Sniper Down, Along With NRA Fantasy

Over the weekend it was reported that Chris Kyle, a US Navy SEAL and reputed ‘deadliest sniper in the world’ had been killed, along with another armed former soldier, by a third, while they were out for shooting practice.

It won’t penetrate the creative minds at the NRA that once again their argument about the defensive potential of automatic weapons, good guys over bad guys, has been buried with  a bloody bullet.  If a man with the best weapons training and deepest experience, with a weapon in his hand, can’t defend himself from a man with a gun, how on earth could anyone?  Whatever disagreement, or PTSD fueled anger had come up, had they not had such lethal weapons, the outcome would have been different — a black eye, a broken jaw, some knife wounds.  Two men would have had a chance to slow down the third. Not so with an automatic weapon.

Automatic weapons do not provide a means of self defense. They remove the possibility of self defense.

This is not to argue that Kyle and the others should not have gone out shooting, or not had weapons. Not at all.  Only to say that the argument that a good guy with a gun is the best protection against a bad guy with a gun doesn’t stand up to any real world experience.

His death is a sadness for his family and those he tried to help.  But in trying to help a man he knew to have PTSD  he missed the conclusion that a man who has a weapon and swirling ghosts from distant combat was a danger to others, and himself.

More at NYT

update: Eddie Ray Routh, the shooter, was definitely in the throes of PTSD.  He had threatened to kill himself and his family in September.

Former Congressman Ron Paul’s tweet, that ‘Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense.” has been getting some nasty blowback.


The NRA of course, will not be impressed.  To add to the toxic carnival of deception and virulence Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, a right-wing public policy group, testified before Diane Feinstein’s Senate Committee that banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines was discrimination against women, who,  armed with such a weapon, achieved ‘peace of  mind’ and ‘courage’.  The story she cherry picked as an example of female self defense with such a weapon did not, of course, prove her point.

Ms. Trotter related the story of Sarah McKinley, an 18-year-old Oklahoma woman who shot and killed an intruder on New Year’s Eve 2011, when she was home alone with her baby. The story was telling, but not in the way she intended, as Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, pointed out. The woman was able to repel the intruder using an ordinary Remington 870 Express 12-gauge shotgun, which would not be banned under the proposed statute. She did not need a military-style weapon with a 30-round magazine.

And, in fact when you don’t just pick the cherry but eat the whole dish of experience, having a gun at home is very very dangerous.

The cost-benefit balance of having a gun in the home is especially negative for women, according to a 2011 review by David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Far from making women safer, a gun in the home is “a particularly strong risk factor” for female homicides and the intimidation of women.

In domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide for women increased eightfold when the abuser had access to firearms, according to a study published in The American Journal of Public Health in 2003. Further, there was “no clear evidence” that victims’ access to a gun reduced their risk of being killed. Another 2003 study, by Douglas Wiebe of the University of Pennsylvania, found that females living with a gun in the home were 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun at home.

Whose Gun Violence Ideas Would Have Stopped This?

Photo shows suspect in Ala. bus killing, abduction

I think it a good exercise for all if with each killing, mass or not, the question is asked: what changes would have stopped this?

Better mental health rules?  No one has suggested anything close to taking a guy like this out of circulation — nor should they.  When cranks are locked up it will be a matter of the last crank standing.

Legal guns?  Don’t know yet but it can be assumed in Alabama that being a crank does not prohibit gun ownership.  But that is what he used – to shoot through the bus door.  A knife would have failed.

Smaller magazines?  He didn’t need a big one.

Patricia Smith, a neighbor whose two children were on the bus, said the gunman shot Poland four times.

Restricting guns as in most of the developed world?  Probably would have done it.
Restricting gun ownership to active members of the National Guard?  Probably would have had a lot more stakeholders in watching him, especially if the local unit were on the hook for the actions of its members.

Don’t Get As, Get an AK-47 in Your Face

From TPM

In aftermath of the Newtown shooting, 52 year old Kirill Bartashevitch of St. Paul, Minnesota decided he should probably stock up on assault weapons “due to fears that such weapons would be banned under President Obama’s push for gun control legislation.” Possibly also to defend against tyranny, though that latter part is only my speculation. Unfortunately for Bartashevitch’s daughter, the gun ended up being aimed at her.

Back in mid-January, Bartashevitch and his high school age daughter got into an argument about her grades. She apparently got Bs and not As. As sometimes happens in these cases, things degenerated and the daughter, 15, told her father she “hated” him, at which point he grabbed his assault rifle and pointed it at her.

From the local Fox News station …

Not to tar all gun owners with such behavior but surely it is obvious why easy access to weapons is a dangerous idea.  Now if he had been required to be part of a National Guard unit (the militia) there would be a forum to talk discipline, responsibility and possible loss of a ‘right’ because of failure of the concomitant responsibility….


For example, any of these jerk-offs who handled loaded weapons at gun shows and shot themselves, or bystanders, could be hauled before their local units and disciplined.  If the locals didn’t do anything, they in turn could be disciplined, first by the state National Guard, with appeal to the feds for compliance or noncompliance….

Packing Heat Does Not Bring Peace

The NRA in their never ending fantasy warrior talk tells us that everyone should be allowed to carry, and should carry, weapons as that is the way to defend ourselves.  The real story is played out daily on the streets of America as here, at a small college near Houston when one young fellow felt that an argument he was having needed to have some added steel.  He pulled his pistol, shot two men and then himself, by accident.

Was the gun legal?  Does it matter?  If it was illegal would a legal one have performed differently?

Guns don’t defend us.  They take away the chance to defend ourselves — by talk, by wrestling or fist-fighting, by walking away.  Guns defend only by a roll of lead tampered chance.

Another Day Another Mass Killing — 5 Dead in New Mexico

This story is still in the first stages of being reported so I’d expect some details to change.  Here is what is being said now.

Near Albuquerque, New Mexico

A 15 year old boy has shot and killed his mother and father, and three younger siblings.

All had multiple gunshot wounds.

He was planning to drive to nearby Walmart and shoot others, then himself.

The guns were in his father’s unlocked closet, and included an AR-15

The boy had no prior involvement with juvenile justice.

He and his siblings were home schooled.

His father was a chaplain to local fire fighters and a former pastor of a megachurch, in which there has been a good deal of controversy in recent year.  And more, here.

So, NRA, how would your proposals fit here?  Or perhaps, since this is a family killing, you would say it’s not to be included in ‘what can be done.’   I do wonder who might have been the ‘good guy’ stationed with a gun who might have prevented this.  Perhaps if the mother, the first killed, had jerked a pistol from under her pillow when first confronted in her bed only the teenager would have been shot and the others.  Who knows?  Following NRA fantasies anything at all might have happened.

Unlocked closet?  Guns?  Semi-automatic?  Plenty of bullets?  A boy, who some say, had had violent murder-suicide fantasies for some time.  Did his parents, who believed in home schooling, ever engage him with others?

Much to know still.  One thing is clear to me, that without those guns, whatever urges he had, the outcome would have been different, and the killings fewer.


CADEM: Right on Guns, Write to Say So

Dear Friend ,

President Obama gave an inspirational — and deeply moving — speech Tuesday on specific policies to make us safer and reduce the gun violence.

California Democrats have already started pushing for a ban on the sale of assault weapons and extended ammunition clips — which California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein will introduce in Congress next week.

The president’s plan is full and comprehensive. It includes:

  • requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales;
  • reinstating the assault weapons ban;
  • restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines;
  • eliminating armor-piercing bullets;
  • providing mental health services in schools;
  • allocating funds to hire more police officers;
  • and instituting a federal gun trafficking statute, among other policies.

Today we’re asking all California Democrats to show their support for President Obama’s proposal by signing our petition in favor of banning assault weapons — and it looks like you haven’t added your signature yet.

Click here to sign California Democrats’ petition supporting President Obama and Senator Feinstein’s push to ban assault weapons.

In the wake of the horrendous school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut there is both righteous anger and renewed interest in at last passing sensible gun legislation.

Nearly 30,000 of your fellow California Democrats have already signed this important petition, and it’s clear with the president’s remarks Tuesday that the momentum is building throughout the country.

Despite this growing momentum, the gun lobbyists — who wield tremendous influence in Washington — will try to stop this important legislation. In fact, the NRA already released an attack ad using President Obama’s own children. The White House has rightly called the ad “repugnant and cowardly.”

We can’t let the gun lobbyists win this one. We need to reduce the gun violence.

Click here to sign California Democrats’ petition supporting President Obama and Senator Feinstein’s push to ban assault weapons.

What happened last month in Newtown is beyond unacceptable. We need to show the country that Californians are taking the lead in standing behind President Obama to reduce gun violence.

Thank you for being a California Democrat.

Peace and friendship,

John Burton
California Democratic Party

NRA Board Members

Here’s a list, with some thumbnail photos so you’ll know who to offer a freezing smile to if you run across them in the super market.

Tom Selleck, Karl Malone, for starters…  Roy Innis! [The storied CORE organization of civil rights days has fallen into the corporate, climate denying, money trap.]


And, by the way, Ted Nugent, infamous loud mouth, only has about 3 months to live, or be in jail if he fulfills his own prophecy of last April, spewing about the re-election of President Obama.

Gun in 7 Year Old’s Back Pack: Jail Sentences Anyone?

A handgun was found in the backpack of a 7-year-old student at a public elementary school in Queens on Thursday morning, New York City officials said, leading to a tense few hours as the school was placed on lockdown while the police made sure there was no danger.”

Nothing in the article about where the child got the gun, and if s/he didn’t steal it from a cadaver, whether the persons responsible for his/her well-being will be charged with anything.

Another Day Another Shooting

Every time news like this arrives I wonder what effect any of the proposals to diminish gun violence might have had.

Taylor Jade, a 12-year-old girl allegedly shot by her cousin’s ex-boyfriend at an eastern Kentucky College has died of her injuries.

Taylor was shot Tuesday, along with her father and her female cousin, 20-year-old Caitlin Cornett,  in the parking lot of Hazard Community and Technical College.

 Police said 21-year-old Dalton Stidham was charged with murder and attempted murder in the case.

Hazard police Chief Minor Allen said the shooting resulted from a dispute between Stidham and Cornett.

MSN News

Now, according to NRA fantasy, had Caitlin had a gun, in this case being the ‘good guy,’ the killing would have been of the ‘bad guy.’ Or not.  [In fact, how on earth would anyone know who was good and who was bad in such a case?  Let the guns decide? Like witch hunting of old: if you die of the punishment your guilt is proved.]

It was a custody case. Had neither had guns there might have been strong words.   There might have been pushing and shoving. Her uncle, there at the scene, might have had a chance to intervene.

With both armed (the fantasy) presumably both would have known the other was armed and invoking the ‘right of self defense’ would have been ready to the max:  hands on pistol handles while talking, or perhaps approaching with guns in hand….

Did Stidham have any kind of mental disorder that, under the new Executive Order,  might have, remotely, been discovered and his gun either a) never purchased because denied or b) taken from him because local police got a ‘disturbed man with guns’ dispatch?

Did he obtain the gun legally? If not, how did he obtain it?

Is there anything sort of very very strong prohibitions on guns that might have prevented this killing of another child?

Probably not.  Granted this is a family dispute, and since only two are dead does not make the mass-slaughter databases.  Are these two deaths then just another few chips on the pile we are willing to pay for the right to have lethal toys?

Guns: Ain’t No Comedy