Mass murderers aren't the threat - spouses are.
June 12, 2013 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Domestic violence becomes news - only when it turns into a mass murder As the report points out, there's a glaring flaw in Washington State's protection-order system: "With very few, recent exceptions, law-enforcement agencies did not have protocols in place to remove firearms from protective-order respondents or convicted domestic-violence offenders."

The rate of mass murders is not increasing, and a woman is more likely to be killed by their spouse than a deranged gunman (who is a stranger).

This isn't part of the national dialog on gun control, proposed new laws don't address this problem - and women are dying.

The NRA often says we need better enforcement of existing laws - perhaps they are right.
posted by el io (56 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 


I just read this article earlier today, and came to MeFi to discuss it, thinking I had found it here. But there was no post, so I guess I read it somewhere else. I thought about posting it, but was too lazy to put something together beyond the original link. So thanks for getting it together!
posted by Arbac at 12:49 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was posted earlier today and deleted for poor framing. Glad to see it's back.
posted by dfan at 12:55 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


better enforcement of existing laws - perhaps they are right

Oh, they're right about that.

There was a terrifying and incredibly depressing story on NPR a few weeks ago about the effects of budget cuts to law enforcement in rural counties (in the story, Oregon specifically, but I can't imagine that Oregon is alone in this).

SHERIFF GIL GILBERTSON: There isn't a day go by that we don't have another victim.

TEMPLETON: That's Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson. He didn't want to comment on this particular case. But after the budget cuts went into effect, he sent out a press release. In it, he warned victims of domestic violence to, quote, "consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services."

posted by rtha at 12:58 PM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


The NRA often says we need better enforcement of existing laws - perhaps they are right.

Maybe if they stopped lobbying against enforcing existing laws too, then we'd be getting somewhere.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:01 PM on June 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


And Toddlers kill more Americans then terrorists *ponders when the NSA begins monitoring busy boxes for the evil intent of the users*
posted by rough ashlar at 1:03 PM on June 12, 2013 [18 favorites]


In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders of Protection
Had Mr. Holten lived in one of a handful of states, the protection order would have forced him to relinquish his firearms. But that is not the case in Washington and most of the country, in large part because of the influence of the National Rifle Association and its allies.

Advocates for domestic violence victims have long called for stricter laws governing firearms and protective orders. Their argument is rooted in a grim statistic: when women die at the hand of an intimate partner, that hand is more often than not holding a gun.

In these most volatile of human dramas, they contend, the right to bear arms must give ground to the need to protect a woman’s life.

In statehouses across the country, though, the N.R.A. and other gun-rights groups have beaten back legislation mandating the surrender of firearms in domestic violence situations. They argue that gun ownership, as a fundamental constitutional right, should not be stripped away for anything less serious than a felony conviction — and certainly not, as an N.R.A. lobbyist in Washington State put it to legislators, for the “mere issuance of court orders.”
posted by zombieflanders at 1:11 PM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


ponders when the NSA begins monitoring busy boxes for the evil intent of the users

They're toddlers. Evil intent can be presumed.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:14 PM on June 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Vendor That Pulled ‘Obama’ Target At NRA Convention Also Sells ‘The Ex’ Target
In addition to making a mannequin target that looks like President Barack Obama, Zombie Industries sells a mannequin called simply "The Ex" -- a large-breasted dummy that "bleeds" when shot.
[...]
The only female target appears to be "The Ex," which sells for $99.95.

"In addition to the Ex Girlfriend Zombie, we currently sell 15 male zombies, 5 animal zombies & 2 aliens… to discriminate against Women by not having them represented in our product selection would be just plain sexist," the company states on its website.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:17 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Among the NBA, NRA, and NSA I'm having trouble these days deciding which one is the most evil.

(Listening to NWA, though? No problemo).
posted by MoonOrb at 1:29 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


NRA's enemies list: Most of America (emphasis mine)
On the civic side, it sees fit to call out everyone from Dick Parsons to Maya Angelou to (the late) Ed Koch to Michael Eisner. You might as well declare yourself the sworn enemy of anyone who doesn't subscribe to National Review.

This idea gets thrown into even sharper relief when you look at a partial list of civic, charitable and religious organizations that the NRA has determined are "anti-gun." Warning: Take a deep breath before reading aloud:

• AARP;
• AFL-CIO;
• American Medical Association;
• American Bar Association;
• American Jewish Committee;
• Anti-Defamation League;
• B`nai B`rith;
• Children`s Defense Fund;
• Environmental Action Foundation;
• Episcopal Church;
• Lauder Foundation;
• League of Women Voters of the United States;
• National Association of Police Organizations;
• National Coalition Against Domestic Violence;
• National Association for the Advancement of Colored People;
• National Council of La Raza;
• National Urban League;
• National Spinal Cord Injury Association;
• Southern Christian Leadership Conference;
• U.S. Catholic Conference;
• United Methodist Church;
• United Church of Christ;
• U.S. Conference of Mayors;
• and the YWCA of the USA.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:36 PM on June 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's not just husbands killing their wives. Men kill more than women do, but men kill men more often than they kill women. And when women do kill, they kill men far more often than they kill women, by an even brader margin.

Also, children are over 20 times more likely to be killed by their own parents than in a school shooting.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


“Stand your ground” law helps white defendants a lot more than black ones
The man who shot his wife’s lover to death was successful and walks free. The woman who shot at a wall to scare an abusive husband failed and sits in jail.

The disparity between these outcomes should be shocking. But, sadly, it’s not, once you take into account the fact that Wald is white and Alexander is black. The “stand your ground” law is notorious for being applied in a biased and inconsistent way. The Tampa Bay Times found that defendants claiming “stand your ground” are more successful if the victim is black. Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty. Only 59 percent of those who killed a white person got off. The Urban Institute determined that in “stand your ground” states, when white shooters kill black victims, 34 percent of the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable. When black shooters kill white victims only 3 percent of the deaths are ruled justifiable.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:44 PM on June 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


They argue that gun ownership, as a fundamental constitutional right, should not be stripped away for anything less serious than a felony conviction

I'd be okay with making domestic violence crimes a felony.
I grew up in a household with domestic violence.
I grew up in a household that had a mass murder in the family, that was against family, by a family member.
I'd be okay with making domestic violence crimes a felony.
See compromise. They want X, so we go where we gotta go to make X = Y
posted by QueerAngel28 at 1:48 PM on June 12, 2013 [17 favorites]


Laura Acevez, Domestic Abuse Victim, Failed By Lax Gun Laws
Under federal law, individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense or who are subject to a domestic violence restraining order like Acuna-Sanchez can’t legally buy or possess firearms. But an estimated 30 to 40 percent of guns are purchased without a background check, making thorough enforcement of the law all but impossible.

“Gun sellers have no way of knowing if someone is a domestic abuser unless there is a background check,” says Jonathan Lowy, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's Legal Action Project. “This is a real problem.”

As the national spotlight has turned to gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. massacre, in Congress, there has been some discussion of how gun reform can help domestically abused women. Last week, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) -- chief sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act, expected to be reconsidered this week -- made the connection between gun violence and domestic violence. Leahy testified in a hearing that in states that require background checks for handgun sales, 38 percent fewer women are shot by their partners.

Yet others have argued that more firearm regulations would make it harder for women to protect themselves -- that guns make women more safe, not less.

The evidence paints a much different picture.

According to 2010 FBI data, firearms -- and specifically handguns -- are the most common weapons used to murder women. In the U.S., 64 percent of women who are murdered each year die at the hands of a family member or intimate partner. In situations involving domestic violence, having a gun in the home makes a woman eight times more likely to be killed.

Through Google and Nexis searches, The Huffington Post has tracked gun-related homicides and accidents throughout the U.S. since the schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn., on the morning of Dec. 14.

In the first eight weeks after the school shooting, more than 90 women were shot to death by their partners or family members.
[...]
An alarming study from 2002 found that while the U.S. represented around 32 percent of the female population among 25 high-income countries, it accounted for 84 percent of all female firearm homicides. “The difference in female homicide victimization rates between the U.S. and these other industrialized nations is very large and is closely tied to levels of gun ownership,” explained lead author David Hemenway.
[...]
Under federal law, convicted domestic abusers are advised by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to “immediately dispose of their firearms and ammunition,” but unless the state implements a law to actually seize their guns, such notices often go unheeded.

Jayne Ann Kita, director of the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, explains the ineffectiveness of the law. “It’s an unfunded mandate,” she says. “In Arkansas there’s been some discussion but there is no organized system for the removal of those weapons or a place to keep them. There is no one charged with that responsibility.”

Women who are concerned about a domestic abuser owning a gun illegally have limited recourse, according to Kita. “We advise they mention it to a judge and ask for the guns to be turned in, and make local law enforcement aware of any guns,” she says.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:50 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Related fact: the Newtown Shooter started by killing his mother, who was the licensed owner of the guns he used.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


'“Gun sellers have no way of knowing if someone is a domestic abuser unless there is a background check,” says Jonathan Lowy, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's Legal Action Project. “This is a real problem.”'

I'm not sure if the cops currently have this legal authority, but what I'd love to see is this sort of process that is followed after a domestic violence police call:

Cops (to victim of abuse): Are there, to you're knowledge, any guns in this house?
Victim: Yes.
Cops: Okay, we'll be taking them now.

Also (and separately) to alleged abuser: Are there any guns in the house?
Abuser: No.
If answer contradicts victims: Okay, abuser, you are going to jail now for obstruction of justice (it's a crime to lie to the cops).

Certainly it should be a process (that it seems apparently allowed) that occurs after every restraining order (and certainly after every conviction) the cops ask a similar question. That this isn't happening now is extremely problematic.

It really bothers me that the entire gun debate is centered around these mass killings - this isn't the actual overwhelming problem in America. Reducing clip sizes doesn't matter one iota when the murderer is only going to use 2 or 3 bullets to kill their spouse.

Make not mistake, I'm not a fan of (current incarnation of) the NRA; but the more reasonable the discussion about gun violence can be, the more marginalized they will become when they oppose addressing the gun violence solutions.
posted by el io at 2:48 PM on June 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


It was my poor framing earlier. Thanks for reposting el io.
posted by josher71 at 2:53 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Related fact: the Newtown Shooter started by killing his mother, who was the licensed owner of the guns he used.

How is this "fact" a "fact"? Video proof? A Court of law has made a finding of fact? Or just repeated and declared a "fact"?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:55 PM on June 12, 2013


MarylandReporter.com had a story recently about the background check backlog in Maryland, and how some gun dealers are interpreting the law to say that after 10 days they no longer have to wait for the check before giving the customer their gun. Sorry no link, on phone.
posted by postel's law at 2:55 PM on June 12, 2013


gun control is to liberals what banning abortion is to conservatives: something that's never going to happen and as a result becomes the unobtainium you can hang all of the failures of your ideology on.

spend a week at your local country court house and see what a total fuck-show restraining orders and domestic violence are. every one of the domestic violence activists in that 'thestranger' article is careful to say that it's a complex problem, without a legal solution, yet you are primed to take away the idea that if only those republicans in the state house would let this NRA approved bill get passed, if only the "gunshow loophole" were repealed, if only... you're just as much a sucker as those republicans holding out hope every election for an end to roe v. wade.

how can you have a stable society where increasingly only a fragile elite have meaningful jobs and feels secure in society i.e. has actual social security. because a week in county court gives a a picture of a society which is a disaster at a personal level, filled with desperate people who are failing and know it and have no social supports. no amount of law enforcement is going to change that any more than it's going to change that selling illegal drugs that make you feel better is one of the the only sure-fire business in the wide swaths of america with no economic purpose at all.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:58 PM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


An alarming study from 2002 found that while the U.S. represented around 32 percent of the female population among 25 high-income countries, it accounted for 84 percent of all female firearm homicides. “The difference in female homicide victimization rates between the U.S. and these other industrialized nations is very large and is closely tied to levels of gun ownership,” explained lead author David Hemenway.

Just because there is a high rate of FIREARM homicide does not equal a high rate of HOMICIDE. Considering gun ownership rates of the US compared to other OECD countries (or actually ANY countries) I am not surprised that people use guns to kill other people-that is something guns are good at and in countries where guns are available I would expect them to be used more than say, shovels. However, taking away the guns doesn't take away the urge to kill (see ennui.bz comments-he said it better than I could). I would be much more interested in whether or not the US had a higher rate of HOMICIDE by domestic partners rather than just FIREARM homicide. This kind of cherry picking of data to lead to a conclusion that more guns=more homicide is done a LOT in the gun rights debate and it leads to apples and oranges comparison.
posted by bartonlong at 3:01 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"How is this "fact" a "fact"? Video proof?"

.. Uhm.. I thought this was explained by the police, and I presume they had fond both the gun licenses and done the ballistics to figure out how the mother was shot dead in her home, and with what weapon. Have they not? Did I miss something again?
posted by dabitch at 3:02 PM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


How is this "fact" a "fact"?

Dude, what? He shot his mom. Then he went to the school and killed people. Then he shot himself. Is there something about the heavily reported basic sequence of events that you disagree with? Are you concerned that if no court has made a finding of fact then it is not a "fact"? And if so, why? What's your point?
posted by rtha at 3:02 PM on June 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


I would be much more interested in whether or not the US had a higher rate of HOMICIDE by domestic partners rather than just FIREARM homicide.

Seconded. If the domestic violence isn't stopped, that's where the laws/system needs to change.
posted by dabitch at 3:03 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar: "How is this "fact" a "fact"?"

Lanza went into the school at approximately 9:35 AM and killed people and thenhimself, not having left the school grounds. His body was discovered after 9:49. Since his mother was discovered dead after the shooting, it follows that she died before he started killing people in the school.

It is a fact of logical sequence. Do you mistrust the police on their reporting? Or is this some kind of "HAS ANYBODY EVER REALLY SEEN A FACT" sort of thing?
posted by boo_radley at 3:07 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a fact that's not reasonably in dispute.

When people use the word "fact," a typical reading of that word is "something that is not reasonably disagreed with." If that comment had been reframed as "It's not really disputed that the Newtown shooter killed his mother, or that he killed her with a gun, the gun he used to kill her (and the other guns he used in his rampage) were registered to his now-dead mother," then that would have been okay with you, right?
posted by MoonOrb at 3:08 PM on June 12, 2013


ennui.bz: Regarding 'banning abortions' and 'gun control' as right/left issues

If the anti-abortion folks really cared about reduction of abortion they'd be pushing for actual sex-education (instead of telling young folks 'don't have sex') and access to contraceptions as well as access to the day-after pill (although the courts have helped that, I assume the battle on this is not over - pharmacies carrying this medication is perhaps the next battlefield here).

Similarly if the gun control folks wanted to reduce gun violence, things like 'clip size' and 'assault weapons' would be pretty low on their list of priorities; instead they would be getting guns out of the hands of abusers (who are more likely to kill their spouses) and rigorous enforcement of existing gun laws. Clip-size and the shape of the guns aren't responsible for the majority of gun deaths.

Don't get me wrong, I think having huge clips is stupid and pointless and there isn't any real justification for it, and I think weekend warriors who want to play soldier with their military looking 'assault weapons' (i use quotes there because it seems to me all weapons are assault weapons) are ridiculous and pointless.

Background checks (which the majority of gun owners get behind and the NRA opposes) are something that seems like it should be a battle worth fighting (and indeed is one of the things I think is a worthy legislative fight).

But more than anything, it saddens me that these tragic mass-killings are the focus of nearly all the debates on guns, and aren't the largest cause (by a long shot) of gun violence. I agree with the gun-enthusiasts when they say that the left is exploiting these tragedies, and think the measures (clip size/gun shape) they are pushing in the face of these tragedies won't actually address the real problems with guns in this country.
posted by el io at 3:17 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


"However, taking away the guns doesn't take away the urge to kill "

Comparing guns to shovels, as you did in your comment, is one of the most disingenuous things I've read in a while.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:22 PM on June 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Given the surveillance society that is justified to "keep the bad people" under control, I was wondering if there was something more than:

"It's not really disputed that the Newtown shooter killed his mother, or that he killed her with a gun, the gun he used to kill her (and the other guns he used in his rampage) were registered to his now-dead mother,"

to qualify the "fact" as "fact".
posted by rough ashlar at 3:26 PM on June 12, 2013


There is probably not video or audio surveillance of Adam Lanza killing his mother, no.

There is just the information that Adam Lanza killed himself with a gun inside a school in Newtown, guns were found on and around his person and in a car outside the school, Nancy Lanza was found dead at the home she shared with Adam Lanza on the same day he was found dead by self-inflicted gunshot wound at the school, guns found on/near his person/in the car parked outside were registered to the same Nancy Lanza who was found dead of gunshot wounds and shared a home with Adam Lanza and was Adam Lanza's mother.

The inferences drawn from this information are what people consider facts in the absence of additional evidence.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:34 PM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Given the surveillance society that is justified to "keep the bad people" under control,

Still not grokking. But it's getting deraily so whatever.
posted by rtha at 3:36 PM on June 12, 2013


[Folks, turning this into a discussion of Adam Lanza is probably not what anyone wants to do, so I'd suggest not doing it. Please let's have a thread where we can discuss gun issues without total horribleness?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:37 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just because there is a high rate of FIREARM homicide does not equal a high rate of HOMICIDE.

Actually, there are studies that show that higher gun ownership rates correlate with higher homicide rates, across developed nations and across US states.

See also the Guardian data blog on gun ownership and homicide rates across US states.

However, taking away the guns doesn't take away the urge to kill (see ennui.bz comments-he said it better than I could).

It would, however, reduce the ease with which that killing may be achieved. And when you are talking about domestic violence, which has a great deal to do with anger and impulse and escalation, that's very important indeed.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:13 PM on June 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


>If the anti-abortion folks really cared about reduction of abortion they'd be pushing for actual sex-education (instead of telling young folks 'don't have sex') and access to contraceptions as well as access to the day-after pill (although the courts have helped that, I assume the battle on this is not over - pharmacies carrying this medication is perhaps the next battlefield here).

Similarly if the gun control folks wanted to reduce gun violence, things like 'clip size' and 'assault weapons' would be pretty low on their list of priorities; instead they would be getting guns out of the hands of abusers (who are more likely to kill their spouses) and rigorous enforcement of existing gun laws. Clip-size and the shape of the guns aren't responsible for the majority of gun deaths.


Where this analogy falls down is that anti-abortion folks are actively opposed to sex education, while pro-gun control folks are mostly picking battles where they think it's politically feasible. If someone advocates for limits on magazine size in the wake of a mass shooting, it is most likely because either they are looking for something that would prevent a repeat of the incident that is fresh in their mind, or they are counting on enough other people to feel that way to actually force a change. They would most likely support measures to prevent abusers from owning guns or similar, unless maybe they saw some strategic advantage in avoiding it (i.e. right now we can pass a bill to limit magazine size but we won't have enough support if we include the no-guns-for-abusers clause (kind of sad that this scenario even seems plausible, though)).
posted by eruonna at 4:44 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Santa Monica Shootings: Suspect's Father, Brother Were First Victims

Santa Monica Killer John Zawahri: A Familiar Profile
posted by homunculus at 4:46 PM on June 12, 2013


“Stand your ground” law helps white defendants a lot more than black ones

All You Need to Know About Irrational "Self-Defense" Laws in Three Pictures
posted by homunculus at 4:50 PM on June 12, 2013 [10 favorites]




News and entertainment programming both emphasize the most sensationalistic stuff, but statistically speaking, mass murders still are not all that common. Neither are true serial killers or what some TV cop show (maybe Homicide?) once referred to as "stone cold who-done-its."

From what a relative who's a big city cop has told me, the vast majority of homicides could described in some way as "domestic disputes," whether they involve husband and wife, parent and child, siblings, neighbors, or whatever. These often are the easiest for the cops to solve, because the killer is found standing in the same room as the corpse, holding a bloody knife or smoking gun. If not, they've left witnesses, either to the crime or what led up to to it, or otherwise have not covered their tracks in any way.

A lot of the rest of urban homicides, at least in our town, are the result of gang members killing other gang members. While cops often can figure out which factions are responsible for particular killings, pinning them on specific individuals can be difficult, because of lack of witnesses, gang prohibitions against snitching, etc. One of my relative's colleagues calls these "asshole-on-asshole" killings; the TV-cop-show term seems to be "public service homicides." These are scary because ordinary people can easily get caught in the crossfire, and, given the easy availability of guns and the willingness of gang members to use them at the slightest provocation, they're hard for the cops to prevent.

The kind of murders that tend to really freak people out are those committed in the course of a stickup, armed robbery, burglary or other crime, because they can seem random and lots of people fear they could become a victim, no matter where they live. These tend to make the news and attract a lot of police resources (unfortunately, usually more if they happen in what's considered a "nice" neighborhood). But again, I'm told that these kind of crimes represent a relatively small percentage of murders.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:40 PM on June 12, 2013


News and entertainment programming both emphasize the most sensationalistic stuff, but statistically speaking, mass murders still are not all that common.

News programs actually cover a fair amount of domestic violence murders, however flawed their coverage may be (Laci Peterson, Stacy Peterson), but Serious People have decided that the subject is a fluffy distraction from real issues.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 6:10 PM on June 12, 2013


Ralston: I guess I'm one of those 'serious people'. I actively avoid (no matter how tempted) reading about specific incidents of violence. It feels unproductive to learn details of any given single crime - and ghoulish (I always remember that I'm financially contributing to these news organizations that are literally profiting from these stories). I try to ask myself before reading a news story 'will this help me gain a better understanding of the world around me'. When it comes to specific violent crimes the answer is inevitably 'no'.

When I do occasionally read/watch coverage of a grissly murder I find myself watching the (ghoulish) press shoving a camera in front of a grieving family member (I think we fucking *KNOW* how they feel about the murder of someone they loved), or attempting to pry details from a neighbor, a friend, or an acquaintance of the murderer or victim. I similarly don't watch (or try desperately to avoid) coverage of mass murders; yes it's tragic, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to gain a better understanding of the world around me by hearing details of the incident.

In my opinion most crime reporting is not in the public interest; and in come cases it may contribute to further violence. In the case of mass murders, specifically - it lets potentially mass murderers know that they will live in infamy, become immortalized, and have every psychotic scrap of paper they jotted down a disturbed thought on be dissected by armchair pundits.

That doesn't mean I don't care about domestic violence, or the victims of it, though. I just don't want to feel like I'm part of the problem by giving them eyeballs to sell such tragedies.
posted by el io at 6:28 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're right, Ralston McTodd - it's not that there's no coverage at all of domestic violence on the news, or that it never is depicted in TV crime shows, movies, etc.

But the proportions are skewed compared to real life, so that people tend to get the impression there are a lot more serial killers, mass murderers, and ultra-clever master criminals than actually exist. In truth, the majority of homicides are not all that mysterious, and thus make poor fodder for "CSI," "Law & Order" et al.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:15 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Comparing guns to shovels, as you did in your comment, is one of the most disingenuous things I've read in a while.

Funny. I own two guns and I've never hurt anybody with them. I have, however, hospitalized a man (who totally deserved it) by giving him a traumatic brain injury with a shovel.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:38 PM on June 12, 2013


Anecdotes do not equal evidence.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:56 PM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


It isn't evidence. Just a funny coincidence.

But as for all this talk about gun control, I defer to acclaimed criminologist David Kennedy, and his recent LA Times op-ed in which he is lukewarm at best about the gun control measures typically championed by the left, and suggests several strategies he thinks will work better.

Here he is on NPR talking about the same stuff.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 9:05 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It isn't evidence. Just a funny coincidence.

Ah. My apologies; I misunderstood.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:18 PM on June 12, 2013


Is there any way NSA can embed a SIM card or something on every gun being manufactured/ sold in the US and get accurate stats on where and how guns are being channeled through one of those ooga-booga sekrit terrah laws?

As futile techno-utopian scenarios are, it's nice to dream sometimes.
posted by the cydonian at 2:58 AM on June 13, 2013


Ralston McTodd: News programs actually cover a fair amount of domestic violence murders, however flawed their coverage may be (Laci Peterson, Stacy Peterson), but Serious People have decided that the subject is a fluffy distraction from real issues.

I work for a TV news station and it's our policy not to cover domestic violence. This is not because we've decided that it's a "fluffy distraction."

We have this policy for two reasons: one, to protect the privacy of the victim and their family; and two, because it's just so damn common, it's not news.

The first part is good policy; the second part guts me every time we discuss it.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 3:17 AM on June 13, 2013


I think a large part of the problem is that police departments refuse to enforce, in many cases, existing federal laws on the books - even when they receive notification that the person is a domestic abuser and has a protective order with a finding of guilt against them. The real question is: why? The law is there. The guns are there. If police really cared about getting guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals, this is the perfect vehicle.

Why don't they do it?

I'd argue it has less to do with gun rights advocates, and more to do with Men's Rights advocates, who spread misinformation about how "easy" it is to falsely accuse men of domestic violence in order to get a protective order. (Note: I find the following to be horrifically wrong, but think it's important to know your enemy)
A woman walks into Quincy District Court, picks up a form from a basement office and writes what one lawyer calls "the magic words": she is in fear of imminent bodily harm from her husband. Later that day, a judge reads the request and issues an emergency restraining order commanding the husband to stop the alleged abuse.

The judge also orders the husband not to see or speak to his wife, to leave their home immediately, to stop seeing his children, start paying child support and turn over to police any firearms he owns.
They, by creating a narrative wherein men are the innocent victims of domestic orders, I think it attempts to make "natural allies" of places where a culture of masculinity is rampant - such as the police force - thus making any enforcement less likely against batterers who have not committed a felony. It allows police to mentally separate "the real wife-beaters" from "those BS claims."

I don't know how to stop this, but I know it needs to be stopped.
posted by corb at 4:53 AM on June 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's not just Washington state's flaw. With friends who are going through a divorce (not saying the husband made any threats; this is a very delicate/unique case where the wife is going through some mental illness) the gun laws w/ divorce is as follows.

As long as the gun owner did not commit a felony, they may take the guns away temporarily but after papers are signed, they get them back. If you have a child together, that means yes, the gun are in the spouse's hands at all times--when you pick up your child, when the child is with that spouse, etc. It does nothing to protect those involved in a divorce. Bottom line of IL gun laws, as well as any domestic violence/restraint laws, nothing can be done until you get shot at or killed.

And most recently, this story popped in the news. So sad.
posted by stormpooper at 7:01 AM on June 13, 2013


I think a large part of the problem is that police departments refuse to enforce, in many cases, existing federal laws on the books - even when they receive notification that the person is a domestic abuser and has a protective order with a finding of guilt against them. The real question is: why? The law is there. The guns are there. If police really cared about getting guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals, this is the perfect vehicle.

Why don't they do it?


As pointed out in the OP and several links above, many times state and local law--passed with help of lobbying from groups like the NRA--makes it difficult or impossible.

I'd argue it has less to do with gun rights advocates, and more to do with Men's Rights advocates, who spread misinformation about how "easy" it is to falsely accuse men of domestic violence in order to get a protective order.

Kind of. We can't absolve gun rights advocates, at least not those on the lobbying and elected officials sides of things. Currently, the NRA and majorities (sometimes wide) of the GOP at every level of government from local to federal are de facto men's rights advocates. The NRA, for instance, has on their "hit list" linked above pretty much every celebrity, organization, company that supports women's rights (including domestic violence and workplace equality)*. And there's a vocal set of gun rights advocates who cry crocodile tears over stuff like campus rape and incorrectly claiming guns are the solution, or that someone famous merely talking about it is tantamount to treason. So, no, I don't think we can start minimizing the effect of guns and their availability on domestic violence just yet, or that the MRA and NRA overlap.

As for the GOP, majorities (occasionally even near-unanimous ones) can not seem to stop being assholes towards women**, whether it's "forcible" rape, voting against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act and then cravenly trying to spin their vote, claiming "legitimate" rape doesn't get you pregnant (again and again and again), or gleefuly chortling about how the sequester isn't that bad when domestic violence funding is amongst the first to feel the effect, not speaking up when conservative Tea Party groups led by former elected officials claim that domestic violence laws are an undue burden on men, denying confidentiality to domestic abuse victims because they're undocumented, trying to block money used to help victims of domestic violence For Reasons, or just saying "fuck it" and repealing domestic violence laws altogether. And all the while they have the gall to complain about how they're unfairly being accused of waging a "War on Women." These are the kinds of people that make up the majority of opposition to gun laws, including those involving protecting victims of rape and domestic violence, going so far as to consider research (including possible links to domestic violence) off-limits.

I don't know how to stop this, but I know it needs to be stopped.

It'd be a start if people stopped apologizing for and electing into office the troglydytes amongst them. The GOP, in particular, needs to start a period of serious introspection into their feelings towards women and how much that outweighs other considerations, including guns.



* This also goes for minorities, GLBT people, Jewish and Muslim groups, and medical professionals, but that's a discussion for another time

** Same as above

posted by zombieflanders at 7:11 AM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]




Six Months On
posted by homunculus at 11:02 AM on June 14, 2013


Vendor That Pulled ‘Obama’ Target At NRA Convention Also Sells ‘The Ex’ Target

It gets worse: Company Sells Pork-Laced Bullets Designed To Send Muslims To Hell
posted by homunculus at 10:29 AM on June 24, 2013


A tasteless novelty bullet, like the zombie killing kind.
posted by dabitch at 2:10 PM on June 24, 2013




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