Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Dog Has A License

There's a terrific meme going around social media that sums up much of what I am feeling about guns:
How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion — mandatory 48-hr waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he's about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence, an ultrasound wand up the ass (just because). Let's close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.
It makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women and health care, right? I mean, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?                                                                                                                                                                origin unconfirmed

And not just young men. This should apply to anyone who wants to buy a gun.  

I've written about the Second Amendment so often I feel like it's an alternate address for me. And I keep coming back to the same phrase over and over: well regulated militia. Uh, we don't have a militia, well regulated or otherwise.  

What is it about this country that makes people think gun ownership is the same as home ownership or car ownership?

It's not. I am so damn tired of the argument, "I need a gun for protection. But I'm a responsible gun owner and keep them  locked in the gun safe." Excuse me, but that's idiotic. What? You're gonna tell the robber, "Wait a sec, I have to go get my gun outta the safe so I can shoot you." 

The Gun Violence Archive keeps a running list of statistics. This is the list as of October, 4, 2015:

This is a serious and very scary list. It's important to note that of 39,794 shooting incidents, only 910 have been defensive, and only 1,707 have been for home invasion. It's important to note the these are reported as defensive and home invasion; they do not differentiate for errors in judgement. Translated into percentages, that means .02286% have been defensive and .04289% have been home invasion. That is a total of .06576% of gun incidents are almost reasonable. That's a tad over 1/2 of 1%. Gunshot deaths, on the other hand, represent 25% of all reported incidents. 

Here is a list of mass shootings since Columbine High School in 1999 compiled by David Hodari at the UK's Daily Telegraph:
April 1999 - Two teenage schoolboys shot and killed 12 schoolmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before killing themselves.
July 1999 - A stock exchange trader in Atlanta, Georgia, killed 12 people including his wife and two children before taking his own life.
September 1999 - A gunman opened fire at a prayer service in Fort Worth, Texas, killing six people before committing suicide.
October 2002 - A series of sniper-style shootings occurred in Washington DC, leaving 10 dead.
August 2003 - In Chicago, a laid-off worker shot and killed six of his former workmates.
November 2004 - In Birchwood, Wisconsin, a hunter killed six other hunters and wounded two others after an argument with them.
March 2005 - A man opened fire at a church service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, killing seven people.
October 2006 - A truck driver killed five schoolgirls and seriously wounded six others in a school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania before taking his own life.
April 2007 - Student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 15 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, before shooting himself, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after 2000.
August 2007 - Three Delaware State University students were shot and killed in “execution style” by a 28-year-old and two 15-year-old boys. A fourth student was shot and stabbed.
December 2007 - A 20-year-old man killed nine people and injured five others in a shopping centre in Omaha, Nebraska.
December 2007 - A woman and her boyfriend shot dead six members of her family on Christmas Eve in Carnation, Washington.
February 2008 - A shooter who is still at large tied up and shot six women at a suburban clothing store in Chicago, leaving five of them dead and the remaining one injured.
February 2008 - A man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing five students and wounding 16 others before laying down his weapon and surrendering.
July 2008 – A former student shot three people in a computer lab at South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, Arizona.
September 2008 - a mentally ill man who was released from jail one month earlier shot eight people in Alger, Washington, leaving six of them dead and the rest two wounded.
October 2008 - Several men in a car drove up to a dormitory at the University of Central Arkansas and opened fire, killing two students and injuring a third person.
December 2008 - A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit opened fire at a family Christmas party in Covina, California, then set fire on the house and killed himself. Police later found nine people dead in the debris of the house.
March 2009 - A 28-year-old laid-off worker opened fire while driving a car through several towns in Alabama, killing 10 people.
March 2009 - A heavily-armed gunman shot dead eight people, many of them elderly and sick people, in a private-owned nursing home in North Carolina.
March 2009 - Six people were shot dead in a high-grade apartment building in Santa Clara, California.
April 2009 – An 18-year-old former student followed a pizza deliveryman into his old dormitory, and shot the deliveryman, a dorm monitor, and himself at Hampton University, Virginia.
April 2009 - A man shot dead 13 people at a civic center in Binghamton, New York.
July 2009 - Six people, including one student, were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University, Houston.
November 2009 - US army psychologist Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded.
February 2010  A professor opened fire 50 minutes into at a Biological Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama, killing three colleagues and wounding three others
January 2011 - a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tuscon, Arizona, killing six people including a nine-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely injured with a gunshot to the head.
July 2012 - Masked gunman James Holmes opens fire at midnight cinema screen of new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 and injuring 58.
August 2012 Gunman kills six people at SIkh temple in Wisconsin before being shot dead by police. Suspect is named as white supremacists Wade Michael Page.
September 2012 – Employee kills five coworkers and himself at Accent Signage in  Minneapolis. [added by WP]
December 2012 - Adam Lanza, 20, forces his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He kills 20 first-graders and six adults. Before arriving at the school, he had killed his mother at their home.
June 2013 - John Zawahri, an unemployed 23-year-old, kills five people in a rampage which begins at his father home and ends in Santa Monica College's library.
September 2013 - Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor and former Navy man, engages police in a running firefight in the Washington D.C. industrial complex before being shot and killed. Thirteen people were killed and three injured.
May 2014 - Elliot Rodger opens fire in the campus town of Isla Vista, California from inside a black BMW, killing seven people. Rodgers acted alone and written and video evidence suggest the attack is premeditated.
June 2015 - White supremacist, Dylann Roof, begins shooting in a historic black church in an attempt to start a race-war. He kills nine people.
August 2015 - Vester Lee Flanagan II aka Bryce Williams shoots dead two former colleagues from the WDBJ7 news team.

October 2015 - Ten people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Oregon's Umpqua Community College. [added by WP]
Those are really the highlights of mass murder more than anything else. 

We demand driver's licenses for all those who would drive a car in this country. We insist they carry insurance in case of the inevitable accident. 

We demand manicurists and hairdressers be licensed. 

We even demand dog owners have licenses.

But we cannot pull our act together to have some sort of gun control laws? Really?

We don't live in a war-torn nation with terrorists blowing themselves up in supermarkets, yet the gun laws in Israel make owning a personal gun an arduous process and almost an impossibility. We don't have roving bands of miscreants shooting tourists or families in cars. And folks, we don't have vigilantes tearing through the countryside taking potshots at illegals sneaking across the border. Nope. We just kill our own.

We, the People, of the United States look totally stupid to the rest of the world. And not just stupid, We, the People, look like violent barbarians, greedy and unrestrained. We live in the richest country in the world, yet we barely provide subsistence services like health care and affordable housing. We treat teachers, the foundation builders of our future, like unskilled labor. And we treat the veterans of our armed services as nothing more than an old inconvenience to be swept up with the trash when they need help most. 

We are the proud owners of an entitled aristocracy that sees themselves above the vast populace with no social responsibility ...not even noblesse oblige. And that includes, but is not limited to, corporate lobbies that fight against the good and welfare of this nation.

In the coming months we will be treated to the idiocy of the GOP Clown Cavalcade and the Democratic Sanctamonium Soirée as they march lock-step toward Election Day 2016. You will be sick and tired and disgusted by the attack ads, swift-boat attempts, lies, accusations, and assorted bullshit lobbed across the airwaves and newspapers. You will hate it for everything that is wrong with the system. You will threaten not to vote at all.


If you don't like what you read above, do something to change it. Get off your butt and fight for sensible laws. Do not sign this nation over lock, stock, and barrel to the the big lobbies who don't give a damn about We, the People of the United States. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

? אם לא עכשיו, אימתי
If not now, when?
                        Pirke Avot 1:14


  1. What's your definition of a mass shooting?
    The Accent Signage Systems shooting in Sep 2012 in Minneapolis left 6 dead plus the perp. It hits "closer to home" when it's closer to home.

    1. Interesting question...and I have added Accent Signage to the list. I do not know why it was not there in the first place.

      Mass shooting is not the same as mass murder, I found out. Thin line of difference but it does skew some of the reporting.

      Thank you for the heads up on Accent Signage.



  3. Dear Wifely Person,

    I have been reading your column/blog for several years and appreciate your efforts in bringing many critical issues out into the open for discussion and thought. The topic of gun control is one that is very near and dear to me, as my brother-in-law, Tom, was murdered by someone who was obviously disturbed and dangerous yet had an arsenal of guns. Tom, and two co-workers, were murdered on June 21, 2000 in the line of duty. Tom was a compliance officer with the USDA, and was out visiting a sausage plant where the owner had been in violation of USDA regulations for quite some time. As a compliance officer, Tom and his co-worker were sent in after various meat inspectors were not able to work with the plant owner to come into compliance with USDA regulations (he was under-cooking meat, among other violations). That day, there were also two members of the California Department of Food and Agriculture present. The plant owner brought a bag of guns and ammunition into his office, and then proceeded to ambush the officers, shooting three, and chasing the fourth down the street. He came back and put a bullet in the back of the head of each of the three he shot, making sure they were dead. The fourth died several years ago from cancer, and it is something my husband and I still believe was brought on by the stress of the events of June 21, 2000.

    My husband and I attended the very lengthy trial that lasted 10 months, along with several years of pre-trial motions. In spite of the killings being videotaped on his security camera, the trial was the longest in Alameda County history, thanks to the defense attorney who himself was a deeply disturbed individual (egregiously lying throughout the trial, accusing the judge, prosecutors, the press and my husband and I of various misdeeds (none of which had any merit or truth), trying to start a fist fight with one of the prosecutors, calling for mistrials on an almost daily basis, etc. - all things we witnessed in person as we sat in the court room day after day). The jury unanimously found the defendant guilty on all counts, and he was given the death penalty, largely, we believe, based on his history of violence throughout his life, culminating in his final act. He died within the year, on death row, in San Quentin at the age of 44 (natural causes). I will say that we are not ardent proponents of the death penalty and we had no input on that aspect of the trial, but we do feel that the prosecutors put on an extremely ethical and factual case - the same cannot be said for the defense.

    To say this impacted our lives, as well as the lives of the other families, friends, co-workers, etc. does not even begin to describe how we feel. Had the plant owner not had access to guns, we firmly believe this would have been a different story. He would not have been able to kill three adults, all of whom were strong and vital, with something other than a gun. Every time we hear another story of gun violence and mass shootings, it brings back all the pain and misery we have dealt with over the years. We are to the point where we are seriously considering moving out of the United States, as we feel safer in just about any other western country (e.g. European countries, Australia, Canada, etc.) than we feel here at home.

    We believe your column this week was very moving, and only wish that our Congress would wake up and pass some meaningful legislation. But, as has been the case, it seems the NRA is just too powerful, and our decline into mayhem will likely continue.

    Thank you again for writing your column - it is something I look forward to reading each week.

    Best regards,

    Kathy Pagan Quadros
    John Quadros
    Fremont, CA

  4. Just shared this on FB. I sign the things, I go to the rallies, I make the phone calls. Still I feel like it will get so much worse before it gets better. We seem so unable to come to productive solutions. Somehow, addressing a conflict with a bullet has become acceptable, and every one of those people was someone's baby.

  5. Should we outlaw large knives or just require background checks for their purchase?

    Ex-Boyfriend Kills Two SUNY Geneseo Students, Then Himself
    21-year-old Kelsey Annese and 24-year-old Matthew Hutchinson, two students who had been attending the State University of New York-College at Geneseo, were murdered by a former student who had previously dated Annese. Police say the two were stabbed by 24-year-old Colin Kingston, an alum of SUNY.
    ...Kingston was believed to have stabbed Annese and Hutchinson to death with a large knife before killing himself with the same weapon. Annese and Kingston had recently broken up after a three-year relationship.

    1. You are talking about a crime of passion here, not the general shoot 'em up mass murder committed by people who buy their guns off the 'net or a gun show. Try to wrap your arms around this: no one is talking about taking away legally obtained firearms. Non-NRA people are talking about removing the readily-available assaults weapons designed to kill large numbers of people. What? You're gonna go mow down a herd of Bambi?

      If you need a license and insurance for a car, why not for a gun? You have to pass a licensing process that includes a background check...just like getting a license. So quite equating this with some kind of anti-gun fantasy. This is about _responsible_ gun ownership.