This post has been edited since first posted to include new information.
It’s no surprise that we are in the middle of the 2016 Presidential election. Candidates are posturing about all issues before them but in light of the Paris terror attack, the rhetoric has become hysterical and downright deceptive. The lying is absolutely stunning to me and the fact that Americans are buying it is what I am truly afraid of. When Donald Trump can drum up the fear and anger of Americans to get elected, we have a serious problem that we should all fear. How can we believe someone who claims that there were people in New Jersey who cheered when the Twin Towers collapsed? This claim received a “pants on fire” rating from Politifact.
When we elect a President, among other things, truthfulness should be at the top of the list. This person will be the leader of the free world that is now more dangerous and complicated than ever.
One area of discussion that most of the Republican candidates don’t want to have is the ability of terrorists to be able to legally buy guns in America from licensed firearms dealers. An article from Media Matters sums it up nicely:
NRA: Rep. King “Is Pushing A Scheme To Deny Your Second Amendment Rights” With Terror Watch List Legislation. The NRA’s online magazine America’s 1st Freedom misidentified Rep. King as a Democrat in an article opposing the legislation, writing, “Amid the horror and outrage over last week’s Paris terrorist attacks, on the pretext of stopping terrorism, New York Democrat Congressman Pete King is pushing a scheme to deny your Second Amendment rights — and deny your right to due process in the bargain — by banning firearm sales to anyone on the FBI’s so-called Terrorist Watch List.” [America’s 1st Freedom, 11/20/15]
Anyone can get a gun through a private sale with no Brady background check. So the argument that terrorists will just get their guns somewhere else is true but ludicrous. We can prevent that as well as most Americans understand and want us to do.
And let’s get this straight. Republican Congressman Peter King is pushing for a bill that would keep terrorists from having guns. He’s not a Democrat. Are the people who write this stuff ignorant or clever?
Why in the world would the gun lobby oppose a bill like this? It would not deny law abiding citizens’ right to bear arms or due process. And yes, there are problems with the list:
So, clearly, the watchlist itself needs improvement and that ought to come first. But nonetheless, there surely are many thousands of people who are legitimately on the list. And those who are should surely be barred from legally obtaining firearms.
But as usual, the National Rifle Association has stood in the way of legislation that is designed to prohibit terrorists from purchasing firearms legally, and that obstructionism goes back to 2007.
Naturally, one the NRA’s arguments is that terrorists will just acquire firearms illegally, so such a law would only hurt “law-abiding citizens.” The gun lobby also trots out its standard rap about this kind of legislation being “sponsored by gun-control extremists.”
We just don’t need those kinds of false statements. It’s all hands on deck right now. Let’s fix the problem in a bill that will prevent those who are actual terrorists from being able to buy guns. If we truly care about the safety of America, we will get to work post haste and get this done. We can’t wait for the politicians who are clueless, deceiving us or so in bed with the corporate gun lobby that they are afraid, to get on board. The time is now to act.
The New York Daily News has been on the attack against the NRA’s opposition to closing the terror gap and now going after their fearless leader, Wayne LaPierre in this latest publication. So where is Mr. LaPierre? Where is a statement from the NRA about a bill that could save Americans from a terror attack? From the article:
At issue is the NRA using their overwhelming influence with lawmakers to block a law that would ban anyone on the terrorist watch list from purchasing a gun.
The bill, known as the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, was proposed in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 people in Paris dead and hundreds more injured. Gun control advocates say that a legal loophole allows suspects on the terrorist watch list to purchase guns while the same list prevents them from flying on U.S. airlines.
The bill was originally proposed in 2007, but has been blocked by conservative lawmakers who are heavily backed by the NRA.
According GOP House member and bill co-sponsor Rep. Peter King of Long Island, the NRA is opposed to any bills that might stop anyone from purchasing a gun.
“Anything which they feel restricts the use or the ability to retain a gun they’re opposed to,” King said.
The Daily News doubled down on their attacks on the NRA for their intransigence on sensible gun legislation, with a lead story Monday morning that began: “Under the gun, with its leader nowhere to be found, the NRA faced a fusillade of new criticism Sunday for prioritizing gun rights over prevention of a Paris-style massacre in the U.S.”
I found this response by the NRA-ILA to the discussion about the terror gap:
Regardless of whether the transaction is given the green light to proceed or is denied, the encounter is noted at the time and its import is assessed in the same manner as all newly discovered pieces of intelligence about the subject of the investigation. … What the attempt to buy a firearm means in a counterterrorism investigation, and as a result the subsequent actions it warrants, necessarily must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Of course, just because and individual is allowed to purchase a legal item doesn’t mean that person is thereafter beyond the reach of law enforcement. If authorities knew, for example, that a person were buying fertilizer to make a bomb, they obviously wouldn’t sit on their hands simply because the fertilizer purchase was legal.
The same would obviously be true of the otherwise-lawful purchase of a firearm by a person who officials had evidence intended to use it to commit a terrorist act. In this regard, current law, coupled with the FBI’s procedure, could actually produce useful and actionable anti-terrorism intelligence.
On the other hand, prohibiting every purchase by a watchlisted individual gives real terrorists under investigation or surveillance an easy way to determine whether their acts have drawn the government’s suspicion. All they would have to do is go to a gun shop and attempt to buy a gun. If they were denied and knew they had no other basis of denial, they would know the denial was watchlist related.
What? So we shouldn’t try to stop them at the point of sale because our system will get around to investigating who they are later? Really? And within hours, we could have a terror attack. And if a terrorist were denied a gun sale at a licensed dealer, he/she would know the denial was watchlist related? And so?…. What then? The terrorist would be stopped and would have to find another way to get a gun which is, as we know, far too easy in our country. That is also why we need to require a Brady background check on ALL gun sales.
If we stop terrorists at the point of sale, just perhaps a terror attack would be averted, at least for a time. Meanwhile, the FBI would know for sure that that person was attempting to buy a gun. If someone on the Terror Watch List buys a gun, it just can’t be for sport. This kind of faulty reasoning by the gun lobby is ludicrous and potentially dangerous for us all.
It’s not time to be making things up about guns and terrorism in the silly season known as election time in America. Donald Trump appears willing to say just about anything to pander and ramp up the fear and hysteria. One of his latest deceptions is that black Americans commit the most murders in America. From the article:
The statistics, purported to be gathered by a Crime Statistics Bureau in San Francisco this year, appear to be fabricated. The Crime Statistics Bureau cited in Trump’s tweet does not exist. The FBI, which does gather official crime statistics for the U.S., has not yet released them for this year.
Last year’s FBI statistics show that the numbers in Trump’s tweet are incorrect and appear to be aimed at perpetuating racist myths about black people and crime.
In 2014, about 82 percent of murders involving white victims were committed by other white people, while only 14 percent were committed by black people, according to the FBI.
Among murders involving black victims, just under 90 percent were committed by other black people, while 7 percent were committed by white people.
Crime experts have concluded that homicides are most likely to occur among people of the same race because people are usually murdered by someone they already know, and most people primarily know people of their own race.
What we absolutely don’t need is Trump’s hyperbole and fabrications because it gives excuses for Americans to feel terror and fear that is unwarranted considering the facts. The rhetoric is leading to armed Americans “patrolling” the streets because of fear of “the other”. In Texas armed open carriers appeared outside of a Mosque making dangerous claims:
“We tried to talk to the mosque before we did this, but they wouldn’t return our messages,” said David Wright, dressed in black all the way from his backwards baseball cap to the barrel of his tactical shotgun. “So here we are.”
Wright said he organized the rally in the wake of an Islamic terrorist group’s massacre of Parisian civilians this month. Like millions of Americans, he wants to block Syrian refugees from U.S. shores, lest they replicate the attack here.
But like a fraction of those millions, he was convinced that Irving’s mosque had established the country’s first Islamic court earlier in the year—a false rumor that started online but grew in popularity after Mayor Beth Van Duyne made it the focus of speeches to Tea Party groups.
“They shut the illegal court down,” Wright said, incorrectly. “And then, they threatened to kill the mayor.”
Thus, the guns. A protester with a bandana over his face showed off his AR-15 to traffic. A 20-year-old who wants to join the Army and ban Islam in the United States carried a Remington hunting rifle while his mother held the sign.
“They’re mostly for self-defense or protection,” Wright said, eyeing his 12-gauge. “But I’m not going to lie. We do want to show force. … It would be ridiculous to protest Islam without defending ourselves.” (…)
“My initial impression was they were using them for intimidation,” Palmer said. “I doubt that they’d be happy if some of the Muslim churchgoers here showed up at their Christian church, their Baptist church, their Methodist church tomorrow morning with rifles slung over their shoulders.”
Palmer said the police chief personally warned mosque leaders about the rally. They in turn urged their worshippers to steer clear of the group, which calls itself the Bureau of American Islamic Relations and had recycled some of the signs it took to a Richardson mosque last month, on a national day of protest against Islam.
The worshippers largely took that advice, ignoring the protest until it broke up after a couple hours. The Muslims in the tiny audience declined to share their opinion — instead offering praise for freedom of speech and variations on “no comment.”
But back on the sidewalk, a man who wore a name tag that read “Big Daddy Infidel” and was afraid to give his full name worried about the day he would be forced to use his hunting rifle to take a human life.
It’s just a matter of time before some of these folks, armed to the teeth, will act on their fear and cause our very own terrorist incident. And that is exactly what Daesh would love to have happen. I wonder if that is what Trump and other candidates would love to have happen? Because if they don’t stop their own dangerous and false claims, they will be igniting a group of Americans who are ready to fight on the streets against their own and/or against those they fear will hurt them.
This is why we have a military and National Guard. We don’t need untrained and uneducated heavily armed people patrolling our streets with their military style assault weapons ready to go to war.
These are complicated and dangerous times. We need common sense and the facts. Potential and actual insurrectionists with guns are dangerous and have no common sense. We have our own home grown terrorists and mass shootings that need our attention. For example, 16 people were just shot and injured in a New Orleans neighborhood. From the article:
A manhunt was underway across New Orleans on Monday after 16 people were shot during a gunfight at an impromptu music video recording at in a city park, authorities said.
The victims were all in stable condition.
The shooting broke out late Sunday at Bunny Friend Park in the Upper Ninth Ward where about 500 people were gathered for the video shoot, officials said.
“At the end of the day it’s really hard to police against a bunch of guys who decide to pull out guns and settle disputes with 300 people between them,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at a news conference.
Why isn’t this a terror attack? Where is the outcry over this mass shooting? No one died, thank goodness. But does the scene look familiar? Two or more gunmen opened fire at a crowd of people. Chaos and panic.
Also in New Orleans a Tulane University medical student was shot by a robber when the student attempted to help the woman being robbed of her purse. Yes, it’s scary being on the streets of America. What the gun lobby wants us to do is arm ourselves as if this student could have stopped the robbery had he pulled out his own gun. It would have been another gunfight on the streets with potential collateral damage.
Since I posted this, I came across this article about the New Orleans shooting:
Landrieu said the shooting that erupted in a crowd of nearly 500 people is akin to terrorism.
“Dead is dead, whether it’s national terrorism or domestic terrorism,” he said.
“This is senseless. We will never stand for it,” NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said.
The answer is not more guns on the streets. It’s fewer guns on the streets carried by those who shouldn’t have them. We are ignoring what is before our very eyes every day.
Where are our priorities? There is a lot of work to get done. Let’s get together and make it happen.
Vox has done some research on the topic of discussion- terrorism. They found what I have been saying and many have been writing about. The chances of a Syrian refugee committing an act of terror against America are far far slimmer than an American radicalized citizen shooting up a bunch of innocent people. And many of these are labeled right wing extremists- they are radicalized by religion and ideology. Let’s look at what Vox wrote about:
Domestic terrorism kills a small number of Americans each year; far more die from gun violence annually. But what gets lost in the national conversation on domestic terrorism is that terrorist acts are largely perpetrated by American citizens already living inside America’s borders. Radicalization — whether it’s jihadist extremism or right-wing extremism — more often than not starts at home in the US rather than entering the country from abroad.
When will we admit to the facts? The safety of Americans depends on our getting this right.