Showing posts with label Gun violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gun violence. Show all posts

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Good riddance 2012!

DEZEMBER 2012, December 2012
DEZEMBER 2012, December 2012 (Photo credit: eagle1effi)
It is a thrill to put 2012 behind us. As years go, this year was a disaster.

I just wish it were as easy to turn the page on politics and gun violence as it is to turn the page on the calendar. It seems we have experienced an all-time low in repulsive behavior on those two fronts.

Since I've been paying attention, I have never observed more petty, abhorrent, vile behavior as during the 2012 GOP election season. Fox News'  outright lies would have been humorous, had the stakes not been so high. Still, they had the trust of large numbers of people who actually believed them. The entire staff under the moniker of 'media' accomplished near decimation of an already suffering communication industry. Who can trust the media now, after all that has been done to destroy journalistic credibility by what we now know to be an admitted farce?

The GOP campaign, led by corporate giants with nearly unlimited amount of cash thanks to the wrong-headed conservative U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision tried to steal the election through no-responsibility campaign ads. Fortunately their candidate for president was a buffoon with little to no campaign smarts and zero integrity. His handlers weren't much better. I'm so grateful that enough of the public woke up in time to cast ballots for the incumbent.

But even more disheartening than the election debacle was the horrific gun violence in 2012 where 16 mass shootings resulted in 88 dead. The last one--on December 14--the needless slaughter of 26 innocent people, including 20 precious, little first-graders at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, may be and should have been the final straw to break the back of an undisciplined society gone awry.

The incident of worst-nightmare proportions brought a President to tears and so affected the general public that cries for better gun laws have begun to echo across the nation. Still, that is little consolation for the tiny unsuspecting east coast town that lost its innocence.

Changing the way the country looks at gun violence could be a start in the long road to help the healing. An end to gun violence could help if that were the end of the story. But it isn't!

Sadly, some of the same voices that supported artificial news during the presidential campaign are the same ones that now cry for more guns, not less. The National Rifle Association, which many fail to realize is little more than the marketing arm of the gun manufacturers lobby, has some of those same Fox News devotees squarely in its sites. They see no reason guns shouldn't be placed in the hands of school teachers to keep the students safe. Never mind that it didn't help at Columbine High School or at Ft. Hood where weapons actually belong and are issued to all the soldiers there.

It is unbelievable to me that anyone could believe that more guns could keep people safe from gun violence. That is like saying that keeping water in a toddler's bathtub will deter drowning.

I'm sick to death of the excuse that guns are for protection. Too often guns purchased for protection simply result in injury and death during a heated argument, or in an instant of despair resulting in suicide, or perhaps an accident by a curious child. Responsible gun owners should lock their weapon securely. So what kind of protection is that? Gun owners want it both ways, but it doesn't work that way. Protection from bad guys would require access to a loaded gun. Protection for family members requires locking away and securing the gun and ammunition.

Though this is a discussion that will likely span the entire new year, at least it is has begun. It is a topic that is long overdue, which is reason enough for optimism in the coming new year.

So once again, we wipe the slate clean. A new beginning with high hopes where anything is possible is upon us. Our future begins now. What we do with it is our choice.


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ending gun violence must start with open discussion

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten ame...
The United States Constitution
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Like so many people across the country I am sickened by the recent school shooting tragedy in Newtown, CT that slaughtered 28 people, including 20 innocent young children.

The number of gun-related deaths in this country makes is inexcusable. It has gotten to the point that people are afraid. I'm afraid.

I don't buy the fact that everyone should carry a gun. In fact, if I hear one more person say that if those teachers or the principal was armed, this wouldn't have happened. I am at a total loss to reconcile that kind of thinking. Less guns are needed on the streets and in public places; not more. Guns are hideous! The people that use every excuse as to why they have a love affair with them are worse.

No longer can I tolerate that whole second amendment rights tirade. The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written long before the kind of carnage assault rifles can create was conceived. Guns were meant to create peace and protection; not devastation and death. Yet that is the ugly reality. The second amendment is at best, outdated. People think nothing of updating their bathroom fixtures, but the laws we must live by, not so much.

Shouting gun control from the highest rooftops has no affect. There has to be a renewed discussion about not just changing the laws, but changing the attitudes.

I've found that good and decent people who think they are doing the right thing by arming themselves to protect their homes and families may in fact be a big part of the problem. The following is eye-opening and should be seen by every law-abiding citizen that supports carrying a weapon.

Concealed Carry Permit Holders Live in a Dream World

Varying views about how to end gun violence include polar extremes with every argument in-between. Some want the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution amended and brought up-to-date. Some believe every person should be armed. Others believed guns should be banned completely. With such a disparity of views about this important problem, one or none of those may be the answer. It may be a combination of them, or one that hasn't yet been proposed. But one thing is for certain--the discussion has to happen. Too much blood of innocent victims has been shed. All sides need to come together to solve this problem and return the United States to the a peaceful and caring nation our forefathers tried to create.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gun debate goes on and on and on...

AURORA, CO - JULY 23:  Two daughters of movie-...
AURORA, CO - JULY 23: Two daughters of movie-theater-shooting-victim Gordon Cowden's embrace one another at the makeshift memorial built across the street from the Century 16 theater July 23, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Two of Cowden's teenage daughters were with him in the theater when he was killed. Twenty-four-year-old James Holmes is suspected of killing 12 and injuring 58 others Friday during a shooting rampage at a screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
What happened last weekend in Aurora, Colorado was everyone's worst nightmare. Like most others who have watched the details of the tragedy unfold, I thought about how I have been going to movies all my life. It has always been a relaxing, enjoyable, peaceful experience. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine that someone could walk up and down the aisles shooting innocent people.

That kind of horror often plays out in movie theaters, but on the screen, not in the audience. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live through such horrific violence, or what would be worse to die because of it.

Turning an American iconic activity into a bloody horror has enraged me. But I am even more horrified that so many people refuse to place any kind of blame on the relative ease of this 24-year old killer to obtain weapons of mass destruction. We went to war with a country over such a thing! But so many people, the very people that condoned the unjust war in Iraq that was based on lies by the George W. Bush administration, defend the right to own semi-automatic weapons and magazines that hold hundreds of shots. Their argument is based on self defense. I have to ask what is wrong with these people?

A quick Internet search of the subject, revealed multiple sources that make the claim, "more guns, less crime." In fact, that is the title of a book written by John Lott. The NRA has embraced his work and in the summer of 2003 recommended the book and its analysis to then Attorney General John Ashcroft in a letter signed by 18 state attorneys general. They sang the praises of Ashcroft's position on the Second Amendment. And so it goes...

I can't help but remain skeptical because it only seems to me that violence is much more a part of life today than it has ever been before. In my unskilled, unstudied opinion, guns seem to be at the very heart of it. Never before has this country seen the kinds of mass killings that we are seeing on a seemingly regular basis. Shootings resulting in multiple deaths have occurred in fast food joints, the workplace, college campuses, elementary and high schools, shopping malls and now at movie theaters.
A little further research revealed a working paper written by Mark Duggan from the National Bureau of Economic Research at Cambridge, Massachusetts, who looked into the relationship of guns and crime. His paper was entitled: "More Guns More Crime." At the time of his research, Mark was a student at the University of Chicago in the Dept. of Economics.

His paper was an in-depth analysis--than a cursory Google search. Those first results were obvious bias sources. One article on Google can be recreated literally hundreds of times by different sources. Such is the case with gun advocates.

Duggan noted his paper one item that stood out for me. He said he used statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) because the NCHS data gave a more accurate source of homicide data than the FBI. He noted that between five and eight-percent of homicides are not reported in the FBI state-level data each year.

Another paper published by Ian Ayres and John J. Donohue III is entitled, "Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis.", students at Yale and Stanford respectively.

"While certain facially plausible statistical models appear to generate this conclusion, (Lott's book "More Guns Less Crime") more refined analyses of more recent state and county data undermine the more guns, less crime hypothesis," said Ayres and Donohue III.

Donahue also wrote, "The latest misfires in support of the 'More Guns, Less Crime' hypothesis," in the Stanford Law Review, 2003.

The discussion has gone on for years, with no resolution. Fire power is getting faster and more lethal while political leaders continue to back away from the very subject. Who can blame them? The country is as divided about guns as it is on a host of other topics, especially in this election year.

So, the argument between gun and non-gun advocates continues, while more and more potential future victims of gun violence go about their happy lives. Potential killers keep going to gun stores and ordering their Glocks on the Internet. One day the two will meet. Bang, somebody will be dead!

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