Browsing the archives for the firearms category.


Stuff to Read (or Watch)

-->
blogging, firearms

The New York Times has a nice investigative piece on what happens when private equity firms take over functions like fire fighting and ambulance services.

A Tennessee woman slipped into a coma and died after an ambulance company took so long to assemble a crew that one worker had time for a cigarette break.

Paramedics in New York had to covertly swipe medical supplies from a hospital to restock their depleted ambulances after emergency runs.

A man in the suburban South watched a chimney fire burn his house to the ground as he waited for the fire department, which billed him anyway and then sued him for $15,000 when he did not pay.

In each of these cases, someone dialed 911 and Wall Street answered.

Lots of buzz in social media about the Texas mother who shot and killed her two daughters and then was killed by police.

According to Christy Sheats Facebook page, she was a gun owner and vocal advocate for the second amendment.

“It would be horribly tragic if my ability to protect myself or my family were to be taken away,” Sheats wrote in March on her Facebook page, “but that’s exactly what Democrats are determined to do by banning semi-automatic handguns.”

In other posts, she showered her daughters with praise.

“Happy Daughter’s Day to my amazing, sweet, kind, beautiful, intelligent girls,” she wrote in September 2015. “I love and treasure you both more than you could ever possibly know.”

Police who responded to reports of gunfire found the daughters lying in the street in front of their home, and the armed mother wouldn’t put down her gun, so they shot her. Authorities are already blaming “mental illness.”

British politicians who had promised everyone a pony if the UK could leave the EU are backtracking.

Before Thursday’s referendum on the country’s membership in the 28-nation bloc, campaigners for British withdrawal, known as Brexit, tossed out promises of a better future while dismissing concerns raised by a host of scholars and experts as “Project Fear.”

But that was before they won.

With financial markets in turmoil, a big drop in the pound and the prospect of further chaos, some supporters of Brexit are backpedaling on bold pronouncements they made just a few days earlier. “A lot of things were said in advance of this referendum that we might want to think about again,” Liam Fox, a former cabinet minister, told the BBC, including when and how Article 50 — the formal process for leaving the European Union — should be invoked.

See also John Oliver.

Share Button
7 Comments

No More Thoughts and Prayers

-->
Congress, Democratic Party, firearms

Update: “Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) ended a blockade of the Senate floor after nearly 15 hours Thursday, announcing Republican leaders had agreed to hold votes on Democrat-backed measures to expand background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from acquiring guns.” (WaPo)

***

Some House Democrats walked out on the House’s “moment of silence” for the victims of Orlando, and as soon as the moment had passed some remaining Democrats shouted their frustration at speaker Paul “granny starver” Ryan.

House Democrats staged protests Monday evening in response to a moment of silence on the floor to remember the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest in American history.

After Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) led the House in the moment of silence in honor of the 49 people who died in the massacre on Sunday, the chamber erupted into shouting as Democrats expressed frustration over the lack of votes to restrict guns after repeated mass shootings.

“Where’s the bill?” Democrats chanted.

Today, Senate Dems are holding an old-fashioned filibuster on gun control.

Led by the senators who represent Newtown, Connecticut — where a gunman fatally shot 26 people, including 20 children, in 2012 — Democrats took control of the Senate floor Wednesday and vowed to keep talking until lawmakers start doing something about gun violence.

“Newtown is still putting itself back together, probably will be for a long time,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who launched the filibuster-style takeover, declaring it was time for the Senate to do something about gun violence beyond the usual ineffective debates.

He said lawmakers could not go about business as usual after a mass killing at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday claimed 49 victims.

“This is a different moment today than it was at the end of last week,” Murphy said. “There is a newfound imperative for this body to find a way to come together and take action, to try to do our part to stem this epidemic of gun violence and in particular this epidemic of mass shootings.”

This filibuster is still going on as I write this.  There’s a live feed at Wired.  It’s several hours of not-silence. A number of Democrats have participated; I don’t have a list of them yet.

So credit where credit is due. I hope this is just a beginning.

Share Button
4 Comments

Personal/Political/Whatever

-->
firearms

It turns out that the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, was a regular toxic stew of Personal Issues. He wasn’t so much a jihadist as someone who poured his excessive rage into a fantasy of jihad. The Washington Post reports that in the past he had falsely claimed connections to many Islamic terrorist groups, including Hezbollah. He seems not to have understood that Sunni and Shiite militants don’t hang out on the same corner.

The real bombshell is that it turns out Mateen was gay himself, according to people who had known him a long time. He’d even been a regular at the nightclub he attacked. And he had a father who is a Taliban supporter.  Talk about raging internal conflict, huh?

He did spend a lot of time on jihadist websites, according to some sources, which no doubt added more bite to the hot pepper gumbo of loathing sluicing around in his id. Other than that, he had about as much connection to ISIS as to the Brownie Scouts.  It seems debatable to me whether the shooting itself was an act of “terrorism” as much as one more mass shooting by a poorly socialized male.

So just about everybody’s initial reactions to the shooting were wrong. Donald Trump’s reaction was, of course, colossally and pathologically wrong.  After congratulating himself for his subtle and penetrating insight that Muslims Are Bad, he again called on banning Muslim immigrants — how that would have stopped American-born Mateen is not clear — and he blamed American Muslims for not doing enough to stop Mateen.

Yes, let’s inflame more young men with Issues into hating America. Just what we need.

He also accused President Obama of secreting working with ISIS. The American Psychiatric Association may need to publish an ancillary issue of the DSM just to deal with All the Stuff That’s Wrong With Trump.

I must give credit to Hillary Clinton for saying what needed to be said — we stand with LBGT people, we must not demonize Islam, we need better gun control. Sanders reiterated his support for a ban on semiautomatic weapons. I understand the libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, doesn’t want us to “politicize” the issue, which once again shows us that libertarianism is massively pointless. It’s our “politicization” of guns as protected by the political 2nd Amendment that’s put us in this fix.

I also want to note that the word “terrorism” has lost any meaning. It appears Mateen was motivated primarily by his massive Personal Issues; jihadist rhetoric was a supporting factor only, and there were no operational ties whatsoever to ISIS or any other terrorist organization. Yet all sorts of knee-jerk analysis labeled the Orlando shooting as “Islamic terrorism.” Meanwhile, Dylann Roof, who appears to have been an average soft-headed kid who was radicalized by white supremacist websites and literature into killing nine people in Charleston, is not a “terrorist.” Why not? Well, of course, we know why, but that reason is just a reflection of our own biases, isn’t it?

The truth is, putting the Orlando shooting into a “terrorist” or “not terrorist” box doesn’t do anything to help us understand it. Nor does it help to label Mateen “mentally ill” because his wife claimed he was bipolar; that appears to have been her own unprofessional diagnosis. Nor does it help to blame passages in the Quran or religion generally. Let us instead acknowledge that human beings are infinitely complicated, and that our lives and personalities are a mix of internal and external factors so tangled it can’t be said where one ends and another begins.

All I know is,

1. Hating people because of who they are never helps anybody.

2. We’re way past needing gun control. Are we ready to amend the 2nd Amendment yet? I know I am.

Share Button
18 Comments

A Bang and a Whimper

-->
firearms, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

So the Bundy boys and some of their followers are in FBI custody. LaVoy Finicum, the “live free or die” warrior known for taking in foster children to work on his unprofitable ranch so he could collect government checks has been killed. So far no details have been released describing Finicum’s death, but already the Web is buzzing with the rumor that Finicum was shot trying to surrender.

Before Finicum’s death was even confirmed, supporters rushed to portray him on social media as a martyr who, according to unverified accounts, had his hands up and was unarmed when he was shot. Law enforcement sources told CNN that Finicum and Ryan Bundy were the only two leaders who did not surrender during the confrontation.

One of the crew at Gateway Pundit, official home of the Dumbest Man on the Web®, reported that “The man was on the ground hands up, unarmed and cooperating. A real need to be shot three times.”

Those details hasn’t been reported anywhere, so how he could have known that is a mystery. And I didn’t think Finicum was ever unarmed. I imagined he had a gun and holster strapped around his PJs when he brushed his teeth at night. But perhaps Black Lives Matter has a surplus “Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ T-shirt this guy could buy .

USA Today reports that five or six of Bundy’s followers remain at the wildlife sanctuary they’d been occupying.

Share Button
8 Comments

This Weekend’s Shootings

-->
firearms

Lots of gun deaths in the U.S. of A.  this weekend, including some bona fide mass shootings that have the gun absolutists blaming Obama and oppressive gun restrictions.

On Saturday morning a gunman killed three people, apparently at random, in residential Colorado Springs. The gunman was shot and killed by police, who as of Sunday evening still weren’t releasing details about who he was.

Note that Colorado Springs is hardly a “gun-free zone.” Colorado gun laws are pretty much anything goes; the only restriction I could find is that a permit is required to carry a concealed handgun. (There are no restrictions on openly carrying anything, it seems.) But the state can’t deny a permit to anyone who doesn’t have a criminal record, and the gun enthusiast sites all say that it’s very easy to get a concealed carry permit in Colorado.

Comment at a right-wing blog: “If just one of the witnesses would have been a concealed carrier the dead count would have been less.” We don’t know that they weren’t. And it’s safe to assume lots of people in that residential area had guns in their homes.

One person was shot and another wounded at Winston-Salem State University this morning. The gunman got away. North Carolina also has permissive gun laws, and guns are not prohibited from public schools, which Winston-Salem State is. No “gun-free” zone involved.

Lots of other shootings this weekend, most apparently either accidents (some Halloween revelers in Maryland and Delaware celebrated by shooting at cars) or random “drive-by” type shootings.  If you’re just standing around on a street minding your own business, and somebody decides to shoot you for the hell of it, I’m not sure what good a concealed firearm might do you. You might consider a really thick helmet and body armor, though.

Welcome to America.

 

Share Button
23 Comments

Why We Can’t Reason Together

-->
firearms

The headline at Raw Story — Armed vet destroys gun nuts’ argument on mass shooters — is both true and irrelevant. The story is about a military vet who was carrying a concealed weapon — legally, it so happens — on Oregon’s Umpqua Community College campus Thursday during the shooting. And he says he decided to not intervene because a police SWAT team might have mistaken him for the shooter.

This tells us (a) the campus was not a “gun-free zone,” and (b) an armed populace is not necessarily safer than an unarmed one. But this is irrelevant, because the Right will ignore it.

Regarding the “gun free zone” argument, Shannon Barber writes at Addicting Info:

As we try to get our bearings again after yet another tragic mass shooting at the hands of a madman, as per usual, gun nuts everywhere are screaming “MORE GUNS!” and blaming the Umpqua Community College Campus for being a gun free zone. They blame everything except the real problem: that we need stricter laws regarding who can and cannot purchase firearms.

Well, there’s just one problem with those arguments this time around. The Umpqua campus allows concealed carry, and, according to students and other people affiliated with the school, plenty of people take advantage of it as well. According to John Parker, a student at the school and a veteran of the armed forces, he knows plenty of students who carry on campus; in fact, he was carrying the day of the shooting.

But it won’t matter. I predict the Right will continue to claim that “gun free zones” are especially susceptible to gun violence, and even that all mass shooter incidents have taken place in “gun free zones.” Even those who acknowledge the armed vet story will not let the truth sink in.

I give you Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, who is far from the dumbest or craziest writer on the rightie side of the Web. But he simply refuses to think outside the rightie box. Here is Shaw’s understanding of the pro-gun control side of the issue —

From the liberal, gun grabbing side of the discussion there is one remedy which would – eventually – cut down on mass shootings. It involves eliminating all of the guns on the planet. Owing to the fact that the majority of Americans still value gun rights and view private gun ownership as a positive force in protecting themselves from evil, Democrats are loathe to say the words out loud, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t like to see it happen. Unfortunately, the gun genie is out of the bottle. By removing all guns from existence you would certainly eliminate the threat of mass shootings. Sadly, the transition period would be ugly indeed because the first and easiest guns to confiscate would belong to law abiding owners. Rooting out all of the black market weapons would be a generational effort, leaving the lawful population in the position of being inviting, soft targets for criminals for decades. Then there is the inconvenient fact that guns aren’t only made in America. They are all over the world, and as long as there was a demand in the criminal marketplace the market would find a way to fill it.

In other words, he dismisses gun control arguments by substituting a straw man. Not one of the major gun control advocacy groups is calling for a total ban. He has no idea what the actual gun control arguments are, how effective gun control works in the real world, and no way in hell will he ever be persuaded to look.

As to the rightie side, after the usual demands for more more more guns guns guns, Shaw says,

I’m aware that the left is attempting to make hay out of the fact that there was one “good guy with a gun” on campus on the day of the shooting and he didn’t stop the slaughter. This isn’t even a data point in the discussion. The individual in question – a veteran who was carrying when the shooting took place – could have intervened if he’d chosen, but the fact is that he decided not to. It wasn’t his job to act as security guard and if he decided not to risk his life in a shootout with Mercer I’m not here to second guess him. That doesn’t mean that an armed guard or teacher couldn’t have shut the situation down quickly. And if Mercer had known that a lot more students were armed he might not have shown up at all.

But Mercer had attended classes at Umpqua, so he must have known that the campus was not gun free, and that “plenty of students carry on campus.” And  notice how Shaw brushes aside the veteran’s reason for not stepping in — he wasn’t afraid of a shootout with the perp; he reasoned that he could have been shot by law enforcement who didn’t know who he was.

In fact, armed citizens have been present at a number of mass shootings, and it made no difference.  From an article published after Sandy Hook in 2012:

In fact, there was an armed sheriff’s deputy at Columbine High School the day of the shooting. There was an armed citizen in the Clackamas Mall in Oregon during a shooting earlier this month. There was an armed citizen at the Gabby Giffords shooting — and he almost shot the unarmed hero who tackled shooter Jared Loughner. Virtually every university in the county already has its own police force. Virginia Tech had its own SWAT-like team. As James Brady, Ronald Reagan’s former press secretary cum gun control advocate, often notes, he was shot along with the president, despite the fact that they were surrounded by dozens of heavily armed and well-trained Secret Service agents and police.

The Right will not acknowledge facts, nor will they ever give gun control data and arguments a fair hearing. Never. Their lips will dry up and fall off their faces first.

See also Obama, Guns, and the Politics of Hoplessness and Four Pro-Gun Arguments We’re Sick of Hearing.

Share Button
16 Comments

What’d I Say?

-->
firearms

I wrote yesterday that the Interwebs already were concocting a story about Christians being shot in the head in Oregon yesterday, and that we could expect to see persecution complexes on steroids today. Sure enough, today the New York Post is reporting that the gunman of yesterday’s Oregon shooting singled out Christians for execution. This is based on the testimony of two people who are relatives of people they claimed were in the school who may or may not have been witnesses.  But the people repeating this story were not in the school themselves.

Note that people who actually were there are saying the gunman asked people about their religion — he did not specify Christianity — but then shot indiscriminately.

Again, this takes us back to the famous Cassie Bernall story, who allegedly was shot and killed at Columbine because she acknowledged believing in God. Bernall was shot and killed, but more careful investigation revealed that Cassie Bernall didn’t say bleep; it was another young woman who said she believed in God, and that girl survived. Even so, most right-wing Christians still believe the Cassie Bernall story. And some Freepers are blaming President Obama for inciting the killings with his hostility to Christianity.

Barring further corroborating testimony, odds are there was no singling out of Christians for execution; this is a story that emerged from hysteria.

Media outlets pushing the “Christian martyrdom” story are painting the perpetrator, Chris Harper-Mercer, as “hating religion.” But wait … Pam Geller believes the deceased Harper-Mercer was a jihadi. He was asking his victims about their religion so he could killed non-Muslims.  (Steve M has links; I’m not linking to Geller here.) Another right-wing whackjob has confirmed that Harper-Mercer was a jihadi.

On the other hand, several reports say that Harper-Mercer was obsessed with the Irish Republican Army. Yeah, IRA, ISIS, hard to tell the difference.

The portrait of Harper-Mercer emerging on sites like Raw Story and We Hunted the Mammoth is of another Elliot Rodger, the guy full of rage at women. We don’t yet know anything about the victims, however. We do know that Harper-Mercer was white, conservative, and liked to hang out on websites frequented by isolated and badly socialized men who fantasize about sex, death and glory.

Oh, and while pro-unlimited firearm freedom types are outraged that anyone would politicize this tragedy to talk about gun control, they didn’t hesitate to call for looser gun laws that would eliminate so-called “gun free zones.”

However, Umpqua Community College was not a gun-free zone, a little detail I don’t expect to see, ever, on right-wing media.

So what else is not new?

Share Button
14 Comments

No Surprises Here

-->
firearms, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

By the way, folks, you know that guy who killed two women and wounded several others in a movie theater in Louisiana the other day? He was an anti-feminist, anti-abortion, teabagger neo-Nazi whackjob.

He was opposed to women having a say in anything”: The ugly views of America’s latest mass shooter
Associates say John Russell Houser was an anti-feminist who supported fascist political movements

Portrait of Louisiana Killer: Liked Hitler and Hated Liberals

Lafayette Theater Shooter Fan of David Duke, Neo-Nazis, and Antigovernment Conspiracies

This guy was so far Right that even Jim Hoft couldn’t think of any way to argue he was really a liberal. However, Houser had a history of mental health issues, which righties are using to argue that his political views are irrelevant.

Dear Righties: If having “mental health issues” means political or religious motivations are irrelevant, then Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez can’t be called a terrorist. You can’t use mental health issues to excuse white men and not everybody else.

IMO most of the time in these situations, you’ve got someone with emotional or behavioral problems but who is not psychotic. “Not psychotic” means he was capable of making reasoned decisions and knowing right from wrong. So, it’s a combination of someone who is emotionally or socially distressed and who also has some big, honking opinions. Probably both factors need to be present to create a mass killer. This accounts for most terrorism as well, IMO.

Are Louisiana movie theaters “gun free zones,” by the way? I doubt it.

The bigger picture is how easily this guy got guns. He not only had a history of “mental health issues”; he also had a history of domestic violence (for which law enforcement seems to have given him lots of passes) and other threatening behavior. Steve M has details.

Share Button
23 Comments

Please Be Careful Out There

-->
firearms

I found the first paragraph of this news story to be hilarious, in a twisted sort of way:

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has asked vigilantes to please be careful about which gun owners they choose to attack after a black concealed carry permit holder was wrongly assaulted at a Florida Walmart.

Yes, please be careful about which people you assault. Some people don’t like being assaulted.

According to the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office, 62-year-old Clarence Daniels was entering Walmart with his legally concealed firearm to buy coffee creamer on Tuesday when he was spotted by 43-year-old vigilante Michael Foster.

Foster, who is white, had observed Daniels conceal the weapon under his coat before he came into the store. When Daniels crossed the threshold, Foster tackled him and placed him in a chokehold, Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Larry McKinnon explained.

“He’s got a gun!” Foster reportedly exclaimed.

“I have a permit!” Daniels repeatedly shouted back.

After a struggle, the men were separated. Deputies later arrived and Foster was charged with battery.

“Unfortunately he tackled a guy that was a law-abiding citizen,” McKinnon noted. “We understand it’s alarming for people to see other people with guns, but Florida has a large population of concealed weapons permit holders.”

Yes, it’s alarming to see people you don’t know personally walking around with guns, but if you live in a place that allows everyone and his uncle to carry guns, you’re likely to run into strangers with guns. The bad guys don’t have “bad guy” stamped on their foreheads. And they’re both lucky the other guy didn’t fire his gun.

Share Button
20 Comments

Same Old, Same Old

-->
firearms

I didn’t want to spend the first day of the new year crabbing about something. So I waited until the second day of the new year. However, it seems lots of stuff I might crab about today is basically old stuff. For example, the wingnuts are blaming President Obama because Cubans have no civil rights. Apparently they did until late last year. Who knew?

In the last days of the old year we shifted from toddlers blowing away themselves and each other to toddlers killing their mothers. These stories make me sad in ways I can’t even describe.

But the husband of the woman recently shot in the head while shopping at Wal-Mart, by her two-year-old who had found a firearm in her purse, isn’t angry at the NRA. He’s not angry at the manufacturer of the purse that was designed for concealed carry. He’s only angry because some people are politicizing his wife’s death.

But if some of us had done a better job of “politicizing,” his wife might be alive now. Likewise the Oklahoma mother who was killed by her toddler while changing her infant’s diaper.

Apparently the Idaho mother, by all accounts an intelligent person, wouldn’t leave her home without a sidearm. Why? Crime statistics for Blackfoot, Idaho, suggest that her chances of being a victim of violent crime during a daytime trip to a Wal-mart were only slightly larger than being smashed by a falling space station.

And speaking of odds, we actually do not know how often children accidentally shoot someone. And the rate of accidental gun deaths among children is likely higher than officially reported. There is data going way back that keeping a loaded gun at home is a particular danger for children. Doesn’t seem to ever matter, though, does it?

Share Button
10 Comments
« Older Posts


    About this blog



    About Maha
    Comment Policy

    Vintage Mahablog
    Email Me








    Support This Site







    eXTReMe Tracker













      Technorati Profile