Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Three out of Five murderers agree....

There were over 30,000 deaths from bullets shot by people using a gun in America in 2011.  There have been over 1,500 people killed in this manner since the massacre that took place on December 14, 2012.  I say "bullets shot by people using a gun", because "guns don't kill people" people use guns to shoot projectiles to kill people.  In fact, guns make killing people easier than other weapons, like knives or ropes or hammers.  A gun can be used from a distance, where knives and ropes are more "up close and personal".  Ex-Navy sniper Chris Kyle may have been able to attest to this had he not been tragically shot and killed along with veteran Chad Littlefield at a shooting range by an ex-Marine.  At Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, CT, 26 children and adults had bullets fatally shot into them by a person using an AR-15 (a gun that would be banned by legislation currently being proposed) as his preferred tool to propel multiple projectiles at high speeds.  Twenty six people died. Twenty of them were First Grade children.  That same day a person in China stabbed 23 children with a knife.  No one was killed. That's not to say you can't kill someone with a knife. Of the 12,500+ murders in the United States in 2011, over 1,500 were from stabbings.  Over 8,500 deaths by murder were due to the victim being shot with a bullet from a gun.  In more than 60% of homicides (that's 3 out of 5) in the US the murderer used a gun.  The ease with which people can use bullets shot from guns to kill or maim, is one of the arguments for why people should have them for protection.   The relative ease with which you can pull a trigger and have an aerodynamically designed projectile pierce a target, alive or not, hasn't stopped people from ridiculously failing to do it right.  It's not difficult to understand why some of us think people should be trained and tested before owning and operating a fire arm.

To listen to the seemingly paranoid head of the national rifle association, you would think, as Paul Krugman has recently put it, we were "living in a Mad Max movie".  Of course, the nra head was For universal background checks before he was against them.  President Obama and his administration are not trying to take away anyone's guns.  You will still be able to defend yourself without an "assault weapon" or an ammunition clip of more than 10 bullets.  And "assault weapon" is not just some media scare tactic term.  "Assault weapons" are defined by the laws that ban them (see NY's recent SAFE Act gun law and the "Federal assault weapon ban" that was adopted in 1994 and expired September 14, 2004).  When it comes to high capacity ammunition clips, it is easier and quicker to spray a classroom, police headquarters, or movie theater with bullets, killing everyone around you, with an automatic or semi-automatic weapon with 30 bullets in the clip.  If the reason to keep all assault weapons without restriction is the way they look, as gayle trotter recently referred to in her Congressional testimony, I'd have to say a shot gun, or as a veteran friend of mine referred to it a "boom stick", would instill a very similar fear in an intruder.

The Bill of Rights was adopted and attached to the Constitution of the United States.  The Bill's Second Amendment states "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed".  What was meant by "a well regulated militia"?  The only military established at the time the U. S. Constitution was written was the US Navy, and the Navy's most powerful weapon was a cannon that shot balls of iron one at a time.  So the framers of the Bill of Rights could have been talking about people being armed to protect the "security of a free State" from outside forces, like say if the English struck back.  Neither the word "gun" nor "fire arm" is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights.  At the time of the framing of the Bill of Rights, muskets were being used, again one shot at a time.  The Second Amendment does not say right to bear ANY arms.  It does not mention the right to Conceal your arms.  Do regulations necessarily "infringe" on rights?  Marches in NYC and elsewhere in Our Nation require permits issued by local governments, yet the First Amendment still stands as it pertains to assembly.  There are laws and regulations that limit Freedom of Speech when it comes to things like harassment, or inciting violence, or threatening the President. There are already regulations in many States regarding guns, and the Second Amendment still stands.

The idea that we should not have laws or regulations, because criminals may break them is ridiculous.  We have laws for murder. Now substitute the word "laws" for "regulations" and "murder" for "the most frequently used tool in committing murder".  The "only outlaws will have guns" argument is one that continues to come up in the pro-guns crowd.  The fact is that people break laws and regulations and when they are caught doing so, they are convicted as criminals and consequences are sentenced.  Do some criminals "get away with murder"?  Yes.  Should there not be a law or regulation on it, because they do?  No.

President Obama has made a proposal to deal with gun violence based on the recommendations of Vice President Biden's task force, who met with representatives on multiple sides of the gun violence issue.  President Obama issued 23 Executive orders primarily having to do with data sharing, incentivising gun safety practices, and opening up gun violence research to government health organizations.  The President also has urged Congress to take action on back ground checks for All gun sales, banning high capacity ammunition clips, and certain types of "assault weapons".  President Obama's plan to reduce gun violence can be found here.   The "skeet shooting" president will certainly have opposition on any new criminal or mental health background checks for purchasing a gun, as well as on any bans on any particular fire arm or ammunition.  Some in the nra think that if they wait for the "Connecticut Effect" to wear off, the popular push for new gun relations will fade with it.   Proud assault weapon owners occupied the Oregon State Building recently.   Nothing makes elected officials, their staff , security, and visitors safer than a bunch of people they know nothing about (outside of the concealed carry Permit they got that allows weapons in public buildings) walking around the building with military style weapons strapped to them.  None of these gunmen used their gun to fire bullets like a man recently did in a courthouse in Delaware, shooting four people including two armed police officers.  Two women, including his "target", were killed.  The fact that the murderer hit his target despite the armed police, and that two policemen were shot (before the armed assailant was killed by bullets fired by guns used by the police), goes to the argument that "good guys with guns" are the solution, as does the story of the Los Angeles Police Department mistakenly killing a woman by using their guns to shoot bullets into her.  Of course, the police are not the only people to make mistakes or have accidents with guns. Recently a woman's gun  fell out of her pocket in a mcdonald's.  When the gun hit the floor it went off, shooting her husband.  I guess, in this case, the gun shot the person, though pro-gunners will surely blame the floor.  Failures, mistakes, and accidents with guns are easily searchable, as are intentional shootings using guns to fire bullets to kill people.

There are those in Congress who are against additional criminal and mental health background checks or any other restriction or regulation on purchasing these instruments of death.  Some have several thousand reasons (insert wink emoticon) for their opinion.  Thanks to the nra, there is also a list of people and organizations that support laws and regulations on the weapon of choice for murderers in this Country, which of course was "scrubbed" from the nra's website. Regulating guns and ammunition will not solve the problem of gun violence on its own, but arguments like "video games are more dangerous than guns" do not help.  We live in a society that makes a much bigger deal about the human body on screens big and small than the destroying of them through violence on the very same screens.  We are shown by Our government that guns and ammo is the go to way to resolve conflict. The idea that we make it easy for someone, criminal or not, mentally challenged or not, to purchase and load any gun they want is mentally challenged.  Law abiding citizens have to constantly jump through legal hoops and regulations for a lot of what we do "legally" in this Country. We can regulate it like we do driving.  Test and license operators and register and insure the operated. Do we really need limitless check free internet selling of guns to be perfectly legal to preserve Our Freedoms?

"Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun...."Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.....Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.  The families of Newtown deserve a vote.  The families of Aurora deserve a vote.  The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote."  
 - President Barack Obama 2013 State of The Union Speech