Campaign To Make NRA VP LaPierre Look Sane: Release the Nugent

Ted Nugent CV2

In mid-April, 2012, Ted Nugent summarized his thoughts on the re-election of President Obama when, in front of an NRA Convention crowd he “promised to be “dead or in jail” by the Spring of 2013 if Obama was re-elected.” OK then…

Ted Nugent, an NRA board member fancies himself a spokesman for gun owners; a celebrity talking head for gun rights, a celebrity political activist to bring out the base with his rhetoric and music.

Last April, in the middle of the Republican primaries Nugent endorsed Mitt Romney for President. In and of itself it is a fair, patriotic thing to do, a right of everyone, celebrity or not to endorse someone for office. But this deviated from an endorsement…it escalated to hate filled vitriol obviously intending to inflame rather than promote support. It is a typical, often repeated tact of the right, from Rush to Beck to Hannity to inflame with hate filled wharrgarbl, to use words free of the constraint of fact to instill fear, uncertainly and dread into the base of conservative voters. And because so many of that base only get their information from the right-wing echo chamber…few if any take the time to apply critical thinking to what has been said and why.

Nugent, addressing the milling crowd at the 2012 NRA Convention in St. Louis

“Your goal should be to get a couple of thousand people per person who’s here to vote for Mitt Romney in November.” “If you don’t know that our government is wiping its ass with the Constitution, you’re living under a rock some place. And that there’s a dead soldier, an airman, a Marine, a seaman, a hero of the military that just got his legs blown off for the U.S. Constitution, and we got a president and an attorney general who doesn’t even like the Constitution.”

Nugent continued “We got four Supreme Court justices who don’t believe in the Constitution.” “Four Supreme Court justices signed their name to a declaration that Americans have no fundamental rights to self defense. That sounds like a stoned hippy! That doesn’t sound like a Supreme Court anything. It sounds like a supremely intellectually vacuous punk.”

“And if you want more of those kinds of evil, anti-American people in the Supreme Court then don’t get involved and let Obama take office again. Because I’ll tell you this right now, if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

Nugent further urged attendees to get everyone they knew to vote for Romney and against “this vile, evil, America-hating administration” or “we’ll be a suburb of Indonesia next year.” [Video Link]

That is not political speech; it is hate speech, spewed by someone who is mad because his side lost in 2008, mad because his philosophy is so opposed to many in America. Mad because he can’t believe that a majority of American believe differently than he. And, rather than work within the political process, he chose to inflame with hate, try to reduce the debate to a dystopian death-match of good vs. evil, though it is not clear to those who read his words whether he is, as he envisions a noble patriot or as many believe a raving traitor, bent on destroying an America if it can’t be like HE wants it.

Now, nearly a year after a promise to “either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent is vacillating…caught up in his own vitriolic rhetoric. His goal in saying what he said was ineffective and now he is trying to justify his comments by suggesting they were a metaphor.  A year later he says

And I know it caught a lot of my friends off guard, when I said if this America-hater, if this freedom-hater, if this enemy of America becomes the president again I’ll either be dead or in jail.” He continued “So it’s funny that I might be dead or in jail. And that is so indicative of how callous and disconnected some are, because you are talking about arbitrary, punitive, capricious draconian felonies.” [Video Link]

Really Ted…capricious, draconian felonies? In what paranoid, hate filled parallel universe?

So, why is what Ted Nugent says important? In the political sense, as an endorser for public office it is not…his fiery rhetoric did not contribute to a Romney victory.

Then we look at the current national conversation, that attempt by America to reign in gun violence because too many Americans are tired of not feeling safe in their malls, restaurants, churches, theaters and where they take their kids to learn to be adults. What does Nugent contribute to it? From seeing his comments, and from reading the comments of those who support him, he is contributing greatly to the intransigence that is overwhelming the gun rights side of the conversation. They echo Nugent’s fringe philosophy of hate for this administration; inability to compromise as normal adults are required to do; look to protect their hobby rather than to look for solutions to the gun violence problem.

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It is not hard to visualize many of the gun rights enthusiasts standing in the crowd, lighter held high as Uncle Ted riffs on the his paranoid doomsday vision of dystopia…and only his vision can save the day. Of course the crowd cheers for an encore. The echo chamber is just too well refined.

But, is there damage to his words? After all he has a First Amendment Constitutional right to articulate his opinions on his Second Amendment Constitutional right. And that is all well and good EXCEPT, much like the demographic of “gun owner”, while there are a large number of folks that hear him who are responsible, that understand his political rhetoric intended no harm, there is a small percentage of those who listen to him that are unable to apply critical thinking skills to his words and that they should take them figuratively rather than literally. As anger over President Obama’s second term continues and as Americans take a hard look at the 21st Century realities of gun rights, time will tell what that small percentage of enthusiasts will do. Hopefully it will be a non-issue. But if it is not, Nugent has blood on his lips.
I have a good friend of many years who tells me that “Uncle Ted” is a good guy, that, when he and his daughter see Nugent at NRA conventions and other gun show events, that Nugent treats his young daughter like a rock star [and he should]…and the photographs I have seen lead me to believe that to be true. BUT, as long as Ted Nugent spits vitriol, intentionally inflaming gun enthusiasts with fact free rhetoric and paranoid, dystopian hyperbola he will always, to me be “That draft dodging, diaper wearing, poaching, child support avoiding, underage girl dating, feckless has-been NRA board member.” And that hyperbolic opinion is fact based.

One week to go until the year is over…Tic-Toc.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.

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Dear Congress, about this gun violence thing which you are ignoring

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Dear Congress,

You have an average 15.26% approval rate according to most of the dozen polls from this month…your disapproval rating averages 79.1%, somewhat higher than sinus drainage. The reason for that, most people understand that draining sinuses are a sign that something is actually happening.

Another way of putting this…if you were in elementary school, you would have a collective grade of F – 535 children who would not be promoted to the next grade, held back until you understand and perform the most basic of societal functions. You can’t play well with others, you can’t color between the lines and your critical thinking skills seem nonexistent. You pout when your weaknesses are pointed out and you are distracted by the most inconsequential things. You skip school…only in attendance less than half the available time.

Two activities are on your exceptionally empty plate right now…budgets and gun violence. Others have pointed out your chronic ineptness in solving our budget issues…this will focus on solving gun violence in America.
In December you ran to each and every microphone, each and every camera crew, every television show from network to basic cable to express your “heartfelt sadness” about the events of Sandy Hook Elementary School, about the theater in Aurora, about the mall in Clackamus, about the Temple in Wisconsin. And you said something has to change, that something had to be done to make our malls and theaters and the schools for our children safer. And to date, 17 weeks after Sandy Hook, 120 days after 26 children and teachers were massacred, you have done NOTHING.

Well, that’s not exactly true…you have taken off 10 weeks that you have been “in session”.

In that same time period over 3,300 Americans have died from gun violence; over 220 of them under 18, over 57 of them under 10 years of age. And you have done NOTHING except posture for the cameras, except craft your rationalizations as to why you have NOT acted.

Since you never see the mail you receive, never see the outrage that is filtered by the staff of your echo chamber you are mostly clueless to the expectations of your constituents, of Americans. In fact, the only people who do have your complete and undivided attention are lobbyists with vested interests and zealots with checkbooks. That much is painfully obviously.

And that brings us to the NRA. You fear the NRA because you have seen them affect elections. You have seen the money that you can receive if you get an A on their scorecard. You have decided that an A on the NRA scorecard is more important than an F on the American people’s score card. You have let an organization whose total membership is just 1.5% of the American population define the debate…what next, letting drug dealers define drug policy, letting pimps define prostitution legislation, letting bankers define financial sector regulations? Wait you already did that last one.

If you look at the legislatures in the states of New York, Colorado, Connecticut, and Maryland you will see what happens when elected representatives care more about the safety of society, about the need to curb gun violence than supporting partisan, dogmatic abstract philosophies funded by the NRA. Those state legislatures are a shining example of their success and your failure, of their willingness to ignore bullies with checkbooks and do what the majority of Americans want.

And we hear that the fringe elements of Congress…Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are threatening a filibuster of gun bills – without even seeing them. They are proving to be the very portrait of partisan, dogmatic philosophies that have brought Congress to a halt…but have contributed greatly to your 15% approval ratings.

Get off your asses. It is that simple. Take these bills and debate them in public, on the Senate and House floors and let each and every one of you stake your claim to either solving gun violence or supporting your lobbyist gravy-train. Let’s see you on CSPAN rationalizing how 10,000 deaths per year are “the price for freedom”, see you rationalize that the safety of schools and malls and restaurants and churches are less important than posturing for your supporters – at least those who write you checks.

Many of you incessantly refer to the Founding Fathers when trying to defend your positions. My guess those Founding Fathers wouldn’t let you in the front door after they heard your pettiness, and I am sure they wouldn’t let you stand on the floors of Congress where the adults work. Quit acting like the elementary school students that you appear to be and learn to work together, learn to compromise like adults are compelled to do every day.

Now, some of you might think I am not being respectful of the august houses of Congress and you would be right. Respect is earned. You have earned none.

Back to the subject of solving gun violence. Nobody wants to go after the Constitution, after the Bill of Rights, after the Second Amendment. America doesn’t want you to infringe on anybody’s right to KEEP arms or BEAR arms. But we do expect you to make sure that only those who are legally allowed to have weapons be able to get them. We expect you to support the far fetched notion that killing machines need some regulations, that those who own them do not have carte blanche. We expect you to protect the public safety, to insure that folks feel reasonably safe in the knowledge that they can safely go to work or take their kids to school or the mall or restaurants and not have them blown away by someone who is having a bad day.

You submitted over 40 bills to Congress in January…you have failed to bring any to debate, to vote. It’s time you did the work for which you were elected, for which you are paid. And remember, you work for America, not lobbyists like the NRA. You represent ALL of America, not just biased special interests.

Now get to work.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


Three Officials Dead in Two Month Multi State Murder Spree – US Attorney Quits

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The common theme of much of the gun enthusiast community is that they want unfettered access to any and all guns to 1) protect their family/home, 2) fight tyranny [so far extremely undefined] and 3) defend against marauding hordes in a time of social unrest.

This brings us to the events of last two weeks in Colorado and Texas. On March 20th the Executive Director of Colorado Prisons, Tom Clements was gunned down at his front door. It would be expected, considering his job that he was armed, or at least had a firearm in his home.

Days later the suspect shot a Deputy Sheriff in Texas, minutes before he was fatally injured during a car chase in Northern Texas. The gun in his possession was traced back to the gun that killed Colorado prison chief Clements. That gun, a Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatic had been purchased through a strawman buyer two weeks before Clements was killed. The suspect was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

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On January 31, in Kaufman, Texas Assistant District Attorney Mark E. Hasse, 57, was gunned down in the employee parking lot of the Kaufman County Courthouse by two men wearing tactical vests. He was working on a major case against the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. He was armed and expecting trouble.

On March 30, Kaufman District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were gunned down in their home by assassins with an AR-15 rifle. The 20+ shots killed the District Attorney who had 23 years of military training, weapons in his home and, after his ADA was killed less than two months earlier was expecting trouble.

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Three days later, April 2nd the Federal prosecutor in Dallas who had been working on the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas case walked away from the job for “security” reasons. This prosecutor had available the blanket of security of the US Marshal’s service to protect him. He did not feel safe.

The cases are being investigated by the FBI, Homeland Security, US Marshal Service, Texas Rangers, Texas State Police [DPS], Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies. The focus at this time is on the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas but consideration is still being given to other possible groups.

And that brings us back to marauding hordes. If anything defines civil unrest by an armed group, this last few months do. A highly armed criminal enterprise that apparently is fearless to the repercussions of killing cops and district attorneys. When we realistically look at defending against a marauding horde and home invasion…it seems there is a perception that the “good guy with the gun” will, as he does in the movies stop the “bad guy with a gun”. In three very clear instances, the victims did not stand a chance. They were armed, prepared and by all indications trained to protect themselves and their family. All for naught.

Just days later the Federal Prosecutor, with a cadre of armed agents of the US Marshal’s Service and other agencies made the decision to walk away instead of face that threat.

The point…gun enthusiasts say that they need an unlimited arsenal to protect the home, the homestead and society. Yet history has shown that it just doesn’t work that way. Folks who are on alert, who are expecting danger still can’t stop it…the illusion that is given by gun enthusiasts is that somehow “they would”. It is a dangerous illusion.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip


NRA “School Shield” Report…Just More Mercenary NRA Advertising

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The Friends of the NRA released their School Shield report today. If you believe it has evolved from the original post Sandy Hook tone deaf “The only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun” message from NRA talking head Wayne LaPierre you will be sorely disappointed.

You will also find that all twelve members of the task force are from law enforcement and security, none from education and five of those members are from RBT Solutions, a for profit security training group which would likely profit from their recommendations.

There is an old adage that says “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

To the report and its finding. The report is linked so you can read each and every word of it, but let’s summarize the 10 findings and 10 recommendations.

The Findings…

Finding No. 1: There has been insufficient attention paid to school security needs in our nation, and the greatest security gap falls within the medium- to smaller-size schools, which do not have the level of resources of the larger school districts.

In addition, another gap identified by the assessment teams sent out by the National School Shield Task Force is that older schools, constructed more than ten years ago, have greater security challenges than newer facilities. More recently designed schools have more architectural attention devoted to security features in contrast to the building design and layout of older facilities.

Finding No. 2: Many schools do not have a formal, written security plan, and even for those that do, they are often either inadequate or not properly exercised.

Finding No. 3: A properly trained armed school officer, such as a school resource officer, has proven to be an important layer of security for prevention and response in the case of an active threat on a school campus.

Finding No. 4: Local school authorities are in the best position to make a final decision on school safety procedures, specifically whether an armed security guard is necessary and supported by the education and citizen community.

Finding No. 5: Many public and non-public schools are financially unable to include armed security personnel as part of the school security plan and have resorted to school staff carrying firearms in order to provide an additional level of protection for the students and staff in the event of a violent incident on school property.

Finding No. 6: While the local school leadership should make all final decisions regarding the elements of the school security plan, the individual states, with few exceptions, have not made school security an element of adequacy in school standards.

Finding No. 7: School officials are not generally trained in security assessments or the development of comprehensive safety and security plans. Ideally, a school retains professional assistance in developing their school security plans; however, there is a compelling need for professional-quality online self-assessment tools.

Finding No. 8: Federal funding for the personnel costs of SROs has served as a pathway for increased security in our schools, but federal funding has proved unreliable as a long-term solution to the school safety and security needs of our nation.

Finding No. 9: There are numerous federal agencies and programs that provide valuable school safety resources; however, there is a lack of coordination between the federal agencies resulting in gaps, duplication and inefficiencies.

Finding No. 10: History teaches us that in most violent attacks at a school, there are multiple early warning signs, called pre-incident indicators, of a student or outside person who exhibits threatening behavior and poses a risk to the school.

To summarize…Schools haven’t paid attention to security, older schools are harder to secure, armed security is a must, there isn’t enough funding, schools can’t make their own security assessments and, did I mention armed security is a must and there isn’t enough funding.

So, you need armed guards and someone to tell you what to do and you don’t have reasonable  funding. Should I also point out that the authors of the report train armed guards and law enforcement and do security assessments? Win-Win for the consultants.

The Recommendations…

No. 1: Training A model-training program has been developed by the NSS Task Force for the professional training of armed personnel in the school environment.

This training will only be open to those who are designated by school officials and qualified by appropriate background investigation, testing and relevant experience.

No. 2: Adoption of Model Law for Armed School Personnel Many states prohibit anyone other than a sworn law-enforcement officer or licensed security guard to carry a firearm in a public or non-public school. In order for a selected school staff member to be designated, trained and armed on school property, the states will have to change current legal restrictions.

No. 3: School Resource Officer Each school that employs an SRO should have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), or an “interagency agreement,” between the appropriate law-enforcement agency and the school district. This contract should define the duties and responsibilities of the SRO, as well as the applicable laws, rules and regulations.

No. 4: Online Self-Assessment Tool An internet-based self-assessment tool has been created to allow any school (whether public, private or parochial) to have secure access to comprehensively evaluate and assess the security gaps and vulnerabilities of each school.

No. 5: State Education Adequacy Requirement State standards related to school security vary from non-existent to stringent. Although state responses to school security will naturally vary, there should be a common element that requires all public schools to participate in an assessment and develop a security plan based on the unique requirements of that particular institution.

No. 6: Federal Coordination and Funding Either through legislation or executive action, a lead agency should be designated to coordinate the federal programs and funding of local school safety efforts. The Department of Homeland Security should be designated as the lead, supported by the Department of Education and Department of Justice.

No. 7: Umbrella National Organization to Advocate and Support School Safety. Because of the limitations of federal, state and local funding for school safety, there is an important role that can be filled by a private non-profit advocacy and education organization. The National School Shield is in a position with adequate funding and support from the NRA to fulfill this important national mission.

The NSS mission would: (a) provide national advocacy for school safety; (b) supply ongoing online self-assessment and other tools for public, private and parochial schools; (c) make available best practices in school safety to help guide schools in the development of school safety and security policies; (d) fund innovative pilot projects and training costs for armed school personnel; and (e) provide state-of-the-art training programs in the area of school safety and security.

No. 8: Specific Pilot Program on Threat Assessments and Mental Health. As part of its comprehensive security plan, each school should develop a threat assessment team, which will work in coordination with mental health professionals.

To summarize…The NRA funded study suggests more guns in schools, training by NRA supported businesses, security consulting by NRA supported businesses and there should be an umbrella organization that is, conveniently funded by NRA, change state laws to accommodate recommendations. In other words, this 225 page report is nothing more than a sales pitch for the NRA and its business partners.

One of the recommendations…No. 2, Adoption of Model Law for Armed School Personnel is a demand from the NRA to change state legislation to conform to the NEW NRA recommendations, erasing legislation such as the Safe School Act of 1999 that was championed by the NRA.

“First, we believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America’s schools, period … with the rare exception of law enforcement officers or trained security personnel.” Wayne LaPierre, 1999

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”

The report makes it very clear that a guard in schools will eliminate the threats to students…but only glosses over the reality of Columbine…there was a trained security officer on site.

It also fails to address the events like the very recent kidnapping off a school bus in Alabama or the Chowchilla School Bus Hijacking in 1976 where buried in a quarry.

Further it doesn’t take into account events like the school shooting in Westside Middle School where, in 1998 five were killed and 10 wounded by students who set up a sniper position across from the school.

Put simply, this “Call for Action” from the NRA only takes into account in school events and its solution is to fortify schools.

Now, let’s look at the numbers. There are over 98,000 public schools in the United States, another 33,000 private schools and the 5,000 or so colleges.

IF a school building has just ONE security officer, and that officer is paid $35,000 per year, school boards and county sheriffs are going to have to come up with $3,400,000,000 per year in school districts and counties that are already laying off teachers and deputy sheriffs and police officers due to lack of tax revenue. Federal funds for COPS and CIS programs have been removed from the federal budget by Congress. And that $3.4Billion does not account for training, certification or school security assessments – which would have to be done every couple of years.  And it further doesn’t include the enhanced physical requirements that this report demands.

Now to a humorous, ironic part of this report. Back in December 2012 the NRA emphatically said that we should not have a knee-jerk reaction to the shootings at a elementary school, yet their entire proposal revolves around a shooting at a school…ignoring the dozen other mass shootings in 2012, from theaters to churches to malls to restaurants. And it certainly doesn’t address the other 10,000 killed by gun violence each year.

And one other thing…did you catch the part in the Recommendations that the Department of Homeland Security should be in charge?  These are the same folks who now run TSA.  And did I mention that five of the Task Force were/are part of Department of Homeland Security…

So, of the 12 members of the NRA advertisement masquerading as a “Call for Action”…five are part of the organization they want running things and five are from a private security company that recommends training and assessments.

Hammer Nail

 

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.


Ashley Judd Scratched from Senate Race

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The tweets started just after 5:00 EDT. Within minutes I was receiving tweets and texts from the local newspaper, television stations and friends, and within the hour the major political blogs in Kentucky were beginning to light up with the news. Ashley Judd had made her decision…she is not starting a run against Mitch McConnell in 2014.

The decision leaves one group of Kentuckians and many liberals throughout the country disappointed while, at the same time it gives the rising stars of the Democratic Party of Kentucky a bit of a breather as they assess their own decisions.

Kentucky is a red state…extremely red and it is going to take a Kentuckian with experience working with often conflicting goals to make any run against Mitch McConnell successful. Addressing the issue of Mountain Top Removal, which to much of the country is environmental is also a big jobs question in Kentucky where thousands of miners in our Eastern Kentucky coal fields have seen their jobs taken away. Also, religion plays a big role in Kentucky politics, where just last night the Kentucky legislature overturned the Governor’s veto of the Religious Freedom bill in Kentucky. Add in the pervasive gun culture in a state where as many liberals own guns as conservatives and you have three nearly un-scalable walls for a “Hollywood Liberal” to conquer.

Was she the best person for the job…most likely. She is extremely smart, passionate about Kentucky and its issues, a world famous Kentuckian and most obvious…just about as opposite of the leader of the Party of No, Mitch McConnell as could be. But that might not be enough in a state that has voted for obstructionist McConnell for a quarter of a century and Rand Paul, who rode onto the national stage on his daddy’s coattails.

There has, so far not been comment from Alison Lundergan Grimes or any other potential candidates.

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There will be more on this breaking story as it unfolds.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.


NRA Has Congress by the Balls… America Pays with Blood

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The NRA has repeated, time and again that “we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works.” That was Wayne LaPierre’s demand at the January 30 Senate hearing on gun violence. To understand just how disingenuous that simple statement is, all you have to do is look at the efforts that the NRA have taken to stop enforcement of “gun laws that are currently on the books.”.

Put simply…Wayne LaPierre doesn’t give a damn about enforcement of old laws or introducing new laws to stop slaughter…he and the NRA are too busy passing out checks to Congress that support his lobbying efforts for the gun industry.

Besides their current battle plan to stop each and every new regulation before it even has time to see the floor of Congress [see Assault Weapons Ban legislation], the much more insidious plan has been taking place for years, little earmarks tucked into other bills that neuter government’s ability to enforce current gun laws. It directly enforces the NRA’s singular mission…to help the gun industry sell as many guns as possible with as little interference from pesky “laws” as possible. And Congress plays along, awaiting their check or fearing the “wrath” of an easily duped NRA membership.

So how does the NRA do it? As the Center for American Progress shows, they buy favored legislation without it ever, even once having a hearing, being heard in committee or on the floor of the House or Senate? Earmarks or at least the legislative version of them. But instead of being a rider to pave a donor’s marina parking lot under the guise of Homeland Security requirements [as Hal Rogers [R-KY] did…it is a little bill attached to an important bill such as a “must pass” appropriations bill.

ATF Stopped from Collecting Strawman Data

And that is just what happened in May of 2012 when the Appropriations bill for Commerce and Justice for FY2013 came through. Included in it was an section that prohibited the ATF from requiring firearms dealers in states on the Mexican border to report the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to a single individual, a noted strawman purchase. This ATF policy that was being targeted was a new policy to assist law enforcement fighting illegal gun trafficking along the border with Mexico. This happened at the same time Republicans and the NRA were pillorying the Obama administration for Fast and Furious.
HR5326, SEC. 219. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to require a person licensed [gun shop]under section 923 of title 18, United States Code, to report information to the Department of Justice regarding the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to the same person.

Bringing ATF Data Into the 21st Century

One of the requirements for any systematic analysis tools that allow the ATF to manage the tracking of stolen weapons, straw buyers and illegal purchases is a sound database of information. It seems simple…but the NRA has spent years stopping the ATF from enforcing laws that require record keeping, bringing what records the ATF does have into 21st Century technology and having an ability for law enforcement to use the data to catch the very criminals that the NRA says are the ones that should be held accountable.

The NRA handcuffs the ATF and law enforcement with riders in Appropriations bills that keep ATF from computerizing their files…leading to warehouses full of paper documents. [For the fiscally conservative right…this is how your tax dollars are being spent…long man hours to investigate files on paper that should be on-line]. Since 1979 the ATF has not had the legal ability to consolidate information into a database for law enforcement.

Department of Justice Halted from Sharing Gun Trace Data

In 2004 a rider was tucked into the Justice Appropriations bill that prohibits the Department of Justice from disclosing “trace” data, that all important information that can link criminal to gun to dealer to manufacture. And the NRA complains loudly that the Administration is not prosecuting criminals for gun crimes…now you know why.

ATF Can’t Demand Inventory Control

One of the primary functions of the ATF is inspecting the 60,000 federally licensed gun dealers in the United States. They are hampered from doing this by funding restraints and by riders in the Appropriations bills. Note the recurring theme.

Again in 2004 [when the White House and both houses of Congress were Republican] a rider was placed into the funding bill that restricted the ATF’s ability to conduct inventories of gun dealers. Put simply the ATF was handcuffed from performing a core function to insure that guns that came in the door of gun shops when out the door with proper paperwork.

In 2011 inspections found 18,500 guns were missing in the limited inventory inspections of just 13,000 dealers that the ATF is able to accomplish. One of the guns used by John Allen Mohammed in the 2003 Beltway Sniper attacks that killed 10 was such a “stolen” weapon from a gun shop…a Bushmaster XM-15. Sound familiar?

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When it comes to gun violence, and determining appropriate solutions to reduce its impact on American society is good, sound research into all the variables that go into the violence so that resources can be called to bear on those factors that are the most significant. But yet another rider…this one over several years explicitly defunded the Centers for Disease Control as they tried to study gun violence, tried to define the important links. This may have backfired on the NRA this year as detailed studies may have shown that there is not a link between assault rifles and significant gun violence. But we won’t know because unbiased research was halted.

All of these boil down to a couple of very significant facts. The NRA has, for 30 years attempted to neuter all attempts by government to solve gun violence, they have attempted to neuter the “thousands of laws already on the books” that they insist should be fully enforced before any new laws are considered. They have stopped inspections, stopped enforcement and they have stopped research…all for the very simple reason of profit for the gun manufacturers that give them millions of dollars each year to do their bidding.

When the subject comes up that there is “a price for freedom”…that price is measured by monies spent by the NRA to enhance the profits of their clients and by the number of bodies that pile up year after year while the NRA shamelessly looks away.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


Assault Weapons Ban Pulled from Main Congressional Gun Violence Package

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The Assault Weapons Ban, the most prominent and contentious element of the comprehensive collection of bills to address gun violence will not be a part of the larger, consolidated bill that works its way through Congress over the next few weeks.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid informed Senator Feinstein that the AWB would not be a part of the body of the bill taking shape in Congress this week but instead would be included as an amendment…a sure sign that it has little chances to pass. It will either become a negotiating point in the overall bill or will just be voted down as it has no support from the Republican side of the Senate as well as no support in the house. If included in the overall bill it would likely kill the entire thing.

As of today the comprehensive bill has not been posted to Thomas.LOC.GOV. A followup will come from Addicting Info as soon as the bill is assembled and put forward.

The comprehensive bill is expected to address more stringent, broad background checks for gun buyers, a school safety measure and to make gun trafficking and straw purchasing a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. The bill will likely incorporate many of the 40 initial bills that were submitted to Congress in January and February of this year.

The bill is also likely to address magazine capacity of both rifles and pistols and to beef up the flawed NICS Firearms Background Check System. It is unknown if provisions will include coordination with states to include some level of mental health reporting. Psychologists with whom I have spoken on the subject suggest that including mental health records will be an uphill battle on many levels including the very important element of psychologists expected to predict degrees of lethality.

The Assault Weapons Ban is the most prominent of the many bills introduced, addressing the future of high capacity semi automatic rifles, with the most common being the variants of the AR-15. While assault weapons [real or semi automatic versions] are a real danger for mass murder, the more important issues are to address getting guns out of the hands of those who should not have them through closing loopholes eliminating as many of the backdoor sales, gun show sales and person to person sales that are so common and to enhancing background checks by both beefing up the current system to include domestic violence orders and mental health records and including that background check in ALL purchases, not just at licensed gun shops. The comprehensive bill, sans Assault Weapons Ban will have a chance to impact the 98% of deaths by firearms each year that are not mass murder, that are not perpetrated by assault weapons.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.

 


Rand Paul Floats to the Top at 2013 CPAP Straw Poll

Senate Republicans Present Alternative 2013 Budget Proposal

With 25% of the vote, Rand Paul won the 23 person field straw poll predicting the 2016 presidential race at Conservative conclave CPAC today. It is 36 months until the 2016 primary season begins.

Paul beat out other 2016 contenders Marco Rubino who received 23%…two percent below Paul. The favor dropped off considerably the further down the list, with Santorum receiving 8%, the uninvited Chris Christie receiving 7% and Paul Ryan fifth with 6% of the vote as they rounded out the top five.

The CPAC ballot consisted of the usual suspects of conservative thought. Reviewing the list from a liberal eye one could not help noting that only two or three of the 23 candidates stray from hard right conservatism, shut down in the 2012 election cycle.

The runners

NH Senator Kelly Ayotte
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Ohio Governor John Kasich
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul
Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Texas Governor Rick Perry
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott
South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Sarah Palin came in 10th, with 3% of the vote with the remaining 13 contenders getting a combined 14% of the vote.

The five women in the field brought in a cumulative 7% percent of the total vote.

Let’s look at 2010, the same 36 months before the 2012 election and Ron Paul was the winner. George Allen won in 2006 and Steve Forbes 36 months before the 2000 election in 1998. Other conservative winners in the past 20 years have been Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm and Gary Bauer, proving that who is in the lead 36 months before primary season historically stands no chance of staying strong in the front stretch run at the nomination.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.

 

 


90 Days Since Sandy Hook – 2680+ Gun Deaths – Congress: ZIP

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It has been exactly ninety days since the Massacre of Sandy Hook. Ninety days for the country to look at solutions to stop, or at least slow down gun violence. Instead, we have been distracted by partisan polarization to the point that when a decorated Navy Captain, astronaut and husband of gunned down Congressperson Gabby Giffords supports an opinion that differs from the fringe gun community they explode with vitriol, hate and immature rhetoric, directed at an American hero. They exhibit that which is worst in this country, irrational outrage that is the 21st Century equivalent of tar and pitchforks, hate filled mob rule. Except that they do not rule.

But to the good, both state and federal legislatures have introduced scores of bills intended to improve public health that is impacted by gun violence. On the federal level, over 40 bills have been introduced, though none have made it out of committee. While many of them will fail, they have opened up the national conversation and as a by-product have finely defined politicians’ priorities and their stance on issues important to Americans’ safety.

Sandy Hook

I have been saying since December that Sandy Hook was a tipping point, an event so tragic that it woke up the very large “middle” of America. It got the attention of the folks who, until December 14th had not given much consideration one way or the other about the effects of gun violence in this country, about whether the 18th Century Second Amendment really does give people the right to own any weapon whatsoever. That large group in the middle found, in 2012 that they are no longer safe going to the cafes, bars, shopping malls, churches, theaters and even workplaces and schools where they expected a modicum of safety.

They are paying attention now, and it will be that group, not the pro-gun side or the pro-gun regulation side that defines the debate, that defines the tolerance of America to violence and that will decide the solutions and outcomes.

The ninety day marker gives us time to pause to see what has happened, what is happening now and what we can expect to happen as the subject of gun violence is on the table. Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, over 2680 Americans have been killed by gun violence. At least 181 of them were under 20 years old…46 of them under 12 years old. There have been over 2050 deaths in 2013 alone insuring that, yet again we will have over 10,000 Americans killed by gun violence. And that does not include the near 20,000 that will die by suicide with firearms.

Also, in the past ninety days the country has seen states like New York, Colorado and Maryland define what a state is willing to do. In all three states there have been boycotts and threats by their gun manufacturing industry to “pull out”. Legislators have proven in these states that the public health and public safety outweigh economic threats.

But there is another comparison that is not as favorable. The US Congress, post 9/11 acted within six weeks to implement the Patriot Act. No matter your opinion of the Act, it was implemented to address the massacre of 2996 Americans – just ONE THIRD as many that are killed each and every year by gun violence in this country. And as a snarky aside, not a single one of the millions of AR-15 owners in this country was able to defend again the horrible violence of just 19 men.

Yesterday Michael Moore reminded Americans that that these watershed events; tipping points define change in America.

In 1955 photographs of Emmett Till’s shot, mutilated, barbed wire tied body were shown to the world by a mother that wanted everyone to see what bigotry and hatred did to her 14 year old boy. From that event the Civil Rights movement began.

In 1965 we saw photographs of African American men in Selma, Alabama being brutally beaten, hosed and sprayed with tear gas for marching across a bridge. Five months later the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed and signed by a very pissed off Lyndon Johnson.

In 1968 and 1969 the world saw photographs of three severe acts of terror, 500 civilians at My Lai in Vietnam who were killed by US soldiers, a prisoner shot in the head by a South Vietnamese general and in June 1968, Robert Kennedy lay dead from an assassin’s bullet. The first two events turned the tide of support for the Viet Nam war. The third, Senator Kennedy’s death brought, just four months later the passage and signing of the Gun Control Act of 1968, a bill that had been languishing in Congress prior to the deaths of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Congress and statehouses across the country have the opportunity to address the problems of gun violence NOW. They have the obligation to do what is within their power to make this country a safer place; a safer place to go shopping, to go to church, to go out to dinner, to go to the movies, to go to work, to take our nation’s children to school.

We have the ability to change, to evolve as we look at the necessary solutions to end gun violence in this country. The roadblocks are many, from paranoia that a tyrannical government will need stopped, that hordes of undefined marauders will come over the hill to pillage the homestead, that regulations are the first step of confiscation and a [yet again] undefined New World Order…and we know who liked confiscation and a New World Order…so it must be true.

Nobody is talking about confiscation of guns, of gutting the Second Amendment, of eliminating the 300 million guns that are privately owned in this country. What is being proposed is simply regulating processes that occur with gun ownership, to get stolen guns off the streets, to keep folks who can’t legally buy guns from running down to the nearest gun show and diving into the copious gun buffets to get all they want.

It will happen when folks look at that which is proposed, not abstract hypotheticals and paranoid mental exercises of the many gun blogs which conveniently make money off of the angst and turmoil that they help propagate. It will happen when all sides of the conversation focus on reality rather than hyperbola.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


Pillars of Conservative Movement Historically Support Gun Control

A common theme in the current debate on gun violence is that it is only liberals that are for controlling firearms and that it is President Obama leading the way as the only President to have ever considered gun control. History clearly suggests otherwise.

Gun Control…the catchall phrase which can mean everything from confiscation to requiring an ID to buy a firearm, depending upon who is trying to define the term is historically the result of an act of gun violence that makes the country stop and reevaluate its priorities regarding guns, gun violence and the role of government in affecting the safety of society.

St Valentines Day

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Chicago, 1929

The National Firearms Act of 1934 was the result of gangster violence in the 1920s and early 1930s…punctuated by bootlegging wars in places like Chicago and Kansas City to the hundreds of bank robberies of John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly and Bonnie and Clyde. The common denominators…extreme gun violence and machine guns.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 was the direct result of five events…the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr and the Supreme Court ruling on Haynes v United States which negated part of the 1934 Act. After the two very high profile assassinations in 1968, passage of the bill was pushed by an outraged public and much of the 1968 bill was supported by the NRA.

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Robert Kennedy Assassinated, 1968 – Ron Bennett Photography

In 1972 George Wallace, southern governor who was campaigning to be President was shot during a campaign rally and left wheelchair bound. President Richard Nixon, himself on the campaign trail was outraged that, yet again the political process was impacted by gun violence. The Washington Post reports that, post assassination attempt Nixon “proposed ridding the market of Saturday night specials, contemplated banning handguns altogether and refused to pander to gun owners by feigning interest in their weapons.”

Nixon is quoted from his copious Oval Office tapes, this from May 16, 1972…

“I don’t know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house.” “The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth.” He asked why “can’t we go after handguns, period?”

Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell spoke to the question of getting rid of the cheap, $20 Saturday Night Specials by saying “No, the gun lobby’s against any incursion into the elimination of firearms.”

Exactly one month later, June 17, 1972 burglars working for the Nixon “Committee to Re-elect the President” broke into the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee. Within a month President Nixon’s priorities had changed completely… fighting for his legacy, his presidency, and his freedom.

This was not, however Nixon’s first commentary on guns. In a 1969 conversation with his then staff speech writer William Safire Nixon said “Guns are an abomination.”

Long time outspoken Republican William Safire, in 1999 working as the libertarian-conservative voice of the New York Times wrote regarding the Second Amendment

“[A] right that sometimes isn’t is no right at all. After a great job on the First Amendment, the amending Founders botched the Second.

The intellectually lazy will say, ”Let the Supremes sort it out.” I say, let the people decide a political issue. Either we’re serious about our right to gun ownership or we’re serious about our need for gun control.

Here’s how to fix a flawed amendment that is the source of so much confusion: Repeal its ambiguous preamble. Let some member of Congress introduce an amendment to strike the words before the comma in the Second Amendment.”

Jim Brady Shot

James Brady shot during Reagan assassination attempt, March 1981

In March 1981, outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, Ronald Reagan met an assassin’s bullet. It was not successful in killing Ronald Reagan, or his Press Secretary James Brady. It was, however the action that directly led to the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban…led by Republicans James and Sarah Brady. The bill is commonly known as the Brady Bill in James Brady’s honor. Further, it was advocated by Ronald Reagan who said in a March 28th speech to George Washington University and a March 29th editorial in the New York Times…

“Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns.

This level of violence must be stopped. Sarah and Jim Brady are working hard to do that, and I say more power to them. If the passage of the Brady bill were to result in a reduction of only 10 or 15 percent of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land.”

Reagan further addressed his philosophy on gun violence by saying.

“California, which has a 15-day waiting period that I supported and signed into law [Mulford Act] while Governor, stopped nearly 1,800 prohibited handgun sales in 1989.”

In 2002, post 9/11 William F. Buckley, Jr. framed his thoughts on gun control with this…

“The assertion of a right at ridiculous lengths — the absolutization of it, in the manner of the American Civil Liberties Union — is a way of undermining it. If the Constitution says you can say anything you want under any circumstances, then you can shout “fire” in a crowded movie theater. If you have the right to remain silent in all circumstances, then you can decline to give testimony vital to another citizen’s freedom and rights. If you insist that a citizen has the right to own a machine gun, you discredit his right to own a pistol or a rifle.”

Buckley’s position is summarized that he is opposed to gun control, but cannot fathom the NRA’s opposition to banning so-called assault rifles.

Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, James Brady, William Safire, William F. Buckley, Jr. These are not left wing, liberal haters of guns. They are pillars of the Republican Party, of the conservative movement in the United States. They support the Second Amendment and they are realistic enough to understand that gun control – in one of its many fluid definitions is necessary to stop gun violence, necessary to strengthen the fabric of American society.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.