America Loves Guns More Than Children

We could have said, ‘Cars don’t kill people. People kill people,’ and there would have been an element of truth to that. Many accidents are a result of alcohol consumption, speeding, road rage or driver distraction. Or we could have said, ‘It’s pointless because even if you regulate cars, then people will just run each other down with bicycles,’ and that, too, would have been partly true. Yet, instead, we built a system that protects us from ourselves. This saves hundreds of thousands of lives a year and is a model of what we should do with guns in America.

A century ago, we reacted to deaths and injuries from unregulated vehicles by imposing sensible safety measures that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives a year. Why can’t we ask politicians to be just as rational about guns?

There is no such thing as an accidental discharge—it is a negligent discharge. In order for a gun to fire, Scearce said three things have to occur: It has to be functional, it has to be loaded and the trigger has to be pulled.
— 

Cp. T. B. Scearce of the Danville, VA Police Department commenting on a 6-year-old boy found a gun left unattended and fired through the wall striking a 22-month-old girl now in stable condition.

"Hooray for the Small-Town Cop Who Refused to Call a Child-on-Child Shooting ‘Accidental’"

This is life in Florida — guns everywhere, and laws that favor the trigger-happy. Shoot first, then cry self-defense.

Kids playing rap music too loud? Lock and load.

Some guy texting at the movies? Teach him some manners.

Don’t walk away from an argument when you can end it with a bullet. Stand your ground and hope you get the right jury.

Welcome to Planet NRA.

— 

Carl Hiaasen, a columnist for The Miami Herald

"Welcome To Florida, Where The NRA Rules and We Proudly Stand Our Ground"

The fact is, the NRA has created, and is now appealing directly to, a fringe element of gun fetishists whose entire lives revolve around guns, ammo and making sure nobody takes away their freedom. These people tend to believe they are the ‘good guys with guns’ and they’ll stop the ‘bad guys with guns.’ Inevitably, though, many of these people tend to turn out to be the bad guys with guns, killing people with no guns. In today’s America, the percentage of households with guns is near an all-time low. A 2012 General Social Survey poll showed that only 34% of homes had a gun, down from over 50% in the 1970s. Yet, it is estimated we now have as many guns as people in this nation. Basically, if you own a gun, you likely own several.

Therefore, what we have here is a country where the majority of the population has no real use for guns and does not want them in their homes. However, because there is an industry which is seeing huge profits from the sale of guns and ammo to a minority of the population, it is imperative for the NRA to make sure that this group of people has the ability to continue to arm themselves to the teeth in the name of the Constitution and freedom, consequences be damned. Thus, the increased frequency of mass shootings, killings in public places and a general air of fear is a small price to pay for unregulated, rampant capitalism. Isn’t that the American way, after all?

The Second Amendment crowd is misreading the amendment in whose name they struggle, but they’re not wrong about everything. There is a cultural divide over guns. As one who has used guns recreationally off and on for many years (mostly off in the year since Newtown), and who has lived in the major capitals of the East and well outside them, I’ve seen that divide firsthand.

It didn’t happen by accident. Urban Americans were the first to experience the immediate and devastating impact of gun violence. And with the passage of the Sullivan Law of 1911, the “liberal elites” of New York State became the first Americans to live under some form of gun control. They’ve lived that way for generations now, and have never experienced the gun culture so common to other parts of the country.

Much of the rest of the country is still living out the pioneer fantasy forged in the 1800s – and that fantasy is still fulfilling the same economic purpose: to distract them from the true imbalances in power that rob them of agency and economic power. They may not have money or a good job. But with a well-stocked gun cabinet they can feel that personal power is, in the words of the Rolling Stones song, “just a shot away.”

When middle-aged “open-carry” activists walk into Kroger with semi-automatic rifles slung over their shoulders, they aren’t exercising their rights with an ethic of responsibility. They’re trying to intimidate their way to respect and esteem. They’re acting out, demanding attention and rejecting curbs on their desires. That’s not being a citizen. It’s being a toddler.

We the people get to decide whether that’s normal. Whether it’s acceptable or laughable to brandish firearms in the produce aisle. Whether it’s tolerable or disgraceful that we average more than one school shooting a week now. Laws like background checks can help set a tone for what’s OK. But ultimately, with our family and friends and neighbors, each one of us must decide what kind of civilization we expect in the United States.

Somebody’s child was killed Friday because that child went to school. Somebody has to do something about it. In ways full of both risk and responsibility, you are that somebody.

Five things I learned about conservatives these past two weeks

attribution: Reuters/A&E

Some of these beards are patriotic, others are just like the Taliban. Can you spot which is which?

Conservatives have kindly given us an illuminating inside look into their world view these past few weeks. Things I’ve learned:

  • Reality is a mere inconvenience. Remember when Obamacare would destroy the world? How many of them are talking about the ACA today? The number is pretty much zero. The law proved its worth, and they moved on. There was Cliven Bundy, but that flamed out, so forget he ever existed. So they moved on to Benghazi select committee, but how much are you hearing about that these days? No, now it’s BERGDAHL who will finally prove Obama’s undoing. Except he won’t.
  • "Leave no one behind" is not a conservative value. The Solider’s Creed says, “I will never leave a fallen comrade.” The Airman’s Creed says, “I will never leave an airman behind.” It’s a foundational military and American value. For conservatives, it’s “leave no one behind, unless Sarah Palin has something to say about it, then it depends.” That’s simply un-American.
  • Forget about supporting the troops. It’s not just leaving our troops prisoner in the hands of our enemies. Conservatives filibustered increased spending on veterans health care. And let’s not forget, they’ll boo our troops if they happen to be of the wrong sexual persuasion. In other words, support for the troops is now lip service, and even then, situational. It really depends.
  • Beards say “I love America!” except the Taliban ones. Long beards are okay when they’re on the face of Duck Dynasty pretend hillbillies, but not okay on the face of Bowe Bergdahl’s father. Just because.
  • Keeping schoolchildren alive is not a priority. Given the choice between unfettered access to weapons of mass killing or keeping our school children safe, conservatives have made their choice very clear. For them, dead school children are preferable.

Alright, I admit it. I didn’t learn most of those things these past two weeks. The “leave no one behind, maybe” was new, as was the crazy beard thing. But the rest? It merely confirmed what we already knew. None of it very pretty.

We allow this. In a modern democracy. For the same reason we don’t have background checks to stop murderers and terrorists from buying guns, or require people to report a lost or stolen gun, or stop people from buying a sniper rifle that can shoot someone from 10 football fields away.

We have allowed our culture to be manhandled by people who have purchased and repackaged our history. They don’t want you to know that as recently as the 1970s concealed carry in public was rare, and we took a similar stance on deadly weapons as many other similar countries. But then the NRA was taken over by a gun nut who had actually shot a kid dead in cold blood when he was younger. He brought with him the radicalized, right-wing mentality of a child, one that devalues human life and proclaims, as he did, that some dead people here, there, and everywhere is just “the price we pay for freedom.”

A Missouri mother called 911 to say her 5-year-old boy shot his baby brother with a paintball gun. In reality, it was a .22-caliber Magnum revolver.  The 9-month-old boy didn’t survive.

Also:

Responsible Gun Owner Shows Off Gun, Accidentally Shoots Daughter

While Thinking There’s An Intruder In His Home, Man Accidentally Shoots Himself

Toddlers Killed More Americans Than Terrorists Did This Year

By Stacie Borrello, Tue, June 11, 2013

Americans hate terrorists and love our kids, right? So you might be shocked to know that preschoolers with guns have taken more lives so far this year than the single U.S. terrorist attack, which claimed four lives in Boston.

This is admittedly tongue-in-cheek, but one has to wonder if the NSA’s PRISM program would have saved more lives had it been monitoring toddlers – or gun owners – rather than suspected terrorists.

11 Deaths in Five Months Where Shooter Was 3 to 6 Years Old

Listed below are the 11 gun fatalities I found where a preschooler pulled the trigger (from Jan. 1 to June 9, 2013). Starting with a list of five toddler shooting deaths The Jewish Daily Forwardpublished in early May, I unearthed six additional cases. This tragic, unthinkable event has happened every month, like clock-work.

Jan. 10: 6-year-old playmate shoots and kills 4-year-old Trinity Ross, Kansas City, Kan.

Feb. 11: 4-year-old Joshua Johnson shoots and kills himself, Memphis, Tenn.

Feb. 24: 4-year-old Jaiden Pratt dies after shooting himself in the stomach while his father sleeps, Houston.

March 30: 4-year-old Rahquel Carr shot and killed either by 6-year-old brother or another young playmate, Miami.

April 6: Josephine Fanning, 48, shot and killed by 4-year-old boy at a barbecue, Wilson County, Tenn.

April 8: 4-year-old shoots and kills 6-year-old friend Brandon Holt, Toms River, N.J.

April 9: 3-year-old is killed after he finds a pink gun that he thinks is a toy, Greenville, S.C.

April 30: 2-year-old Caroline Sparks killed by her 5-year-old brother with his Cricket “My First Rifle” marketed to kids, Cumberland County, Ky.

May 1: 3-year-old Darrien Nez shoots himself in the face and dies after finding his grandmother’s gun, Yuma, Ariz.

May 7: 3-year-old Jadarrius Speights fatally shoots himself with his uncle’s gun, Tampa, Fla.

June 7: 4-year-old fatally shoots his father, Green Beret Justin Thomas, Prescott Valley, Ariz.

At least 10 more toddlers have shot but not killed themselves or someone else this year (seehereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here). In the first three cases, the shooter was only 2 years old.

I also found nine instances where children and teens 7 to 19 years old accidentally killed themselves, a family member or friend since January (see herehereherehereherehere,herehere and here).

Of course, most if not all of the above deaths and injuries can be attributed to careless adult gun owners.

While this analysis focuses on children, another equally accurate headline could read: “U.S. Gun Culture Kills More Americans Than Terrorists Worldwide.”

In 2010, 13,186 people died in terrorist attacks worldwide, while 31,672 people were killed with firearms in America alone, reports CNN’s Samuel Burke. 

We Need a Return to ‘Well-Regulated’ Gun Ownership

We cannot deny that guns pose a real danger to innocent American lives and especially to children. While no one is “coming to take the guns” of responsible people, we still must reach a compromise to address gun violence. I do not have all the answers, but I know as responsible citizens we have to do something.

While some people refuse to accept any limits on gun ownership, we simply do not have the right in America to circumvent personal restrictions that protect society as a whole. We can drink and we can drive, but we cannot mix the two. We have free speech, but we cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater. We have the Fourth Amendment, but we still submit to searches of our bodies and belongings for the sake of air safety.

People who worship the Second Amendment should recognize the “well-regulated” aspect of gun ownership that the forefathers intended. Instead, we have a gun lobby that pays off senators to vote against background checks and gun culture that welcomes a 3-year-old as a lifetime NRA member. I worry for that child’s playmates.

Georgia mom shot in leg and baby killed in stroller by kids with gun

A woman in coastal Brunswick, Georgia was shot in the leg and her 13-month-old son murdered in his stroller, allegedly by a pair of boys with a handgun. According to CNN, Sherry West was out walking her son Thursday morning when a pair of juveniles, one around 13 or 14 years of age and the other possibly as young as 10, approached her with a weapon and demanded her money.

“He said, ‘I am going to kill you if you don’t give me your money,’” said West.

When she replied that she wasn’t carrying any money, the older boy reportedly said, “Well, I am going to kill your baby.”

West tried to shield her child with her own body and was shot in the leg. The boy with the gun shot the infant in the head, then he and the other suspect fled on foot.

West’s son died at the scene. No witnesses have come forward and no weapon has been recovered. The boys are still at large.

by David Ferguson at The Raw Story