You know I have to talk about guns now

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My son is 13. He and a friend went to the movies the other afternoon, at the San Francisco Metreon. I was at work; I wasn't a bit worried. They're good kids, city kids, they travel around on Muni and BART, hang out with their friends after school ... and what's safer than a movie theater?

Jesus fucking Christ.

It's apparently random, and the guy who killed at least 12 people in Colorado is probably crazy, and you can't decide to keep your kids locked up in a bulletproof room all day just because a nutcase 2,000 miles away went crazy at a Batman show. People get killed riding bikes, too, and Michael rides everywhere.

But I'm not the only one who thinks that this massacre could have been prevented -- or at least, the severity of it could have been prevented -- if it wasn't so easy to get high-powered assault-style weapons in this country. Here's a press release from state Sen. Leland Yee:

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this horrific tragedy and their families. These events are shocking to all of us and sadly remind us of the carnage that is possible when assault weapons get into the wrong hands. It is imperative that we take every step possible to eliminate the types of senseless killings witnessed in Aurora, Colorado. We must limit access to weapons that can carry massive rounds of bullets or that can be easily reloaded. SB 249 is a step in that direction and should be approved by the Legislature as soon as possible.

Here's US Senator Dianne Feinstein (who knows a thing or two about gun violence):

Today is a time for grieving but my hope is the country will also reflect on the roots of gun violence that has again visited terror on an American community, claiming the lives of more innocents.

Here's LA Times columnist Paul Whitefield:

We don’t need to disarm Americans.  But neither do we need to arm Americans with assault rifles.  We can respect the 2nd Amendment -- and respect the right of young people to go to a theater without having to survive a fusillade normally reserved for the battlefield.

And here's me:

Nobody needs a AK 47. Nobody needs to be able to carry around a weapon that has the kind of firepower that it takes to create this level of terror and carnage. And for those people who want to argue that an armed populace would prevent this kind of thing, imagine if half a dozen pistol-packing civilians started firing through smoke grenades at a guy wearing body armor in a crowded theater. You want the body count any higher?

This, my friend and trolls and gun lovers, is just insane.

UPDATE: Damn, those federal regulations make it hard for an honest citizen to buy a gun.

I have a Gander Mountain gift card in my wallet. Seriously. Wonder what I should do with it.

 

Comments

We live in a violent culture...I'm also tired of seeing these rampages, and then hearing about how it's too bad guns are so easy to get. Why isn't legislation in place already preventing this? I agree with you, Tim.

Also, we need to institutionalize nonviolence education in schools: nonviolent (aka compassionate) communication, and meditation practices, whereby young people can have the skills it takes to navigate life better, and learn equanimity in the face of turbulent times. It is so easy to absorb things when you are 6, 7, 8 years old. How wonderful it would be if children knew like the palm of their hand how to have conflict in peaceful ways...as it stands, most of us are never taught these skills, and why? Because *we are a violent culture* and therefore have a blind spot for these practices that already exist and are just waiting to be implemented.

It'd be nice too if the 6 o'clock news devoted more stories to the positive, and not just crime spree after crime spree....but that too is just another symptom of a violent culture....and the violence in tv shows, videos, and speech that you see in radio, and a host of other places...

Posted by Daniele E. on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

Wow, that's a great sentiment. Too bad Mirkarimi didn't learn when he was young to not put hands on another person and "resolve conflicts in peaceful ways"...

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

We can all stand to learn. You, me, Mirkarimi, and all Trolls, everywhere.
Goodnight.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 11:41 pm
Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

Then you can see "violent", uncompassionate communication everyday. They don't call politics (around here, anyway) a blood-sport for nothing.
I don't hit either (and there is no evidence that Ross "beats" his wife)...but violence comes in all kinds of configurations. Basically, if you hurt another person, even verbally/emotionally, that is a form of violence.

It takes a little training/un-learning to know how to have conflict in a way where all "sides" feel listened to and respected and where everyone's needs are met. I don't know about you, but no one ever taught this to me. Someone turned me on to NVC (nonviolent communication) and I'm glad they did. But I still have a lot to learn.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 12:23 am
Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 5:02 am
Er,

I'm getting just a little tired of people using misleading/conflated words like "assault" and "wife-beating" when the evidence is an arm-bruise caused by an arm-grab.

It's good to really look at the evidence. It's good to really learn how to describe what is before you, and try not to confuse what is before you with your own imagination or interpretations. It's a good exercise to try to do that in all areas of life. Life gets a lot simpler that way, and we can all breathe a little easier as a result.

But if you wanna keep doing what you're doing, there's a job for you somewhere at the Chronicle...

Posted by Daniele E. on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 9:25 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 9:49 am

Tim, readers can get the facts about gun violence (if they're interested in facts rather than NRA rhetoric) at Harvard School of Public Health's Injury Control Research Center website: http://ht.ly/cofr3. ie States with higher gun ownership rates have higher rates of gun homicide. Same holds true for countries. (the point -- guns don't make people safer) And guns in the home are more likely to be used to intimidate domestic partners than to fend off strangers. Meanwhile, young people who commit suicide by firearms almost always do it w the family gun. The "right to bear arms" is unequivocally the "right to be killed by a gun." Semi-automatic weapons turn psycho killers into mass murderers. Think about if the guy had only had a knife...

Posted by Guest Robin Herman on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

The carnage of innocent life gets sickening...

Posted by StevenTorrey on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

I feel awful as anyone else that this happened, but there are already way too many guns in the country to disarm us at this point. You cant argue that if there had been one responsible CCL holder in the auditorium a lot of this could have been prevented. You live in a country that was founded upon the right to own firearms, if you don't like it, its really too bad.

Posted by Matt on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

problem. you need to change the culture here and not ban people from being able to defend themselves.

99.99% of guns are never used in anger.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

Yes, but all Swiss have military training.

In the USA, it is easier to buy a gun than to get a driving license.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

You wanna repeal the 2nd - knock yourself out. But incidents like this tell me I need my gun more than ever.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 5:05 am

It is the bullets that kill people.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 6:53 am

Nice try though. Obama tried that, for about a minute. Every bullet in every WalMart ran out of the door. People will stockpile 100 years worth of ammo long before Congress ever goes for that.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 7:49 am

You're an f'n idiot!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 22, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

Ditto!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 22, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

That's correct!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 22, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

Aurora, Colorado tragedy: The latest mass shooting in the US
By David Walsh
21 July 2012

In the latest episode of the unfolding American nightmare, a 24-year-old man allegedly walked into a crowded premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado just after midnight early Friday and opened fire, killing at least 12 people and wounding 59. Among the dead and wounded were young children.

From the US president and governor of Colorado—both Democrats—on down, the official effort at damage control began at once. The tragedy, the public is told, is “senseless” and “inexplicable”—in any case, it has nothing to do with the state of American society.

Thirteen years after the Columbine High School killings, which occurred only 30 miles from Friday’s atrocity (see, “The Columbine High School massacre: American Pastoral ... American Berserk”), and after countless other mass shootings in the intervening years, including the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 and the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, the establishment’s arguments are not merely banal and superficial, they reek of bad faith.

Police have identified the movie theater shooter as James Eagan Holmes, originally from San Diego, California. In 2011 Holmes enrolled as a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado Medical School campus in Aurora, in suburban Denver, but was in the process of withdrawing from the school.

Shaken, horrified witnesses told reporters that, 20 or 30 minutes into the third part of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the gunman entered the showing at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center through an emergency exit near the front. He reportedly set off smoke bombs and began firing at audience members.

Witnesses told a local television station, “He looked so calm when he did it … He waited for both the bombs to explode before he did anything. Then, after both of them exploded, he began to shoot. … He had no specific target. He just started letting loose.” The shooter apparently never said a word during the attack.

Survivors offered terrifying accounts of gunshots, screams and bullet-ridden bodies in a smoke-filled room. Wounded and blood-covered moviegoers fled the movie theater in panic. Ten people died at the scene. Others remain in critical condition in local hospitals.

Dressed in an all-black outfit and wearing body armor and a gas mask, Holmes was armed, say authorities, with an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a .40-caliber handgun. Another weapon was found in his car, to which he retreated after the attack and where he was detained by police, without a struggle.

According to police, the alleged gunman then informed them that his apartment was heavily booby-trapped. Authorities evacuated the building, home exclusively to students, faculty and staff from the medical campus, and four other surrounding ones. With a camera on the end of a 12-foot pole, they explored the unit. The results were “alarming,” as agents discovered “buckets of extra ammunition” and flammable and explosive material.

Holmes’ family lives in Rancho Penasquitos, a community in northeastern San Diego. He graduated from the city’s Westview High School in 2006, and moved on to the University of California, Riverside, 100 miles north of San Diego. He received a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience in 2010. A fellow student told NBC that Holmes completed the honors program and belonged to the Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honor societies at Riverside.

“I always thought that he was a little strange. I could never put my finger on it, but something told me to not get too close to him … He was a very smart guy though. He was a little bit of a weird guy, but we were honors students, so weird people were kind of common,” the female student told NBC.

According to a former neighbor in San Diego, Tom Mai, a retired electrical engineer, Holmes could not find work after graduating from UC Riverside two years ago. Mai remembered Holmes as a “shy, well-mannered young man,” according to the Los Angeles Times, “heavily involved in their local Presbyterian church.”

Aurora is Colorado’s third-largest city with a population of some 325,000. The biggest employer is the Buckley Air Force Base. According to its official site, Buckley “defends America through its air operations, space-based missile warning capabilities, space surveillance operations, space communications operations and support functions.”

Along with the University of Colorado Hospital, its Anschutz Medical Campus and the Children’s Hospital, other major employers in the city include ADT Security Services and defense-related giants Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

Aurora has many Latino residents, who make up some 29 percent of the population, and Holmes lived in a predominantly Latino neighborhood.

The immediate motive for the act of mass murder is not known. However, the anti-social character of the crime, its extraordinary misanthropy, stands out. The gunman chose to attack an opening night screening of a much-anticipated film, at which he could count on finding many residents of Aurora and the surrounding area, in search of relaxation and entertainment. Many were decked out in Batman costumes and the like. Horribly, when the gunman first appeared, a number of audience members thought his presence had something to do with the movie.

No attempt is made, or can be made, by official circles to explain or plumb the depths of such social bitterness and pent-up anger. The results would be too damning for those making the study.

President Barack Obama’s public comments in regard to the Aurora shooting were as empty as those issued by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in similar circumstances, but managed to exceed those of his predecessors in their cynicism and self-promotion.

Obama told the crowd that, “the federal government stands ready to do whatever is necessary to bring whoever is responsible for this heinous crime to justice. (Applause.) And we will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people.”

This is demonstrably false. By its plundering of resources and military aggression overseas and its social destructiveness at home, the US ruling elite, with Obama at its helm, has made life immeasurably less safe for the American population.

Obama continued, waxing philosophical, “We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It’s beyond reason.” This from the man who helps draw up a weekly “kill list” of those targeted for assassination in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere.

It is too early to attempt to explain Holmes’ action. Many more facts will emerge. This much can be said with certainty. Since the Columbine massacre, social life in America has sharply deteriorated and social tensions have only increased. Past tragedies, including the Columbine, Virginia Tech and Giffords shootings have gone unexplained and unaccounted for, and the Aurora tragedy will be no different.

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Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 3:11 am

To implement peace studies in schools. Why can't we have conflict-resolution/meditation as part of the curriculum in schools? Cause we're too busy teaching reading, writing and arithmetic....and being in denial about our problems re violence.

Supposedly, Oakland has already implemented some of this into their schools, though I admit, I'm not sure to what extent....

But I keep writing about it, because I know that it makes complete sense to give these skills to our kids early on—hell, we all need them.

Meditation and all its permutations is a mind-blower in the best sense....
NVC (nonviolent communication) wowed me like nothing else when someone took me to one of their free workshops about 10 years ago.

For more info, go here: http://baynvc.org/

Posted by Daniele E. on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 9:42 am

Government can not protect us.
If you ever are confronted by a similar situation you can try to hide, pray and be prey.
OR
u can be armed and protect your self and your love ones.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

Or you can inoculate this society from violence if we give ourselves the right skills. Of course, too, good services need to be in place for people with mental illness. This is a case in point where the rich might be able to understand that we are all interrelated, like it or not. If there's not enough money, then that's what taxing the rich is for: so they (and everyone else) can be safe.

If you like the vision of everyone walking around with a lethal weapon, I wonder how you sleep at night. That is a world-view based on fear.

I know firsthand the power of gaining skills—mind skills—the ones that stay with you for life. The ones that make life so much more enjoyable. The ones that teach you how to navigate life's ups and downs. We need them. And we should be taught them. We should demand that we be taught these skills.

That's called a civilized society. Up till now, I guess the emphasis has been on reading, writing and arithmetic. I submit to you that maybe we should include peace as a legit field of study. Start em young, start em early. And don't forget: our society was founded on violence with the decimation of the Native Americans. That was par for the course. We are still in that mindset, hence the need to acknowledge it, and do something about it, once and for all.

And in the meantime, make it really, really, really hard to get a gun. The fact that this is not the case is the real crime.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

world was as self identified smart as you.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 23, 2012 @ 7:12 am

Are you being sarcastic, matlock?
As long as I'm gonna make the effort to comment on these blogs, I try to share what i've learned, is all. Take it or leave it.
Not sure how else to take your comment. Cause I never "self-identified" as smart. I just care about certain issues, and when I care, I share what I know or observe...
I'm also interested in knowing how others would disagree, so feel free...

Posted by Daniele E. on Jul. 25, 2012 @ 10:32 am

Thumbs up!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 22, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

Why has the US media failed to mention that Holmes took Vicodin just before he opened fire in a crowded theatre? I only found out about this by reading numerous reports in the foreign press. Is there some kind of blackout on this news in the States? If so, why?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 25, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

The Batman Massacre:
Will it wake us up?

A Response from Michael Nagler
of the Metta Center for Nonviolence

I want to make an offer to my fellow Americans who are, like myself, reeling from the worst “random” shooting the country has ever seen. My question: Have you had enough? Because if you have, I can tell you how to stop this kind of madness. I know that’s a bold claim, but this is not a time for small measures.

We cannot fix this tomorrow, because we didn’t cause it yesterday. We have been building up to this domestic holocaust since – to take one milestone – television was made available to the general public at the conclusion of World War Two.
If you are still with me, you are prepared to believe that it was not a coincidence that this massacre took place at the scene of an extremely violent, “long-awaited” movie. Psychologists have proved over and over again that – guess what – exposure to violent imagery produces disturbances in the mind that must, in course of time, take form in outward behavior. The imagery can be in any medium, nor does it matter whether on the surface of our minds we think what we’re seeing is real or made up. This is a natural, scientific law. Exactly who will crack next and in what setting is nearly impossible to predict, and in any case it’s ridiculous to try to run around stopping the resulting violence from being acted out after the mental damage has been done. The only sane approach is not to do it in the first place.
As Lt. Col. Dave Grossman pointed out in his book, Let’s Stop Killing Our Kids, the video games that the Army uses to prepare ordinary men and women for combat, in other words to wipe out the normal empathy and inhibitions against hurting others that we’ve built up over millennia – a process known as civilization – are the very same games our young people buy across the counter throughout the country.
Of course, there are other factors. At some point we will have to talk about readily available weapons; at some point we’ll have to realize that a nation that engages in heartless drone warfare, torture, and extrajudicial killings cannot expect to live in peace. But until we liberate our minds from the endless pounding of violent imagery I fear we won’t be able to think clearly about those factors (or for that matter anything else).
With rare exceptions, film and video game producers will not stop turning out these dehumanizing products as long as there is profit to be made from them – and not enough sophistication about culture or the human mind to warn us about their dangers. But there is a way, one that has worked well on the small scales on which it has so far been tried: don’t watch them. Captain Boycott had the right approach.
Right now police have been posted at theaters where this same movie is being shown – still. But ask yourself, what are they protecting? Is it perhaps the belief that violence is just entertaining? People, tell me when you’ve had enough.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jul. 25, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

So Mr. Redmond says no one needs an 'assault rifle'. A true assault rifle is capable of fully automatic fire; that is to say, it is a machine gun. Semi-automatic guns fire once each time the trigger is pulled. There are lots of things in life that people don't 'need'.

When a breakdown of law and order occurs, a need for high-capacity semi-automatic weapons exists. I recall with absolute clarity seeing images of people using high-capacity semi-automatic rifles to keep rioters at bay during the Rodney King verdict riots in Los Angeles.

I'll take the minuscule risk of living in a society wherein semi-automatic firearms are in the hands of ordinary people. In Switzerland, many homes have machine guns in them, so why aren't the Swiss killing each other at the same rate (or more) than we do?

Because this country is savage; the problem isn't the guns, it's between the ears of the US population.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 27, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

The right for everyone to be safe trumps the right to carry a firearm. Guns need to be banned to make this a civil society.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2012 @ 8:42 am

The only guarantee of safety in the US Constitution is in the 4th amendment guarantees that the guvmint won't compromise the safety of a person or their papers without due process. One way that we keep the 4th amendment viable in the face of bipartisan onslaught is to keep the 2d amendment strong.

The right wing is thought to be well armed in the US. The right wing is politically triumphant when they win elections and when they lose. The left wing is not perceived to be armed in the US. The left wing is politically powerless whether or not leftish ideas win or lose an election.

In other words, had the left been perceived as armed, we'd have a public option for health care finance by now.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2012 @ 9:05 am

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