Category Archives: Gun Control

Two-year-old boy shoots mother (The Nuclear Scientist) dead in Idaho store


Police have identified a young woman who was shot dead by her toddler son in a supermarket, after he reached into her purse and fired a concealed handgun.

Officials said Veronica Rutledge, 29, was shopping in the Walmart store in Hayden, Idaho, with the two-year-old and her three daughters when she was shot and killed shortly after 10am.

The toddler had been placed in a shopping trolley’s child-seat and was able to put his hand into Mrs Rutledge’s purse. She died before the emergency services could reach her, police said. Officers used the store’s CCTV footage and witness testimonies to conclude the shooting was an accident.

They said the Mrs Rutledge had a licence to carry a concealed weapon but it was unclear why the gun went off so easily when squeezed by a toddler, and whether a safety catch was engaged.

The victim’s father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told the Associated Press that the mother-of-four “was a beautiful, young, loving mother”.

“She was not the least bit irresponsible,” he said. “She was taken much too soon.”

Kootenai County sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller told reporters the incident in the store about 40 miles north-east of Spokane, Washington, was an accident. Mrs Rutledge’s husband was not in the store when the shooting happened at about 10.20am, but he arrived shortly afterwards. All the children were taken to a relative’s house.

Mrs Rutledge, from Blackfoot, Idaho, about 380 miles from Hayden, was visiting for the holiday season. Police said she was browsing the store’s electronics section when the incident occurred, according to broadcaster KREM 2.


Continue reading Two-year-old boy shoots mother (The Nuclear Scientist) dead in Idaho store

Some of the things that happened during the US Midterm elections last week were not so bad?

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California Voters Helped Kick Off the Prison Boom. They Just Took a Huge Step Toward Ending It.

California’s anti-mass incarceration ballot initiative is already changing kids’ lives

Washington Voters Just Passed the Gun Law Congress Couldn’t

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The Other Midterm Elections Result: Americans Want Legal Weed

Not so sure on this one

18-Year-Old Wins State Legislature Seat in West Virginia

A bit of a mixed bag – hard for the bears..

On Booze, Weed, Backyard Fracking, and Trapping Bears With Donuts, America Has Spoken

My immediate thoughts on the elections were

Dark Money, Voter Restrictions and widespread Gerrymandering – how the Republican’s fixed the US Midterm Elections


A Land Without Guns – How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths

Tadakazu Shimoyama, chief mechanician at the Ennis gun shop, displays a rifle in Tokyoby MAX FISHERJUL 23 2012, 1:45 PM ET

In part by forbidding almost all forms of firearm ownership, Japan has as few as two gun-related homicides a year.

I’ve heard it said that, if you take a walk around Waikiki, it’s only a matter of time until someone hands you a flyer of scantily clad women clutching handguns, overlaid with English and maybe Japanese text advertising one of the many local shooting ranges. The city’s largest, the Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club, advertises instructors fluent in Japanese, which is also the default language of its website. For years, this peculiar Hawaiian industry has explicitly targeted Japanese tourists, drawing them away from beaches and resorts into shopping malls, to do things that are forbidden in their own country.

Waikiki’s Japanese-filled ranges are the sort of quirk you might find in any major tourist town, but they’re also an intersection of two societies with wildly different approaches to guns and their role in society. Friday’s horrific shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater has been a reminder that America’s gun control laws are the loosest in the developed world and its rate of gun-related homicide is the highest. Of the world’s 23 “rich” countries, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is almost 20 times that of the other 22. With almost one privately owned firearm per person, America’s ownership rate is the highest in the world; tribal-conflict-torn Yemen is ranked second, with a rate about half of America’s.

But what about the country at the other end of the spectrum? What is the role of guns in Japan, the developed world’s least firearm-filled nation and perhaps its strictest controller? In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.

Almost no one in Japan owns a gun. Most kinds are illegal, with onerous restrictions on buying and maintaining the few that are allowed. Even the country’s infamous, mafia-like Yakuza tend to forgo guns; the few exceptions tend to become big national news stories.

Continue reading A Land Without Guns – How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths

These Women Are the NRA’s Worst Nightmare


Can Moms Demand Action do to gun extremists what MADD did to drunk drivers? By Mark Follman September/October 2014 Issue of Mother Jones

KELLY BERNADO WOKE to the headlines after working her late shift as an ER nurse in Seattle, and she cried through the day and into the next, the shooting at her own son’s high school a year before haunting her all over again. In Houston the morning after it happened, Kellye Burke was on her way to pick up a Christmas tree, her six-year-old son nestled in his car seat, when she saw the large LED road sign publicizing a gun show and felt the urge to scream. In Brooklyn, Kim Russell felt a surge of adrenaline when she heard the news; after choking back the nausea, she began agonizing about what her first-grader would hear at school. She’d never told her daughter about the time when a robber shot her friend to death and wounded her, then pressed the cold muzzle against her forehead as she begged for her life.

At home in an Indianapolis suburb the morning following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Shannon Watts, a 41-year-old former public relations executive and mother of five, created a Facebook page calling for a march on the nation’s capital: “Change will require action by angry Americans outside of Washington, D.C. Join us—we will need strength in numbers against a resourceful, powerful and intransigent gun lobby.” The seed for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America—today a national organization backed by nearly 200,000 members and millions of dollars—had been planted. “I started this page because, as a mom, I can no longer sit on the sidelines. I am too sad and too angry,” Watts wrote. “Don’t let anyone tell you we can’t talk about this tragedy now—they said the same after Virginia Tech, Gabby Giffords, and Aurora. The time is now.”

Three days later, five women convened in Brooklyn for a Skype call with Watts and formed the group’s first chapter. They felt that what happened in Newtown was like another 9/11. None of the women had experience as political activists, but they did remember Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the pioneering grassroots movement of the 1980s that rewrote laws and battled cultural resignation about alcohol-related traffic deaths. They also realized they had an asset that MADD organizers could only have dreamed of: social media. As word of a new effort to confront gun violence sprang up in Facebook feeds, offers flooded in to help launch more chapters, from Virginia and Texas to Kentucky and Colorado.

Today, Moms Demand Action has teams on the ground in all 50 states, elbowing their way into policy hearings and working to motivate “gun sense voters” fed up with the carnage. In less than two years, the organization has compelled more than a half-dozen national restaurant chains, internet companies, and retailers to take a stand against lax gun laws, and has joined forces with one of the nation’s most deep-pocketed political operators to hold elected leaders to account. Many groups have taken on the nation’s 30,000 annual firearm deaths—and this latest effort bears resemblance to the Million Mom March in the wake of the 1999 Columbine shooting, whose organizers also sought to be “a MADD for guns.” But no group has risen so far, so fast, influencing laws, rattling major corporations, and provoking vicious responses from hardcore gun rights activists. With its ambition to turn out a million voters for the November midterms, Moms Demand Action may be emerging as a potent threat to the National Rifle Association’s three-decade-long stranglehold on gun politics.


Continue reading These Women Are the NRA’s Worst Nightmare

I don’t think America is capable of a ‘sane’ debate on Gun Control anymore….


“Wretched, disgusting commie leftists” – My nightmare fighting gun nuts in a Nebraska – Want to understand why it’s so hard to win the most basic gun safety reform? Here’s how the debate so often goes AMANDA GAILEY TUESDAY, SEP 16, 2014 09:59 PM +0100

I volunteer for Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, a grass-roots organization seeking to reduce gun casualties by calling for an increase in the “responsible” part of “responsible gun ownership.” In May, NAGV called the head of public relations at Texas Roadhouse, a popular steakhouse, to inform him that a Nebraska “open carry” group was planning a meet-up at one of their locations. The open carry group had chosen a location just outside of Omaha in order to avoid Omaha’s supposedly oppressive permitting requirement that people carrying loaded guns in public undergo eight whole hours of training (elsewhere in the state, no training is required for open carry).

The corporate office forced the local store to cancel the event, and the open carry group contacted the press about this tyranny. One sympathetic media personality was Chris Baker, an AM shock jock in Omaha who was fired from a job a few years ago for saying liberal protesters should be mowed down with machine guns — and who now makes a living selling gold bullion by stretching minor news and puddle-deep political insights into four hours of hate spew every weekday afternoon.

Baker invited NAGV on his show. On behalf of the organization I declined by email, explaining that given his track record I didn’t think we’d get a fair chance to present our views. Baker mocked me on air, deeming me a “moon bat.” Case closed, I thought.

But the next day he started up again, and I mentioned it on my personal Facebook page, garnering the interest of Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who writes on gun policy for Esquire. Bateman called in, and Baker deemed him a “fake” and a “liar” who was not even in the military but who was also “disgracing the United States armed services” (difficult to do when one is not even in the military, it would seem). He said Bateman was “belligerent” and had “bullied” him, and he encouraged listeners to weigh in on Bateman’s credentials. He called my organization “wretched, disgusting commie leftists.” This went on for an hour … about an Army combat vet. Finally, he concluded that Nebraskans Against Gun Violence — a group of professionals and parents, some of whom are gun owners — smoked pot and conspired to get someone to call in pretending to be an Army officer to hijack his show.

Baker has mastered the art of the conspiracy theory, the agile evasion of cognitive dissonance that has become the modus operandi of right-wing media at both national and local levels. For people like me, volunteers hoping to put a dent in one of our country’s most difficult problems, the biggest obstacle we face is not any particular policy point, but the refusal of a portion of our population to enter a debate in good faith. When a fact doesn’t fit, they simply deny it, or better yet, conclude it is part of a sinister plot by communists, Muslims or the UN. National media figures such as Glenn Beck and Alex Jones are famous for these maneuvers, but they’ve trickled down to local media and to conversation-level micro-denials as well, and they have poisoned the public sphere.


Continue reading I don’t think America is capable of a ‘sane’ debate on Gun Control anymore….

America’s disturbing legacy of white supremacy and guns

John W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who were charged with the murder of 14-year-old African American Emmett L.Till, and acquitted by an all-white jury
John W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who were charged with the murder of 14-year-old African American Emmett L.Till, and acquitted by an all-white jury

Before Ferguson: America’s disturbing legacy of white supremacy and guns – Mike Brown’s death forces us to confront the dehumanization of black bodies — and white America’s history of guns AGUNDA OKEYO WEDNESDAY, SEP 3, 2014 07:05 PM +0100

Continued anger over the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has people questioning why an unarmed 18-year-old would be gunned down in the street. While Brown’s death has caused some Americans begin to confront the dehumanization of black bodies and militarization of local police, the legacy of white supremacy and guns in this country remains tragically unappreciated. The United States has more guns and gun deaths than any other developed country. A recent study from the Pew Research Center indicates that there is one gun for every man, woman and child in the United States. The data also reveals that most of these gun owners are white men.

At the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention this April, a strong message of fear was peddled to its mostly white male members. NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre welcomed guests to what he called “the biggest celebration of our American values” before accusing the media of attacking the 2nd Amendment. He then shared a message of the righteousness of gun ownership to defend against a scary world of “terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels, car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping-mall killers.” LaPierre argued that the world is going to pot and “the surest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”


Following that playbook, Ferguson police illustrated their support of officer Darren Wilson when they withheld his identity and launched a smear campaign against Brown by releasing a puzzling video from a convenience store that had nothing to do with Wilson’s stop of the teenager. They were, by all appearances, trying to build a case that Wilson was the “good guy with a gun” of LaPierre’s hero fantasies.

But the horrific shooting of Brown was part of a long national history of racist violence, following such disasters as George Zimmerman’s killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin and the abduction and the decades-old murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. In all three cases, white men exacting authority killed young black men or boys who they believed defied them. Remarking on these patterns, Ladd Everitt, Director of Communications at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, tells Salon that the modern NRA and the gun rights movement stands for “the restoration or maintenance of [white male] privilege in society and the gun [as] the guarantor of their power in society.”

Continue reading America’s disturbing legacy of white supremacy and guns

Compton to District Security Guards – Go Ahead, Bring Your AR-15s to School


 By Alex Park Fri Aug. 22, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

When students in the Compton Unified School District return to classrooms on Monday, some of them will have new pencils or notebooks. Their teachers will have new textbooks. But this year, the district’s campus police will be getting an upgrade, too: AR-15 rifles.

The board of the Los Angeles-area school district approved a measure to allow the campus cops to carry the new guns in July. The district’s police chief, William Wu, told the board that equipping school police with semi-automatic AR-15s is intended to ensure student safety.

“This is our objective—save lives, bottom line,” Wu told the board.

Crime is a serious problem in Compton, an independent jurisdiction south of downtown Los Angeles. In the 12 months preceding July, the city of nearly 100,000 experienced 28 murders, making it the 11th-deadliest neighborhood in the county, according to a data analysis by the Los Angeles Times.

But the choice to make Compton school police the latest local law enforcement agency to adopt military-style weapons was less about dealing with street crime than it was about preventing more exotic incidents like mass shootings. At the board meeting, Wu cited an FBI report released in January that found that 5 percent of “active shooters”— or shooters which are conducting an ongoing assault on a group of people—wore body armor, which can stop most bullets fired from handguns. To make his case, Wu cited a range of examples, including the Mumbai terrorist attacks and the University of Texas shooting in 1966, in which a student killed 16 people from the campus clock tower, out of range of police sidearms. (The student was eventually killed when a group of police climbed the tower and shot him at close range.)

“They will continue until they are stopped,” Wu said, at which point a board member interjected.

“No, they will continue until we stop them,” he said. “Compton Unified School Police…holding it down.”

“These rifles give us greater flexibility in dealing with a person with bad intent who comes onto any of our campuses,” Wu said in a statement. “The officers will keep the rifles in the trunks of their cars, unless they are needed.”

Compton is not the first district in the Southern California to allow AR-15s on its campuses. At the meeting, Wu said that Los Angeles, Baldwin Park, Santa Ana, Fontana, and San Bernardino all allow their officers to use the same weapons.


Compton school police last made news in May 2013, when a group of parents and students filed a suit against the department, alleging a pattern of racial profiling and abuse targeting Latino students. The complaint said that officers beat, pepper-sprayed, and put a chokehold on a bystander who was recording an arrest with his iPod. The group also claimed that Compton school police used excessive force against students and parents who complained that English-as-a-second-language programs were underfunded. (The case is ongoing.)

Wu said at the board meeting that seven officers have already been trained to use the new weapons. He said all officers would be purchasing their own weapons. The guns will be the officers’ personal property, but they could be bringing them to work as early as September.

Original Article