“Why Do Only We In The US Have Gun Massacres On A Depressingly Regular Basis?”

A perfectly stated and toned article was found today regarding gun violence at my blogging friend’s Schmaltz und Griben.

Peter Felknor who wrote the post is also an author of The Tri-State Tornado  where be constructs a solid and gripping account of the worst tornado disaster in American history. Claiming 689 lives during a three-hour rampage across Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana on March 18, 1925, the storm had one of the longest uninterrupted paths (219 miles) and one of the widest (up to one mile) of any recorded tornado.

But with the gun violence which was unleashed this week Felknor turned his attention to the question we need as a nation to answer.

Thanks, Peter.

I, unlike some of my fellow Americans, do not look forward to living in a country where we’ve all got to walk around “strapped” all the time so we will always be ready to “waste the bad guys.” Although that’s a very studly fantasy, Second Amendment “activists” have yet to explain to me how this makes living in the USA any different from, say, living in the Old West of the late 1800s. Or Afghanistan. Or Yemen. Call me a pussy (and I could care less if you do), but I really enjoy being able to leave my house without carrying a gun. To me, that is one of the major hallmarks of civilization. To return to the days where the average citizen must be armed at all times is simply devolution… no other way to look at it (see Old West, Afghanistan, Yemen).

I’m not against guns or hunting. I think everyone should be able to own a rifle and a shotgun–hell, I do myself. Perfectly adequate for home defense. But I start getting muddy when people tell me why they “have” to have a handgun. And I sure as hell don’t see the reason for any citizen to own military-grade weaponry. Wanna shoot an automatic rifle? Join the Army. They’ll even pay you to do it.

Long and short: My right not to be senselessly massacred (note that the Las Vegas shooter was a nobody on law enforcement radar, and he was shooting from the 32nd floor of a building–so much for studly retribution fantasies) outweighs your “right” to carry military-grade weaponry for fun n’ recreation. That’s about it.

Nowhere else in the whole wide world does the citizenry arm itself with weapons beyond what even the average American soldier carries. Oh, except for Afghanistan and Yemen (why do those countries keep cropping up? They are so obviously nations we should wish to emulate). Why do only we in the US have gun massacres on a depressingly regular basis? Gee, I wonder. I’ve always failed to see a connection between crazy people having access to high-powered weapons and mass murder.

That being said, our quote for the day comes from Peter Bergen at “Fake News” CNN

One can only hope that the tragic events in Las Vegas may change [things]. However, given that previous tragedies have not changed this deadly equation, there is really little reason for hope.

That resigns us to a dystopian future where Americans attending something as innocuous as an office holiday party in San Bernardino in 2015, or partying at a nightclub in Orlando the following year, or attending a country music concert on Sunday in Las Vegas have to live with the lethal reality that they may become the innocent targets of their well-armed fellow citizens.

Republican Leaders Are Missing From Their Duties

Great editorial today in the Boston Globe.

Paddock’s motive, if any, is unknown. Police say he has no connection to international terrorism — yet he certainly sowed terror.But what little is known about the murderer puts to rest the half-baked responses to gun violence Trump offered on the campaign trail last year. A ban on Muslims entering the United States — Trump’s suggested solution after the San Bernardino massacre — wouldn’t have prevented the carnage. Arming bystanders to fire back wouldn’t have helped either; there is no indication that anyone else was in the room with Paddock, who positioned himself about 400 yards away from his victims. While his father was a well-known bank robber, Paddock himself does not seem to have had any criminal record, meaning that even better enforcement of existing laws — so often the meek promise of elected Republicans after outbreaks of gun violence — probably wouldn’t have helped. 

One safeguard would have stopped Paddock from killing so many people, so quickly, from so far away: an effective ban on assault weapons, including semi-automatic guns and the kits used to convert them to automatics. Such weapons have no legitimate self-defense or hunting use, but have repeatedly been used in mass shootings. Gun control won’t prevent all madmen, terrorists, or criminals from killing, but limiting the availability and firepower of weapons would at least reduce the death toll, and reduce the sense of terror gripping Americans.  

What Was Wrong With Donald Trump’s Parents?

President Trump huddled with local and federal officials today in Puerto Rico but spent too much time simply praising his administration’s response to the hurricane that devastated the island.  It would have been a surprise display had Trump not spent his campaign for office, and his time as president, making a mockery of good taste and manners,

Trump provided bizarre and rude comments such as when he noted the devastation in Puerto Rico has “thrown our budget a little out of whack.”  It is at times like this when most of us lower our heads in shame, and recognize his parents must not have had the skills to raise children.  After all, there is no way that anyone could turn out as Trump did with proper parenting.

He even commented on how the loss of 16 people was not so bad given how many could have died.  Again, not an artful or empathetic way to deal with a crisis.

What was the most painful to watch, however, was the way Trump thanked local officials, but focused on those who offered him praise and his administration more than on the work local officials have done in response to the hurricane.  It was simply embarrassing.  Instead of understanding the trip was to be one with the devastated people of Puerto Rico he instead turned the event into one that was to highlight his glorious self.

Really, what was wrong with Donald Trump’s parents?

Stats About Guns From Las Vegas

Sad.

527 injured

At least 59 people are dead and 527 people injured, some critically, by the high-powered gunfire that indiscriminately targeted a crowd of country music fans Sunday night from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. ABC News

90 shots in 10 seconds

According to a New York Times analysis of the videos, that’s the shot frequency observed in Las Vegas, which can be compared to the 24 shots in 9 seconds observed in the Orlando attack on a gay night club, where 49 people were killed and 53 were wounded in 2016, and to the 98 shots in 7 seconds that a fully automatic rifle can provide. The New York Times

273

Based on the definition that a mass shooting involves four or more people shot, the shooting in Las Vegas is the 273rd of the year. Only 275 days have gone by in 2017 so far. Fortune

42 guns

That’s the number of guns owned by the killer found either in the hotel room or at his home. There were 23 in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino and 19 in his home in Mesquite, NV. In addition, a number of loaded high-capacity magazines were found in his hotel room. Some of the weapons are believed capable of penetrating police armor. The haul included a number of AR-15-style firearms. ABC News

Do Not Let Gun Silencer Bill Be A Successful NRA Infinitive

Over the past 24 hours many have commented on Facebook and other places about the gun silencer bill that has landed in congress.  It is a dreadful proposal.  In April I posted on this matter and since the debate is once again starting I re-post for the sake of readers.

In case you missed it the gun lobby is throwing their weight behind a bill that would ease regulations on gun silencers.  I know you are shocked at the attempt to make them easier to obtain so that all those barnacles on  society be they felons, domestic abusers, and people suffering a mental health crisis can get one for their personal killing missions.

Make no mistake what the gun lobby’s motivations are as they remain the same as always.  Make the most money possible and care not at all about the carnage that results.  After all increased gun violence is what these manufactures desire–more fear to play off of makes for still more gun sales.  It is that profoundly sick.

This is not rocket science.

Silencers reduce the sound of gunfire.  Police are often speaking of their concern as silencers make it hard to identify the sound of gunshots and locate an active shooter.

Today the National Firearms Act currently requires silencers to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.  For those who think this is some new way to curtail the ‘rights’ of gun owners it is not.  The law has been on the books since 1934.

Today there are 900,000 silencers registered. But if silencers were removed from the oversight of the NFA the owners of those silencers would be able to sell them in private sales.  That would be a dreadful decision. Think about it.  Those silencers could he sold to the lowest common denominator without a background check, at gun shows, on the internet, or in a parking lot. That means that , domestic abuser in your neighborhood could easily obtain them.

A law enforcement friend told me that gunshot detection systems  rely on sound.  This helps law enforcement officials more safely respond to gun crimes–a growing threat in our country due to the NRA.  But silencers diminish the effectiveness of these detection systems which is being used in nearly 100 cities nationwide.  In other words this does come down to our interest in helping police or hindering them.

Making silencers easier to obtain would increase the threat posed to law enforcement when responding to an active shooter event. It is that basic when it comes to this matter.  Last year attacks on law enforcement officials resulted in the highest number of ambush deaths in more than 20 years.

Effective regulation has made silencers extremely difficult for criminals to obtain, but when they have, the results have been devastating. Christopher Dorner murdered four people and wounded several others using a gun with a silencer in February 2013. He targeted law enforcement officers in what the Police Foundation described as a bizarre act of vengeance — a “gang-style hit” on innocent people sitting in a car. Police were initially puzzled as to why no neighbors heard the 14 shots: it was because Dorner used a silencer.

That is the reality of the world in which we live.

There is no mushy middle ground when it comes to this matter.  It comes down to common sense.  The reason this is even an issue is the gun lobby’s soulless push to increase the profits of the gun industry at the expense of public safety.

Lack Of Demand by Citizens Allows Congress To Not Act On Gun Control

Over and over many across this land have argued that it is the responsibility of citizens to demand congress enact meaningful gun laws.  In the absence of such demands when it comes to mass shootings, such as what took place in Las Vegas this week, it falls upon America to own the responsibility for what happened, as I stated yesterday.

Today the Editorial Board at Bloomberg makes a call for reason, but again it starts with the citizenry.

Instead, the gun lobby and the extremist movement it has long nurtured went on a legislative rampage through conservative states — pushing for guns in churches, in bars, on playgrounds, and on campus, concealed and open. Right now, Republicans in the House of Representatives are focused on legislation to make crime more convenient by ending regulations on silencers and enabling concealed guns to be carried in places where they are expressly unwanted, and by people with no training or background check.

There are legitimate disputes about the scope of the Second Amendment, the efficacy of specific gun regulations and the right to self-protection. None of these is debated in Congress, and few in statehouses, because too many politicians subscribe to aphorisms and claptrap in lieu of an honest reckoning that more guns, and less regulation, is a recipe for mayhem. This cycle of preventable violence and pointless debate will not end until more political leaders, and responsible gun owners, acknowledge the obvious: that sensible restrictions on gun possession and use are both constitutional and necessary.

A Fresh Perspective On Guns From A Reader At Caffeinated Politics

Tonight a reader to this blog left a comment that needs more than just a place at the end of a posting.  It demands to be the post.  Solly writes the following.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Thank you Mr. Associate Justice, Antonin Scalia for ignoring the first part of the Second Amendment in opening the floodgates for the craziness known as American gun policy. That’s literal reading of the constitution and strict constructionism? Add these 59 people to the tally of people paying for your smug opinion. May you rot in Purgatory.

So, the guy in Las Vegas must have been part of a well regulated militia and that’s why he needed more than a dozen guns, some military grade with bullets that can pass through multiple people and large magazines to minimize reloading time.

A couple days ago, when most people saw Congressman Steve Scalise enter the House of Representatives to a standing ovation, after having been shot several months ago, I’m sure most people thought, great, everyone in Congress joining as one. They do that. They excel in the superficial, addressing life and death problems of the country, not so much.

What I sincerely thought, when I saw the Congressman, supported by his crutches and thanking God and his bodyguards, surrounded by his lily white, old, conservative, 2nd Amendment absolutist colleagues was this:

Gee Steve, how great that you have wonderful insurance to pay for your many operations and rehabilitation. How great that your employer is keeping your job open and continuing your pay, a lot of people would have been let go because they couldn’t work or don’t have sick leave. How great that you had bodyguards so that the shooter couldn’t finish the job. I bet the kid in Milwaukee who was shot by a gangbanger’s stray bullet in his bedroom, the person looking to enjoy the new Batman movie in Colorado or the 5 year old finger painting a picture for her parents in Sandy Hook would have loved that.

How wonderful, even if you could have made the case that practicing for a baseball game when you were shot was work-related and you were eligible for Workers Compensation or Unemployment Comp that you don’t live in Wisconsin, where Scott Wanker would want you to piss in a cup every week to get drug-tested to make sure you are worthy of state assistance. A Taiwanese lying business executive who’s getting $3 billion, no pissing in a cup.

But that’s me, a glass half full kinda guy.

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