Friday, February 27, 2015

A Mass Shooting In Texas County, Missouri: More Guns Are Needed!

"I remember thinking that I had to listen very carefully and remember everything because, if someone got shot, I would have to be a witness." 

Eight people in four different residences were killed in unincorporated Texas County, Missouri, last night and earlier this morning.  The shooter then killed himself.

Crime scene investigators gather, from Local Fox tv

Too Common            

These stories are unfortunately very common in these United States, even though eight people killed in a house-to-house shooting is somewhat extreme.

My first thoughts were:  Why do we have so many guns in this country?  And:  This is probably an area in which people have many guns.  The guy killed people in four different houses in rural Missouri.  What are the chances that there were NO GUNS in those four homes?  We don't know for sure, but if some of those people had guns, those guns did not protect them from this guy who was intent, for whatever reason, on killing people.

They were family.

OK:  It now appears that the people that were killed were COUSINS of the shooter. Good chance they allowed this man into their home... because they knew him. So how does having a gun (even if that gun is right by your side, loaded and ready) prevent a relative or a friend, someone you know, from walking into your home, engaging you in some kind of conversation, and then, without warning, pulling out a gun and shooting? We don't know the details yet, but it is unlikely that the victims saw this man as an intruder... He was family.

The Gun Nuts square off against the Gun Control people...

The short first comment to the MSN story made reasonable sense to me, as I felt the same way: 
Have we had enough of this? Or do you NRA nut jobs still want your guns?

Of course, her comment was answered by dozens who insist that these kinds of events show that we need MORE guns, and that somehow the more guns, the safer we will be:

News like this only reinforces why law abiding citizens should have the right to bear arms.  If you want to be an easy, vulnerable target, be my guest, but I like to be able to protect myself.
If this man walked into your house, would you want to be an NRA nut job and protect your family and self, or be as it appears you are and stand there and watch the person kill your family and then you. No offense, but I am glad your not the mother of my children or grand-children.

And then a barely legible comment claiming that more people were killed with hammers than assault weapons.  (That might be true... but we're talking about GUNS here, not necessarily assault weapons.  And I still don't believe that more people intent on inflicting harm on others did so with hammers vs. guns.)

up yours moron in 2010 more people were killed with hammers than assault rifles. Its horrible when it does but if you look at countries that have outlawed guns the rate of violent crimes has increased. We are a country of 300 t0 330 million with about 300 million guns yesterday 299,999,999 were not used in this act. As for reality I have my guns and I will use them in self defense or offense if the need arises. Bottom line if you don't' like it just post a sign on your house saying, " no nasty guns in this house ", see if that makes you sleep any better.

There's not much more to say about this polarizing issue. Few people who insist that guns make this a safer country will ever change their minds.  The people who believe that easy access to guns make this a more dangerous country will probably also not change their minds.

The bottom line to me is always this, however:  

Unless you have that gun loaded and right at your side at all times and you are a trained (and good) marksman, you will not be protected against an unexpected home invader.  

Unfortunately, if that gun is loaded and right at your side, there is a much better chance that you or a family member will die from some kind of gun accident. And if you are not a trained (and good) marksman, even if you manage to get that gun into firing position, you will probably not be able to either pull the trigger or shoot the intruder... if indeed you have the time to figure out if the intruder is really an intruder and not just your drunken neighbor who somehow accidentally blundered into your home in a boozy fog.

I know men with guns.

My father was an auxiliary (volunteer) policeman when we were kids.  He was required to undergo regular and vigorous training in the use of his gun to continue his work.  He always had a gun in the house.  As soon as he came off of duty, he'd empty it and lock it into its case.  He did not feel safe until that gun was unloaded and locked away.  Only then could he relax and tell us what went on while he was on duty.  

My husband was a Gunner's Mate in the military.  He owned guns during much of his life, and he was trained in their use.  He hasn't had guns in his home for a long time, and we have no guns here.  He had a few bad dreams from which he awoke...and found himself, still half asleep, with a gun in his hands, about to off an enemy that existed only in his nightmares.  He got rid of his guns.

Fun With a Gun    

The closest I ever came to a gun "event" was back in the 70's.  A few friends and I were out in the clubs (we were young), we met another group of young people, and decided, after the clubs closed, to go back to the apartment of one of the young women to continue partying.  The young woman had told us earlier that she had recently broken up with her boyfriend who was a cop.  What we didn't know is that he was still staying with her and hadn't moved out.

So when we came trooping in, loudly, about eight people, in the middle of the night, in various stages of intoxication, he was in the bedroom sleeping, with his gun on the coffee table in the living room.  We were stunned when he came screaming and storming out of the bedroom, not in a good humor.  Most of us scattered out the door; party over.....  but his drunken (ex) girlfriend picked up the gun and aimed it at him.   "I'm going to shoot you," she said.

The next half hour was spent with the cop and another friend talking her into putting down the gun, which she eventually did.  I remember sitting outside her door on the steps, in a still-slightly inebriated haze, thinking that I had to listen very carefully and remember everything because, if someone got shot, I would have to be a witness.  (We didn't call the cops because:   1. No cell phones back then and no access to the phone in the apartment. 2. The guy was a cop and there was some concern that he would get into trouble... or that our friend would get into trouble for threatening him with his gun.)  

So...  I don't like guns very much.  If people want them for target-shooting or even hunting, that's fine... But the idea that somehow you are going to save yourself or a family member if you have an arsenal in your living room is ..... silly.  And the idea that background checks or controls that keep mentally ill people from having firearms will somehow interfere with your right to be a member of "a well-regulated militia" is... absurd.

Meanwhile, eight more people are dead in Missouri.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The "Left" and the "Right": Living in Two Different Realities

Two Different Realities?

I know that some people attempt to purge their pages and friends lists of conservative/radical Republican/Libertarian types, but I think it is important to know what these conservative and libertarian people are thinking and talking about -- as long as they are not insulting or annoyingly repetitive. 

Unfortunately, it often seems as if we live in two different realties, perhaps even two parallel universes. To be honest, most of the stuff I find shared by my right-leaning friends from rightie blogs and news outlets is incomplete, misleading, oversimplified and/or outright wrong. But a glance through something like the Washington Examiner or a blog like "The GOP Daily Dose" is like taking a walk in a nightmarish hell that doesn't fit the reality in which most of us live. 

Found HERE.  I lightened the image so that the people cheering their Fearless Leader were more obvious.

It's easy to say that all of this is foolishness and it should be ignored by better-informed people, but millions of people believe the stuff that these right-leaning blogs spout.  They accept these writings and memes at face value and don't bother to even follow links or do some basic investigation.

And, of course, the rightie press and media has done such a complete job villainizing President Obama that those who "lean right" accept, without a second thought, anything that portrays the President as either an "incompetent who spends most of his time playing golf" or a totalitarian Big Brother.

Let's take the image above, found at a right-leaning blog 
HERE. It took me a lot of searching to try to put the whole story together, and I'm still investigating.

Now, there are two different stories here: 

The first
is the absolute disconnect between the articles that Democrats/progressives/liberals post and publish and the articles that Republicans/righties/libertarians post and publish.  If you look at stories coming across your Facebook newsfeed from right-leaning friends or you look at articles on these right-leaning blogs and news venues, you won't even recognize that these right-wing authors are writing about the same issues in the same country.

The second is the story about the Federal Election Commission and what it is actually trying to do or not do.  Whether you agree with the Democrats or the Republicans on the FEC (and it is always an evenly divided commission in an attempt to be non-partisan), it should be ultimately clear that this is not about some kind of tyrant Big Brother Obama keeping people from reading whatever it is they want to read on the Internet-- Nor is it about Big Brother Obama getting ready to round up people who don't agree with the "Government" into some of those non-existent FEMA camps that some on the right like to promote.

I'm going to publish this article now, encouraging people to actually spend a few minutes (if you haven't recently done so-- and only if you have the stomach for it) looking at the articles published in right-leaning venues.  It's an important first step in understanding why our country is so divided.. and so divided on EVERYTHING, every issue it seems, more so than in the past.

Free Speech or Oligarchy?

Meanwhile, I'll track down the issues involved in the FEC controversy...  The Democrats on the FEC want to do SOMETHING to protect our democracy; while the Republicans on the FEC rail about "free speech" and feel that any kind of restrictions on the Fat Cats may interfere with our rights to "Free Speech".

How has the takeover of our democracy by the richest among us turned into an argument about "Free Speech"? Just ponder that for a minute or two or more.

And, for the record, I'm not getting a penny from anybody, right, left, or middle, to write this blog.  I do make some money from the ads and that's it.          
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