Just one bullet

Bullet gun copperJust one bullet killed an innocent Alaska woman and left a suicidal man with a life forever changed:

A trial date has been set for a 21-year-old Alaska man accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend when he tried to kill himself and the bullet struck the woman after passing through his head. (…)

Chelsea Hartman, Haag’s sister, told KTVA that the pair, who were high school sweethearts, “always seemed so happy.”

“I think a lot of it is still hard to grasp of how is it just one bullet, you know? And how does it go through one person and then the other person and kill the second person? It’s just not fair,” Hartman said.

Yes, that is all it takes. One bullet and instant death. Accident, suicide, unintentional, homicide, terror attack….. Just one bullet.

Guns and alcohol don’t go together.

A South Carolina family is lucky one of them was not killed by this man’s bullets. In this case, it started with one bullet and one angry man. It then escalated quickly to many bullets. From the article:

Frustrated by young children playing in his Goose Creek-area neighborhood, a man shot their grandparents and fired at two others, including a 1-year-old girl, investigators said Tuesday. (…)

Before 5 p.m. Monday, the children played in the road near Merritt’s house. One was an 8-year-old boy, the other a 1-year-old girl, said Mark Peper, an attorney for the children and their parents.

Merritt emerged from his home and told them to be quiet.

The grandparents, who were watching the children after school, learned about the encounter. They told Merritt not to yell at their grandchildren.

“Merritt got upset and … retrieved a .22-caliber pistol,” the sheriff’s statement said.

He confronted the grandparents and the children’s mother, telling the woman that she and the baby she was holding were going to die.

He started shooting at several people there and followed them a short distance as they scattered.

The grandfather was hit in the left chest, an arm and an ear. He had tried to shield his family from the gunfire, Peper said.

A bullet struck his wife in the chest.

You can’t make this stuff up. Children playing? That deserves a bullet?

Anger and guns don’t go together.

The thing is, when the gun lobby wants to arm anyone and everyone and allow people with no permit, no training and absolutely no common sense to have guns loaded with deadly bullets around everywhere, this is the result.

But I digress. It took just one bullet for this 4 year old Virginia boy to find at his daycare center, carelessly and irresponsibly left accessible to children. He shot and killed himself with it:

This incident occurred at a child care provider that is also the residence of a Stafford County Sheriff’s Office recruit, according to officials. The recruit was not at home at the time of the incident.

Aren’t children supposed to be safe at child care centers? A woman I know said she was asked if there were guns in the home before she was licensed as a home daycare provider. The cavalier attitude towards guns that is shown by some gun owners is a national public health and safety problem.

Children and guns don’t go together.

I could go on and on because incidents like the above happen every day and every hour of every day. All it takes is one bullet. It took one bullet to injure my sister, one to kill her and one for “good measure.”

The owner of the bullets used to shoot others are the ones who have to be responsible and careful because bullets are deadly and don’t know where to stop. Often enough, however, bullets are very intentionally aimed at an innocent person resulting in instant tragedy. The “good guy” with the gun who shot at grandparents and children because of noisy playing is a poster boy for all that is wrong with the American gun culture. He represents what the corporate gun lobby wants. The “good guy” with a gun who shot my sister became an instant “bad guy” with a gun.

Domestic disputes and guns don’t go together.

What should we do about this state of affairs?

We should educate people about the risks of loaded guns to their owners and those around them.

We should insist on laws that prevent those who should not have guns from getting them legally or illegally. Yes, it is legal for prohibited purchasers to buy guns legally with no background checks in case you were thinking of arguing about this fact.

We should pass safe storage laws and insist that all guns are locked up, unloaded, away from small hands, teens and others who could be dangerous to themselves or others.

We should strengthen our gun trafficking and straw purchase laws.

We should pass mandatory lost and stolen gun laws.

We should pass laws to hold parents responsible when their gun is used in an “accidental” shooting by their own child.

We should pass gun violence protection order laws so that families can report a person who could be dangerous to him/herself or others to law enforcement so the guns could be removed from their hands.

We should insist that all gun buyers have training before walking out of a gun store with a deadly weapon.

We should make sure that if someone wants to carry a loaded gun in public, they are vetted carefully and have training in how to carry that gun.

We should agree that an armed society is not a polite society nor a safe society.

We should ASK if there are loaded guns in the homes where children hang out and play.

We should not let ads for products that depict guns and bullets cavalierly without asking why. Check out Azzaro Cologne as just one example:

In both smell and presentation, this cologne draws out the rebel in every man with striking aromas and a gleaming gun cylinder bottle.

What? What do mens’ cologne and bullets have in common? Maybe manliness, or being a rebel? What does that mean? The not so subtle intimation that only a rebel with bullets and Azzaro cologne can be real men?

Where is common sense?

Real bullets kill people.

All it takes is one bullet.

All it takes are elected leaders who will stand up to the corporate gun lobby.

All it takes are Americans making more noise, raise their voices against our gun violence epidemic and get involved to save lives.

Like the voice of this little boy who tells it like it is. He doesn’t want a bullet to take his life. He just wants to go to school to learn his numbers.

All it takes is just one bullet to change the lives of innocent people forever. This little boy knows that. Our leaders should listen to his voice and do something about it.

Where is common sense?

Gun safety 101

few reasons people shot peopleAmerica is awash with guns. So now what? People kill each other over things that shouldn’t result in someone becoming dead. If you don’t believe me look at what Parents Against Gun Violence puts together every month about the reasons people shoot each other. You can get on their Facebook page and click on the incident to see that they are not making this stuff up.

What should we do? For we are clearly not practicing gun safety in America. Obviously banning guns will never happen. How would it happen? Never mind though. That is what the gun extremists tell the world whenever they don’t want a reasonable gun law passed that would only make it harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them anyway.

What do they say about all of those “accidental” shootings that I read about every day? It’s mostly kids but even “responsible” gun owners discharge their guns unintentionally. When it’s kids and teens, those “responsible” gun owners have to be adults. For every gun in the hands of a child or teen must first pass through the hands of an adult.

Take this case as a tragic example ( only one of many)- Some Florida teens found a gun in a gun box in a garage. They passed it around and pulled the trigger feeling fairly certain that the gun was unloaded ( how would teens know this?). There was one round in the chamber after all and now a young boy is senselessly dead.

Why does this happen so often? It is happening often by the way. From the article:

BSO, coincidentally, has been planning to have a firearms safety class next Tuesday in Cooper City. The class will focus on safety lessons for children ages 11 to 14. It will discuss topics like properly securing firearms and the dangers of guns.

The Sheriff’s office wants to teach kids about gun safety. What’s wrong with this picture? They want to discuss properly securing firearms with teens? This is the wrong audience for that. Teens are not the gun owners. The adults own the guns. Teens can’t buy guns. Why aren’t the adults required to attend a mandatory class when they buy a gun to teach them that what they just bought is a dangerous product designed to kill another human being? What is wrong with us?

Meanwhile a “responsible” gun owner shot and injured his own daughter. Seriously. In what other country do parents “accidentally” shoot their own kids? Didn’t they have Gun Safety 101? Likely not. Actually very few people get proper training to shoot those deadly weapons they buy for self defense. How then, one wonders, will they know what to do if they actually need that gun to protect themselves or their family?  Because six states have passed laws that don’t even require a gun permit holder to touch a gun before carrying one around in public let alone any kind of training. Other states require permits but no training. Insane. But I digress. From the article:

The dad was trying to show his daughter how to draw a gun when the firearm went off, police said, according to NBC Miami.

You really can’t make this stuff up. Why would you show your daughter how to draw a gun? In what scenario should a young girl be expected to draw a gun on someone? In what safety course did this man learn that having a loaded gun while “playing” with it or showing it to someone else is a good idea?

My friend at New Trajectory blog has written a new post about people getting shot at gun stores. As I said, you can’t make this stuff up.

Meanwhile, while all of this, and much more more, were happening, the Gun Violence Archive is keeping track of numbers. It’s not a good trend. According to the folks at this site, the following is true:

We have had 36 more mass shootings this year than last.
We have had 866 more deaths.
We have had 2,973 more injuries reported.
We have had 1,456 more Officer Involved incidents.

At the bottom of this post is the graph showing the numbers. Can we say we have a national gun violence epidemic? The answer is quite equivocally YES. Check it out for yourself.

So what to do? The answer is not complicated. It’s pretty simple actually if we all use a little common sense and put our heads together to do what’s right for public health and safety. Requiring Brady background checks on all gun sales is the most important thing we can do. Fix the NICS so that all the crucial records of prohibited purchasers are in the system. Fix the system so that there is no “default proceed” for selling guns until a background check is completed. Stopping domestic abusers from getting guns. Requiring people to report lost or stolen guns is another. Strengthening gun trafficking laws is important as is passing stronger straw purchasing laws. The gun lobby loves to say we need to enforce the laws on the books. OK. How about this problem? Some judges are granting felons their gun rights back even when they shouldn’t. Is that a good idea? ASK if there are unsecured guns in the homes where your children/grandchildren play. Lock up your guns if you have them to reduce the chance that someone ( a child, teen, burglar, vulnerable, dangerously mental ill person, person with anger issues) isn’t able to get a gun anyway. Gun suicides take more lives than homicides.

So how about mandatory training and maybe even requiring insurance for owners of deadly weapons? Would that be so inconvenient? Because buying a gun is way too easy. Here’s what’s required now:

To buy one, I would need to fill out a 4473 — a six-page form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

I’d have to write my name and address. My Social Security Number is optional. And there’s half a page of “yes or no” questions.

“Have you ever been convicted in any court of a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more than one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation?”

“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

Arthur has to write down the type of gun — the make and model and the serial number. Then, he calls the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, in Clarksburg, W.V., and he gives them only the most basic information: name, address, driver’s license number.

“They give me a ‘yay’ or ‘nay,’ and out the door you go,” he says. “It’s quick and easy. And we take credit cards.”

Quick and easy and out the door you go with your gun.  It should be hard to buy a gun.

But the corporate gun lobby has a hissy fit whenever any of these solutions are suggested. God forbid that we actually do something about the devastation of gun violence. Because what will happen to profits if people decide that guns are a danger to themselves or their families? What happens if training is required as it is to drive a car and more time and effort has to be expended to get a gun? What happens if people must have a background check no matter where they buy a gun?

Most likely fewer gun deaths and safer communities.

Until we can speak the truth about our American gun culture, even the pandering bought and paid for politicians will do insane things to get themselves elected. The most recent is Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s claim that Texans ( I’m sure all of them) make their bacon on the barrel of a machine gun. Watch this. Hmmm. The gun lobby gets angry with gun violence prevention advocates for not using the correct terminology. Doesn’t Senator Cruz know the difference between an automatic machine gun and a semi-automatic AR-15? Guess not. He was making his bacon on a semi-automatic. So if he gets that wrong, what else will he get wrong?

But why make a video like this in the first place when you are running for office? Is it cute? Is it showing respect for guns? Is it safe? Is it necessary to get elected to act like a clown to get into the good graces of the gun extremists?

This is the America we have. Is this the America we want or deserve?

This is why America needs a major tutorial about the role of guns and gun violence in our country. What our politicians should be doing is figuring out how to lower the rate of gun violence in America instead of cavalierly buying votes by showing prowess while making bacon ton he barrel of a gun.

Where is common sense?

Gun Violence Archive