(SLGQ) “There's no telling how many guns we have in America—and when one gets used in a crime, no way for the cops to connect it to its owner. The only place the police can turn for help is a Kafkaesque agency in West Virginia, where, thanks to the gun lobby, computers are illegal and detective work is absurdly antiquated. On purpose. Thing is, the geniuses who work there are quietly inventing ways to do the impossible.”
This past Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed new gun control legislation for California, enacting bills that limit magazine capacity to 10 bullets; require a background check for those purchasing ammunition; and restrict the lending of firearms, and other effects from the six bills he signed, while vetoing five others. These laws further set California as one of the top states for gun laws, though gun rights activists area already saying they won't comply with the laws. But California wasn't the only state to act, with a recently passed law Hawaiian law placing gun owners into a national database, which expands the existing federal system known as "Rap Back" to track ongoing criminal history reported on individuals holding positions of trust, such as school teachers.
Fifty people were killed and at least fifty-three more were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. According to ABC news, "The shooter has been identified by officials as Omar Mateen of St. Lucie County, Florida, an American-born citizen with Afghani parents." Mateen had previously been considered a person of interest by the FBI in 2013 and 2014. Mateen was shot and killed by police. [more inside]
Our Well-Regulated Milita, Alexander Chee
The Gun Control We Deserve, Patrick Blanchfield
Should We Just Get Used To Mass Shootings?, Michael Paterniti
The Gun Control We Deserve, Patrick Blanchfield
Should We Just Get Used To Mass Shootings?, Michael Paterniti
Patrick Blanchfield writes for The Revealer: God And Guns
Setting aside both its lyrical merits and ideological upshot, of all responses to Obama’s remarks, Skynyrd’s song had the distinction of being perhaps the most honest – and, as a matter of simple description, the most analytically accurate. For the bare fact of the matter is that whatever you may think of God, or of guns, American history would be unrecognizable without the influence of both. God and machine, ever-in-tandem, producing a nation “strong” not just in the narrow sense of being powerful, but also in the etymological sense of resolute violence, of an abiding legacy of wreckage unparalleled by any other nation on Earth.[more inside]
NRA [National Rifle Association] Rewrites Fairytales to Include Firearms. by David Barnett [The Guardian] The US pro-gun lobby is entertaining its younger members with its own take on classic fairytales, but they have a unique twist: firearms. The National Rifle Association’s nrafamily.com website is featuring the pro-firearms stories: Little Red Riding Hood (Has a Gun) & Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns) by Amelia Hamilton. [more inside]
Toddlers were responsible for more gun deaths than terrorists in the US in 2015. Gun rights advocate Jamie Gilt was recently shot in the back by her 4 year-old son, who used a loaded gun she'd left with him in the backseat of the car. These numbers don't seem to include deaths from older children, like the 11 year-old who shot and killed an 8 year-old last year, because she wouldn't let him play with her puppy.
In 2014, gun deaths outpace motor vehicle deaths in 21 states and D.C., according to the newest study from Violence Policy Center. (VPC previously) [more inside]
Tonight at 9 p.m. ET President Obama will give his final State of the Union address. (Barring unexpected developments.) He is expected to reflect on his legacy in office and also look towards the future with the same optimistic viewpoint which has always been a signature of his political identity. [more inside]
An armed right-wing militia has occupied a federal building and plans to stay for "years." Here is a bit of background to this issue, which has been brewing for years in rural Oregon. Social media has taken note of the response both from authorities and the general media to this action, drawing out the disparities between the response to black vs. white civil disobedience.
“Black Folk Don’t...” is an open conversation that invites everyone to take a second look at the grey areas between us all, no matter the race, and most importantly to do it with a sense of humor. This documentary web series is a special presentation of BlackPublicMedia.org, directed and produced by Angela Tucker, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Did you know that black folk don't… [more inside]
A guy told me one time, "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."Michael Mann's Heat was released 20 years ago today. [more inside]
The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit and nonpartisan project, has compiled data on gun-related homicides and shootings in the United States. The data includes location information, with which this interactive map has been created to determine how many people have been shot near your home this year.
One man is replacing guns with sex toys in photos of GOP politicians. That man is Matt Haughey.
America's gun problem is completely unique: Why is it that for all the outrage and mourning with every mass shooting, nothing seems to change? To understand that, it's important to grasp not just the stunning statistics about gun ownership and gun violence in the United States, but America's very unique relationship with guns — unlike that of any other developed country — and how it plays out in our politics to ensure, seemingly against all odds, that our culture and laws continue to drive the routine gun violence that marks American life. [more inside]
President Obama says mass murder has become routine, and prayers just aren't enough. Since the Sandy Hook massacre in December of 2012, there have been 142 school shootings in the United States, including today's murder of 10 students. In total, there have been been nearly 1,000 mass shootings in less than three years, "with shooters killing at least 1,234 people and wounding 3,565 more."
“I didn’t take him seriously,” is what Joey says again and again to the people who keep asking the same questions again and again, including investigators who arrived at the trailer after one of the most notorious mass killings in recent American history. Why did he do nothing? they asked. What kind of people would do nothing? (Longform WaPo)
"It is simply easier for some people to believe that the United States government has concocted a vast conspiracy to take away all of our guns than it is to believe that it is too easy for a mentally ill person to acquire one and shoot anyone they want. And now those same people are taking it out on the families of the victims of gun violence after a tragedy." What Do You Say To A Roanoke Truther? Ben Collins, The Daily Beast
Fear by Marilynne Robinson [New York Review of Books]
“There is something I have felt the need to say, that I have spoken about in various settings, extemporaneously, because my thoughts on the subject have not been entirely formed, and because it is painful to me to have to express them. However, my thesis is always the same, and it is very simply stated, though it has two parts: first, contemporary America is full of fear. And second, fear is not a Christian habit of mind. As children we learn to say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” We learn that, after his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples, “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Christ is a gracious, abiding presence in all reality, and in him history will finally be resolved.”
One year later:
- A year after Michael Brown’s fatal shooting, unarmed black men are seven times more likely than whites to die by police gunfire
- Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won't end.
- In Ferguson, Anniversary of Killing Begins Mostly Quietly
- 11 Striking Photos That Show A Forever-Changed Ferguson.
- A Year After Ferguson: Obama Tells NPR He Feels 'Great Urgency'.
- 'Things will never be the same': the oral history of a new civil rights movement.
Armed police in England and Wales only fired their weapons twice over the course of 14,864 operations that took place from 2013-2014.
The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty.
Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.
Loaded with Lead. America has an estimated 10,000 gun ranges and 40 million annual recreational shooters. But when guns are fired with lead-based ammunition, they spread a toxin: lead vapor and dust. A year-long Seattle Times investigation shows that due to poor ventilation and contact with lead-coated surfaces, thousands of workers, shooters and their family members have been contaminated and been made sick at shooting ranges nationwide. Reckless range owners/operators, unenforced regulations as well as a lack of oversight and inspections are to blame. [more inside]
"Last week, sandwiched between a row of shops and apartments, you may have noticed that a store hawking firearms miraculously opened for two days on Manhattan’s Lower East Side." The sales pitch was not what folks expected. Customer reaction was interesting...
Why I didn't call the police when I saw two black boys with guns next door. [The Guardian]
"My husband’s instinct was to call law enforcement, but that didn't seem like the solution. Especially after Tamir Rice."
The day Chris Kyle died - an account of the fateful gun range encounter between the subject of the film "American Sniper" and fellow veteran Eddie Ray Routh. Routh has received a life sentence for killing Kyle and freind Chad Littlefield, with a jury finding his claims of PTSD to be "an excuse".
"What They Left Behind" is a 35 minute documentary produced by Sandy Hook Promise. Today, the families and community of Newtown, Connecticut honor the lives of the twenty first graders and six adult helpers who lost their lives in that school shooting. No public events will take place today in Newtown. [more inside]
Audio recordings show that airspace restrictions over Ferguson following the killing of Mike Brown, supposedly due to shots fired at helicopters, were actually to keep the media out. Meanwhile federal charges against Darren Wilson are looking increasingly unlikely.
With the war in Iraq winding down, colleges are are stocking up on surplus military equipment of all kinds at bargain prices from the Department of Defense. As two schools in Louisiana each receive a dozen M-16 weapons, the newspaper asks, "Is this a good idea?"
Gun Wars: the struggle over gun rights and regulation in America, in the aftermath of the Newtown school shootings and the ongoing congressional stalemate over federal gun legislation. An investigative report from "29 students from 16 journalism schools, as well as an experienced staff of editors" for Carnegie-Knight News21. [more inside]
Ever wanted an IMDB but for guns? Welcome to the IMFDB - The Internet Movie Database of Guns The IMDB [Internet Movie Database] is 23 years old this year. Launched in 1990, and filled with cast/crew info as well as trivia and goofs it is the go to location for film information online. But did you know that the IMFDB [Internet Movie Firearms Database] is the place to go to get the most comprehensive information on any firearms used in media? [more inside]
Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson? - According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas and wooden rounds into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling, the paramilitarization of police and media depictions of black shooting victims have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.
In 1963, Robert Dowlut was convicted of shooting two people: a shopkeeper during a robbery, and then his girlfriend's mother later the same night. Six years later, he was released from prison by a ruling from the Indiana State Supreme Court, due to a flawed police investigation. Today, Dowlut is the general counsel of the National Rifle Association. As the NRA's top lawyer, he has been a key architect of the gun lobby's campaign to define the legal interpretation of the Second Amendment.
The NRA's Murder Mystery: a great longread from Mother Jones.
The NRA's Murder Mystery: a great longread from Mother Jones.
Remember that early episode of Seinfeld where Elaine buys a gun, her father makes his second appearance, and we finally find out that Kramer's first name is Conrad? Well, neither does anyone else who wasn't working on the show during its second season, specifically in December of 1990, when the table read for "The Bet" was held. [more inside]
How should you respond when a guns-rights activist carrying a firearm walks into your vicinity? PQED.org suggests a possible response. Meanwhile, Don't Shred on Me held a mocking Open Carry Guitar rally.
"For a long time, being both liberal and a gun owner didn’t seem like a big deal. 'Guns were certainly an issue,' Robinson says, 'but owning firearms wasn’t enough to get you tossed out of the movement.' After Sandy Hook, though, that changed 'with a speed that was truly breathtaking.'"
A Maryland gun store owner recently spent the night in his store to guard against retribution for his store's (now-reversed) decision to sell the Armatix iP1 Smart Pistol, the first smart gun to be marketed in the United States. Andy Raymond, co-owner of Engage Armament in Rockville, Maryland, initially supported the iP1 as a way to reach "fence-sitters", but backed down after receiving death threats. [more inside]
New York's SAFE act sought to ban so-called "assault weapons" by making certain physical features of such guns illegal in the state. Enterprising machinists have now created a modified version of the venerable AR-15 which complies with the law. The New York State Police have declared that the gun is legal, and prototypes are being shown in gun shops all over the state.
The Simple Facts About Mass Shootings Aren't Simple At All
The first step in stopping future mass shootings is figuring out what we know and working from there. Unfortunately, the real first step is getting rid of a bunch of stuff we “know” that turns out to be wrong.[more inside]
Birds of the West Indies. Artist Taryn Simon (previously, previously, previously) has a work of photographs of James Bond's gadgets, guns, cars, and women. The work is currently showing at this year's Carnegie International, and has an accompanying book. Info at the main link, and a more thorough gallery here.
The Liberal Gun Club, memorably described in a recent San Francisco Chronicle profile as "the NPR of gun clubs", is an alternative to the National Rifle Association (NRA) for people who don't share the NRA's politics.
28 year old Chauncey Wright, brain damaged, with an IQ in the 50s, had trouble holding a job. Seeing some men handing out flyers at a Walmart parking lot, Wright asked if they needed a helper. Soon, Wright found himself handing out flyers on his bike, eventually procuring drugs and firearms for his employers. And inidicted on several drug and gun charges after finding out his employers were undercover ATF officers running a sting operation in a curious Milwaukee storefront. During which the storefront was burgled, damaged, the owner stiffed on repair costs, and several guns stolen from ATF vehicles, including a machine gun that has yet to be recovered. This wasn't an isolated incident. [more inside]
It's time for Americans to gather around the dinner table, eat too much, and argue about politics! A new genre of Thanksgiving-themed web pages seems to be taking off this year, that being the "How to argue with your [opposite political party] family members at Thanksgiving" genre. From the left side of the political spectrum, the Democratic National Committee has launched "The Democrat's Guide to Talking Politics with Your Republican Uncle", and The Huffington Post chimed in with "Here's Every Argument You'll Need To Win Your Obamacare Debate This Thanksgiving". Not to be outdone, conservatives have responded with cheat sheets of their own, including RedState.com's "Thanksgiving dinner with your liberal relatives" and The Washington Examiner's "The Thanksgiving guide to making conservative arguments liberals can understand". [more inside]