Thursday, October 9, 2014

Today’s Karma

Buying that new gun to prevent crime?  I hope you have better luck than this dude.

GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) – A man openly carrying his new handgun was robbed on a Gresham street by a man with a gun of his own.

Police were called out to the area of 172nd and Glisan Street at 2:10 a.m. Saturday.

Investigators said the 21-year-old victim bought a handgun earlier in the day and was openly carrying it while talking to his cousin.

They said a man approached them and asked for a cigarette. Talk eventually turned to the victim’s new purchase, before the robber pulled his own gun from his waistband and said, “I like your gun, give it to me,” according to police.

The victim handed over his gun and the suspect ran away.

Heh.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gun Tourism

People from all over the world are flocking to places like the range in Arizona where a 9-year-old accidentally killed an instructor with an Uzi.

With gun laws keeping high-powered weapons out of reach for most people — especially those outside the U.S. — indoor shooting ranges with high-powered weapons have become a popular attraction.

Tourists from Japan flock to ranges in Waikiki, Hawaii, and the dozen or so that have cropped up in Las Vegas offer bullet-riddled bachelor parties and literal shotgun weddings, where newly married couples can fire submachine gun rounds and pose with Uzis and ammo belts.

“People just want to experience things they can’t experience elsewhere,” said Genghis Cohen, owner of Machine Guns Vegas. “There’s not an action movie in the past 30 years without a machine gun.”

Hey, Disney World and Cedar Point, you’re missing out on a lot of action unless you open up The Wonderful World of Carnage.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Darwin Award Front Runner

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

An instructor who was shot by a 9-year-old girl who fired an Uzi at a northwestern Arizona shooting range died Monday night at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.The girl fired the weapon at the outdoor range that caters to heavy tourism traffic along U.S. Highway 93 between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Highway signage and Internet advertising beckons visitors to stop in, fire a machine gun and enjoy a meal at the Bullets and Burgers enterprise at the Last Stop, about 25 miles south of Las Vegas.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the accidental shooting occurred about 10 a.m. Spokeswoman Trish Carter said the girl, who was vacationing from New Jersey with her parents, was standing next to the instructor at the time.

Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe described a video taken of the accident as “ghastly.” His office released a short video of the girl taking her first few shots.

He said the girl safely and successfully fired the 9 mm weapon several times when it was set in the “single-shot” mode.

He said the weapon was put into the “fully-automatic” mode before the girl fired again with the instructor standing off to her left. The weapon recoiled and drifted left as the girl squeezed off an undetermined number of rounds as she maintained possession but lost control of the Uzi as it raised up above her head.

“The guy just dropped,” McCabe said of shooting instructor Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, who suffered at least one gunshot to the head.

I’m sure his family and friends are devastated, but who in the world hands an Uzi to a nine-year-old kid and doesn’t foresee something like this happening?

I’m also sure the kid is traumatized, but I wonder what kind of parent takes their child to a gun range and lets them use an Uzi?  A .22, perhaps, like they use at the rifle range at camp, but a weapon that the Israelis used to win the 6-Day War?  Really?

Maybe we don’t need gun control after all; with people like this in self-extinction mode, they’ll die out by their own devices.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Second To None

According to the parole board in Georgia, the Second Amendment is absolute, trumping every other amendment, including those that guarantee life, liberty, and safety, and even a former police officer, now a convicted felon and rapist — white, of course — has the right to carry a gun once he’s served his debt to society.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “[h]is record was filled with allegations of misconduct: that he beat a prisoner so severely the man’s brain bled; that he threatened to fabricate charges against a suspect so he could sleep with the man’s wife; that he pressured at least 10 women for sex to avoid arrest.” The former cop, for his part, is unrepentant. When asked about his sexual assault conviction, he claims that “[t]here wasn’t any crime,” and that “I was dealt a bad hand.”

And yet, in July of 2013, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles restored Krauss’ right to carry a firearm. According to a Journal-Constitution tally, he is one of 358 violent felons who regained these rights over a six year period. That includes 32 violent felons who killed someone, and 44 who committed sex crimes. One man regained his right to own a gun in 2012 after serving a 10 year sentence for child molestation and aggravated child molestation. Some offenders regained their gun rights after being convicted of crimes such as armed robbery, burglary or aggravated assault.

So these are all “good guys with a gun” now?

Monday, August 4, 2014

James Brady

James Brady, the former press secretary for Ronald Reagan who was severely wounded in the March 1981 assassination attempt, has died at age 73.

He and his wife Sarah became champions of handgun control legislation and earned the enmity of the N.R.A. but never backed down.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Waiting For Darwin

The first day of Georgia’s open-carry-anywhere gun law went very well.

VALDOSTA — On the first day of the new Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act, a misunderstanding between two armed men in a convenience store Tuesday led to a drawn firearm and a man’s arrest.

“Essentially, it involved one customer with a gun on his hip when a second customer entered with a gun on his hip,” said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress.

At approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday, police responded to a call regarding a customer dispute at the Enmark on the corner of Park Avenue and North Lee Street.

A man carrying a holstered firearm entered the store to make a purchase. Another customer, also with a holstered firearm, approached him and demanded to see his identification and firearms license, according to the Valdosta Police Department report.

The customer making demands for ID pulled his firearm from its holster but never pointed it at the other customer, who said he was not obligated to show any permits or identification.

He demanded the man’s ID again. Undeterred by the drawn gun, the man paid for his items, left the store and called for police.

Authorities arrested Ronald Williams, 62, on a charge of disorderly conduct, related to the pulling of a weapon inside of the store, according to the VPD. Police confiscated Williams’ weapon and took him to the Lowndes County Jail.

Not that I’m in favor of gun violence, but maybe they’ll just end up shooting each other and leave the rest of us in peace.  Unfortunately, they’ll probably hit some kid in a hoodie carrying a bag of Skittles and iced tea.  By accident, of course.

Not coincidentally, Target wants nothing to do with people carrying guns into their stores.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Party of Sedition and Cop Killing

A “sovereign citizen” shot a BLM agent, and a county in Utah tries to run the agency out of town.  Just another day in paranoia paradise.

Charlie Pierce nails the people responsible for empowering this madness.

It is time for the political elite in the country to force the choice, once and for all. It is time for the people who care about this country to shun these people, and the politicians who empower them, and the media superstars who pander to their worst instincts, and to the political ideas that have proven themselves to be, over and over again, the most dangerous in the country’s history. It’s time for Boehner, and Priebus, and entire Republican political apparatus publicly to renounce secessionism, and nullification, and the idea that we are now — or are dangerously on the brink of—tyranny, if the word has any meaning at all. That means reading the people who promote this stuff out of your party, whether they are members of Congress or state legislators, or members of the state and national committees. That means depriving of your presence any media member who trafficks in this perilous foolishness, and punishing those Republicans who decline to do the same.

Or you can be the party of sedition and cop-killing.

Your choice.

Clock’s ticking.

Shooting His Load

Via TPM:

A Macon, Ga. man accidentally shot himself in the penis on Thursday, according to WMAZ Channel 13.

The man was trying to holster his .45 caliber gun while parked in a gas station parking lot when it accidentally discharged.

He then when to a friend’s house, where he discovered he “shot himself in the penis and that the bullet exited out of his buttocks,” according to WMAZ.

Fortunately, Dr. Freud was working in the E.R. that night.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Short Takes

President Obama is in Eastern Europe meeting with allies.

The White House apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein for not telling her in advance about the release of Sgt. Bergdahl.

The Senate Judiciary Committee began the process of debating a constitutional amendment to regulate campaign finance.

The Senate primary in Mississippi will end with a run-off.

Knew it wouldn’t last: The N.R.A. has apologized for calling open-carriers “weird.”

The Tigers lost to the Blue Jays 5-3.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Too Much Even For The NRA

The fad of stroking your muzzle in public is embarrassing the N.R.A., a group that heretofore had no limit on shame.

Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates. [Emphasis in original]

Their concern, of course, isn’t that anyone might be accidentally shot — that never happens — but that such blatant weenie-wagging might lead to further attempts by the sane to restrict the sale of these weapons.

Open-carry advocates were not happy at the suggestion that they might somehow be seen as a threat to the public, and some cut up their N.R.A. membership cards.  Which is a relief to the N.R.A.; they could have shot up the place.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Reading

“Stop and Frisk on Steroids” — Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic on the shameful practice in a Miami suburb.

Last year, police in Miami Gardens, Florida briefly made headlines after surveillance video captured their harassment of a black clerk at a convenience store. They stopped and questioned the man, Earl Sampson, a ludicrous 258 times. On 62 occasions, they arrested him for trespassing at his place of employment, a pattern of abuse that confounded his employer, the store’s owner. After the Miami Heraldexposed this story, it made national headlines at numerous journalistic outlets, then quickly faded into obscurity at the end of one news cycle. The scope of the abuse taking place in the police department remained unknown. The vast majority of outlets that covered the story cared too little to follow up.

Now evidence of staggering citywide abuse has come to light.

After a 6-month investigation, the TV network Fusion has documented a racist, illegal policing strategy that a local public defender calls “stop and frisk on steroids.” One Miami Gardens police officer reports that his supervisor ordered him to stop all black males between the ages of 15 and 30. Just 110,754 people live in Miami Gardens, yet going back to 2008, police have stopped and questioned 56,922 people who were not arrested. There were 99,980 total stops that did not lead to arrests, and 250 individuals were stopped more than 20 times.

Fusion also documented multiple instances of police officers falsifying official field reports, claiming to stop and question people who were actually already in county jail.

This is stellar investigative journalism.

Denzel Flowers, who is 20, has been stopped by police 27 times and arrested 4 times, but has never been convicted of anything.

While teenage, twenty-something and thirty-something black males were subjected to the most intense police harassment, Fusion also found that even some of the youngest and oldest residents in the city were deemed “suspicious” by police:

Fusion’s analysis of more than 30,000 pages of field contact reports, shows how aggressive and far-reaching the police actions were. Some residents were stopped, questioned and written up multiple times within minutes of each other, by different officers. Children were stopped by police in playgrounds. Senior citizens were stopped and questioned near their retirement home, including a 99-year-old man deemed to be “suspicious.” Officers even wrote a report identifying a five-year-old child as a “suspicious person.”

A 99-year-old man!

One imagines that the septuagenarian crime rate in Miami Gardens is quite low, Florida or not. Yet police there conducted 982 stops of individuals aged 70 and above.

[...]

This is the reality of anti-racism in American public discourse. Maximum outrage and urgent demands to do something are marshaled against offensive words. A Princeton student who critiqued the concept of white privilege in the school newspaper made national headlines and inspired numerous essays picking apart his logic. But public employees with guns harassing, intimidating, and humiliating innocent black children, because they’re black, every day in their neighborhood? Fusion published that story Thursday morning and almost no one noticed.

One Angry Father v. The N.R.A. — Kate McDonough in Salon on the man who may blunt the gun lobby.

Richard Martinez’s son Christopher was among the six college students murdered this weekend in Isla Vista, California. It’s impossible to fathom the grief that Martinez must be experiencing right now, and the simple fact that he is upright and mobile is an act of tremendous courage. Which is precisely what makes everything else that he has done in the days since he lost his son all the more astounding.

From his first public statement — a blistering and emotional indictment of “craven” politicians who refuse to act on even moderate gun reform — to the tribute to Christopher he delivered Tuesday before a crowd of thousands, Martinez has been willing to show his raw and devastating grief to the world. He has made himself the gnarled and anguished face of our broken system — the lives that it takes and the lives that it ruins. His vulnerability and righteous, focused anger is unlike anything we’ve seen in response to a mass shooting.

And it should scare the shit out of the National Rifle Association, the gun lobby and the cowardly politicians who use these deadly weapons as literal and figurative political props.

It isn’t just the force of Martinez’s emotions or political conviction that make him powerful. He is currently shouldering the unimaginable grief of being yet another parent who has lost yet another child in yet another mass shooting. He has seen this happen before, he knows the political script that’s already playing out. He has listened as gun apologists — time and again — urge the nation not to “politicize” a national tragedy out of respect for the families, and then watched them turn on these same families in order to protect our deadly — and immensely profitable — culture of guns. And he’s using it. All of it.

Days after 26 people were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut, Wayne LaPierre denounced gun reform advocates for “exploit[ing] the tragedy for political gain.” Months later, Sarah Palin echoed the sentiment. ”Leaders are in it for themselves, not for the American people,” she told a crowd that summer, before effectively declaring how proud she was that her son Trig would grow up in a country where men like Elliot Rodger and Adam Lanza can buy guns and hoard ammunition without authorities batting an eyelash.

Martinez may be the single most powerful force we have against this kind of slithering political cowardice. He’s already familiar with the political dirty tricks and knows where the conversation will eventually turn — that the pro-gun crowd is going to come out hard against him, just as they have turned on other parents and survivors. “Right now, there hasn’t been much blowback from the other side,” Martinez noted during a Tuesday interview with MSNBC. “But I anticipate that once my grieving period is over, the gloves will come off. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. They are going to try to do to me the same thing that they’ve done to all of these people. But I have a message for them: My son is dead. There is nothing you could do to me that is worse than that.”

I can’t imagine a more direct rebuttal to the LaPierres and the Palins in this country.

Losing Streak — Jeffry Toobin in The New Yorker introduces us to the lawyer defending bans on marriage equality.

You think you’ve got a tough job? Try opposing same-sex marriage in the federal courts these days. That’s what Austin Nimocks does for a living (among other things). Nimocks is senior counsel for a conservative public-interest group called the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is devoted to protecting religious liberty. In recent years, the organization has been a principal legal defender of what it calls “traditional marriage.” Things have not been going so well lately.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last June, in United States v. Windsor, fourteen courts have considered challenges to same-sex-marriage bans and related laws—and all fourteen have ruled in favor of marriage equality. Two weeks ago, the Washington Post did a summary of the first thirteen. Then a federal court in Pennsylvania joined the list. (It’s hard to keep up!) To summarize: same-sex marriage is now legal in nineteen states, which contain roughly forty-four per cent of the U.S. population. Judges in eleven other states have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but those decisions are stayed pending appeals.

All of this does not discourage Nimocks, who just published a report about the state of the law on marriage around the country, and a brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage should be reinstated. “We don’t worry too much about what the district courts say,” he told me. “All that matters is how the Supreme Court comes out in the end.”

[...]

The heart of Nimocks’s argument comes down to a single word: children. Over and over again in his sixty-page brief, he asserts that the government has a legitimate interest in favoring traditional marriage because only a man and a woman can produce children. “Marriage laws have been, and continue to be, about the pragmatic business of serving society’s child-centered purposes, like connecting children to their mother and father, and avoiding the negative outcomes often experienced by children raised outside a stable family unit led by their biological parents,” he writes. He attempts to elide the obvious response—that not all opposite-sex couples want or can have children—by saying that Virginia can presume that they will. The purpose of limiting marriage to men and women “is not to ensure that all marital unions produce children. Instead, it is to channel the presumptive procreative potential of man-woman relationships into enduring marital unions so that if any children are born, they are more likely to be raised in stable family units by both their mothers and fathers.” This, then, is Nimocks’s best response to the argument (raised by Justice Elena Kagan at the oral arguments) that marriage is about more than just having children, because lots of married people can’t or don’t have them.

There is a potentially fatal flaw in Nimocks’s child-centered argument. At the oral arguments of the Windsor case, and in the Court’s opinion, one of the Justices also seemed especially interested in children. It was Justice Kennedy, the indispensable swing vote on issues of gay rights. “There are some forty-thousand children in California that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status,” Kennedy said during the arguments related to Windsor’s companion case, on California’s Proposition 8. “The voice of those children is important in this case, don’t you think?” In his opinion in Windsor, Kennedy wrote that the Defense of Marriage Act “humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” The laws that Nimocks is defending operate in much the same way—which means that his losing streak may not end when he reaches the Supreme Court.

Doonesbury — Pitch perfect.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shooting His Mouth Off

Hey, John McCain, your other idiot pick of 2008 is at it again.

Samuel Wurzelbacher — better known as Joe the Plumber — likes guns. And he wants everyone to know why.

“Guns are mostly for hunting down politicians who would actively seek to take your freedoms and liberty away from you,” Wurzelbacher wrote on Thursday in a blog post on his website. “Google ‘Hitler, Mao, Kim Jung Il, Castro, Stalin’ just for starters.”

Hey, Joe, Gabby Giffords and the Kennedy family would like to have a word with you.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Have We Learned Nothing?

That’s the question being asked by Richard Martinez, the father of one of the victims of the shooting Friday night in Isla Vista, California.

“Have we learned nothing? These things are going to continue until somebody does something,” Richard Martinez said in an interview with CNN. “So where the hell is the leadership? Where the hell are these people we elect to congress that we spend so much money on? These people are getting rich sitting in Congress, and what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids. My kid died because nobody responded to what happened at Sandy Hook.”

Martinez’s son, Christopher, was the last of six victims allegedly killed by Elliot Rodger before the suspected shooter took his own life. An emotional Martinez had railed against “craven, irresponsible politicians” and the National Rifle Association for their support of gun rights at a Saturday press conference. He redoubled his criticism of Congress in his interview with CNN, calling lawmakers a “rudderless bunch of idiots.”

Actually, we’ve learned a great deal.  We have learned that a powerful lobby can put a metaphorical gun to the head of Congress in order to defeat a bill requiring modest changes to federal law on background checks when 90% of the voters — including gun owners — approve of the law.

We’ve learned that people who can’t spell the word “constitutional” think that their Second Amendment rights trump all others, including the ones of people who have been wounded or killed.

We’ve learned that there are enough people with enough money to spend on ads and political campaigns that will frighten members of Congress into voting their way because the most important thing is keeping a seat in Congress.  We have learned that there is no horrific scene of mass killing that will stop Wayne LaPierre of the NRA and Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America from going on TV and saying that they, not the dead, not the wounded, not the families, are the real victims.

We’ve learned that the collective memory of the American population is such that they are shocked and saddened when yet another mass shooting occurs as if it has never happened before and yet will go on about their business and not allow the memories to build up to the point where enough is enough.

We have learned that this will all happen again.

Bonus: Go read this.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Slow On The Uptake

A group in Texas that advocates “open carry” of guns encouraged its membership to walk into restaurants with their weapons.  Other than assuring that they’d get frontsies at the order line, it went over like a ham sandwich at a Seder.  A number of restaurant chains, most recently Chipotle, told their customers to stay away if they insisted on packing.

Well, Open Carry Texas and other muzzlestrokers have issued a non-apology apology and told their members to not scare the shit out of people in restaurants because it’s bad P.R.

Looking back, it has become clear that there is one area in which we have gotten the most resistance and suffered the largest setbacks: open carry of long arms into private businesses. This is not a new phenomenon. Early on, because of our efforts, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) sent a message to all TABC licensees warning them about allowing our members to open carry into their businesses. This resulted in places like Smashburger asking us to leave our guns at home. Since then, Starbucks, Wendy’s, Jack In The Box, Applebees and most recently, Chipotle have come out asking we not carry our firearms into their establishments.

[...]

Whereas, our mission is to get open carry of handguns passed in Texas, we must once again adjust in a way that shines a positive light on our efforts, our members, and our respective organizations. We have decided the prudent path, to further our goals, is to immediately cease taking long guns into corporate businesses unless invited.

You have to give them a little credit for at least getting the hint.

To paraphrase the saying about religion, guns are like penises: It’s fine to have one, fine to be proud of it, but it’s not a good idea to whip it out in public and start waving it around.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Indecent Exposure

Via Raw Story:

A Georgia man panicked parents and children at a local park and baseball field by randomly walking around and displaying his gun to anyone he encountered in the parking lot.

According to witnesses who spoke with WSB-TV, the man wandered around the Forsythe County park last Tuesday night showing his gun to strangers, telling them “there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“Anyone who was just walking by – you had parents and children coming in for the game – and he’s just standing here, walking around [saying] ‘You want to see my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing,” said parent Karen Rabb.

Rabb said that the man’s intimidating behavior panicked parents causing them to hustle children who were there to play baseball to safety after the man refused to leave.

“It got to the point where we took the kids and brought them into the dugout and the parents lined up in front of the dugout,” Rabb said.

Police report they received 22 calls to 911 reporting the man.

After deputies arrived, they questioned the man who produced a permit for the handgun. According to authorities, since the man made no verbal threats or gestures, they couldn’t arrest him or ask him to leave.

Substitute the word “penis” for “gun” in this story and this man would be in jail.  As he should be.  But now it’s perfectly legal to wave around a lethal weapon in Georgia.

Dr. Freud, call your office.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Georgia vs. Florida

Not content to let their neighbor to the south get all the coverage with the Stand Your Ground law that is working so well at keeping peace, the state of Georgia has enacted a law that basically lets anybody pack heat.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation today that would vastly expand where Georgians can legally carry firearms, a proposal that has drawn heaps of praise and scorn from outside groups. “People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” said Deal, adding: “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”

So if you’re tired of letting black kids get away with walking down the street in a hoodie and carrying an unregistered bag of Skittles, let him try it in Atlanta and see what happens.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Customer Base

Via TPM:

The man identified as the gunman in Wednesday’s mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas purchased his gun from the same store where Major Nidal Hasan purchased a gun he used when he killed 13 people at the base in 2009, according to reports.

Law enforcement officials told CNN that Wednesday’s shooter, who has been identified in media reports as Ivan Lopez, passed a background check when he bought a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun at Guns Galore, a store in Killeen, Texas. In 2009, ABC News reported that Hasan purchased a FN Herstal Five-seveN tactical pistol from the same store in August of that year.

Does the NRA give out a frequent shopper card, because this place should totally go for it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014