Last night, in the Minneapolis suburb of New Hope, two police officers were shot by a long-gun wielding man, who was immediately killed by other police officers. Here’s the story as we know it:

Two New Hope police recruits were at the City Council meeting being sworn in. They left the City Council room, and in the lobby outside the room, police in the lobby fired on by a man wielding a rifle or other sort of long gun. Police officers returned fire and killed that man. Two police officers were hit, are in hospital, no one else was killed.

There are a number of unknowns at this point such as were the recruits the cops that were hit? Who was the perp and why did he do that? These questions will be cleared up in due course, I’m sure.

But there are two other questions that I have. First, why was city council member John Elder packing a handgun? In this photograph from the scene, he is seen holding his pistol:

New Hope City Council Member John Elder draws his pistol at a City Council Meeting in response to hearing gunshots outside. He is also heard telling technicians to turn off the security cameras that were operating i the room at the time.

New Hope City Council Member John Elder draws his pistol at a City Council Meeting in response to hearing gunshots outside. He is also heard telling technicians to turn off the security cameras that were operating i the room at the time.

So, my first question is, why is a New Hope City Council member packing a gun at the meeting? Continue reading

The frequency with which shooting events in the US occurs has gone way up in the last few years, according to recent research. Amy Cohen, Deborah Azarael and Mathew Miller have an article at Mother Jones reviewing the research: Rate of Mass Shootings Has Tripled Since 2011, Harvard Research Shows…And: Why claims in the media that mass shootings aren’t increasing are wrong.

I find the graphic they used a bit odd:

shootingsSince2011-mfms11 (1)

The overall form of the graph shows a decrease over time. But it really shows an increase. You just have to know how to read it. The Y axis is the number of days since the last shooting, which as we can see is very high for several shootings before about 2011, but very low after. But, once you do understand the graph it makes the point very clearly. Notice that there are several time periods prior to 2011 which also have low numbers (meaning more shooting events) but those periods are never very long. There seems to be a dramatic and sustained increase in rate of shootings.

The authors explain it this way:

As the chart above shows, a public mass shooting occurred on average every 172 days since 1982. The orange reference line depicts this average; data points below the orange line indicate shorter intervals between incidents, i.e., mass shootings occurring at a faster pace. Since September 6, 2011, there have been 14 public mass shootings at an average interval of less than 172 days. A run of nine points or more below the orange average line is considered a statistical signal that the underlying process has changed. …The standard interpretation of this chart would be that mass shootings, as of September 2011, are now part of a new, accelerated, process.

Richard Venola of "Guns & Ammo" Magazine is accused of putting a large caliber bullet in his friend's chest. It was a fatal wound.

A two year old boy shot his three year old brother in the butt using daddy’s gun, which was left unlocked, with no safety, in the truck while daddy went into the house to get something. For the second time in a few years, a guy shot a bullet through through the walls separating him and his neighbor, didn’t hit anyone but the neighbor was annoyed and the police seem to think it is the shooter’s right to do this. Some guy who got a new gun for his security job was showing off his gun and killed his friend by shooting in her in the face. Another guy who just got a gun shot his brother dead. A mom gave her teenage son a handgun to play with, and he shot her sister with it. A guy at the shooting range shot himself in the gut wiht his assault rifle. He’ll live, maybe. A cop’s daughter shot herself with the officer’s service weapon, which was left loaded and unlocked on his dresser. The 10 year old girl will live, the cop will not be charged.

All these stories and more can be investigated in more detail here.

But the big story has got to be this one.

The editor of a gun magazine was arrested Wednesday in the shooting death of his friend.

Richard Erick Venola, 53, is charged with second-degree murder after authorities said he shot and killed his friend, James Patrick O’Neill, 39…

Venola is listed as a field editor for “Guns & Ammo” magazine and is said to be passionate about firearms.

… O’Neill was shot once in his chest by a large caliber rifle. His body was found outside the home.

The former student …

… walked into the single-story building housing Oikos University on Monday morning, took a receptionist hostage and went looking for a particular female administrator, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan told CNN’s “Early Start.”

The man walked into a classroom, lined up students against a wall and shot them one by one, Jordan said.

He then left the classroom, reloaded his semi-automatic, found some more stuents and shot them. He then left the scene in a victim’s car. Soon after, One Goh, the shooter, was arrested at an Alameda grocery store.

According to CNN,

The college, which caters to the Korean-American Christian community, offers degrees in theology, music, nursing and Asian medicine, according to its website.

I want you to do a little thought experiment. Don’t worry, if you have had a long day and your brain is tired, it won’t be too hard. If you’re a Teabagger and are not very smart, it won’t be too hard. If you’re a middle class white person with concerns about brown people moving into your sleepy suburb and all your wealth and privilege came to you more or less by accident and your morality, such as it is, comes to you mainly by default, it won’t be … well actually, for you this might be hard but I’m sure you can do it. Continue reading

I suppose that depends on what we think the process is for. I would have hoped that gun permits serve the very important role of making sure that gun owners are more likely than they otherwise might be to know how to properly handle guns, and that guns are kept out of the hands of people who will do damage with them.

Japete at suggests that this is not necessarily the case:

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Since we last discussed this about 17 days ago, Bill Adams and Charles Lake shot themselves while handling their handguns. They weren’t shottin’ intruders or varmints or nuthin’. Just holding or loading. Some guy in florida was “putting his gun away” when the 9mm went off. But bullet passed into his neighbor’s apartment and shot her while she was sleeping. A dood down in Hatchez, Mississippi woke in the middle of the night to a sound he mistook for an intruder. He shot hisself in the damn pinkie toe.

Thoze-all might have been people who knew nohting about guns, hard to say, but Jack Haning of Lubbock has been messing with guns his whole life, but he still managed to shoot himself in the leg after showing off his new handgun to his coworkers. He did not live.

James Crawford of Virginia was playing with a 9mm at a party. He thought the gun was empty so he wuz pretenging like he was shooting himself in the head but then he shot himself in the head for real. He did not live.

Maybe James Crawford was a drunk dumbass teenager with no callin’ to have a handgun, but a security guard in St Petersburg Florida who is licensed to havea gun was hidden in a small closet with two young men in the church explaining to them the safety features of his Ruger 9mm when he pulled the trigger. The bullet went through the wall and hit Hanna Kelly, the 20 year old daughter of the pastor in the head. She is in critical condition and, well, is not really expected to live. Something tells me there is more to that story than meets the eye at this particular moment.

Most of those were in the south, which makes me wonder about the south. But up oi Ohio, Wellington Roemer shot himself through the thigh and gut when his weapon discharged as he exited his vehicle. Previous to that he had posted this on facebook: “I’ll keep my money, freedom & guns, you keep the change.” with a picture of Obama.

Back in the south, in South Carolina in fact, a woman carrying a valid permitted gun in her purse shot her friend in the foot when the gun went off by itself. Though she had a permit, she was in fact not allowed to carry the gun into the mall. No word on if there will be charges, or if anyone is looking into the safety of that particular weapon which appears to, well, not be safe.

While we are on the subject of malls, a woman was shot in Jacksonville, in the arm, by a stray bullet. That may be different from all these other cases because it could have been some sort of violent crime in which an innocent bystander was shot. But I include it here because we might want to have a discussion of the utility of carrying guns around in shopping malls. If only everyone in that mall was packing, that guy who shot the woman by accident would never had pulled that gun out out of fear.

In another case of a person who should know better, a former chief of police of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, shot himself in the hand while cleaning his gun.

One of the arguments that Gun Rights Apologists (GRAs) make is that guns will always fall into the hands of criminals no matter what you do, so you might as well not bother with rules or laws or procedures that limit the sale, purchase, distribution or ownership of any kind of firearms. This is, of course, a foundation-less assertion and a rather self-serving one at that. There are two reasons why it is wrong. The first and most obvious is that even if there is a flow of guns from legal to illegal ownership, making that process illegal does send a message, secure funding, and keep the process on the radar screen for law makers and law enforcers; The difficulty of enforcing a law can certainly be taken into account when deciding whether or not to bother with the law, but only after it has been designated as unimportant or insignificant on other grounds. Laws about victimless crimes that are impossible to enforce are probably not worth enacting or expending much energy on. Laws about victim-rich crimes, on the other hand, should not be abrogated just because enforcing them is hard.

But there is a second reason that the argument that “guns will fall into the hands of criminals anyway so don’t bother” is wrong: The flow of guns from legal ownership to illegal possession can be affected by the implementation of statue, according to a recent study. Continue reading

And apparently that’s the only state where you can do that.

So, what’s the score card:

Number of times a mass killer started shooting people on campus but a student, staff member, or faculty member pulled out a gun and ended it right there: 0
Number of times a student was walking along on campus with a legal weapon concealed, that happened to be loaded and with no safety, and the gun went off and he ended up shooting himself in the leg: 1

We are not impressed.


It’s a meme* Since the police will not arrive at your home to protect you from intruders, you must arm yourself with guns. Efforts by commie libruls to restrict gun ownership are tantamount to going from farm to farm and shooting all the babies in the head because gun control takes away the ability of hard working farm families to protect themselves from daily threats of armed intruders, who have probably gone out to the country side from their rat infested urban lairs to prey on the innocent. Central to this meme is the idea that the police a) won’t arrive at your home for a very long time after you’ve called them and b) the police are not even required to go to your home if you call them. (I’ll deal with the first, but not second of these here.) The outcome of the ‘logic’ that uses this meme is that we must heavily arm ourselves pretty much no matter where we live. The meme is fed by occasional reports of very long response times by police, such as this one recently discussed here. Continue reading

In Minnesota, you can carry a gun around, concealed, if you have a permit. Why? Well, I suppose so that if you get mad at someone you can pull your gun out and shoot them.

According to wcco:

The Cook County Sheriff said the man who opened fire Thursday in a courthouse in Grand Marais got the gun from his own vehicle.

Daniel Schlienz was convicted on a sexual assault charge in Cook County Court. After the jury found him guilty of criminal sexual conduct, he left the building then came back into the courthouse and into County Attorney Timothy Scannell’s office with the loaded weapon.

He then shot a witness i his trial, the county attorney, and injured a bailiff. Fortunately, he was an incompitent marksman so no one was killed.

I do not yet know if he had a carry permit, or was using it legally, but certainly despite the best efforts of the NRA it is still not legal to carry a weapon into a courthouse.

This is obviously a matter of mental illness. What gun advocates often do not admit, however, is this: It is exactly the the intersection between lax or permissive gun laws and mental illness that facilitates this kind of event. Stricter gun regulation is needed exactly because of this intersection, not the opposite.

This is cute for two reasons. First, we seem to have a dog who is sympathetic to the ducks, possibly in cahoots with them, who helps arrange for the attempted assassination of a duck hunter. Second, the story is told by the hunter himself on an internet forum…

…I set my double barrel in the decoy box, walked around the front of the boat to get a better angle to push it out of the weeds and just as I had turned to cross the front of the boat and ( in case you haven’t guessed) Boom, the gun goes off. I looked back and the dog had climbed over the side and stepped on the trigger. About a half second later I realized I had been shot. I fell down backwards in the water…

Read it here.

Let this be a lesson to you … vet your dog and unload your gun!

Andrew Rosenthal:

Of all of the lobbying organizations that feed off fear, and rely for their funding and power on dividing Americans, one of the worst is the National Rifle Association.

The NRA never misses a chance to misrepresent the positions of people who advocate reasonable gun control, to make Americans afraid that the government wants to take away their right to defend their homes and their loved ones, and to turn any attempt to have a sensible conversation about guns into an assault on the Second Amendment.

Why else would the NRA support a law that makes it more difficult to prevent suicides among members of the armed forces?

Let me explain. …

Continued here.

Michael Bryant says:

Most firearm deaths in Canada are suicides (over 75 per cent). Only 24 per cent are homicides. Suicides in Canada will go up if the Prime Minister isn’t careful about what he repeals.

… Suicides dropped dramatically in Canada thanks to the federal gun registry. Not only do statistics prove as much, it stands to reason that with improved gun safety comes decreased gun fatalities; with fewer tools-of-choice for suicides available, fewer suicides occur. It just makes sense.

… A home where there are firearms is five times more likely to be the scene of a suicide than a home without a gun: Canada Safety Council. The Institut national de sante publique du Québec has assessed that the coming into force of the Firearms Act is associated, on average, with a reduction of 250 suicides (and 50 homicides) each year in Canada. That’s nearly one life saved per day. …

Hunting season is starting soon or has already started in North America. I believe we are shooting the ducks now in Minnesota. Hmmm. I wonder if this is the year we call the Sheriff to report the guys who hunt illegally in the marsh by the cabin. People are a bit more safety conscious with a toddler toddling around, even though he actually presents a very small target and the marsh is a bit far away for a shotgun blast to be much of a problem.
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If only….

The history books and Dr. Who have it wrong, according to the latest research.

VINCENT Van Gogh did not commit suicide but was shot by a teenager with a Wild West obsession and a faulty gun, according to a new biography.

Short of claiming that the Dutch artist never cut off his ear and never painted sunflowers, the Pulitzer Prizewinning authors of “Van Gogh: The Life” could hardly have produced a more startling revelation from their decade of research.

… Interesting …
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Delbert Huber shot and killed Timothy LarsonDelbert Huber, an 81-year old Kandiyohi County Minnesota man, got into a verbal argument with 43 year old Timoth Larson. Huber settled the dispute by blasting Larson with his gun. Larson is dead. Larson was a special ed teacher at St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West.

Twenty Two year old Mattisha Houston killed Joseph Wells in Houston. She was shooting at a tree in her back yard, missed the tree, and Wells was killed while watching his TV.

Timothy Huber, the son of Delbert was also arrested. [source]

This is not the usual sort of thing I like to point out, but since it was close to home I thought I’d mention it .


Johnnie Flow armed herself with a handgun last February, because she felt her family was being threatened. The gun was not legal, and apparently there was no attempt at safety training.

Then, her 3 year old son go thold of the gun and shot her other kid, 2-year old Payton, in the stomach.

Johnie says:

“I’m not a bad mother,” Flow said. “Anybody who knows me knows my babies mean the world to me. That was just a freak accident.”

Ah, Johnnie, sorry, no. You are a bad mother. That was not a freak accident. That was you having a loaded gun that was not locked away. You turned one of your kids into a victim of gun violence, and the other into a perp. That does not mean that you can’t be a good mother, but just saying that you are a good mother because you want it to be true is a stupid as leaving a loaded gun in reach of your toddlers.

Also, you are reproducing too fast. Slow down.

The victim was release from the hospital on Saturday.


That’s actually not the correct question. The answer to “Is gun control racist?” is no, because if I ask you that question, you assume I mean current modern day gun control efforts in the United States. If anything, gun control is the opposite of racist, give who is most affected by lack of it, ans who most wants more of it, and the nature of the pro-gun lobby when it comes to issues of race.
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OMG, this is so funny:

On Friday’s edition of her MSNBC program Rachel Maddow highlighted a variety of right-wing extremist activities on gun related issues, including National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre’s increasingly infamous suggestion that because President Obama hasn’t pursued gun control he must be secretly plotting to “erase the Second Amendment.”

It gets better:

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This one is here in Minnesota, in Chisago County, near the town of Lindstrom.

A 15 year old was found bleeding from the neck by the Sheriff deputies who were called to the shooting. He was pronounced dead a short time later at the hosptical.

He was shot accidentially by his 16 year old friend. It appears they were playing with a .22 caliber rifle. There were no adults around at the time. The Sheriff notes that this could have been avoided had the gun been locked up.

True. But future instances could also be avoided if the owner of the gun is charged with endangerment.


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