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“These Things Happen From Time To Time”: At Least 43 Instances This Year Of Somebody Being Shot By A Toddler 3 Or Younger

I don’t want to sound like some kind of weeny liberal nag, but I’m having trouble understanding how we’re supposed to use our guns in these cases to act like the good guys who are getting the bad guys with the guns.

This week a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the back seat of the car he was riding in and accidentally shot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat. This type of thing happens from time to time: A little kid finds a gun, fires it, and hurts or kills himself or someone else. These cases rarely bubble up to the national level except when someone, like a parent, ends up dead.

But cases like this happen a lot more frequently than you might think. After spending a few hours sifting through news reports, I’ve found at least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself.

I know, I know. I’m a moron.

Because only a moron believes that a two year old can pull the trigger on a gun, right?

You might as well tell me that we put a man on the moon or that real men eat arugula.

I’m sure you’ve had enough of pantywaist protesters, but I haven’t forgotten how the NRA reacted to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

After a weeklong silence, the National Rifle Association announced Friday that it wants to arm security officers at every school in the country. It pointed the finger at violent video games, the news media and lax law enforcement — not guns — as culprits in the recent rash of mass shootings.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A. vice president, said at a media event that was interrupted by protesters. One held up a banner saying, “N.R.A. Killing Our Kids.”

It’s hard to say that it’s the NRA killing our kids when it’s clearly our kids killing each other and themselves and their grandmothers. And this wouldn’t happen if we just put a good guy with a gun in the backseat of all of our cars to keep a watch on our toddlers and put a quick stop to any gang-related activity.

I’m sure you can go talk to the families who have been impacted by these tragedies and find them suffering from no regrets and no second thoughts about how safe their guns were keeping their families.

Oh, yes, I know the solution. Those stupid parents shouldn’t just leave their loaded guns lying around where any Tommy, Richie or Harry can pick them up and pop off a few quicks shots.

And girls shouldn’t have sex.

And boys shouldn’t horse around.

And say ‘no’ to drugs.

And no one gets hurt.

 

By: Martin Longman, Ten Miles Square, The Washington Monthly, October 16, 2015

October 19, 2015 Posted by | Gun Deaths, Gun Lobby, National Rifle Association | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Real Guns Vs Virtual Guns”: Curious Conclusions That Overlook The Evidence

It’s been nearly two months since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., and in that time, there’s been quite a bit of debate about gun violence. Some of it, however, has led segments of the population to draw curious conclusions.

Last week, for example, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told MSNBC, “I think video games is [sic] a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people.” It was an odd thing for anyone, least of all a sitting senator, to say on national television.

But the sentiment, however strange, appears to reflect the opinions of Alexander’s party.

As Republican leaders insist that the debate over gun violence in America should also address the role of violent entertainment, the latest findings from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling released Thursday showed that the vast majority of GOP voters nationwide believe video games are a bigger threat than guns.

Given the choice between the two, 67 percent of Republican voters said violent video games represent a bigger threat to safety than guns. Fourteen percent said guns are the bigger safety threat.

I’ll gladly concede that societal violence is an extremely complex, multi-faceted problem, and there are cultural factors to consider.

But to think virtual guns pose a more serious threat to the public than actual guns — by a lopsided margin — is to overlook the available evidence.

To reiterate what we discussed last week, even if we put aside the irony of the underlying point — blaming simulated, pixelated guns is fine; blaming actual guns is not — these arguments aren’t new. Plenty of officials have been arguing for years that violent games desensitizes young people to violence and contributes to a larger corrosive effect on the culture.

There’s just very little evidence to support the claims. Hunches and cultural criticisms notwithstanding, social science research does not bolster the contention that gaming and gun violence are connected. (Adam Lanza was reportedly obsessed with “Dance Dance Revolution” — which is a game, as the name suggests, about moving feet, not shooting weapons.)

For that matter, the United States is not the only country with young people who play a lot of video games, but it is the only country with high rates of gun violence.

Gaming is a huge cultural phenomenon in countries like South Korea, England, Japan, and Canada — and they’re all playing many of the same games Americans enjoy — and yet, none of these countries comes close to the U.S. when it comes to deadly shootings.

And why not? Sociologists can speak to the differences in more detail, but I suspect it has something to do with access to firearms. It may seem tautological, but let’s state it for the record anyway: societies with fewer guns have less gun violence, whether they’re playing “Halo” or not.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, February 8, 2013

February 9, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, Guns | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Disturbing Sign”: Why Are Some Leading Dems Getting Soft On An Assault Weapons Ban?

In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, support for re-banning assault weapons grew exponentially inside and outside of the Beltway. It’s only natural when an AR-15 is used to slaughter twenty schoolchildren and six educators, only months after another was used to shoot seventy-one people inside a movie theater.

Yesterday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel—seen as recently as 2006 recruiting pro-gun Democrats to run in House races—said that Newtown was a “tipping point, a galvanization for action.” He’s now calling for an assault weapons ban, expanded background checks, and is ordering Chicago municipal pension funds to divest from all gun manufacturers.

Indeed, it was a tipping point. Five days after the shootings, President Obama stood in the White House briefing room and explicitly called for another assault weapons ban, and Vice President Joe Biden is expected to recommend one this week. Senator Dianne Feinstein announced she’d introduce a strong bill in the Senate, and all the pieces looked to be in place.

But in the past twenty-four hours, there have been disturbing signs of pre-emptive surrender by key Democrats on the assault weapons ban.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a PBS affiliate in Las Vegas that he didn’t think the assault weapons ban could pass the House, and thus he wanted would “focus” on what could. His comments echoed many pro-gun talking points about Hollywood and violent video games, and Reid openly tried to throw cold water on the gun-control movement:

“We have too much violence in our society, and it’s not just from guns. It’s from a lot of stuff. And I think we should take a look at TV, movies, video games and weapons. And I hope that everyone will just be careful and cautious. […]

“Let’s just look at everything. I don’t think we need to point to anything now,” he said. “We need to be very cool and cautious. […]

“I think that the American people want us to be very cautious what we do. I think they want us to do things that are logical, smart, and make the country safer, not just be doing things that get a headline in a newspaper.”

On Monday, Representative Mike Thompson—appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to head the House’s gun violence prevention task force—also signaled surrender on the assault weapons ban, according to Politico:

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Democrats’ gun violence task force, said the magazine ban and universal registration requirement would be far more effective than an assault weapons ban without the political cost.

“Probably the most recognizable thing you can say in this debate is ban assault weapons,” Thompson said. “But the other two issues” – forbidding high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring universal registration for gun purchases – “those two things have more impact on making our neighborhoods safe than everything else combined. Anytime you try and prohibit what kind of gun people has it generates some concern.”

It’s not that Reid and Thompson are necessarily wrong in their political calculus—maybe an assault weapons ban can’t pass the House.

But publicly dooming the effort before it starts is self-enforcing, and repeats a Democratic proclivity that has frustrated progressives to no end: heading into negotiations and votes with a pre-compromised position.

Americans favor an assault weapons ban 58-39, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll released Monday. The president is about to stick his neck out and propose it, and then push for it in the weeks to come. Moreover, as Thompson and Reid both correctly noted, it’s the headline-grabbing issue here: rampages with assault weapons are what is driving the momentum on gun control.

Democrats would naturally be wise to push forward aggressively on the ban, as they have mostly done up to this point. If they fail, they fail. At least they’d likely be able to wrest more concessions from the GOP on background checks and high-capacity magazine bans during the legislative battle, and potentially force Republicans into a difficult vote where they would effectively be supporting military style weapons on the street.

Yet, it appears Reid and Thompson—absolutely key figures in the legislative battles in the Senate and House respectively—want to drop the assault weapons ban from the legislative agenda. It’s not yet clear that they will, but even signaling a lack of confidence is damaging to both the legislative prospects for meaningful gun control, and for public attitudes and activist motivation. And it’s not the debate demanded by what happened in Newtown.

 

By: George Zornick, The Nation, January 15, 2013

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, Guns | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Who Are They Kidding?”: The NRA Loves Violent Movies

When Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association made his dramatic statements about the Newtown shooting, he placed the blame on some familiar suspects: not just insufficient militarization of elementary schools, but movies and video games. “Media conglomerates,” he said, “compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes.” But Matt Gertz of Media Matters discovered that the NRA is not so opposed to movies that feature people shooting each other. In fact, the NRA’s National Firearms Museum features an exhibit called “Hollywood Guns,” in which you can check out the actual guns used in some of your favorite films (go to the end of this post for a video of the NRA museum curator proudly showing off the movie guns).

You might respond that the NRA is full of crap when it points the finger at Hollywood, which of course it is. But let’s take them at their word for a moment and examine the claim. If movies featuring a lot of gunplay cause real-world violence (there’s no actual evidence that this is the case, by the way, but never mind that), then what is it exactly that the NRA believes produces this effect? Is it that the narratives of action films convince people that the most serious problems can be solved with the use of firearms? Is it that movies portray a world in which people are constantly called on to use guns, when that isn’t the case in real life? Is it that movies portray gun use not as a horror or a tragedy but as something to be enjoyed? Is it that movies fetishize guns, making them seem like not just practical tools but objects that imbue those who wield them with power and sexiness?

Because it seems pretty clear that rather than thinking those ideas are a problem, the NRA believes them to be true. Not only that, it wants everyone else to believe them, too. Do they think people are dumb enough to buy the argument that the NRA would like to see fewer guns in movies? That they’re displeased that every other movie poster features the star holding a gun, as a signal to the potential audience that this is a film with action and excitement? Give me a break.

(Video Link: http://mediamatters.org/embed/static/clips/2013/01/02/28288/nra-movies-exhibit-1 )

 

By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, January 2, 2013

January 4, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, Guns | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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