According to a new report in Mother Jones, at least 194 children have been killed with guns in the one year since the Sandy Hook massacre. But that number, based on media accounts, appears to far underestimate the carnage. A new study of pediatric health records estimates that guns (mostly handguns) kill more than 500 children and teens each year, with as many as 7,500 more injured.
It's not like we can't do anything about this. We just don't.
Bigoted hatemonger and conservative political operative Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, head of the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese, deserves some credit where it's due: Sartain and the other three anti-gay bigot bishops in Washington have endorsed Initiative 594, which would require criminal background checks on most gun sales in Washington State, thereby closing the gun-show loophole. Good for him, bigoted piece of shit that he is.
According to the Kingsport, Tennessee police report, 59-year-old Michael Bledsoe was apparently well prepared for the War on Christmas:
Michael H. Bledsoe had just purchased a Christmas tree and had returned to his vehicle to retrieve a Christmas tree stand. He had a loaded 12 gauge shotgun lying on the back seat of his vehicle. As he retrieved the stand, the shotgun apparently shifted causing something to come in contact with the trigger resulting in a negligent discharge.
The shotgun blast struck Mr. Bledsoe in the pelvic area. He was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center by Sullivan County E.M.S. with life-threatening injuries. He is currently still in the Intensive Care Unit listed in critical condition.
Merry Christmas, Second Amendment!
The mailman was black...
Twenty-six-year-old Tyson Jerome Barnette was shot to death in the 1600 block of Reed Street in Landover, around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Postal Service has offered a $125,000 reward trying to solve a crime that critics say wouldn't have happened if Postal Service cutbacks didn't put carriers out routinely at night.
Bewildered neighbors say night deliveries are obviously risky.
"It was unusual. Never got that mail that night, never. My mom said she heard a pow, a pause, and then a pow, pow, pow, pow. Wait a couple minutes, looked out the windows, no cars went up the street. She'd seen a truck and said they done killed the mailman," said a resident of the neighborhood.
Singer Wayne Mills, whose "outlaw country" songs center on honky-tonk life, died in a Nashville bar shooting Saturday, police said.The man who shot Mills was no stranger but a friend and the owner of the bar (the Pit and Barrel Bar). It seems they disagreed on something and decided to resolve the matter with bullets. The friend proved to be the better marksman and so won the argument. To use the words of Antanas Mockus, a philosopher and former Mayor of Bogota, violence is simply another form of communication.
Chris Ferrell, owner of Nashville's Pit and Barrel bar, told police he shot Mills, 44, in self-defense, according to a Nashville police statement.
"Wayne Mills by definition is one that is a stiff-necked, country troubadour with an affinity for honky-tonks and possessing a style of rustic simplicity," his official website said.
He's an "average country boy steeped in the Southern vernacular of God, guns and football," his official biography reads.
Whenever I write about the powerful link between rates of firearm ownership and suicides, some asshole in the comment thread always quips something about "natural selection." You know, let the crazy gun nuts off themselves, or something.
But then there's this:
A 28-year-old woman is dead after a man said he tried to commit suicide but fired a fatal shot that struck her instead.
Because guns make us safer.
WILKESBORO, N.C., Nov. 14 (UPI) — Police in North Carolina said they are searching for a man whose gun accidentally fired during a conversation about the Second Amendment at a store.
Wilkesboro police said the unidentified man was engaged in a discussion about the Second Amendment and gun rights at the GNC store Tuesday evening when he took out his gun to show an employee and accidentally fired off a round into a printer, WFMY-TV, Greensboro, reported Thursday.
The employee told police the man said he "could not go down for this" and fled the store.
Notice how the "gun accidentally fired," rather than the man who accidentally fired the gun. No harm done, then.
[Slog tipper David]
Attention patriots! Those freedom-hating Democrats are trying to take away another one of our God-given constitutional rights:
On December 9, a law banning firearms that can go unnoticed by a metal detector is set to expire. Since 1988, the Undetectable Firearms Act has banned undetectable guns, which can be made from plastic through 3D printers.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) have introduced legislation that expands the undetectable firearms law to ban 3D-printed guns, require guns to be recognizable as guns, and them to contain significant metal. “The expiration of this law, combined with advances in 3D printing, make what was once a hypothetical threat into a terrifying reality,” Schumer said, according to the Associated Press. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced his own version in the House to renew the law. Still, the urgency of the issue does not mean Congress will take up the bills in its remaining days.
... “This is more for someone who wants to get into an area and perhaps be an assassin,” an ATF official told the Wall Street Journal. “Or they want to go to a courthouse and shoot a witness.”
This is outrageous! If our forefathers only intended to safeguard our right to bear metal arms, they would have stated so in the Second Amendment! And if we are prevented from carrying plastic guns into capitols and courthouses, we'll be reduced to stalking women in parking lots. This shall not stand!
A group of patriotic Texans demonstrated their second amendment rights over the weekend:
Why would gun rights advocates make such a disproportionate show of force? Because they are a bunch of dickless bullies, that's why. I'm not saying all gun rights advocates are dickless bullies, or even most—a lot of them aren't bullies, and some of them even have dicks. But understand that the implicit threat in actions like this is that should they lose at the ballot box and in the courts, they'll just shoot us. That's their Plan B.
If the problem is not video games, it has to be something else that's definitely unrelated to guns. In this case, it is social media:
The shooting was not a result of any "one-on-one confrontation," Garcia said. It began after one partygoer fired a gun into the air "in an apparent celebration of music."
A second person "recklessly reacted to the gunfire and shoots into the crowd."
Most of the 19 injured suffered gunshot wounds. One person suffered a broken leg trying to flee from the gunfire, Garcia said.
"Any time you promote a birthday party on social media, you have no control over who to expect at your door," Garcia said. "Any time that you have to factor in the possibility of a bouncer and being searched at the door, you've already taken a turn for the worst."
Police are searching for two shooters.
Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom on Monday calling on him to ban gun sales on the the popular photo-sharing service. Markey is the first U.S. Senator to join the campaign started by two New York State Assembly members in October. While Instagram is not a commerce website, the letter urges Systrom to prohibit sales in a manner "consistent with policies adopted by online marketplace entities such as Craigslist and eBay.”
I now need to say a word or two about the image of the Instragram gun that Al Jazeera's post provides...
Charles P. Pierce writing at Esquire:
There already is some talk about this event being a "random" one. But it is not. These things are becoming as regular as rain, as predictable as the summer heat. The only thing "random" about it is the shooter. He could be anyone, and that's the point. There are people who spend money making sure that he could be anyone, and there's nothing "random" about how they do that. There is nothing "random" about this country's ludicrous disinclination to regulate its firearms. There is nothing "random" about the millions of dollars that the NRA spends to convince people that they should have the right to carry their assault weapon anywhere they want to carry it, including into an airport terminal, if they so desire. There is nothing "random" about the politicians who truckle and bow to this lucrative monetization of bloody mayhem. These are all deliberate acts with predictable consequences.
A Transportation Security Administration agent and a suspect were wounded in a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning, sources told the Los Angeles Times. Law enforcement officers were flooding the airport, authorities said, and terminals 2 and 3 were evacuated.
Why does the American Academy of Pediatrics hate America?
A new study says that each year approximately 7,500 children are admitted to U.S. hospitals with gunshot wounds and more than 500 children die during hospital admission from these injuries.
An abstract of the study, titled "United States Gunshot Violence—Disturbing Trends," was presented on Sunday by researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Fla. The study also found that states with higher numbers of firearm ownership had higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds.
It's mostly handguns, of course, and most of these shootings occur in the home. So that's 7,500 families a year for whom keeping a gun in the home did not in fact keep their children safer. But shhhh. Because America!
A 4-year-old in Tampa, Fl. accidentally shot her aunt in the back with a gun left unattended by the child's uncle, according to Fox News Tampa Bay.
I hope they throw the book at this kid.
Authorities say a police officer's gun accidentally fired during a school safety demonstration in Southern California and three children were treated for minor injuries.
I know it may sound crazy, but I'm just not convinced that the best way to keep our schoolchildren safe from guns is to put more guns into our schools.
At least, so CNN reports:
Two people were killed and two were injured in a shooting at a Nevada middle school Monday, school officials said.
It was not immediately clear whether the death toll included the shooter.
Police report that a suspect has been "neutralized," a euphemism I particularly despise.
Anne Arundel County police took three teenagers — ages 18, 16 and 15 — into custody early Sunday after they were found in a vehicle in possession of 70 boxes of ammunition that was intended for law-enforcement use.What were the three teens planning to do with all that ammo?
Police authorities said the youths were suspected of involvement in a break-in at a trailer owned by the federal air marshal program. Police said the trailer was in the 7400 block of New Ridge Road in the Hanover, Md., area. The site is about one mile from the terminal at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport.
I know when I write about this issue it's because I am an awful, awful person who dances on the graves of children whose blood I use to bake my matzoh, or something. But perhaps you'll listen to reason when it's coming from the very serious people at the New York Times:
The .45-caliber pistol that killed Lucas Heagren, 3, on Memorial Day last year at his Ohio home had been temporarily hidden under the couch by his father. But Lucas found it and shot himself through the right eye. “It’s bad,” his mother told the 911 dispatcher. “It’s really bad.”
A few days later in Georgia, Cassie Culpepper, 11, was riding in the back of a pickup with her 12-year-old brother and two other children. Her brother started playing with a pistol his father had lent him to scare coyotes. Believing he had removed all the bullets, he pointed the pistol at his sister and squeezed the trigger. It fired, and blood poured from Cassie’s mouth.
... Cases like these are among the most gut-wrenching of gun deaths. Children shot accidentally — usually by other children — are collateral casualties of the accessibility of guns in America, their deaths all the more devastating for being eminently preventable.
They die in the households of police officers and drug dealers, in broken homes and close-knit families, on rural farms and in city apartments. Some adults whose guns were used had tried to store them safely; others were grossly negligent. Still others pulled the trigger themselves, accidentally fracturing their own families while cleaning a pistol or hunting.
And there are far more of these innocent victims than official records show.
The Guardian's Henry Porter makes the case for international intervention in America's gun-fueled "quasi civil war" which, he argues, much of the US seems incapable of acknowledging, let alone combating:
The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing, even though the general crime rate is on a downward path (it is 40% lower than in 1980). If this perennial slaughter doesn't qualify for intercession by the UN and all relevant NGOs, it is hard to know what does.
To absorb the scale of the mayhem, it's worth trying to guess the death toll of all the wars in American history since the War of Independence began in 1775, and follow that by estimating the number killed by firearms in the US since the day that Robert F. Kennedy was shot in 1968 by a .22 Iver-Johnson handgun, wielded by Sirhan Sirhan. The figures from Congressional Research Service, plus recent statistics from icasualties.org, tell us that from the first casualties in the battle of Lexington to recent operations in Afghanistan, the toll is 1,171,177. By contrast, the number killed by firearms, including suicides, since 1968, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI, is 1,384,171.
That 212,994 more Americans lost their lives from firearms in the last 45 years than in all wars involving the US is a staggering fact, particularly when you place it in the context of the safety-conscious, "secondary smoke" obsessions that characterise so much of American life.
Porter's juxtaposition of our increasingly stringent rules governing coffee temperatures and smoking bans with our laissez faire attitude on toting guns is pretty damning—go read the whole thing.
Since Starbucks nicely asked customers not to bring their guns in, "I imagine that across the country, gun owners are coming to terms with the fact that they have had their last Peppermint latte..."
If only there was someone with a gun there to stop these two guys with guns from gunning each other down. Both had concealed carry permits. Law-abiding responsible gun owners!
Remember: this is the world the NRA, its supporters, and its stooges imagine and want and are creating thanks to spineless politicians who won't pass gun control laws.
As Christopher mentioned in Morning News (and my what a lovely job Christopher is doing; he should write Morning News every week!), Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has posted an open letter "respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where 'open carry' is permitted."
Starbucks' reversal of policy is the story, of course. Starbucks had allowed open carry in its stores in states that allowed open carry. But then the gun nuts had to be such incredibly dicks about it. So no more.
But what really stood out to me from Schultz's blog post was his explanation for why this new no-guns policy is voluntary:
First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on.
Which gets to the heart of the whole reason to open carry: to intimidate other people. Of course one wouldn't feel comfortable asking an armed customer to leave. They might shoot you. That's the implied threat. Likewise, nearly every other social interaction. Are you gonna argue with some guy carrying an assault rifle who, say, cut in front of you in line?
I know open carry is supposed to be about rights or self defense or something. It's not. It's about intimidation. So thank you, Starbucks, for standing up to the bullies.
So, Aaron Alexis, the alleged Navy Yard shooter, apparently had a history of firearm abuses, mental illness and erratic behavior. In Seattle, he was arrested for shooting out the tires of a parked car in what the police report described as an anger-fueled "blackout." In Fort Worth he was investigated for discharging a firearm into the apartment upstairs after arguing with his neighbor. Just over a month ago he told Newport, Rhode Island police that he was hearing voices, and that people were "sending vibrations to his body" via a microwave oven, keeping him awake.
But he'd yet to mass-murder anybody, and so he never lost his security clearance, let alone his right to purchase and carry gun. Because, America!
That's right, Alexis, who had illegally discharged a weapon on at least two occasions, and who had recently been reported to the Navy to be having an apparent psychotic break, was allowed to legally purchase a shotgun in Virginia, and then carry it into the Navy Yard, unchecked, using his valid security pass, where he proceeded to kill 12 people. And folks wonder why people like me wouldn't mind making access to firearms a little more difficult. I mean, fuck!
“Once inside the facility, and after he began shooting,” Alexis “may have gained access to a handgun,” Parlave said. Investigators believe he took a weapon from a base security guard whom he shot. Contrary to previous reports that had been widely circulated, Parlave said Alexis did not use an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.
So much for that "good guy with a gun" meme.
UPDATE: No doubt NRA types would argue that this was clearly a violation of Alexis's 2nd Amendment rights:
The gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday test fired an AR-15 assault rifle at a Virginia gun store last week but was stopped from buying one because state law there prohibits the sale of such weapons to out-of-state buyers, according to two senior law enforcement officials.
Zachariah Grisham, 24, is being held by Michigan City, Indiana police on charges of neglect of a dependent and reckless homicide in the shooting death of 3-year-old Lance Wilson, in what the Chicago Tribune describes as a game gone awry:
Investigators found that Lance and Grisham had been playing a game, with the boy using his hand to pretend to shoot Grisham, and during the game, Grisham took out a handgun and, thinking it was not loaded, pulled the trigger, Szilagyi said. The boy was shot in the head, he said.
I had games go awry when I was a kid, but nobody ever got shot through the head with a Scrabble tile.
Aaron Alexis, the man identified by Washington D.C. police as a suspect in this morning’s tragic attack on a US Navy Yard, was previously arrested by Seattle police in 2004 for shooting out the tires of another man’s vehicle in what Alexis later described to detectives as an anger-fueled “blackout.” Because Seattle police have received numerous inquiries about the incident, we are posting the details, detective logs, and the original report for the May 6, 2004 case.
At about 8 am that morning, two construction workers had parked their 1986 Honda Accord in the driveway of their worksite, next to a home where Alexis was staying in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.
The victims reported seeing a man, later identified by police as Alexis, walk out of the home next to their worksite, pull a gun from his waistband and fire three shots into the two rear tires of their Honda before he walked slowly back to his home north of the construction site.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, SPD is releasing details of an arrest of this shooter in 2004, although in that case he was merely shooting at some tires.
According to the Washington Post, that makes it "the worst loss of life in a single incident within the District of Columbia since an airliner plunged into the Potomac River in 1982, killing 78." (The Pentagon, where 189 people died on September 11, 2001, is not in D.C. but in Arlington.) D.C.'s mayor says there's "no known motive" as of yet.