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Member since: Sun Jan 14, 2007, 01:51 PM
Number of posts: 7,981

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Gun violence and the marketing of fear

Before he assassinated the only black senator in the state legislature, Dylann Storm Roof stood at the Emanuel AME bible study session in Charleston and said, “You are …taking over the country.” He had been influenced by white power groups fomenting fear.

But over the decades, no group has utilized fear more skillfully than the gun industry and its lobby. The fear they induced has armed America and created a vicious cycle of lethal gun violence—the grim mass murders as well as the 89 gun deaths per day, 31 of them homicides.

During the past half-century, as hunting declined, the gun industry shifted from weapons for killing animals to those for killing humans, and told us we were perpetually under the threat of violent attack and needed a gun “ready for immediate use.” With virtually no regulations in place, civilians could obtain increasingly lethal, concealable military style firearms with larger capacity magazines.

Gun marketers emphasized 1) fear of “criminals” (who don’t look like you), 2) fear of government, 3) fear of being outgunned, and 4) fear that any regulation of guns or their buyers was a slippery slope toward gun confiscation.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sun Jul 12, 2015, 07:51 AM (29 replies)

If only guns could be dropped as quickly as the Confederate flag

Always in this country, the worst that can happen brings out the best in us. It happened on Sept. 12, 2001, when New York City started to get back up. It happens this time in South Carolina, where the Confederate flag, a symbol of racism and hate, finally comes down once and for all. From now on, the only people still clinging to the notion of that flag honoring courage of Southern soldiers will sound like weird, bigoted members of the Flat Earth Society.

The flag was lowered Friday morning. Seven members of the South Carolina Highway Patrol Honor Guard, two of them black, did the honors, less than a month after Dylann Roof allegedly murdered nine people, including the pastor, of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. It all happened because righteous Americans, white and black, stood up. The flag goes to a Confederate relic room in a museum down the road, relic being the key word.

The families of the dead at Sandy Hook Elementary wish it was as easy to see change on guns as it was with a flag that once was used to rally the Ku Klux Klan.

Nothing about a moment like this brings back the dead or changes what happened at that prayer meeting. Nothing changes how many school shootings and church shootings we have had in this country since Sandy Hook, even as the gun lobby continues to run onto the field flying the flag of a Second Amendment, the original intent of which is constantly misrepresented, and prostituted, in America.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Jul 11, 2015, 05:01 PM (11 replies)

South African police destroy thousands of illegal firearms

Source: Independent Record

VEREENIGING, South Africa (AP) — In a spray of burning embers, South African police destroyed more than 14,000 firearms in the furnace of a steel manufacturing plant outside Johannesburg on Tuesday to mark International Gun Destruction Day.

More than 11,500 of the firearms melted down were illegal, most of them handguns, South Africa's National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are way, way too many illegal firearms out there," she said. "There isn't a day that goes by without an illegal firearm being used to commit a crime."

An average of 18 people is killed by a firearm each day, according to the lobby group Gun Free South Africa.

Read more: http://helenair.com/news/world/africa/south-african-police-destroy-thousands-of-illegal-firearms/article_876b13dc-1564-5693-8281-3866f687a338.html
Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Jul 9, 2015, 02:01 PM (6 replies)

Seattle considers $25 'gun violence' tax on all firearm sales

SEATTLE (AP) - The Seattle City Council is considering a new tax on gun sellers to collect money for gun violence prevention and research on how to reduce the impact of gun violence on the city and its residents.

Under the proposal, gun and ammunition sellers would be charged $25 for every firearm sold in Seattle and 5 cents for every round of ammunition sold. City officials estimate the new tax would collect between $300,000 and $500,000 a year.

Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Jul 9, 2015, 12:22 PM (16 replies)

Hassan shoots down gun bill that allowed concealed carry without a permit

CONCORD — Gov. Maggie Hassan promised she would veto a bill that revoked the licensing requirement for anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun in New Hampshire, and on Monday — to no one’s surprise — she delivered.

Senate Bill 116 would have repealed the requirement to obtain a permit from a local law enforcement official to carry a concealed pistol or revolver. The measure passed the House and Senate, but not by the two-thirds margin needed to override the governor’s veto.

“New Hampshire’s current concealed carry permitting law has worked well for nearly a century — safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of our citizens while helping to keep the Granite State one of the safest states in the nation,” Hassan said. “Our concealed weapons permitting system gives an important oversight role to local law enforcement, while allowing for appeals through appropriate channels.”

Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Jul 9, 2015, 03:39 AM (43 replies)

Unnecessary Deaths

The death this week of a 3-year-old boy after what appeared to be an accidental shooting at his grandparents' house in Spring brings to mind a recent article in The Washington Post about guns in Japan, a nation with some of the tightest gun-control laws in the world and, not coincidentally, one of the lowest rates of gun deaths in the world (12 last year, 10 of them tied to crime syndicates).

Let's say you want to own a gun in Japan. First, you must attend a class on gun law and gun safety, then pass a written test. Next, you must submit paperwork to the police about your family, work and educational background, as well as a medical certificate declaring you're not depressed or an alcoholic. The police will check to see if you have a criminal record and look into whether you've had any domestic or neighborhood disputes. A police officer will visit your home to see where and how you intend to store your gun.

That's Japan and this is America, of course, where our fealty to the Second Amendment would never allow such intrusive government oversight. What we do allow are 33,636 firearms-related deaths a year (in 2013), including such corollary damage as the death of 3-year-old youngster who finds a loaded gun in his grandparents' nightstand. His is the fifth accidental child shooting in Harris County this year, including at least three deaths.

Nothing unusual about Harris County. A recent report found that nationwide at least two children are killed every week by accidental shootings. The numbers are probably vastly under-counted.

Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Jul 8, 2015, 04:59 AM (1 replies)

Should Gun Violence Be Treated Like Car Accidents?

The gun-control debate in the aftermath of a mass shooting is a stark reminder of the deeply held beliefs in the U.S. about firearms and access to them. Some members of the medical community, however, have been trying for years to broaden those conversations to include, not just arguments about the Constitution or political ideologies, but a discussion about the toll gun violence takes on public health. Their goal: to work to reduce incidents of gun violence in the same way as campaigns that targeted polio, smoking-related cancer or car accidents.

It's a controversial approach. Opponents, among them the gun lobby and many Republicans, believe the move is a thinly veiled effort to further restrict gun ownership and to provide new grounds for seizing firearms. But supporters, including doctors and medical associations, say that designating gun violence – which they define to include homicides, suicides and injuries – as a public health issue will save lives. Doctors already counsel patients about a range of safety issues, including avoiding lead paint, wearing seatbelts, getting vaccinated and dealing with the dangers of backyard pools. If the designation were to change, they could more often ask patients about whether they keep a gun in the home and, if so, how it is secured.

"We're not debating the constitutionality of firearms – that exists," says Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director for the American Public Health Association. "Firearms exist and people get hurt and die from firearms. There are ways for us in a nonpolitical manner to make people safer with their firearms in a society."

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Jul 7, 2015, 03:51 PM (45 replies)

Police: Soldier was carrying loaded magazines during rifle-toting incident at mall

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- The Fayetteville Police Department has charged an Army soldier after getting multiple reports of an armed gunman at Cross Creek Mall Thursday evening.

A huge number of law enforcement officers flooded the mall located off the All American Expressway when 911 calls started coming in just before 6:30 p.m.

On Friday, Fort Bragg officials confirmed the rifle belonged to Wolfinger and was not military issued.

Fayetteville Police spokesman Lt. Todd Joyce confirms Bryan Scott Wolfinger had some loaded high capacity magazines in his bag while he was at the mall. The 25-year-old soldier was carrying an AR-15 rifle, a military ballistic panel carrier and wearing a Kevlar vest.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Jul 4, 2015, 05:23 AM (22 replies)

The NRA, and the tactics of fear

I recently received a “Dear Mr. Plum” letter from the executive vice president of the NRA. Had it not been for the obvious marketing design of the envelope, I may have thought that he was writing to me about my monthly appearance outside his office as part of our End Gun Violence Vigil. No, he was writing to invite me to become a member of the NRA! The mass marketing firm responsible for the mailing may have lost their contract after sending a letter to me.

And if that was not enough, the letter went on to explain in bold type with underlining and capitalization that “They’ve vowed to fight on and never surrender…Not until they BAN tens of millions of commonly owned firearms…SHUT DOWN gun shops and shows…Impose crippling TAXES and FEES on firearms and ammunition…REGISTER gun owners…and DESTROY your right to defend yourself, your home and your loved ones.”

The tone of the letter was disturbing with its repeated references to “fight, defend, destroy, war, muscle, defeat.” All the bluster and loud noises are attempts to distract from the efforts on the part of many organizations to have common sense gun safety measures passed that leaves the Second Amendment in place but enhances safety in our homes and community. I continue to introduce a bill to close the gun show loophole as a way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and persons who are violent.

The purpose of the signed petition is explained later in the letter again in bold type: “When NRA is fighting gun control legislation and regulations, we can point to these signed petitions and tell your Virginia politicians that there are thousands of gun owners standing ready to elect the Second Amendment’s allies and defeat her enemies!” Unfortunately this fear tactic works with too many elected officials.

Posted by SecularMotion | Fri Jul 3, 2015, 08:57 AM (20 replies)

I own guns. But I hate the NRA

Some time after I bought my first gun, I got a robocall from the National Rifle Association, asking me to join. After the customary "Please stay on the line..." from a pleasant but earnest voice, I recoiled from the barkings of an angry-sounding man: "Did I know that Barack Hussein Obama and European leaders are meeting on American soil right now, at this very moment, to plot the confiscation of my guns?"

The caller continued with his insinuations of an imminent United Nations plot against America, but before I could be handed off to a live operator, I hung up the phone.

I was amused, and then insulted, that someone would think I was dumb enough to fall for such a pitch. But the sad truth is that there are enough people willing to open their checkbooks to make such a noxious fundraising appeal worthwhile.

The NRA claims to have 5 million dues-paying members (though there's some reason to believe this figure is inflated). That sounds formidable, until one considers that there are approximately 50 million adults who own firearms. Still, the organization has successfully positioned itself as the singular representation of gun owners. For decades they've worked to defend and expand access to firearms in spite of polls showing that most Americans, including gun owners, favor laws that would limit access in various reasonable ways (even three-quarters of NRA households favor background checks prior to private gun sales). But when a U.S. congresswoman was shot in the face, the NRA made certain that no law was passed that would have made her safer. There's no doubt that the NRA does have some grassroots support, but it's smaller than we think. The NRA does not represent all gun owners, and it certainly doesn't represent me.

Posted by SecularMotion | Fri Jul 3, 2015, 07:20 AM (20 replies)
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