America’s Homegrown Killing Fields

by Diane Dimond on February 4, 2013

Going “Postal” in America since 1983

 

It has been a long time since the first postal worker went postal back in 1983. Since then America has endured countless other mass shootings. But, the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut was supposed to change everything.

We collectively declared that the horror of innocent children being gunned down in cold blood was a game changer. A troubled son shooting his mother to death in her bed and then rampaging through an elementary school was our national wake-up call. Finally, we told each other, it was time for America to do something about its gun problem!

It would have been a glorious homage to the Newtown victims. Sorry to say, however, those 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School died needlessly. So did victim number one, Nancy Lanza, the mother of the shooter.

It Was Supposed to be a Game Changer

Since that awful day in Connecticut last December 14 special interest groups have drawn lines in the sand, politicians have made declarations, the Vice President held some meetings where some of the same old suggestions popped up. We have argued about Second Amendment rights, semi-automatic rifles, the number of bullets in magazine clips, background checks, gun show sales and how the NRA must be to blame for the whole rotten mess. 

In reality, it is the ubiquitous handgun that does most of the killing in this country but few are talking about that. And it is not the vast majority of gun owners who dutifully follow the law and register their guns (and maybe belongs to the NRA) that are the problem. It is the criminal element and the mentally ill who most often perpetrate gun violence. 

Please, let’s get it straight who the real enemy is and focus on what to do about them!  

The Daily U.S. Gun Death Toll Here

It makes me incredibly sad as I make my daily check at a web portal set up by the on-line news site, Slate, and co-managed by a group called @GunDeaths. The editors readily admit that their U.S. murder data is incomplete because in a country as big as ours it is not easy to contemporaneously register every single death. So, they augment their own reporting with verifiable death information the public sends in. The site’s best calculation concludes that since the Newtown massacre more than 1480 Americans have died by gun violence. 

At my deadline the heavily populated state of California led the way with 146 people murdered in the 7 weeks since the Newtown tragedy. About a dozen of them were children. 

In Texas, there were 110 gun deaths. Florida was close behind with 90. The city of Chicago has become a virtual killing field with at least 53 recent gun deaths despite having one of the country’s most restrictive set of gun laws. Illinois’ statewide gun death total since Newtown is 77. Missouri counted nearly 51 people and New York had 42 killed by guns. In New Mexico, the list reflected another mass shooting by a troubled son who gunned down both his parents and three siblings. That brought the death toll in the Land of Enchantment to at least 15 since the elementary school shooting in Connecticut that was supposed to change everything. 

At least 1480 Filled Coffins Since Newtown

Think of it: More than 1480 bullet-ridden bodies stacked up at morgues across the country. 1480 funerals, countless thousands of family members forced to join the ranks of grief. At this pace 2013’s tally will soon surpass the number of people who died in the terrorists acts of September 11th. We will count more dead Americans right here at home this year than all the U.S. military members who lost their lives in the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

How many more will die before we can agree on concrete solutions? 

As we dither and do nothing, North Carolina has seen 58 gun-related deaths since Newtown. Georgia reported 55 dead. Louisiana had 53, Colorado 33, Michigan 46, Oklahoma 37, Indiana 37, Arizona 29, Washington State 22 …. The sorrowful list goes on and on and continues to grow at a steady gallop.

Perhaps we should take a cue from Australia where plenty of people still have guns. In 1996, after a massacre in which 35 people died swift action was taken. The most dangerous rifles and shotguns were outlawed and the government launched a buy-back program of those banned firearms. Over the next decade gun related homicides fell by 59 percent and the suicide rate fell by 65 percent. A coincidence? Maybe. 

Rationing Bullets the Answer?

I don’t hear much talk about cutting off the criminal’s favorite ammunition source – the internet – or more closely regulating the sale of bullets so that only the most demonstrably responsible gun owners could buy them. With 311 million guns in America maybe a limit on the number of new guns that could be imported or manufactured here would be in order. And, my personal favorite: Let’s pass an iron clad national law that any criminal using a gun in the commission of a crime gets an automatic extra 10 years tacked onto their sentence. No questions, no leniency. This tactic protects honorable gun owners and insures both the criminal and their confiscated gun are off the streets for a long time. 

In the meantime, I challenge every newspaper in America to dedicate a daily front page spot to the growing gun death toll tally – complete with pictures of the dead children caught up in our adult madness. Every radio station and evening newscast should dedicate time to this too. It’s easy in our busy lives to overlook the carnage – but not if it’s human toll is staring us in the face every day. We have to keep the dialogue alive if we ever hope to find real solutions.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

ABQ Journal Reader Anonymous writes:

“Gun Control huh . . . it will do absolutely nothing to prevent harm to innocents because law abiding citizens are not who we need to worry about, and the “non-law abiding ones” could not care less about enforcement action taken against those they prey upon. Australia has become a quasi-socialist country, where gun ownership is virtually non-existent.

We are not Australia. But more importantly, Australia doesn’t have a 2nd Amendment, and did not have to fight against the most powerful nation on Earth for its freedom and independence. We did, and we recognized that gun ownership is and always has been the great equalizer against an oppressive government.

The only way to rid our nation of its tens of millions of guns and gun owners, is to declare Martial Law, require the military to go door-to-door and, by force, seize all privately owned guns, and when insurrections begin by those who won’t surrender their guns, they would need to be shot and killed on the spot as a lesson for anyone else who might possess a gun other than those who “protect us from us”. Such a strategy is impracticable, but not impossible. In order to disarm Americans, we would need to accept another bloody civil war as a natural and predictable consequence. To be sure, the ultimate goal of the gun “control” community, is a total ban on private gun ownership. They just won’t admit it. So they try in stages. They come up with feel good, but do nothing answers to these complex societal problems. A ban on semi-automatic firearms is a joke. It will not make a difference, because those who won’t be affected by the ban are the ones we should worry about most – criminals who don’t care about any laws.

Guess what? The 2nd Amendment exists, and only dishonest Americans pretend it does not. So if we are going to abolish that Amendment, I think we should just go ahead and abolish them all. You know, free press, expression, religion, etc . . .

Only rational ideas that don’t punish those among us who care about ALL of the rights, will have any effect on the problem of violence.

I have one idea, that I know for a fact will make a difference, and that is to actually punish violent offenders in this country. Defense lawyers and bleeding heart judges have for many years found a way to push for alternative punishment strategies for those who prey on the innocent. Here in NM, unless the feds get a hold of such offenders, these types of offenders know they will almost never face any kind of punishment for their crimes in the state system. I know of violent offenders who have dozens of arrests and convictions, who have never spent any time in jail. It’s disgusting.

So actually enforcing the laws might be a good idea.

Some other simple things might help – guns should be locked up; those with serious mental defects should not possess guns (but this is a difficult problem too – who decides who is “mentally defective”, and how does it get reported to law enforcement???), and background checks for all gun transfers also makes sense.

But although it is apparently fun for abolitionists and the uninformed to attack certain types of guns, the fact is by a long shot, the most common firearm used in violent crime is the handgun. Should we ban all handguns, and like Australia, force all honest citizens to turn them in to the police or go to jail?

The thought sickens me.

I challenge every news paper in the country to publish stories about citizens who successfully defend themselves against violent offenders. There are many such stories, but writing about them does not serve the interests of those who want to focus on the object as opposed to the person possessing the object.”

Reply

Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

ABQ Journal Reader dschuhma writes:

“Once again, your column is a pretty good one but I feel like you have danced around the central issues.

One pertinent question I always have about these things is: “would everybody be happy (or happier) if all these deaths were added to the vehicular deaths, or drug deaths, or medical mistakes deaths, or hammer or baseball bat or knife deaths?

Always seems to me that any gun death causes a storm of moral outrage, while all these other things that just seem to be part of everyday life mostly get a pass. If the 20 kids at Sandy Hook had been killed in a humongous school bus crash, would we be about banning school buses? A few years ago there was a movement afoot to require seat belts on school buses but it never went anywhere. Why not? There were various excuses, most of which were invalid. In private autos kids must be in car seats until they are 8 years old! How about car seats for school buses?

I belong to the so called “gun rights” community, in that I see the owning of guns by private individuals, whether for defense, target shooting (both informal and for matches), or collecting, or hunting, as firmly connected to individual FREEDOM. Since those of us who like me belong to this community have done nothing wrong or illegal, there is no reason whatsoever to punish us by making us forfeit our property or jump through endless hoops to obtain arms and ammunition, or for that matter, to reload our own ammunition to be used for hunting or target shooting. I personally am too old to engage in most of these activities, and don’t have the free time anyway, but I can still have strong opinions about the gun issue. Every time a large effort is made to push for more “gun control”, the pushers never seem to understand why it’s such a controversial issue. They always say “we can find common ground”, but the common ground invariably means for US to give up some rights we have now.

This issue will NEVER be non-controversial as long as there are people who believe in freedom and defense rights. If pushed too far, the results could be a disaster for our country. “

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

ABQ Journal Reader David A. Exe writes:

“Following is a letter I composed and sent to my governmental representatives. It addresses the single most important factor of the 2nd amendment and the one that everyone seems to want to ignore. I find the same thing lacking in your latest article in the 2/2/13 Albuquerque Journal. It is very true that when we ignore history it WILL repeat itself. We are now ignoring what governments do when they are given absolute control. And PLEASE don’t try to come up with the Americans’ VOTE as being something that will protect us in the far future. That is under the ultimate control of the government and will be made meaningless when the government has total control. Our vote is only meaningful BECAUSE of the 2nd amendment.

I hope that you can take the time to read the following, and reflect upon just where YOUR freedom comes from, what has sustained it for the past, mere, 250 years, and what will sustain it for the next 500 years. Try to seriously and accurately asses just what will happen when the people of the United States no longer have the ability to stand against the government and those people, such as Stalin, Hitler, Assad, and others,who WILL have embodied themselves within the government. Please asses just what it would be like if there were, and could not be, any investigation or control, on the police. It that isn’t a worry, then you should be advocating the total abandonment of any police, or government, investigations for abuse of power right NOW!

Enclosure:

As a parent, citizen and Vietnam veteran I implore you to stand against any further additional gun regulations and infringement of the 2nd amendment. I do this, not on my behalf, nor on behalf of my children and grandchildren. I implore you on behalf of my great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

I wish to draw attention to 3 words in the 1st and 2nd amendments of the Bill of Rights. The first word is “people”. I know of no legal document in the United States where a word can have 2 different meanings in the same document, unless so defined. Since “people” in the 1st amendment unequivocally means the individual citizen, then it MUST mean the individual citizen in the 2nd amendment also.

The 2nd word is “abridged”. This word was chosen by the framers of the Bill of Rights when addressing the right to free speech and religion. It is an appropriate word to address the threat that the government poses to the citizens relating to their rights to free speech and religion. And we must remember that the entire Bill of Rights is based on establishing the rights of the citizens and against the government(s) of the United States.

The 3rd word is the word that the framers of the Bill of Rights chose when addressing the most important right of the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights. That is the right of the people to have the ability and resources to stand against the oppression of an international or domestic government. The 2nd amendment is NOT about hunting, nor is it about personal self-defense. It is solely and singularly about the ability of the citizens to defend against the standing army of the government of the United States of America.

The 3rd word that was chosen was NOT the word “abridged”, but rather “infringed”. That is a very important fact. It was because the framers of the Bill of Rights fully understood the natural progression of governments and their natural inclination to slowly and incrementally absolve the freedoms until they were in a position of complete authority.

The framers fully understood that the natural order of government would be to use whatever justifications were conveniently at hand to slowly and insidiously take away the ability of the citizens to stand. They also understood the natural order of individuals. The vast majority of individuals do not want to take risks, nor do they want to live in a world of risk. They understood also that it is the nature of people to trust their government. These two aspects of people set the stage for a natural progression of government to become the sole authority.

Another fact of government was fully understood by the framers of the Bill of Rights. That is the natural tendency for individuals seeking power and authority to direct their efforts towards being in the government. While some of these people may be benevolent, the majority of them are not. These individuals are devoid of concern for anyone except their own desires. This has been seen through our own founders, and builders, such as Rockefeller, Carnegie and many others. We see it today in our police force and armed forces. That is why it is necessary to have strict regulations and numerous investigations of entire police forces, such as New Orleans and even in Albuquerque.

Since the signing of the Bill of Rights we have seen continued attacks on the 2nd amendment and continued efforts to circumvent it. It has been fully demonstrated and proven that additional gun control does not reduce violence. In fact, those cities and states with the most stringent laws against honest citizens owning guns have the highest crime rates. This, also, is a natural order. Those individuals with the highest desire to have someone else protect them are also the most willing to become victims.

The current “count” for victims of gun control in the 20th century alone is 170,000,000. I highly encourage you to watch the documentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8qw3tEg9Vw. This gives an overview of not only the body count of gun control, but also the horrors that are enacted to generate that body count.

To believe that the United Stated cannot degenerate to that level is irrational and unrealistic. The progression is the natural order of government. It goes through a process of regulation, restriction, and then confiscation (or mandated buyback). In order for that to transpire the majority have to accept the government as the ultimate authority and to be trusted totally. Those people then expose themselves to the slow degeneration of the government to it becoming more dictatorial and authoritative. This again, is the natural order as stronger and more violent individuals work their way into the government structure. One only has to look at the cartels of Mexico, or Syria, or numerous other countries where the citizens are disarmed to see the structure that develops.

In order to see an ongoing episode, you merely need to look anywhere around the world. There is one thing in common in every country of upheaval and genocide. That is that the government and terrorists are armed and the common citizen is disarmed. That is the one common characteristic of every single country, and we can name at least a dozen right now with massive, and horrific, genocide of the common citizens. THAT is what WILL Be the destiny of the United States if the 2nd amendment is circumvented or infringed.

If we abandon history we are committed to repeat it. The ONLY reason that countries such as the UK and Australia maintain any modicum of freedom is the United States standing as the example of freedom. Even now, in those countries it is beginning. One individual in the UK defended himself with a shotgun in his own home against 2 attackers attacking him with a crowbar. He was given life in prison for defending himself while the criminals did no time. That is the mentality that evolves with an unrealistic attitude towards firearms, and the inalienable right of self-defense.

So, I go back to that word in the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights; that word “INFRINGEMENT”. It is a word carefully and intentionally chosen by the framers of the Constitution because they recognized that the greatest threat to the freedom of the people of the United States was the slow and progressive infringement of the citizens’ right to stand against the government of the United States. Not with BB guns, or sling shots, but with those arms that were comparable to the arms of the standing army of the United States. The same as the arms of the citizens of that time to stand against the arms of the government at that time.

The reasons behind the ban against the “so called” assault rifle, and large capacity clips are unrealistic and unsupportable. There is already a ban against full automatic firearms. That was adopted when the government was afraid they could not control the Irish if the Irish could retain full automatic weapons. That was the first infringement. The government has found that full automatic weapons in the standard infantryman’s firearm were not effective. That is the reason that they restricted the 5.56 caliber firearms to a 3 shot burst. They needed to have the 3 shots because they had adopted a caliber that was too small to be effective.

Regarding the high capacity magazines, it is a simple process to extend a 3, or 5, shot clip to handle 30, or more, rounds. So, even if every clip of more than 10 rounds were confiscated and eliminated, those wishing so, would merely rebuild their 3 shot clips to handle 30 rounds.

At the present time there are an estimated 4,000,000 (that is FOUR MILLION) assault type weapons in the hands of the citizens. How many of those 4,000,000 have been involved in mass shootings? I know of 3 instances. That is 3 in 4,000,000 or .00008% of them. How many high capacity magazines? It is completely evident that the only reason that the government is attempting to pass additional regulations it to further disarm the public with disregard for the 2nd Amendment.

It has been established that the previous ban had no impact on the crime rate. The current regulations, if implemented, will generate vastly more criminals as those recognizing the government’s intent will willingly become criminals in order to avoid the alternative of a disarmed America.

In 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Had they attacked the West Coast ports and disabled our ability to replenish the Pacific Theatre, the United States would have lost WWII. We almost did anyway. The Japanese stated that the only reason they did not was because they could not establish a beach head because every American had a gun. Few politicians will admit that now as they continue their efforts to disarm the citizens.

Those armed citizens, and their willingness to stand, is the only thing that is standing against the number of countries where the current governments are massacring their citizens. The only reason they haven’t been successful is the United States standing against them, both militarily and politically. Take the United States out of the mix and every single one of them would have been settled almost immediately.

Those citizens wishing security and safety held the United States from entering WWII long after it should have. That resulted in millions of unnecessary casualties. That is but one more example of many of the citizens to be willing to let anything happen as long as they feel safe. Well, the Jews felt safe after they had given up their arms to Hitler. That is, until after he had acquired total control.

So, again, on behalf of my great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren, I implore you to stand against any further gun regulations of any kind. I do that because their greatest threat is not the criminals of their time that may kill them. It is not the mentally impaired that might kill 5 or 26. It is not the terrorist that may kill 2,000. It is not even their government that might kill millions. Their greatest threat is the politicians of today that will sell them out for ignorance, misinformation, or for personal benefit!”

Reply

Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Mike Kruchoski writes:

“Death by Gun Violence: Just the Price We Have to Pay for Living Free

(or so the NRA would have us believe… an oxymoron if I ever heard one.)

Six weeks after Newtown, I’m still struggling over what to do — or rather, to do DIFFERENTLY — about guns in America. I don’t know the answer, partly because it’s clear there isn’t one single answer. However, for me, part of an answer is that I won’t become complacent again, despite my having remained mostly silent as I’ve contemplated our Second Amendment ‘rights.’

A big part of the problem, aside from the proliferation of weaponry in the U.S., is how we currently discuss guns: lots of large-scale, public shouting of the same tired, old slogans, as if their mere repetition — louder is better, ya know! — creates any understanding or eventual agreement. Verbal grenades are lobbed over the already-drawn battle lines of opposing camps, armed or not.

So, perhaps part of a solution is to do something different: small-scale, private conversations aimed (sorry, bad pun!) at generating new ideas. Borrowing an idea from my mediator past, an approach that has proven helpful in difficult discussions about racial and religious prejudices is what I call a ‘circle of friends.’ They don’t generally start out as friends, but they eventually grow to know one another as friends, hence to talk to one another in more caring and understanding ways.

More about that some other time… maybe.

In the meantime, since Newtown: I’ve bought new locking trigger guards for all the handguns in our house; installed a new, locking gun safe (securely bolted to the floor); spent more time listening and reading than talking and writing; reminisced about my own could’ve-been-Columbine experience; participated in a lock-down practice at Highland HS here in Albuquerque; and stopped watching ‘NCIS’ and other cop shows & movies, where every door is entered with guns drawn and every person is talked to at gunpoint.

America: adult madness indeed! All in the name of living free… and dying by gunfire.”

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Twitter pal alenakpardi writes:

“@DiDimond My husband has a mental illness. After the new town shooting he gave up his guns. He got them though the loop hole.”

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Facebook Friend John Mooney writes:

“More transparency in Mental Health. Safety needs to prevail over Political Correctness.”

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Facebook Friend Paula Geisler writes:
“Stop Internet Sales of guns and ammo, background checks by the police for every gun sold, whether at gun shows or at gun shops, limit number of bullets per clip, mental health concerns data base available only to those performing background checks, hotlines in every state for reporting mental health/violent behavior concerns, stop allowing the NRA to dictate policy……ban military assault weapons except for police and military…..”

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Facebook Friend Elma Remando writes:

” Yes stop the selling of guns on line, and have back checks on these people who buy guns. i’ll never understand why people think they need a gun, them high powered rifles is just plain nonsense.”

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Facebook Friend Fred Mizzi writes:

“Just know all the gun laws passed are only effecting law abiding citizens ,just like all the war on drugs billions spent and what to show ?look at Switzerland everyone carries guns and they have the lowest gun crime in the nation. So until America has tHe courage to try new things just like war on drugs ,and admit that the no discipline on our kids was a mistake ,well Diane you And will witness more crime victims than a concert hall holds.
We can have debates 7 days a week , technology cost many jobs ,schools didnt keep up ,and we have more people than ever ,the ones that aren’t taking care of ,by the cuts of social programs ,aren’t going to lay down and die ,there committing crimes ,and the sick ones ,all kinds of murder ,weather it be for sex ,monatery gain ,or revenge against society ,its here will continue ,until someone has real balls ,like the head coach of Sf 49ers ,to have courage to say truthful thingS ,like the refs were Bias against the 49ers ,so sit back and get used to our crime cause more laws won’t help ,hell the criminals aren’t listening now !

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Facebook Friend Tom Hogan writes:

“How come not much at all written about all the laws we have in place for even mandatory sentencing that never happens thanks to a sitting judge? It is really easy to simply blame guns rather than the fact our whole criminal justice system is the ultimate cause and a joke.
This combined with the mentally ill walking freely among us many after being diagnosed with numerous issues.Just like when people vote for change the only real change that takes place is the clown coming up with the same old useless solutions to the crummy society we allow.
After being a police officer in NY city for twenty years I sort of think my opinion is a valid one.As a side note most people that say limit ammo have obviously never been in a shooting to see that sometimes multiple shots never even take someone down anyway.There is no conclusive scientific evidence to show how many bullets it takes to stop anyone!”

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Facebook Friend Danielle Stewart writes:

“I don’t think anything will stop it. However, I think a lot will lesson it. More background checks, less violent movies and video games. Raising children with God, with empathy and compassion. Less time on technology, more time as family. I don’t have the complete answer here. I do think that we need to make people more responsible for their actions. I see the lack of accountability in every aspect of life. When a person gets drunk and drives and kills someone, it is the persons fault, not the car, not the bar and not the alcohol. One child acts up in class, the whole class loses recess, shouldn’t just the one child get in trouble? Why do we not make each person responsible? We have created a entitlement and blame society. It is not the foods fault people for obesity, it is the persons. You see where I am going Diane. Our country just band-aids instead of getting to the root.
One more note, I have no issue with making stricter gun laws, but they need to be enforced. So many of our laws have too many loopholes. Look at our immigration laws, when Arizona tried to enforce it, the President would not back Arizona. So, why bother? If our President is going to do this, then I want to see it with a follow through, otherwise it will not work.

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Facebook Friend Sharon Rager writes:

“The existing laws are not enforced. Guns which are stolen are not fully investigated and traced. Any individual in administrative law enforcement will confirm this. In Israel ALL teachers in ALL schools carry guns and know how to use them. There have never been any mass killings in schools in that country. Our posturing Pres. and Legislators have yet to come up with ANY new ideas or thoughts either.”

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Diane Dimond February 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Facebook Friend Adrian Andrade McManus writes:

” It all starts at home, people need to educate their children and correct them, and be there for their children. If every parent took the time to be in their child’s life, these things would not be happening.”

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Dan Livingston February 6, 2013 at 8:42 am

Two things: 1) I would ask all those who insist that they have the right to any weapon of choice and that the 2nd amendment insures that, to actually read the 2nd amendment. 2) While the Newtown massacre, and others like it are truly heart-breaking for the needless loss of our most precious and innocent lives, I think we need some perspective. In addition to a daily, or weekly tally of gun deaths to be printed on the front page of every newspaper in America, also list the needless deaths and collateral damage caused by automobile accidents, tobacco use, alcohol and drug abuse.

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Harley Herndon February 6, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I enjoyed your story about “America’s homegrown killing fields” but I feel you have missed the point. The gun is made the villain and not the shooter. Guns don’t walk around killing people. Evil people with guns go around killing for example the kids at Sandy Hook. Gun laws made Sandy Hook a gun free zone (and a false safe haven) and denied everyone at the school the right to defend themselves or to have someone to defend them.
Our President and Vice President and Senator Feinstein and others demanding more gun control laws, and are fueling the fear of total gun confiscation, which they are in denial. These threats have been a boom to the gun makers and sellers.
Thomas Jefferson wrote: “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.”
We have to decide can we trust our President and the members of both houses of Congress to stand for our rights as stated in the Constitution, or continue to let the government take away our freedoms one by one and make we the people as subjects and slaves to the government. Do we love Liberty or do we love Tyranny ? The choice is ours.

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Diane Dimond February 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Facebook Friend Paula Geisler writes:

“What made me ill was that the mother of the Sandy Hook murderer KNEW her son had mental illness issues yet she took him to shooting ranges!!!! Are you kidding me??? She taught his to shoot and she left guns accessible to a NUT CASE!!! You can’t fix STUPID!!!”

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Diane Dimond February 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Facebook Friend (and cousin!) Jeffrey Warren Hughes writes:

“Assault weapons are not necessary..if a person has to have a machine gun fix, go to the local gun club, rent one of those weapons and get it outta their system…..I mean for the public….military use is a whole different can of worms…”

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Diane Dimond February 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Facebook Friend Janice Perry writes:

“Enforce laws already on the books- we do not need more laws.”

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Diane Dimond February 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Facebook Friend Dan Meenan writes:

“The people who manufacture guns, who sells guns, who make ammunition, who sell ammunition – should all be held liable for whatever crime is committed using them. Maybe then they would be a bit more concerned about background checks.”

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Diane Dimond February 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Facebook Friend Kurt G. Kaner writes:

“I agree with Tom Hogan (poster above). I’ve been a Chicago
(murder capital ) cop for over 18 yrs. I have had many cases were gangs members, caught and charged , were given probation or very light sentences. The Governor early released scores of prisoners because of money issues and mentally ill people roam our streets with no help. In many cases they don’t want help, but need to be taken off the streets because they are violent.

Magazine capacity is a smoke screen. ” Assault weapons” are a smoke screen. The facts don’t require a ban on either. Over 90% of Chicago’s homicides are with cheap handguns.

I’m legally and professionally allowed to have a AR15/M4/ military style type assault weapon. I think LAW abiding citizens should have that same right.

In the event of a disaster, Rodney King riots, Katrina or a terrorist attack it has been proven the police CANNOT protect you. In the case of Katrina there were actually law enforcement officers looting along with the citizenry.

And finally, to those that think I have no empathy. My father , a Chicago Police Officer, had his head blowin off with a sawed off shotgun while sitting in his marked police car filling out a missing person report on June 19, 1970. ONLY one of the five responsible are still in prison. That lone killer has come up for parole almost every year since 1978. He has come VERY close to getting the required votes to get released several times.

I blame the shooter, not the tool used.”

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Diane Dimond February 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Facebook Friend Dennis O’Brien

“I think the biggest problem we face is the availability of illegal guns – and naturally, assault weapons and large ammunition clips. We can’t have a police force or citizenry who don’t stand a chance against better armed criminals and madmen. If we don’t increase the penalties and restrictions, we can’t expect to ever become a safer country. Too many people who aren’t responsible gun owners have access – or get access – to these weapons. And sadly, if they have them, they’ll use them.”

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Diane Dimond February 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Facebook Friend Eric Vaughan writes:

“I love a nice grown up discussion on gun ownership, Diane. It’s so rare and that’s the problem right there. Some people have been allowed into a realm of technological advancements who really don’t belong there. In the old Superman comics, Superman had to time travel and everyone got around on a gadget and the speeds of criminals were adjusted to be much slower. Sooner or later, they’ll figure out how to do just that with guns.”

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Diane Dimond February 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm

You and me both Eric! This is the place to come to discuss. Notice there aren’t any comments here name-calling the other posters? I just won’t allow it.
You are SO right that our national inability to have a rational (grown-up) discussion about this very serious issue is at the core of the problem. Too many knee-jerk reactions and not enough common sense talk! We have quarreled ourselves into a corner and now America has 311 million guns here. That’s not even counting those firearms used by law enforcement. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond February 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

Huffington Post Two Guns White Calf writes:

“Many of the countries with the strictest gun control have the highest rates of violent crime. Australia and England, which have virtually banned gun ownership, have the highest rates of robbery, sexual assault, and assault with force of the top 17 industrialized countries Since gun banning has escalated in the UK, the rate of crime – especially violent crime – has risen.
U.K. Violent Crime and Firearm Ownership Ironically, firearm use in crimes in the UK has doubled in the decade since handguns were banned
In America, we can demonstrate that private ownership of guns reduces crime In Texas, murder rates fell 50% faster than the national average in the year after their concealed carry law passed. Rape rates fell 93% faster in the first year after enactment, and 500% faster in the second. Assaults fell 250% faster in the second year More to the point, crime is significantly higher in states without right-to-carry laws States that disallow concealed carry have violent crime rates 11% higher than national averages Firearms are used 60 times more often to protect lives than to take lives.”

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Diane Dimond February 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

Huffington Post Reader kwco writes:

“Australia… A coincidence?”

Actually it probably is. According to the head of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research there new gun laws didn’t have much of an effect on crime: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/gun-laws-fall-short-in-war-on-crime/2005/10/28/1130400366681.html

Also research about it’s the effect on suicides is inconclusive. Australian academics can’t agree and in 2009 the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University concluded:

“The implemented restrictions may not be responsible for the observed reductions in firearms suicide. Data suggest that a change in social and cultural attitudes could have contributed to the shift in method preference”

In other words “draconian laws + expensive buy back = no real identifiable results”.

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Diane Dimond February 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

Huffington Post Reader Play4tdy writes:

“”So did victim number one, Nancy Lanza, the mother of the shooter. “- she is a enabler first. victim second.”

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Diane Dimond February 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

Huffington Post Reader EspritDeVoltaire writes:

“You reap what you sow. It is hard not to think that we deserve this.

We’re a nation of corporate lackeys who perpetuate the myth that we are all rugged individualists facing the frontier as mountain men did in the early 19th century.

What other outcome would you expect?

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Diane Dimond February 8, 2013 at 11:05 am

Huffington Post Reader Bobpip writes:

“Your article was fair and you’re the first author on this site to move in the right direction concerning firearms legislation.

I do have to disagree with you about the ammunition source of criminals. Why would a criminal use a credit card to buy ammunition over the internet when he can just go down the street and pay with cash? Criminals don’t need a bulk supply for their handguns. They aren’t devoted marksman that constantly practice.
Mass shooters plan for months and sometimes years and stock up incrementally.

I’m not looking at any official statistics on ammo purchases so if you have a source that contradicts what I’ve said please pass it along.

Take care.”

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Diane Dimond February 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Huffington Post Reader JR USA writes:

“In reality, it is the ubiquitous handgun that does most of the killing in this country but few are talking about that. ”

That thought makes it impossible to get to a reasonable solution because it’s not the “ubiquitous handgun” its the PERSON holding the handgun. Ignoring the actor and focusing on the tool will make it impossible to work towards a solution. Banning the tools will have little to no effect on crime as seen in various countries used for comparison. Societal problems are something that need to be discussed and solved, but these require far too much work and long term commitment, something politicians are fundamentally incapable of. They are far more prone to capitalizing on tragedies and throwing random statements or bills around with no thought (see NYSAFE or Feinstein’s .22 rifle ban) and then later admitting, “they probably wouldn’t have prevented x”

Real discussions on the problems should not even include firearms as they are simply the tools of people, helping/fixing people – long hard road requiring focus not grandstanding and distractions.”

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Diane Dimond February 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Huffington Post Reader glowbug25 writes:

“I’m not sure about your statistics; crime in Texas despite gun ownership is high. People are always being put to death here in Texas. Someone is always getting shot “accidentally” or “intentionally” at a gun range, pawn shop, or gun store (like the guy who was just arrested in Stephenville, Texas).

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-5
http://www.census.gov/statab/ranks/rank21.html.

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Diane Dimond February 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Huffington Post Reader MJ galt writes:

“About 90% of the gun murders in the US involve one or more persons with a criminal record. In nearly all of those cases gangs and drug trafficking is implicated in some way. In almost all of those cases an illegal handgun is the weapon of choice. So called ‘assault rifles’ are used in about 3% of all gun murders, and in about 0.3% of gun murders not involving drugs or people with criminal records. The average law abiding citizen is more likely to be killed by lightning than an ‘assault rifle’.

Almost all of the killing in America is criminals who don’t obey the law killing other criminals that don’t obey the law.

Nearly all the ‘non-criminal’ killings involve people with diagnosed mental health issues, and they’re often operating on a mix of prescribed pharmaceuticals. Almost all of them also come from affluent families with liberal parents. Not many red-neck kids do mass killings.

What actions do you recommend to change any of those facts?”

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Diane Dimond February 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Dear MJ Galt –

“Well, as I’ve written in the past, a good place to start would be to admit that our War on Drugs was failure. If you legalize drugs you take the gangs and the cartel’s profit motive away. True enough some of them will find other criminal activity to engage in, and they will probably continue to enforce their turf with GUNS.
So, the second recommendation (which I’ve also written about here in this space) would be to make it MANDATORY – NO QUESTIONS ASKED, NO LOOPHOLES – that anyone using a gun in the commission of a crime gets an automatic 10 years tacked on their sentence. This takes away the lenient judge’s discretion to give gun-toting criminals easier sentences.
There’s two common-sense suggestions – Anybody else out there? ~ DD”

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Diane Dimond February 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Facebook Friend Allan Freedman writes:

“Events like Newtown are tragic and very sad, particularly as it involves innocent children. But the media is beating this in to the ground, riling up citizens who are already upset and angry at the US Government, waggling the 2nd amendment in everyone’s faces. The 2nd amendment doesn’t specifically dictate the type of firearms one can have, but let’s face it, assault rifles? Even for hunters; how many times do you need to shoot an animal before it dies? What kind of sport is it that you pump 16 or 20 more rounds in to a beast before it goes down. Some hunter!
I don’t much care for guns, but I do not object to my neighbor having one, legally. But automatic firearms, like assault rifles, are ridiculous in the home.”

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Diane Dimond February 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Huffington Post Reader Nelson Faulkenberry writes:

“10 years added to every sentence where a gun is used no questions asked is a good Idea. Now get the Chicago machine to go along with it. Lets see what Rahm has to say.”

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