Ringing Doorbells While Black

Update: Fox settled. No trial, damnit. Details not yet released. 

16-year-old Ralph Yarl is alive and has been released from the hospital, which is remarkable considering he was shot in the head a few days ago. Yarl is the Kansas City teenager who was shot by a homeowner for the crime of ringing a doorbell. He’d been sent by his parents to pick up his younger brothers but went to the wrong house. Let us hope young Mr. Yarl, an honors student, completely recovers.

The shooter was an 84-year-old White man named Andrew Lester, and Ralph Yarl is Black. Lester said that he feared Yarl was trying to break into his house, never mind that burglars rarely ring doorbells. We know Yarl was never inside Lester’s house, because the first shot Lester fired was through a glass door. Obviously, Lester fired without bothering to speak to Yarl to find out why Yarl was ringing his doorbell.

Yarl, bleeding from his head and elsewhere, had to run to a number of other homes in the area before someone finally helped him. Lester has been charged with assault in the first degree, which carries a possible life sentence.

I’d personally like to know if Andrew Lester had a criminal record, since we are perpetually being told that America’s gun violence problems are caused by “criminals,” and that “law-abiding citizens” can be trusted to own firearms. I’d like to know the same thing about 65-year-old Kevin D. Monahan of Washington County, New York. Last night Monahan shot and killed 20-year-old Kaylin A. Gillis, who had mistakenly driven into Monahan’s driveway.

Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy said Monday that Kaylin A. Gillis was in a car with three other people Saturday night looking for a friend’s house. The rural section of Washington County where the shooting took place is dark at night and many of the properties are only accessible by unpaved driveways.

Murphy said the group mistakenly drove up to a house on Patterson Hill Road, 19 miles northeast of Gillis’ residence in  Schuylerville. As they attempted to turn the car around, the sheriff said, Kevin D. Monahan came out on his porch and fired two shots, one of which hit Gillis while she was seated in the car.No one from the group had left the car or tried to enter Monahan’s house before he came out and opened fire, Murphy said.

For the record, Ms. Gillis was White. One assumes somebody named Kevin Monahan is White also. The police said that Monahan was not drunk and did not appear to be mentally ill.

This sort of thing happens from time to time in the U.S. Back in 1992 a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student named Yoshihiro Hattori was shot and killed by a homeowner in Baton Rouge because Hattori rang his doorbell. He and another teenager from his host family were going to a Halloween party and had the wrong address. Hattori was dressed as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, so he couldn’t have been mistaken for a werewolf. In any event, the two young men were walking back to their car when Peairs emerged from his house with a gun.

At first the Baton Rouge police declined to charge the shooter, Rodney Peairs. But the case became international news. Japan was outraged. Probably the State Department applied some pressure. Peairs eventually was charged with manslaughter. At the trial, the defense portrayed the 130-pound Hattori as scary and Rodney Peairs as just a regular guy defending his family. Peairs was acquitted.

And then in 2013 22-year-old Rodrigo Abad Diaz, an immigrant from either Colombia or Cuba (sources vary), was shot and killed for being in the wrong driveway. Diaz and some friends were looking for another friend. They planned to go ice skating. The GPS took them to the wrong address. The young people were sitting in the car in the driveway when the homeowner, 70-year-old Phillip Sailors of Lilburn, Georgia, came out of his house and fired a warning shot. Diaz, the driver, immediately began to turn around to leave, when Sailors shot again and struck Diaz in the head. Then he held the young people at gunpoint until police arrived.

The police handcuffed the surviving young people and kept them in a cell overnight. Initially Sailors wasn’t charged with anything. The eventual outcome of the case was that Sailors reached an undisclosed settlement with the Diaz family and was sentenced to a $500 fine and one year probation in a plea agreement. The prosecutors were not eager to go to trial, saying that Sailors had no criminal record and they thought he’d be “sympathetic” to a jury.

We’ll see what happens with Andrew Lester of Kansas City. At his age it’s possible he could claim dementia. And of course Missouri has stand-your-ground laws that excuse a lot of shootings. Kevin Monahan is probably screwed though. It’s New York, not some yahoo red state, and he killed a small White woman who probably was not all that intimidating.

But yeah, it’s not criminals. It’s the guns. People have a right to protect their property, we are told, but the gun cult has these law-abiding citizens so whipped up in fear of scary alien people invading their homes they are a menace to anyone who gets bad GPS directions. And Girl Scouts will need body armor to sell cookies. These crimes need big penalties, not fines and probation.

In other news — The Dominion trial is going forward, and I understand a jury has been selected.

A trial has been scheduled for May 9 in the suit filed by Wandrea Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, the Georgia election workers, against the right-wing cesspool site Gateway Pundit. I’m looking forward to that one.

In other other news — If you were watching Rachel Maddow last night you heard the tape of Republican officials of McCurtain County, Oklahoma, longing for the good old days when you could just take Black people “down to Mud Creek and hang them up with a damn rope. But you can’t do that anymore. They got more rights than we got.” If you missed it, you can read about it here.

In more other news — Ron DeSantis’s war with the Mouse is escalating. From Crooks and Liars–

This is just the latest episode of DeSantis’ weenie-wagging at Disney. Round One began after the company dared to criticize his “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. The governor planned to retaliate by taking over the governing board for the property that Disney controlled. But the plan failed when the company outsmarted him.

Now, DeSantis thinks he’s going to look good with bigger threats of bigger punishments. He plans to introduce a bill in the legislature essentially overturning the Disney-controlled board. And he plans to give the state new power to inspect rides at Disney World. 

That’s just for starters. From the New York Times —

Mr. DeSantis also suggested a variety of potential punitive actions against Disney — the state’s largest private employer and corporate taxpayer — including reappraising the value of Walt Disney World for property tax levies and developing land near the entrances to the resort.

“Maybe create a state park, maybe try to do more amusement parks — someone even said, like, maybe you need another state prison,” Mr. DeSantis said at a news conference near Disney World.

Two weeks ago, Mr. DeSantis — a leading Republican presidential contender although he has not officially declared that he is running — floated the idea of raising taxes on Disney hotels and imposing tolls on roads that lead to its theme parks. He has also requested an investigation by Florida’s chief inspector general into Disney’s efforts to circumvent his authority.

That last sentence is my favorite. How dare anyone not bow down to Florida’s Mussolini? This must be investigated! See also DeSantis suggests building prison near Disney World, touts bill to assert Disney control at USA Today.

Disney retaliated by announcing an LGBTQ Pride night at its California property, which is outside DeSantis’s jurisdiction.

To me, Ol’ Ron is looking like a character from another company’s cartoons. And I am not talking about the Rabbit.

49 thoughts on “Ringing Doorbells While Black

  1. How about a federal law called the "Responsible Gun Owner's Act."  The definition and purpose should be to establish that if you own a gun, You Are Responsible.! 

    If you use a gun and you fire it at another person, you may be subject to FEDERAL examination of whether your actions were reasonable and justified. Local prosecutors, who are elected are loathe to bring charges against a white gun owner. It's bad for your re-election chances. In large swaths of the country, voters expect to be able to shoot anyone in the "other" category if they set foot on their sacred property.

    The sad reason this needs to be federal is the announced and expected decision in TX by the governor to reverse the murder conviction of a conservative who shot a liberal for the crime of being liberal. When the states sanction murder based on race or political orientation, murder has to be moved into the federal courts. Note: the jury in TX came to the right decision – it's Abbot who has intervened.

    The other area should be securing a gun. Too many gun fatalities are accidents committed by children who have easy access to loaded guns. Again, local prosecutors don't want to "add to the tragedy" by charging a parent. The "tragedy" of sending away the breadwinner of a black family for smoking grass never bothered prosecutors. But daddy was at work when his 9-year-old blew a crater in the belly of his buddy. Daddy is really distraught and that should be enough. Lock the bastard up for three years and how many other "daddies" will buy gun safes and trigger locks? 

    To return to the last thought of my last post, it will not pass while the filibuster is in place. We can't change it yet, but at the first chance, we MUST! 

  2. The gun is exactly as responsible as the bad GPS direction. I hope both these individuals are tried in a court of law and if found guilty sentenced to the maximum allowable time. But don't try me as a gun owner for someone else's crime. 

    Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    • The problem is, Frederick, that this country has way more guns than it has sense. At some point gun owners have to be held responsible for their piss-poor judgment, not just whether they are "criminals" or not. And I would think most gun owners would agree with that. People who shoot recklessly, people who leave loaded guns where children can find them, and people who shoot protesters that Greg Abbott doesn't like, all need to have their asses handed to them by the criminal justice system. If gun owners themselves don't get behind steps to slow down the carnage, sooner or later there *will* be enough public support to amend or rescind the 2nd Amendment. I may not live to see it, but it will happen unless there are some significant compromises from the pro-gun crowd. 

      • I agree with everything you say, I would just add that another issue is many "new gun owners" look at their guns as toys, something they want to show off. Just listen to the Snow Queen's address to the NRA (she talks about her 3 year old having a shotgun), these people fetishize guns, and most of them have no clue how to safely own one. Again it's all marketing, lots of people living in guarded gated communities are getting rich while the rest of us have to live with these gun-nut idiots. You are correct the biggest threat to the 2nd amendment aint the liberals, it's the 2nd amendment absolutists, they are going to screw it up for everyone eventually.

          • I agree with the sentiment as well. If you want to call yourself a responsible gun owner you have to take responsibility. Recently here in New York they lowered the hunting age from 15 to 12 years old. Curiously enough with less and less Vietnam Vets being mobile enough to get out in the field and more hunter safety training starting earlier we now have had no accidental shootings in the field for many consecutive years. Now if we could just convince those older gentleman to wear harnesses so when the fall asleep and tumble out of their tree stands they dont break their necks.


  3. The irony re:  Disney is that thirty years ago or so when I lived in NYC some wag suggested that the solution to the city's subway problems was to let Disney run the subway since Disney's monorail and their rides seem to run on time. 

  4. "Update: Fox settled. No trial, damnit. Details not yet released. "

    I don't know who FOX's lawyers are but they should be sued by their client for incompetence. What the fuck is the point of allowing the company to be drug through the mud (mud they deserve) and then just settle the day of the trial. I'm sure more bad shit was going to come out but they opened the flood gates a couple months ago? Maybe they have the same legal team as Stump?

    As far as this shooting, as tragic as it is it's not the least bit surprising, there will be many more. The NRA, GQP and irrational gun nuts in every state have brought us to this place, a place where small scared weak little men (and some women) feel they need a gun at all times because they're just shit scared of everybody that doesn't look or talk or act like they do. Fucking namby-pambies every last one of them.

    • r-u kidding? Fox was spared having to admit they lied, to their audience. They have tons of $, someone estimated the $787 million penalty is somewhere between a few months or a year's worth of profits (it's hard to know).  And yes, this opens the door to more lawsuits by others, but they're in no danger of going bankrupt.

      What they cannot afford is reputational damage – their "reputation" among their audience is how they make $. 

      I would bet Fox's lawyers made it clear to Dominion that any kind of public apology is off the table.  Much like a game show contestant, Dominion was offered $787 million raw cash, right now, or good luck trying to get any money after we're done appealing as far as we can.


      • Yeah I agree the Judge screwed up allowing Fox's to pay up and run with no real official admission. I agree they got off easy. But had they had a real legal strategy they could have gotten off Scott Free, before all the depositions and internal communication started and eventually released. Ruport could have just forked over the "ashtray money" before discovery even started?


  5. With the Fox settlement, we need a citizens' demand that Fox loses it's FEC license because the airwaves belong the people of the United States.

    • If you mean FCC license, Fox News doesn't have one; no cable channel does. FCC licenses are only issued for and to broadcast stations.

  6. I am very depressed.

    It's not bad enough the Yankees and the Knicks just lost.

    But Dominion allowed FUX to settle.

    Only $787.5 million?!?!?!?!?

    That's car ashtray money for Rupert MurderousOrc.


    • Cheer up gulag. Sure we all wanted the public apology by Fox, but this was a good start. Other lawsuits will follow, including ones by shareholders demanding change.

      I'm especially waiting for Rupert Murdoch to pass on, and the ensuing inheritance battle. Lachlan Murdoch is his designated heir to run Fox, and he's just as hard-line as his father.

      I have a small bit of hope that Lachlan's siblings have more of a conscience and can appreciate how much damage Fox has done. As the former Australian PM Malcolm Trumbull tweeted, "Murdoch has done more damage to American democracy than any other person alive today." 


  7. Responding to Freddy and his citation of the 14th Amendment. The phrase from the 14th that seems to apply to a quasi-libertarian whine is "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;" Allow me to call your attention to the last five words, "without due process of law".

    The ban on assault weapons was never held to be unconstitutional. There was no effort to collect assault weapons in circulation. Gun fatalities went down. If you can not purchase an assault weapon "new" and you can't legally sell an assault weapon "used" the availability, despite the number in circulation, will drop overnight. People who try to sell will be inviting ATF to visit. People who advertise they want to buy will likewise be inviting an inquiry by law enforcement into their criminal intent. Charge them and convict them of a felony and they have to give up all their guns. I don't care if they only get 90 days. Collect the guns from a handful of gun nuts, with the understanding that owning a gun as a felon is an invitation for years in prison and the rest of the gun community will become much more discrete. 

    At one time I owned an AK-47 clone. I fired it at the range only – it was a gas! If I had to give it up to prevent the next Sandy Hook, I'd do it in a minute. This is why I support an assault weapons ban. Make the trading of those weapons illegal and dry up the supply instantly. Now the school shooter is left with less lethal weapons – he can kill but not so many, not so fast, and he can be rushed if/when he has to reload.

    Freddy, you can't own a militarized tank. (I understand there are a few without a working gun.) You can't own a militarized jet, or other combat planes (with the guns intact and working.) You can't own a Howitzer. All these limits on your right to keep and bear arms have been deemed constitutional. Nobody is gonna raid your house and seize your property – you will only get in trouble for trying to buy and sell illegal weapons and ammo. Guess who gets to decide – the majority!

    On the subject of people who think anyone is a legitimate target on their property… a LOT of gun nuts are convinced of this. Which leads me back to a previous topic – gun education. If everyone who wants to buy a gun has to go through education and take a test they must pass, the issue(s) of how gun ownership can land your ass in jail would be front and center. Yes,  some would still ignore the law, but the trio in GA who hunted down and killed a black jogger need to be testable material for the gun applicant. The mother of the 6-year-old who shot a teacher has been charged. If convicted, HER case should be taught. The flip side of rights is responsibilities and you take on some big ones when you buy a gun.

  8. Dougless, gun fatalities went down during the era of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban because gun crime and homicides were going down as a trend in general. AR-15s and the like are so rarely used in crime the ban couldn’t possible have had any significant impact on the overall rate. The time period was illustrative in how you actually reduce gun deaths, YOU IMPROVE THE MATERIAL CONDITIONS OF THE PEOPLE.


    • Wow is that a weak argument.  You might try to brush up on your reasoning skills.  

      A strong argument is better than a loud one.  

          • "seems like a clue"

            Yes slso seems like he's clueless, I'd wager he's siting in mom's basement, all hopped up on Mountain Dew!

      • If it was a weak argument you'd be able to refute it easily. Crime is highest in areas poverty is highest. Reduction in poverty results in a reduction in crime. And that’s not correlation implying causation, it’s a repeatable thing. The number one way to reduce gun violence is to reduce poverty.

        • The facts are that poorer countries that restrict gun ownership have much less gun violence than America. Your logic posits the opposite.  

          • Switzerland is the NRA’s favorite example, but there are all kinds of reasons why the comparison with Switzerland doesn’t work:

            The core difference is that in 2008 Switzerland cracked down on guns and gun owners in its characteristically Swiss way, meaning automatic weapons and silencers were then declared verboten.

            These days every healthy Swiss male 18 or older in the military is taught to use, clean, dismantle and store lethal weaponry – a fairly easy task in a nation where conscription is mandatory for young men, and also okay for women too if they insist. …

            … You want a gun in Switzerland even after you finished military service? Fine, but you have to apply for one and get a license unless you want a hand bolt-action rifle or a multi-barreled hunting rifle– in which case you do not need a license.

            So, let’s say you are Swiss, you have military experience, and now you want a real, thoroughly lethal gun, not a multi-barreled hunting rifle that’s good for bringing home venison, and also, you’re 18 or older: Can you pack heat without a bureaucratic problem?

            Here for the Swiss, unlike Americans, regulations are quite a bit more finicky. Not only are you supposed to be criminal record-free in order to get a gun, but you also must be deemed unlikely to cause harm to other Swiss. Local police who have doubts about a prospective gun owner’s well-being (or even those who are assured of the same but worry nonetheless) may and sometimes do ask local psychiatrists or friends about an applicant’s mental state or alcohol and drug use.

            Also, that gun license, even when approved, is only valid for a maximum of nine months, and applicants are allowed only one weapon. Period.

    • "AR-15s and the like are so rarely used in crime the ban couldn’t possible have had any significant impact on the overall rate. "

      I would argue that AR-15s do have a significant impact on the overall rate of death in mass horrific shootings.  I believe it is misleading to conflate overall crime with mass shootings. 

      • The Gun Violence Archive, an online database of gun violence incidents in the U.S., defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people are shot, even if no one was killed (again excluding the shooters). Using this definition, 513 people died in these incidents in 2020.

        Let’s assume in all of those deaths an AR15 was involved (which they weren't a majority of the time):

        In 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC. 

        That’s 1.13440361% of all gun deaths in 2020. Banning AR15s isn't very effective at doing anything but making certain people satisfied that they've done something, which they have not.

        • "Banning AR15s isn't very effective at doing anything but making certain people satisfied that they've done something, which they have not."  Mmm-kay, so ban them all, that's doing something, it would at least make all the gun fetishists shit their pants.

  9. This sort of thing happens from time to time in the U.S. Back in 1992 a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student named Yoshihiro Hattori was shot and killed by a homeowner in Baton Rouge because Hattori rang his doorbell. He and another teenager from his host family were going to a Halloween party and had the wrong address. Hattori was dressed as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, so he couldn’t have been mistaken for a werewolf. In any event, the two young men were walking back to their car when Peairs emerged from his house with a gun.

    I can't be sure, but: I saw several news stories that mentioned Hattori liked to run at people, waving at people, to get a picture of their startled expression. It took a while, but it finally clicked that no responsible journalist would say that… not unless he had done so. You don't say "he did stupid things, but not this time!" when reporting on an incident.

    That said: the shooter's excuse for closing the door on a danger, and then re-opening it, was fear of property damage. For this reason, I kinda-get acquittal; there's reasonable doubt, *assuming* Hattori did run at him, mind you. With the civil case, the evidence only had to be a preponderance, and only a complete moron opens the door on a threat in retreat.

  10. It is good to see the people of K.C. taking to the streets over the Ralf Yarl shooting.  It is also good that the NYT gave it a fine article.  The article inspired this word nugget from James Marco from Arsonia, CT:


    “It had a racial component?” A young black man rings your doorbell and because you have a gun and there is some nonsense called “stand your ground” you shoot that young black man — and you shoot him twice, because what is a gun for but to use it. The young black man staggers to neighboring houses seeking help as he sheds blood from his TWO willfully perpetrated wounds. It isn’t until a third of those homes is reached that someone helps that young black man. As for those who are worried that some of us see racism and call it out, not to worry, there is another story today. The same murderous action happens to a young white girl in a car that made a wrong turn onto the grounds of another man with a gun who uses it as he stands his ground. Her friends must drive for miles to find cell phone service to report to authorities. She is dead. The greatest danger to all truly law-abiding citizens is the angry, white man with a gun — with a gun that is legally purchased, proudly displayed and used, the owner believes, without consequence.

  11. Arguing that "poverty" is what's driving gun violence is about a dull as anyone who would make that argument. We have had poverty in this country for hundreds of years, there is poverty in every country in the world. The massive spike in gun violence has only occurred in this country, it's accelerated over the last 10 years, coinciding with weakened gun laws and the massive increase in guns purchased. It's a simple thing to understand, unless of course you don't want to.

    The two old scared men who shot teenagers outside their houses this week were not poor

    Stephen Paddock (killed 60 wounded 812 Las Vegas 2017) was not poor

    Omar Mateen  (killed 43 injured 53 Orlando 2016),

    Seung-Hui Cho (killed 32 injured 17 Virginia tech 2007) was not poor, 

    Adam Lanza (killed murdered 26 most of them 5 or 6 years old, Sandy Hook) wasn't poor,

    Devin Patrick Kelley (killed 26 wounded 22, sutherland texas)  was not poor.

    I could keep going there are literally thousands more but I'm fucking retired and have better things to do. I live in Chicagoland, we have had a massive spike in deadly gun violence here in the last decade or so, the violence occurs mostly in under served areas where crime and gangs are and have always been  an issue. I'm 62 years old we have always had crime and gangs on the south and west sides and my hometown of Gary IN. The difference now is the gang bangers have easy access to guns because of the surrounding states weak gun laws. They were not walking the streets with semi auto assault rifle 20 years ago. It's a simple fucking concept, if you don't get that than you either just don't want to believe it or your just an annoying fucking troll, most likely both!

    • Nobody cares what an idiot thinks. Those who think clearly begin with facts that lead them to a conclusion. Yu have concluded you want to keep assault weapons and will choose not to believe what the rest of us know.

      From NPR:

      "The following is a partial list of when an AR-15-style weapon was used in a mass shooting:

      • Feb. 14, 2018: Shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida leaves 17 people dead.
      • Oct. 1, 2017: The Las Vegas slaughter of 58 people.
      • Nov. 5, 2017: The Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting that claimed 26 lives.
      • June 12, 2016: The Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., that left 49 dead.
      • Dec. 2, 2015: The San Bernardino, Calif., shooting that killed 14 people.
      • Dec. 14, 2012: The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that took 27 lives."

      The AR-15 is the weapon of choice for mass murderers. Not all AR-15 owners are or will be mass murderers. It's extremely effective at what it was designed to do – kill large numbers of people fast. There is no legitimate reason for the gun to be available.  

      There are other measures we can take to reduce gun deaths w/out violating the 2nd Amendment. Since Freddy brought up Switzerland and their low gun death rate, let's adopt their rules – mandatory training and only ONE gun, No automatic weapons. This has been my point for a long time – we do not need to ban all guns to lower the gun fatality rate. We DO need to emulate the rules of countries that have guns and a low gun fatality rate. 

      • Doug, Why waste you time on this troll, it’s sort of fun, but he's just a scared gun clinger. He claims gun violence is only related to poverty, funny thing is in the glorious 50's that all these gun-humpers fantasize about the poverty rate was 22%, they had 5 mass shootings that killed 13 people. Today the poverty rate is roughly 10% (the lowest in our history) , we've lost 51 people to mass shootings so far this year, it's only April? Last year we lost 102 people to mass shootings. Last time I checked 22% is more than 10% and 13 is less than 102, but what do I know? So arguing with this bottom dweller is a complete waste of time, he plays the same game all the scared little gun-humpers play, but he has no argument, just circular bullshit!

        • I would give my thoughts and prayers for him if I was sure he was not working for Satan or some real-world surrogate.  

          • You all are projecting an awful lot when you accuse me of “Circular bullshit” and not thinking clearly by beginning with facts that lead to a conclusion. The facts are we’ve always had guns in America. The facts are gun violence trends, setting aside a pandemic induced spike, have been down for decades:


            “The massive spike in gun violence has only occurred in this country, it's accelerated over the last 10 years, coinciding with weakened gun laws and the massive increase in guns purchased.”        

            This is just demonstrably wrong.

            We’ve had more and more gun laws, not less. 


            More guns purchased and no corresponding bump in crime that can’t be explained by social instability around the pandemic. Crime is in fact already receding as life moves past the pandemic:


            “There is no legitimate reason for the gun to be available.”



            You all are not using your faculties to reason, you are using your emotions. You are reacting to sensational news stories in the moment and not seeing the big picture. Instead of tackling the big numbers, 45K+ gun deaths, and figuring out how to reduce them, you focus on a couple of hundred deaths with symbolic laws that don’t even address the root causes.

            I expected more of my brethren Left of Center than name calling. You wonder why you can’t even begin to fix these problems. 



          • Yes, there have been some new gun control laws — nothing very comprehensive — but at the same time a whole rash of states have loosened what gun control they already had. The big thing in “red” states in recent years is to eliminate any need for permits or licenses to carry a weapon publicly, concealed or otherwise.

            Twenty-five states now have permitless concealed carry laws, most of them passed since 2015, with a spike in 2021 and 2022. In March alone, governors signed permitless carry laws in Ohio, Indiana and Alabama that will take effect over the next several months. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signd a permitless carry bill April 12.

            And this weakening of gun restrictions correlates to increases in violent crime rates.
            Missouri, where I live, pretty much eliminated most restrictions on firearm carrying a few years ago, and gun deaths are, um, high here. St. Louis currently has the highest rate of violent crime, including homicides, of all states and territories in the U.S.

            And in the CNN story you linked to support YOUR claims, I read this:

            The year 2022 is the second-highest year of mass shootings in the United States on record, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit tracking gun violence incidents across the country.

            There have been at least 647 mass shootings through December 31 this year. The country saw 692 mass shootings in 2021, the worst year on record since the Gun Violence Archive began tracking mass shootings in 2014.

            The Gun Violence Archive, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.

            States with weaker gun laws have higher rates of firearm related homicides and suicides, study finds
            There is a direct correlation in states with weaker gun laws and higher rates of gun deaths, including homicides, suicides and accidental killings, according to a January study published by Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit focused on gun violence prevention.

            You are right that a lot of variables can affect gun violence, but what I’m reading is that gun violence, including homicides, is much higher in states with loosened gun laws than in states with more restrictive gun laws. Higher rates of gun ownership in a population also correlate to higher rates of gun violence. I’m also reading that there is good supportive evidence that “stand your ground” laws increase homicide rates. And when you compare gun violence rates in the U.S. compared to similar first-world industrialized democracies, which restrict firearms much more than we do, the U.S. is off the charts.

            The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for 46 percent of global civilian gun ownership. And it’s not making us any safer. Just the opposite. No one connected to what we loosely call the “real world” can deny the U.S. has a gun problem.

        • The #1 rule in writing is to identify your audience. WHO are you writing for? I've never been writing for or to Freddy. I've tried to inform and affect the people who read Freddy's drivel and might have been mildly persuaded by his tone. He tries to sound reasonable as he tries to prevent taking reasonable action to stem gun violence.

          Trolls who come on a site like Mahablog, suggest they are like us (In his first post Freddy claimed to be a Democrat.) and put out nonsense arguments against taking any action and misdirect gun control strategies to tasks like eliminating poverty…. these con artists need to be mocked and ridiculed. 

          I really don't know how many people read Mahablog without commenting. People whose opinions are in flux. On subjects like being murdered, or being hungry, or being able to live your sexual identity without fear of reprisal, I'm willing to spend some time to try to affect them. 

          • When I’m writing the audience is the same as when I’d comment here regularly 14-15 years ago. I too supported all the same gun control measures you espouse now back then. They’re a doctrinaire position for most on the Left. After what we experienced during the Trump Administration, the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, the pandemic era as a whole, my view has evolved. The Rightwing Militias are training while we are typing. Trump can win in 2024. The power you cede to the Government today could be in his hands tomorrow.

            That doesn’t mean do nothing. There are things we can do to reduce gun violence in America that don’t include further gun Registries, Bans, and Confiscation. I’d fully support reasonable Red Flag laws, ammunition taxes, A Domestic Violence Registry, Government sponsored training (not training that you’d have to pay for on top of taking time off from work, which would unfairly impact low income and minority populations). Laugh if you will but it’s a proven thing that gun violence and murders are concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods. I‘m all for Biden’s evidence-based community violence interventions, but investment in the infrastructure to transform these neighborhoods is lacking. Make the investments, reduce poverty, and you will see a reduction in gun violence, by tens of thousands.

            Or you could just ban the AR-15 to make a small dent in the 500 or so deaths each year from mass shootings and feel content with that and go on living your comfy middle class existence and posting to pass the time.

          • I’m on record here for arguing that it’s pointless to just ban AR-15s. I’m also on record here for wanting all semiautomatic firearms to be placed in the same level of restriction as full auto firearms. If you really really really have to have a semiauto firearm, you can damn well jump through a whole lot of regulatory hoops to get one. That still leaves people with a lot of weaponry with which to hunt, protect their homes, and shoot cans off a fence, if that’s your thing.

            I believe you said you live in New York. New York already has some reasonable firearm restrictions. It’s also one of the safest states in the nation, as far as gun violence is concerned. The only safer state is Hawaii, I believe. The annual gun death rate per 100,000 population in New York state is 3.7. I currently live in Missouri, which has just about no laws regulating firearms any more and even has a law on the books, recently ruled unconstitutional, attempting to nullify enforcement of federal firearm laws in the state. And guess what? The annual gun death rate per 100,000 population is 21.5. And there are five other states that are even worse. In comparison, the rate of firearm deaths in Australia is 0.17. Australia is typical for the more affluent democracies.

            Also, in St. Louis the annual rate of violent crime (homicides, rapes, assaults, robberies) with or without guns is currently 2,082.29 per 100,000 population. New York City? 538.90 per 100,000. (source) What’s that you were saying about my comfy middle class existence? Poverty is a factor in crime rates, but not the only one.

            “Trump can win in 2024. The power you cede to the Government today could be in his hands tomorrow.” IMO no candidate who supports criminalizing abortion has a prayer to win the White House in 2024, but I’ve been wrong before. Let’s talk about ceding power. We, the people, ought to have the power to pass regulations that support public safety. As it is now, all of our lives are forfeit to the gun crazies in red states, considering that even in relatively regulated New York most of the guns used in crimes are purchased in the South somewhere and brought into the state in somebody’s trunk. In Missouri, there are so many guns it’s hard to avoid them even if you try.

  12. I've had a band aid for gun violence knocking around in my head for a while or at least a way to get started. Every shooting has been filmed for years, most of it is on security cameras, cell phone video that the cops have. The buffalo shooting, vegas, uvalde, sandy hook. It maybe grainy, bad lighting but there is footage of the carnage. It should all be released aired on the public airwaves. Let's get a really good look at what we are being told to accept by people like our Freddy. If that don't do it well Dasvidaniya. I'll stop now.


  13. As Our Lord Jeezuss Weejuss spake in the Gospel According to Charlton:

    Shoot thou first, and ask questions later.

  14. This all reminds me of an old joke. 

    So I asked my golfer buddy how his day went.

    He replied "Worst day of my life." "Fred died on the fifth hole."

    "Wow" I said "that's terrible."

    "You can't imagine bad it was." he yelped "Thirteen more holes of hit the ball, drag Fred, hit the ball, dreg Fred…"


  15. Here’s an html tip for those who post raw html links to other articles or youtube videos. I almost never click raw links, because I have no idea what I’m going to see. This comes from a well-ingrained fear of phishing attacks, even if this is unrealistic give that I “know” many of the people here.

    You can easily get this blog to display a description instead of the raw html link. This will get more readers to actually click what you posted.

    Here’s how you do it:

    1) When you reply to a posting on the Mahablog, click the “Source” button in the upper right of the reply dialog. This lets you enter raw html.

    2) The html you want to enter is called an Anchor. This is a good visual article that shows you how to do it.

    3) Per this article, you would set the anchor’s href attribute equal to the url you want people to click to. Make sure you wrap this in double quotes, as shown in the article.

    4) Per the article, you would set the “anchor text”, to whatever descriptive text you want readers to see. This goes between the anchor’s opening and closing tags, between the greater-than symbol and less-than symbol, which are part of how html defines tag closing and opening.

    It’s easy once you do a few of these and get the hang of it, and it will radically improve your engagement with readers.

    You’re very welcome,

  16. So….."only" 500 deaths or more annually is not enough to be called unnacceptable. (To Frederick)

    Then… what is an unacceptable number, what threshold must be breached, how many children and innocent people must be killed before you decide that restricting military style weapons is a necessary first step to reduce the death toll significantly and then work towards reducing gun deaths via suicide in the USA and deaths in household violence with guns and them this indistinct thing you refer to as "crime."?

    For the usual posters here, I think I know this fella. He says he is from New York State, and I believe him because no self respecting Apple denizin or Long Islander would use State after saying he/or she is from NewYork.

    His word usage sounds familiar. And depending how he/she answers the question will confirm my suspicion. 10-12 years ago we tangled on a different site in upstate new york.

    If my suspicions are confirmed, then I can tell the posters here that he/she is harmless. Illogical, fallacious, annoying, and denying he/she says things that are still existing on his previous posts. Ignore Franklin, and eventually he (got tired of typing he/she) will go away. Not fast enough, but go away. Not before logging in with a different handle, but go away. When he thinks no one is paying atention to him except like minded individuals like him, or avatars like …….oh, say..Ben Franklin's ghost… he will stop.

    Now, even though I am not a frequent poster on this site, I take a solemn vow that I will never respond to the dude or even read his posts ever again on this site. 

    Maha is one of my favorite sites (and if pressed will admit it is top 3 material), and I thank her for letting me vent with this long, boring screed.



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