Archive for shootings

Violent headlines that won't go away #NotOneMore

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I spend a good part of my workday hunting for stories to bring to you. If a headline piques my interest, I link over and start reading. If two similar headlines pique my interest, my newsflash periscope pops up. If three or four similar headlines about a topic I regularly cover show up, I drop everything and start writing. This is one of those times. Check out these headlines that are currently running at TPM Livewire:

A group of open carry gun activists who protested Saturday at Dealey Plaza in Dallas filmed a bizarre, more-than-10-minute video of their demonstration and posted it to YouTube.

For the second time in less than a week, police arrested a man on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to bring a pistol into a building at the U.S. Capitol, according to Roll Call.

The Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's department found a body believed to be the suspect in multiple shootings in California...

Police were searching for at least one suspect who was wearing body armor and carrying a semi-automatic rifle after a Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's deputy was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

And it's only 11:30 a.m. here in California. I don't know about you, but I've already O.D.'d on disturbing gun headlines.

While were (rightfully) focused on the Israel-Hamas war and the brutal downing of a Malaysian jetliner by Russian separatists, there is a whole lot of excruciatingly persistent violence going on right here at home. Plus a whole lot of sickos who are apparently convinced that their deadly weapons will compensate for their rather humbling "shortcomings".

Everywhere you look these days, people are substituting communication, patience, and reason with hostility and savage bloodshed. And what does America get when we ask for a way out, for remedies, for peace? Competing headlines featuring GOP Second Amendment Solution warmongers who are fixated on blaming President Obama and his alleged feck in an effort to appeal to their equally extreme voters.

You know what I say to all this anger and to politicians who perpetuate it? Feck you.

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Overnight: Lauren Mayer: No More Shootings (Enough is Enough)

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guns Lauren Mayer


Lauren Mayer is a singer/songwriter/pianist who writes comedy songs about everything from Supreme Court decisions to the Kardashians. She proudly supports leftist causes including equal pay, reproductive choice, fair minimum wage, addressing climate change, and marriage equality.
Note: Lauren's CD is now available!! Hear clips or purchase CD/downloads at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/laurenmayer8. It is also on iTunes and will soon be on Amazon!

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Good guy without a gun stops bad guy with a gun... again.

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Sorry to break it to you, NRA, but this is becoming nearly as commonplace as your gun lobby-sponsored mass shootings are: At Seattle Pacific University, a good guy without a gun stopped a bad guy with a shotgun and a knife.

The Los Angeles Times:

"He began to reload his shotgun, and a student confronted him and was able to subdue the individual," Seattle Police Captain Chris Fowler said, adding that at some point the suspect was hit with pepper spray. Others joined in and "pinned him to the ground until the police arrived." [...]

Police did not identify the victims, nor did they give the name of the student security guard who was sitting at the building's reception desk when the gunman burst in. That student's actions probably kept the rampage from worsening, police said.

Keyword: reload. When Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in the head, her assailant was stopped because he took time away from massacring his victims to reload his killing machine. Those precious seconds counted, which is why so many Americans support laws that ban large capacity gun magazines.

And the time it takes for the bad guys to take a moment to replenish their gundamentalist-revered bullets, the good guys without guns can jump them, pin them down, or otherwise prevent them from continuing their killing sprees.

Another memorable instance of a good guy without a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun was when the remarkable shero Antoinette Tuff talked him down. Her kindness was more powerful than his compulsion to murder.

Who would you prefer to run into at Chipotle, these two....?

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Or her...

guns antoinette tuff school shooting

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Drunk Cops In Weeklong Wilding Rampage On Streets of NYC

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What's going on in the Big Apple? There must be something foul in the water.  Just this week alone, there have been three, count 'em three bizarre, outrageous and unprovoked cop shootings. Oh, and all of these cops were drunk. So maybe if there is something with the water, it's the water-back chaser for the scotch and sodas.

It's not just pedestrians who are victims of these drunken outbreaks. One inebriated cop even winged his partner.

Here's a short rundown, courtesy of Gawker:

NYPD officers apparently can't stop getting drunk and shooting people: Just before midnight Tuesday, Officer Brendan Cronin allegedly pulled up to a stop light in Pelham, N.Y. and fired 13 shots at a stranger's car, striking the man six times.

That's not good.

Meanwhile, outside a strip club in Somerset, N.J., NYPD Sgt. Wanda Anthony allegedly opened fire at a car containing her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. Neither was hit, and Anthony was later pulled over and charged with DWI. 

That's not good either. But fortunately for Wanda, she was only sited for DWI. Somehow the opening fire on two civilians sitting in a car doesn't rise to a higher level of crime. Good thing she wasn't so drunk she resorted to "revenge porn." She might have attacked and screwed her ex-boyfriend to death.

And finally, well, hopefully finally... The week's not over yet:

The NYPD's great week of publicity continues: Thursday night, an allegedly drunk on-duty NYPD officer shot his partner in the wrist while the two were drinking at a restaurant in Queens.

Well, for those of you in NYC or going there for the weekend, good luck. You may be dodging more than raindrops if the cops keep on drinking in the town that never sleeps.

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"Suppose an undercover officer 'looks like' a robber and I shoot him...My bad."

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shoot first ask never

Can a "good guy with a gun" shoot a "bad guy with a gun" with 100% accuracy? The answer is obvious, as is pointed out in today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor... because our voices matter:

Re "Gun madness in Georgia," Editorial, March 27

The National Rifle Assn. flourishes because people believe the big lie that there are good people with guns and bad people with guns.

No. There are only people with guns. When gun-toters get angry, greedy, frightened or psychotic, they shoot other people. Mix dense populations with easy gun access, and innocent people will be maimed and killed by bullets. That's inevitable.

Apparently no body count is high enough to stop the insanity. I just pray that I, and people I care about, can make it to the end of our lives without being shot.

Bonnie Sloane

Los Angeles

***

Suppose I'm legally carrying a concealed gun at a business when armed robbers show up. Fearing for my life, I just want to get out of the store, but the front door is the only way out.

Let's assume I can't tell who is whom by how they're dressed. How will I know which of these gunfighters to shoot as I try to get through the doors to safety? Should I just kill anyone between the door and me? Will any police officers who arrive know that I am not one of the robbers? Suppose an undercover officer "looks like" a robber and I shoot him, thinking I'm a "good guy with a gun" taking care of a "bad guy with a gun." What do I tell their families? "My bad"?

Jan Miller

Orange

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Cover-up: Border agents created pretext to shoot Mexicans

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What's that saying again? Oh yeah: The cover-up is worse than the crime... or as in this case, at least as bad. The Los Angeles Times is reporting on border patrol agents who purposely got in the way of oncoming cars in order to justify using deadly force against Mexican drivers. And then U.S. Customs and Border Protection kept their violent little activities hush-hush... from Congress.

The law enforcement experts who wrote up a review of dozens of cases recommended that agents should be trained "to get out of the way… as opposed to intentionally assuming a position in the path of such vehicles." Ordinarily, law enforcement agencies make use-of-force policies public, but not in this case.

And to make matters worse, per Mexican authorities, U.S. border agents who kill Mexicans "are rarely disciplined and the results of investigations are not made pubic for years." According to the Times, the authors said that border agents would stand right there in the road so they could shoot drivers who were trying to avoid arrest. These drivers "posed no direct lethal threat to them or others." Welcome to the U.S.A.:

Border Patrol agents have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers and have fired in frustration at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border, according to an independent review of 67 cases that resulted in 19 deaths.

The report by law enforcement experts criticized the Border Patrol for "lack of diligence" in investigating U.S. agents who had fired their weapons. It also said it was unclear whether the agency "consistently and thoroughly reviews" use-of-deadly-force incidents.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which had commissioned the review, has tried to prevent the scathing 21-page report from coming to light.

House and Senate oversight committees requested copies last fall but received only a summary that omitted the most controversial findings — that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them [...]

The [internal] response rejects the two major recommendations: barring border agents from shooting at vehicles unless its occupants are trying to kill them, and barring agents from shooting people who throw things that can't cause serious physical injury.

Meanwhile, in Arizona:

Border-area residents, upset with what they called an increased militarized presence in their community, began an effort Wednesday to monitor Border Patrol actions at a federal immigration checkpoint about 25 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona.

Organizers with a humanitarian aid group called People Helping People in the Border Zone have called on the Border Patrol to remove the checkpoint in Amado, a town of about 300 people. Some residents say they have to deal with unnecessary delays, harassment and sometimes abuse at the checkpoint.

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Obama Pulls The Trigger On Mental Health Parity

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Obama signs exec order

Sadly, in the aftermath of some horrible mass murders, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Washington Navy Yard, and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, we learned that the assailants were or had been receiving some sort of mental health treatments-- medications or counseling. Sadly, they were not enough to stop these tragedies from happening. In some of these cases, the access to care had been limited or even denied because of insurance policy limitations.

In the aftermath there were public cries for gun control. But 2nd amendment rights advocates and more powerfully the NRA successfully placed the blame on these assailants mental disorders. They claim the problem isn't gun control. It's that there's a deficiency in providing mental illness care.

Well, in a movement to address that situation, the Obama administration, as part of their overall health care initiatives and the Sandy Hook massacre have now produced President Obama's 23rd executive order.  It's now official: Health insurance companies must cover mental illness and substance abuse just as they cover physical diseases.

TPM:

The administration had pledged to issue a final mental health parity rule as part of an effort to reduce gun violence. Officials said they have now completed or made significant progress on 23 executive actions that were part of a plan announced in response to the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., last December.

"For way too long, the health care system has openly discriminated against Americans with behavioral health problems," Sebelius said in a telephone conference call with reporters. "We are finally closing these gaps in coverage."

What's the significance of this executive order? Quite simply, in the past, medical health policies (which included limited emotional,psychiatric, drug and sex counseling) had different payment schedules when it came to non-mental health issues. There were tremendous policy limitations to the number of visits per year as well as significantly increased deductibles -- the patient's co-payment for each allowed visit. Oftentimes that priced a visit beyond the means of a patient.

Basically you could see a doctor as many times as you needed for say, kidney stones, liver disease, heart and high blood pressure issues. But if you had anxiety, phobias, psychotic episodes, those were on a different and far more limited schedule. That's now all in the past. Now if you are sick, physically or mentally, you can get the care you need without the fear of using up your visits.

Will this cut down on tragedies like those listed above? Possibly. Until we get guns out of unqualified people's hands we're never going to be without reckless, wanton shootings. But it's about time that drug users and the mentally/emotionally challenged get the same treatment as someone with cancer or pneumonia.

The bottom line, is the Presidents order AND  the Affordable Care Act extend the parity protections for those participating in individual and small group health insurance plans.

The Republicans and gun zealots were blaming the lack of care for the mentally unstable. Hopefully now they'll applaud Obama's actions to provide these people care. If not, when the next gun massacre happens, the public may just revisit sane gun control measures and weapon's registration.

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