Archive for the 'Guns' Category

Nothing is Going to Change

Nothing is going to change.

We will gnash our teeth, mourn the loss of innocent gunshot victims and then slowly forget exactly what happened.

Nothing is going to change.

We will conveniently blame the mentally ill and offer up solutions that avoid dealing with the real causes of mass mayhem.

Nothing is going to change.

After a period of outrage, we will meekly allow the gun lobby to falsely promote the idea that “if those poor people had guns, this would never have happened.”

Nothing is going to change.

The safely gerrymandered House of Representatives will bemoan the loss of life and offer their condolences to the families of those murdered.  But it will do nothing meaningful to address the problem.

Nothing is going to change.

Those of us who want more restricted access to guns will stop and say “What’s the use, the horse is out of the barn. There are already 350 million guns in the United States.  It’s too late.”

Nothing is going to change.

Republican controlled state legislatures, seeing an opportunity to expand gun ownership, will allow the killing instruments to be carried everywhere. Their mantra will be “save lives, carry a gun.”

Nothing is going to change.

Donald Trump will double down on his racist remarks and promise fairy tale solutions to dealing with “those people.” Like-minded xenophobes will cheer and wave their guns.

Nothing is going to change.

Carly Fiorina will issue bald faced lies in a flagging campaign to garner the votes of unquestioning dupes, while denying the murderous outcome of her actions.

Nothing is going to change.

Personal grievances and political disputes will continue to be settled in a country awash with guns.  A country that has forgotten who we once were.

Nothing is going to change

The NRA will be proven correct.  Guns are not the problem.  Guns are the solution.

Nothing is going to change

Unless we change.

Charlton is alive!

Revealed…Charlton Heston did not die in 2008

Thanks to a hidden microphone in a National Rifle Association conference room, it appears that Charlton Heston never died in 2008 as previously reported. Instead, he is alive, well and secretly housed at NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia where he serves as chief strategist and inspirational leader.

Comments caught on tape during an August meeting at the NRA seemingly prove that Heston, despite his reported dementia, has been and still is the principal architect of the NRA strategy for increasing gun ownership. “What better person to lead us than some guy who still thinks he’s Moses” can be clearly heard on the tape. References to Heston’s numerous movies apparently also serve as the principal basis of the NRA strategy. His roles in Planet of the Apes, Omega Man, True Lies, and Armageddon feature prominently at all NRA planning sessions.

“Fear drives gun sales and our job is to capitalize on any event that maximizes it. It’s not good enough to sit idly by while random maniacs shoot up schools.” said NRA commandant Wayne LaPierre. “Our gun manufacturers demand that we do more to find and arm the rapidly dwindling number of those who haven’t yet bought a gun. And, my year-end bonus depends on it.”

When confronted by the taped evidence, NRA officials claimed that it was a fabricated fantasy  digitally compiled by employees of Planned Parenthood. “It’s an effort to take the heat off of that Commie, organ harvesting, left-wing butcher shop.  Everyone knows that the NRA has never and will never do anything that increases gun violence.  We all know that guns keep violence in check.  It’s a fact that most of our members never even fire the damn things. Sleeping with them under their pillows is comfort enough.” Mr. LaPierre then added “all this bullshit about the outlandish murder rate in the U.S. compared to other countries is just not true. Those statistics were conjured up by the same nuts who believe in global warming.”

Republicans in Congress were quick to support the NRA in claiming that it was probably all a conspiracy developed by Planned Parenthood and its supporters. John Boehner promised, as a final chapter in his grand legacy as House Speaker, to schedule hearings that would “get to the very bottom of things.”

All satire aside, Dr. Ben Carson, a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and an avid gun supporter, said “those kids in Roseburg should have rushed the shooter rather than just stand around.” Later, in a seeming contradiction to his call for someone else’s bravery, Dr. Carson recounted his less than heroic confrontation with a shooter in a Popeye’s fast food restaurant. “Guy comes in, puts the gun in my ribs. And I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter…I redirected him.”

On Friday, Carson doubled down on his call for a well-armed populace when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said “Just clarify, if there had been no gun control laws in Europe at that time, would six million Jews have been slaughtered?” Dr. Carson responded “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed … I’m telling you that there is a reason that these dictatorial people take the guns first.”

Even with Dr. Carson’s call for someone else’s self-sacrifice when confronted by a heavily armed gunman, a simple-minded solution to the Holocaust, and an attitude reminiscent of Bruce Willis in Die Hard, he still rises majestically in the polls.

I bet Chuck planned the whole thing. And, Wayne, there’s no need to worry about your year-end bonus.

Charlton Heston as Moses

NRA Caves In

The National Rifle Association, bowing to pressure exerted by Congress, has agreed to change its name to the National Gun Association.

Acknowledging that most of the murders committed in the U.S. involve handguns instead of rifles, the NRA began to destroy its existing  stationery and order new stocks that also incorporate its revised slogan “Guns r Us”.   Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president said in a short but heartfelt announcement “we know when to cash in our chips, give up the ghost, wave the white flag and lay down our arms.  This is a major victory for the gun control folks, but what the hell, we’ve had a good run.”

Expressing great satisfaction with the U.S. House of Representatives’ demands for the name change following last week’s massacre in Isla Vista, Speaker Boehner said, “That should bring closure to the question of whether we’ve got the balls to take on the NRA.  Forcing them to change their name brings them out of the closet and reveals just who they represent.  This is another meaningful accomplishment that our members can point to this November as we seek to expand our control of the House and take back the Senate.  And as further evidence of our commitment to reduce gun violence, I intend to offer up a proposal that repeals the Affordable Care Act. ”

When reporters queried Mr. Boehner about the connection of the repeal of Obamacare to the carnage caused by the lack of any meaningful gun controls, he replied “Oh, that’s just something we do”.  Mr. Boehner then left the Capitol to deliver the keynote speech at the NRA annual meeting.

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, the Tea-Party star better known as “Joe The Plumber”,  joined the chorus of gun rights advocates by penning the following to Richard Martinez, father of one of the Isla Vista victims.  “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.  So there.”  When asked what controls, if any, he might advocate to reduce the kind of carnage that happened in Isla Vista, Joe replied “Ya know, there were three people who that crazy bozo slaughtered with a knife.  Maybe we can require a seven-day waiting period and background checks at places like Williams Sonoma or Bed Bath and Beyond.  After all, there’s nothing in the Constitution about the right to bear knives.”

Attorney General Sam Olens of Georgia, where a recently enacted law allows people to carry guns into bars, churches and public places, said there was no truth to the statements made by gun owners that the law allows guns in public schools.  “That law only allows parents to carry guns when they pick up their kids.  After all, we’ve been overrun by kidnappings in school parking lots.  Someone had to do something, and we did it.”

One bright spot was Kansas where Attorney General Derek Smith clarified the law regarding guns in polling places.  “It’s OK to bring concealed weapons to a polling place as long as they allowed guns in that place before its use as a location where people vote.”  Gun control advocates cheered the clarification. On the other hand, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback questioned the logic of the restriction on polling places and surmised “Damn, maybe we should have let this alone.  Maybe if I were a fraudulent voter I’d think twice about going to place where some volunteer could blow me away without the proper ID.”

Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a courageous single-handed effort, proposed a slate of tough new gun controls including the public flogging of Chicago gun shop owners who violated the laws.  However, a reporter noted that 96% of the guns used during the city’s violent crimes were purchased in Kansas.

90% isn’t enough

When I was on loan to the State of California in 1982, I had the pleasure of attending an interview with the then state treasurer, Jesse Unruh.  Prior to that, Mr. Unruh had been speaker of the Assembly.  And a bit prior to that he had been a believer in the democratic process.

The six of us sitting around the table were regaled with colorful stories about how the system operated.  Having the opportunity to ask pointed questions, one of my colleagues said “Is it true that you can buy a senator or assemblyman?”

Not missing a beat, Jesse said.  “Absolutely not, but you can rent quite a few.”

No better example of that profound statement was displayed in the United States Senate today when a minority of bought and paid for senators laid waste to a gun control bill that ninety percent of Americans yearned for and supported.  A law that might have made a difference in preventing the future deaths of five-year-olds while they eat milk and cookies in Mrs. Green’s kindergarten class.

Ninety percent of America believed it was good law, not perfect, but a dent in the mindless pursuit of guns that have no useful purpose other than entertainment and death.  And, for some people, both of those pursuits walk hand in hand.  It was those misbegotten people who would have been inconvenienced by a law supported by ninety percent of us.  A law far less restrictive than registering a car, obtaining a driver’s license or applying for a credit card.

Ninety percent of Democratic senators voted for the law while ninety percent of Republican senators voted against it.  Just in case you’re counting.

You’ve got to wonder who these elected paragons of virtue represent.  Oh, silly me.  Of course, the NRA.  In defense of their right to collectively thumb their forty-six noses at us, maybe they were misled by the NRA.  Lied to.  Lied to by an NRA that loudly proclaimed that the law would establish a national gun registry.  When in fact, the legislation expressly prohibited it.

Or maybe the forty-six were merely unimpressed by the effectiveness of the legislation.   As Republican Senator Charles Grassley, voting against the curbing of mindless violence, said following the vote…“Criminals do not submit to background checks now. They will not submit to expanded background checks.”  Bravo.

“It’s almost like you can see the finish line, but you just can’t get there,” said Andrew Goddard, whose son, Colin, was shot but survived the mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

It’s enough to make me think that Jesse Unruh was right.  That things never change.  That the mindless minions will continue to be manipulated by people who have enough money to pay the rental.

What’s  a life worth anyway?  Outlaw abortion and arm the outlaws?  What a world.

Jmmy Stewart

If I’d only had a gun

It was a little after midnight.

I’d been sleeping soundly when I was roused by a noise at our front door.  Not yet fully coherent, I left my warm bed without looking for my glasses, stumbled into a semi-lit hallway and caught a fuzzy glimpse of three men.

“What do you want?” I half yelled at the men.  “What are you doing here?” I said while growing more frightened.

After what seemed like an eternity, one of them said “Dad, it’s me, David.”

Our son had made a surprise visit with two his buddies.  They had driven most of the night from their UC Berkeley digs and decided that our house would be a good place to sack out.  Wouldn’t Mom and Dad be surprised.

I could have killed my son.  If I’d had a gun.

That was thirty years ago and I’m still frightened by the experience.  Thirty years later and I still don’t have a gun.  Thirty years later and most of the country has at least one gun.  By some estimates, 350.000,000 guns.  Waiting to kill their sons.  Or for someone else to do it.

The only thing that’s changed in all those years is that killing has been made more efficient.  Requiring less thought.  Requiring less time.  It’s part of the mainstream.  Soon to be as commonplace as the horrific daily carnage in Baghdad or Kabul.  Ho hum.  Let’s see what Lindsay Lohan is up to.

I thought that Sandy Hook was a watershed moment.  Twenty little kids gunned down in their first grade schoolroom.  Gunned down with the current stylish weapon of choice.  Slaughtered by the weapon promoted by gun manufacturers for its appearance, attractiveness and, most of all, its profit potential.  Protected by the NRA from any limitation that might otherwise lead down the slippery path of gun control.

I had watched the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre stare vacantly at those attending his news conference.  Semi-glazed, he seemed to be a recent escapee from the asylum featured in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Reliance on more guns in schools was Wayne’s answer to protecting tots.  Only an armed guard policing every institution of learning could be relied upon to avert another Sandy Hook.

I said “What a nut.  He’s toast.  The NRA is headed down the Tea Party path.  Happy days are here again.”

Flash forward less than a month.  An eternity for short-term memory-challenged Americans.  According to the Washington Post and ABC News, more than half the people in the country think armed guards in kindergarten is a good idea…including half of the Democrats polled.  So much for thinking Wayne is out of touch.

Harry Reid, the Senate Democrats’ major domo, and a recipient of NRA largess along with a B rating,  wonders why he should push gun control.  According to Reuters, Harry is more concerned about Democrats, including himself, getting re-elected than in bringing legislation to the Senate floor that is sure to be rejected by House Republicans.

An American University poll of students throughout the country reports that about half intend to purchase a gun when they graduate.  So much for ” And a child shall lead them.”

And while we are all focused on AK47 assault rifles and inexhaustible ammo clips, we should remember that you are 17 times more likely to be killed by a handgun than a rifle. And who’s even talking about that ubiquitous weapon?

Yes, I listened to the Obama press conference where he announce the actions he was prepared to take to curb the insanity. At times I felt like he was an actor, playing his role until the curtain came down. Then it would be back to business as usual.

A trip to the Brady Gun Control website will reward you with a peek at a graphic in the upper right corner of the home page.  It announces, in real time, the number of today’s gun deaths in the U.S.   At noon on January 18, the daily total stood at 176.  That’s nearly double the number of gun deaths in the U.K. for an entire year.  More people die in English soccer riots.

So head on over to the Brady site.  Look at the graphic.  And be grateful that your son is not part of that statistic.

guns

Enough already…

My first feeling was outrage.  My second thought had something to do with the NRA.  My third notion was that maybe I should wait a few days before writing a blog about the murder of a whole kindergarten class in Connecticut.

I thought it would be unseemly in the wake of this slaughter of innocents to immediately begin carping about gun control, the idiocy of arming morons with weapons that are solely intended to murder large numbers of people in the most efficient manner possible, and the lack of morality so blatantly exhibited by the NRA and those who cheer its outrages.

And then I saw this…

Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, wasted no time trying to pin Friday’s shooting on gun control advocates. Think Progress quoted a statement of his that read, in part: “Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to ensure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones.”

And this…

Recently the Michigan House of Representatives passed and sent to the governor a bill that, among other things, makes it easy for people to carry concealed weapons in schools. After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday, a spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger said that it might have meant “the difference between life and death for many innocent bystanders.”

And this…

Mike Huckabee preached…since prayer is banned from public schools, “should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

So, I decided to join this questionably elite company and scribble my own thoughts.

It’s too late to put the Genie back in the bottle.  There are too many guns in the hands of too many people to think that more effective gun control laws would have prevented the latest slaughter.

The Supreme Court has, for the foreseeable future, blocked any attempt to limit these weapons of mass destruction.  And anyone who doesn’t think that the hands of the five ultra conservative Supremes aren’t bloodied by the Sandy Hook carnage wreaked on Friday needs a refresher course in human relations.

There are too many politicians who rely on the NRA and its minions who support them.  And as long as the House remains gerrymandered in favor of Republicans, no meaningful legislation will emerge.

Our President is not without blame.  In 2008 he promised to deal with the unfettered sales of instruments of death at gun shows and the hideousness of assault weapons.  But we were instead blessed with laws permitting guns on Amtrak and in our national parks.  At least the crazies won’t have to worry about leaving their AK47s at home when they take the train to Yosemite.

This morning Dianne Feinstein told Meet the Press that she was finishing up a bill to ban assault weapons.  So as not to offend, some 800 weapon types will be grandfathered in as will those currently in the hands of people like Adam Lanza.

Perhaps most depressing is the country’s willingness, no, its support of guns and gun enthusiasts.  One Gallup poll reveals that 50% of fellow citizens are satisfied with the current slap-on-the hand gun control laws.  Another Gallup poll sadly reports that a majority feels no need to ban the private ownership of assault weapons.

Yes,  I know that the mental health of these killers is surely a contributing factor to the carnage.  Yes, we should do something to improve the identification of and provision of help to them.  But disturbed people without access to rapid fire, high-capacity guns is surely a whole lot better than the alternative.

Dozens, maybe hundreds, of people get slaughtered weekly in the Middle East.  We say, ho-hum, another day at the office.  So, as a reward for our wild-west, every man for himself, frontier mentality, maybe it’s our turn in the barrel.  A slow, but steady, progression of accepting the violent death of innocent bystanders as just another day’s work in protecting and expanding the rights of gunslingers.

Regrettably, maybe it’s best that we throw up our hands, let the anger pass, get back to business as usual, and just forget about doing anything meaningful to stop this insanity.

Then again, if we say ho-hum, what will we tell the kids who were not murdered in Sandy Hook.  What will we tell them when they ask “am I safe?”  How will we explain to them that we did nothing?  That we accepted the murders of their playmates as just one of those things.

No, enough already.

Sandy Hook

Health care reform imperils gun ownership!

It wasn’t enough that I had to deal with the Snow Queen, Joe the Plumber, Rush Limbaugh and other assorted microminds.  Now the gun owners have stepped up to the plate.

The Gun Owners of America  published a letter to its 300,000 members warning them that they stand to lose the right to bear arms if Harry Reid has his way with health care reform.  The organization, a sort of Three Stooges version of the NRA, is located in Virginia and boasts as its president, former California state senator H.L. (Bill) Richardson.  Here’s Bill’s website photo demonstrating the proper technique for suffocating pets…

 

Bill, writing on the president’s page, voices his infatuation with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.  You remember Jim.  He’s the guy who said…If we’re able to stop Obama on [health care reform], it will be his Waterloo. It will break him…

The Gun Guys, as noted in a Washington Examiner article, warn their members that the legislation will…most likely dump your gun-related health data into a government database. … This includes any firearms-related information your doctor has gleaned or any determination of post traumatic stress disorder or something similar, that can preclude you from owning firearms.

Going on, the Examiner reports that the group warns…that new “wellness and prevention” programs that would permit employers to offer employees lower premiums for healthier lifestyles do  not include anything that would prohibit “rabidly anti-gun Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from decreeing that ‘no guns’ is somehow healthier.”

The Gunners’ website also provides a sample letter that it asks members to send to the thirty-nine Republicans who voted against the bill.   One paragraph offers the following…the Senate legislation would mandate that doctors provide ‘gun-related health data’ to a government database…

But hope is eternal.  The website offers it to their besieged members by announcing…Can you spell R-E-C-A-L-L?  GOA is looking into which states are the best targets for recalls — and you can be sure that we will be pursuing this option aggressively, exposing the Senators who sold their vote.

I realize that truth is an unnecessary, to be avoided at all costs, component of the Gunner’s website.  But a few things should be mentioned.

First, although it probably would be an excellent idea, there is no provision for a government-run, unified medical records database in the current legislation.

Second, there are no guidelines for what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.  But, if I were king, I’d give extra credit to those homes without guns.

Finally, you can’t recall a U.S. Senator.  It would violate the Constitution.  But then, unless we’re talking about gun ownership, who reads the Constitution?

Other than that the Gun Guys had it pretty straight, including President Bill’s demo of pet suffocation, proving once again that we can get along quite nicely without guns.


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