Dr. Fauci declares gun violence is a public health issue. I say, “YES!”

Dr. Anthony Fauci said (last) Sunday that the “horrifying” spate of mass shootings in the U.S. shows why gun violence is a public health issue.

“As a public health person, I think you can’t run away from that,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when host Dana Bash asked if gun violence is a “public health emergency.”

“I mean, in this last month, it’s just been horrifying,” replied Fauci, the U.S. government’s foremost infectious disease expert. “How can you say that’s not a public health issue?”

When criminal violence, when cold-blooded murder is minimalized as a defense of 2nd Amendment Rights…that is a corrupt act. As a lifelong gun owner, I may be irritated by legal checks and balances initiated to prevent criminals or demented mass killers from easy legal access to firearms. So be it! I would rather survive another American bureaucracy…than to be guilty of giving in to the myth of our founders’ foresight…defending muzzleloaders used to fend off invading redcoats. A myth spelled out by people who had no idea of the future of blood spilled every week in this land by nutters armed with modern auto-loading firearms and quick-change magazines.

The NRA was all for gun control when Black people were carrying the weapons


Bobby Seale and Huey Newton

…Although the National Rifle Association currently leads the charge for the rights of citizens to carry guns of all types with little to no interference from the government, the original gun rights advocates to take that stance were the Black Panthers.

Throughout the late 1960s, the militant black nationalist group used their understanding of the finer details of California’s gun laws to underscore their political statements about the subjugation of African-Americans. In 1967, 30 members of the Black Panthers protested on the steps of the California statehouse armed with .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns and .45-caliber pistols and announced, “The time has come for black people to arm themselves.”

The display so frightened politicians—including California governor Ronald Reagan—that it helped to pass the Mulford Act, a state bill prohibiting the open carry of loaded firearms, along with an addendum prohibiting loaded firearms in the state Capitol. The 1967 bill took California down the path to having some of the strictest gun laws in America and helped jumpstart a surge of national gun control restrictions.

I was the first in my family – of my generation – NOT to work in the gun industry. Growing up in Connecticut, the historic arsenal of America, it was just one of several industries you considered working in as a factory hand.

Nowadays, I’d give serious consideration to any legislation fairly designed to keep weapons from status as a political instrument. Yes, that’s a challenge in a society that treasures political power as generally more important than human life.

Gun Control Law #MoscowMitch still refuses to allow in the Senate

Here are the gun control bills that the Republican-controlled Senate has not taken up under McConnell:

Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8)

The first major gun control bill that the House passed in over two decades, H.R. 8 would require universal background checks and close the loopholes for buyers at gun shows and private sellers online. It passed in February 240-190 in a mostly party-line vote, with eight Republicans joining almost every Democrat to vote for the bill…

Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 112)

This bill would extend the current background check review period from three days to ten. It’s being sponsored by Rep. Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat who also serves as the House Majority Whip. The bill also passed 240-190.

Read ’em and weep for the survivors, their families…the victims of Republicans stopping any vote on useful gun regulation.

“I Don’t Understand Why I Can Still Go Into a Store and Buy a Weapon of War”

❝ A survivor of the Parkland, FL school shooting made an emotional plea during a listening session at the White House on Wednesday — which was hosted by President Donald Trump.

In a powerful speech, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High student Sam Zeif questioned why he — having just turned 18 years of age — had the ability to purchase an assault rifle.

“I turned 18 the day after [the shooting],” Zeif said, through tears. “Woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don’t understand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war. An AR.”

Life in these United States. Pigs in Congress and a pimp in the White House.

Experts and the public agree on how to prevent gun deaths

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❝ Our expert survey asked dozens of social scientists, lawyers and public health officials how effective each of 29 policies would be in reducing firearm homicide deaths, regardless of their political feasibility or cost. Policies deemed both effective and popular appear in the upper-right corner of the matrix. Less popular, less effective measures fall lower down and to the left.

The two policies ranked most effective were those requiring all sellers to run background checks on anyone who buys a gun, and barring gun sales to people convicted of violent misdemeanors, including domestic assaults. The experts were more skeptical of other much-debated proposals, including a national gun registry and an assault weapons ban. The idea of requiring states to honor out-of-state concealed weapon permits was ranked low.

❝ The academics in our panel — many of the country’s best empirical researchers on gun policy — were far more likely than the general public to support gun control. But nearly all of the policies that experts think could work have widespread support from the general public.

❝ While Americans remain sharply divided in their overall view of the tension between gun control and gun rights, individual proposals are widely favored. The most popular measures in our survey — policies like universal background checks and keeping guns from convicted stalkers — were supported by more than 85 percent of registered voters. Even the least popular idea, a law that would limit gun sales to people who had to demonstrate a “genuine need” for the weapon, was favored by nearly 50 percent.

RTFA for more comparisons, more detail on what is favored by experts and us ordinary American citizens. Minus Congressional conservatives of course. Still too candyass to do a damned thing.

Trump won — So did marijuana, gun control and minimum wage


Shutterstock

❝ …Not all is doom and gloom. While Democrats lost big, liberals won some of the big initiatives that were on statewide ballots. It wasn’t a total sweep — several states, for example, affirmed the death penalty — but there were gains on some issues, including marijuana legalization, minimum wage, and gun control.

The full results paint a much more mixed picture than the top-ballot results suggest: The Democratic Party got clobbered, but some of the major policies Democrats support also won big.

1) Democrats mostly — but not entirely — lost in the state races

Four houses in 3 states – including here in New Mexico went the other way. And liberal control of our state Senate expanded. Not an accident. Hard work since the racist danger of tea party Confederates became obvious – has paid off.

2) Three — and maybe four — states legalized marijuana

❝ Voters in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada opted to fully legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. They join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state, and the District of Columbia in legalizing pot.

Legalization was also on the ballot in Maine, but the race is too close to call…

Voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota also opted to legalize medical marijuana. And voters in Montana voted to ease their state’s rules on medical marijuana. No state voted against allowing pot for medicinal purposes.

3) Four states approved a higher minimum wage

❝ Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington state all considered raising their minimum wages to $12 an hour. And the proposal won in all four of these states.

4) Three states passed new gun control measures

❝ California, Nevada, and Washington state all approved new restrictions on guns, while Maine narrowly rejected more gun control measures.

Progressive and Liberal policy ideas had a better night than the Democrat establishment. Many local ballot initiatives succeeded in moving the quality of life forward in states and cities around the country.

Guess what? The kind of activism that produced those victories need to continue and multiply if we’re going to maintain any semblance of sanity. Get ready for the mid-term election in 2018. Prepare yourself for the redistricting fight beginning in 2020. Time to sort out one of the major avenues of backwards political thought in Western Democracies.

Going for a record: 204 mass shootings in 204 days — in 2015, so far


Never Forget

…The headlines all start to sound the same after awhile. Seven people shot inside Louisville nightclub. Four men shot in Suffolk early Sunday morning. Two dead, two hospitalized in Brice Street shooting.

The shootings happen so often, the circumstances become so familiar, that we tune them out. One dead, five injured in west Columbus shooting. Four shot in grocery store ambush. One dead, four injured in Stockton shooting.

Every now and then a particularly heinous crime makes us pause and reflect. Nine dead in shooting at black church in Charleston. Four marines, one sailor killed in attacks on Chattanooga military facilities. Gunman opens fire on Louisiana movie theater.

The Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced project of the anti-gun folks at the Guns Are Cool subreddit, lists 203 mass shooting events so far in 2015. Add in the shooting at a Louisiana movie theater last night and you get 204. Incidentally, yesterday was the 204th day of the year…

The Mass Shooting Tracker is different from other shooting databases in that it uses a broader definition of mass shooting. “The old FBI definition of Mass Murder (not even the most recent one) is four or more people murdered in one event,” the site’s creators explain. “It is only logical that a Mass Shooting is four or more people shot in one event.”…

These shootings have become so common that they typically don’t even make national news. Do you remember the four people shot in Cincinnati earlier this month? How about the seven in Cleveland, or the nine in Fort Wayne? Unless you live in these areas, you probably didn’t even hear about them…

Will anything change? Probably not. The Charleston shooting did produce a fruitful national conversation — not on guns, but on the symbolism of the Confederate flag, which the shooter adopted as a banner of his racist beliefs. It took 150 years and a national tragedy for the country to reach something like a consensus on the meaning of a battle flag.

“Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard [mass shootings] the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing,” The Economist wrote in response to the Charleston massacre. “This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.”

Agreed.

Dangerous gun myths – and dummies who believe every word!

UV_Guns_V3

The debate over what to do to reduce gun violence in America hit an absurd low point on Wednesday when a Senate witness tried to portray a proposed new ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines as some sort of sexist plot that would disproportionately hurt vulnerable women and their children.

The witness was Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, a right-wing public policy group that provides pseudofeminist support for extreme positions that are in fact dangerous to women. She told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the limits on firepower proposed by Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, would harm women because an assault weapon “in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon.” She spoke of the “peace of mind” and “courage” a woman derives from “knowing she has a scary-looking gun” when she’s fighting violent criminals.

It is not at all clear where Ms. Trotter gained her insight into confrontations between women and heavily armed intruders, since it is not at all clear that sort of thing happens often. It is tempting to dismiss her notion that an AR-15 is a woman’s best friend as the kooky reflex response of someone ideologically opposed to gun control laws and who, in her case, has also been a vociferous opponent of the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law that assists women facing domestic violence.

But it is important to note that Ms. Trotter was chosen to testify by the committee’s Republican members, who will have a big say on what, if anything, Congress does on guns; and that her appearance before the committee was to give voice to the premise, however insupportable and dangerous it may be, that guns make women and children safer — and the more powerful the guns the better.

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…

But there is a more fundamental problem with the idea that guns actually protect the hearth and home. Guns rarely get used that way. In the 1990s, a team headed by Arthur Kellermann of Emory University looked at all injuries involving guns kept in the home in Memphis, Seattle and Galveston, Tex. They found that these weapons were fired far more often in accidents, criminal assaults, homicides or suicide attempts than in self-defense. For every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides…

Regulating guns, on the other hand, can reduce that risk. An analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that in states that required a background check for every handgun sale, women were killed by intimate partners at a much lower rate. Senator Patrick Leahy, the Judiciary Committee chairman, has used this fact to press the case for universal background checks, to make sure that domestic abusers legally prohibited from having guns cannot get them.

Fools who believe that guns are essential to home defense and women’s safety are just that. True Believers. Myths should not be allowed to block the gun regulations the country has needed for a long time.