Gun Violence

9 signs America’s gun obsession is getting worse

9 signs America's gun obsession is getting worse

(Credit: chinahbzyg via Shutterstock)

Salon

The recent news has been filled with anything but acceptable behavior by gun nuts. A Montana man sets a trap for burglars and  executes a teenage intruder. A Virginia man strapping on a holster shoots himself in the penis. So-called open-carry  activists keep walking into Texas malls and restaurant  chains with assault rifles. And federal airport screeners say 2014 will set a record for travelers  forgetting they are carrying guns.

In response, millions of women  protested the misogynist rampage near Santa Barbara that killed six, placing violence against women in the national spotlight. In 2014, five states  passed laws limiting domestic abusers’ access to guns, and several bills allowing guns on school grounds were blocked. Longtime gun defenders know that the ghastly  statistics on gun violence against women is a powerful avenue for control advocates, yet they can’t stop their side’s fanatics from taunting the public with assault rifles.

These are some of the dots to be connected in the national landscape over gun violence, gun control efforts and pro-gun extremism. In some respects, gun nuts are losing ground in the battle for public opinion because of their provocations—such as carrying assault rifles into the  baby section of Target stores. But even as new groups like Moms Demand Action are helping to pass new controls and blocking pro-gun laws, decades of NRA electioneering has made the states, not Congress, the frontline for real reform.

What follows are nine points showing the craziness and changing factors over guns.

1. Women, Not Students, Are The Target Of Most Mass Gun Murder. There have been 74 shootings at schools across the U.S. since the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012, according to  Everytown For Gun Safety—which, astoundingly, the pro-gun side claims is an inflated figure. As headline-grabbing as school shootings are, the under-reported daily target and toll from gun violence involves women. More American women have been  murdered by their intimate partners using guns since 2001 (6,410) than U.S. troops have been killed in combat (5,315) in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Center for American Progress  reports. Guns are involved in at least 34 percent of all murders of women commited by their partners, an average of five a day, CAP found from crime statistics.

2. States With The Laxest Gun Laws Have The Most Violence. America has so many guns that not a week goes by without something stupid or deadly occurring. It’s easy to smirk at the Virginia man who  shot his penis while strapping on a holster. It’s more serious as federal airport screeners  report that states with the fewest gun controls see the most people “forgetting” they’re carrying a gun as try to board planes. It gets deadly when a gun owner takes the law into his own hands and sets up an ambush in his home  killing the young intruder—as happened in Montana. Study after study  finds that states with the laxest gun laws have the most gun-related violence—including murder.

3. Absurdly, Gun Nuts Say They Are Threatened. There is no better illustration of the selfish, irresponsible and anti-democratic nature of the pro-gun side than to look at what their extremists are doing as most people are repulsed by the rash of school shootings. In Texas, the open-carry movement has seen dozens of young men and a few women march into restaurants and chain stores catering to women—like  Target—toting military-style rifles. These jerks claim they are asserting their Second Amendment rights and freedoms. Their antics have prompted people to panic, leave and call in the police. These incidents have disgusted longtime NRA defenders, such as  BearingArms.com editor Bob Owens, who  wrote, “If someone has an idea of how to break through to them that they are not only hurting their alleged cause but gun owners as well, I’d love to hear your advice.”

4. Gun Nuts Admit They Cannot Control Gun Nuts. To be fair, many readers commenting on Owens’ latest open-carry column  agree that these fanatics have crossed a line. But some of them are so out-of-touch with their sides’ extremists that they think they are secretly being paid by gun control groups to act. “They are probably being paid by [ex-New York mayor Michael] Bloomberg,”  wrote one pro-gun commenter. But it would be a mistake to think that these homegrown terrorists—as Hillary Clinton just  called them in a speech—are outliers on the pro-gun side. When a low-level NRA staffer recently wrote a memo criticizing them, top NRA brass quickly  apologized to the Texas activists. What the NRA considers acceptable is anything but.

5. Americans Aren’t Standing For This—Starting With Big Business. Chains such as Starbucks, Chipotle, Chili’s, Sonic and Jack in the Box have all drawn a line against the open carry activists, saying gun-toting customers aren’t welcome. So have Costco, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Food Lion, Whole Foods and IKEA, according to the relatively new gun-control group,  MomsDemandAction.org. It has launched a campaign, #OffTarget, to push the retailer to do likewise. “Semi-automatic assault rifles don’t belong in the baby aisle—or anywhere else in Target,” its website says. “Nearly 90 percent of Target customers are women; they need to know we expect them to get gun sense.”

6. The NRA Is Facing Opposition and Losing. After the Sandy Hook school shooting in December 2012, both gun-control and gun rights groups mobilized. More than 1,500 bills on both sides were  introduced in legislatures in 2013. While most went nowhere, a handful of red states, like Georgia, bought the NRA line that the answer to gun violence was more guns and looser gun laws. On the other hand, the gun control side saw some big victories, said Laura Cutilletto, senior staff attorney at the  Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence. “Several states last year closed the private sale loophole. That is the biggest priority of our movement,” she said, noting that New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado now join California and Rhode Island in requiring a background check for all gun sales. Three of those states and Illinois also beat the NRA and now require gun owners to report lost and stolen weapons. And four states that previously banned military assault-style weapons have tightened those laws.

7. Women-Centered Gun Control Groups Getting Results. The post-Sandy Hook landscape has seen new groups emerge, such as  Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. With Congress deadlocked on gun controls, they have been very active in state legislatures. They could not  stop Indiana’s bill allowing people to keep guns in their cars on school grounds, but they helped  block a similar bill in Rhode Island. They  stopped an Oklahoma bill that would have lowered the criminal penalty from carrying a hidden and loaded gun into a school. They also were part of a bipartisan coalition in Wisconsin that  helped to pass a bill barring domestic abusers from owning or possessing guns—one of five states to do that in 2014. And, along with  Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-founded by New York City’s Michael Bloomberg and Boston’s Tom Menino, they are tracking and speaking out on what’s happening in city halls, legislatures and courts nationwide.

8. Gun Nuts React With New Big Lie And CNN Buys It. According to Everytown, which grew out of the Mayors’ group, there have been  74 school shootings since Sandy Hook. That tally threatens the NRA, as does the number of women killed by guns during domestic violence. There’s nothing new about gun nuts feeling aggrieved and fighting back. But, as the Daily Beast’sBrandy Zadrozny writes, one pro-gun writer has been waging a Twitter campaign to debunk the Everytown count. As she noted, “In what may be the most tortuous sentence ever constructed, he wrote, ‘It’s not a school shooting when someone goes and shoots a specific person on campus. It’s a shooting that happens to take place at school.” Believe it or not, CNN has followed this illogic and reported that only 15 of these rampages should be called school shootings. Not included are guns accidentally firing in school hallways, suicides by students after threats to other students, and other deeply traumatizing incidents.

9. Gun Control Groups Are Making Progress, But The Road Is Long. Before Sandy Hook, no one would have predicted that a handful of even blue states would pass laws closing the gun sale loophole, requiring lost and stolen guns be reported, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Moreover, few would have predicted that women-centered gun control groups would emerge and forcefully challenge and in some instances break the NRA’s spell over state legislators. Nor would many people have predicted that millions of women would join an online campaign against misogyny and gun-related domestic violence.

But despite all that progress, the biggest hurdle is one that’s been out front all along—breaking the congressional deadlock on gun control. According to Larry Sabato’s  Crystal Ball, there are nine U.S. House races in 2014 that are “toss-ups,” or too close to call. Six of those are in states with C or worse  ratings by the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. And most are not in states with recent school shootings. That suggests guns aren’t going to be a top issue in those 2014 campaigns, underscoring how hard it is to convince Congress to get real about the epidemic of gun violence in America.

Priest killed, another one injured in attack at Catholic church in Phoenix

(Photo: Chad Bricks/12News)

CNN

A shooting at a Catholic church in Phoenix left one priest dead and another one in critical condition, authorities said early Thursday.

A 911 call came in about 9 p.m. Wednesday local time from the Mother of Mercy Mission Catholic Church, said Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department.

One of the victims made the call about the attack, which Martos described as a burglary.

When police arrived, they found the two priests badly injured. One had gunshot wounds and later died at the hospital, Martos said.

The other priest is in critical condition, but authorities declined to say what kind of injuries he has.

A green 2003 Mazda Tribute stolen from the church property was later found with no one in it, he said.

Man on probation arrested, let go, then allegedly kills Catholic priest

Church shooting: A hymn, then chaos and prayer as pastor dies

CNN first learned of the shooting via Twitter

 

Once Again, a Black Person Is Shot and Killed While Looking for Help

There’s no rationale for this sort of behavior…

Gawker

Less than two months after Charlotte police shot and killed an unarmed man who was trying to find help after having a car accident, a woman is dead in Michigan under similar circumstances, shot in the head while reportedly searching for assistance late Friday night.

Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old from Detroit, is presumed to have been asking for help when she knocked on the door of a Dearborn Heights home at 2:30 A.M. on Saturday. McBride’s family says McBride had been in a car accident and her cellphone was dead.  Rather than offering shelter to McBride, however, the homeowner came out and shot her in the head with a shotgun. The buckshot entered McBride’s head from the back, according to statements from her aunt, as the girl had already turned to walk or run away from the home. Police reports say the teenager was found dead on the home’s front porch.

While the initial stories around McBride’s death dubbed it a “possible case of self-defense gone wrong,” today police sent a request to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office asking for charges to be filed against the unnamed resident who shot McBride.

“He shot her in the head … for what? For knocking on his door,” McBride’s aunt told the Detroit News. “If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911.”

Michigan’s self-defense act, which bears a resemblance to Florida’s infamous stand-your-ground law, says that an individual “may use deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat” as long as that person “honestly and reasonably” believes deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death, great bodily harm, or sexual assault.

Guns in the home proving deadly for kids

Guns

USA Today

While efforts at gun control are still being fought, children’s advocates are urging parents and communities to take their own steps to protect kids.

He didn’t know the gun was loaded.

The 14-year-old Massachusetts boy had recently found his mother’s handgun, which she kept hidden under her mattress for protection.

“Promise me you’ll never touch it,” his mother, a single mom, had asked him.

But the lure of the gun was irresistible. He decided to show it off to his neighbor, 12-year-old Brian Crowell.

“He was going, ‘Click, click, click,'” pretending to shoot the gun, says Brian’s mother, Ann Marie Crowell, who spoke to the child and his mother after the incident. “But there was one last bullet. It went into Brian’s neck.”

And just like that, Crowell’s son was gone.

Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.

Although mass shootings get more attention, children are far more likely to be killed at home.

Through homicide, suicide and accidents, guns cause twice as many deaths in young people as cancer, five times as many as heart disease and 15 times as many as infections, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Continue reading here

Two-year-old gets shot and killed and, yawn, it’s just another day in America

USA Gun Map : http://mariopiperni.com/

More on the shooting of a two-year old child by her five-year old brother from Piperni

Mario Piperni

America’s gun culture takes another life.

Authorities in southern Kentucky say a 2-year-old girl has been accidentally shot and killed by her 5-year-old brother, who was playing with a .22-caliber rifle he received as a gift.

…the boy received the rifle made for youths last year and is used to shooting it. He said the gun was kept in a corner and the family didn’t realize a shell was left inside it.

It’s difficult to say anything meaningful any longer that adds to the conversation on guns. It’s all been said a thousand times…but I’ll say this anyway. Yes, there are no gun laws that one could put in place that would prevent parents from acting irresponsibly. No amount of legislation can overcome stupidity. Got it.

But is there not something seriously wrong with a gun culture where this statement,

In rural southern Kentucky, far removed from the national debate over gun control, where some children get their first guns even before they start first grade.

…is true? Under what set of rules is it acceptable to place in the hands of a 4-year-old a weapon that could blow off another person’s head with a twitch of a finger?

For anyone who doesn’t find that argument convincing, just know that another 86 Americans will be killed by guns today – 30 by murder, 53 by suicide, 2 accidentally and 1 by police intervention. Add to that the 86 Americans who were killed by guns yesterday…and the 86 who will be killed by guns tomorrow…and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that…

For a little perspective on the matter, you might recall that in 2010, drop-side cribs were outlawed because over the previous 10 years, an average of 3 children a year were killed by moving side rails in cribs. Three deaths a year was enough to move the government to act. Fortunately, there was no powerful crib lobby in Washington pushing to have drop-side cribs left in place because, “cribs don’t kill babies, people do.” Also, there was no 240-year-old constitutional amendment stating that, “A well regulated Baby’s Room, being necessary to the freedoms of a Happy Family, the right of the people to purchase drop-side cribs, shall not be infringed.”

There was none of that. There was only data that 3 children a year were dying and something could be done to stop it.

We know that 58 children, including 2, 3, 4 and 5-year-olds, have been killed since the Newtown school shooting…and yet, not a damn thing is being done to stop it or to attempt to reduce the number of preventable deaths. Nothing.

5-Year-Old Boy Killed Sister With Gun Made For Kids

The sad part about this is that it won’t phase gun advocates one iota…

Think Progress

On Wednesday, a five-year-old Kentucky boy accidentally shot and killed his two-year-old sister with a gun he’d been given as a birthday present. The weapon, a small rifle, wasmanufactured specifically for children’s use.

The boy’s weapon was a “My First Rifle” .22-caliber gun from Keystone Sporting Arms’ youth branch, Crickett. Crickett’s website markets itself “especially for youth shooters.” The firearms come in several neon colors, and the website even has a “kids corner” featuring pictures of small children with guns:

Crickett does not manufacture bullets. The company offers books for “Grades 2-3 and up,” and says their guns are “ideally sized for children four to ten years old.”

The militarization of children has been tragically spotlighted in the aftermath of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut last December. Since then, the country has paid heart-sickening attention to the myriad accidental shootings that have taken place around the country, and the growth of a market of bulletproof children’s clothing.

In one week alone last month, four people were shot by toddlers.

5 dead after shooting in Seattle’s Federal Way suburb, police say

Our elected lawmakers are scared to death of the NRA, so sadly, this sort of thing will be happening ad infinitum

MSNBC News

Five people were killed in a shooting at an apartment complex near Seattle late on Sunday, including a suspect who was shot by officers, police said.

Officers were called to a shooting in progress at around 9:30 p.m. local time (12:30 a.m. ET) emergency call from the complex in Federal Way, which is between Seattle and Tacoma, police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said.

Gunshots were still being heard when officers arrived at the complex, she said.

“As officers assessed the scene two males could be seen in the parking lot injured,” Schrock said in a statement.  “An officer attempted to rescue the men, and as the (police officer) approached, one of the males on the ground reached for a weapon.”

This led to police officers firing on the suspect. Three men were confirmed dead in the parking lot, and a woman and another man were found dead in a nearby apartment, police said.

No officers were injured in the incident.

While there was no word on what caused the gunfire, police said they did not think another shooter was on the loose.

Just The Numbers: Without Real Gun Control, We DO Have A Gun Problem

guns

Addicting Info

Sometimes, you just have  to look at the raw numbers to understand the severity of a problem.

In the United States:

There were 12,664 murders in 2011. Of those murders, 8,583 were committed by firearms. That’s 68% of the total.

Of the 8,583 firearms murders in 2011, 6,220 were committed by handguns, while only 679 were committed by rifles or shotguns.

In comparison, 1,694 murders were committed by knives or other cutting instruments, and  496 using bare hands.

The national  firearm murder rate was 2.75 per 100,000

The states with the highest firearm murder rate (2011, per 100,000):

Louisiana – 10.16

Mississippi – 7.46

South Carolina – 5.41

Michigan – 5.06

Maryland – 4.70

Missouri – 4.64

Arkansas – 4.39

New York – 4.12

Pennsylvania – 3.97

Georgia – 3.93

Tennessee – 3.92

North Carolina – 3.87

Oklahoma – 3.64

Ohio – 3.54

Arizona – 3.53

There were 122,300 armed robberies committed with a firearm in 2011. The total number of armed robberies using knives or other weapons was 48,862.  The firearm robbery rate was 39.25 per 100,000.

There were 136,371 aggravated assaults using firearms in 2011.

(Source for everything above.)

There were 36,909 suicides in the United States in 2009. Of those, 18,735 (50.7%) were committed using a firearm.  (Source)

How we compare:

Compare our overall homicide rate (using guns and anything else) with other countries, starting with the top 5:

Mexico – 18.1 (per 100,000)

Estonia – 5.6

United States – 5.0

Chile – 3.7

Turkey – 3.3

Here are a few other countries, included for comparison:

Israel – 2.1

Canada – 1.8

France – 1.4

Poland – 1.3

Northern Ireland – 1.2

Australia – 1.2

England and Wales – 1.1

Scotland – 1.6

Italy – 1.0

Sweden – 1.0

Germany – 0.8  (Source)

Compare the number of firearm murders in the United States with the latest data from other countries:

South Africa – 31,918

Colombia – 21, 898

Thailand – 20,032

United States – 8,583

Philippines – 7,708

Mexico – 2,606

Slovakia – 2,356

El Salvador = 1,441

The counties above were the only countries reporting more than 1,000 firearm deaths in a single year. What about Europe, Australia and Canada? Here are some samples:

Germany – 269

Czech Republic – 181

Ukraine – 173

Canada – 144

Poland – 111

Spain – 97

Switzerland – 68

Australia – 59

Sweden – 58

Austria – 25

United Kingdom – 14

Compare our rate of firearm ownership with select other countries:

United States – 88.8 guns per 100 people

Yemen – 54.8 (second-highest in the world)

Switzerland – 45.7

Sweden – 31.6

France – 31.2

Canada – 30.8

Austria – 30.4

Germany – 30.3

Czech Republic – 16.3

Australia – 15.0

Spain – 10.4

Ukraine – 6.6

Poland – 1.3       (Source)

Only the United States and Yemen consider gun ownership a right, and Yemen is beginning to enact stricter gun control measures.

Though the United States has 4.5% of the world population, accounts for 40% of its civilian firearms.

The numbers speak for themselves. We have a problem in this country, and if you can’t see it, you’re blind. We have more guns than anyone else, but that’s not the problem. Proportionally peaking, Canada and most of Europe have a significant number of guns, yet nowhere near the number of gun homicides and deaths experienced annually in the United States. How do you explain three times the number of guns, but 40-100 times the number of gun deaths?

The difference seems to be that other countries seem to have a handle on their guns, and we do not.

If so many people were dying from any other consumer product, we’d demand answers. But when it comes to guns, we treat them as a sacred cow. The numbers don’t lie; our firearm statistics are more in line with third world dictatorships than a developed country. No other developed country is even close to us on this. Why aren’t we fixing it?