Tag Archives: Wayne LaPierre

Just Another Child Killed…Move On, Nothing To See Here

boy with rifle

Another child shot and killed another child yesterday. She was at least the 220th child or teen killed by gunfire this year. 60 of them under 12. Her name was Caroline Starks and she was TWO and lived in the sleepy little rural community of Burkesville, Kentucky. Her five year old brother took his new gift, a $100 youth model Crickett 22 caliber rifle and shot her. Her mother, who was home at the time said that the gun was “kept in the corner”.

Crickett my first rifle

There is obvious sadness in that home right now, the death of a child is horrific. The Cumberland County Sheriff says it was “Just one of those crazy accidents.” No, no it wasn’t. It was negligence and stupidity.

One law that is on the books now, and has been since 2005 regards locking mechanisms for guns, sometimes trigger locks, sometimes cable locks which are shipped from the manufacturer with each new gun. The folks at Crickett built in a mechanical lock for the gun [see video].

I have written about this before…six times just this year, just 10% of the deaths from gun violence. If you need reminded, there was the boy in New Jersey who killed his friend [link], the boy who grabbed a deputy sheriff’s gun and killed the deputy’s wife [link], the Tennessee kid who killed himself in March [link], and the list goes on [link].

The constant is that this shooting will be thrown aside just like the rest. The 60 kids under 12, from 29 states will be ignored because they are not multi-day media circuses. There is not a convenient way for the national media to bump up their ratings by focusing on these little deaths. Anderson Cooper will not jet to Burkesville Kentucky, Fox will not have it the subject of their talking heads, NBC will give it 30 seconds. Even the local newspapers and television stations will not speak of it within a week.

So they will continue to just die. Gun enthusiasts, who believe their right to own firearms is more important than the right for someone to continue to live will say “It happens” or “It is the price of freedom” or that “we have enough common sense regulations right now”. Sure they will say they are sorry it happened. But what they won’t say is that they will step up and actively work on a solution to make sure it happens less and less and less. And so the kids will just continue to be killed.

Gun enthusiasts will continue to blame everyone but the gun, politicians will continue to bury their head in the sand, hoping they don’t have to answer yet another question about gun violence and society will just turn their head away, hold their breath and say a prayer, glad that it was not their child killed…this time.

We used to be better than this.

_________________________________________________________

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 Goes Racin’ And Forgets To Check Rear View Mirror

Kyle Busch

NASCAR racing is a pretty closed sport…you either love it or hate it, follow it or not. This weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway it was different. In early March, the NRA, following two months of being pummeled by the press and public for a tone-deaf response to the massacre at Sandy Hook decided to sponsor itself a race. So, this weekend we had the NRA 500.

But it was different in two ways. First, an argument broke out in the infield of the race and a man decided to kill himself with a handgun. Second, and more significant [except to the family and friends of the dead man] was that Fox Sports seemed to bend over backwards to NOT use the name of the race. In every instance of the pre-race show and the race they referred to it as the Texas 500 or the Texas Motor Speedway 500.

First, to the death in the infield. At this time there are not many details but the basics are that Kirk Franklin, 42, of Saginaw, Texas got in to an altercation at the speedway during the race. He ended the altercation by shooting himself to death. Alcohol may have been involved.

Normally, and by that I mean over the past 30 years or so a hallmark of NASCAR races is the way that announcers and drivers do everything they can to repeat the names of the sponsors as many times as possible. It is not “fill up with gas”, rather “fill up with Sunoco Racing Fuel”. It is not “I want to thank my team”, rather “I want to thank the crew for setting up the awesome Dupont, Pepsi MAX, Quaker State, AARP Drive to End Hunger, Rick Hendricks Motorsport Chevrolet SS today for the Subway 500.”

The announcers have been particularly guilty as they work in any and all references to race sponsors, from the Sharpie 500 to the Kobalt 400 to the Budweiser Shootout. But it didn’t happen that way this weekend. This weekend the title – NRA 500 was not mentioned a single time. That extended to the pre-race, showing of logos and photo-ops.

At least two of the drivers were told not to mention the sponsor and to not be shown by the logos.

NRA 500 - Practice

To be fair, they also did not mention, or show up close video of the [takes a deep breath] Michael Waltrip Racing Number Fifteen Clint Bowyer Gander Mountain With Rights Comes Responsibility Secure Your Firearms Camry; and Michael Waltrip and his NASCAR champion brother Daryl were both part of the Fox Sports announcing team. This change in sponsor name dropping seems to have started with the broadcasters last week, when they didn’t readily promote the STP Gas Booster 500 by name, though they did promote the STP 500 next week in Kansas by name.

NASCAR itself has spent a month distancing itself from the NRA500 and the controversy that it created. Facing backlash in the sponsorship agreement NASCAR spokesman David Higdon spoke to ESPN where he said “in light of this weeks race, NASCAR will be examining its rules moving forward as to who can be allowed to sponsor races.”

The controversy took a national turn when Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asking that Fox network not broadcast Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race sponsored by the National Rifle Association. If the broadcast was any indication, it seems that Fox Sports did make a conscious decision to minimize NRA promotion.

In early December, 2012 Bob Costas jumped into the politics of gun violence with an extended comment during halftime of Sunday night football in the wake of the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend and other shootings that had occurred. Conservatives jumped all over Costas and NBC for his introduction of the politics of gun violence into the world of sports…Four months later those same conservatives are jumping all over Fox Sports because they did not introduce politics into the world of sports.

That insular world of NASCAR opened up a bit this week, the outside world spilled into their lives as the bigger middle of America, that large group that is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun violence found their actions…well, tacky. The outside world questioned that they should have known better, that they should have been more sensitive to the zeitgeist of the nation rather than bring partisanship into the NASCAR world. But most of the outside world would be even more appalled to know that it was as late as 2004 when the Southern 500 finally caved to end its Rebel Flag waving showcase race.

Darlington-Southern-500-Confederate-Program

In the end, the controversy is on what was not said, what was not shown rather than what was. Oh, and Kyle Busch in the Number 18 Interstate Battery, M&Ms, Joe Gibbs Racing Camry took a bow with the Sunoco Checkered Flag™ for the first, umm NRA 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch

______________________________________________

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.


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.

TedNugent2

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.

___________________________________________________

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.


Loaded, Unsecure Gun + 4 Year Old. What Could Go Wrong…AGAIN

Boy with Gun

Monday evening brought yet another gun “accident” with a child finding and using a loaded, unsecured firearm. This time the tragedy is in New Jersey, where six-year-old Brandon Holt was shot and killed by a four-year-old with his father’s 22 rifle. 48 hours earlier the scene was in Lebanon Tennessee in a Deputy Sheriff’s bedroom.

Writing about a child being killed with a gun that was “just laying around”, or a child shooting and killing another person should not be a daily exercise. But, this is America, and a large, loud minority of this country’s population has said, unequivocally that the 600 accidental deaths per year by gun violence, that the 16,000 injuries from gun accidents are “a price for freedom”. Since January 1 of this year over 50 children have paid that price for freedom that they will never enjoy, another 140 teens have died as well. Another 5,000 families have had their lives turned upside down by injuries from accidental gunfire.

Since Sandy Hook I have written about this subject for three of the 60 plus children killed since December 14. [here], [here], and [here]

It is past time for the gun rights folks to go door to door and ask those 5,200 families whose lives have been turned upside down this year if unfettered gun access and lack of regulations to enforce responsibility are really worth it. It is easy for the gun rights folks to talk a good game of “price of freedom” when they don’t have to personally pay the price.

Monday evening, in Tom’s River, New Jersey a four year old boy went into his home, and retrieved a 22 rifle from inside the house and took it outside and shot his six year old friend. Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said “it was his understanding that the 4-year-old got the rifle from inside his house, and that was when he went outside and one shot was fired in the side yard.”

The parents of the four year old were home at the time…and the child simply picked up the rifle and took it out to play with his friend.

Two families are in total disarray, the family of the child who was shot watched by his hospital bed as he died from a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The family of the child who shot his friend is in limbo as they await the police investigation; await litigation from the injured boy’s family. Neither family will be the same.

Society will, as is usual, rally around the two families, telling us just how sorry the gun owner was and how he didn’t, in a thousand years, think this would ever happen. Prosecutors will call it a “tragic accident” and, yet again, nobody will be held responsible for a child with a bullet in his head.

So, unfortunately, let’s go through this one more time. According to the CDC 600 people are accidentally killed each year by gunfire, another 16,000 injured by accidental gunfire. These numbers are NOT included in the 10,000 or so deaths by gun violence each year that are considered homicide and they are not included in the 20,000 or so suicides that occur in this country each year by guns.  But that is the human “price of freedom” and it is paid in blood and tears and, on the analytical side, it is paid by taxpayer dollars that provide EMS, emergency rooms, Medicaid and police; and increased insurance premiums for medical emergencies and homeowners’ policies to cover the costs of hospital bills and lawsuits.

“The price of freedom” is a terrible, unthinkable rationalization that insists that somehow Americans should give their lives, protected both under the Constitution and by every set of mores in the civilized world. To put a hobby, a paranoia of marauding hordes, a decision to fight “tyranny” [which is all too often defined as “politicians with which I don’t agree”] in front of life itself is simply Neanderthal thinking. It is time that society stands up and rejects that backward, lazy, fatalist thinking. We HAVE evolved.

And not to repeat myself but…The band played on.

_______________________________________________

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.


Isolated Incident # 3.363^14x∞+1 Kid Finds Cop’s Loaded Gun…BANG

Guns and kids

The scene is not unique…this is not an outlier of reality. Saturday, at a picnic Wilson County, Tennessee Deputy Sheriff Daniel Fanning was in his bedroom, showing off some of his guns. Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan said “Fanning was showing his weapons to a relative in a bedroom when the toddler came in and picked up a loaded gun on the bed”. The child discharged the firearm, killing the Deputy Sheriff’s 48 year old wife.

Sheriff Bryan continued “the guns were normally stored in a safe, and the deputy had placed one on a bed to get to another gun. “Within seconds this small 4-year-old comes into the room, unbeknownst to the officer, and just picked up the gun and shot her.”

The Deputy, an eight year veteran was a trained law enforcement officer, and further he was trained as the School Resource Officer – the NRA’s favorite solution to gun violence in schools. One might imagine that a School Resource Officer would have training in how to handle weapons with children in the vicinity.

The Sheriff he “did not anticipate that the shooting would affect Fanning’s job.”

The gun enthusiast community has a few phrases to address this type of event…”it was a sad, unfortunate accident”, “it happens”, and “it is the price of freedom”. What they never say is “the gun owner should be held responsible”, “the gun owner’s negligence is responsible for the victim’s death” or “we should do a better job as gun owners enforcing gun safety, through laws and punishment if necessary.”

If only this was an isolated incident, if only it was an outlier, so far fetched to ever imagine it happening again. But it is not. Over 600 people die each year from accidental discharge of firearms according to the CDC. Another 16,000 are injured, but not killed from firearms accidents [this doesn’t include suicide attempts or homicide attempts]. Yet to the gun enthusiast community, 600 yearly deaths and 16,000 injuries are chalked up to “it happens” or “it is the price of freedom”. That is lazy thinking. It chooses to ignore the problem rather than face it.

Firearm injuries

When gun owners have to face accidental deaths and injuries, for the very largest majority…they must face themselves. And they don’t want their character, or perceived “responsible” owners shown in a bad light. That would require a reasoned response to the problem, not an obstructionist dogma that refuses to address ANY solutions to gun violence, intentional or accidental.

It is past time to address the foolish notion that gun owners are “responsible” and do not need regulations to improve their safety. Some gun owners are extremely responsible…some should not be allowed to own a stick. The first step in solving the problem is accepting that there is a problem.

And the band played on.

________________________________________________________

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.


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

Gun-Reform-in-Congress

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.

_____________________________________________

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.


Gun Enthusiasts Aim Threats At Legislators…Legislators Don’t Blink

Conn protest

Cause and Effect…Pendulum Effect…Newton’s Third Law of Motion…take your pick. It is legislative reactions from states like Connecticut, Colorado, New York, and Maryland  that occur when the level of gun violence, when people fear going to restaurants, malls, churches, theaters, or even taking their kids to school reaches a threshold.
Connecticut has worked for nearly four months to present a reasoned response to the actions that tore their state apart in December. It would be nearly impossible for legislators and the Governor to look the other way and just say “It happens” or “Having guns and the violence they bring is the price of freedom.” So they didn’t turn away; they didn’t fold to lobbyist pressure from the mouthpiece of the gun industry; they didn’t let the political realities that the NRA and gun enthusiasts would exact a penalty on them in the next election cycle when they wrote and deliberated these bills. They stood up and, in a bipartisan vote decided to do what was best for society, to do what was best to quell the fears of a citizenry which had lost faith in the security of their everyday lives. Addicting Info thoroughly covered the Connecticut law yesterday, prior to it being signed by the Governor.

CT Gun Control signed

Down Interstate 95 in Maryland, legislators were looking at the same problems, the loss of confidence in a society that could not insure that their malls and theaters and restaurants and schools were safe. They came to similar conclusions and, fearless of the imposing will of the NRA, they took action to curb gun violence. The bills have been passed by the Maryland legislature and are on the way to the Governor to be signed into law. Besides reducing magazine capacity and removing several military style semi-automatic rifles, the Maryland law requires fingerprinting those who want to purchase a weapon.

Connecticut and Maryland follow contentious action in Colorado where the Colorado State House passed and has had signed comprehensive gun regulations. And New York was first to implement a new set of gun laws that address high capacity magazines, restrict sales of certain “military style” weapons and enhance background checks.

These four states join California and Massachusetts to bring tighter regulations to gun ownership. They represent 25% of the US population. In no case do they infringe on a citizens right to keep firearms or to bear firearms. None of the laws restrict the ability of citizens to protect their homes, their families, or themselves.

Cause and Effect and Cause and Effect…the Flying Pendulum

On the other side of the gun violence debate the gun enthusiast community, the gun industry and their lobbyists, and conservative legislators have taken multiple approaches to defeating common sense gun laws that they keep insisting are infringing on their Second Amendment rights, though not a single law enacted or proposed attempts to legislate confiscation of any American’s firearms. The right to keep and the right to bear have not been infringed.

In state legislatures…

Kentucky just shortened the process for obtaining licenses for concealed carry, removing the residency requirement and reducing the number of days that the State Police have to approve a license from 90 to 60. Currently, with a post election “Obama is coming for our guns” panic the Kentucky State Police are processing up to 1,000 applications per week. [link]

Tennessee passed a law which allows workers to bring guns to work and stow them in their cars, even if their employers object. [link]

Arkansas opened up the ability to concealed carry firearms to churches and on college campuses. [link]

South Dakota authorized school boards to arm teachers. [link]

Missouri filed a bill, HB70 which would allow teachers and administrators to carry concealed weapons in school. It has not had any action, other than initial readings since mid February. [link]

Ironically Michigan sent a new comprehensive concealed carry bill – which allowed the carrying of firearms in schools to be signed into law on the morning of December 14, 2012, at about the same time 26 school children and their teachers were being massacred in Newtown, Connecticut. It was vetoed.

Several states have introduced bills to override or ignore any federal laws that invoke gun regulations [Links here and here] and several sheriffs have declared that they won’t enforce any federal gun laws. [Links here, here, here, and here.] And one little Georgia town even voted to require mandatory gun ownership. [link]

Sheriff Buford T. Justice

Besides a legislative shotgun approach [sorry, I couldn’t resist] to impeding gun safety legislation, the NRA, the gun industry and gun enthusiasts have put up many threats to stop legislation from moving forward.

In Colorado, Magpul, the folks who make so many of the high capacity magazines for AR-15 type assault rifles threatened to pull out of Colorado should Colorado pass legislation against high capacity magazines. Colorado passed and signed that bill into law and Magpul is in the process of disrupting the lives of their 200 employees to move to another state.

In Connecticut the Colt Manufacturing Company, in business for 175 years in Hartford said they would consider leaving should Connecticut pass comprehensive gun safety regulations. Connecticut passed and signed those bills into law today. No word yet from Colt or the fate of their 700 employees.

Colt__s_Manufacturing_by_FNPhil

In Maryland the Beretta company, the Italian company founded in 1526 has 400 employees which manufacturers the M9 military combat pistol and its civilian counterparts. They have said they would consider leaving should Maryland pass gun safety legislation. The Maryland legislature passed comprehensive gun safety legislation and it is being signed this week.

Working down the food chain to distributors and retail outlets which sale to consumers and government law enforcement, a collection of businesses have said that, in states which pass gun safety legislation they are not going to sell to police any items that can’t be legally purchased by citizens of those states. It is unclear what impact this will have on government purchases since only some businesses made this pact and the big players have not.

At the bottom of the ladder are the gun enthusiasts. They have done everything from threaten to boycott manufacturers who stay in states with new gun laws to say they will never set foot in New York or Connecticut or Colorado or…again. They say they will move from “Socialist, Marxist, Communist, Klingon, Nanny State, Fascist” states to climes which better support their overriding enthusiasm of firearms. And they have threatened legislators and threatened President Obama because they don’t like, or don’t understand how a democracy works.

The battle lines have been drawn…on one side the public has demanded something be done to slow the level of gun violence, to look toward making the nation’s restaurants, clubs, churches, workplaces, theaters and their children’s schools more safe.

In the middle are legislators who have a responsibility to all of their constituents and have been given a mandate by the people to improve the public safety in regards to gun violence.

On the other side of the debate, conservatives, gun enthusiasts and NRA lobbying efforts have threatened economic boycotts and electoral punishment should these legislators do what they have been asked. To date legislators in New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland have ignored the economic blackmail and have stood up to the threats of electoral punishment should they pass the bills.

In the meantime, the 40 bills submitted to Congress for quick action…well, out of the 14 weeks since Congress convened this year, 70 days – they have only been in session 37 days. And they have neither passed nor debated on the floor a single bill. In that same time period, from January 1st, 2,685 Americans have died from gun violence, 185 of them under 18 years old and 48 of those under 10 years old.

______________________________________________

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

Shot Glass 7

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.

chi-texas-prosecutor-killed-033113-001

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.

600px-JustS1_30

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.

_____________________________________________________

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

school-bus-newtown

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

 

______________________________________________________

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.


Tucson Tea Party Forces Smaller Police Force, Whines that Crime Is Up.

mad-max-2-1981-02-g

Dystopia is not a condition that appears overnight. Its groundwork is laid by people who make decisions and foster policies which, by their consequences sow the seeds of dystopia. This week Tucson began to enter that world when the Armed Citizen Project declared that they wanted to “Take back our city, and it needs to come back to the citizens and not the criminals.” That was the battle cry of Shawn McClusky, realtor, failed politician and Tea Party darling.

McClusky’s cunning plan is to spend $12,000 giving shotguns away in neighborhoods with high violence, an effort to curb crime. That comes out to about 25-30 shotguns introduced into high crime neighborhoods. What could possibly go wrong?

On the surface McClusky’s plan appears to be just a knee-jerk reaction to crime. But it is not. For the past number of years, as Tucson has tried to raise taxes to fund their fire and police departments, McClusky has been front and center to shout the Tea Party mantra of anti-government, anti-spending, and anti-tax; apparently clueless that those economic demands have very serious consequences. And in Tucson, those consequences, since 2009 have included layoffs within the police department, cutting its strength from a recommended 1113 sworn officers in 2009 to 968 in 2013 while the population has increased from 517.000 in 2009 to approximately 600,000 in 2013. Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor states they are understaffed by 150 officers out of over 1000.
According to Tucson Police Public Affairs Sgt Marie Hawke, there are nearly 100 officers funded under COPS grants, a federal grant program funded through the Stimulus Package of 2009 and now closed to new grant application. This program was strongly opposed by the Tea Party.

With his high profile opposition to Proposition 200 in 2009 and Proposition 400 in 2010, Shawn McClusky has directly contributed to the higher crime problems which he now tries to solve by arming citizens to do police work. The irrational decisions to starve government while, at the same time complain that the police can’t do their jobs defies logic. Yet this is the path Shawn McClusky has chosen, and in helping to build that underfunded public service, he helped create the dystopia which causes irrational, fearful decisions.

More Guns More Crime Circle

This brings us to two things…just how bad is crime in Tucson and what are the consequences of these Tea Party/Armed Citizen Project decisions?

The Armed Citizen Project website says that “Tucson currently has a ranking of 5 out of 100 (100 being safest)” in terms of crime safety, though it fails to name the survey. Looking at the FBI Crime Statistics for 2011, Tucson ranks pretty much in the middle of the cities that have over 200,000 populations. With 652 violent crimes per 100,000 population, it is 35/72, with Detroit being 72/72 with a rate of 2,137 violent crimes per 100,000 population. Like most cities, crime in Tucson is concentrated in several neighborhoods. In most cities this is where the police channel their resources, unless of course they have been constrained from doing so by low-tax, small government zealots who block the revenue streams that fund police departments.

But instead of allowing a city to manage its crime problems in established, proven ways, McClusky wants to arm citizens, using the NRA mantra of “only way to stop a bad guy is a good guy with a gun” even though Arizona has one of the higher gun ownerships rates in the nation, a condition that should mean that there is less crime because of more guns…but apparently panic and fear driven thought are trying to suggest otherwise.

And it brings us to the goal, or perceived goal of an armed citizenry to fight crime in an area where the same folks have fought to defund and underfund the very agency that is tasked with fighting crime. Are we heading back to the Wild, Wild West? Back to a time where every man was armed to fight off marauding hordes of bad guys riding into town. Back to a time when the solution was the Gunfight at the OK Corral rather than a solution involving the rule of law.

ok-corral

In dystopia, and in the paranoia of many of today’s doomsday preppers, one of the most common scenarios is WROL…Without Rule of Law. And in Tucson, one group is beginning the slide to that future, both by defunding the public servants who enforce rule of law and by arming the citizens with shotguns and fear to tear at its very fabric.
____________________________________________________

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.