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Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

Kids and Guns: Shootings Now Third Leading Cause of Death for U.S. Children

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But that’s okay—it’s just the price we pay for allowing anyone at all (including those arrested for domestic violence) to buy any gun they want, including assault rifles, designed to inflict the maximum possible damage to a body. And we certainly would not want to even touch that, regardless of how many children are killed. Hell, you can wipe out a good fraction of a generation, and gun rights would still be more important.

How is it possible for someone simply to accept the deaths of so many children? Of course there’s the denial approach—e.g., Alex Jones and Scottsboro Elementary: it was all a hoax. So are all the others. All hoaxes. Elaborately staged, but hoaxes. Just like the moon landings, but more blood.

But denial is only one form of self-deception, which is often much more subtle. See Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception, by Daniel Goleman.

Ryan Bort reports in Newsweek:

Few stories are more heartbreaking than those involving children who are injured or killed by gunshots. It isn’t hard to find them: In June alone, a 6-year-old accidentally shot and killed a 4-year-old in South Carolina, a father accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old daughter in Indiana and an 8-year-old Mississippi boy was accidentally shot in the chest. His grandparents drove him to the hospital, but he died 45 minutes later. Sadly, the list of child gun deaths goes on.

Related: Republican praises guns just moments after Virginia shooting

Though we constantly see examples in the news, child gun injuries and deaths may be even more prevalent in the United States than we realized. A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics showed that an average of 5,790 children in the United States receive emergency room treatment for gun-related injuries each year, and around 21 percent of those injuries are unintentional. The study also found that an average of 1,297 children die annually from gun-related injuries, making guns the third-leading cause of death for children in America (behind illnesses and unintentional injuries like drownings or car crashes). The number is based on data taken from 2012–2014 for children up to the age of 17.

Data on fatal gun deaths were drawn from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System database, and data on non-fatal gun injuries were from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Researchers found that 53 percent of the gun-related deaths were homicides, while 38 percent were suicides, 6 percent were unintentional and 3 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined causes. Of the injuries, . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2017 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government, Guns, Law

Ted Nugent suggests we should tone down the rhetoric

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And he’s pledged to cease violent rhetoric.

I think it’s worth noting that he made no such pledge when the victim of a shooting by a madman was Gabby Giffords, a Democratic member of Congress. It is only when a madman shot a Republican man that Nugent was moved to recognize the problem.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 June 2017 at 3:07 pm

Posted in GOP, Guns

The link between domestic violence and mass shootings

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Jane Mayer writes in the New Yorker:

Within hours of the shooting of the House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, and four others, one couldn’t help but feel tired watching the predictable brief moment of political unity. The country has been through enough horrors to know that political adversaries will soon line up and take their battle stations on Twitter and talk shows as no solutions are found and no lessons are learned. They will blame each other’s political ideologies and rhetoric for the bloodshed. It won’t be long until the conspiracy theorists come along and throw doubt on whether the facts are the facts, or something more sinister.

No one wants to talk policy reform so soon, but there’s one that is glaringly necessary, and really ought not to be divisive. Wednesday’s shooter, James Hodgkinson, reportedly had a history of domestic violence. Yet he was able to legally obtain an assault rifle. These two facts are incompatible with public safety.

The Daily Beast reported, on Wednesday:

In 2006, he was arrested for domestic battery and discharge of a firearm after he stormed into a neighbor’s home where his teenage foster daughter was visiting with a friend. In a skirmish, he punched his foster daughter’s then 19-year-old friend Aimee Moreland “in the face with a closed fist,” according to a police report reviewed by The Daily Beast. When Moreland’s boyfriend walked outside of the residence where Moreland and Hodgkinson’s foster daughter were, he allegedly aimed a shotgun at the boyfriend and later fired one round. The Hodgkinsons later lost custody of that foster daughter.

“[Hodgkinson] fired a couple of warning shots and then hit my boyfriend with the butt of the gun,” Moreland told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. Hodgkinson was also “observed throwing” his daughter “around the bedroom,” the police report said. After the girl broke free, Hodgkinson followed and “started hitting her arms, pulling her hair, and started grabbing her off the bed.”

In this, Hodgkinson fits a pattern. As Rebecca Traister has written, for New York magazine, “what perpetrators of terrorist attacks turn out to often have in common more than any particular religion or ideology, are histories of domestic violence.” Traister cites Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who drove a truck through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, last summer, and Omar Mateen, the Pulse night-club shooter. She also cites Robert Lewis Dear, who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, in 2015. According to Traister, “two of his three ex-wives reportedly accused him of domestic abuse, and he had been arrested in 1992 for rape and sexual violence.”

Last year, Amanda Taub also wrote powerfully on this issue in the Times. “Cedric Ford shot 17 people at his Kansas workplace, killing three, only 90 minutes after being served with a restraining order sought by his ex-girlfriend, who said he had abused her,” Taub wrote. “And Man Haron Monis, who holed up with hostages for 17 hours in a cafe in Sydney, Australia, in 2014, an episode that left two people dead and four wounded, had terrorized his ex-wife. He had threatened to harm her if she left him, and was eventually charged with organizing her murder.”

Obviously, not everyone accused of domestic violence becomes a mass shooter. But it’s clear that an alarming number of those who have been accused of domestic abuse pose serious and often a lethal threats, not just to their intimate partners but to society at large.

The statistical correlation between domestic violence and mass shootings has also been documented. As the Times reported:

When Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group, analyzed F.B.I. data on mass shootings from 2009 to 2015, it found that 57 percent of the cases included a spouse, former spouse or other family member among the victims — and that 16 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence.

In the meantime, many domestic-violence suspects, like Hodgkinson, are arrested only to have the charges dropped later, which leaves them armed and dangerous. The National Rifle Association and its allies have successfully argued that a mere arrest on domestic-violence charges—such as Hodgkinson had—is not sufficient reason to deprive a citizen of his right to bear arms.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, in 2012, an overwhelming majority of Americans favored tighter gun control, including laws that would require background checks for gun purchasers to be extended to sales at private gun shows. Yet a bill proposing that very measure failed to make it through Congress. . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

15 June 2017 at 1:59 pm

The GOP has lost interest in policy

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Bob Cesca writes in Salon:

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, there was only one piece of gun control legislation that made it to a vote. The measure, introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., would have closed the gun show and internet loopholes for firearm sales, and — well, that’s it. Nothing else was attached — no gun bans, no gun confiscations, nothing.

Despite the heartbreaking impact of Sandy Hook, this was the most ballsy piece of legislation the Senate could muster — and the amendment failed anyway, even though it enjoyed the support of 86 percent of the voters surveyed in 2013. Only 13 percent of the voters polled opposed the amendment. That last part is crucial. The Republican Senate voted down the legislation despite 86 percent support, including a 74 percent level of support from National Rifle Association members.

Why did the Republicans vote against an amendment that enjoyed such overwhelming support? It could have been the piles of cash and influence being injected into to the GOP’s haggard veins by the gun lobby. It could also have been an early indication that the Republican Party is more interested in trolling liberals than legislating based on sensible policy. Regardless of whether the congressional Republicans’ opposition to the Manchin-Toomey amendment was more than trollery, it’s obvious that, today, President Donald Trump’s Republican Party is all about supporting actions aimed simply to piss off the left, rather than authoring policy-based legislation that will objectively help make life easier for Americans.

After all, a significant chunk of Trump’s reputation is wrapped up in his obnoxious Twitter habit — a habit that seems to be partly inspired by the tone and content of “Fox & Friends,” mixed with his desperate need for attention. Even before he announced his presidential candidacy, Trump was a Twitter troll, and just about everything he does is geared toward fluffing his rally supporters, including the tormenting of liberals. For example, his desire to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act isn’t about constructing a better health care system; it’s about crapping all over the legacy of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and Obama’s supporters. It’s about revenge. And his people don’t seem to care that their health coverage will be among the first to be rescinded if the law passes as written. They don’t care because repealing Obamacare pisses off liberals.

Likewise, Trump’s posture on the climate crisis — quite likely driven by alt-right troll Steve Bannon — is obviously about trolling the left as well as the meanies in Europe who (rightfully) mocked him during his Mr. Magoo-like overseas trip. In his remarks about the U.S. pulling out of the Paris climate accords last week, Trump said he represents Pittsburgh and not Paris, even though the agreement was merely composed in Paris and isn’t a product of the administration of the newly elected Emmanuel Macron. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that Trump’s decision on the Paris accord was made out of spite rather than a realistic assessment of the deal. Indeed, it’s fair to assume that Trump hasn’t read the agreement at all, beyond perhaps a one-page summary composed by his beleaguered staff — at best. All he knows is that it’s linked to Europe and Europe hates him, so screw it. He’s out.

What about public support for the agreement? Irrelevant — if you’re a Trump Republican, that is. Sure, 59 percent of voters are opposed to abandoning the deal, but in the age of Trump trolling, all that matters is that the president’s disciples are jazzed about pulling out, mainly because liberals are crushed by Trump’s decision. Who cares if nearly 6 in 10 voters support it? There are liberals and Europeans to troll.

Among the many trolling tactics on climate change is the old “but it’s snowing!” line. Most of us have beaten our faces against brick walls trying to swat down this one. Accordingly, Politico reported on Monday that Trump apparently said during a golf outing, “They can’t even get the weather report right, so how come they think they can get that right?”

Yeah. I know.

Made famous by Trump’s favorite television network, Fox News, and repeated by Trump’s favorite website, Drudge Report, this fallacy involves discrediting the scientific consensus on the climate crisis by appealing to the ignorance of low-information voters who don’t know the difference between climate and weather. Yes, it snowed in Boston last year, but that doesn’t mean the planet isn’t warming at an alarming rate. The fact that it’s chilly at your house in January doesn’t mean it’s not sweltering in the Southern Hemisphere, where, during our northern winters, it’s summertime. In other words, your backyard isn’t the globe. Sorry. . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

7 June 2017 at 9:09 am

Trump has been easing Obama-era gun restrictions. You just may not have heard.

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More and more our government does things in secret or at least tries to keep the public from learning what it is doing. The reason is that the public would oppose what the government is doing, and the US government no longer takes its direction from its citizens.

Anita Kumar reports in McClatchy:

With little attention, President Donald Trump’s administration has been quietly loosening firearms restrictions in the United States after successfully seeking the support of gun owners on the campaign trail.

His agencies narrowed the definition of “fugitive,” a change that cuts the number of people who’ll be included in a database designed to keep firearms from people who are barred from owning them.

Federal officials have also signaled that they may no longer defend the Army Corps of Engineers’ ban on carrying loaded firearms and ammunition on federal lands.

Trump signed a bill behind closed doors that killed an Obama-era regulation that required the government to add to the no-buy list people whom the Social Security Administration has deemed eligible for mental disability payments. He signed another one that lifted restrictions on hunting on federal lands in Alaska.

With Republicans in control of the White House and Congress, gun rights groups are on the offensive for the first time in years, aggressively looking to push a series of new laws on Capitol Hill and regulations in various federal agencies to ease restrictions.

“All of these things considered in isolation may not be a big deal,” said Chelsea Parsons, vice president of guns and crime policy for the left-leaning Center for American Progress. “But what is the overall goal, keeping in mind the extreme investments made by the NRA?”

The National Rifle Association was a strong backer of Trump from the start, unlike most traditional conservative organizations, many of which were leery of the brash businessman-turned-reality-TV-host and political novice. It endorsed him earlier than it had other candidates in previous years and became one of his top donors, with $30 million in contributions and TV ads that targeted his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

“Ultimately you judge a politician on whether he or she keeps their promises that they made during the campaign,” said Chris Cox, chief lobbyist and principal political strategist for the Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA’s lobbying arm. “NRA members and supporters across this country are very pleased with what we’ve seen out of this administration so far. But there is still a lot of work to do.”

Before he hit the campaign trail, Trump, who says he doesn’t hunt but does own a gun, had come out in favor of a waiting period for gun purchases and a ban on assault weapons. But after he entered the race, he changed his views, speaking forcefully on behalf of gun rights regularly as he found support in many rural pockets of the country. . .

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What the people of the US actually want, according to Gallup polls:

Written by LeisureGuy

13 April 2017 at 5:58 pm

What’s the cost of 19 fighter jets?

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Jordan Libowitz posts at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW):

Last week, the Trump administration dropped an Obama administration condition that Bahrain must improve its human rights record before being allowed to buy American arms. Bahrain, ranked in the bottom 20 countries in the world in Freedom House’s 2017 Freedom in the World report, continues to have a government full of what the president would call “bad hombres.”

So, why would President Trump bless the sale of 19 F-16 fighter jets to the freedom-challenged nation without any sign of improvement? Could it be…Bahrain’s moving of an event from the Ritz Carlton to the Trump International Hotel in DC just days after his election as president?

Now, we don’t know if the Bahraini event was a factor in the president’s judgment—there’s no way to know if there was a quid pro quo relationship. But the connection is clearly there, so it’s a question we have to ask. This is the situation President Trump created by refusing to sell his businesses and put his assets in a blind trust, and the reason we felt it necessary to sue him: the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution was written so Americans would never have to worry whether their government officials were making decisions with their best interests in mind or because a foreign government paid them.

For decades, presidents have placed their assets in blind trusts or widely held mutual funds and Treasury bills to let America know they truly were acting in the interest of “America first.” Former President Jimmy Carter even gave an independent trustee the power to sell his warehouse and rent out his farm without the president’s knowledge or approval. But it’s not like President Carter’s peanut farm ever had much of an effect outside the then-230 or so residents of Plains, GA. There’s so much more at stake here.

President Trump has raised the specter of exchanging thousands of dollars in payments to his company for the right to buy billions of dollars in weapons despite a horrid human rights record. Here’s what the State Department’s latest human rights report had to say about Bahrain:

“Human rights groups reported prisoner accounts alleging security officials beat them, placed them in stress positions, humiliated them in front of other prisoners, deprived them of sleep and prayers, insulted them based on their religious beliefs, and subjected them to sexual harassment, including removal of clothing and threat of rape.”

And here’s the status of women in Bahrain:

“No government policies or laws explicitly address domestic violence. Human rights organizations alleged spousal abuse of women was widespread. According to the BCHR, 30 percent of women had experienced some form of domestic abuse. Women rarely sought legal redress for violence due to fear of social reprisal or stigma. Authorities devoted little public attention to the problem…Women faced discrimination under the law.” . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

7 April 2017 at 4:49 pm

A Win for Free Speech and Gun Safety

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An editorial in the NY Times:

Information saves lives. That’s not a complicated idea, especially when it comes to medical care. A doctor’s educated advice can make all the difference to a patient who may not fully appreciate health or safety risks.

Florida lawmakers seemed to think otherwise. In 2011, they passed a law barring doctors from talking to their patients about one specific topic: whether the patients keep firearms at home. Health care practitioners who violated the gag rule faced fines of up to $10,000 and the possible loss of their medical licenses.

As the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit held on Thursday in striking down the key parts of the law, this is an obvious violation of the First Amendment, which generally prohibits restrictions on speech based on what’s being said. It was also just plain dumb. Studies show that guns in the home lead to an increased risk of injury and death, and that people who speak to their doctors about gun-storage practices are three times as likely to store guns safely later.

That’s why major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, encourage doctors to discuss gun storage and safety with patients, particularly those living with children. It’s no different from talking about other common household hazards like swimming pools, chemicals, and drugs and alcohol.

Florida law itself makes it a misdemeanor to fail to secure firearms in homes where a child can get to them without supervision. When that law was passed in 1989, legislators pointed to the “tragically large number of Florida children” accidentally killed or injured by poorly stored guns, and said that “placing firearms within the reach or easy access of children is irresponsible, encourages such accidents, and should be prohibited.”

The state now claims that its gag rule, which the National Rifle Association strongly supported, was necessary to prevent the violation of patients’ constitutional rights and of their privacy. But the Second Amendment does not “preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right,” the federal appeals court said.

The majority also noted that the state had offered no evidence of doctors improperly disclosing information about patients’ gun ownership. Indeed, . . .

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The thinking behind this piece of legislation is foreign to me.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 February 2017 at 1:14 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government, Guns, Law

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