Denial and insanity

denialWell, as we could have predicted, on the heels of a mass/spree shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan that shook that community, yet another community, now in Kansas, has now suffered the effects of a gunman mowing innocent people down because…….:

A gunman armed with what police called an “assault-style” weapon killed three people and injured 14 others in Kansas Thursday before he was killed by a police officer.

All three victims and 12 of the injured were shot at Excel Industries, a plant in Hesston that makes lawn mower products, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said. Of those hurt, 10 were critically wounded, he said.

Authorities have not officially identified the deceased suspect, but multiple co-workers identified the shooter to local media as Cedric Ford. Walton would not discuss a motive, but told reporters there were “some things that triggered this individual.”

“….some things that triggered this individual.” So in America, the land of the free and milk and honey, when something “triggers” someone, they can just get out their assault style rifle and handguns and take out their anger or their beef with someone and open fire on innocent citizens. 4 are dead, including the gunman, and many are critically wounded because….. America.

Are we insane? One does have to wonder why these things happen. Or maybe not. With the American gun culture as it is, with enough guns for every American citizen and laws that allow just about anyone to access a gun, it is inevitable that the shootings continue unabated.

And when the gun lobby gets its’ way with elected leaders, yet more insanity occurs. In Iowa, as just one crazy example, the legislature thought it would be a good idea to let children 14 and under become gun handlers. I mean, why not, right? An army of children who will, of course, know exactly how to handle handguns because…… Well, it’s pretty inexplicable actually. Toddlers shot more people in 2015 than did terrorists. And both can easily access guns.

With children who access their parents’ guns shooting themselves or their parents or siblings or friends on a regular basis, it sure does seem like a great idea to let more children use guns doesn’t it?

Here’s another article about the Iowa law:

State representative Jake Highfill told the Washington Post that the new law “gives the power back to parents”.

“Allowing people to learn at a young age the respect that a gun commands is one of the most important things you can do,” Highfill said.

The alternative, he added, is “turning 18 with no experience”.

What? No words.

Yesterday I participated in an event in Minneapolis with Americans for Responsible Solutions. I was honored to stand behind former Representative Gabby Giffords and her husband Captain Mark Kelly as they spoke about the facts. And I was also honored to be asked to be a member of this coalition of law enforcement officers, domestic violence organizations, community activists, educators, gun owners and people on both sides of the aisle. The round table discussion centered on the easy access to guns and what we can do about it. And the group, of course, understood that saving lives was the common goal.

We know one undeniable fact. Gabby Giffords’ life was almost lost when an angry young man with a gun he should not have been able to have shot and killed 6 people and injured Giffords and others. This is the 3rd time I have been with Gabby Giffords and I find her courage remarkable. She is determined to do something about the denial exhibited by her former colleagues in Congress. She spoke about the need for courage.

Why should it take courage to do something about the senseless shootings in our country? What is it about the gun lobby that makes our leaders put their heads in the sand and pretend that if they pass common sense laws the rights of law abiding citizens will be affected? This denial is costing lives at an alarming rate. There is no more time for this heads in the sand response to the shootings like the ones in Michigan, Kansas and …….

We know the routine. In the article about the Gabby Giffords event, this is the response from the gun lobby folks interviewed by the media:

But Bryan Strawser and the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus believe the focus should be on dealing with violent criminals, particularly looking at prosecution and sentencing, and providing additional access to mental health services – not on laws such as Giffords’s group supports that primarily impact law-abiding citizens.

“We have hundreds of thousand of permit holders, and, by in large, those gun owners are extremely safe and law-abiding citizens in the community,” Strawser said.

Strawser agrees certain people shouldn’t have guns, but he says some goals of the coalition go too far.

“We believe that is where the focus should be, not on the kind of laws that this organization has pushed that will really impact law-abiding citizens,” Strawser said.

Denial. Fallacy.

Does anyone challenge this lunacy? In what way will laws that expand background checks to all gun sales to stop felons, domestic abusers, those who are dangerously mentally ill and others who should not be able to buy guns affect law abiding citizens? They don’t say. They just say this stuff and then pretend it’s true and enough of our leaders buy it that we fail the majority of Americans and Minnesotans who agree with common sense solutions.

This is simply not OK. This is lunacy and denial. This is the influence of money over lives that has kept our country from addressing the public health epidemic staring us in the face.

We’ve had #enough. Are our leaders going to take their heads out of the sand and do something? Are they going to listen to the nonsensical rhetoric that is not based on evidence and fact brought to them by a small group of citizens who believe that passing reasonable laws will affect them in some way?

It’s time for courage. Thank you Gabby Giffords for having the courage to stand up, even after your heinous injuries and life long disabilities to challenge the status quo and demand that we do something and do it now. We just can’t wait any longer. Saving even one life will be worth the fight.

 

UPDATE:

Well, I didn’t think I would be adding to this post. But there has been another mass shooting in the state of Washington leaving 5 dead. If one of the gun rights folks who read my blog want to share with me an explanation or what could be done better or differently than trying to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them and educate the public and gun owners about the awesome responsibility of owning guns. The risks of owning guns are great and can lead to death and injury. More guns are not making us safer.

Sounding the alarm bells

alarm bellHow can we be so cavalier and casual about the recent week-end’s carnage due to shootings? Does the public pay attention any more or have we become numb to what is happening around them? People have busy lives. I get that. I pay attention because I blog and because I am so involved. But getting people to understand that we don’t have to tolerate the 90 gun deaths a day is too important to let go. The corporate gun lobby doesn’t want us to know how many people are shot and killed or injured. Guns are dangerous. They are designed to kill people. Once we pass the stronger gun laws that the public wants and the conversation changes to talking about the awesome responsibility of gun ownership, it’s possible that fewer people may want to buy firearms.

Follow the money. Profit trumps saving lives.

Last Saturday, an Uber driver went on a spree shooting, allegedly in between passenger stops. 6 people are now senselessly and tragically dead in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a result:

New details emerged about the victims, ordinary people with no connection to Mr. Dalton, enjoying simple pleasures on an unseasonably warm day — taking a walk, eyeing cars at a dealership. Outside a Cracker Barrel restaurant, a makeshift memorial and yellow caution tape marked the site where four women were shot dead and a teenage girl seriously injured.

Lt. Dale Hinz of the Michigan State Police said the people who were shot outside the restaurant just before 10:30 p.m., in the last of three assaults, had dined there earlier in the evening. He said they had then car-pooled to a performance on Western Michigan University’s campus in Kalamazoo, leaving one car behind. Afterward, they returned to the restaurant. “They had just pulled into the parking lot and just gotten back to their respective vehicles” when they were shot, Lieutenant Hinz said.

This latest rampage was just one of 6 last week-end alone leaving 10 dead and 19 wounded. In addition to the spree/mass shootings, there were the usual shootings that happen on an hourly basis in homes, businesses, schools, churches, streets, in bars and restaurants and other places where Americans gather. More from the article:

According to data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), 80 people were killed and 150 wounded by gunfire between Friday afternoon and Sunday night — a rate of more than one fatality per hour. The new figures bring the total of gun deaths in 2016 to 1,754, according to GVA’s count. An additional 3,437 people have been injured by bullets.

These numbers do not include suicides unless they are known to media sources.

These stunning numbers should be alarming. Are they? Common sense would tell us that losing this many people to one cause should sound some bells and lead to a major discussion about how to solve the problem. But common sense is subverted by some kind of prevailing opinion not supported by the majority of Americans, that doing anything about the gun violence epidemic would violate rights. Meanwhile, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has been taken from way too many victims of senseless shootings leaving devastating grief and sadness for the families, friends and communities.

And speaking of risks and responsibilities, how many more times will we see a “law abiding” gun owner and conceal carry permit holder lay his/her gun down in a home with children and have it end in a tragedy like this one?:

Neither of them noticed the little boy approach the table where Lonaker had left his .38 revolver. No one watched as he picked it up, the weapon clumsy and cold in his tiny hands. And no one saw him pull the trigger, sending a bullet flying toward his father.

With rights come responsibilities. More from the above linked article:

“Please keep your guns in a secure location out of reach of children,” his statement implored. “This was a tragic accident. Please make certain that firearms in your homes are not accessible to anyone — especially children. Many firearms accidents in the home can be prevented simply by making sure that firearms are kept unloaded and safely stored, with ammunition secured in a separate location. Please keep your guns in a secure location out of reach of children.

“This is a tragedy that is told and retold all across the country and a tragedy that can be avoided.”

Lonaker’s death is at least the 18th accidental shooting by an American child under age 10 this year, according to a Washington Post survey of news reports. Six of those incidents were fatal, and in every other one, the victim was also a child. In three cases, the person killed was the child who accidentally pulled the trigger.

This should not be the new normal. This is NOT normal anywhere else in the world. A 6 year old boy will never be the same because his own father left a gun within easy reach thinking nothing could possibly happen. The ripple effect of this tragedy will be wide and severe for all concerned.

Sound the bell for another senseless lost life due to bullets.

More vigils, More flowers. More candles. More bell ringings. More speeches about the ravages of gun violence. More avoidance by elected leaders and candidates. More people joining the club of gun violence victims and survivors.

Sound the bell. It’s past time for action. We have to be better than this and we’ve had #Enough.