Archive for weapons

Cliven Bundy's Son Pulls His 5 Kids From School Because They Can't Carry Weapons

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AATTP reports the story via mynews3.com. One of the sons of embattled rancher Cliven Bundy's son has pulled his five children out of various Clark County School District locations after a dispute with school administrators. Officials at Virgin Valley High School in Mesquite told Ryan Bundy [pictured] that his 15-year-old daughter was not allowed to bring…

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It’s the Economy, Stupid (and the Military Industrial Complex too)

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There's no doubt that the spark that lit the fuse in Ferguson was the police shooting of Michael Brown. But you have to wonder how much anger was simmering, how much people were already hurting from decades of building racial tensions and the fact that so many of them are hurting financially.

I don't often agree with Chris Matthews, but he hit the nail on the head last night

The disturbing cell phone video of the other killing of a black man in Missouri by police bullets, this one on Tuesday, was released yesterday. We were told that this one was unquestionably justified (which I believe the video disproves- judge for yourself, but we warned, the video is graphic and very disturbing).

But  the reaction to that shooting was very different from the still-in-progress uproar and massive protests in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown some 9 days earlier, just two miles away.

Perhaps the way the authorities handled the moments following the shooting, when St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson crossed the police tape line to speak directly with the people in the crowd that gathered.

But the mayor did something unusual, as he recounted to Chris Hayes last night on All In (pertinent part comes in at 4:49)

St. Louis Mayor Slay (yes, that really is his ironic name) said

I sent some staff members out there to get a sense of what's going on in the crowd, talk to some of the people there, listen to their concerns. And one message that kept coming, over and over again by a number of those out there was "hey, we're out here protesting, but we could use a job. We need to be employed, we need to be able to support ourselves and our families." So, I had my workforce development director and his team out there. We signed up at least 85-90 people into programs that help them learn how to look for a job, and for job training programs as well.

Maybe the peace was kept in St. Louis because the people who turned out in dismay and disbelief after yet another young,black male was shot and killed by police thought that, this time, perhaps someone might be able to help them.

I don't know, and know that the video of that shooting is out, things might not be so peaceful tonight.

But one thing is apparent, people are hurting and need help.

Sasha Abramsky was on the show last year when his book The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives was first released. He joined me again today as the paperback is being released, and we discussed how the events in Ferguson have likely been exacerbated by the poor economic condition of so many of that town's citizens.

And finally, Congressman Alan Grayson joined me to talk about his efforts to prevent the type of militarized police situation we witnessed in Ferguson from becoming a reality.

On June 8, 2014, The New York Times published  "War Gear Flows to Police Departments," an article detailing the transfer of  thousands of pieces of "surplus military gear and equipment" to local police departments under the Department of Defense Excess Personal Property 1033 Program.

That article, in part, prompted the congressman to introduce an amendment to the DOD authorization act on June 19:

H.AMDT.918 (A052)
Amends: H.R.4870
Sponsor: Rep GraysonAlan [FL-9] (offered 6/19/2014)

AMENDMENT PURPOSE:
An amendment to prohibit use of funds to transfer aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents, launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, or nuclear weapons through the DOD Excess Personal Property Program established pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997.

Although Congressman Grayson had secured 19 Republican votes, assuring its passage if the Democrats stood with him and voted for the amendment, it failed by a vote of 62-355 in what he described on the show this morning as the worst any of his amendments has ever fared!

To hear the story of how this amendment was brought down by a so-called Democrat, just watch my conversation about it with Howie Klein from Monday's show:

It's enough to make you sick.

Just a few days after the amendment failed, the ACLU issued this excellent report that everyone should read, titled, "The War Comes Home."

Keep in mind that when "boys with toys" get overwhelmed, they often do really stupid things... like St. Ann Detective Corporal Ray Albers, aka Officer "Go Fuck Yourself" who should never be allowed near such weapons, let alone carry one on the streets of Ferguson, MO, where this video was shot.

Scary stuff...

I'll be back tomorrow to wrap up the week with Stephen Goldstein's "No More Bullshit Minute" and, from my musical archives, an interview with performance form Tori Amos... Radio or Not.

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Are Wayne LaPierre And The NRA Responsible For One Of The Las Vegas Killings?

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Las Vegas

A tragic, mindless random shooting took place this past weekend in Las Vegas by two very disturbed rightwing nuts, Jerad Miller and his wife, Amanda,. These two fringe "sovereign citizen" types, fond of the 2nd Amendment in the loosest of interpretations, walked into a restaurant, point blank killed two Las Vegas Metropolitican cops who were just eating lunch, then continued on their crazy spree across the street. Their destination? Walmart. Of course Walmart. Where else do you go when you want to show you're just part of the normal world? While they were stocking up on free weapons and munitions, they had fired warning shots into the ceiling and yelled for everyone in the store to get out. I guess these two had a compassionate streak in them after all.

According to NBC News:

“They just said, ‘The revolution’s begun,’ they said that they shot some officers, and basically get out of the store if you don’t want to get hurt,” said Tyrone Ellis, who works at the store.

Now here's where the NRA comes in. Over and over again spokesperson and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has expounded his organizations mantra after random mass shootings like Columbine, and Sandy Hook, and even the recent Isla Vista massacres. Mindless as it is: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." 

Would someone please explain that to the family of the third victim of this Las Vegas madness, Joseph Wilcox.

A shopper, Joseph Robert Wilcox [good guy], 31, of Las Vegas had a concealed weapon and decided to confront Jerad Miller, police said. As he walked toward the suspect [bad guy], Amanda Miller [another bad guy] came up behind him and shot him several times in the ribs, police said.

Wilcox is dead. He listened to the insipid ramblings of the NRA's LaPierre and now he's deceased. He is now a dead good guy with a gun. All because he actually believed the NRA's claptrap defense of their truly indefensible stand. His death was most likely avoidable. But instead of following directions, he took the NRA for their word. And now he's gone. I wonder if Wayne LaPierre will be speaking as Wilcox's memorial.

This tragedy points out once again, just like time and time before, that gun control is something that needs to be addressed. And it also points out that carrying a gun doesn't make you any safer than not being armed. All of those people who escaped uninjured from the Walmart can attest to that.

We need fewer pistol-packing heroes and more gun sanity and regulations. Sorry NRA. But the 2nd Amendment was never intended to give everyone the ability to pack heat just to make us feel "manly." It was to allow us to defend ourselves as part of a well regulated militia.

Also recently, about a week ago, there was the random Seattle Pacific University shooting where the assailant had killed three people. But because he didn't have a larger clip, he had to stop to reload. Here's how that worked out, according to Truth About Guns:

The gunman walked into the Otto Miller Building just after 3 p.m. and shot three people, said Capt. Chris Fowler with Seattle police. The gunman then began reloading when a student building monitor pepper-sprayed the shooter.

“The shooter began to reload his shotgun and the student building monitor inside the hall confronted the shooter and was able to subdue the individual,” Fowler said. “Once on the ground, other students jumped on top of them and they were able to pin the shooter to the ground until police arrived.”

Regulation, not good guys with guns saved lives. Let's have background checks. Let's have limited ammo clips. Let's stop avoiding the issues. Gun control can be done if the cowards in Congress will grow a backbone. It's been achieved in the past. Let's hope it's done again soon, before so many more must needlessly die to appease the wishes of the few over the hopes and prayers of the many.

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As Guns Get Smart NRA Gets Dumb

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smart gun

Ordinarily you'd think that the second amendment (right to bear arms) zealots would be pushing for guns to be sold. Arm everybody, everywhere, anytime. That's an NRA-type thinking. You just can't have enough guns.

So what's making hundreds of gun owners in Maryland send death threats to a gun store owner who wants to sell new guns? And what's got the NRA up in arms over prohibiting the sale of certain weapons? It's something referred to as "smart guns."

Who'd ever think of guns being described as smart? They're killing devices. But here's what's causing the bruhaha.

First, here's a look into the technology:

Now, here's a little factual coverage of the latest NRA and gun zealotry activities of late as reported by the Washington Post:

A Rockville gun store owner who said he would sell the nation’s first smart gun — even after a California gun store removed the weapon from its shelves to placate angry gun-rights activists — backed down late Thursday night after enduring a day of protests and death threats.

Andy Raymond, the co-owner of Engage Armament, a store known for its custom assault rifles, had said earlier this week that offering the Armatix iP1 handgun was a “really tough decision” after what happened to the Oak Tree Gun Club near Los Angeles. Oak Tree was lambasted by gun owners and National Rifle Association members who fear the new technology will be mandated and will encroach on Second Amendment rights.

The way I read it is gun zealots don't want certain guns sold because with knowledge of this technology being readily available, the second amendment nuts might be forced to retro-fit their guns or the weapons will become illegal. But California and Maryland are just the beginning. Gun safety is a major concern for the NRA. Fear of common sense legislation is their biggest enemy. If only the registered owner of a gun could use it, think of how the black market on guns, or kids picking up their parents gun and killing a sibling or pulling of a Sandy Hook or Columbine might be curtailed. The NRA wouldn't want that now, would they?

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Jumping The Gun On Guns Everywhere Law In Georgia

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Well, whether or not the police got it right, the fact remains that a civilian in Georgia put a lot of people into a state of fear and anxiety when he brought a gun to a park where little league baseball was being played. He brandished it out of his holster, waved it around, and scared the poop out of most people there.

Little league game

Click on picture above to see the VIDEO.

The police say the gunslinger did nothing illegal. That's actually questionable. First off, the new Georgia "Guns Everywhere" law doesn't go into effect for a few more months. Evidently this dude couldn't wait. And it's still a criminal act of "assault" to put people in fear for their lives, regardless of whether or not a gun holder has a permit to carry.

Free Dictionary:

 Assault is an act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful, or offensive contact. The act consists of a threat of harm accompanied by an apparent, present ability to carry out the threat.

Evidently these cops who responded the to many 911 calls of fear and apprehension for their safety, were not scared sufficiently to rise to the level of imminent, harmful or offensive contact. The fright of possibly losing their lives doesn't seem to have risen to that level in the officer's minds. Or maybe they didn't think the gun being brandished rose to the level of being judged as having the ability to carry out the threat. Or even possibly the cops don't understand the definition of the law.

This time the man with the gun didn't shoot, but people reported him. Children were scared. Others sought shelter in the dugouts. Beginning July 1, 2014, when the "Guns Everywhere" bill goes into effect, let's see what happens. The Georgia legislature and the governor don't feel there are any problems. Do you share their confidence?

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Fingerprint Recognition For Guns Saves Lives

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gun safety personalization system overview

For a while, about ten years ago, there was a rash of car break-ins where the only thing stolen was the car radio. It was a very easy item for the crooks to fence. The huge numbers of incidents of these thefts rose so high that the car manufacturers and the car radio makers got together to address this problem. And you know what? They did and so successfully that the number of radio thefts dropped precipitously.

Now almost all cars are equipped with radios that have an anti-theft mechanism. If you steal a radio, you need a special code to activate it. Even if your power goes out in your car -- the battery dies -- you need the code to activate it. So a stolen radio won't work and hence you won't be buying too many "hot" music making devices.

Necessity is the mother of all invention, or so the saying goes. And Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) has a new proposal to cut down on accidental and even intentional gun violence.  He plans on introducing new federal gun legislation that would require all firearms manufactured in the U.S. to be equipped with “personalization technology,” so that if a weapon lands in the wrong hands, it can’t be fired.

For the uninitiated, that means all guns must come with fingerprint recognition -- similar to ID codes for radios -- so that they can not be fired except by the licensed, registered owner. It doesn't stop gun sales. It only stops unauthorized use of these weapons.

If the same outcome is true for firearms as for car radios why not do it? Illegally sold firearms won't do a buyer any good if they can't be fired. Hence, less unreported or fenced gun sales.

Markey gave an interview to Boston Magazine:

The Handgun Trigger Safety Act will help ensure that only authorized users can operate handguns. This is the type of gun safety legislation that everyone—regardless of political party or affiliation—should be able to support,” he said.

Now this technology is already available. It's just plain common sense. It's not taking any rights away from legal gun registrants, those with a license -- it actually could prevent them from having their weapons stolen. Safety-safety, win-win.

The technology could include fingerprint recognition, or safety systems like the Armatix iP1, referenced in Markey’s proposal, which relies on a radio-controlled watch that is responsible for gun access and use.

If passed, the law would also require anyone selling a handgun to retrofit their weapon with personalization technology three years after the date of enactment of the bill. 

The technology already exists:

A company called Safe Gun Technology, or SGTi, has been working on a product that could do just that. Relying on biometric technology, people would be unable to fire a weapon unless they were the owner.

If someone is against such a personalization then I suggest they have something to hide. There's not a sane reason that this can't be done. And cost isn't the issue. People always seem to find the money to buy a gun. If this technology is added to that cost, they'll find a way to come up with that extra few bucks just like they do with security locked radios in their cars. It's just part of the cost. If you really need a gun, you'll find the money. Just like when gasoline spikes to nearly $5/gal. We grumble and grouse, maybe cut back on our driving habits, but we don't give up our cars. Well gun owners can do the same. And they'll get over it just like we gas users do.

We make automobile smog testing and attaining a certificate mandatory every two years here in California. It's a cost burden (around $75 including certificate) and inconvenience, but it's for public safety and clean air. How about asking gun owners to be responsible for public safety with their own weapons by not letting unauthorized people pick up their gun and shoot it? Think of all those young kids who discover their parents' weapons and end up shooting a sibling or neighbor kid while they're playing with it? If equipped with fingerprint recognition, those accidents won't become fatalities. They just won't happen at all.

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Finally, A Good & Novel Use For Guns

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The President is going to be delivering his State of the Union Address tonight and most likely he'll avoid any serious mention of the rampant injuries and wanton loss of life that guns and rifles have wreaked daily on this country over the recent past.

From Columbine to Sandy Hook, to the thousands wounded on the streets of Chicago on weekends alone, to mall and campus shootings to domestic disputes....those memories are swept under the carpet by the cowards collectively known as our Congress. They bow before a false God, a deity known as the NRA. Their flock is made up of gun toting zealots shouting over everyone else's rights for a peaceful, safe existance. Their mantra is "Second Amendment Rights." It echos as loudly as "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember the Maine!"

Sadly most of those doing the yelling have never read the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights. But they stand behind what they don't understand and truthfully their vote counts just like every other legal citizen's. At least those legal citizens whom the Republican's haven't knocked off the voter registration logs yet.

We've all seen, heard or read about the the brutal and devastating loss of life that guns can bring. There's really not a lot of good press for these killing instruments. As their sales numbers rise, their basic purpose becomes much more for harm rather than for good-- heightened fear and reckless killing more than putting food on the table or true, personal safety. More people get shot senselessly than wild game gets bagged for actual consumption. Shooting for sport is fine, when the prize isn't other people. 

As reported by Bill Moyers & Company:

Estimated real number of people killed by guns, including homicide, suicide and accidental death since Newtown (using most recent CDC estimates for yearly data): 33,173

Those are just deaths. The number of gun related injuries are tenfold.

Now I step off my anti-gun soapbox to share with you a rather novel use for guns. One which I don't think you've seen before. I know I haven't. Weapons of destruction are used to provide the "cover" rendition of the iconic John Lennon peace song, "Imagine." Yes, music, not death, is the bi-product of these deadly devices. Gun barrels, triggers, butts, muzzles, safeties, sights, action, stocks, trigger guards, magazines and any other part of a shooting mechanism you can think of are put to novel use.

Fellow Political Carnivalites, I proudly share with you some musical peace made entirely from some deadly weapons of destruction:

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