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by spocko

Sunday’s Shooting: 2 Vegas cops, 1 bystander killed in ambush; 2 suspects dead

8:47 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Cici Pizza shooting street signs

Five people were dead Sunday after a man and a woman ambushed two police officers at a Las Vegas pizzeria and then stormed a nearby Wal-Mart, where police said they killed themselves after a gun battle with officers.

An unidentified woman, described as a Wal-Mart customer, was also found dead inside the store just inside the door.

No motive for the tag-team attack is known, police said, although witnesses said at least one of the suspects shouted remarks about the arrival of a “revolution” and alluded to some kind of war. – LA Times

The shooters walked into CiCi’s Pizza and gunned down Officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, Las Vegas police officials said. One of the officers was able to fire back before he died, but it’s unclear if he hit the suspects, Sheriff Doug Gillespie of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. - Yahoo News.

Following the most recent shooting I went to Google Street view to get an idea of what the location and what shops were in the area of the shooting. What jumped out at me was the sign on the street, “Gun Shop” It referred to On Target Guns which is right across the parking lot. Next to it is a State Farm Insurance office and a U-Swirl Frozen Yogurt shop.

Across the street from Cici’s Pizza is the Wal-Mart, where the bystander was shot and where the two suspects shot and killed themselves.

I have no idea if On Target Guns was open on Sunday. I wrote the owner today to see if he had any comment. Monday I’ll call the State Farm office and U-Swirl Frozen Yogurt to see if they have any comments about insurance for gun owners, open carry in retail stories and if they know any of the people involved.
OnTarget across the parking lot
When I was working on the open carry issue in the Bay Area I went around to the shops where an open carry event was being planned. I asked them what their policy was on guns. I asked the customers at a yogurt shop where members of California Open Carry had discussed visiting. I found out a few things.

1) Not one of the clerks working in the stores knew their policies.

2) The managers and owners didn’t know the law, and either didn’t have a policy or didn’t know it.

3) The retail workers would not know what to do if a person carrying a gun came into the store.

4) The national HQ of the stories didn’t always have a policy.

If the shops didn’t have policy I gave them a copy of both Peet’s and California Pizza Kitchen’s policy and informed them of their rights as property owners.  If the national HQ had a policy I informed them that the local shop managers did not know it and the retail workers weren’t aware of it. I suggested that they inform them of their rights. (This was a few years ago and I spoke to both Target and Chili’s national HQs)

Finally, I alerted everyone I spoke to of the date and time of the planned Open Carry event so that they would make sure to be prepared. Maybe I should not have told the people at the stores about the event. Some people might call the police in a panic. But I felt that it would be best if the stores knew in advance so nobody would over react. When there is misunderstanding and tension with guns people can get hurt. I wanted owners and workes to be ‘armed with knowledge, prepared with policy.

In my experience the open carry people were very well informed of their 2nd Amendment rights, but they were not going to remind the store owners of their property rights, nor could they alert all bystanders of the event in advance.

My primary goal was to show the shop owners that I was a calm, rational person explaining the situation. They could feel free to agree or disagree with me, without the intimidation factor of a perfectly legal gun in a holster, on strapped around my neck.

Open carry people want to “normalize” guns in the community so that people won’t react and run away. But is that really the instinct we want people to have? 

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

How to Get Gun Makers and Lobbyists to Fund Massive Mental Health Programs

8:25 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

After the Sandy Hook shootings one response of the NRA was a program to put more guns in schools. From a marketing and sales perspective that was a brilliant move. Almost worthy of the cigarette manufacturers, “New cancer cure might surprise you. It’s tobacco!

Mental Health Clinic, Las Vegas

The current rhetorical tactic is to shift the conversation to the mental health of the shooters. However, the weapons manufacturers do not want to have a program that will find and help treat people with mental illnesses. Heck, they don’t even want to help make sure that people with a history of mental illnesses get into the state databases that feed the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). These state programs still need help and many states aren’t complying fully.

So to people who say, “It’s not about the guns, it’s about the mentally ill.” I would ask, “So, what are you doing to help fund mental health programs? How supportive are you of expanded funding for mental health care?” and a simple one “What steps have you taken in your community or state to make sure info about people’s mental health problems go into the NICS?”

By asking these questions, instead of talking about guns, we can move to discussions about patient confidentiality, fears of people never getting off the list, who is considered mentally ill, not trusting the system with this information etc. etc. etc. These are important issues to address and I’ll like discuss them now, when everyone is saying, “We really need to do something about mental illness.”

How Can Companies Make Money On the Mentally Ill?

If the issue really is mental illness, what kind of new funding is directed to this issue? Who will get  money for more mental health programs? Why aren’t they going for it? Here is a suggestion: Let’s ask the medical insurance companies, Pharma and health care professional associations to unleash a few lobbyists looking for funding.

The health insurance companies can go to the gun makers and the weapons lobbyists first and ask for funding. As a PR move they might even throw in a few million. But it really is only the federal government that can move the needle.  But, as we know, nothing is done “for the public good” anymore unless someone is going to make money.  So let’s use that impulse.  We have the demand for more and better mental health care, this could be a profit center for some big hospital chain. They can bill the insurance companies or the federal government.  Or we can create thousands and thousands of fully-funded and staffed community mental health care centers.

So what kind of legislation is being created to address this issue and who is moving it forward? Who is supporting it? Who isn’t? Why not? These are a bunch of questions we can throw up to elected officials, lobbyists, health care professionals and people arguing on the internet.

What is great about this discussion is that the weapons lobbyists can find bedfellows in unusual places. There are people who really are concerned about confidentiality and fears of incorrect diagnoses of mental illness being used by the state to lock people up and take away their rights.  This is an excellent place for the weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists to see that their concerns are addressed.

Everyone agrees that privacy is important, peoples’ rights need to be respected, mental illness issues need to be addressed, and the overall level of public safety needs to be increased. And since the “tool” isn’t really the focus, we are addressing a common problem.

I’m quite sincere about getting greater resources to deal with mental illness. And I know that there are people in the gun-owning community who feel the same way. So let’s all get on board and push this.  Who’s with me?

Funding Peter to Help Paul

Here is something else I know.  Unless there is a direct correlation of money spent on dealing with mental illness to the sale of more guns, the weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists really won’t get on board.  From a messaging point of view the focus on the mental illness is nice, but it’s designed to direct attention away from guns.  Because frankly having untreated mentally ill people shooting people is good business in the long term.

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

This Is How Gun Loving Radicals Shut Up Gun Using Moderates

8:25 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

How do you maintain message discipline in a group? Behold one method.

Recently a Maryland gun dealer, who was planning to sell a smart gun, got death threats from gun-rights activists. The threats worked! He dropped his plan to sell smart guns. This is why the government tippy toes around their activists at Bundy protests and locks up ours at Occupy events.

Here is the video, cued up to the point where he talks about the response he got from the gun loving radicals in charge of messaging: Warning Strong Fucking Language.

“Obviously I received numerous death threats today. I really fucking appreciate that. That’s fucking classy. That’s a great thing for gun rights when you threaten to shoot somebody. That was really splendid.

“If you’re going to kill somebody, shoot the politicians who make these fucking [gun violence prevention] laws. If that’s who you want to fucking go at, shoot the people who make these laws. Take ‘em out in the street, and gun ‘em the fuck down. There’s a goddamn reason why we got these fucking things [guns]. There’s a fucking reason why we got ‘em. And that’s to defend our fucking freedom. Don’t fucking come at me with this shit. That’s to the people who called up and threatened to fucking kill me.”
– Andy Raymond, owner of Engage Armament LLC in Rockville, Maryland

Here is a piece with some back story from the Washington Post. and here is a piece from the Chris Hayes show that should air this evening where they talk about how smart gun technology will have an impact in New Jersey. (I’ll link to it when the video is up.)

If you watch the whole video you can hear him explain how he was for smart guns as a way to bring people on the fence into the fold. He saw this as a way to make money, and convert some people. You see his anger at people he thought would be supporters.  He’s saying “Take the bulls eye off of me! Why not put it on the people who are the real threat? If you are so eager to threaten and kill, why not do it and see what that gets you?”

He starts the video explaining “I’ve been drinking” and says he doesn’t know how to edit the video. That’s bad for him, but insightful for us. Who knows how this will hurt him, but it is helpful to us to see the kind of pressure moderates are in in the gun culture. Remember when we heard RW radio and TV hosts complaining that the moderate Muslims should “reign in” the radical Muslims?  Maybe people who are moderates have more stories to tell but afraid. I don’t blame them.

It’s too bad that he didn’t capture some of the death threat calls with phone numbers or identifying IP information. I suppose ‘ratting out’ those people is seen as less honorable than shooting yourself in the foot on video before the nation.  Besides, who would he turn the information over too? The FBI? Local law enforcement? What would they do to them? Take away their guns?

Each and every step he might take would repudiate what these people stand for. Sometimes I envy the hierarchical right with their “everything is on the table” discipline options for people who don’t toe the party line. But most of the time I don’t. I’m not a death threat kind of guy. I think it’s illegal, but don’t quote me.

Oh and by the way, if you want to help out the people who are trying to deescalate the violence? Take these actions suggested by my friends at the Center to Prevent Gun Violence.   But I won’t threaten you if you don’t.  That’s not how I roll.

by spocko

Why Doesn’t Gun Violence Lead to a Demand for Bulletproof Clothes?

2:20 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Stylin’ bulletproof suit absorbs small-arms fire

Garrison Bespoke weaves nanotech into a snazzy suit that looks sharp and keeps bullets from getting through. -CNet

 This past year, Garrison Bespoke worked alongside suppliers for the US 19th Special Forces in developing the custom bulletproof suit. Using nanotechnology, it’s comprised of the same carbon nanotubes designed for the US troops’ uniforms in Iraq. Yet, the patented suit material is a lot thinner and flexible; fifty percent lighter than Kevlar (the material commonly used in bullet-proof gear). The entire suit acts like a shield, with nanotubes in the fabric hardening to block force from penetrating through. – Garrison Bespoke

After every major shooting the media contact gun sellers in the area who gleefully report, “Sales have gone up!” They explain, “People are buying guns for protection.” Because as we all know from the NRA, the answer to gun violence is more guns. This conveniently sells more guns.

GO HUSBAND GOThe NRA, like all trade associations, want their clients (in this case gun manufacturers) to sell more product.

What if there was a trade association that believed that protecting people from gun violence should be just that–protecting people from the bullets that come out of the guns. Their products would provide a different answer to the question, “What can we do about gun violence?”

When buying a gun people say, “It’s for protection.” But if you dig deeper you find that meaning isn’t complete. Meanings range from, “It makes me feel safer.” to “I feel more powerful and in control when I’m carrying it or have it handy.” and even to, “It allows me to imagine killing bad guys and being the hero.”

A handgun will give you protection from incoming bullets if they happen to shoot you in the holster area. However it does protect you if by showing it you stop someone from shooting at you.  I’ve read dozens of examples of this in American Rifleman. “I showed them my gun and they walked away.” Ta da! It worked! Score one for a powerful visual, a bad guy who could see it and who will back down. I completely acknowledge this protection effect.

But imagine after a major shooting if the National Body Armor Association (NBAA) came forward and said, “We clearly aren’t going to do anything about getting rid of guns in the US, so let’s do something right now about protecting people from bullets. Check out our new lightweight bulletproof body armor and our low-cost conventional body armor.  For less than the cost a fancy gun you and your loved ones can be protected. No licenses to get, no classes to take and no deadly accidents waiting to happen.” Conveniently, talking about this after a shooting would sell more of their product.

“But Spocko, isn’t this taking advantage of peoples’ fear to sell products without addressing the underlying issues?” you ask. Why yes, yes it is. Let’s think about another group that makes money by using fear to sell products. They seem pretty successful. I suppose saving lives in this passive way is weak or in bad taste. I can hear the critics now,  ”What about head shots?!  Stop politicizing body armor! The bodies aren’t even cold and you are trying to sell stuff that would prevent people from dying in the same situation. Sick! This is just a prelude to grabbing guns, because if you think you are safe with body armor you won’t carry a gun, but without the gun you can’t stop the bad guys from shooting all the people who aren’t wearing body armor! Argle bargle!”

For some, having a handgun acts as a talisman. It changes the way you “feel” when walking in a dangerous area. Now I’m all for talismans to evoke attitudes, but as we learn from history, a handgun isn’t going to stop a bullet, especially when you aren’t expecting it. If people were to start wearing bulletproof clothes it would be more than just a talisman, it would actually protect them. And because it is defensive, and not offensive, it wouldn’t necessarily lead to escalation.

Now I could go into all the pros and cons of body armor, but instead I want to bring up something that a gun gives people that no life-saving body armor can. Having and carrying a gun can give people years of enjoyable fantasies about using the gun. Sure you said you bought it “for protection.” but the cool things is you can constantly write yourself into the role of hero with a gun. With body armor you just keep living, and who wants that? Boring! I mean what’s Iron Man without the ability to shoot stuff back? The best defense is a good offense, good guy with a gun, yada yada yada.

All these thoughts were triggered (ha!) by the above article. What does it trigger in your head? Shoot me a line with your thoughts.

Now the National Body Armor Association doesn’t exist. But if they did at least the media could talk to someone who can make money on gun violence, while also saving lives. And isn’t making money what’s it’s really all about? With that kind of money they could make selling body armor they could hire me to be their spokesperson. I think I’d look good in one of those suits. Next up, a bulletproof fedora.

Creative Commons Image from Cherie Priest

by spocko

Re: Your Bumper Sticker Gun Logic “If You Out Law Guns blah, blah, blah”

1:47 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Today at Salon, Brian Beutler wrote a story,

How to silence the NRA

In the hours after a mass shooting, all of a sudden, gun activists go quiet. It’s all part of a calculated strategy

In the comments was this:

mikey55 1 hour ago
Out law guns, only outlaws need them.

The response:

Blammo Media 41 minutes ago

Dear Mikey55. Thank you for your bumper sticker copy!

As you know, the phrase you used, (and all variations of it) is already in production and the copyright © is held by Blammo Ammo Camo Media LLC. You are welcome to purchase the bumper sticker ($5.00 for one or 3 for $20.00) but by using this copyrighted phrase in your comment you have agreed to our terms and conditions as follows.

Guns need them
“The phrase containing, ‘Guns and outlaws’ and all variations thereof is copyright Blammo Ammo Camo Media, LLC and is subject to reciprocity agreements in all 50 United States and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa.  Also included is Guantanamo Bay Detainment Camp and all black and non-black sites.  Using the phrase on military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan is also covered as well as in any occupied oil-producing countries.

“By using this statement you agree to pay the creators of said statement $5.00 for each use on a blog post or comment section (Purchase of a bumper sticker enables one free use.)

“You also agree that you have trouble thinking for yourself and will seek medical advice.

“If you do not pay for use of these statements, Blamo Ammo Camo Media LLC will be forced to place a lien on your house, mobile home, boat or shed. Failure to pay enables us to use 3rd party debt collectors suchs as “Guido and Sons, NJ; Collect All Saul Inc.; or I Want My Money, Bitch. LLC” who are licensed to collect on our behalf.

Research via Internet Archive and Google will calculate your total fees to date, beginning from the date of first use. If you are unable to pay the fees we have the legal right to seize your property as per this agreement which you consented to when you first started using the phrase. Sale of forfeited assets will be used to pay our fees (minus expenses used by our collection agents).

By using the phrase beyond your first time, you have agreed to these terms and conditions. Please send your check or money order to:

Blammo Ammo Camo Media, 500 K Street, Washington DC, 20001


A. A. Ron Balakay

Senior Legal Counsel


P.S. We are also the copyright holder to any bumper sticker phrase beginning with, “Guns don’t kill people…” be advised that your comment history will be checked for use of this phrase and variations thereof.

Note: We are NOT attempting to censor you. You have your First Amendment rights. Blammo encourages use of our complete line of gun bumper sticker arguments, but we believe we should be compensated for our creative work. Using our ideas without paying is stealing. Picture in your mind how you would you act if someone tried to steal your things. We will act the same as you would, using the same methods and tools you just pictured.

Finally, if you come up with an original bumper sticker phrase you are welcome to use it, but please check to see who owns that phrase, it might be us. And then pay us if you are using it. You wouldn’t want to stiff us, would you?

by spocko

1,224 Reasons To Pass New Gun Safety Bill

5:56 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Biden on Guns

I hear people talking about how hard it will be to get this new public safety bill passed. The media pick this up and include it in all their stories, as if the playing field didn’t change after Newtown. They are being told that the NRA post Newtown has the same power as pre-Newton.


I’m an activist, not a politician, so I understand the logic of the right wing rhetoric. They want everyone, especially the media, to believe that a minority of people will defeat this bill. They are pushing the idea that popular support will fade away like in the past. Some people who follow politics cynically agree with this. This makes the NRA smile.

The NRA leadership want you discouraged and thinking, “What’s the point? There are millions of guns out there. The NRA is too powerful. They will rally their troops and call their bought off representatives. I’m not going to win.  I should just give up,”


It doesn’t have to be that way. We need public safety enthusiasts to act. And Biden, the consummate politician, knows this.

Yesterday Joe Biden was talking about gun violence in America. He talked about a lot of things but he said something that reflected his view of reality in DC.

“Elected officials respond to intensity. If number ten on your list of things you want your congressman to do is something about gun safety, that’s not going to get you very far, if there is a smaller group that its number one on their list to make sure nothing is done, guess who they hear from? So make your voices heard.”

I started thinking, what can increase our actions and the intensity of them? Yes, we have short attention spans, but studies of memory like described in the book, The Seven Sins of Memory, talk about setting up reminders based on location or context.  Let’s use how our brain works to help us:

Every time you hear about a story about one or more people getting killed by a gun that’s your reminder to make a call or send an email to support public safety bills.

The sad, sick news is that if you started this plan this after Newton,  as of today you would have had almost 1224 reminders to do something. (link to a great ongoing interactive list from @gundeaths and Slate that keeps track of gun deaths in the US.)

And by the way, don’t just focus on the federal and state level. Here’s today’s hot tip. Contact your local school board. They need to hear that you DON’T want to arm teachers, administrators, janitors and custodians.

Right now the gun enthusiasts are pushing school boards to do this. If the only people they hear from are them, they might think there is consensus. You no longer can rely on your school board members thinking. “Arming teachers it a terrible idea.”  Pathetically, some school boards pick up the crazy and incorrect NRA rhetoric on guns.  Check out this story from Ohio.

State school-board president defends Hitler post on Facebook

State Board of Education President Debe Terhar said she was not comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler when she posted a photograph of the Nazi leader on her Facebook page with a message critical of the administration’s new gun-control efforts.

When I listen to right wing gun podcasts and radio, I hear about their methods to beat back sensible laws. I hear them talking about how they will lobby school boards to send their teachers to gun training classes (two whole days of training! Woot! You are practically an FBI sharpshooter after two days!) I hear them ratcheting up the fear and downplaying the death of innocents.

So going forward here’s what I’d like you to do:

1) Read about a gun death. 2) Find out who your local school board, state or federal representative is 3) Call or email your thoughts to them. 4) Repeat as necessary.

Be intense. Be a public safety enthusiast. Be an intense public safety enthusiast. Things can get better if you act.



by spocko

20 Dead Kids = Inconvenience to NRA Lifestyle

3:13 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

National Rifle Association gearing up for a fight - CNN

“We are mobilizing for a fight,” NRA President David Keene told CNN. “We will engage our members.”

The association is planning to send mailings to its members urging them to contact members of Congress with their opposition to new gun laws. “Let them know you feel strongly,” is how Keene summarized the group’s message to member.

Happy Australian kids

Kids of Australia: 'It sure is hot, but we're not shot!'

So my question to you my friends in the public safety movement is, “What are you going to do to beat them?”

The NRA went into yesterday’s meeting with Vice-President Biden knowing they weren’t going to agree to any suggestions or make any concessions.  How do I know? They had their statement written to send out before the meeting even started.  Although I don’t have a time stamped copy, I’ve worked with organizations who put out statements. It takes days, sometimes weeks to get one put together.  They are working hard to get the discussion back on their terms and on their turf. The NRA says, “Come on America, stop focusing on dead kids! Think of yourself!” I’m going to bet 200 Quatloos that there wasn’t a press release version that said, “It was a very productive meeting, we are looking forward to co-authoring bills that will save lives and reduced gun deaths and gun violence.”

Keen and the NRA leadership are going into this in the same way that the right wing has been going into governing meetings for years.  They start as hardline as can be, even to the point of suggesting that they are the true victims. No crumbs given, no hint of compromise, because it makes their base angry.  The key is to activate their base on something scary (even something that will not be done, something they will be willing to die, or even kill for.) What are they really saying to their base?

“They are going to take all of your guns! They are going to limit your rights! If you let them do that you are weak. Will you let that, that… woman, Feinstein, take your gun? She is taking your mancard! What do we do when someone tries to take what is ours? We don’t just defend, we attack.”

Note how they move from the issue at hand to:

“This is about you.  You need to act. You are under attack. You don’t want to be a victim, you want to be the victor. You need to be in control. Don’t listen to them talking about how your gun wouldn’t make a difference. YOU know you could have saved the day if you were there in Sandy Hook. Don’t you want to have that chance to save lives? Think about how bad you would feel if that woman takes away your guns and you couldn’t protect yourself or family. She uses guns to protect herself! Hypocrite! If she was really brave she wouldn’t let her security guards carry.”

It has been documented that the lack of empathy is a trait of hardcore conservatives. The NRA wants to move the debate away from situations where normal people show empathy. (And by the way, hardcore conservatives do show empathy, but primarily for members of their own family, tribe.) They are going to ask their enthusiasts to show up at debates, write letters and comment on this issue from the position of focusing on their own lifestyle and needs rather than those of someone else in another place.

Now my question to you  is, “What would it take for you to have this same level of activism?” Is it because you don’t care enough or you have come to accept that we just have to live with this level of death by way of guns? Is it because you have accepted the frames of the people who are having this discussion? Do you even use their terms? “Pro-gun, anti-gun? “Gun rights?”

Now I’ve been cautioned not to evoke the individual names of the dead children in getting people to act. So I won’t. But I also know that reluctance to return the focus on humans and their decisions and consequences fits perfectly into the status quo the NRA extremists want. Don’t talk about the dead and the specific reasons for their death. Move the focus elsewhere.  Talk about being under siege, throw around  numbers, statistics, slogans, choice to focus on only one part of the constitution. There was an example of this just this week.

How the NRA Activist Base Attempts to Skew the Reality of a Majority Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Tell head of Obama’s New Task Force How to Prevent Gun Violence. Do it Live! Today in Vallejo CA.

5:57 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-5) is the chair of a congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Last night he started holding three town hall meetings in Northern California on reducing and preventing gun violence. From his Facebook page:

 I will be holding a series of town hall meetings on reducing and preventing gun violence.
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. we will be at Napa City Hall in the Council Chambers at 955 School Street. (done)

On Wednesday at 7 p.m. we will be at Vallejo City Hall at 555 Santa Clara Street.
And on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. we will be at the Board of Supervisors meeting room in Santa Rosa at 575 Administration Drive. I want to hear from you. Please join us if you can.


Illustration by Peter Stevens, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license

If you live in these areas I encourage you to attend. I’d love to hear about it. If you are pro-public safety and want to talk, please go and get your body and voice on the record. I can guarantee you that the people at Cal Guns are going to turn out the bodies, their noble talking points and their subtle intimidation comments. Since they don’t have control of all their members they will also have extremists speak. These are the ones I’d really like to hear from, since they represent the leadership of the NRA.

I don’t really like “Town Hall” style meetings. Politicians like to hold them to give the illusion of listening. Usually their minds are made up in advance by looking at the polling data or which “very serious people” have set up meetings to discuss the issue with them.

They also will note calls, emails, tweets (@RepThompson), and Facebook posts (FB page). You get more points if you are in their district, but being a rich rich donor helps.  Yes, politicians are “listening” but they mostly listen to people who are important to them, those who can deliver votes or money. For years the NRA produced both. But that’s changing.  If the politicians start hearing from dedicated, ferocious public-safety enthusiasts they will notice.

I personally don’t like the Town Hall format. Partly because too often progressives don’t know how to use it effectively in the media (hint, don’t wait for the media’s coverage–make your own. Don’t go for high profile events where the media will be there with their standard frame, “He shouted She shouted the Truth lies somewhere in the middle.”)

One of the things I learned by taking on and successfully defunding right wing media is that even if you could “win the conversation” if there is no leverage that leads to actual change, you won’t reach your ultimate goal. Especially when they constantly lie, change the subject, change the definition of words,  move the goalposts and yell to “win.”

The TV media coverage only looks at the extremes at Town Hall events, so unless the other side does something stupid (bring their guns?) or your side does something clever (like the Silent Student Protest after the pepper spraying in Davis) the media always does the same story  Here is my prediction:

Segment opens on long shot of pro and anti signs. Zoom in or people in costume or with props. One or two clever signs. Let people get an idea of number of bodies per side. Cut to someone dressed in camouflage saying something contrary, “I’m a vet and I say ban AR-15s and semi-automatics!” Cut to woman saying her hand gun saved her life. Cut to Thompson listening during meeting. Cut to head of “Gun Rights” group for 7 second quote. Cut to someone from Brady Campaign group for 7 second quote. Include a educator or mental health professional talking. End with Live stand up after the meeting is over to explain, “This hotly contested issue will be continued tomorrow in blank. Reporting live from Orange County I’m Gustavo Almadovar.

Does this mean you shouldn’t attend? No. If we can’t control the message we can at least not let their extremists flood the venue.  Because this is exactly the kind of thing where the NRA gets their extreme members organized to attend. It is one of the many communications strategies they use. But it’s not their most powerful.  The powerful stuff is hidden.

You have probably noticed that the NRA stays quiet after a major shooting, but they didn’t stop talking in the background in states to expand laws that help more guns get sold or weaken laws that prevent guns from getting sold.  They won’t stop on the work they can control. They can’t totally control the media,  but they do a pretty good job.

Did you notice that the media respected the NRA’s wishes to not speak following a major shooting? It’s like he’s Al Capone in The Untouchables the way the media keep respecting weapons lobbyist Wayne LaPierre’s feelings.  A “press conference” with no questions?  LaPierre’s policies and actions helped facilitate a mass shooting, why should he be spared the uncomfortable hot seat right after the shooting? Why does he get time to collect his thoughts and write his speech? The mothers and fathers of the dead didn’t. Besides, isn’t that why they pay him so well?  I know that journalists feel that it wasn’t fair to ambush him with questions until he was ready. But it’s not fair that the people ambushed at a mass shooting can’t ask questions either.

I’ve already told you what kind of media coverage I expect to come out of the Town Halls. If there are some real extremists there will the media downplay them? I doubt it, this time it’s different. Based on my experience the guns everywhere people will make threatening comments, comments showing their selfishness and lack of empathy and brag about the steps they will take if anyone tried to confiscate their guns. They will talk about killing people, usually the black clad government agents who are coming to take their legal hunting shotgun or rifle. If they do talk to the press and it makes the news nobody will challenge them on these comments.  ”Really? Your desires for ‘target practice’ with an AR-15 or other semi-automatize weapon outweigh the health and safety of others? Really?” They will say they are joking if asked seriously, but they aren’t.

They do not care about your children’s safety, they do not care about other’s safety in public,  if they did they would be trying to help rather than making threats.  These are the kind of people that I hope Mike Thompson and his task force vice chairs meet tonight and over the next few weeks.

by spocko

Trayvon’s Mom and My Mom on Protecting Their Kids (Video)

10:43 am in Uncategorized by spocko

My mom died this month last year. This will be my first Mother’s Day without her.

Sybrina Fulton Trayvon Mom Video screen grab

When I was a little Vulcan going off to school my mother’s last words were always, “Watch out for the cars!”  I could see cars and avoid them if I was watching and paying attention.

I wonder what the last words Sybrina Fulton said to Travyon? What could she have said? “Watch out for concealed weapons?”

Below is a video message from Trayvon Martin’s mother urging people to contact their governor to re-examine laws similar to Florida’s “Kill at Will” laws (which the NRA calls “Stand your Ground” laws). The video was put out by my friends at the Second Chance Campaign.

The effort is to re-examine the laws. But I also would like to think that this is a chance to  re-examining our attitudes.  Think about how attitudes toward drunk driving changed following Mothers Against Drunk Driving Campaign? Or how the attitudes toward smoking have changed? They both faced huge societal barriers as well as entrenched economic interests. But they did change.

I’ve been thinking about what it would take to change attitudes and then to change laws.  Often I think after the most recent mass shooting that surely THIS event would be the tipping point for attitudes to change.  Yet powerful forces push the fear button hard to stop any change, even a return laws that were accepted and that didn’t need an expansion. (The castle doctrine is long established and worked fine, it’s the new “Kill at Will” laws that effectively turn an entire state into your castle.  But it’s my state too and my rights to Life and Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness outside of my home need to count too.)

Speaking of attitudes that make responsible gun owners look like jerks, check out the Trayvon Martin targets for shooting practice.. “Be sure to hit the center of mass because you don’t want him survivin’ to tell his side of the story.” Here

Full Trayvon Gun Target

I often read about gun enthusiasts and how they can be mobilized at a moment’s notice on social media, phone calls and letters to support their views. I wondered, what is the equivalent on my side? It’s not just people against something, we are also FOR something. What is that? Public safety? Life?

Perhaps we are developing, “public safety enthusiasts.”  We are composed of people who have been impacted by gun violence, but other kinds of laws that make us unsafe too. That way when we are accused of wanted to ban all guns, with the standard comeback “The gun is just a tool, what if there is a car accident, do you want to ban all cars?” we can respond, “We are for the safe use of all tools by the people operating them. We are for laws that makes everyone safer, not just one at the expense of others. Are you for the unsafe use of your tools? Are you for laws that make everyone unsafe? And if you are for the unsafe use of your tools and for laws where more people are unsafe, then you are outside of the norm for the majority of gun enthusiasts.”

I have two good friends who are gun enthusiasts. They are for the safe use of their tools. They are for laws that make everyone safer.The disdain that I see from them toward people who are unsafe and untrained with any tool is very strong.  When it comes to a tool that can deliver rapid death at a distance they are even more concerned for safety and training.

When I suggest that we fix laws to raise the bar on safety training and handling for getting CCW permits they are all for it. They have seen people who have no business carrying guns get permits in a state with weak requirements and then bring it to their state where they have to spend time and effort to train. It’s unfair to them and their training and the potential for negligent gun incidents goes up as training requirements go down.

They can’t say, “Watch out for these people who got their permits in Florida!” because they can’t see them.  But what they can do is take this attitude about lax permit requirements and overly broad laws and translate them to action.

What kind of action? Well the video above is about contacting your governor. When the governor hears from public safety enthusiasts on this they can know they have support for doing things like what New Mexico did on May 1st, which was to only accept CCW from just six other states that meet all of New Mexico’s requirements for reciprocity. Previously they recognized a total of 19 states’ concealed-carry permits.

This mother’s day I will be without my mom, but I’ll still, “Watch out for the cars.” when I go outside of my home.

I can’t know what Sybrina Fulton must be feeling this Sunday, but when I translate my own sense of loss into positive action  it helps. Maybe you will do the same.

May many more children Live Long and Prosper,


by spocko

2 Shot at Gun Show. NRA Supporter’s Response.

2:37 am in Uncategorized by spocko

This just in from BLOOMINGTON, Ill.

2 men shot, wounded at central Ill. gun show

Two men have been injured in what officials say was an accidental shooting at a central Illinois gun show.
AP,  12:15 p.m. CST, February 26, 2011. Read the rest here in the Chicago Tribune.

Did you know 34 people are killed every day with guns? --

Every time there is a new shooting tragedy the spokespeople from the NRA have to create a response. I’ve heard enough of them to anticipate their verbiage. Here is my impression of an NRA supporter’s response.  I think it will go a little like this:

“How come the media never report on all the guns shows where there are no shootings? Huh? One little mistake and suddenly it’s, ‘Oh we have to shut down all the guns shows, they are too dangerous.’  It was just a silly accident, get over it. It’s no worse than a forklift accident at a trade show.

I’ll bet this will trigger the Brady bunch to shut down all guns shows. What if they applied the same standard to car shows after someone was killed at a car show? They wouldn’t shut down all the car shows, would they?

Or how about a cookware show where someone accidentally cuts themselves with a knife?  Huh? What about that? Do you want to shut down all the cookware shows?

Guns shows are just like any other trade shows of deadly objects. You gun grabbers are just looking for an excuse to take our guns and stop our trade shows.

Why don’t you focus on the Rachael Ray Gusto-Grip Line of Santoku Knives? Did you know that every day 34 people lose a finger to Rachael Ray’s knives? Do you every read THOSE stories? No. It’s the dirty little secret of the cookware industry. But the liberal cooking show media won’t tell you that.  How do you think Obama’s man Rahm Emanuel lost his finger?  All the media want to do is talk about is the 34 people killed by guns every day.

Or how about the new Chevy Volt. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the Volt is predicted to kill more people than any gun ever made! You can bet the Volt Owners of America won’t be putting those statistics out when they happen! Yet we are expected to acknowledge ever little shooting like it’s a big deal. It’s not! Shootings happen all the time, but why doesn’t the press do stories about the millions of NON-shootings! There wasn’t a single shooting on my block this week. Why don’t they cover that? The bias in the media makes me sick. If you folks would read American Rifleman or Armed Citizen you could see some real unbiased stories of lives saved by shootings and non-shootings.

Could the Media people write a story about the millions of lives saved by people who answer the door with a loaded shotgun? Sure they could, but NOOOOOO. They want to talk about how Jared Loughner shot 32 bullets in 16 seconds. Maybe one time in a billion someone handling a gun screws up. But the second that a terrorist comes knocking on your door suddenly everyone is in favor of guns all of a sudden. If you folks get killed in a home invasion trying to fend off someone with an AR-15 with a Gusto-Grip knife, don’t come crying to me. Because I won’t be listening, I’ll be cleaning my gun!”

Perry Latt Pierre. Real American.

I’ve noticed that when the media cover incidents like this the NRA isn’t ever tasked with a solution to the problem.  Why not?  Because they have defined their job as making the world safer for guns, not people.  So when there is a shooting tragedy nobody goes to them and demands, “Seriously, how would you fix this problem?”  They don’t have to actually come up with solutions that work, because they don’t care about real solutions  (a real solution isn’t, “everyone should wear guns.” That’s preposterous on its face.)

The NRA and GOA pass onto their members methods to counter any suggestions of sensible actions. They create strawmen, use specious arguments and redefine whole classes of objects, all in the continuing quest to never “lose” the conversation.  The majority of NRA members aren’t as radical as their leadership. But it is the leadership and the radical members who define them to the public.

Why do we have to solve the problems that they create? Because they don’t see it as a problem.

I think Sparky the Penguin said it best when he said to a gun’s rights person:

“Barring some seismic realignment in this country, the gun control debate is all but settled–and your side won. The occasional horrific civilian massacre is just the price the rest of us have to pay. Over and over again, apparently.”

I don’t know why you humans let the NRA supporters win arguments, it’s not like they are holding a gun to your head while they are arguing with you. One thing I do know–the gun people on your planet make it hard to live long or prosper.