You Don’t Need To Pull The Trigger To Be A Mass Murderer.

There are many examples of such people – the friends and family of mass shooters who ignore warning signs of impending violence, the people on social media who encourage potential shooters, the National Rifle Association for pushing laws that benefit gun manufacturers at the expense of shooting victims, courts that have twisted the Second Amendment (which was intended to provide for a well-regulated militia in the absence of a standing army) to mean that anyone can own and carry guns, gun dealers who fail to perform background checks and sell guns to felons and the mentally ill, politicians who bow to the wishes of the NRA instead of their constituents, and citizens who prefer to bury their heads in the sand rather than call for action after another mass shooting.

These people are all responsible. They all deserve to be known as mass murderers.

How else would you describe people who enable more than 3,000 shooting deaths each year, including the deaths of more than 500 children? How else would you describe people who stand idly by while more than 7,500 children are wounded by guns each year? How else would you describe people who ignore hundreds of mass shootings each year, including the 42 that have taken place on school campuses already this year?

How else would you describe politicians who refuse to permit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to track gun violence along with the other major causes of deaths? How else would you describe politicians who make laws that prevent pediatricians from discussing gun safety with parents; who have made it easy for anyone to own the weapons of war – assault rifles, 50-caliber sniper rifles, semi-automatic handguns, armor-piercing bullets…even silencers; who have refused to pass even the most benign gun safety laws?

How else would you describe politicians and manufacturers who have made our nation the world’s largest weapons dealer – weapons that are often turned on our own soldiers?

It doesn’t have to be this way. Not that many years ago, Australia’s conservative government reacted to a mass shooting by passing laws that banned most gun ownership and bought back guns from its once heavily-armed populace. Indeed, most other advanced nations restrict gun ownership. Even places like Dodge City and Tombstone in the Old West once had restrictive gun carry laws – that’s why historic events like the gunfight at the OK Corral still stand out. They once were far from commonplace.

But, now that nearly everyone is allowed to own and carry guns, gunfights are an everyday occurrence. Though the percentage of gun owners is declining, those who do own them own more guns than ever. These people have an irrational obsession with guns. They justify that obsession by claiming their guns are needed for self-protection from criminals, the government and “those people.” They carry them everywhere. In fact, many are so paranoid, they will not enter an establishment that prevents the carry of guns. But the reality is that guns are seldom successfully used for self-protection. More often, such guns are stolen or used for suicides. They are used in road rage incidents, in domestic disputes, in neighborhood disputes, in drive-by shootings, in theaters, in workplaces and in schools. They are used by the mentally ill, by frustrated loners, by jilted lovers, by angry husbands, by racists, and by rogue cops. They are used to threaten and intimidate. They are even used to threaten government officials who are carrying out their lawful duties.

What can be done to prevent more shootings?

We can start by improving mental health care to help the nearly one in four Americans who suffer from mental illness. We can improve our database of the criminally-ill and potentially criminally-ill. We can pass a law requiring universal background checks. We can require a 30-day waiting period for gun sales. We can make it illegal to open carry in public places. We can roll back our conceal-and-carry laws by requiring gun owners to show a need for a carry permit. We can ban large caliber weapons, such as .50 caliber sniper rifles and all other weapons of war. We can, once again, make the sale of silencers illegal. We can ban armor-piercing ammunition. We can ban large capacity magazines. And we can pass gun laws that are uniform nationwide so that rogue gun dealers in one state can no longer sell guns to residents from other states and other countries.

Finally…and this will be the most controversial suggestion…we can ban the sale and ownership of all semi-automatic guns. After all, these are not needed for hunting or even for self-defense. They are designed to make it easier to kill people. Period.

Phoenix Demonstrations Expose Hearts And Minds Of Participants.

Last weekend’s so-called First Amendment demonstration really wasn’t about standing up for the Constitution. In addition to sending a message that, under the First Amendment, repulsive hate-mongers have a constitutional right to say whatever they want, it sent a message of religious intolerance. It was intended to deny Muslims their First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. Of course, the right-wing idiots who congregated in the street outside a Phoenix mosque at prayer time to display their cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, also threatened to exercise their “Second Amendment” rights.

Hey, idiots, the Second Amendment guarantees you the right to own and bear arms as part of a well-organized militia in order to defend the United States. It doesn’t give you the right to threaten to shoot other Americans.

The people who resort to such threats have no concept of compassion, decency or responsibility. They hide behind the Constitution and the Bible, selecting only those few passages that support their narrow-minded views and ignoring the rest. They have no concept of what it truly means to be an American or a Christian. They merely want to provoke a violent reaction in order to have the satisfaction of saying “I told you so.”

That is the bad news.

The good news is that, despite the provocation and repugnant actions of the wing nuts, the Phoenix Muslim community showed great patience in the face of religious discrimination. There was no violence. And the really great news is that, this week, a group of Phoenix citizens came out to support the Muslim community. They assembled at the mosque to show that, even in Arizona, the hate-mongers are a tiny minority of the population…people who only care about their own rights while denying the same rights to others.

We would all be well-served to follow their example.

Cop Shootings Prove The Need For Gun Control.

One of the claims made by the NRA (National Rifle Assh*les) when pushing for expansion of open carry laws is that guns are safe in the hands of individuals who have been properly trained in the use of firearms. Well, either that is false or most of our gun-wielding cops have been poorly trained. In just the past few weeks, cops have gunned down the unarmed, the mentally ill, a TV cameraman and a toy gun-toting shopper at Wal-Mart.

If cops can be so careless and clueless, it’s no wonder there are so many gun deaths each year caused by armed civilians.

If we can’t weed out dangerous cops in the hiring process, what chance do we have of keeping the criminally insane from buying and carrying guns without universal background checks? And, if the problem is caused by police expectations that everyone they confront (even in a routine traffic stop) is armed, then it’s clear that we have too many guns on the streets for our own safety. The obvious solution is to end the sale of handguns and conduct a nationwide buyback program as Australia has successfully done. While we’re at it, we should also ban military-style weaponry such as semi-automatic assault rifles and 50 calibre sniper rifles. There is no conceivable need for these weapons in the hands of civilians. Even if you’re paranoid enough to think a tyrannical government is coming to enslave you, these guns won’t help. The government has bigger and more lethal weaponry as already proven by the police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Only when we reduce the number of firearms on the streets can we expect police to rely on batons and tasers before turning to lethal force as a last resort.

As for the NRA claim that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” keep in mind that the firing range instructor killed when a 9-year-old girl lost control of an Uzi set on full automatic was killed by the gun. Not by the girl. So, too, are most of the more than 3,000 kids killed by guns each year.

There is no arguable reason for this nonsense to continue. We’ve already established that the Second Amendment has limits. We have drawn the line at allowing citizens to obtain fully-automatic firearms, bombs and nuclear weapons. We can re-draw the line to ban semi-automatics and to prevent the carrying of firearms unless there is a legal, demonstrable need.

That is, unless you actually enjoy watching reports of the daily gun battles on our streets and mass shootings in our schools.

Another School Shooting…Yawn.

The recent Oregon school shooting was the 74th shooting on or near school property since the slaughter of six and seven-year-olds at Sandy Hook Elementary. Several other school attacks have been discovered before the individuals could carry out their plans. Nevertheless, these shootings are happening at a rate of more than one a week. And when you consider that most schools are not in session for 3 months of the year, the frequency is greater than that. And if you consider gun violence outside of schools, things are much worse. More than 3,000 children die from gun violence every year. In fact, a child or teen is a victim of gun violence every 30 minutes.

But it seems that few care. Accepting gun violence is just part of living in America…the land of free and the home of the guns.

Since the wacko Second Amendment absolutists staged a coup which transformed the Nitwit…er…National Rifle Association from a benign club devoted to hunting and marksmanship into a mouthpiece for gun manufacturers, the NRA has not only succeeded in making more guns available. It has made more lethal guns available. It has helped market guns to children as young as five-years-old. It has fomented fear that the government is coming for your guns. It has pushed laws making it legal to carry guns in every state. And it has lobbied conservative Republicans and cowardly Democrats to block any legislation aimed at sensible gun control.

As a result, you can now see dimwitted bullies openly carrying guns in restaurants, convenience stores, shopping malls, sports stadiums and bars. And those are just the guns that are visible. There are many more concealed in waistbands, pockets, boots, purses and cars. For what purpose? Apparently it makes the mentally weak feel more powerful. It seems that guns are like sports cars…the speed of the car and firepower of the gun are in inverse relationship with the size of the penis.

Contrary to NRA beliefs, the presence of guns is not a deterrent to violence. In fact, easy access to guns is more likely to escalate confrontations. And guns are definitely more likely to end them. To see how useful guns are for self-defense, you need look no farther than the recent Las Vegas shooting in which a good guy with a gun was shot and killed because he was unprepapared to deal with a violent and fluid situation. (A gun does you no good if you don’t see the person who is about to shoot you.) For further evidence, consider the death of a priest in Phoenix, Arizona. He was shot and killed by a burglar using a gun owned by a fellow priest!

Two-thirds of homicides in the US are committed with guns…11,078 in 2010. More than half of all suicides are committed with guns…19,392 in 2010. More than 10,000 children are killed or injured by guns each year. Indeed, a five-year-old Kentucky boy just shot and killed his two-year-old sister with a child-sized, but no less deadly, Crickett rifle given him by his parents.

Had enough?

Apparently not, because unless the shooting incidents result in dozens of deaths, the media offers little coverage, few people take notice and even fewer demand solutions from their congressional representatives. It seems that most Republicans and many Democrats are more concerned about potential attacks from al-Qaeda and ISIS than from domestic terrorists. Yet as many children are killed in the US by guns each year than there were victims of 9/11. And our Congress does nothing to stop it. Yes, our 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms in order to maintain a well-regulated militia. But guns in the hands of five-year-olds, the mentally ill and anti-government “patriots?” What about the preamble to our Constitution which promises to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty…?” Does the right to threaten and shoot outweigh our rights to tranquility and general welfare? I submit that the reverse is true.

You know the problems of gun violence. You know the solutions. You simply need to care enough to speak up. Until you do, the NRA will continue to control our laws, and the shootings will continue to happen.

Tea Party Is Just Another Version Of Posse Comitatus.

Posse Comitatus is from Latin, meaning “power of the community.” As you might expect, the modern organization by that name rejects the authority of the federal government and any form of taxes. Its roots go back to the origins of our country and it blossomed briefly during the Great Depression. After fading into oblivion for decades, the group was given new life in 1970 by William Porter Gale who combined his anti-government beliefs with Christian Identity and racism. This modern version believes that blacks are subhuman and that Jews are children of Satan.

Posse Comitatus operated largely beneath the radar until Posse Comitatus follower, Gordon Kahl, murdered two federal marshals in North Dakota in 1983. Following that, the movement once again faded from public view. But those who share the group’s anti-government beliefs spawned numerous offshoots following the financial crisis of 2008.

Those include the Sovereign Citizens movement, various “Patriot” groups, and the Tea Party.

That fact was made abundantly clear by Tea Party support for Cliven Bundy’s confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management. Not only did the Tea Party’s greatest apologists – from Sean Hannity to Rush Limbaugh – use the incident to attack the federal government. Numerous Tea Party-backed militias (including military veterans) and politicians raced to Bundy’s side for photo ops and media statements. They turned Bundy into a poster child for their ideology.

Like Posse Comitatus, the Tea Party isn’t out to merely change our government. It’s out to destroy it!

For example, both the Tea Party and Posse Comitatus believe that all of the lands within a state’s borders should be under state control. They do not recognize federal authority over national parks, national forests and other government lands. They despise the Federal Reserve, and they believe we should return to the gold standard. They believe that the federal government has no authority to impose income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes or any other kind of taxes. In fact, they don’t recognize the federal government at all.

They believe in the nullification of all federal laws. They believe county sheriffs are the only legitimate law. They collect large stores of weapons and ammunition. They refuse to comply with any court orders. And they threaten to exercise their Second Amendment rights to prevent the government from enforcing those orders.

All the while they wave the American flag and call themselves “patriots.”

The good news is that most Americans are finally beginning to recognize the Tea Party for what it really is…a hate group. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that the Tea Party’s favorability rating has dropped to an all-time low of just 22 percent. That may explain why Tea Party candidates were soundly thrashed in this past week’s Republican primaries. Of course, it has become increasingly difficult to tell a Republican from a Tea Party candidate. Nevertheless, it appears the influence of these nitwits is finally waning.

Good riddance!