Category Archives: Violence and Guns

Should people be charged if their gun is used in a crime?

Yes, just as if their car is used in a crime.

Obviously if someone breaks into your house, breaks open your gun safe, takes your gun, goes down the street and robs a bank with it, that is not your fault.

But if you leave a loaded gun laying around unsecured, and a four year old grabs it and shoots a five year old dead, you, the gun owner, have just committed homicide.

Almost everything else is in between, and yes, there is a line there, or more than one, that has to be found. But we are a civil society and we can deal with the difficulties of drawing that line. And, anyone who is uncomfortable with there being such a law can easily address their anxiety. Just live in a gun free home.

I bring this up because the Washington Post has a new piece by John Cox and Steven Rich addressing this issue. Here.

And, right, if your car is locked up and in your garage and the key is with you in the house, and someone breaks into your garage, hot wires your car, drives down the street and uses the car in the commission of a crime, that is not on you. If, on the other hand, you leave your car unlocked and running on the street and somebody jumps in it and takes off and commits a crime with the car, that is at least partly on you. And somewhere in between lies this line, see?

Air Marshals and their Secret Ways

We are now being told by investigative reporters that US Air Marshals have been following people around and watching them very closely. The Marshals pick a select number of US air travel passengers, who are put on the so-called “Quiet Skies” list. Then, they pick up the trail at or near the airport, and follow them. They watch what they do, and make notes. They may even end up sitting next to them on the plane.

Eventually, in a few months or sooner, the person ceases to be of interest to the Air Marshals and they move on to other targets. I believe the person is then taken off the list.

This has been reported in the Boston Globe and is discussed here in the Washington Post.

According to the TSA, the program uses travel records and other information to identify passengers who will be subject to additional checks at airports and observed in flight by air marshals who report on their activities to the agency.

… the program did not single out passengers based on race or religion and should not be considered surveillance because the agency does not, for example, listen to passengers’ calls or follow flagged individuals around outside airports.

But during in-flight observation of people who are tagged as Quiet Skies passengers, marshals use an agency checklist to record passenger behavior: Did he or she sleep during the flight? Did he or she use a cellphone? Look around erratically?

“The program analyzes information on a passenger’s travel patterns while taking the whole picture into account,” Gregory said, adding “an additional line of defense to aviation security.”

“If that person does all that stuff, and the airplane lands safely and they move on, the behavior will be noted, but they will not be approached or apprehended,” Gregory said.

For obvious reasons, people are upset about this.

I would like to note that had this program been in place prior to 9/11, 9/11 would likely have gone very differently.

I suspect this is a potentially important program that could also be abused. Under certain conditions I would trust the government to carry this sort of program out effectively and fairly, protecting civil liberties and enhancing safety.

Under other conditions I would not.

Stay tuned.

I can’t support NRA backed candidates of either party

What is the difference between a dozen dead second graders and a dozen dead high school students?

The high school students’ best friends will be able to vote next year.

And no, I will not apologize for the strong words and horrifying imagery. It is time for strong words and horrifying imagery.

As a voter, and a delegate to June’s state DFL (Democratic Party) convention, I am facing a number of different poltical choices this year. As a delegate, I will be casting my vote to endorse two US Senate candidates, the State Auditor, the State Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Governor. Recently, I was engaged in the endorsement decision for my US House District, and my local state House Representative is up for election. Continue reading I can’t support NRA backed candidates of either party

You killed me.

Our gun culture kills children

Years ago, my parents were still alive and living in Albany, New York. I had arranged a lunch with some colleagues at their house. I do not recall why exactly, but that is what I did.

In the house lived my parents Joe and Betty, Grandma (dad’s mother) and Great Aunt Tillie (mom’s stepfather’s sister). Grandma and Tillie were very old so they took lots of medicine. Also, they were very old and therefore had a special dispensation from the pharmacy, allowing them to get the medicine in non-child proof bottles.

So the colleagues came over, and that included a woman with her young son, older than toddler age but not much. During our lunch, he was off in the kitchen or someplace amusing himself with a coloring book or something.

But then the child walked into the room and we could see that his face, mainly around his mouth, was covered with azure blue substance, as were his hands. Just as realization of what this blue substance was dawned on his mother, I, the others, Great Aunt Tillie, who had just walked into her bedroom (she had been in Grandma’s bedroom watching soaps), exclaimed, “My medicine!!!!” Continue reading Our gun culture kills children

Presidential Proclamation: National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

A PROCLAMATION

Every day, women, men, and children across America suffer the pain and trauma of sexual assault. From verbal harassment and intimidation to molestation and rape, this crime occurs far too frequently, goes unreported far too often, and leaves long-lasting physical and emotional scars. During National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves not only to lifting the veil of secrecy and shame surrounding sexual violence, but also to raising awareness, expanding support for victims, and strengthening our response. Continue reading Presidential Proclamation: National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Walk out not up #walkoutnotup #walkoutandwalkup

There is nothing wrong with “walk out and walk up” because it expands consideration and activism in a good direction.

It says, “while you are busy protesting the fact that dozens of children and teachers are murdered in their schools per year — and good for you for doing this — note that in your suburban school system of 5,000 students, about one will die per year of their own hand, using Uncle Bob’s Glock that he keeps on his night stand just in case.”

There is a great deal wrong with “walk out NOT walk up” because it is bone headed self aggrandizing yammering about how wrong people are in their ability to perceive things, and their tone, which in and of itself is wrong.

I’ll give you the short version of why #walkoutnotup is #wrongandstupid here, and point you to a longer post I wrote a few weeks ago, seeing this tone trolling coming, because it does, always, come. Continue reading Walk out not up #walkoutnotup #walkoutandwalkup

I for one welcome Donald Trump’s policy to arm half the teachers …

… because of this: Some of my best friends are teachers, including my wife. Overall, teachers are the best people. When I imagine a trained armed force larger than the United States Marine Corps, made up of 100% teachers, teachers ready to put things right, I get all giddy.

But seriously… Continue reading I for one welcome Donald Trump’s policy to arm half the teachers …

Trump and Gun Control. LOL Republicans.

Donald Trump will advance the regulation and control of deadly weapons but not in the way you might think. He is currently contemplating, which is a big word to use for Trump so maybe I mean having some verbal diarrhea that vaguely resembles an idea, banning assault style weapons and bump stocks. Of course, he can’t do that himself, it would be Congress, but he’s talking about it. Continue reading Trump and Gun Control. LOL Republicans.

Minnesota Gubernatorial Candidate Calls For Gun Safety Bill

Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto just released a letter calling on the Minnesota House and Senate, which returned to session this morning, to ban assault type rifles and bump stocks, and to institute universal background checks. Continue reading Minnesota Gubernatorial Candidate Calls For Gun Safety Bill

Are you ready for a national school walkout?

The idea is to protest how easily school shootings seem to happen, and how our country has not reacted to this problem ever, other than sending around a lot of thoughts and prayers.

You should know that the planning of this event has already been adulterated by either idiotic Americans or smart Russian spies. Watch carefully and pay attention… Continue reading Are you ready for a national school walkout?