to have a very serious discussion immediately about kids bringing guns to school. Going to school should be a positive experience. We all know that is not the case for all children given their race, religion, home life experiences, intellect, etc. Many factors can make learning difficult for some. But school, at least, is supposed to be a safe place. Not so any more. From this article in The Trace, we learn that:
Since the school year began roughly one month ago, there have been at least 29 incidents in which elementary, middle school, and high school students were caught bringing firearms to school, according to a survey of media reports. Most have involved teenagers.
This bears repeating- “…there have been at least 29 incidents in which elementary, middle school, and high school students were caught bringing firearms to school....” Very frightening. What are we going to do to keep our kids and students safe? Every gun in the hands of a child or teen must first pass through the hands of an adult. What in the world are adult gun owners thinking? The problem appears to be that people have such a cavalier attitude towards guns that they don’t seem to realize how dangerous they are. Guns are mostly not used for self defense. When will we get this into our collective heads? When will we stop listening to the gun lobby who tells people the opposite?
Scary to say the least. And the problem comes from easy access to guns. We now have more guns around than ever before. It is inevitable that they will make it into the wrong hands. There is just no common sense to our gun culture and our gun laws.
Yesterday I took a little time away from the cares of the world and this blog and gun violence prevention. I drove up along the North Shore of Lake Superior on a gorgeous day to enjoy the beauty of the nature around me. I was not scared of anyone or anything. I saw no guns. I saw no one who looked like they were scared about some idiot with a gun in the parking lot or along the trail. What I saw was people enjoying the beautiful day with cameras carried instead of guns. Thanks goodness most people don’t carry guns or feel the need to own them. At least not where I live. And not the people with whom I am friends. And if they do have guns, they use them mostly for hunting in the beautiful woods that are all around my area of northern Minnesota. Not only do people hunt, they love the beauty of the woods in the fall and the sport of hunting.
Until we get to the point of of a serious national discussion about the dangers of guns, even for “law abiding” gun owners, the incidents I read and write about will continue. The corporate gun lobby is aiding and abetting our insane gun culture to boost sales and preserve a narrative that is just not based on the truth. Maybe some of those folks should take a walk in the woods and enjoy the beauty around them instead of thinking of ways to sell guns.
Gun violence has a ripple effect that spreads far beyond the victim and the immediate family. It is a public health epidemic. The corporate gun lobby is part of this ripple effect because were it not for their fierce opposition to doing the right thing to reduce and prevent gun violence, the ripple would be smaller. But the carnage continues daily and does not take a holiday.
Judging by the size and depth of the wound, police believe it was fired into the air from a five-mile radius, which would include Omaha.
“Just to be in your own yard and get struck by a bullet from the sky, you know, it is supposed to be fireworks coming from the sky, not bullets,” said grandfather Jim Riddle. “We thought it was a firework that hit him right here and then all of the sudden we found out it was a bullet laying on the floor after she lifted up the cloth, putting pressure on the blood.”
Looking weary and visibly frustrated, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy delivered a press conference Sunday afternoon addressing the high levels of gun violence Fourth of July weekend in Chicago, attributing much of it to lax gun laws.
As of 3 p.m. Sunday, Chicago police confirmed nine shooting deaths and at least 40 others wounded in shootings since Thursday afternoon. Earlier this week, McCarthy promised “all hands on deck” for the holiday weekend. (…) McCarthy displayed an array of firearms on a table at the press conference, saying that Chicago Police seized “about one illegal gun per hour” over Fourth of July weekend thus far. (…)
Amari was shot, along with a 26-year-old woman, just before midnight. Sunday morning, police said they were not the intended targets of the shooting; McCarthy confirmed that police believe the target was Amari’s father, who he said is a “ranking gang member” with 45 previous arrests, including for illegal gun possession.
McCarthy said he was most recently arrested on a gun charge in April, but then released the next day. “If Mr. Brown is in custody,” McCarthy said, “his son is alive. That’s not the case. Quite frankly, he shouldn’t have been on the street.
“It’s real simple,” he continued. “Gun possessors are potential murderers. If they don’t learn a lesson for carrying the gun, they keep carrying the gun. They get into an argument, now instead of fighting, they shoot.”
McCarthy said there need to be stricter gun laws and blamed “the gun lobby” for the lack of political motivation to pass them.
Lula Hill has a strategy for keeping her three sons alive.
It begins just before they leave for school in the morning. She rubs their foreheads with anointing oil and says a prayer that God might protect them when they are not in her sight.
Then there are the more practical steps, like teaching the boys to stay away from the windows of their own home, on the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Roseland. Jaden, the youngest, who is 8, knows why.
“A man might have a gun in his hand, and he can look through the window and see me and he can shoot,” he said. “That makes me feel, like, scared because I don’t want to get killed.”
These are the practicalities of life and family as another summer of violence breaks over Chicago.
Unfortunately, prayers will not keep her kids safe. Changing the laws and the conversation are the only hope this mother, and the many other parents like her have. Kids should not have to worry about being too close to windows in their homes because of bullets flying on the streets or for fear of someone with a gun looking in and aiming at him/her. This is the America we have, though. In some urban areas, kids are growing up with gun violence all around them.
My good friend and fellow activist for gun violence prevention posted about the “ripple effect” of the shooting that changed her life when her daughter got access to a gun and shot and killed herself leaving behind children and a grieving family and friends. It was 4 years ago today and my friend posted all of the things she is angry about that her daughter or her grandchildren or herself can no longer do. From her Facebook post ( just some of what she wrote):
” Every day I miss hearing her come in the door calling out Mom! Even the times when she was angry. I miss the time she changed the ringtone on my phone for her to play Stewie (from Family Guy) yelling out Mom in so many different and annoying ways. I miss that her kids may not always remember the different facets of Angela. I miss listening to her laugh as she would play dominoes with her friend Jodie, or giggle with her kids and when they were upset she would get them laughing by telling them not to laugh, she would say do not laugh, whatever you do DO not laugh, I do not want to see you laugh and in no time they would be giggling so sweetly. I remember her coming over and the kids running in all excited that they had rescued a turtle. They saw one on the side of the road so Angela pulled over and carried it across the street so it would not get run over by a car. I asked her are you sure that was where he was headed and she laughed. I miss her so much not only because of the times we spent together, but for the times we will miss.
I am angry that it has been 4 years and nothing has changed.
I am angry that I have friends that have been working hard to make changes since 1989 and nothing has changed.
I am angry that the system failed my daughter and so many other daughters and sons, siblings and spouses, so many loved ones.
I am angry my grandchildren are growing up and my daughter is missing all of it.(…)
I am angry that like her siblings, her children will meet milestones in their lives and like their Aunt and Uncles there will be someone missing.
I am angry that every day new people join our ranks of grieving survivors….
I am angry at the people and politicians that believe we want to take away everyone’s guns and abolish the 2nd Amendment, because they believe this false information people will continue to die every day from gun violence.
I am angry that since Sandy Hook there have been at least 125 school shootings and nothing has changed. (…)
I am angry that to some the answer is we need to arm more people…. Yet the death rate by gun violence keeps climbing.
I am told guns don’t kill people, people kill people…. With this I cannot argue, so let’s cut the gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of those that should not have a gun. Felons, domestic abusers, those that are considered a danger to themselves or others.
I am angry that gun owners think because they are responsible gun owners that we shouldn’t have universal background checks. It isn’t the responsible gun owners I fear, it is the irresponsible ones. The ones that leave their guns where children can find them and use them. Those who will without a second thought give guns to anyone and call it their constitutional right and not give it a second thought as to what could happen. We have laws about stealing and robbery and those aren’t in place to stop the lawful…
I am angry when people look at me and say if she hadn’t had a a gun she still would have committed suicide…. Yes that is possible she may still have but then again had she chosen another method she could have possibly changed her mind.
I am angry that in 2012 – 32,288 people died from gun violence and 64% of them where suicides and yet people still will say to me she could have picked another way…. When there is a gun in the home it is more likely to be used in suicide, domestic violence or accidently than in defense.
We need to work together, we need to sit down and discuss and find an equitable solution. We need a universal background check that would prevent a lot of senseless murders and suicides. We need more education on gun safety to protect our children from accidental shootings.
In 2013 there were 41,149 suicides: 10,062 were by suffocation – 6,637 were by poisoning (pills) – 21,175 were by gun…. Do you still think we do not need a background check that includes severe depression and severe mental illness?
Please lets open the discussion and save lives.”
Diane’s daughter had serious mental illness and had been hospitalized. Yet she was able to purchase a gun anyway. And now, Diane is living with the ripple effects of the violence that takes way too many lives and leaves families and communities devastated.
I am angry that Diane had to post this today. I am angry that many of us have been working for many years to get our elected leaders to stand with us and do the right thing. I’m angry that too many of our leaders have chosen the money and the corporate gun lobby over common sense. I’m angry that the devastation continues unabated because we have not had the courage to have a serious national conversation about the role of guns and gun violence in our country.
Diane’s voice is just one of many. She is representing a lot of Americans and also a majority of Americans who just know that what we are doing now is not working and we need to work for change.
If anyone wants to know why the majority of Americans want something to change about our gun culture and our gun laws, just read what I wrote. And then read this article about why we are doing virtually nothing- post Charleston and post Sandy Hook and post Aurora and post the daily parade of gun deaths and injuries:
All of this has produced a certain level of cynicism among those who support gun restrictions, as expressed by the President when he said he didn’t expect reforms any time soon.
Each time that a massacre has occurred, we have seen not only a striking mobilization against any new restrictions but an equally striking absence of strong pressure to address this issue.
A significant number of liberal Democrats, who in previous years had strongly supported gun control, have remained noticeably silent on the issue. They are resigned to defeat.
The President often finds himself standing alone when calling for gun control. But those who say federal legislators can “never” pass gun restrictions should look to moments like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Affordable Care Act of 2010 to see how those predictions can turn out to be wrong.
The good news is that there has been some progress in states like Maryland and New York, which have attempted to move forward even as gridlock reigns supreme on Capitol Hill. But for an effective response to the kind of gun tragedies we see so often, supporters will need stronger mobilization to counteract what their opponents have achieved.
The country needs to do a better job dealing with its gun problem. Otherwise, it will be all too soon that we’ll find ourselves going through this again.
We can write and think about this all we want to. But what we need is action. Lives depend upon us putting our heads together to do the right thing. In the name of the victims, this needs to change. Act now to ask Congress to pass a universal background check bill. Act now to work with your own state legislators to pass a similar law. We can save lives if we stand together and have the will. Will we?
Family members said they had heard distant gunshots a while before Martin collapsed. They reported the gunfire to a ranger, because using firearms is prohibited in that area of the national forest.
Now, the family is urging whoever fired the errant shot to come forward.
“It just happened. You never know when you’re going to go. You can be sitting at a campfire waiting to roast marshmallows with your grandchildren talking to your son in law and you’re just done,” Carlie said.
At this time, sheriff’s officials said it appears that Martin was killed by an errant bullet fired by an unknown person. They do not believed it was intentional at this time. However, that has not been ruled out, sheriff’s officials said.
On Monday my chapter of the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence ( also affiliated with Protect Minnesota) organized and held a bell ringing in memory of the 9 victims of the Charleston Mother Emanuel church shooting. It was well attended and very powerful. There were 3 local clergy from different faith persuasions giving remarks as well as the pastor of the local AME church where we held the event. Another community activist involved in the community of color also made remarks. As is our tradition, we had 9 people from those gathered come to the front of the church and hold a photo of each of the 9 victims. When they said their names, our bell was rung. We finished by ringing the bell for all other victims and survivors and joined in a hopeful song.
We are numb in this country. We hardly know how to respond any more to these kinds of shootings. But this one seemed different. 9 people were targeted because of the color of their skin. I have not seen this much activity on-line, on social media, in the American media, in media from around the world in events held, in comments made- ever since I have been involved in the issue of gun violence prevention. It has stunned me. People want to talk about it. A friend stopped me in the grocery store. She wanted to talk about it. People saw me on TV as I was interviewed about the bell ringing. The public is outraged and numb.
It’s been a week now. And the country has been reeling with the uproar caused by this shooting. The Charleston community has reacted with grace and peacefully, even using the word forgiveness and sometimes hope. That is what we heard at our bell ringing event on Monday.
Against this, of course, was the suggestion, by a board member of the National Rifle Association, that responsibility for the massacre lay with the clergyman within the church, for opposing laws that would allow “concealed carry” in places of worship. Had he not taken that stand, the argument runs, there would have been a pitched gun battle in the church—a better thing, apparently, even though it would have only fulfilled the gunman’s mad fantasies of race war. Pitched gun battles in a Charleston church or a Connecticut elementary school, of the sort that some in the N.R.A. apparently dream of, would more likely be horrific blood baths, with crossfire and injured bystanders, not some well-tuned and well-timed action-movie scenario.
The reason that we have gun massacres in numbers wildly out of proportion to any other rich country is because we have too many guns. When gun massacres have happened elsewhere—as they sometimes have, in Canada and Scotland and Australia and elsewhere—the common-sense response has been to change the laws, and, almost always, after the laws are changed the massacres end. In the United States, they continue. It seems like a good bet that changing the law here would change that.
In the areas of gun crime where there has been extended study, we know for certain that serious gun control works to end, or at least limit, gun violence. It is as robust a correlation as any in the social sciences, as sure a thing, as I’ve written before, as knowing that antibiotics act to limit and end infections. You go looking for sane counterarguments in favor of overarmed America and find that none exist. Guns don’t protect anyone from anything. Their presence simply increases the odds of domestic tragedy, of a domestic altercation turning into a homicide (or a suicide). The data confirms what common sense suggests: not even the most desperately paranoid among us could possibly be perpetually prepared for an actual home invasion—as very rare as such incidents actually are. The fantasy of the armed homeowner bravely repelling the evil armed intruder is just that. The number of justified homicides is overwhelmed by the number of gun tragedies. In 2012, thirteen states, including New Jersey and New York, reported no justifiable homicides at all. Not one. The notion that gun possession could stop, rather than increase, the number of casualties in the home is another fantasy created by violent movies and television programs, and is only possible in them. (Violent crime is dropping under the gun-control regimes in Europe and Canada as well, just as it has in the States. We’re still the only country that has gun massacres so routinely that our leader has to figure out what new thing he can say each time out.)
Gopnik goes on to write about the Confederate flag and why people who still pledge allegiance to it and to their own gun fetishes and fear and paranoia are so dangerous:
Another, parallel claim—what might be called the insurrectionist one—insists that guns are necessary to enforce a constitutional right to threaten and subvert the duly elected government as gun owners might see fit. This is a view that one Abraham Lincoln rather fiercely resisted, and put an end to in the eighteen-sixties. Amid the arguments over the Confederate battle flag flying in Charleston, the one that insists that the flag represents, above all, an effort to make slavery a permanent state for black people is probably the most relevant. But it’s also worth remembering that the defeat of the Confederacy involved exactly the defeat of the notion that the threat of insurrection was ever to be regarded as an acceptable political act. As Lincoln said, in his first inaugural, “No government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination.” You can’t say you need to have a gun to threaten the government.
Gopnik finishes with things I have written here many times before:
On most public issues, there are two reasonable views, even when one view seems, to put it mildly, cruel—the view, say, that poor people should be left without medical insurance. But on gun control there aren’t. All the facts are in; all the social science is long settled; the constitutional positions are clear, if contested, and the wiser way known and shared by mankind. On one side are facts, truth, and common sense. On the other, an obsession with dark fantasies of individual autonomy and power—the sheer fetishistic thrill of owning lethal weapons. On one side is the sanity and common sense shared by the entire world; on the other, murder and madness and a strange ongoing American mania. If we don’t change, then, well—it will happen again, again. And then again.
Will we choose sanity and common sense or will we choose madness?
Who is ultimately responsible for dozens of gun lobby sponsored bills advancing not just in Missouri each year but in other conservative legislatures? We are. Who is responsible for the many legislators who remain silent during floor debate, even though their districts suffer the most gun violence in the state? We are.
Who is responsible for a Congress which continually fails to advance policies like universal background checks even though 90 percent of us, including gun owners and NRA members, overwhelmingly support these common sense measures? We are.
Who is responsible for re-electing a Congress which ignores majority opinion in favor of standing with the gun lobby? We are. Who is responsible for the myth that one can’t get elected if they stand up to the profiteering of gun manufacturers? We are.
In our silence, we have forgotten that we hold the power to save lives.
Our power is our vote — the power that the majority of Americans don’t utilize unless it’s a sexy presidential election year. Most Americans have no clue who represents them in state houses (where most gun laws are being passed) or even in Congress, which is exactly how the NRA wants it. On top of that, the NRA knows exactly who votes and who doesn’t because voting records are public and available to anyone. (…)
Our silence on election days is increasing the carnage and suffering. We cannot afford more silence. Please help.
Silence is killing us.
Don’t be silent. Don’t be numb. Wake up. Stand up. Raise your voices. Make noise so your elected leaders hear you. Demand that they listen to the voices of reason whose concern is for the victims.
We have been dumbed down as well by the myths and illogical arguments foisted on our leaders and too many Americans by the corporate gun lobby. They have succeeded for too long now but the latest carnage in Charleston, South Carolina is pushing the country to speak out and speak the truths that have been too long ignored. We need the courage of conviction on the gun issue as is starting to happen on the flag issue. There is a right about some things in our culture that, when evil exposes the terrible wrong, just has to be acknowledged. There really is such a thing as common sense.
These kinds of stories represent what’s gone terribly wrong about rights. These things shouldn’t be normal. The people don’t want this kind of behavior to be normal.
But we can fix what’s wrong. Our leaders have also been touched by the Charleston shootings in a way that perhaps they weren’t even touched after the Sandy Hook shooting. It’s a national shame that the corporate gun lobby stopped the country from acting according its’ conscience after the Sandy Hook shooting. Maybe this time the organization whose board member tried to blame the victims for the shooting will have to sit down and be quiet for a change. Senators Manchin and Toomey have admitted that they are willing to pursue gun safety reform legislation of some kind. Is there hope?
Is the Charleston Mother Emanuel church shooting the one that was one too many? Is this the one? Are the other mass shootings that occurred on the week-end after the Charleston shooting too many for us? Is the murder/suicide of a young family ( just one of many that occur regularly) enough for us?
Will we decide we won’t continue to be numb and we refuse to be dumbed down and numbed by the gun lobby?
This article ends with a great quote that fits with everything I have written in this post about our political leaders and the need to have them stand up to the gun lobby:
Despite the assertion that pro-gun forces are winning the battle for public opinion, support for reasonable gun laws remains strong. According to a poll by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, 83 percent favored background checks for all gun sales, while 80 percent supported prohibiting anyone with a temporary domestic restraining order from buying a gun.
“It’s noteworthy that attitudes among gun owners were well over a majority for a whole range of different measures to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” said Johns Hopkins associate professor Colleen Barry.
This fight isn’t lost, then. Far from it.
It’s time to speak up and speak out.
To fight fog with facts.
And to be every bit as determined as the other side.
It’s been foggy. It’s been numbing. It’s been void of the facts for far too long. But things are changing. We may be coming out of our numbness and our fog.