"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Time for All Americans to Join Together to Work on Sensible Gun Legislation

NRA Members are breaking from their leadership on what needs to be done for common sense gun control but will Pro-Gun members of Congress listen?  

This morning as I was viewing comments coming from the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT,  I was struck by the last sentence of this paragraph from Think Progress:
In the aftermath of the tragedy, gun safety advocates have called for Congress to vote on banning assault weapons and high capacity clips, closing terrorism loopholes, and requiring background checks for all gun sales. Yet the NRA has yet to issue a public statement about the elementary school shooting. One wonders if will listen to the views of its supporters, or continue to represent the business interests of gun manufacturers, once it does. 
Then there is also this about gun manufacturers:
Connecticut has a statewide ban on certain types of assault weapons, but in the decade since the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban, gun manufacturers have devised numerous ways to get around state bans like the one in Connecticut by making small alterations. 
Was ending the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004 so manufacturers could make more money and put more of that money into the gun lobby headed by the NRA and GOA?  Is greed the answer to the high capacity clips they are selling because those clips could never be used for hunting -- there would be no deer left?  When I read the article last night about the gun culture surrounding Newtown, it sent chills up my spine.  Some of these gun owners scare the living daylights out of me.  It is one thing to use a shotgun and/or rifle to go hunting but it is another to have a high powered assault rifle with some holding clips up to 100.  As my son said this morning -- go after ammunition which is not protected by the 2nd amendment.

This headline shocked me last night, In Town at Ease With Its Firearms, Tightening Gun Rules Was Resisted, which described the gun culture of Newtown, CT:
People in the rural, hilly areas around Newtown, Conn., are used to gunfire. In one woodsy stretch, southeast of downtown, the Pequot Fish and Game Club and the Fairfield County Fish and Game Protective Association, where members can fish in ponds and hunt pheasant, lie within a mile of each other, and people who live nearby generally call them good neighbors. 
But in the last couple of years, residents began noticing loud, repeated gunfire, and even explosions, coming from new places. Near a trailer park. By a boat launch. Next to well-appointed houses. At 2:20 p.m. on one Wednesday last spring, multiple shots were reported in a wooded area on Cold Spring Road near South Main Street, right across the road from an elementary school. 
Yet recent efforts by the police chief and other town leaders to gain some control over the shooting and the weaponry turned into a tumultuous civic fight, with traditional hunters and discreet gun owners opposed by assault weapon enthusiasts, and a modest tolerance for bearing arms competing with the staunch views of a gun industry trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which has made Newtown its home. 
The place that witnessed one of the worst mass killings in United States history on Friday, leaving 20 schoolchildren and 8 adults dead, is a bucolic New England town comfortable with its firearms, and not an obvious arena for the nation’s debate over gun control. But the legislative battle right here shows how even the slightest attempts to impose restrictions on guns can run into withering resistance, made all the more pointed by the escalation in firepower. 
“Something needs to be done,” said Joel T. Faxon, a hunter and a member of the town’s police commission, who championed the shooting restrictions. “These are not normal guns, that people need. These are guns for an arsenal, and you get lunatics like this guy who goes into a school fully armed and protected to take return fire. We live in a town, not in a war.”  
Read More at NY Times  

There seems to be a common theme developing from this tragedy that is splitting hunters from the NRA and GOA gun lobby.  No one in this Country is trying to take someone's guns they use for hunting or defending their homes or even target shooting.  The majority of gun owners in a poll don't understand the big clips holding up to a hundred bullets any better then the non-gun owners.  My Dad had a shotgun and a rifle to go hunting.  Finally we are seeing a move to reinstate the assault weapons ban once again along with getting high capacity clips off the market:
Meanwhile, lawmakers plan to introduce a renewed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Advocates have also called on states to post their mental health records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and additional legislation requiring full background check on all gun transactions. Polls show that even NRA members back these reforms. 
Who are these 31 Senators who refused to go on Meet the Press?  I am still looking after being to 11 websites.  Will post an update when I find it out the names of the 31 Senators:
Yet, even as right-wing pundits continued to name gun control as a reason that the killer took so many lives, producers at NBC’s Meet the Press were unable to get a single pro-gun senator to appear on the show the Sunday after the tragedy. All 31 gun-loving senators who will have seats in the new Congress were invited, according to executive producer Betsy Fischer Martin. 
Think it can safely be said that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was one of them but he was on a hunting trip this weekend and reason for his unavailability.  The Senator told the Joe Scarborough show this morning that everything is on the table.  Envision this would have been a Teddy Roosevelt response by the Senator.  Called his office and thanked him for his comments on Morning Joe.  The aide I talked to was very nice -- you could tell he agreed with the Senator's stance.
Manchin’s comments followed Joe Scarborough’s declaration of support for gun safety. The former Florida Congressman received the NRA’s highest ratings over his four terms in Congress, but on Monday he opened Morning Joe with a monologue in which he admitted that the tragedy “changed everything.” Scarbrough called for a comprehensive approach that addresses what he called “the toxic brew of a violent popular culture, a growing mental health cris, and the proliferation of combat-styled weapons”:
SCARBOROUGH: I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington’s old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. Entertainment moguls don’t have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across america. And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-styled, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want. It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It’s time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our school yards than putting together their next fund-raiser.
Joe Manchin: Time to act on guns 
Posted by Rachel Weiner on December 17, 2012 at 8:40 am 
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), a conservative Democrat and National Rifle Association member, said Monday that after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, it’s time to discuss new regulations on assault weapons.  
“I dont know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle,” Manchin told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”  ”I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.” 
Twenty children and six adults were killed Friday by a man firing a military-style semiautomatic weapon. The massacre, Manchin said, “changed the dialogue, and it should move beyond dialogue. We need action.” 
“Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered,” the senator said. “Anybody that’s a proud gun owner, anybody that’s a proud member of the NRA, we’re also proud parents. We’re also proud grandparents.” 
He said the gun lobby should be part of that conversation. Manchin got an “A” rating and an endorsement from the NRA in both the 2010 special election and 2012 general election. In a memorable campaign ad, he shot a copy of a cap-and-trade bill with a rifle.  
“I want to call all our friends in NRA, and sit down,” he said. “Bring them into it. They have to be at the table. We all have to.”  
On Twitter Monday morning, Manchin emphasized his desire for action:
Senator Joe Manchin@Sen_JoeManchin
This awful massacre has changed where we go from here. Our conversation should move beyond dialogue.
  17 Dec 12
Can truthfully say that former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough speaks for me on the issue of gun control.  Believe there are a lot of us who have evolved on the issue over the years as we have seen what guns in the wrong hands can do.  Innocent people are getting killed every day but looks like this tragedy and murder of 20 innocent children is the tipping point with a majority of Americans to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban and stop the sale of the large capacity clips for civilian use.  No civilian should have a military/law enforcement type weapon and magazine.

We are protected by our military including the National Guard which is the organized Constitutional militia.  We do not need a citizen militia -- same type of militia that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were members.  The unauthorized militia frankly scare me with their rhetoric against minorities.  Many of their websites remind you of Nazi's not Americans.  These sites give you the creeps when researching.

Then there is this from the morons of 'hate speech' who objected to the President's speech last night being carried when there was a Sunday Night Football game on the TV.  I am this huge football fan but I watched the President's speech and the Memorial Service on MSNBC which I thought was much more important to find out exactly what the President had to say.  These people couldn't just say they were mad that the President interrupted their viewing of the football game between the 49's and Patriots, they had to go off in using derogatory language against a sitting President.  How much of this language has been perpetrated by the hate emanating from conservative pundits and talk radio/TV?
“Take That "N....." Off The TV, We Wanna Watch Football!”: Idiots Respond To NBC Pre-Empting Sunday Night Football Timothy BurkeNBC pre-empted the first quarter of tonight's 49ers-Patriots game to show President Obama's speech at the Newtown memorial for victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. As you might expect, many football fans didn't take kindly to this. (So, too, some Bob's Burgers fans.) Here are those idiots, led by someone who claims to be a Division II football player in the state of Alabama. [Update: The Birmingham News reports he was a walk-on long snapper and is no longer on the team.

From Salon comes the five examples of the hard right and their not facing reality on guns -- same hard right that fosters the hatred against the President:
Here we offer five examples of the stunning lack of compassion and twisted logic expressed by right-wing leaders in response to a slaughter of children by the son of a gun enthusiast. 
1. Ann Coulter: Everybody should carry a concealed firearm.  The killings took place in the morning, and by 11:07 a.m., Ann Coulter, the publicity seeker whose big, bad mouth gives the little black dress a bad name, was touting concealed-carry laws as the answer to America’s massacre problem. Coulter’s first tweet on the subject came so soon after the killings, that there was no definitive count yet of the number of people who had perished: ”Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws. - bit.ly/VGDNBo
Well, that seemed to do the trick for a woman who never found a tragedy she couldn’t exploit, for by 11:30, she tweeted this: “I’m on Hannity radio today, talking about the 1 public policy that provably reduces the incidence of, and deaths from, mass shootings.” 
And that, boys and girls, is how to work the Twitter machine for self-promotion on the backs of slaughtered children. 
It’s not the first time that Coulter has expressed her love for guns in the wake of murder. At a Florida church in 2007, I heard Coulter describe the assassination of a doctor who performed abortions as “a procedure performed on him with a rifle.” 
2. Mike Huckabee: Massacre the result of church-state separation.Apparently, former Arkansas governor and pastor Mike Huckabee thinks that if only the Constitution had been rewritten to allow for the mandatory worship of his God in public schools, the massacre would not have happened. It’s unclear from Huckabee’s remarks, made on the Fox News Channel’s Your World show (Huckabee also has his own show on the cable channel), whether he was saying that if only killer Adam Lanza had gotten religion during his public school education, he wouldn’t have killed, or if Huckabee was suggesting that God was punishing a public school for not allowing organized worship in the classroom. 
“We ask why there is violence in our schools but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee told host Neil Cavuto. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”
Media Matters has the clip
3. Bryan Fischer: God let massacre happen in public school because he’s not wanted there. Bryan Fischer, the noxious radio-show host and spokesperson for the anti-gay hate group known as the American Family Association, put the blame for the massacre squarely on the Supreme Court, which outlawed organized public school prayer in 1962, as seen in this clip captured by Right Wing Watch. 
“I think God would say to us, ‘Hey, I’d be glad to protect your children, but you’ve got to invite me back into your world first,’” Fischer told his listeners. “‘I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted; I am a gentleman.’” Fischer continued in his imagined voice of God. So much of a gentleman is Fischer’s God that the Almighty would await an invitation before rushing in to protect 20 children from being gunned down. Thank goodness the police and firefighters who responded were so terribly rude. 
4. Glenn Beck: Killings caused by soul problems. Taking to his Twitter stream, Glenn Beck was quick to tweet, at 12:24 p.m.: “Our communities are suffering and it is because of the ever expanding lack of self control & personal responsibility.” 
Tweeter Val Farrelly replied: “It’s nothing to do with self control and everything to do with a lack of gun control.” 
Another Beck gem about the shootings: “It is not the gun. It is the soul.” 
5. Louie Gohmert: If only Sandy Hook principal had an assault rifle, everyone would have been saved. Speaking to host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, the Republican congressman from Texas let loose with this, as transcribed by the Huffington Post:
“Chris, I wish to God she had had an M4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,” Gohmert said.
The M4 is the rifle favored by the U.S. military; you can view its specs on the site of its manufacturer, Colt. Yeah, that’ll fix everything.
This is only a sampling of what has been said by the hard right gun rights community.  Huckabee tried to walk his comments back but then I think made them worse on his show on Fox yesterday:

On Friday, Neil Cavuto asked me, “Where was God?” And I said that for 50 years, we’ve systematically attempted to have God removed from our schools, our public activities. But then at the moment we have a calamity, we wonder where He was. 
Well, the predictable left lit up the airwaves and blogosphere with a vile and vicious reaction and jumped to the conclusion that I said that if we had prayer in school, the shooting wouldn’t have happened. Well, I said nothing of the sort. 
It’s far more than just taking prayer or Bible reading out of the schools. It’s the fact that people sue a city so we aren’t confronted with a manger scene or a Christmas carol. That lawsuits are filed to remove a cross that’s a memorial to fallen soldiers. Churches and Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax-funded abortions pills. We carefully and intentionally stop saying things are sinful. We call them ‘disorders.’ Sometimes, we even say they’re normal. And to get to where that we have to abandon bedrock moral truths, then we’ll ask well, where was God. 

And I respond that, as I see it, we’ve escorted him right out of our culture and we’ve marched him off the public square and then we express our surprise that a culture without him actually reflects what it’s become. As soon as the tragedy unfolded, I think God did show up. He showed up in the lives of teachers who put their lives between a gunman and their students. He showed up in policemen who rushed into the school not knowing if they would be met with a barrage of bullets. He showed up in the form of hugs and tears for children, parents and teachers who would live through the slaughter. He showed up at the overflowed church services where people lit candles and prayed. And he showed up at the White House where the president invoked His name and quoted from His book. And in a few days or weeks, we’ll probably ask God to excuse himself from view and we will announce, in our arrogant pride, that we’re now enlightened and educated and we’ve evolved beyond needing him. And somebody’s going to suggest that we pass a law to stop all this kind of thing. 
I might want to point out that we don’t have to pass a new law. There’s one that’s been around a while that works if we teach it and observe it: Thou shalt not kill. Oh, there are about nine others. But to tell you about ‘em would require bringing God back and we know how unacceptable that might be.
I don’t know… It seems to me that at a time like this, an ordained Baptist minister like Huckabee might be thinking more about reaching out and doing his best to comfort the afflicted. After all, some of those directly affected by this massacre might well be the kinds of people who don’t believe in having religion or religious symbols in a public square and support President Obama’s mandate that contraception be covered by health insurance. Instead, Huckabee is doubling down on his evangelizing – and sounding downright resentful while he's at it.  
Read More at Newshounds
The bottom line is that we can no longer put our heads in the sand and bow to the gun lobby by staying silent.  Too many people have been killed with legally obtained high powered guns with large magazines.  It is legal to buy a high powered rifle with large capacity gun magazines from a non-registered gun dealer and not have to have a background check or anything recorded.  Those rules put in place on gun/ammunition sales are only for registered gun dealers.  Even some of those have been watered down by the Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures over the years to where the rules are a joke.  The joke time is over and many Americans like me are demanding action out of their elected officials for common sense gun control.  

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