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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/22/19

Guns Don't Kill People: Bullets Do

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"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. "

- Second Amendment

Columbine.

Sandy Hook.

The Pulse Nightclub.

Parkland.

Las Vegas.

The Borderline Bar and Grill.

These are a sad fraternity of locations haunted by the legacy of senseless gun violence. After each one, we were sure that the government would act. We told ourselves that "this time it would be different." Yet the headlines were allowed to fade away, those left behind were abandoned with nothing but thoughts and prayers and absolutely nothing has changed.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival.

El Paso.

Dayton (or was it Toledo?).

The death march continues. Newsrooms rush to the scenes, immerse us in the pornography of grief and then they move on to the next news story that will inflate their ratings. I would bet that the reporters do not even unpack their bags as the next occurrence of mass casualties is sure to happen in a time frame that is more likely to be sooner than later. Absolutely nothing changes.

Violent video games.

Bad parenting.

Mental illness.

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Carl Petersen is a father of five, including two daughters who are on the autism spectrum. His involvement in education issues began when the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) refused to provide services that his daughters' teachers (more...)
 

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8 people are discussing this page, with 14 comments


Michele Goddard

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Carl, I support responsible gun ownership but I thank you for being willing to discuss the matter with someone who may differ from your position. I think that the issue with guns in our country is so divisive because it incorporates so many elements which cut across cultural and historial issues. I live in West Virginia. I have been around firearms my whole life and as far as my use of firearms and the use of firearms of those I know, a firearm is like a power tool. When used responsibly and with only good intent, there is no more harm of my gun accidentally killing someone than my circular saw suddenly becoming animated and harming someone. This is where the often mocked statement of "guns don't kill people, people kill people" comes from. Because we clearly distinguish between evil murderers who use guns and those who would never pull a gun except to defend a loved one or perhaps to stop a mass shooter in his tracks. Obviously I acknowledge that the same weapons in the hands of an irresponsible, mentally unstable or evil person can cause mass carnage. Just as you mentioned, with Tim McVeigh those intent on murder find ways, fertilizer, a pressure cooker, a piece of pipe and some nails from the hardware store, chemicals put into bottles of Tylenol. We can regulate items but people focusing only on regulating guns fail to realize that it this will not solve all the deaths. That is not an excuse to not do anything. We have to take a multifaceted approach. I support background checks and would voluntarily agree to mandatory proficiency training. If you can't fire a gun with any accuracy, even with good intentions, you are more harm than good to anyone. I also support more intelligence gathering on groups who espouse violence. This doesn't mean if you have ever clicked on a website once and found its content to be violent and never returned that your firearms should be confiscated. However, it is the responsibility of our law enforcement agencies to track organizations which espouse violence, those with open manifestos of hatred against certain groups and monitor the members of that group for other suspicious activity. Of course many of these pages being public, there is no violation of 4th Amendment search and seizure laws to monitor hate groups. If members of these groups make threats or encourage violent acts that should be probable cause to identify its members and look for things like gun purchases. I would support a higher level of scrutiny for certain types of weapons. Longer wait times. If you are a law abiding good person I don't see why you would object to this. Just as a driver license requires proficiency testing and a commercial license to drive a semi truck requires addition training certification and testing, so should certain firearms. The most frustrating aspect for me when discussing gun control is when people who own firearms are all cast in the same light. As a bunch of knuckle dragging rednecks who are part of some militia who probably have some underlying racist tendencies. Trump, who I despise to my core, only adds to this perception of gun owners because of his racism and his capitulation to the NRA. But I would ask you for your empathy in two regards. First, I live in an area like any people, where heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs are out of control. I was finally able to buy a home and its an old but nice home that we worked hard to fix up. I have many good neighbors who love this neighborhood and who look out for each other. But drugs are all around. There was a shooting three days ago two blocks from my house. A month ago there were two drug deal right in front of my house. My neighbors and I refuse to move. And where would we move to get away? I am often home with my granddaughter and I am thankful that if someone tried to break in and it was a survival situation I could try to defend her. Last night I walked my daughter home, who owns a house down the street and I had my gun in my purse just in case. I don't want to hurt anyone. I won't even squash a bug if I can put it outside instead. But if someone wanted to do harm to a loved one, or innocent shoppers in Wal-Mart I would, only then, use it for protection of myself and others. The other regard, which I think was the intent of the founding fathers well regulated militia was to protect people from the government itself. Its hard to fathom in our country. But if you look at countries where the less advantaged, many times people of color, are not permitted to own firearms while those in power are in control are the only people allowed to own them, corruption, abuse and exploitation are rampant. There is no check on their power. We even see this in some instances in our police department and military. Less checks on them while more checks are called for among the citizens they police. My concern is when you see someone like Trump advocating racism, promoting the type of toxic masculinity and militarism that many of these shooters exhibit, when you have Neo Nazis advocating the creation of a white ethno state, I wonder how liberals can argue that we should disarm innocent civilians like me. If these Nazis are steps away from government sanction I want to know if they show up on my door, I won't go without a fight. Thank you for the conversation and for listening, Take care, Michele

Submitted on Thursday, Aug 22, 2019 at 12:53:30 PM

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Carl Petersen

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Reply to Michele Goddard:   New Content

That gun in your purse may make you feel safer, but it is more likely to harm you or your family than an actual bad guy. As far as defending yourself against the government, what is your gun going to do to a drone, a tank or a missile?

Submitted on Thursday, Aug 22, 2019 at 7:06:04 PM

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shad williams

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She can upgrade like North Korea - Go nuclear.

Submitted on Thursday, Aug 22, 2019 at 9:49:05 PM

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Michele Goddard

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Juat curious where you get that statistic from. The main stream media never reports when a person is attacked and successfully defends themselves because it does nothing for the ratings like zooming up on that blood spot where a defenseless victim was bludgened to death or the dumpster where a rape victim's body was found. The media thrives on victimization.

Also a lot of people who carry are not educated about proper gun use. Most women who carry a gun in their purse never have to pull it out but if you are suddenly caught off guard you have a point that the woman would not have time to rifle around a get a proper grip on the gun. When I carry it I have a loose bag and the gun is the only thing in it and my hand is resting on it as I walk (woth the safety on on of course). This is only when it's too hot for a jacket with pockets. I am small in stature so a holster is not comfortable for me. Thankfully West Virginia is not a state that forbids law biding citizens from carrying concealled when every criminal is carrying concealled because they obviously don't care about the law.

Both sides are to blame for the fact that we can't make progress on gun control because of their ridiculius and unfounded arguments. As for defense from the government, perhaps you haven't noticed but we have been in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years, and now we are in negotiations for a peace agreement with the Taliban. Does a government with the ability to utterly destroy a resistance movement with drones and misses enter "peace negotiations" with the enemy 20 years on? What about the IRA? Their once declared militant/terrorist wing eventually became a political party after peace talks because they would never have been utterly destroyed by missiles and drones. Our government has all of these tools you mention and yet it is conventional warfare that is required to truly defeat the forces on the ground. Look at all of the air strikes we carried out in Iraq using bunker busters, Tomahawk cruise missiles, Hellfire missiles, etc. Vietnam we used napalm and practiced even destroying the land to starve the Vietnamese into submission. In Latin America we used conventional weapons and allowed death squads to terrorize the population into submission. My point is not that my gun or an armed citizenry can defend against a missle of a drone. It is utterly disturbing and morally shocking the ease with which we drop death from the sky but these methods, though they kill sometimes in massive numbers haven't proven effective at totally crushing most resistance movements. And the fact that we have been in Afghanistan for 20 years is proof of that. The ugly nature of war is that lots of people will die. If a missle drops on me, you're right my gun won't do me any good. But it is the armed citizenry that survives and fights that maintains hope of survival.

As for North Korea, great example. I think we all could assume, correctly, that the citizens there have zero guns and zero rights. The government has all the power. Dictators rule through oppression. This oppression comes in many forms and North Korea is an extreme example but obviously people there are not permitted to have weapons. To even hunt a dangerous animal on your own land you have to get permission from the police and you are loaned a gun which you have to return, along with the animal you killed.

While some people have erroneously stated that Hitler took guns from the german citizens making resistance to the Nazis impossible, what actually happened was he loosened gun laws for the average German while systematically, through gun registration records, disarmed the Jews.

Even in the United States, where gun ownership is proclaimed as one of our "founding principles" to protect against tyranny, there were 52 laws passed at the state and federal level between 1640 and 1941 which were designed to keep firearms out of the hands of African Americans. Many of these laws specifically state that the prohibition of firearms applies to "negros both slave and free". This was obviously intended, like Jim Crow laws and other systematically implemented types of discrimination was specifically intended for the purpose of oppression on a specific group and to prevent the full exercise of their rights and freedoms. How long do you think the lynchings and terrorizing of blacks would have gone on in the south if the coawrds in the KKK knew they were riding into a gun battle?

I agree with a serious review of our gun laws. I also agree that those who want to own firearms should be held to a high level of responsibility for training and for the securing of those firearms. If a person leaves their guns unsecured and those guns are then used by their teenager to shoot up a school the gun owner needs to bear the responsibility for that failure. The same is true with accidental deaths from improper atorage. There needs to be punishment for the owner. And in cases like the George Zimmerman and Michael Drejka who carry firearms allegedly for protection and then instigate confrontation, "defend" themselves at the end ofna fight they provoked, prison.

I am not against stand your ground laws entirely but the law was enacted in Florida after a string of tourists were brutally robbed and killed going from the airport to their destinations and the legislature said these people have a right to defend themselves if attacked. It has been misused by wanna be law enforcement people who annoit themselves as volunteer deputies and end up in scuffles wherein they claim they had no choice but to defend themselves. All of these cases need thrown out as defense because these people went looking for a confrontation.

In any event I feel like the people trying to enact gun controls are looking in the wrong areas to try and reduce the number of gun deaths (which by the way are manipulated by both sides and are hardly ever accurate).

Thanks for the conversation.

Take care,

Michele

Submitted on Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at 11:35:49 AM

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shad williams

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Some say that gun control advocates are tools of the ruling elites who want to lock us all up anyway. They will have an easier time of it if we are disarmed.

I just learned that the gun fetish in the US is about control and has its roots in controlling property losses such as slaves. Don't look only toward the past we are all slaves now. The sooner we like them apples the sooner we can kick some ass and turn things around.

Kurt Vonnegut hinted that some people have bad wiring or that brain chemicals aren't working - that's on one level. Perhaps he is also suggesting some people just don't give a damn and they are not about to have any self reflection that could lead to reasonable personal restraint.

I agree with the latter. I a reason for this attitude is that we Americans have an educational system that feeds us lies and propagandizes generations of us k-12 from the beginning to the end our lives. We are dumbed out of the wazoo. The majority of us irrespective of training or education have no interest in actually learning about the history of the United States. I've been through just a little bit of it. It is horrible and depressing but it is what it is. We have a past just lingering and festering back there and connected to here, waiting for us to come to grips with it.

Submitted on Thursday, Aug 22, 2019 at 9:46:52 PM

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John Jonik

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The Death Penalty also kills people...as do too many cops...and pesticide industries, junk food purveyors, big oil/gas industries, Trump-influenced racists...and the US Military.

Some killing ok, some not...as per corporatized mainstream media and corporate-serving officials.

Pretense to be "pro life" in anti-abortion actions is not, and does not come close to, being anti-killing of born humans.


Submitted on Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at 3:06:36 AM

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Starbuck

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"People get shot get shot by people with guns"

And people that get stabbed get stabbed by people with knives. And people that get run down get hit by people with cars.

So whats your point? All of the above are inanimate objects. No gun ever jumped off a shelf and killed anyone. A criminal with a twisted mind picked up the gun and pulled the trigger.

And every person that willfully murdered someone with a gun broke more gun laws than you can list on one page.

Common sense gun laws? Common sense says criminals do not obey laws. I grant you that doesn't mean to "leave the door unlocked." I support background checks. With today's technology they can and must be instant checks. And records of them must not maintained that can be used by fascist government agencies to pull what the feds pulled in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Confiscation fear is not paranoia. It has happened in the US and in fact still does in many areas (reference red flag laws). Not one person went to jail for the illegal confiscations that happened in New Orleans.

Like it or not, the second amendment DOES protect individual right to firearms. Look up the actual meaning of militia as it was defined when the 2nd Amendment was written. Hint: it wasn't what we now know of as National Guard. It was non-uniformed male citizens, as specified in the United States Code.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at 4:44:36 AM

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Old Codger

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As Carl advocates for gun control, he fails to address one major aspect of gun control which is getting guns out of people's hands. That brings up the old, but pertinent argument of when you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns. Look at the statistics: most random murders are committed by illegal guns - meaning stolen guns. Guns are stolen from individuals, gun stores, the police and the military. In short, a criminal can find a gun if they really want one. So Carl, how do you propose to get all the guns off the streets? Passing a law isn't going to do it because, as we have learned with the efforts to get drugs off the streets, laws aren't followed by criminals. So, what next? You no doubt are against a police state. In short, passing laws does not solve problems unless all the people are in favor of the law. You can write your impassioned pleas until the cows come home. You need to start offering workable solutions. Then your efforts might start to pay dividends.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at 3:50:27 PM

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Carl Petersen

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Apparently, you have confused gun control with banning guns.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at 11:12:26 PM

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Reply to Carl Petersen:   New Content

I understand the folly of trying to restrict ammunition, as someone who has been reloading my shells for years. You can claim that you are not sanctioning guns, but ultimately that is the main goal - gun control.


Ultimately, your over all rhetoric is supporting gun control, which means banning guns. That is the ultimate goal for liberals such as yourself. You might be able to do it in California, but it would be a short lived victory.



Submitted on Saturday, Aug 24, 2019 at 3:13:24 PM

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You have the right to remain silent.

You have the right to run as fast as you can.

You have the right, and on the other hand the left.

Two hands are all you need. Study Bruce Lee.

An expensive golf club can kill threatening balls.

Putting white balls into small holes in the ground

is a very hard job that only DONALD J. TRUMP can do.

(actually, he cheats with golf scores more often than his wives).

Submitted on Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at 5:50:59 PM

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An expensive golf club can't kill incoming bullets.


If you can't add something constructive to the conversation, then you too have the right to remain silent.


Just sayin.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at 9:10:46 PM

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I have long advocated the elimination of ammunition. It would solve many problems, with the exception of overpopulation. But paying well for vasectomies would help with that one.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 24, 2019 at 4:24:15 PM

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Are you advocating spending tax dollars for vascectomies? That at proposal will likely stir up the feminists in our midst.


Spending tax dollars for population control is a bit of a novel idea I suppose. I suspect that you will find a bit of opposition to that concept.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 24, 2019 at 8:18:05 PM

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