14 Jun

Bulletproof blankets points the saddest picture about America

This is the saddest news story about America:

The alarming rate of school shootings across the country appears to have added an unsettling new item to parents’ list of “back to school” items: bulletproof armor for their children. Among such items, the Bodyguard Blanket, a portable, bulletproof covering for children, has seen its sales exceed its manufacturer’s expectations in less than two weeks on the market.


This is surrender.

It puts the onus of survival on kids.

Kids, man.

Not adults fixing the root of a larger issue. Kids are expected to just deal with shooters, not in the way it works for sure in other countries which don’t have the death by random shooters stats we do, but by crouching on the floor with a blanket.

Meanwhile, a graph of school shootings:


These shootings are increasingly more tied to rural and suburban schools, where the focus and obsession is with school.

I guess this hits close to home for me, my kids are going to kindergarten next year. I live in exactly the sort of community that harbors and creates people who think, collect, and act like this.

Time to work harder, save money.

14 Jul

Stand your ground is a horrible application of law and justice. End of story.

This about all I can calmly write after last night, to quote this:

“Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.

You can see the breakdown of the killings in the chart below. The figures represent the percentage likelihood that the deaths will be found justifiable compared to white-on-white killings, which was the baseline Roman used for comparison:”


(Via Is There Racial Bias in “Stand Your Ground” Laws? | Criminal Justice | FRONTLINE | PBS.)

Also needed reading, the murder of Jordan Davis, in A Most American Way to Die:

Michael David Dunn, cracked his window and told them to turn the noise down. “I hate that thug music,” he had griped to his girlfriend before he sent her in to buy some wine and chips; Rhonda Rouer would tell detectives the next day that that was a “common” complaint of Dunn’s. They had just come from the wedding of Dunn’s only son and had left the reception early to get back to the hotel so he could walk their newly bought puppy.

Tevin, in the front passenger seat, dialed the music down, but Jordan, sitting behind him, wouldn’t have it. Unbelting himself, he reached across the console to crank the volume up. He and Dunn went at it, peppering f-bombs at each other. “You’re not gonna talk to me like that!” yelled Dunn, reaching across the dash to his glove compartment. Tommie had come back and was strapping himself in when he saw a gun through the window of Dunn’s car. “Duck!” he yelled and grabbed for the shifter when the first three shots hit his car. Several more rounds whacked the car as Tommie floored it backward and peeled out. He broke left, past the gas pumps, while bullets winged by. Dunn, half out of his Jetta and firing two-fisted, kept shooting at the fleeing Durango; one bullet pierced the liftgate and another clipped the visor, missing Tommie’s skull by an inch.

He drove a hundred yards into the adjacent shopping plaza, stopped in front of a sandwich shop and jumped out to check on his friends. Tevin was somehow fine – his door had stopped the slugs. Leland, sitting behind Tommie, was OK too, though his hands and sleeves were wet with fresh blood. Jordan, however, was slumped in his lap. The first three shots had gone through his door; two of them lodged in his chest and groin. His eyes rolling back, he gasped for air as the three friends shrieked for help. “Jordan was making that rattle people make when they’re dying,” says Tevin. “That’s when Leland started to cry. I hugged him and tried to tell him it’d be OK.”

Tevin dialed 911, but someone had beaten him to it: The strip mall was packed with stunned bystanders. Two of them jotted down the Jetta’s plate number as Dunn tore of, speeding up Southside Boulevard. Soon, the Gate gas station bristled with sirens: cops securing the crime scene and taking statements, collecting a dozen firsthand accounts; medics working feverishly to keep Jordan breathing as they loaded him into the ambulance; and detectives comforting his stricken friends, particularly Leland, who couldn’t stop sobbing. Jordan was his best friend; they all but lived at each other’s houses. “Jordan was my third son – I loved that boy,” says Tanya Booth-Brunson, Leland’s mother. “He had this shine on him that lit up the room. He was a star, and everyone knew it.”

Shortly before noon the following day, deputies knocked on a door in Satellite Beach, three hours south down 95. Dunn, a computer programmer and gun enthusiast who’d fired his first rifle at three, stepped out onto the stoop of his beachfront condo. Fully six four and 280 pounds, he greeted the cops with the convivial air of a long-lost beer-league pal. In the interview box at the downtown precinct, he sloughed off the reading of his Miranda rights. According to Jordan’s father, Dunn said he didn’t need a lawyer, telling the detectives: They defied my orders. What was I supposed to do if they wouldn’t listen? Appalled, the cops booked him on the spot, and he was eventually charged with first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.

But several days after the shooting, Dunn told the world through his hastily hired lawyer, Robin Lemonidis, that he fired 10 shots in a crowded shopping plaza because he felt threatened by the boys.

17 May

Why isn’t New Orleans Mother’s Day parade shooting a ‘national tragedy’?

A good question. I don’t watch news/have cable, so I hadn’t realized it had completely dropped out of the nation’s collective mind. What a fucking indictment of mainstream america. Unless it happens in middle class areas, it isn’t real:

“Now take a moment and imagine a Mother’s Day Parade in the suburbs of Denver, a neighborhood in Edina or a plaza in Austin where bullets rain down on civilians and even hit children. I can’t help but imagine the around-the-clock news coverage. And I can’t help but think it’s because most of America can identify with the fear of being bombarded with gunfire while just enjoying a parade in the middle of town. But America can’t identify with being at a parade in the ‘inner city’ where ‘gang violence’ erupts. The ‘oh my God, that could happen to me’ factor isn’t present with a story about New Orleans or the Chicago southside.”

(Via Why isn’t New Orleans Mother’s Day parade shooting a ‘national tragedy’? | Portside.)

08 May

America’s surging suicide rate

There’s a repeated set of signals indicating that the more common guns are in an area the more likely they are to be used in suicide. Here’s another note about it in regards to the fact that more people kill themselves with them in Wyoming than in New York:

“‘The higher suicide rates result from higher firearm suicides; the non-firearm suicide rate is about equal across states.’ The Harvard School of Public Health News, which summarized the main findings of the study, notes that ‘in states where guns were prevalent—as in Wyoming, where 63 percent of households reported owning guns—rates of suicide were higher. The inverse was also true: where gun ownership was less common, suicide rates were also lower.'”

(Via The Hidden Geography of America’s Surging Suicide Rate – Richard Florida – The Atlantic Cities.)

08 May

The dark side of the maker movement

Someone had to do it first, one imagined it was a natural step of 3-d printing.

“Gun-death statistics are not part of the rhetoric. He doesn’t want to ‘get bogged down in the numbers.’

He has had a fractious relationship with the maker community as well, who see their forthcoming revolution as disruptive but relatively benign. In late August, the crowdfunding site Indiegogo shut down Defense Distributed’s fundraising campaign. MakerBot removed Wilson’s gun designs from Thingiverse, its repository of computer-aided design files for 3-D printers. Explaining that he was manufacturing firearms without a license, the company Stratasys seized a printer that Wilson had rented; Stratasys also referred Wilson to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. ‘They tried to mortally wound me,’ Wilson said at South by Southwest (SXSW). ‘They tried to mortally wound my project.’

If that was Stratasys’s intent, it did not succeed.”

(Via The First 3-D-Printed Gun: Cody Wilson and the Dark Side of the Maker Movement : The New Yorker.)

24 Apr

People on terror list… still can purchase guns legally

Well, I feel safer… except not…

“Under current laws, if a background check reveals that your name is on the national terrorism watch list, you’re still free to walk out of a gun dealership with a firearm in your hands — as long as you don’t have a criminal or mental health record.”

(Via People On Terrorism Watch List Not Blocked From Buying Guns : It’s All Politics : NPR.)

02 Apr

Gun tautology

An interesting observed tautology in the gun debate:

“In the current debate over gun control, the pro-gun lobby has an ace card up its sleeve: We need weapons to prevent government tyranny, they say. These self-styled champions of liberty see guns as the ultimate insurance policy to protect the Constitution. The problem is that most of those making this argument also strongly support a massive U.S. military — exactly the behemoth we must be armed against.”

(Via Great Gun Gobbledygook: The Paradox of Second Amendment Hardliners – Dominic Tierney – The Atlantic.)

01 Apr

GOP wants to make sure domestic abusers have the right to pack heat

My outrage boils over on this one:

“In terms of just sheer extremism, if ever there was a succinct, simple-to-understand bumper-sticker-ready metric for understanding the fringe-iness of today’s Republican Party, the fight in the Colorado legislature over gun rights for domestic abusers is it. As the Denver bureau of the Huffington Post reports, the Colorado bill in question simply ‘prohibits gun possession from those convicted of certain felonies involving domestic violence or certain misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence (and) also prohibit guns from individuals subject to certain (domestic violence) protection orders.’ According to a recent statewide poll in Colorado, that is a concept supported by 80 percent of voters – yet Republicans are opposed.”

(Via New GOP plan: Guns for domestic abusers – Salon.com.)