Guns and bullets odds and ends

odds and endsIt’s been another deadly few weeks in America and in my own state of Minnesota. Let’s review the carnage.

Two weeks ago a young man shot and killed his wife in front of their children and then killed himself in a domestic murder/suicide.

A few days ago another domestic murder/suicide took the lives of 2 more Minnesotans .

A mass shooting killed one and injured 6 in a Minneapolis neighborhood home to many of the awful shootings in Minnesota. From the article:

One person was dead and at least two others were in critical condition after seven people were shot Wednesday night in north Minneapolis, police said.

The carnage, which unfolded just before 9 p.m., added to the grim toll that a sharp escalation in shootings has taken on north Minneapolis this year.

30 shots fired. Are we at war? This may have been gang related. Please see my previous post for what is the truth about gang shootings. Lives lost are lives lost.

Further, until we start admitting that we have a gun problem, we won’t be able to prevent some of the guns from getting into the hands of gang members and other young people in affected communities so the shootings can stop. We have a lot of work to do.

Another shooting just a few days ago in a Minneapolis suburb ended with 2 injured.

The state Senate, however did take a common sense vote when the Public Safety  committee unanimously voted to ban pistols that look like cell phones. This kind of phone was developed by a Minnesotan who thought it would be a good idea. Whatever was he thinking? This idea was even too much for Republicans and gun rights supporters.

A gun carrying parent in South Carolina “accidentally” fired off his gun at his daughter’s swim class. Luckily for him, no one was injured.

“This man was sitting not 2 feet away, and his gun went off,” Kay said, recalling what her daughter told her. “She said he had a huge hole in his pocket.

“Everyone was upset. It could have been a terrible tragedy for many people.””

Sigh.

In Ohio, a man shot himself in the leg at a Chick-fil-A while pulling up his pants in the bathroom.

Oops. This is not the first time I have written about this kind of irresponsibility and stupidity.

A disgruntled and angry employee shot and killed someone at his former place of work in Texas, angry over being fired. Fired? Get a gun and kill your co-worker and yourself.  Only in America.

A Texas concealed carry permit holder decided to help out at a crime scene by trying to stop the first shooter with his own gun. The result? He was shot and killed. So much for defending oneself or someone else with a gun carried around in public.

In Texas again, a customer tried to stop a man who shot at an employee by getting out his own gun and shooting at the man. The result? He was shot in the head but will apparently survive.

A Facebook employee is helping private groups who buy and sell guns with each other get their groups back in spite of Facebook’s policy to remove the groups. Why not? Private sales of guns are such a good idea because the seller has no idea to whom he/she is selling a gun. Domestic abuser? No problem. Felon? No problem. Dangerously mentally ill? No problem.

An 11 year old Alabama boy decided to take matters into his own hands and shot and injured a burglar. He had no remorse and even mocked the burglar.

Sigh.

And then there are those kids shooting themselves and others. Several recent articles have been written about toddlers and guns. This one from the New York Times writes about one week in April. From the article:

Sha’Quille Kornegay, 2 years old, was buried in a pink coffin, her favorite doll by her side and a tiara strategically placed to hide the self-inflicted gunshot wound to her forehead.

She had been napping in bed with her father, Courtenay Block, late last month when she discovered the 9-millimeter handgun he often kept under his pillow in his Kansas City, Mo., home. It was equipped with a laser sight that lit up like the red lights on her cousins’ sneakers. Mr. Block told the police he woke to see Sha’Quille by his bed, bleeding and crying, the gun at her feet. A bullet had pierced her skull.

In a country with more than 30,000 annual gun deaths, the smallest fingers on the trigger belong to children like Sha’Quille.

During a single week in April, four toddlers — Holston, Kiyan, Za’veon and Sha’Quille — shot and killed themselves, and a mother driving through Milwaukee was killed after her 2-year-old apparently picked up a gun that had slid out from under the driver’s seat. It was a brutal stretch, even by the standards of researchers who track these shootings.

This is the American gun culture, like it or not. Most, of course, don’t like this but just are not willing to step up to work on solutions. What can we do about children getting their hands on guns? Not let them get their hands on guns. How can we do that?

  • Safely store guns away from small and curious hands.
  • Consider the risks of having guns in homes where children are present.
  • ASK if there are unsecured guns in the homes where children and teens play and hang out.
  • Pass laws to hold gun owners responsible when they are careless enough to leave guns around for small hands to access. The fact that we have not done this is shameful and negligent. Laws matter and will change behavior.

Not surprisingly the corporate gun lobby is opposed to laws that could prevent some of these brutal and tragic shootings of and by toddlers. It’s really beyond imagination to understand this kind of resistance to life saving legislation. But never mind…. rights.

From the article above:

Gun control advocates say these deaths illustrate lethal gaps in gun safety laws. Some states require locked storage of guns or trigger locks to be sold with handguns. Others leave safety decisions largely to gun owners.

Twenty-seven states have laws that hold adults responsible for letting children have unsupervised access to guns, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, though experts say such measures have, at best, a small effect on reducing gun deaths. Massachusetts is the only state that requires gun owners to store their guns in a locked place, though it has not stopped youngsters there from accidentally killing themselves or other children.

Gun rights groups have long opposed these kinds of laws. They argue that trigger locks can fail, that mandatory storage can put a gun out of reach in an emergency, and that such measures infringe on Second Amendment rights.

“It’s clearly a tragedy, but it’s not something that’s widespread,” said Larry Pratt, a spokesman and former executive director of Gun Owners of America. “To base public policy on occasional mishaps would be a grave mistake.”

“Occasional mishaps”? Seriously Larry Pratt?

Sigh.

Where is common sense?

These are our nation’s children we are talking about here. Anything we can do to stop senseless and avoidable deaths of children should be done. Hiding behind the second amendment and rights is just not cutting it any more. When even one child dies choking on a small toy part, we ban the toy and recall it. This is just plain nonsense and the public knows it. Too bad our legislators and Congress members don’t stand up in boldness and have the courage to challenge the gun culture that has left us with the carnage described above.

And speaking of protecting our children and youth, what about the ban on selling e-cigarettes to anyone under 18? Good news. Also, a warning label must accompany the product. If only guns were treated like all other dangerous public health and safety products, we could be on our way to saving lives.From the above article:

Federal health officials billed the new rules as critical to taming a “Wild West” atmosphere involving a multi-billion-dollar industry whose products have surged in popularity in recent years, especially among young people. They say there is little control over — or even basic information about — the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of the products, and that action is needed to protect young people from nicotine addictions and to inform adults about what exactly they are inhaling.

Hmmm. Insert guns for cigarettes and we would be on our way to doing something very good for our teens.

It is not odd for shootings like the ones above to happen every single day in America and my own state of Minnesota. It should be but it’s not. And when guns are in combination with anger and/or depression or a need for revenge, the ends can justify the means.

It’s time for this to stop and we can do something about this if we have the will and put our heads together to do the right thing. This is about saving lives. Period.

Let’s get to work. #Enough.