firearm safety

America (Unthinkable)

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

A grim reminder:

There have been over 200 school shooting incidents―an average of nearly one a week―since the horrifying morning when 20-year-old Adam Lanza marched into Sandy Hook Elementary School and did the unthinkable.

Four years ago today, Lanza shot and killed his mother in her home in Newtown, Connecticut, before making his way to the school and opening fire, leaving 20 children and six staff members dead.

(Miller)

Why do we say unthinkable? One of the interesting questions of once upon a time was the question of killing children onscreen in cinema. You’re not actually supposed to depict such acts; it’s one of those codes that isn’t a law, but still, you know?

So you wouldn’t show what we see in the movies if it’s a child. Show an airplane full of children crashing, though, and, well, according to the old code that is, quite technically, just fine. And then perhaps we might recall the beginning of T2: Judgment Day, and so much for fretting about traditional codes.

Still, though, there are a lot of things we might think are unthinkable; perhaps what we mean is that actually doing these things is unthinkable.

All of which only reminds how much easier it is to talk about something else.

We’re halfway through December. Let us please, as many as possible, make it through to next year. Sure, that sounds like a grim joke, but come on. This is America, and there just isn’t much left we can call unthinkable. Take care of yourselves; take care of each other. Be well. Stay safe. Live through this.

Please.

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Image note: Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, “Brittle Bullet”.

Miller, Hayley. “There Have Been Over 200 School Shooting Incidents Since The Sandy Hook Massacre”. The Huffington Post. 14 December 2016.

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An Echo of Freedom (Just About Right)

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

Speaking of just another day in America:

A 3-year-old boy is dead after being shot in Ypsilanti Township on Sunday, Nov. 13.

The incident is under investigation, but police believe the incident may have been an accident, said Derrick Jackson of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.

Police believe another child was playing with a gun when it went off, fatally striking the 3-year-old boy, he said.

(Moran)

The problem with saying that sounds just about right is that it should be possible―merely possible―to say such a thing.

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Image note: Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, “Brittle Bullet”.

Moran, Darcie. “3-year-old shot, killed by child playing with gun, police say”. MLive. 13 November 2016.

A Quote Worth Paying Attention To (Blame a Black Man Mix)

VIII. Adjustment.

“Given the current outrage from black communities around police violence against black citizens, police fabrications take on additional seriousness. Glad to see Sherry Hall is going to be charged. One would hope other cops will pay attention to her fate.”

Denise Oliver Velez

And this is what that means:

Officer Sherry Hall, of Jackson, Georgia, faces four charges alleging she shot herself and then blamed the incident on a nonexistent black man. (Detail of frame from CBS46, 2016.)An officer shot. A bullet stopped by body armor. A 10-day chase for an unidentified shooter.

A newly hired Jackson police officer told a compelling story about what happened late the night of Sept. 13. After only three months on the job, Sherry Hall found herself immersed in a high-profile shooting, pitting a white officer against a black man. At least, that was her account of what happened.

But she made the whole thing up, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

On Friday, Hall was charged with four felonies, including evidence tampering and giving false statements to investigators.

After her account began to unravel over the past two weeks, investigators were left with little to conclude other than she shot herself, but officials stopped short of saying so Friday.

(Atlanta Journal Constitution)

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Image note: Right ― Officer Sherry Hall, of Jackson, Georgia, faces four charges alleging she shot herself and then blamed the incident on a nonexistent black man. (Detail of frame from CBS46, via Daily Kos.)

“GBI: Cop lied about being shot by black man”. Atlanta Journal Constitution. 23 September 2016.

Oliver Velez, Denize. “White Georgia police officer will be arrested for claiming a black man shot her”. Daily Kos. 24 September 2016.

The Donald Trump Show (Confiscate the Guns)

Donald Trump: "I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically, you understand, you have to have, in my opinion, I see what's going on here, I see what's going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked. Now, we had a very good mayor, but New York City was incredible, the way that worked, so I think that could be one step you could do." (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters, 2016)

“When Trump recently told African-American communities, ‘What do you have to lose?’ he neglected to mention the answer: Fourth Amendment rights.”

Steve Benen

Or, more specifically:

At a Fox News event this week, Donald Trump seemed to endorse taking “stop-and-frisk” policies to a national level to address urban crime. “I would do stop-and-frisk,” the Republican said. “I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically.”

Of course, what Trump doesn’t seem to understand is that stop-and-frisk didn’t work “incredibly well” at all, and when challenged in the courts, the policy was ruled unconstitutional.

When Trump recently told African-American communities, “What do you have to lose?” he neglected to mention the answer: Fourth Amendment rights.

Nor is the punch line the whole of it. The msnbc producer continues:

Trump, who’s never demonstrated any real understanding of criminal-justice policy, apparently likes the idea of police being able to stop-and-frisk Americans―including those who’ve done nothing wrong and have been accused of no crimes―effectively at the discretion of individual officers. If the police find a gun, under Trump’s vision, it will be taken away.

In other words, the NRA’s favorite presidential candidate―the Republican who’s benefiting from millions of dollars in NRA campaign money and claims to be a great champion of the Second Amendment―is on board with a policy in which government officials approach random American pedestrians and confiscate their firearms without due process.

(more…)

An American Snapshot (Heritage: Hatred)

Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 3, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

“Yes, a majority of Americans said they were against such measures, but let’s not brush past the obvious point: a third of the country is an alarming number of people.”

Steve Benen

The problem with making a point like Steve Benen’s is not that it is somehow wrong or grotesquely exaggerated. Rather, the problem is that such straightforward, dramatic statements find themselves anywhere near the realm of American reality.

(more…)

Another American Tragedy

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

This is an American tragedy:

A 6-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his father Sunday night in Bartholomew County.

Investigators believe [James E.] Lonaker’s son picked up a 38-caliber revolver and fired a shot. Lonaker was apparently sitting on his desk and didn’t see his son pick up the gun.

And thus we reiterate the WRTV report:

Gun Safety - Indiana State Police [via WRTV]Indiana State Police have the following suggestions when it comes to gun safety:

• When not in use, firearm should be stored unloaded in a gun safe, lock box or other secure location, separate from the ammunition

• Make sure children and unauthorized users do not have access to your firearm or ammunition

• Before storing the firearm, ensure it is unloaded

• Always handle the firearm as if it were loaded

• Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot

• Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction

Our condolences and grief, of course, to the Lonaker family and Hartsville community. Be well. I mean, you know. As much as possible on days like these.

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McKinney, Matt and Katie Heinz. “6 year old accidentally shoots, kills father in Bartholomew County”. WRTV. 22 February 2016.

Responsible Gun Ownership (#Benghazi!)

'Scuse me while I responsibly point this at you.

Ángel González of the Seattle Times landed the unfortunate duty of penning the article:

Dane Gallion, 29, told officers he took the gun to Regal Cinemas 14 at the Landing on Thursday night because he was “concerned about recent mass shootings in public places,” according to a police account in a probable-cause statement released Saturday.

That same anxiety prompted him to keep the gun unholstered in his waistband, the statement says.

This is one of those. Gravity. Downhill. Abyss of stupidity. Really, it only gets worse.

(more…)

Police Potty Training

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

“We are now providing additional training on what to do when you have to go to the bathroom.”

Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine

This really ought to be one of the more memorable quotes you’ll read in a long time. But for all we might laugh at the absurdity and show derision unto irresponsibility, we should also bear in mind that these are trained professionals.

Capitol Police officers are getting training after officers accidentally left their guns in the Capitol’s public bathrooms three times this year.

One gun was found by a child.

“We are now providing additional training on what to do when you have to go to the bathroom,” Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine told Congress on Wednesday.

Dine said there is no excuse for officers accidentally leaving their guns in public bathrooms. He said the officers were being disciplined, but he did not name them. A first-time offender typically would be suspended for at least five days, he said.

Dine said he is considering increasing the minimum penalty to a 30-day suspension for a first offense, and termination for a subsequent violation.

“I would be remiss if I did not say that the officers involved in these recent weapons cases reported in the media in no way intended to leave their weapons unattended. But as noted, this is not acceptable and they will be held accountable,” Dine told the House Administration Committee. “They do take very seriously their life and safety responsibilities and they acknowledge that they made a mistake.”

(Associated Press)

Police potty training. It really is a good chuckle, isn’t it? But part of the reason Chief Dine was in front of Congress was to answer for the gyrocopter and a few other embarrassing incidents, including this thing with leaving guns in the bathroom. Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA01) offered the ritual questioning of department leadership, but then mended fences with an awkward bit about how, “We’re not here to criticize you”.

A hint for the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania’s First: Yes, you are.

(more…)

Life (and Death) in These United States

'Scuse me while I responsibly point this at you.

Today is …

Authorities say a 10-year-old boy has been hospitalized after accidentally shooting himself in the face with a gun he found while sitting in a car in southeastern Pennsylvania.

(Associated Press)

… just another day in America.

Okay, then, let us be accurate: That was Sunday. Fret not, friends, there will be a gun accident today, too.

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Associated Press. “10-Year-Old Shoots Self In Face In Pennsylvania”. The Huffington Post. 16 November 2014.

A Note to “Responsible Gun Owners” in and Around Mill Creek, Washington

The unhealthiest seed

Let me clear my throat.

You know, when I find your spent bullet in my garden, it would be difficult to imagine how such a thing might please me. Indeed, we think the bullet was fired around 10:30 pm on April 7, but that is based on a memory of a weird sound that was too long after a meteor sighting to be a cosmic rock exploding in the atmosphere. And it didn’t have the right resonance, either. Rather, it sounded, well, like something small striking something hard at high velocity. A pebble on the windshield, only more so. Of course, neither can that noise, which compelled us each to ask the other what had happened, be definitively established as the event. We’re having trouble figuring out where, exactly, the bullet hit the structure. Note the relatively light deformation from impact.

There were no reports of major crime in the area such to land stray rounds about the neighborhood; the nearest gun range is out of range and, at any rate, indoors.

Responsibility, indeed.But among all the rattles and clangs and bangs of traffic and construction in this area, every once in a while there comes a sound something akin to a responsible gun owner celebrating his or her constitutional rights.

To which end I would like to thank all the responsible gun owners in and around Mill Creek, Washington, for this treasured reminder of how they’re all keeping us all safe.

No, really, you do realize, do you not, there is a reason why I laugh whenever I hear the phrase responsible gun owner? You’re all responsible gun owners until one day you aren’t. If it is too much to ask that you keep your (ahem!) “responsibility” to yourself, then maybe you’re not the sort of person who should be allowed to possess or handle firearms.