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Guns in the hands of people who should not have guns. June 15, 2018

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People killed by police in the US, 2018. Currently at 524.

“For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits, potentially allowing drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms in public.” The government is coming down hard on the background-checking employee who couldn’t log in. Buried in the article is the reveal that she never even asked for the job: “Wilde told the Times she had been working in the mailroom when she was given oversight of the database in 2013. ‘I didn’t understand why I was put in charge of it.’

At Gun World in Hilliard, Ohio, a dealer was found in 2016 to have repeatedly sold firearms to people who appeared to be prohibited from owning them, including a customer who self-identified as a felon. It is a federal crime for a felon to have a gun. An A.T.F. inspector recommended the store’s license be revoked. […] Gun World remains open. When reached by telephone, an employee at Gun World hung up.”

Guns will be barred during Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance at an upcoming National Rifle Association convention to protect his safety.” So even the NRA won’t stand behind the NRA’s “more guns = more safety” claim.

Citigroup won’t do business with companies that don’t background-check their gun sales. As a commenter notes: “I have worked for several banks, and they all have criteria for determining who they will do business with. Unacceptable lines of business often are those engaged in marijuana/drug sales, adult retail or film industry, gambling.”

In Indiana, after the enactment of the [“red flag”] law [in 2005], we saw a 7.5 percent decrease in firearms suicides in the 10 years that followed […] We didn’t see any notable increase or decrease in non-firearms suicide.”

“According to a 2008 RAND Corporation study evaluating the New York Police Department’s firearm training, between 1998 and 2006, the average hit rate during gunfights was just 18 percent. When suspects did not return fire, police officers hit their targets 30 percent of the time.

Two Gardena police officers have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of using their position to acquire firearms and illegally selling more than 100 of the weapons to others, including a convicted felon.”

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“She said no one had contacted her until news reporters began calling her Tuesday morning.” May 18, 2018

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People killed by police in the US – over 400 so far this year, and the list-compiler is asking for donations so they can keep up the work.

VICE News sought records on officer-involved shootings from the country’s 50 largest local police departments; 47 responded with data sufficient for analysis. Many fought hard to keep the information secret, and some responded to our requests only under threat of legal action. One department sent a CD-ROM containing a single spreadsheet file through the mail.”

I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High and she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs and he grabbed the gun. I saw it and started to run. And that’s when I heard the gunshot.” This poor kid. I’m so glad he made it out of that alive.

“One of the suspects, A’Donte Washington, 16, of Montgomery, who was armed with a revolver, allegedly pointed a gun at the officer, body cam footage showed. The officer fired at the teenager, killing him. [A different, unarmed teenager] was charged with Washington’s death despite not firing the shots […] A grand jury cleared the officer who fired the shots.” What even.

“Melissa Yatsko said she was stunned on Tuesday when she learned for the first time that her 21-year-old son was shot and killed Saturday by an off-duty police officer working security at the Corner Alley bowling alley and bar in University Circle. She said no one had contacted her until news reporters began calling her Tuesday morning.” Justice for Thomas Yatsko.

“Clements’ truck was immobilized and surrounded by at least seven officers. A K-9 unit was on the scene. The officer in charge even informed the other police officers on the scene to use rubber bullets first, and then a Taser. Instead, they shot her in the head.” Justice for Decynthia Clements.

“Black Lives Matters and other various groups again protested the shooting of the 22-year-old, who was shot to death by police in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18. Clark was clutching only a cellphone when two Sacramento police officers, who were wearing body cameras, fired a fusillade of 20 shots.” Justice for Stephon Clark.

“Investigators and prosecutors in Kansas and California, and with the federal government are trying to untangle the strands of a swatting case that ended with a police officer fatally shooting a 28-year-old father of two standing in his front door.” Justice for Andrew Thomas Finch. (Who isn’t black, but you’ll notice the lack of All Lives Matter rallies on his behalf.)

The Onion: “To any law enforcement officer unsure about the object a civilian is holding, we recommend looking at the firearm in your own hand and looking back for parallels between its physical qualities and those of the object in a suspect’s hands.

Hey, did you know defective guns can’t be recalled? Not a joke. There are gun models that can go off when you drop ’em, and no product recalls. April 5, 2018

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People killed by police in the US, 2018. Currently at 333.

“Taurus sold almost a million handguns that can potentially fire without anyone pulling the trigger. The government won’t fix the problem. The NRA is silent.” Every time I think I’ve heard the most insane thing about the lack of gun regulation in this country, I get proven wrong. In the US you can freely sell defective guns and they won’t be recalled.

Beginning with Columbine in 1999, more than 187,000 students attending at least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus during school hours, according to a year-long Washington Post analysis. This means that the number of children who have been shaken by gunfire in the places they go to learn exceeds the population of Eugene, Ore., or Fort Lauderdale, Fla.”

“Marco Rubio […] wrote a letter to Ms. DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions questioning whether the [Obama-era racial discipline] guidance allowed the shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, to evade law enforcement and carry out the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High. It was, on its face, an odd point: Mr. Cruz is white, and far from evading school disciplinary procedures, he had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas.

“These violent outbursts last year, and others like them, had key things in common. Chief among them: Long before the violence, the people identified as attackers had elicited concerns from those who had encountered them, red flags that littered their paths to wreaking havoc on unsuspecting strangers.”

“A north Georgia high school teacher was arrested on Wednesday after he barricaded himself in a classroom and fired a shot from his handgun out of a window, police said.” But sure, let’s give the teachers guns.

I have fired tens of thousands of rounds through that rifle, many in combat. We used it because it was the most lethal — the best for killing our enemies. And I know that my community, our schools and public gathering places are not made safer by any person having access to the best killing tool the Army could put in my hands.” A veteran and a Republican congressman. Will that make people more likely to listen?

There are gun laws that make people safer, and then there are gun laws the NRA likes. February 28, 2018

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“After the Newtown massacre of schoolchildren in 2012, President Obama issued an executive order instructing the CDC to “conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it.” But the agency has refused unless it receives a specific appropriation to cover the research. Congress played its obligatory role in acting as the NRA’s cat’s-paw by repeatedly rejecting bills to provide $10 million for the work.”

“The [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg] survey, believed to be the first nationally representative sample in 15 years to examine gun storage practices in U.S. households, found that 54 percent of gun owners reported not storing all their guns safely.

“When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 in the midst of the school shooting crisis, many officers were surprised to find not only that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but that three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were also outside the school and had not entered.” Good Guys With Guns are batting 0 for 4 so far.

Police in Amarillo shot an innocent man who helped foil a possible church shooting.” That’s right, these Good Guys With Guns shot more innocent people than the armed hostage-taker did.

“Rather than fault the ideologues or the National Rifle Association (NRA), which advocate and promote the ownership and use of high-capacity assault weapons, gun extremists blame the FBI and local law enforcement, though that law enforcement went to the Parkland assailant’s house 39 times but had no legal authority to take him into custody, to disarm him, or to require him to seek mental health treatment.” When the NRA gets laws passed that even the police agree make us less safe.

Here’s some good news:

“After Connecticut’s General Assembly passed the package of gun laws, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, signed it into law, gun-related deaths started to drop. According to the chief medical examiner’s office in Connecticut, the number of deaths resulting from firearms — including homicides, suicides and accidents — fell to 164 in 2016, from 226 in 2012.

Every time gun deaths come up in the news, there’s some article about a factor I hadn’t even thought about, but that seems so obvious once it was pointed out. Like this (which doubles as more good news):

“ThinkProgress asked more than two dozen corporations that offer incentives to NRA members whether they plan to continue their relationships with the gun lobby. A growing number of those companies have ended their relationship with the NRA since this list was initially published.”

And this:

“An aspect of gun control that other countries practice that doesn’t come up in America a lot is ammunition control. In Japan, if you’re one of the privileged few allowed to own a gun (and only shotguns and rifles are legal), you have to return all your spent cartridges if you want to buy any more. In Israel, after you’ve purchased the one gun you’re allowed to own, you’re given a box of 50 bullets, and that’s it. You can’t buy any ammunition anywhere, that’s your lifetime supply, although a shooting range will provide you with more, but only for use at that range. Even in countries with more relaxed gun control laws, like Switzerland and Serbia, buying ammunition requires all the same paperwork as buying a gun (mental health records, criminal records, etc) and you can only buy ammo for the gun you own. Gun control advocates in the US should consider placing an emphasis on ammunition control in addition to everything else.

Always remember that there are things we can do. NRA-backed politicians just won’t do them. February 15, 2018

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Including links I’ve been saving since last year.

School Shooting in Kentucky Was Nation’s 11th of Year. It Was Jan. 23.

“The 32-year-olds connected immediately. They joked about their mutual love of golf. He recommended new beers for her to try as she showed him the large floral tattoo covering much of her back. They realized that they were both staying at the Luxor.” A heartbreaking profile from the Vegas shooting.

“If Cruz’s role is confirmed, the Parkland school shooting would be the second school shooting by a white supremacist in the past two months. ”

When you’re on that list, lying about it in order to buy a gun is a federal felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Yet of the thousands of denials referred to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, federal prosecutors pursued charges in only 20 cases in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available.”

“Gun violence researchers say that no law can eliminate the risk of mass shootings, which are unpredictable and represent a small minority of gun homicides over all. But there are a handful of policies that could reduce the likelihood of such events, or reduce the number of people killed when such shootings do occur. And several of them have strong public support.

Killed by police in 2017: 1,129 people January 2, 2018

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Final report on 2017 police violence in the US, compiled by Campaign Zero. 1,129 people killed. 92% by shooting. Officers, even those with 1 or more prior shootings, were only charged with a crime 1% of the time.

A 6-year-old boy was fatally shot when Bexar County sheriff’s deputies opened fire on a woman at a Schertz mobile home park after a lengthy manhunt [December 21].”

Trooper Bessner unnecessarily deployed his Taser at Mr. Grimes without legal justification or excuse as Mr. Grimes was traveling at least 35 to 40 miles per hour.” (Note: “Mr. Grimes” was 15 years old.)

Hope Coleman called a local hospital to pick up her son; the police showed up before the EMTs, and ended up fatally shooting him. Oh, and then the police were hospitalized because this caused them so much “stress.” (The police commissioner is quoted as referring to the victim as “this poor kid.” The “kid” was 31.)

A 31-year-old man was shot twice by police in Texas after officers thought he was breaking into his own pickup truck because the alarm was going off.” Lyndo Jones survived the initial attack and was released from the hospital, but rushed back on November 25 for infected wounds.

[Iraq War veteran Denis] Reynoso was shot to death in his apartment by Lynn police officer Joshua Hilton in front of his five-year-old son on September 5, 2013.”

One of the officers on the scene went on to shoot unarmed Malden resident Michael McInnis — who was white, but don’t worry, the All Lives Matter crowd is ignoring it anyway.

“The Georgia police officer who was captured on camera telling a woman during a traffic stop that law enforcement personnel ‘only kill black people’ says he’ll retire amid the backlash.”

People killed by police in the US, 2018. Currently at 6.

More stories of police officers who mysteriously still have their jobs. October 23, 2017

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People killed by police in the US, 2017. Currently at 970.

“Police in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night fatally shot a deaf man who they say was advancing toward them with a metal pipe as witnesses yelled that the man was deaf and could not hear them.” Fire those cops. They’re not competent to do the job. Justice for Magdiel Sanchez.

“An unarmed 15 y/o child died after being shot in the head by Balch Springs PD (TX). A cop shot muliple rounds into a car filled with teens.” Justice for Jordan Edwards.

“Three of the gunshots fired by officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew struck Lyles in the front of the torso and chest, three struck her in the back or rear of her arm, and one grazed the side of her ribs, according to the report. Several of the wounds would have been life-threatening on their own, including the one that cut through her uterus and the fetus.” Dear lord, any kind of justice for Charleena Lyles.

Security officers can even feel attacked by black people who do not, strictly speaking, exist: “Emergency dispatch audio said the at-large suspect was a black man wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and black jeans […] After the search failed to find any suspect, Mr Ahlers admitted to police he had accidentally shot himself.

To be clear, sometimes the cops do kill white people: “A 21-year-old Georgia Tech student, who was the president of the campus Pride Alliance, was shot and killed by a Georgia Tech police officer, according to a statement released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.” Justice for Scout Schultz.

And here’s a case where the cop was black, and got himself in a panic after shooting at a white couple: “A Sevier County Sheriff’s Office deputy opened fire without warning in a mobile home park, suffered an apparent panic attack four minutes later and was forcibly disarmed by a paramedic.” The people he shot at were then jailed for more than a month for “assault.”

Notice how the people who talk about Black Lives Matter are still standing up and saying these last two incidents are unjust. The “all lives matter!” crowd is…mysteriously absent. Funny how that works.

Puerto Rico needs help, there are still too many Americans being shot, and Trump is a vile human being. October 5, 2017

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The numbers have been in for years: “…and came back with an unambiguous conclusion: states that made it easier for their citizens to go armed in public had higher levels of non-fatal violent crime than those states that restricted the right to carry.” (Levels of fatal violent crime, to be clear, aren’t lower. They were unaffected.)

But for some people, it will never sink in until it gets personal.

The guitarist who was playing at the Las Vegas massacre finally got it: “We actually have members of our crew with CHL [concealed handgun license] licenses, and legal firearms on the bus. They were useless. We couldn’t touch them for fear the police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us.”

GEE, YA THINK.

Look, buddy, we could have used you five or ten or twenty massacres ago. But you’re here now, and that’s better than nothing. Maybe you can help us figure out how to talk to the kind of person you used to be.

You know, when I was in grade school, they never taught us that Puerto Rico was part of the US. It literally never came up.

“Now a former foreign disaster assistance chief under President Barack Obama, who said he was trying ‘to be balanced’ regarding Trump’s handling of the situation because he knows ‘how hard this stuff is,’ said that the report has finally made him snap — ‘so mad I could spit.’

The family had almost run out of drinking water. Their isolated community of Caonillas had received no aid from the local or federal government, residents said. And they had no way to make the perilous trek to town; the winding roads had been obliterated and six of the family’s cars had been stored in a garage that collapsed, crushing five of the vehicles and sending the sixth sliding down the mountainside and into a river.”

And Trump is showing up and chucking rolls of paper towels into the crowd, like the bouquet at the wedding, like a prize on a game show, because he thinks this is entertainment. Because he doesn’t care. Because he is a disgusting stain on the soul of humanity.

Lives that matter, from St. Louis to Sandy Hook to Charlottesville August 14, 2017

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People killed by police in the US, 2017. Currently at 759.

Charlottesville-based organizations that can take your money. (The Twitter thread have been going around; this is a blog post that rounds up the links.)

‘I was expecting him to come home, not to be buried,’ [the 16-year-old’s grandmother] told the station. ‘I was telling him, give yourself a little while and you’ll be home with me.'” Justice for Aries Clark.

“We are among the vast majority of Americans who believe that we must take sensible steps to prevent massacres like the one that took my daughter’s life. We will continue to speak up. We will not go away.”

2014 FBI study: “There were, on average, 16.4 [mass] shootings a year from 2007 to 2013, compared with an average of 6.4 shootings annually from 2000 to 2006. In the past 13 years, 486 people have been killed in such shootings, with 366 of the deaths in the past seven years.” This was commissioned by Obama post-Sandy Hook, and was the first FBI study of its kind.

“…two officers who encountered the armed off-duty officer ordered him to the ground. He complied. When they recognized the off-duty officer, they told him he could stand up and walk toward them. Another officer just arriving at the scene saw the off-duty officer get up and, not knowing he was an officer, fired his weapon once at the man.

“Southaven officers went to the wrong house to serve a warrant on Monday, which resulted in the shooting death of a man who did not have any active warrants out for his arrest.” Worse, they shot Ismael Lopez through his front door.

The GOP keeps bleating about ~law and order~ while the people cry out for Justice May 4, 2017

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People killed by police, 2017. Currently at 399.

Federal immigration officials knock on the door of a family of legal US residents, then shoot one of the unarmed homeowners.

Off-duty cop Kevin Ferguson harasses some kids, grabs a 13-year-old, ends up firing his gun at the group. It’s all on video. And yet the middle-schooler gets charged with battery, while the grown adult member of law enforcement is allowed to keep walking around armed with no charges.

“The video shows Rosen stomping on the head of Demarco Anderson while Anderson is already handcuffed and under control. Anderson is visibly restrained and does not appear to be agitated or resisting when Rosen charges from the left side of the frame and pounds his foot into the back of the suspect’s head.” Justice for Demarco Anderson.

“He was not trying to harm anybody. He was asking them for help and they shot him down.” And the whole thing was streamed on Facebook Live. Justice for Rodney Hess.

“Soon after, Wade — fully restrained and surrounded by officers — would be writhing in pain and screaming “I can’t breathe” after enduring two blasts of pepper-spray at point-blank range.” Justice for Charles Wade and Amber Swink.

The mailman suffered injuries to his neck, face, back and arm and underwent two surgeries and physical therapy.” And the cops who beat him up were completely acquitted. Justice for Karim Baker.

“Aware that the call was in response to a possible drug abuser, instead of proceeding calmly as to not alarm the person- when officer Stumler shouted: ‘raise your hands’ she automatically shot him in the stomach with no chance to respond.” Justice for Bruce Warrick.