Tag Archives: homicide

Just Another Spree Killing – The Price of Freedom

Spree shooting. It is the disorganized cousin of mass murders. They are separated only by definition. A spree shooting is when multiple people are killed by someone in various locations over a short period of time…mass murder occurs when a shooter kills multiple people in one location, at one time. And don’t confuse them with serial killers.

Today’s spree shooting comes to us from Orange County, California…four dead including the shooter who killed himself after a series of murders, carjackings and a chase with police.

Last week it was former LAPD officer Chris Dorner who went on a week long rampage, killing four, wounding others and then killing himself in a cabin at Big Bear.

Last May, shooting erupted on the streets of Louisville. In the end three were killed, three more wounded as at least some of the shootout was in front of the crowd of onlookers, police and press. In 2009, in Geneva County, Alabama a shooter went on a spree that crossed three towns in two counties and left 10 dead besides the shooter who committed suicide when confronted by police.

Beyond definition, how do these sprees differ from mass murder? What is the motivating trigger? In mass murder we like to blame mental illness, in spree killings the trigger is more than likely anger; domestic violence to the extreme [like the Appomattox shootings in 2010] or a workplace shooting that spills out into the community like the Accent Signage shooting in 2012 where five were killed besides the shooter.

A second differentiation…this event will get minimal media coverage…it will be a regional or national news story only until either then next multiple death shooting or until the American Idol broadcasts during sweep week [ratings count]. But the murder count will continue unabated…12,000 Americans will die by gun violence again this year – 250,000 will be injured. It is, as someone on a gun forum said “the price of freedom.” A very high price indeed.


Seven States Move to Codify Responsibility for Gun Owners

Gun owners, above most everything besides the 2nd Amendment argument posit that the problems with gun violence are not due to “responsible” gun owners…it is always “them”, the other guy…criminals, the mentally unstable, well…you know, THEM. The foundation of their argument is that they, the beleaguered, hounded, falsely blamed, honest, hardworking gun owner are completely responsible…they are just not the problem. EVER.

Seven states, California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Colorado have, in the past month introduced bills to have gun owners put their money where their mouth is…liability insurance for their firearms. Codifying that responsibility if their firearms are used incorrectly, used by children who find them, by criminals who easily steal them, by people to whom they sell them without requiring a background check.

In California Assembly Bill AB231 was introduced by Assemblymen from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Assemblyman Phillip Ting equated the idea to requiring vehicle owners to buy auto insurance. LA Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez said it would encourage gun owners to take firearms safety classes and keep their guns locked up to get lower insurance rates.

Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, questioned whether it is constitutional to require someone to buy insurance to exercise a constitutional right.

Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University counters “Nothing in the constitution grants people the right to expose others to serious risk without compensation.”

In New York the focus is again on codifying responsibility rather than continue to have the “Scout’s Honor” approach that gun owners now enjoy. In other words, make the gun owner responsible for any damage that their guns do. While it may discourage some people from buying guns, more broadly it would incent people to practice that responsibility that the gun community says they already practice…though the 233,000 guns stolen per year and the number of kids killed by mommy and daddy’s gun that is lying around contradict that assertion. Scout’s Honor.

In Massachusetts, HD 2678,  a bill was introduced by Democrat Rep. David Linsky on January 18th. An analysis by Best’s Insurance News says it would provide those injured, or the survivors of those killed through negligence, legal recourse and “perhaps, allow insurers selling policies to charge rates using a risk-based system as a means of improving firearm safety.”

Linsky said the bill “might result in insurers pricing gun liability insurance according to risk, including factors such as how many guns are owned in the home, how those weapons are stored, and whether they are kept in a locked area.” Again the goal is making the gun owner fully responsible for his firearms, making sure they are always properly locked away.

In Colorado, home state of the Columbine High School shooting and the Aurora Theater massacre, the new legislation requires that owners of semi-automatic rifles be subject to strict liability for civil damages caused by their weapons, and state statutes that shield manufacturers, importers and dealers from such liability would be lifted. It further says that handguns, bolt-action rifles and shotguns would be exempt from the measure. The issue of liability is only one of many measures introduced into the Colorado legislature Tuesday.

The actions of the states set in motion several conflicts…while most gun enthusiasts are loath to see Washington DC dictate any measures that affect their guns, a large majority of them are also strong proponents of enforcing the 10th Amendment, supporting a state’s right to control its own laws that are not defined Federal powers.

All of the states that have to date filed legislation regarding liability insurance on firearms are blue states. They represent 30% of the population of the nation.

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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.


Gun Enthusiasts React to FoxNews, Chris Wallace, Wayne LaPierre…Under the Bus!

We have seen the video from Fox News of Wayne LaPierre on Chris Wallace’s program. We watched as LaPierre stumbled and stammered and failed to even begin to defend his statements, failed to defend his statistics. The pummeling was well covered by Addicting Info.

But what did the everyday gun enthusiast think, what did the folks who send extra money to the NRA every month think? It didn’t take long to find out.

From the Smith & Wesson Forum

“Wallace was starting to remind me of Piers Morgan. Anyone else see this?” – Inmorgan

“I know the NRA and the defenders of the 2nd Amendment need to get out the message, but we do need a more camera-savvy messenger. Wayne comes across as prickly and overly-defensive at times. – Dennis the B

“I cringed listening to Wayne today. Heck, I could have done a better job explaining NRA’s position to Wallace. I agree it’s time for NRA to have a new public face.” – Beemerguy53

“I think Chris Wallace was out of line. Thought he was to be fair and balanced!!!” – Sgt 207

“Wayne is not the right spokesperson. He stumbles, comes across as weak, ill prepared, not knowledgeable, and can not make a point without loosing his train of thought. He must recognize his weakness and let others more eloquent make the argument…I vote no confidence.” – jtpur

“AS FAR A LAPIERRE, HE IS A BIT TIMID, NERVOUS AND UNSURE SOUNDING, AND NOT QUICK WITTED. HE MISSES GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES TO PLUG OUR CIVIL RIGHT AND LETS THE LEFTISTS BULLY HIM AROUND.” – 681ismyfavorite

“I watched it and I wanted to tell him to SHUT UP! He lost what little respect I had for him. Will never watch his show again. Fox is going down hill fast.” – joerm

And from the Free Republic
“Christine is merely implementing Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals #5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Doesn’t matter if you allegation is true or false. To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, “The ridicule is the message.” – E. Pluribus Unum

“Wallace is just another red diaper doper baby. Commie scum.” – smoothsailing

And from AR15.COM

“Lapeirre has some good points floating around in his head. IMO he always just seems foolish when he tries to get them out. We all know what he is trying to say, but it doesn’t translate well to the other side…” – c7aea15

“Yeah, it was a hit-job plain and simple. No damn “fair and balanced” about it at all, not by any stretch. Same with O”Reilly and Shep not even taking into account the usual lefties they have on. Sad….” – traderpats

“LaPierre is a poor debater. NRA needs to find someone else.” – renegadex

So, it comes down to this…as long as Fox News and their talking heads fully support you, no matter your position, they are the most important, fair, balanced, honest voice of all the media. But, once they question your facts, point out the failures of your works…UNDER THE BUS. And not just Fox, not just Chris Wallace…but Wayne LaPierre as well. After all, he didn’t stand up like Charlton Heston would, like they would…and we all know “they” are always ready with the quip, with the right thing to say…just like John McClane.

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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.

 


Obama Swings His Boomstick

original

The deniers came out just moments after the New Republic posted an interview with President Obama where he was asked if he had ever fired a gun. His response “Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time” gives us the first denier conspiracy of the year.

The questions immediately began from the ummm, well we have Truthers and Birthers…so let’s just call them Skeeters. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) took the first shot “”If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this? Why have we not seen photos?” Never mind that the President – all presidents since Eisenhower have used Camp David to get away from the press, get away from the glare  and don’t have their every move documented by photography. Odds are there are other things that have gone on at Camp David without many photographs…say walks in the woods, talking on the phone as examples.

Gun enthusiasts fora had a field day in criticizing the comment, the reality of it, and even circulated a photoshopped photo of Obama with a shotgun in an effort to discredit it. In their world view, it would not be possible for a person who wants to increase the safety of Americans with gun regulations would also shoot from time to time.

And that deeper issue, those in the gun community who intractably support the 2nd Amendment, who support the NRA position, who want no regulations on firearms, they don’t believe, or don’t accept that there are gun owners who aren’t “on their side.” They present the case that ALL gun owners believe the same and ALL gun owners are anti-regulation and that “the other side” wants to confiscate their guns. The 30-40% of gun owners who are classified as liberal would beg to differ – well, if they weren’t banned from many of the gun fora when they try and make that simple point. Liberals also have a presence on the internet – The Liberal Gun Club…and they don’t tend to ban folks who have opposing views.

538 gun poll 150

This issue will come down to this. Either folks will accept the statement by the President and the photograph for what they are or, for those who don’t live in an evidence based society, I suppose that, for years we will hear Skeeters talk about the time Obama went to the NASA sound stage where they had, 44 years earlier shot the fake Moon landing and whipped up “proof”. “Can’t you see the shadow of the chem-trails on the far right of the photo, on the pathway?”

So it goes.

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50 Days Since Sandy Hook: 108 Children Killed Nationally by Guns

It has been 50 days since Sandy Hook, 50 days since the nation woke up to the horror of gun violence that eats away at this country every day. It is not just the 12,000 that die per year [as if they were not enough], it is the impacts with which those who survive must deal. It is the impacts that society as a whole must absorb. In a time when each and every state, city, and town focuses on reducing their budgets, reducing their staffs deaths by firearms stands as an obstacle, stands as a reminder that we must spend more on law enforcement and prisons and emergency rooms because of gun violence.

In the time-frame of just 50 days at least 1475 people have died from gunfire and politicians and lobbyists have spent thousands of hours on the air, on the internet talking about gun violence – talking. The chasm between the two sides is as deep and wide as a grave to hold those 1475 people. And nobody wants to concede even an inch, to move toward compromise that solves problems.

In that 50 days 108 children and teens have been murdered with firearms. Their ages from ONE to 19 with an average age of 13 years, 10 months and they lived in 31 states.

We hear about the big ones, the ones that made national attention like the 15 year old gifted student in Chicago who had just performed at President Obama’s inauguration and was caught in the crossfire of gang activity. We hear about the 12 year old girl in Kentucky who was just in the wrong place when her cousin’s ex-boyfriend shot and killed her, her cousin and her uncle with a handgun he had only bought hours before. We hear about the teen in New Mexico who took his father’s AR-15 and killed his three siblings, aged two, five, and nine along with his parents.

But the other 103 teens and children remain local stories, stories that don’t make national news, stories that only stick with the families for the rest of their lives.

Slate has taken on the gruesome task of maintaining these tallies [in the hour I have been writing this the tally moved from 1468 to 1475]. If you download their spreadsheet you will see a link to media coverage of each and very murder that has occurred.

Politicians look at the big murders, the large body counts that allow them to posture for the media. They focus on the assault weapons which account for some but not nearly a majority of the deaths and they focus on grand gestures rather than the much more mundane, yet more effective regulations to insure that guns aren’t picked up by kids, that guns aren’t stolen and dumped into the illegal market, that criminal elements are stopped from buying guns without a background check.

It is those politicians that need to see this ever growing list, see it each and every day.

Date

Name

Gndr

Age

City

State

12/15/2012

Ismael Moya

M

17

Cleburne County

AL

12/15/2012

Michael William Lopez Jr.

M

16

Fresno

CA

12/15/2012

Montreal Blakely

M

17

San Francisco

CA

12/15/2012

Demetrius Paul Cruz

M

15

Denver

CO

12/15/2012

Ryder Rozier

M

3

Guthrie

OK

12/16/2012

Richard Aldana

M

16

Los Angeles

CA

12/16/2012

Demarko Williams

M

17

University City

MO

12/17/2012

Damin T. Russell

M

14

Clay County

MO

12/17/2012

Aydan Perea

M

4

Kansas City

MO

12/17/2012

David Gill

M

16

Cincinnati

OH

12/18/2012

Cornelius Mitchell

M

17

Lauderdale Lakes

FL

12/18/2012

Quantavious Que Kennon

M

16

Sanford

FL

12/18/2012

Dalton Williams

M

16

Pierre

SD

12/18/2012

Noah Wood

M

17

Longview

TX

12/19/2012

Paul Sampleton Jr.

M

14

Gwinnett

GA

12/19/2012

Martez Stephon Davis

M

16

Richmond County

GA

12/20/2012

Jose Sanchez

M

17

Will County

IL

12/20/2012

Brennan Nowell

M

2

Harrison

TN

12/21/2012

Cody Mesaris

M

16

Waynesburg

KY

12/21/2012

Nick Exley

M

15

Wendell

NC

12/22/2012

Ediberto Genis

M

17

Los Angeles

CA

12/22/2012

Bryan Herrera

M

16

Miami

FL

12/22/2012

Kentan Scott

M

15

Chicago

IL

12/22/2012

Dequavious Southward

M

16

Saginaw

MI

12/23/2012

Daquell LeBlanc

M

17

Poughkeepsie

NY

12/24/2012

Dekalah Jones

F

13

Houston

TX

12/25/2012

Sincere Tymere Smith

M

2

Conway

SC

12/25/2012

Alfreddie Gipson

M

10

Memphis

TN

12/26/2012

Jesse McElhinney

M

16

Altoona

PA

12/28/2012

Jubrille Jordan

F

15

Oakland

CA

12/28/2012

Christian Crain

M

13

Prairieville

LA

12/28/2012

James Lee Parker

M

12

Wake Forest

NC

12/28/2012

 

M

13

Paris

TX

12/28/2012

Jake Lehouillier

M

17

Johnson

VT

12/29/2012

Xavier Granville

M

17

New York

NY

12/29/2012

Joe Andy Cardenas

M

13

Beeville

TX

12/30/2012

 Easton Brueger

M

8

Bennettsville

SC

12/31/2012

Aaliyah Destiny Boyer

F

10

Elkton

MD

1/1/2013

Gianni Herron

M

15

Flint

MI

1/1/2013

Jaymire Rustin

M

16

Philadelphia

PA

1/3/2013

Marty Kent

M

17

Modesto

CA

1/3/2013

 

M

17

Detroit

MI

1/3/2013

Richard A. Wallace II

M

16

Flint

MI

1/4/2013

Kevin Hannah

M

10

Tollhouse

CA

1/4/2013

Jonah Mendoza

M

1

Ocala

FL

1/4/2013

Raphael Ward

M

16

New York

NY

1/5/2013

Christopher Lattin Jr.

M

15

Chicago

IL

1/5/2013

Haji Mohamud

M

14

Las Vegas

NV

1/6/2013

 

F

13

Raleigh

NC

1/6/2013

Anna R. Karam

F

16

Akron

OH

1/7/2013

Tyronta Mickens

M

17

Oakland

CA

1/7/2013

Frederick Chatmen

M

17

Chicago

IL

1/7/2013

Maurice Edmonds II

M

14

Greensboro

NC

1/8/2013

William Parris

M

12

Pleasant Valley

AL

1/8/2013

Matthew Joseph Barry

M

17

Adelanto

CA

1/8/2013

Aaron Ganier

M

17

New Orleans

LA

1/8/2013

Brendalyz Morales

F

15

Milwaukee

WI

1/9/2013

Jacob Ball

M

5

Cambridge

OH

1/10/2013

Jesse Rubalcava

M

16

Whittier

CA

1/10/2013

Joshua Lively

M

17

Pike County

GA

1/10/2013

Deondre Pace

M

16

Allentown

PA

1/11/2013

Lavanial Williams

M

17

Marin City

CA

1/11/2013

Ken Harbin

M

17

Oakland

CA

1/11/2013

Matthew Logan Gilleran

M

14

Key West

FL

1/11/2013

Rey Dorantes

M

14

Chicago

IL

1/11/2013

Victor Vega

M

15

Chicago

IL

1/11/2013

 

M

17

Detroit

MI

1/12/2013

Angelica Mona Golston

F

17

Tuscaloosa

AL

1/12/2013

Theodore Curley

M

17

Phoenix

AZ

1/12/2013

Steven Curtis

M

12

Breckenridge

MO

1/12/2013

Raheem Neal

M

15

Newark

NJ

1/12/2013

Clifton Kwane Little Jr.

M

17

Norfolk

VA

1/13/2013

Will May

M

13

Tuscaloosa

AL

1/13/2013

 

M

17

Glendale

AZ

1/14/2013

Michael Graham

M

13

Brewster

NY

1/14/2013

Alexandra Brown

F

10

Henry County

OH

1/15/2013

Benjamin Goforth

M

16

Baxter County

AR

1/15/2013

Michelle Adrian

F

17

Baltimore

MD

1/16/2013

Tyrone Lawson

M

17

Chicago

IL

1/16/2013

Taylor Jade Cornett

F

12

Hazard

KY

1/17/2013

Landon Kinsey

M

15

Miami Gardens

FL

1/17/2013

Alishia Colon

F

16

Kearny

NJ

1/17/2013

Kaewaun D. Coleman

M

15

Columbus

OH

1/18/2013

Kayla Ann Hendrickson

F

16

Tillamook

OR

1/19/2013

 

M

15

McDonough

GA

1/19/2013

Enrico Green

M

15

Baton Rouge

LA

1/19/2013

Jael Griego

F

5

South Valley

NM

1/19/2013

Zephania Griego

M

9

South Valley

NM

1/19/2013

Angelina Griego

F

2

South Valley

NM

1/19/2013

Nevaeh Benson

F

6

Cleveland

OH

1/20/2013

Marcus Antonio Jones

M

16

Prince George’s County

MD

1/20/2013

Leangelo Ford

M

17

Sharon

PA

1/21/2013

Steven Rosalez

M

16

Pittsburgh

CA

1/21/2013

Kuantrae Massey

M

16

Bloomington

IL

1/21/2013

Travin Varise

M

2

Baton Rouge

LA

1/21/2013

Maximillian Walters

M

5

Boulder City

NV

1/22/2013

Evan Colquitt

M

17

Savannah

GA

1/22/2013

Trinity Ross

F

4

Kansas City

MO

1/23/2013

Jamarcus Allen

M

4

Akron

OH

1/23/2013

Roger Rodriguez Jr.

M

17

San Antonio

TX

1/24/2013

 

M

13

Cottageville

SC

1/24/2013

Matthew Daniels

M

15

Sweetwater

TN

1/25/2013

Douglas E. Combs

M

16

Vancouver

WA

1/26/2013

 

M

16

Wilmington

DE

1/26/2013

Antonio Fenner

M

16

Chicago

IL

1/28/2013

Deandre Jamar Thomas

M

17

Isle of Wight

VA

1/29/2013

Hadiya Pendleton

F

15

Chicago

IL

1/30/2013

Jasmine Simone Young

F

17

Little Rock

AR

 

 

//


Paranoid NRA Releases Enemy List

Enemy lists…They go back as far as politics have been a part of our culture. Nixon, Joseph McCarthy, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco, who is, we believe still dead. In the 1970s the most famous, though not largest list to date became public…Nixon’s Enemies List.  It had 207 names. This month the National Rifle Association released its own enemies list. It has 525 names, associations, sports teams, and corporations.

I learned a couple of things while reviewing the NRA list. First, they have no concept of data record formatting. Second, at least some of the folks on the NRA list are dead – which rings familiar to the persistent rumors that many of the NRA Life Members are dead as well. Third, unlike Nixon, the NRA didn’t list the politicians who support gun regulations, nor are any of the new media sites – like Addicting Info or Occupy the NRA on the list.

Back to the list. 24 major medical associations, from the AMA to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons populate the list of NRA enemies. And so are the American Bar Association, National Education Association, the Catholic Conference, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church and the American Jewish Conference. From the world of sports are the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Rams.

Hollywood is represented by a wide variety of actors…from TV’s Barney Miller – Hal Linden to Rambo – Sylvester Stallone to NCIS’ Mark Harmon to George Clooney, Matt Damon, Kevin Bacon, MacGyver’s Richard Dean Anderson. Also on the list, Sigourney Weaver, Oprah Winfrey, Shania Twain, Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand – the only person to be on both Nixon and the NRA’s lists.

Former politicians Jimmy Carter, Ed Koch and C. Everett Coop are also listed along with political powerhouse, the AARP, 32Million strong.

It might be easier to write who is NOT on the list.

And that brings up the philosophy of having an enemies list. If a person or group is confident in their position, confident in the support that they have, they would have a supporter’s list rather than enemies list. Showcase the hundreds of public figures, industry leaders and organizations that support your cause, your philosophy.

But that doesn’t happen…ever. And it is because an enemies list is a weak defense of an untenable position.

The LIST…

EDIT: Originally written for and published in Addicting Info 01.30.13


Wayne’s World: When Bullies Lose

NRA’s Wayne LaPierre is, by all accounts a larger than life figure…well, at least that is what his PR bio says, it must be true. After all, there would be no reason for the face of the NRA to be intentionally deceitful. Yet, time and time again that is just what we see from Wayne LaPierre…lies, distortions, deceit, obfuscation, and contradiction.

Wayne-LaPierre-009 credit

But maybe it is just the inability to think or act under pressure that makes Mr. LaPierre such a symbol of ethics-free behavior. Yesterday he had an opportunity to set things straight, to come clearly prepared to take on the US Senate and lay out his case. The opportunity slipped through his trigger fingers. He was, yet again left looking like a heavyweight fighter, well past his prime, with his opponents knowing his every move, riding the ropes. He could hear the theme from Rocky playing in his own head…but he couldn’t land the punches.

Yesterday started well enough. He got up, dressed, met his bodyguards and headed to the Capitol. Now, you might ask yourself why, after making a big deal about President Obama sending his children to school with Secret Service protection that he – a man who in rhetoric and principle says that a person should be able to stand on his own – would have guards to protect him. He whines about New York Mayor Bloomberg having guards…does he somehow feel he is more important? Under more threat? It is a contradiction of character.

As soon as Mr. LaPierre got to the Capitol the disintegration of his planned bullying began to fall apart. First, his bodyguards came off the Senate elevator and began pushing journalists aside, body-checking them and pushing them against the wall. It was then that Mr. LaPierre had the opportunity to understood two things clearly. His 2nd Amendment does not trump the 1st Amendment…the journalists are there for a reason, to get everyone’s side of the story on record. Second, he learned that, in the US Capitol he has to play by congressional procedures…their house, their rules. And that meant no bullying by Team NRA.

When Mr. LaPierre got into the Senate hearing he got his first of many surprises. With the first speakers he would be on the defensive, the all important fight for image as Gabby Giffords made the first statement…a simple 10 sentence statement – 63 words.

Giffords at Hearing with credit

Then her husband, Astronaut and Navy Captain Mark Kelly began. His statement was powerful but, the body shot to Mr. LaPierre came when Captain Kelly interrupted his own statement to announce to those in attendance that yet another workplace shooting was occurring in Phoenix as they spoke.

After these two opening shots, and a couple of more speakers it was Wayne LaPierre’s turn. He began with lies, contradictions, and obfuscation in his prepared remarks which were covered by Addicting Info earlier.

“We need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. Overall in 2011, federal weapons prosecutions per capita were down 35 percent from their peak in the previous administration… And that’s unacceptable.” He added “out of more than 76,000 firearms purchases denied by the federal instant check system, only 62 were referred for prosecution and only 44 were actually prosecuted.”

Mr. LaPierre was apparently unaware that those kinds of facts could easily be verified quickly…especially by powerful senators with a staff at the ready.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was quick to point out “In 2012 more than 11,700 defendants were charged with federal gun crimes, a lot more than 62.”

A stammering Wayne LaPierre tried to return fire…“So those – the 62, senator, statistic, was for Chicago alone.” He had, as folks who know guns would say – a failure to fire.

When it was pointed out by Senator Patrick Leahy that his current testimony contradicted previous testimony of “no loopholes anywhere, for anyone”, on closing gun-show and private party loopholes he was asked “So does the NRA favor closing the “gun-show loophole” that allows people to avoid background checks?”

“We do not” said Mr. LaPierre in direct contradiction of previous NRA positions.

But it was not over…fights go 15 rounds and next up was Senator Dick Durbin. When Mr. LaPierre began his objections to background checks “My problem with background checks is you’re never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks,” Senator Durbin pointed out, very firmly “background checks would mean criminals won’t go to purchase the guns, because there will be a background check! We’ll stop them from the original purchase” adding “You missed that point completely!”

Mr. LaPierre didn’t miss the point, he chose to obfuscate it with illogical rhetoric.

Mr. LaPierre was now on the ropes, his lies and contradictions fully evident and on the record. His direct comparison with Gabby Giffords was a PR failure. His one last opportunity to connect, to score points came as he was contrasting elites vs. the common man. “If you’re in the elite, you get bodyguards, you get high-cap mags with semiautomatics protecting this whole Capitol. The titans of industry get the bodyguards.”

He then left the Senate hearing with his retinue, his bodyguards. Maybe his day will get better as he faced Life Members who had paid $1,000 for a Life Membership and those memberships are now offered for $300 or a free one year membership. They have to jack up their membership numbers someway.

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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.

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Conspiracy Persists Regarding The Guns of Sandy Hook

The Guns of Sandy Hook. Not only were they the weapons used to kill 26 teachers and children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, they are also the fodder of conspiracy theorists intent on proving that this was a set up by the Obama Administration [or maybe the UN or possibly the New World Order™] to launch a ban on assault weapons and/or disarm America. And like any good conspiracy theory they latch on to disparate information that, in hindsight represents the “proof” that they need to state their case…never mind the volumes of information that is contraindicated to their theory. That other stuff [or as we like to call them – facts] is just “the government covering its tracks.”

The genesis of the conspiracy comes from the onslaught of media reporting of this horrific “BREAKING NEWS…” As word of converging law enforcement to the massacre went from the Newtown Bee, the local newspaper to the media capital of the world, just 75 miles south, reporters merged upon Newtown from 684/84 and from the air. The formula for misinformation was complete…hundreds of cops from different departments, hundreds of reporters from different media, a public clambering for information, deadlines, competition. This was a story that could “make” a reporter, a story that could give the network broadcasting the “latest” information a leg up in ratings.

In the first 24 hours of any story there is misinformation…whether it was a misinterpretation of an event such as seeing a man handcuffed at the scene and assuming he was part of the massacre rather than a parent who had cut cross country to get to his kids faster or if it was collecting snippets of information from different law enforcement personnel and assimilating them incorrectly, errors occur. But in those errors come the seeds of conspiracy.
There were four handguns OR there were three semiautomatics OR the AR-15 was in the trunk OR a shotgun was found in the trunk.

The shooter’s mother was a teacher at the school, the first person killed, a teacher’s aide, was off that day, was not, in any way connected to the school system

 

In normal news cycles reporters have time to check their sources, to double check the validity of a claim. When breaking news hits, much of that quality control is thrown aside…the 24/7/365 news machine, from broadcast news to web sites to newspapers want it first. When it is right, it is magic, information instantly at your fingertips…when it is wrong, it can be total failure.

In March of 1981 the news media reported the breaking news that a shooting took place where Ronald Reagan was. As networks scrambled to get information they reported, inaccurately that James Brady had died, that Reagan had NOT been shot, that Reagan had died…all within the first 30 minutes of the breaking story. Frank Reynolds, anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight went off at staff on the air with the conflicting reports that were being handed to him and fed into his earpiece ““Let’s get it NAILED DOWN… somebody… let’s find out! Let’s get it straight so we can report this thing accurately!”
With the passage of time the incorrect reports are solved. Layers of information, without the rush to feed breaking news can be assimilated, analyzed, and most importantly verified. But conspiracy theorists rely on too many original reports, too many turns of phrase at news conferences, and too many “questions” that propagate through the blogsphere…”Two unidentified NUNS who were seen leave scene at Sandy Hook”, “SMOKING GUN OF SANDY HOOK HOAX. REHEARSAL OF VICTIM EVACUATION”, “Foreign Swat Team Participated in Sandy Hook”, and then there is THIS.

Now, let’s look at the facts regarding the guns that have emerged in the many days since the massacre. First, what guns were in the school?  This is really simple. We have both the coroner’s news conference the day afterward where he explains that “all the wounds were caused by the long gun [the Bushmaster 223, AR-15 clone] and we have the Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection’s report that the guns seized inside the school were a Bushmaster .223 caliber — model XM15-E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round magazine, Glock 10 mm handgun, Sig-Sauer P226  9mm handgun. Seized from the car in the parking lot, a Izhmash Canta-12 12 gauge Assault Shotgun.

Guns of Sandy Hook

We further have an interview with the Connecticut State Coroner, H. Wayne Carver II  on Sunday, December 16, two days after the event speaking about the lethality of the weapon used.

In the initial reports it was reported that an AR-15 was “in the trunk”. The Ishmash Canta-12, from any distance looks very much like an AR-15 or AK-47 from which it is derived. It is easy to see how this part of the conspiracy began. Much of the rest of it, however seems to be based on the concerns by the gun enthusiast community that the entire event was staged to jump start a UN based New World Order plan to disarm America. And that last part…you can’t debunk it, you can’t argue it, it’s just too far over the fringe – in the land where conspiracies are born.

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Columbine: 5,000 Days Later

Today is the 5,000th day since Columbine High School erupted in violence and murder and 13 innocent children were killed, another 21 injured. As well, the two shooters, aged 18 and 17. 5,000 days, nearly 14 years have passed. Today is also the day the US Senate is taking up the subject of “What Should America Do About Gun Violence?”

In the nearly 14 years since Columbine we have had 157,500 murders by gun. 32,000 of those were gang related where most were using stolen guns or guns illegally purchased.  125,500 were NOT gang related [numbers from FBI Uniform Crime Reports].

Ushomicidesbyweapon.svg

As you can see from the FBI chart, a definite, well defined drop came after the Assault Weapons Ban in 1994

Since Columbine we have had seven multiple murder school shootings in Red Lake High School, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Bart Township, PA, Chardon High School, Oikos University, and Sandy Hook Elementary School. In every school shooting except Bart Township, Chardon and Sandy Hook there were armed, trained guards on the scene, as there was in Columbine. 103 Killed – 96 Wounded.

In that same 14 years over 84 Million guns have been sold in the US according to the BATFE’s NICS background check system.  We also know that between 3.5Million and 5Million guns have been stolen in that same period. And through SourceWatch we know that the NRA has spend over $50Million in lobbying and election contributions, $24.28Million – $16.83Million through its Political Action Committee, plus $7.45 million through its affiliated Institute for Legislative Action during the 2012 election cycle alone, along with another $2,205,000 in lobby action alone.

Each morning, moms and dads across the country get 64,000,000 children ready for school to learn, be with friends and develop as human beings.  Each morning those parents think about Sandy Hook, about Columbine, about the school shootings that have grown in numbers in the last 14 years. They don’t care about politics, they don’t care about the 2nd Amendment, they don’t care about someone’s right to own what ever gun the market can present for sale. They care about the safety of their children; they care whether they are at school, at the playground, on the bus.

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. His grandfathers helped organize the coal fields of Eastern Kentucky and his father was a career long butcher and union representative.


NICS Firearms Background Check System: Filling the Gaps

One of the compromises of the 1993 Brady Bill was that, rather than a five day waiting period for criminal checks and a “cooling off period” the development of the NICS instant background check would be used for the purchase of firearms. Nearly six years later, in late 1998 the National Instant Criminal Background Check System came on-line. Its design intent was to provide a comprehensive, national system from which a quick decision could be made as to whether a gun buyer was legally allowed to own on.

The process to the end users, the gun shops and buyers is very simple. The buyer fills out an ATF Form 4473 [May5, 2013 EDIT, the ATF has taken this link down] which provides information such as name, Social Security number, place of birth, and a series of questions that would, if filled out correctly filter out those who can’t purchase. And if purchasers lie, it stands as evidence of lying on a federal document. The gun dealer then calls NICS and within minutes [usually less than 10] the purchaser is taken to the cash register to pay for their new weapon.

With any system there are flaws…with NICS there are many. Currently the database, maintained by the FBI, holds more than 7.3 million records of people who are barred from buying guns: felons, drug users, domestic violence offenders, fugitives and people who have been committed to mental institutions. But that database is only as good as the data that is fed into it.

And more importantly that NICS database is only used in an estimated 40% of all gun purchases.  60% of purchases are either done friend to friend; through on-line contact which results in either person to person [PTP] sales or firearms illegally shipped from seller to buyer; at gun shows that often have over 1,000 tables of used guns for sale on any given weekend.

The basic design of the database is that date is delivered to the NICS system by at least 60 disparate sources, each with their own data design, their own policies, and their own budget limitations. Each state and the District of Columbia must submit crime data, mental health data, and records of domestic abuse restraining orders. Further that data is derived from thousands of police and sheriff’s departments and courts. Each faces dwindling resources to maintain the completeness and integrity of their data. And further, the timely delivery of that data to the federal system. The Department of Defense, TSA, Homeland Security, Customs and other government agencies also are required to channel data to the NICS system. And with those multiple sets of data, in various states of completion and accuracy come the problems. Integration and data integrity.

To that end, to resolve the limitations of the NICS system President Obama, with five Executive Orders is putting pressure on the federal government to clean up the system, make it was it was originally envisioned. For that purpose he has committed $70Million.

One of the main stumbling blocks is the development of date from mental health sources…data show twenty-five states have submitted fewer than 100 mental health records; six have reported zero.  This means that the cause that most attribute to gun violence, the one set of data that can reduce the number of guns sold to those who should not have them is incomplete or missing. And the problem is not just poor record transfer. Between HIPAA’s privacy restrictions and reluctance by many health care professionals to commit to paper their concerns and the politics of many states which are less inclined to submit reports, the problem is far from easy to solve. It is not simply passing data through from state to federal systems.

After Virginia Tech the Bush Administration signed, in January 2008 new legislation to improve the record keeping between states and federal systems. To date, five years after it was signed there has been little improvement. Officials blame privacy laws, antiquated record-keeping and a severe lack of funding for the failure to comply.

Where do we go from here?

In order to bring the NICS system up to expectations, systems designers will need to redesign and fund federal AND state data collection systems to allow a quicker, easier, less expensive transfer of data between sources. The NICS system should be used as the framework for improvement, not a complete redesign of the system. The key will be in funding the design for disparate systems to bring them into a singular compliance. Further, the political policies that have kept agencies and states from quickly and completely sharing their date will have to be resolved.

And Congress will have to step up to address the 60% of all gun purchases that do not, at this time run through gun shops and the NICS system. A system where all private sales pass through federally licensed gun dealers [FFLs] to insure a paper trail of the transaction, and thorough background check is implemented.

This element of the solution to end gun violence will not be quick, it will not be inexpensive and it will not be without stepping on toes. But, when complete it will provide a more comprehensive system to address the purchase of firearms, purchase by those who are, by Constitution and law legally able to buy and own weapons.

McAllister is a 30 year Systems Analyst and Architect who designs and implements large capacity data systems for both private sector and government.

Read more observations by McAllister at Shoot From the Left Hip.

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