Friday, June 06, 2014

It Starts With the Guns, Stupid!

Today we learned of another mass shooting, this time on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, a small private Christian university outside Seattle. Two weeks ago the same sort of event happened at University of California Santa Barbara. Last night and every night in cities across the nation, the same thing happened, as young people, mostly young men, were gunned down. Meaningless deaths of mostly young people due to another young person wielding a gun.

In a recent "Daily Show with John Stewart", Stewart turned his satirical wit on the news media which has now begun to portray such meaningless slaughter of our young as “inevitable.”(The segment on guns starts at about the 3:15 point; its powerful and worth a look). Things have gotten so absurd that even the NRA is not sure how far its gun-slinging, gun-toting enthusiasts should be encouraged to go. (See this link to the article.)

The truth is only a fraction of the gun-related violence in our country ever makes the news, and usually only when such incidents involve white folks in places like elementary schools and college campuses. As horrific as the SPU and UC-Santa Barbara shootings are (a death is a death no matter where it occurs), the media generally ignores the carnage occurring in poor and urban communities all the time. Yet as Stewart points out, even white kids shooting white kids now has become "old news."

When the media pundits try to get to the causes they point to mental illness, family stress, depression, low self esteem and the like – all of which are contributing factors – but rarely do the mention the one common factor:  the ready availability of guns in this country whether thru legal or illegal means. Take the guns away and there will still be troubled youth and a certain level of violence will exist, but the dead body count will go way down.

Let me share a personal illustration. When I was 22 years old living in Boston, I was mugged by an assailant who demanded I give him my watch. When I resisted, he hit me several times with a baseball bat. I had to go to the emergency room but I survived the ordeal. Had that same event occurred today, most likely I would have been shot, the difference being in the late 1970’s guns were very rare in even seemingly “dangerous” neighborhoods such as where I lived. Don’t get me wrong, there were certain places one did not go to maintain safety, but in six years of working with street kids I never saw a gun and only hear one a few times. There was violence to be sure, but few firearms.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am passionate about addressing issues of inequity and injustice in many areas, and violence of any kind is something that needs to be addressed. However, let’s not be stupid or blind or in absolute denial. If we want to reduce the carnage of our young people which has become all too common, we need to start with reducing the availability of guns. We need to pass laws strengthening and expanding background checks, limit sales to one handgun a month, require fingerprint identification and licensing, hold gun dealers responsible for prohibiting straw purchases and require all guns lost or stolen to be reported the police. Hunters can still hunt. Target shooters can still shoot. People who feel they must have a gun due to some distorted view of the Second Amendment can still get their gun. All I am suggesting is that we don’t make it as easy to get a gun.


If we want to reduce the carnage, the solution is not difficult – its starts with the guns. And to those who say that gun violence is inevitable, let’s call such logic what it is: BULLS**T!

25 comments:

KRFAHorn said...

Absolutely, Drick!!! Well said.

C Mackey said...

Distorted view of the 2nd Amendment...I'm sorry, pray tell what exactly do you think it is for? Target shooting and hunting?
Some quotes from the authors of the Bill of Rights would actually help clarify it if you could be so kind as to provide some...

Please explain your constitutional rationale for aligning "ONE (1) gun per month" with "...shall not be infringed."

Just to let you know, owning a gun is a protected right in America. You don't have to agree...but so long as it is protected, requiring finger printing for that right is not only unconstitutional, American liberals have claimed such policies disparage poor minorities.

Background checks are required for the sale of EVERY new gun America. How do you plan on enforcing BGCs on private sales? Send a cop to every yard sale? ...or will it involve a registry of some type?

MrApple said...

So if you do rid America of firearms what do you recommend for people to use for self defense? Should I be limited to pepper spray when attacked by a thug 20-30 years younger than me? Who put you in charge to decide what self defense method is the best for me?

Robert Naess said...

Gun control means that whomever has the guns is in control. Who do you want that to be?
Assuming the reduction of legally owned firearms is accomplished, the induction of illegal guns into the criminal environment will increase through smuggling, more violent home burglaries, greater frequency of thefts from military and police, and other easily predictable consequences. Creating an artificial reduction in firearms owned by law abiding citizens will absolutely create a far worse gun violence atmosphere than what we are seeing now. Haven't you learned anything from the "war on drugs"? Now we have an new social experiment.....a war on guns. The consequences of this new irrationally orchestrated fiasco will be no different than the suits of the other "wars", including alcohol and prostitution, etc, etc.
Your argument is DOA.

Robert E. Naess

Drick Boyd said...

To Mr. Mackey and Mr. Apple,

I would respond by saying (1) making the right to bear arms a right does not equal an absolute right in all situations, thus limiting the sales to one handgun a month puts a reasonable limit on that right without abrogating it. (2) fingerprint identification is a technology that could effectively keep someone from using a gun who does not own that gun, thus cutting down on the use of guns by unauthorized, (unlicensed persons); (3) if gun shows can't be regulated they should not be allowed - its that simple.

These limits do not eliminate the right to bear arms, but puts limits on those who should not have guns. If Mr. Apple feels a need to defend himself, he has that right. If you read the blog closely, you would have seen that was the case. You are the one over-reacting.

Drick Boyd said...

To Mr. Naess,

Your logic would make sense except that it is not supported by data. The presence of firearms increases the likelihood that those guns will be used on someone, usually close the the owner of the gun. The stipulations I list are designed to inhibit the illegal flow of guns. As far as guns being smuggled into the country - the U.S. is the world's supplier of guns; they aren't coming into the country they are going out. The rest of the world will thank us if we reduce the illegal flow of guns. Other countries of the world don't have the gun violence problem the U.S. does primarily because they have these kinds of laws.

Also I would ask you to read what I said. I have not said there should be no guns, just limits.

C Mackey said...

You failed to address any of my questions. If gun rights advocates are distorting the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, please enlighten us using historical facts.

The words "shall not be infringed" are pretty explicit. A sane, non-felon wants to obtain arms. You are telling them they cannot. This is the very meaning of "infringement." Amend the BoR if you'd like but as it sits, what you are suggesting is not allowed.

Putting cameras in every American's home would prevent terrorist attacks and could keep us safer. That does not mean we should do it and that does not mean we are ALLOWED to do it. Similarly, how can you justify registering a person for doing things they supposedly have a right to do? Would you be comfortable with fingerprinting anyone who wanted to protest or go to church? And doesn't permitting the purchase of guns disparage the impoverished and minorities the same way voter ID laws do?

C Mackey said...

You also didn't address my question of enforcement of universal background checks.

I'm having a garage sale. I want to sell my rifle. How are you (the government) going to know if the gun changed hands and how are you going to know if I ran a background check?

MrApple said...

To Mr. Boyd:
So one gun a month is an acceptable infringement of the 2nd Amendment? Then I guess you also support a one comment a month in order to exercise the 1st Amendment? Or a one time a month application of the 4th Amendment if hassled by the Cops? Or a once a month use of the 5th Amendment?
As to the fingerprint ID equipment on a self defense firearm, you are aware that those things do have around a 20% error rate. I hope when you pull a firearm to protect yourself and your love ones that your smart gun works better than 4 out of 5 times. My Glock works 100% of the time. Those firearm also have a built in "kill switch" in the patent. That might be a good idea if the Police are trying to stop a hostage situation but not so great if the Government decides you are an undesirable and simply turns off your firearm. But I'm sure the Government would never overstep its limits and abuse its power.
And as for the gun show issue, when was the last time you purchased a firearm at a gun show? The gun show loophole is complete crap. A gun show doesn't take place out in international waters where US laws don't apply. The last time I bought a pistol at a gun show, last September, I had to turn over my ID, a pistol permit (a throwback from Jim Crow where I live), my Concealed Carry Permit allowed me to fast track the background check, fill out Form 4473, and then paid my money. The Liberal media likes to give catchy cutesy names to things like "gun show loophole". Their real problem is a person to person transaction of a firearm which doesn't involve an FFL Dealer. If you purchase a firearm from an FFL Dealer whether a gun show or not there is paperwork and background checks that have to be performed. But person to person sales can involve nothing more than the exchange of a firearm for the agreed upon price or trade it really just depends on the state's particular laws.

Texas TopCat said...

Thanks MrApple, you said much of what I thought while reading this blog entry.
Self defense is not only for the young and strong. We all get older and less physically strong if we live long enough, so a gun is many times at least one of the self defense tools that should be in our tool kit.
This blog also seems to not understand that violent crimes of all types are decreasing in frequency, even ones where a gun is involved.
I do think that Drick was attempting to be honest and make good statements, but it would be best if he understood all sides of the issue before writing such a comlumn.

Texas TopCat said...

C Mackey
Having never seen a gun for sale at a garage sale and being in Texas where most people own guns, it is not a very common occurrence. It would be much more likely to list your gun on a gun site like Gun Broker and then ship the gun to an FFL dealer of the buyers choosing. The receiving FFL dealer would be required to use NICS background check under federal law.
However, you could sell your gun at a garage sale and then you would be responsible to not sell to someone who you had reason to believe could not pass a BC. Just as you would not sell your car to a drunk without a driver's license. It is very common for an ATF agent to pretend to be a criminal in order to trap you into selling a gun illegally.
In fact the government SHOULD NOT KNOW that you sold your gun or who purchased it. There is no legal purpose for government to ever know who owns guns and what guns they own. NICS was intended to prevent any gun registry, but some states ignore 2A.

MrApple said...

To Texas TopCat:
I am not an old man, more middle of the road. But I have some physically issues that means me channeling my inner Bruce Lee to stop a criminal thug is HIGHLY unlikely. Some people just fail to realize that yes firearms make killing a lot easier than just about any other method but they also make self-defense a lot easier too. And with a quick internet search they would find that even as the media continues to push "violent crime" on the news every chance (if it bleeds it leads) they get that the actual crime rate has been dropping since 1993.
http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/07/gun-homicide-rate-down-49-since-1993-peak-public-unaware/

Drick Boyd said...

So Gentleman (Apple,Mackey and Top Cat) -

We seem to be talking past one another, but let me try one more time.

1. 2nd Amendment - The "distortion" of this constitutional right is to make it absolute, not conditional. Let me try an example: One has the right to drive a car, if he/she gets a license and does not do something egregious like drive under the influence. That "right" is circumscribed by the need to be deemed qualified for that right. By limiting the sale of certain guns (especially handguns) to one a month and requiring background checks (which is already in place) we limit the right but not take it away. We require guns lost or stolen to be reported, so that those who use that excuse to cover straw purchasing are discouraged from doing so. Why - to put barriers in front of those who should not have them. A right to bear arms is not unconditional; all I am calling for is a few more conditions than already exist that can protect all of us.

2. Gun shows - Mr. Apple, in some states gun shows are regulated (such as PA where I live) but not in other states like AZ. So at a national level we need a standard for gun shows, to make sure they are consistent with rules governing gun stores.

3. Enforcement is an issue, but just because someone can sell a gun out of his garage, should not make it legal. I agree that enforcement at some level is difficult, but that should not cause us to turn our head.

But let me interject another point of discussion. What we all seem to miss in this debate about gun rights is the bigger picture- which is profit for the gun manufacturers. The illegal firearms market - domestic and international - is fed primarily by U.S. companies. You are fronting (unintentionally I assume) for a huge flow of arms in the name of rights. Where do think all the NRA lobby money comes from? Not just from the members..

We are all being played. You want the right to have gun, I want the right to not have one in every home on my block. We live in that tension, but meanwhile the gun manufacturers make off like bandits as we have more murders, more guns and more violence than any other developed country in the world. Whose profiting from that? Not you or me - the gun companies

MrApple said...

I get so tired of the "profit for the gun manufacturers" or the "NRA is owned by the firearm manufacturers" argument. I have not been hoodwinked into buying a Glock pistol by fancy marketing or strong armed by the NRA to get out there and buy more and more firearms. Earlier this year I purchased a Glock 23 Gen4 and a STAG Arms AR not because of any other reason than that I wanted one (actually another). This is just another attempt to shift personal responsibility. I must have purchased the firearm because someone was massively persuasive and not because I did the research regarding which firearm would work best for my needs and I bought it. This really is no different, just an extension, of the Liberal blaming of the firearm for the cause of violence than of the person behind the trigger.
And Mr. Boyd states, " You want the right to have gun, I want the right to not have one in every home on my block." What I want is the right of every law abiding citizen to have the firearm, or firearms, of their choice that they have deemed necessary for their personal defense, hunting, or target shooting needs.

fruitfood said...

hmmm... so from your way of logic, whatever the THING which contributed to death of youth or any human loose should be banned, right?
What about cars? Car is the major contributor in any CAR accident. so, should the government ban cars? And humans have been cutting each other for thousands of years before invention firearms, thus, we should ban knives, or any cutlery, right?

McDian said...

No, violence with a gun does not start with a gun, it starts with an individual that intends to cause harm. It ALWAYS starts with an individual.

You can take all the guns away (yeah... good luck with that) and still the carnage would exist. Violence is an act carried out by an individual or group, how that violence is carried out is irrelevant as we already have moral codes of conduct as well as laws that prohibit said acts of violence.

People are stabbed, strangled, beaten to death more times than they are shot to death. A gun is nothing more an a tool that is chosen.

Fun fact... the first three victims from the Santa Barbara murder spree... they were STABBED! The focus on an inanimate object and not the real source of the problem is EXACTLY why we will continue this stupid game.

Gun control does not work. It only shifts the power from the citizen to the state and the criminal. This has been exemplified in both the UK and Australia. Both nations enacted strict gun control and both nations now suffer a massive violent crime rate than BEFORE guns were banned.

So before you start calling people stupid, remember this lesson my Granny taught me... when you point a finger at someone else there are always three pointing back at you. Make sure your back yard is neat and tidy before you mention someone else's yard looks in need of cleaning.

McDian said...

Driving a car is a privilege not a right. It is not contained within the bill of rights... try again.

"We are all being played. You want the right to have gun, I want the right to not have one in every home on my block."

What you want is just that a want not a right. Unless it is codified in the bill of rights it's a want. The problem is from my perspective, that people on the left are incapable of personal responsibility and accountability which may explain WHY they want to remove the rights of those of us that are responsible and accountable. That's my observation.

Drick Boyd said...

The frustrating thing with those of you who object to my line of thinking is that you equate regulation of guns with banning the right to own guns. I have said very clearly that I respect someone's right to legally own a gun. All I have advocated is regulating the sale guns, requiring that a person report a lost or stolen gun, getting finger print identification so that someone who takes your gun will not be able to use it. I don't see the problem.

Also I have not used the term gun control, but gun violence prevention - very different. As McDian said there will always be violence. Gun-related violence is more deadly, so reducing guns does not necessarily reduce violence but mortal wounds and death. That was the point of my personal story.

I go back to one of my original comments - you want to absolutize the right to own a gun. The second amendment gives you the right to own a gun, but not an absolute right - otherwise convicted felons would be able to own guns.

The measure I propose do not take away that right; they simply make it more difficult for people to get guns who should not have guns. That doesn't take away one's right to self-defense, but it does make it less likely you will need a gun for that purpose.

Statistics show again and again - the presence of guns - legal or not - increases the likelihood of gun-related violence. Period. That is why I advocate regulating them. Like a car, they are dangerous items and should be regulated.

MrApple said...

"The measure I propose do not take away that right; they simply make it more difficult for people to get guns who should not have guns. That doesn't take away one's right to self-defense, but it does make it less likely you will need a gun for that purpose."
1. Your proposed laws and regulations will only add difficulty for the law abiding citizens. It won't stop determined criminals from simply working around the system.
2. And how does adding restrictions to the law abiding make it less likely that they will need those firearms against people bound and determined to ignore the very laws restricting the law abiding?

McDian said...

To prevent "gun violence" you must prevent violence... good luck with that. As for gun violence being more deadly... I doubt it since the FBI crime statistics show that being stomped or beaten to death is a higher probability that being shot to death.

Death is death, and perpetration of death or harm is irrelevant the tool used.

As for rights being absolute, again all rights come with responsibility and accountability. When an individual actively decides to step beyond the arena of responsible they have already opened the door for prosecution.

And as for the regulation or restrictions many on the left bellow for, there is a unique clause in the 2nd Amendment that exists in no other amendment... "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!" Pretty clear, my 9 year old understands what that means.

As for the phrase of "well regulated"

Source: http://www.constitution.org/cons/wellregu.htm

The following are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, and bracket in time the writing of the 2nd amendment:

1709: "If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations."

1714: "The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world."

1812: "The equation of time ... is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial."

1848: "A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor."

1862: "It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding."

1894: "The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city."

The phrase "well-regulated" was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people's arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.

Again, there are already laws on the books against all sorts of violence. If your goal is to punish those that break the law by using a firearm then the solution is stiffer penalties for using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime, not infringing on the greater majority of us that exercise our rights with responsibility and accountability.

Punish the criminal not the law abiding, target the behavior not the object used.

Drick Boyd said...

Very interesting lesson on the meaning of "well-regulated" but not sure its relevance to our discussion, since it refers to a "well-regulated militia." Are you sure want to open that can of worms?

Two comments and then I will leave it there.

First, in part your hesitation to allow the government to regulate the sale and use of guns comes back to your basic distrust of the government, and the priority you place on the right of individuals to act free of the government. This debate about guns hinges in large part on how we balance the tension between individual freedom and the need for government oversight. I opt for stronger government oversight and less freedom; you opt for more freedom and less oversight. I am trying to allow you your freedom (in this case to own a gun) but you don't seem to respect my freedom ( in this case from the presence of guns). I think that is where we differ.

Second, your perspective is that violence is inevitable so you need to arm yourself in self-defense. Fact: states and nations with stronger regulations have less gun-related crimes. While we can not eliminate human depravity and therefore we can not eliminate violence, we CAN lessen its devastating impact. Will such measures completely stop the wrong people from getting access to guns? Not at all, but they can make it harder (and have in states/ nations where such laws exist.) That is the purpose of any security measure - to make it harder to commit a crime. You say it takes away your freedom. No more than getting a fishing license keeps you from fishing or a driver's license keeps your from driving.

I am deeply sorry you won't consider that perspective. It is a common ground we could both live with.

MrApple said...

"I opt for stronger government oversight and less freedom; you opt for more freedom and less oversight."
Sadly this one sentence said all that really needs to be said about the author of this blog.

McDian said...

Very interesting lesson on the meaning of "well-regulated" but not sure its relevance to our discussion, since it refers to a "well-regulated militia." Are you sure want to open that can of worms?

Yes, I like these worms as I tend to win as I have documentation, history and facts to support my prose and stance. The relevance is inferred and since the source is from a constitutional site and has a very clear statement at the bottom:

“The phrase "well-regulated" was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people's arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.”|

There is A TON of excellent documentation to this effect, the Federalist papers... read them. It's a lot I know but once you read those then review the Bill of Rights things start to make sense and you see where we come from in our staunch defense of the Constitution across the board.

end part 1...

McDian said...

Two comments and then I will leave it there.

First, in part your hesitation to allow the government to regulate the sale and use of guns comes back to your basic distrust of the government, and the priority you place on the right of individuals to act free of the government. This debate about guns hinges in large part on how we balance the tension between individual freedom and the need for government oversight. I opt for stronger government oversight and less freedom; you opt for more freedom and less oversight. I am trying to allow you your freedom (in this case to own a gun) but you don't seem to respect my freedom ( in this case from the presence of guns). I think that is where we differ.


The idea that men need government to control and guide their lives is misplaced. It also detracts from the true intent and meaning of being free men. Governments place is to ensure national security from outside the borders, create, control and monitor national currencies, engage in international trade and commerce and when needed raise a standing military to defend the nation from a credible threat. That is the federal level. The powers of the government are enumerated within the constitution. Those powers not enumerated are then relegated to the states. No law by any entity may abrogate the supreme law of the land... that would the constitution.

end part 2...

McDian said...

Second, your perspective is that violence is inevitable so you need to arm yourself in self-defense. Fact: states and nations with stronger regulations have less gun-related crimes. While we can not eliminate human depravity and therefore we can not eliminate violence, we CAN lessen its devastating impact. Will such measures completely stop the wrong people from getting access to guns? Not at all, but they can make it harder (and have in states/ nations where such laws exist.) That is the purpose of any security measure - to make it harder to commit a crime. You say it takes away your freedom. No more than getting a fishing license keeps you from fishing or a driver's license keeps your from driving.

I am deeply sorry you won't consider that perspective. It is a common ground we could both live with.


Actually if you want to reduce violence arming citizens is but one part of the puzzle. National identity and border security are another, education, the reduction of government interference in the affairs of private citizens, with the increase in education comes a reduction in poverty and the core of violence in the first place. Another piece is “love thy neighbor” translated get to know your neighbors again. Currently due to race baiting and government interference as well as media people don't know their neighbors, therefore distrust festers into hate and discontent.

This nation was most prosperous and had the least amount of violent crime when the government was small and out of the way and people knew each other. Human nature is not towards violence, conditions we can control create the breeding ground for it.

There is no single answer, but disarming law abiding citizens most assuredly is not the answer. While nations with stronger regulations may have fewer crimes committed with guns, they do not have a lower crime rate than the US with some exceptions.

I could spend hours gathering data and showing your premise incorrect but I don't have time for that. The simple fact is your safety and well being is your responsibility not the governments nor the police. This has been upheld in the supreme court on several occasions. What and how you choose to live is your right... but it comes with consequences as do all decisions in life.