You killed me.

Our gun culture kills children

Spread the love

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!!!!”

If you drive out of the driveway of that house on Hackett and swing around the Boulevard in the middle of the road, you go through a red light no matter what (because it is always red in one direction). Then you can drive down the street and encounter one more red light, then at the corner of S. Manning, there is another, then you can turn right then left and swing directly into the emergency room entrance of St. Peter’s hospital. In other words, it is about a 300 second drive if you ignore the lights. The mother of the child with the blue face, who had clearly just eaten an entire bottle of Great Aunt Tillie’s blood pressure medicine, did so. Meanwhile, the bottle, now empty, was gathered up, and a call to the hospital was made. By the time the young boy was being taken out of the car and shuffled into the hospital, the ER staff was ready and they pumped his stomach. He was not made critically ill, he lived. The blue dye took a while to get off.

He was lucky. That could have been a gun.

One day I was standing in the dining room in the home of my then mother-in-law, Ardith. It was Thanksgiving morning. Ardith was about to set the table with my help, and she asked me go into the drawer of the Prairie Style built-in cabinet at one end of the dining room, and pull out the place mats. I opened the wrong drawer, and instead of seeing place mats, I saw folded up table cloths. Not yet realizing that I had the wrong drawer, I pulled up the corner of the table cloths, expecting to find a layer of place mats underneath.

There were no place mats, but there was a .32 caliber Smith and Wesson pearl handled revolver. No holster, loaded.

“What’s this, a gun?” I said, lamely.

My mother-in-law was at first very surprised to see this, had no idea what it was. Then, she remembered. That pistol had been under those never-used table cloths for years. It was her brother’s, or something. Something she always meant to get rid of. Had no idea why she hadn’t yet. So then, she did. She got rid of it. I don’t remember how. Good thing I found it and not some blue-faced kid.

I know of a young girl who tried to commit suicide, but was rescued and went through treatment. Not long after the event her home was invaded by a sexual predator. She and her mother got rid of him, but it was a bit traumatic. So, mom bought a gun, found a place to keep it, and told her daughter, who was still very much in suicidal mode, where the gun was kept. I’ll tell you how that story ended in a moment.

A few years ago I was helping people to manage the materials of a medium size middle class suburban estate. The owner had died and we were sorting everything into categories. Stuff individuals wanted. Stuff to give to the veterans. Stuff to give to Goodwill. Stuff for the estate sale. Stuff for Craig’s List. All that. Also, stuff for the dumpster. It was an enormous amount of work. A lot of stuff fell through the cracks, most likely, and even though I personally had my hands on pretty much every item in this estate, if you asked me where a particular item ended up, in many cases I couldn’t tell you. It was all happening very fast, it was a hot summer, there was a lot of sweat and toil and confusion.

Among the items was a revolver, unloaded but with a box of bullets, in a cardboard box. It could have gone to any one of these places. As it turns out, the family decided to include it in the estate sale — estate sale managers know what to do with firearms because many, many estates have these long forgotten random guns. But it could easily have ended up in a box of junk somewhere, a box of stuff we never had time to really look through. Hell, it could have ended up at Goodwill or inside a box of other stuff that someone picked up via Craig’s list.

A few days ago, a family with I think five kids had the chance to buy a hover board for one of the kids, used, via something like Craig’s List or at a garage sale, or something. So they did. They took the box home but did not get around to opening it. Everybody was busy with school and stuff. It could wait for later.

Two days ago, the kids were all home and playing outside, with some friends. One of the kids, an 8 year old boy, went inside the house, quite possibly to dig out the hover board to play with. In the process of doing so, he found a pistol that had been tossed in the box. He assumed, I’ll guess, it was a toy. But it was a loaded gun. Within a minute or so after discovering the gun, he was dead.

Only a few people are killed in the US each year because somebody treated a handgun like just another piece of stuff we keep in a drawer or a box. Tens of thousands of people are killed each year by guns in the US, though, because of a lot of different scenarios. This is only one of them.

But all these things are related. Mass shootings, including mass shootings in schools, criminal activity that results in shootings, suicides, accidental shootings of all kinds, are all related in America, because we have a pro-gun culture which sees treating guns as dangerous items as somehow unfair, or unconstitutional. (See this for further discussion on the links.) And, because this pr-gun culture results in there simply being a gazillion guns. Guns are everywhere, even in random places kids can stumble into.

Gun deaths are so common for a lot of reasons related to this gun culture, but almost all the reasons can be distilled down to two:

1) People are stupid about and careless with guns; and

2) A small number of people are so into having guns as toys (and extensions of their personalities, etc.) that we have a plethora of guns and they are pretty much out of control.

You are responsible for the guns in your life, including the guns that show up and volunteer to be part of your life. You need to keep the guns unloaded and locked up, the ammo separate.

Some of you will say, “yeah but…” then produce some lame excuse about someone invading your home. For you, I have special instructions.

1) Make your home hard to invade. They have these things called locks. They make it hard to open a door or window. Get locks;

2) Make your home noisy to invade, so if someone is invading your home, you get warning before they are there. They make easy to use inexpensive alarms for that purpose, or you can do something more professional. Or just tie a tin can to your doorknob;

3) When the home invasion starts to happen, you will have several minutes to call 911, unlock your gun, load it, and search around for the invader;

4) But be careful, because in scenarios like this, the home owner with the gun actually has a higher chance of injury or death because they are armed. You may not believe or understand that. Fine. The fact that you do not understand how that happens is precisely why it has a good chance of happening. I can’t help you with that; and

5) Try not to shoot anyone innocent, like the relative coming home late or the drunk neighbor who got confused, or the cop that came to help you.

What happened in the case of the young woman who was suicidal, who’s mother brought the gun home and told her where it was? Well, having been to some therapy already, she had more than a little clue about what to do. She told her mother to that getting a firearm and, essentially, handing it to her suicidal daughter, was not OK. So the gun was hidden better, but I suspect their relationship was never quite the same after that.

Put your gun in a gun safe. . Maybe use a trigger lock. Keep your ammo locked up. And if all else fails, have one of these handy.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
*Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

Spread the love

57 thoughts on “Our gun culture kills children

  1. Greg, I do not wish to detract from your excellent importnat points, but I have to tell you it was a real treat to be brought back to your parents’ house and Grandma and Aunt Tillie after so many years; I remember them.

    1. Yes, that was a long time ago! They would be well along in their second century by now…. I have fond memories of those days and your visits.

  2. Trigger locks are not a good idea. Cops have a (relatively) high likelihood to be shot with their own gun, and they generally demand exceptions to trigger lock requirements when governments pass them.

    1. Trigger locks are a great idea generally. Most guns are not carried by cops (obviously!). Cops should not use trigger locks.

      But trigger locks are generally a great idea. A trigger lock would have saved this little boy. Has nothing whatsoever to do with cops.

    2. Why shouldn’t cops use trigger locks when they are most at risk of being shot with their own gun?

  3. In yesterday’s Texas shooting, the killer apparently had been bullied. Reptilian behavior by his tormentors triggered or led up to reptilian behavior in the killer, no?

    The other day I saw an elderly woman in a wheel chair cruelly bully another patient, a woman, at her convalescent home.

    1. Maybe. I’m not sure of the extent of the bullying yet. Might have been about average. Or may be it was materially important. We’ll see!

      But regardless, bullying in general has a huge social cost and we need to redouble our efforts to fight it.

  4. Guns are an incredibly destructive manufactured product that frequently produce catastrophic unintended results. Our culture has severely blinded itself about that.

    1. SteveP:

      That is true.

      But it is also true of vehicles – isn’t it?

      I think the death toll from vehicle accidents is higher than for guns – right?

      You don’t hear many people trying to ban vehicles.

      I am guessing it is psychological and due to the fact that guns are designed to kill (among other things), while cars are not.

      Yet you don’t see the same reaction to knives – which are also designed to kill (and cut food).

      Well except for in London.

      Lots of things are dangerous and can kill if used for an improper purpose.

      Even cars and trucks can and have been used for mass murder.

      I would no more ban guns than I would cars and trucks.

      You just cannot stop crazy – you just have to live with it.

  5. RickA – Have you had your blood lead level checked recently? You really should, you know. You responded to my post with a rather impulsive tirade about banning things. Lead poisoning tends to effect impulse control and I know you like to shoot. Lead poisoning is a killer of brain cells and shooters are being kept ignorant of the effects of lead by the gun and ammo industry. I didn’t write anything about banning anything today, and yet you launched right into a defensive posture as if I were threatening to take away your guns. Very impulsive.

    That being said, vehicles are necessary for modern human survival at the moment, and the over abundant supply of guns in the US is really not. Most people in the US interact with vehicles for a large percentage of their lives, but only cops, criminals, and gun lovers interact with them much above trace levels in normal modern living. The level of car deaths has dropped over the years as people demanded that safety technology be applied to vehicles, and now, in the US, guns are killing more people than cars in many states of the US!

    But worse, it looks like the lives of children are being negatively impacted by living in a culture that worships guns. Fear does not help foster a good educational experience. Fear, in fact tends to impair higher neurological functioning. Fear causes the release of stress hormones that can shut down higher functions necessary for productive learning.

    By the way, your statement that “you just cannot stop crazy-you just have to live with it” is a remarkably uninformed thing to say. It has been known for decades that severe vitamin deficiencies can cause psychosis and a whole host of neurological and behavioral disorders. The modern pharmacopeia can stop a whole host of mental diseases commonly known as “crazy”. Preventing exposure to toxins like lead can prevent neurological dysfunction. Education can stop a whole host of “crazy”. Training people to act like civilized beings instead of like selfish reptiles prevents a whole host of “crazy”. Educating people about methods of thinking that help fend off the damage of verbal or social attack can prevent a lot of “crazy”. Human sympathy and empathy prevent a lot of “crazy”. So no, RickA. You don’t have to live with “it”. Huge amounts of progress have been made in the arts and sciences of human behavior over the past decades and passively living with disease is not an acceptable option to civilized people, in my opinion.

    And again, you should really get your blood lead level checked. The ability to detect lead in blood has advanced greatly in recent decades, and it might be very telling to get a blood test done. It might even save your life if you have high blood pressure. And, really, please don’t do anything as stupid as eat machine gun bacon. Just like you wouldn’t risk arsenic or food poisoning, you would be stupid to passively accept the risk of easily preventable lead poisoning. Of course, if you already have lead poisoning, you might be too addled to know it. Sad.

    1. It’s not his blood lead level — it’s his complete lack of honesty, integrity, morality, coupled with his belief that anyone who isn’t well off and white doesn’t matter.

    2. The U.S. Secret Service is famed for its dedication to skill with firearms. Obviously agent’s constant training must have increased their blood lead levels to dangerous levels, clearly impeding their emotional stability and cognition.

      How dangerous is it then to have such impaired individuals, armed to the teeth, in close proximity to current and former Presidents and their families?

      Would you therefore call for the protective detail for former President Obama to be immediately disarmed?

    3. And speaking of Presidents, if you are really concerned about blood lead levels, the 2004 election would have presented an obviously correct choice.

      As a member of the “Brown Water Navy”, candidate John Kerry would have been exposed during training to massive amounts of lead contamination from the various heavy caliber machine guns festooning his patrol boat.

      Other the other hand, as a jet pilot, candidate George W. Bush would have been breathing his own, uncontaminated, self-contained air supply in his aircraft.

      Clearly then, you must have been appalled at the prospect of the emotionally unstable, cognitively impaired, lead poisoned John Kerry becoming President or even Secretary of State.

      Can you provide any evidence that you opposed John Kerry becoming either President or Secretary of State?

    4. SteveP:

      I thank you for your concern for my health.

      I live in a world where I have no control over school shooters and therefore have to “live with it”.

      You apparently live in a world where you do not have to “live with it”.

      Problem solved – thank you.

      I am glad I will not have to read about another tragedy caused by a crazy person.

      However, should another tragedy occur – you may want to seek medical attention yourself. Because then reality will have shown you that you do have to “live with it” and are apparently living in a fantasy world and have lost touch with reality. Because just wishing for something doesn’t stop bad things from happening.

      Hopefully you are correct and merely wishing very strongly for something will control other crazy people’s actions.

      I am not optimistic however.

  6. Blood lead level does decrease somewhat with time, provided that you are lucky enough to stop adding it to your body. However, for people like cops and soldiers, that option is not always available. And some of the lead never leaves your body.

    The correlation between the exposure to lead and brain damage are clear. How many IQ points can you afford to lose? It’s your brain. But if shooting makes you feel safe and manly, and you don’t mind accelerating the gradual slide into dementia and Parkinson’s disease with age, then you will probably keep doing it. You will probably keep shooting in poorly designed shooting ranges, and keep eating machine gun bacon to impress your buddies, and you won’t bother to wash your hands after cleaning your gun. And we know that all the boys and girls at the range will laugh at you if you wear a respirator in addition to your ear protection, so you probably won’t do that either.

    It is definitely interesting that all these school and other mass murderers are gun lovers, that is, they are people who like to shoot guns and who quite likely have elevated blood lead levels.

    It is also interesting that 50% of the 44,000 suicides in the US in 2015 were by gun lovers! I guess that gun ownership leads to a lot more unhappiness than people seem to realize.

    It is also very sad that so many military veterans commit suicide. About 22 a day or so.

    Shooting is a destructive pastime. It is toxic, murderous, self deceptive, and self destructive activity on many levels.

    We could probably prevent a lot of untimely deaths and suffering if we applied more science to the study of the problems of gun violence, but don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. People are all too willing to risk the lives of themselves and others rather than to help enact sensible gun restrictions.

    And it is just wrong and stupid that the the people with the highest blood lead levels are controlling so much of our legislation. This is not a situation that ends well based on its current trajectory.

    1. Um, so you told everyone to vote for George W. Bush?

      How ’bout disarming Obama’s security detail?

  7. “…they are people who like to shoot guns and who quite likely have elevated blood lead levels. ”

    Gee, you’d think something like that would show up in the autopsies?

  8. Gosh, I hope you grew up Amish otherwise you’ve most likely been cognitively impaired by leaded gasoline during your childhood.

    Logic fail, lead contamination from firing guns would be in addition to any supposed exposure to leaded petrol fumes.

    Other [sic – the revenge of OAS perhaps] the other hand, as a jet pilot, candidate George W. Bush would have been breathing his own, uncontaminated, self-contained air supply in his aircraft.

    Well you have to admit that when it came to expressing ideas GW was not the sharpest knife in the box and his reputation as a fighter pilot has been questioned:

    While the authenticity of the memos is disputed, what is not is the fact that, From most accounts, Bush appears to have received preferential treatment to get into the Air National Guard and avoid the draft after he graduated from Yale University in 1968. He was initially regarded as a good pilot, but his performance faded over his final two years in the Guard and he was suspended from flight status. He did not fly for the remaining 18 months he served in the Guard, though he was obligated to do so.

    And for significant chunks of time, Bush did not report for duty at all. His superiors took no action, and he was honorably discharged in 1973, six months before he should have been. [13].

    1. Science fail. Why would you assume that lead exposure caused by cars would be uniform for everyone across the country?

  9. Also:

    Other the other hand, as a jet pilot, candidate George W. Bush would have been breathing his own, uncontaminated, self-contained air supply in his aircraft.

    So, in other words you have no clue as to how fighter aircraft produce the cockpit atmosphere.

    1. And apparently our resident naval aviation expert failed to notice that jet aircraft fire high explosive cannon shells constructed from steel and copper and not lead bullets.

  10. “CDC recognizes blood lead levels (BLLs) of >25 µg/dL ( equivalent to 250 parts per billion) in adults and >10 µg/dL ( equivalent to 100 parts per billion) in children aged <6 years as levels of concern; no similar level has been set for older children and adolescents (1,2). During 2002–2004, the Alaska Environmental Public Health Program (EPHP) conducted lead-exposure assessments of school-based indoor shooting teams in the state, after a BLL of 44 µg/dL (equivalent to 440 parts per billion) was reported in a man aged 62 years who coached a high school shooting team in central Alaska."

    Lead levels of the adolescent shooters were on average 208 parts per billion higher than non shooting siblings in their families. Wow.

    Regarding the autopsy comment- typically only suspicious deaths are autopsied. If someone had symptoms of lead poisoning, they might get a BLL (blood lead level) on autopsy, but otherwise, the test for lead is not typically performed. So when a mass shooter is autopsied after the cops blow his head off, what would be the point of performing a BLL test? The ballistic lead that killed the killer is probably embedded in a wall. And remaining lead bullet fragments in the blood might give a false high blood lead level under the right circumstances. BTW, in the not too distant past, the detection limit for blood lead was ten or a hundred times higher than it is today, so unless the deceased presented some obvious evidence of lethal lead poisoning, suggesting that they might have a detectable level of lead in their blood, a blood test be very unlikely to be performed.

    Do surviving mass shooters have their blood lead level checked? Again, highly unlikely. Who would do it and why? Are you going to check for pesticide levels too? Cadmium? Mercury? A defense lawyer might do a thorough and expensive screening of all the known relevant neurotoxins in an attempt to make a case for neurological impairment of the accused. But, I suspect, only if they had an unlimited budget and thought that it would accomplish something, or that positive results were likely.

    There is no doubt in my mind that sports shooters are all suffering from elevated blood lead levels. Depending on differences in their individual chemistry, things like phosphate and calcium blood levels, and genetic differences in proteins effected by lead, the results of individual lead exposure will, as they say, vary.

    And here is another thing. I also think that shooting has a lot in common with behaviors that we consider addictive. Smoking tobacco, for instances, imbalances a person's biochemistry, requiring more nicotine to re-establish a normal balance. So tell us, shooters, how long can you go without a target practice before you miss the sweet smell of leaded nitrocellulose smoke? How long before you start getting irritable or nervous?

    And sure, you can still function with a high blood level. Just look at, say, Ted Nugent trying to act normal, or corpse-like Wayne Pierre, or woman-who-looks-like-she-would-ax-murder- you-in-your-sleep, Dana Loesch. Are these people behaving in a way that you would consider normal? IMO, these folks are giving lots of evidence of neurological impairment. And, in general, shooters, you are all making less and less sense.

    Have a nice day.

    1. You’re the one trying to draw a link between shooting, lead levels and mass killers. If the authorities aren’t testing for lead, is it because experts don’t take your theory seriously?

      Almost all of the civilian gun ranges in my area are outdoors. Law enforcement on the other hand often uses indoor ranges so that weather is not a factor. So, wouldn’t this imply that responsible, armed citizens are safer to society than lead-poisoned law enforcement?

      “And here is another thing. I also think that shooting has a lot in common with behaviors that we consider addictive.”

      Do you have ANY evidence to support this claim?

      “IMO, these folks are giving lots of evidence of neurological impairment.”

      Pure ad hominem.

      Have a crappy day.

  11. And apparently our resident naval aviation expert failed to notice that jet aircraft fire high explosive cannon shells constructed from steel and copper and not lead bullets.

    That is an imaginative leap from that which I actually wrote and it represents another dishonest attempt at mockery, which fails because I am indeed a ‘naval aviation expert’ and familiar with munitions and the engineering.

    Have a nice day hagfish.

  12. Pure ad hominem.

    It would appear that you do nor know when it is appropriate to use that term, but I guess it is the pain of the cognitive dissonance you show signs of that leads you to misuse language so.

    This chimes with you difficulty in comprehending the message in posts that you respond too with silly or inappropriate questions.

    1. “This chimes with you difficulty in comprehending the message…”

      “you difficulty” ???

  13. Chronic vs Acute Toxicity.

    All of the mass shooters are, well, shooters. Therefore, they all have elevated lead levels in their bodies. There is no doubt about that. And here is a study at Duke…. “The study found that for each 5-microgram increase in blood lead, a person lost about 1.5 IQ points. The mean blood lead level of the children at age 11 was 10.99 micrograms per deciliter of blood, slightly higher than the historical “level of concern” for lead exposure.” So you can draw your own conclusion about lead and IQ and the tendency to make really really bad decisions.

    I’ve read elsewhere that lead effects the part of the brain that deals with impulse control particularly severely. Think about that. If you are a borderline crazy person, what does adding a daily dose of lead do to your thinking?

    And when your blood lead level is higher than the safe drinking level for water, you are in some serious neurological trouble.

    You wouldn’t drink Dioxin contaminated water, would you? Why would you knowingly let yourself ingest/inhale toxic lead compounds? There is an easy and rude answer but let’s no go there. I think that shooters ingest/inhale lead because they don’t know better, and/or because they don’t care about taking care of their brains, and/or because they are trapped in an addiction-like behavior, that they live in a gun culture, and/or they can’t give up their guns or shootings because it would be like giving up their manhood, and/or their livelihood requires them to be shooters in the case of people like cops, criminals, and soldiers.

    So we are locked into a known hazard, but, because of all the jobs that depend on providing idiots with guns and bullets, and because of all the money paid to buy politicians, it is politically correct to ignore the obvious hazard of lead poisoning from guns.

    So go run along and do some shooting like a good, obedient Republican lead consumer. After all, what is a little bit of your brain’s health compared to the economy’s well being? The investors thank you. Have a nice day. Thanks.

    1. SteveP:

      Your hypothesis is reasonable.

      You should do a study.

      What is the BLL of the last 10 school shooters?

      Some are alive, and so we can obtain their BLL.

      The ones who killed themselves surely had an autopsy, so there must be blood samples – right?

      We should be able to figure out if your hypothesis is correct (or not).

      Hopefully someone will do such as study and let us know if you are correct or not.

  14. MieN: “Why shouldn’t cops use trigger locks when they are most at risk of being shot with their own gun?”

    Mainly, there is a distinct difference between gun use and safety among cops vs. among private citizens. Trigger locks on a gun that is laying around in someone’s house is an extraordinarily different thing from trigger locks on the gun of a professional law enforcement officer.

    But I’m sure you knew that …

    1. dean.

      Not allot will come of it given ‘official’ idiocy on this:

      After blaming everything he could think of except guns the Lt. Gov. resorts to more stupid, the same sort of ‘ignorant blathering’ seen from your usual suspects:

      The lieutenant governor also said more armed teachers would help avert school massacres.

      “We have to arm our teachers,” he said. “If another person has a gun, the best way to stop that person is with another person with a gun. But an even better way is four people with a gun to stop that person.”

      Way to go to increase the number of casualties.

    2. In the “Bloviating Morons” thread, Dean claimed,

      “locus has a long history of bigotry, racism, and flat out dishonesty on several blogs. Looking for rationality from him is as big a waste of time as looking for art in watery dog shit.”

      Those are some serious accusations. Where’s the evidence of my alleged “bigotry” or “racism”?

  15. I agree the “arm teachers” thing is simply fodder for the ignorant and terminally stupid.

    I think now that the 25 minute gunfire exchange is known to have happened it will be hard to cover any up what happened: if there is any evidence that a student or teacher was hit by police fire it will come out (I hope the anti-police loons don’t jump on the conspiracy/bullcrap train the way the “this is another fake event” loons jump on all of these shootings).

    The “response” from felon and traitor Oliver North was as bad as that of the Lt gov: terrorist lover north blamed the shooting on ritalin. Of course he wasn’t as opposed to drugs when he was carrying out reagan’s order to allow the central american terrorists to move massive amounts of cocaine into the country in the 80s.

    1. “Of course he wasn’t as opposed to drugs when he was carrying out reagan’s order to allow the central american terrorists to move massive amounts of cocaine into the country in the 80s.”

      So, Dean is an Alex Jones follower.

      How do you feel about the government turning the damn frogs gay?

  16. Don’t have to pay attention to the unhinged or playing to the unhinged creature that is Alex Jones to grasp the essentials of the Iran Contra business.

    On this day in 1986, President Ronald Reagan went on national television to explain — and, in part, defend — the secret sale of arms to Iran despite a U.S. arms embargo. White House officials hoped the arms transfers through Israel would help secure the release of seven U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon. They also used the proceeds of the sale to funnel weapons to Nicaraguan insurgents, known as the Contras, whom Reagan supported — despite a congressional ban on such transfers.

    Many other sources are available.

    Oh and LaPierre is a monster:

    NRA hate bingo: we decode Wayne LaPierre’s loaded rant, makes Adolf look almost sane.

    1. “Many other sources are available.”

      Again, a mistake: locus doesn’t care about facts.

  17. locus, the role of north in iran contra and allowing drugs into the country isn’t bullshit, it’s fact.

  18. The Santa Fe school shooting shows the reality of what I discussed in this post:

    Namely, banning AR15’s won’t stop school shootings.

    Here, a shotgun and a handgun were used – neither of which is on the list of guns hopefully to be banned.

    Here we had an armed person on site who did engage and still 10 dead.

    It will be interesting to see if any of the dead or injured were friendly fire – so I will be interested in follow-up on that.

    But a crazy person who is bent on dying (the shooter said he was going to kill himself, but wimped out in the end) is going to be very hard to stop (and always has been).

    Even if you took all the guns away – such a person could take a car and mow down people at a school fairly easily.

    Almost anything can be a weapon.

    This kid had pipe bombs and pressure cooker bombs (from what I read), in addition to his shotgun and handgun.

    Do we have a problem – yes.

    School shooting are a fad and will no doubt increase in incidence as more kids decide to die and take a bunch of people with them. That has been the trend for the last decade (or two).

    Is banning gun assault rifles going to solve it – no.

    Is banning all guns a possibility – No – not in the USA – unless the 2nd amendment is changed or repealed. This is extremely unlikely to happen.

    If someone is determined to cause carnage, they can do so.

    That is the reality.

    I don’t have a solution.

    I wish I did.

    All we can do is take reasonable measure which will lower the odds a bit.

    More armed people at schools is one such measure.

    Metal detectors at entrances to schools is one such measure.

    Trained people with conceal carry permits being permitted to carry at schools could also be one such measure. A lot of pushback, so pretty unlikely – but we will see.

    Having a gun in a biometric safe in every classroom is also one such measure. Again, pretty radical idea and there will be a lot of pushback – but you can see how it could have help in certain circumstances.

    The only other thing I can think of is much more intrusive surveillance of social media.

    Both of the last two shooters left clues on social media.

    Of course, one nazi symbol in a photo doesn’t allow institutional commitment – so I am not sure even this idea will help much.

    Yep – this is a very very tough problem.

    One which we will have to live with for some time to come, I am afraid.

  19. Banning AR-15’s and large clips would, over time, cut down the average volume of carnage in mass murders. So it would save some lives. Who but a lead headed idiot could doubt that? Also, I suspect that shooting an AR-15 probably maximizes one’s exposure to lead toxicity because of the short barrel and the exhaust from the 25 grain cartridges. As does shooting lots of ammo from large clips. So there is that.

    Anyway, now that the phenomenon of mass murders by innocuous children has been invented and become common place, we really need to deal with it.

    Open storage of firearms is simply not acceptable today. Let’s mandate locked gun safes for all weapons, period. The number of children saved by that act alone could very likely exceed the number saved by guns from from home invasions each year, IMO. Plus, it would be a boon to gun safe manufacturers.

    Let’s require a gun license like we require a driver’s license. Let’s require some level of training, as well as an assessment of physical and mental capabilities to be a gun operator.

    Let’s stop being stupid about the second amendment. It is the second amendment. It is not the second rule of the universe, written in stone, never to be questioned or modified. It is an amendment. It can be amended or repealed. Our constitution is a gift from the nation’s founders. It was not meant to be a sacred ossified deity to be worshiped and never altered. It is our constitution now and it is our duty to make it work for us. The dead founding fathers don’t give a rat’s ass about your sacred God damned fucking second amendment. Neither do the children who die in classrooms from gun violence every fucking year here.

    Let’s close the gun show loop holes and any other impediments to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, and other incompetents.

    Let’s repeal any laws or rules that prevent the CDC from researching gun violence.

    Let’s stiffen criminal penalties for criminal possession of a firearm.

    If we could do all those things, we could probably cut down gun deaths by a huge percentage, over time. It would, of course, take time for the huge population of illegal guns to be whittled down, and it would take time to educate citizens on the new gun safe law. But these things are doable and they would undoubtedly save a large number of lives each year.

    It will be interesting to hear what the weasel spin is against each of these ideas.

    1. SteveP:

      Happy to provide some weasel spin.

      Banning AR15’s. Ok – say it is done and the law is not struck down. First, there are over 10,000,000 AR15’s already in circulation (probably more). Well cared for weapons can last for a long long time – so stopping new AR15’s will have some marginal effect – and sure over time it could have an increasing effect. I will give you that. But it is no panecea. Bad guys will just use shotguns and handguns.

      Secondly, AR15’s were already banned from 1994 to 2004. I don’t know if the death toll from AR15’s dropped during that period – so I would be interested if you have any data to suggest that a lot of lives were saved during that 10 year period.

      Thirdly, my take is that an AR15 ban violates the 2nd amendment. Nobody really litigated it during the 10 year ban and my guess it it would get litigated today and struck down. That is just my personal opinion.

      Gun safes. I don’t think the Federal government can pass such a law – but I could be wrong about that (no jurisdiction). However, I think States could get away with such laws. I don’t think they violate the 2nd amendment. I am not sure a trigger lock wouldn’t be as safe – but I quibble. Go for it.

      Gun license. No go. The 2nd amendment is a right not a privilege. That would be like passing a law to get a license to speak, or go to church or to get a license to get a lawyer or to prevent a search. Not going to happen.

      Changing the 2nd amendment. Yep – I have been telling this blog for years that this is what needs to be done. But it will be hard. Go for it.

      Close the gun show loophole. Yep – I have advocated that also. It doesn’t violate the 2nd amendment. Go for it.

      CDC ban. Private money can be used for gun research. States can do research. But I am not against changing the law preventing federal money from being used by the CDC. I don’t think most gun violence is a disease – it is just regular old crime. But the crazy people fall within the CDC mandate. So go for it and get that changed.

      Stiffen criminal firearm possession penalties. Ok – go for it.

      Those are my thoughts (for what they are worth).

  20. Let’s repeal any laws or rules that prevent the CDC from researching gun violence.

    Technically the Dickey Amendment doesn’t ban the CDC from doing any research on this, it only says that “”none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control” can be used for it. However, that amendment, written and pushed by the NRA, came with a PR coup: they pushed the huge lie that previous research that demonstrated the link between increased risk and gun ownership was a form of “advocating for gun control” (pure bullshit, of course) and the amendment explicitly says that can’t happen.

    Even when funding was available it was woefully inadequate (based on amount of funding compared to number of deaths from gun violence: similar comparisons for expenditures of diseases give much higher values).

    States can do some work, but not on the scale needed. Private money — even less, since the Tiahrt Amendments, which prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from sharing its firearms-tracking database with anyone outside of law enforcement, mean private studies cannot access that data.

    People who say the research can be done by states or private groups may not know the whole story, but more often they do know what they propose won’t work but they want to sound “reasonable”.

    In the meantime, the data needed to answer questions like how guns move from locations where they are easily purchased to places with more restrictions, relationships between poverty and gun access, ownership, and use, where guns used in crimes come from, how often they are used in domestic assaults, how often are the people who use a gun in a crime the original owner of that gun, and more complicated questions, aren’t getting addressed.

    All because earlier studies showed that having a gun in the home increased the risk of being shot and that the expansion of “stand your ground laws” was associated with increases in murder rates. The NRA and their supporters didn’t like those ugly facts coming out.

  21. So , there is another school shooting today. Children have learned that they can become famous murderers with very little effort on their part at all. Indiana is a lax gun law state, but, of course, that has nothing to do with this shooting. Just ask the gun lovers when they weigh in.

    Children taking their daddy’s unguarded musket and laying waste to other children was apparently something not anticipated by our beloved founding fathers when they penned the second amendment. If they did, they might have been a little more robust in their definition of why we need to have access to muskets and what a grave responsibility it was to guard access to them. Alas, they didn’t do so,and now we have various murder epidemics going on.

    The founding fathers were, however, ingenious in realizing that we might need to adjust our Constitution for unforeseen future needs, and, oh by the way, isn’t it time that we disambiguated the second amendment? Instead of arguing about what the dead founder wanted, how’s about we make an amendment that actually defines for modern day Americans just who should have fire arms and how they should be regulated?

  22. Comments 1, 2, 4, 5, good advice.

    “When the home invasion starts to happen, you will have several minutes to call 911, unlock your gun, load it, and search around for the invader”

    # 3, however, could easily get one kill. I can barely make a pee trip during a
    commercial break, yet in several minutes, I am to call the cop shot after finding
    the telephone, then go to a different room and get the firearm and then load it?

    By the time the vic has finish these instructions, the invader is searching around
    for the homeowner.

  23. The right to bear arms.

    “A right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all citizens or all human beings from the moment of birth.”

    Then why can’t infants have guns? Or criminals? Or mentally unstable people with anger management issues? Or children?

    And so, in Indiana, another kid familiar with firearms took a pass at ruining his life, his family’s life, and the life of at least one innocent victim. And, as usual, it is unlikely that anybody will check his blood lead level. Why would they? It is only 2018. Knowledge of the devastating effect of heavy metal toxicity on important neurological functions is still fairly primitive. So even kids from privileged families can get lead poisoning by going to the shooting gallery with Dad. And then, of course, there is the intoxicating feeling of power a young boy can get by shooting a gun. A power that this particular boy did not have under control. So this lad, possibly slightly lead addled, decided to take that awesome firepower to school where he possibly had some issues with powerlessness? But hey, it is not politically correct in gun culture to discuss lead poisoning, or psychology, or, apparently, any science that might might help understand the effects of firearms on a culture.

    The second amendment needs to be de-convoluted. Can a militia that lets children take weapons to school to murder people be considered in any way self regulated? Can a militia that lets criminals obtain firearms with little or no effort to restrict them be considered well regulated? Can a militia that lets toddlers get Daddy’s gun and kill themselves be considered well regulated? Can a militia that lets small children shoot machine guns and then accidentally kill themselves be considered well regulated? If the militia is well regulated, and certain members of it are restricted from having arms, say because of past behavioral anomalies, such as threatening their ex, how is that different from an infringement on their “right” to bear arms?

    It is 2018. The rate of school shooting seems to be rising. The destruction of the sanctity of places of learning is now complete. Nearly all kids today live with concern or outright fear of school shootings. Small price to pay to protect NRA winners from the rare home invasion they seem to constantly fear.

    A rational society might protect kids from exposure to lead from shooting… both high velocity ballistic lead, and lead fumes from shooting.
    A rational society might not worship guns.
    A rational society might realize that a rule made in 1787 might be flawed or obsolete.
    A rational society might realize that there are an awful lot of ways to prevent a home invasion without leaving loaded guns lying around the house.
    A rational society would not let guns carelessly fall into the hands of children, the mentally incompetent, or the untrained. But our does.

  24. Mass shootings, including mass shootings in schools, criminal activity that results in shootings, suicides, accidental shootings of all kinds, are all related in America, because we have a pro-gun culture which sees treating guns as dangerous items as somehow unfair, or unconstitutional. (See this for further discussion on the links.) And, because this pr-gun culture results in there simply being a gazillion guns. Guns are everywhere, even in random places kids can stumble into.

    The toll of mass shootings in the USA since 2014 has been logged.

    Since 2014 the US has averaged more than one mass shooting a day, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. There is no official definition of “mass shooting”, but this database tracks incidents in which at least four people are shot or killed, not including the shooter.

    This list includes the high-profile incidents, such as the Parkland shooting, the Orlando shooting and the Atlanta shooting. But thousands of other mass shootings have come and gone like any other day.

    Every mass shooting in the US – a visual database

    Just look at the toll for November 2022 alone.

    RickA and Locus (that latter brave enough to use their real name) have no valid arguments for not implementing effective gun control that would staunch this flow of blood-letting and death.

    RickA likes to witter on about how an amendment can not be dropped or modified when this has in fact been done since there was a constitution and amendments. Both of these tools of the NRA, even if not by official status, like to use bloviating rhetoric often involving whataboutery in nugatory arguments.

    1. Yes – I have written many times on the difficulty of changing the constitution. I never said it was impossible – just very very difficult. First you have to get it through congress, get the president to sign it and then get 3/4 of the states to ratify. Possible but very very difficult. Especially with something as core as the right to own a gun for self-defense (or the right to free speech). I believe the amendments are in order of their importance, which is why speech is first and the right to keep and bear arms is second. Personally, I don’t think the 2nd amendment will ever be changed – it is that important to that many people that the necessary majority will never exist to change it. I also feel passing unconstitutional laws is unwise and a waste of time. Almost like virtue signaling – a total waste of time.

      Gun deaths committed by criminals and mentally ill people are terrible. Gun death suicides are regrettable, but less terrible (I think suicide should be legal – after all how can you stop it?). Gun deaths in valid self-defense situations are one of the very laudatory purposes of the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms. So gun deaths range the gamut from terrible to regrettable to actually good.

      There is no effective gun control that will staunch the flow of blood-letting and death. Criminals will always be able to get guns and so will mentally ill people. Trying to ban semi-automatic weapons is doomed to failure, even if the constitution were to be changed. Of course, we can try to keep guns away from criminals and mentally ill people and I am all for legal laws being passed to do that. But it won’t stop gun deaths or mass shootings.

      I am afraid that we will have to get very tough on illegal uses of guns. Perhaps the death penalty enforced much quicker than the typical 20 year wait would help. Perhaps very very tough enforcement of illegal possession could be made a top priority – to try to get guns out of the hands of criminals and gang members. I don’t know – both of these seem like they won’t do much.

      But I do know that the 2nd amendment does protect the right of adults of sound mind, who have not committed a felony, to keep and bear arms. Trying to stop that will not work, and in fact will only backfire and cause more guns to be sold (legally and illegally). History has shown that to be the case.

      A very tough problem. Perhaps we could get a movement going to get trained people to conceal carry. The higher the percentage of the population that are armed, the faster the bad guy could be blown away. 5%, 10%, 25%, at some point there would be enough people scattered throughout the population that a bad guy would be taken down by one or hopefully multiple people before the death count rose to the level of a mass shooting. At least that would be my hope.

      Given the fad like nature of a lot of these mass shootings, and the massive media coverage they all get, I am afraid they will continue and even accelerate. Death by cop (or suicide after the mass shooting) seems to be getting more popular these days. The only solution is a faster death for the shooter. Hopefully they can be taken down during the shooting and better after their first shot, and even better as they are drawing their gun before they can shot or kill anybody.

  25. RickA

    I have written many times on the difficulty of changing the constitution. I never said it was impossible – just very very difficult.

    A wise man once said:

    “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,”

    I also feel passing unconstitutional laws is unwise and a waste of time.

    From the Atlantic:

    “The surprising aspect of this conclusion is not that the Constitution can be informally amended. That has been the usual way of making revisions. In 1803, the Supreme Court granted itself the power to review laws and overturn them. In 1824, the states tied the electoral vote to the popular vote. Neither of those changes was inscribed on parchment or envisioned by the Founders, but today we can’t imagine our constitutional system without them. “

    The 45th president profoundly altered our system of government.

    There is no effective gun control that will staunch the flow of blood-letting and death.

    That is the problem. Your persistent attempts to argue that effective gun control is impossible so we do nothing is a morally bankrupt stance.

    The higher the percentage of the population that are armed, the faster the bad guy could be blown away. 5%, 10%, 25%, at some point there would be enough people scattered throughout the population that a bad guy would be taken down by one or hopefully multiple people before the death count rose to the level of a mass shooting. At least that would be my hope.

    What if the good guys with guns go rogue. Because somebody is sane does not mean they will stay so. I can just see the scenario, a car passing a bank backfires, suddenly every body with a gun draws it and starts shooting in the direction from which they though the ‘gunshot’ came from. Of course this could be a school during an assembly with all the adults armed. The carnage would be horrendous.

    I could deal with each bad point of yours but it begins to feel, only part way in, like trudging through the slough of despond

    That you fail to see the flaws in your arguments makes me wonder what sort of lawyer you are, no not your speciality but how effective you are.

    And so it continues.

    US gun death rate hits 30-year high with female fatalities rising faster than men’s

    1. Good points. I never said we should do nothing. I am simply saying doing something effective will be hard. I think you agree.

      Yes – a sane person can go crazy. That is true. That is also why with 400 million weapons already in the public’s hands it will be hard to stop gun violence.

      Of course good guys with guns could accidently kill people – whether from poor training or vehicle backfires.

      I would rather live in a country were everybody was armed and the bad guy was killed by well trained citizens before they could kill more than one person (or better yet before they could get a shot off) and a certain number of people were killed or wounded by accident, than a country were everybody is disarmed and the bad guys kill more people than those killed by accident in the first scenario. My first scenario is what the 2nd amendment envisioned. You carry your weapon for protection and hunting and use it to protect yourself, your family and your community.

      I would like to see every adult drafted for six weeks of firearm training, reactive fire training, firing in a crowd training and medical training. Then give trained citizens a free government weapon (or perhaps a discounted one). If you don’t want a weapon you don’t have to carry one – but you have to be trained.

      An army of citizens, armed, in public, would cut down on the death toll from mass shootings. Only an experiment would show whether the people killed by accident exceeded our current death toll. I would like to see that experiment run.

      Would you car jack if the person driving was armed? Would you rape a person on a subway if all the passengers were armed? All valid self-defense situations where you could defend yourself or somebody else legally. Crime would go down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *