Tag Archive | gun control

It’s probably going to keep turning out that this attack was worse than we knew

NYT provides some fascinating perspective on who’s tried to do this before, and for almost exactly the same reasons: “In the confusion that followed Wednesday’s desecration of the Capitol, it was widely reported that the last time the building was stormed was in 1814. That overlooked a desperate day in 1861, nearly as lethal to democracy. On Feb. 13, a mob gathered outside the Capitol and tried to force its way in to disrupt the counting of the electoral certificates that would confirm Abraham Lincoln’s election three months earlier.”

There was at least one bit of sabotage done before the riots, which probably means there’s more to be found: “As people rushed out of other buildings on the Capitol grounds, staffers in [Ayanna] Pressley’s office barricaded the entrance with furniture and water jugs that had piled up during the pandemic. [Her chief of staff] Groh pulled out gas masks and looked for the special panic buttons in the office. ‘Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit.’

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA): “The Capitol police with us seemed very confused about who had the key to the doors. They were closed, but we weren’t sure if they were locked, and we were yelling, “Lock the doors! Lock the doors!” We heard shots being fired, presumably into the chamber.”

Jason Crow (D-CO, veteran): “I called my wife. I told her I loved her and told the kids I loved them and told my wife I might have to fight my way out. […] I did a double-check of all the doors, made sure they were locked. Escorted the more senior members away from the doors, moving them into a defensive position. Asked folks to take off their member pins so that if the mobs break down the doors, the members would be harder to identify. I took a pen out of my pocket to possibly use as a weapon.”

Nancy Pelosi talks about her young staffers, who knew what to do from their school active-shooter drills: “The staff went under the table, barricaded the door, turned out the lights, and were silent in the dark.” “Under the table this whole–” “–under the table for two and a half hours.”

“Moments later, there was yelling in the gallery, as staff and security details started to move around with a heightened sense of alarm. Inside the chamber, news photographers that Pelosi (D-Calif.) had allowed in to capture the historic electoral vote at the dais instead turned around and trained their cameras toward the doors in the back of the chamber.”

Same article: “Capitol police had said previously they didn’t need help, but Bowdich decided he couldn’t wait for a formal invitation. […] These teams typically gather at a staging area off-site to coordinate and plan, and then rush together to the area where they are needed. Bowdich told their commander there was no time.”

Less-reported-on, ordinary people throughout the city also had to hide from rioters wreaking havoc: “[In DC], a city long shaped by hardworking Black Americans and immigrants, the terror unfolded at home, forcing residents to lock themselves behind closed doors or commute from work through downtown streets filled with throngs of white supremacists and law enforcement officials who have often been openly hostile toward their communities. “

Meanwhile: “As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building.”

BuzzFeed News spoke to two Black officers who described a harrowing day in which they were forced to endure racist abuse — including repeatedly being called the n-word — as they tried to do their job of protecting the Capitol building, and by extension the very functioning of American democracy. The officers said they were wrong-footed, fighting off an invading force that their managers had downplayed and not prepared them for. “

The officer initially scopes out the door, sees it’s not guarded, and tries to block the way. More rioters pour up the stairs after them, and the officer seems to go with a new strategy – he shoves the first rioter, pissing him off, and then leads the whole mob the other way.” One specific black officer uses himself as bait for racists. Get this man a medal, please.

Not to forget the other cops whose behavior that day deserves to be recognized:”Two Capitol Police officers have been suspended and one has been arrested following the riots at the U.S. Capitol.”

And: “As investigators seek to identify rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, police departments in Virginia and Washington state have placed officers on leave as authorities examine whether they took part in unlawful acts while off-duty.”

hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent…this you?”

Some fallout:

At least one known-COVID-positive rioter identified among the chaotic and unmasked crowd. Inside, several Republicans sheltering-in-place refused to put masks on; presumably they aren’t getting tested afterward, or won’t reveal the results if they are. Meanwhile, Democrats who were forced to share the room with them are starting to report positive tests.

“Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.” Contains a few choice screenshots of Parler-hosted content, for anyone who’s unclear about what Amazon considers a ToS violation.

“One member [of Congress, being briefed on plans for future riots] was explicit that these groups were trying to get journalists to report on their demonstrations. ‘Some of their main communications to organize these have been cut off, so they’re purposely trying to get the media to report on this as a way to further disseminate information and to attract additional support for their attacks.'”

Sadly, the graphic about Olive Garden canceling Lifetime Pasta Passes for various rioters and their supporters turns out to be a joke.

As is this resignation letter from the Death Star: “Destroying planets and using fear of this battle station to keep the local systems in line was my No. 1 passion until — about 30 seconds ago, weirdly! That was when I saw the X-wings that had evaded our turbo-lasers and were proceeding down a trench toward our vulnerable thermal exhaust port — and realized I had to speak up. I thought: What if remorselessly destroying planets isn’t my passion? What if my real passion is staying alive and avoiding the consequences of my actions?

If he can’t stay, he’s damn well gonna try to burn it all down before he goes

Welp, it’s been a week since the election was called, and Trump’s been wildly flinging himself from “if I don’t concede that means I don’t have to leave right??” to “file 100 lawsuits against whoever’s handy, hope some evidence shows up later” to “flood my mailing list with begging emails, admit in the fine print that their $$$ will actually just be paying off my debts.”

Also, blocking Biden’s transition team from the access they need to handle things smoothly, and firing a bunch of his military leaders, apparently because they’re trying to stop him from releasing intel about Russia that would harm national security. On top of the classified intel he’s already blabbed with no regard for national security.

(But something something Hillary’s emails, amirite)

Anyway, here’s another pile of links I’ve been sitting on for too long, about gun control & police brutality. (The really old ones I just discovered recently, and am gonna link anyway because they’re Still Relevant.)

2010: “Finally, he spoke to a departmental therapist, confessing all his concerns about the alleged stat fixing and about his declining health. The therapist’s report had a result he didn’t expect: He was stripped of his gun and badge and put on desk duty.” (What happens to the “good cops” who try to call out the “bad apples.”)

August 2015 (NYT): “In the protests that have followed police shootings, demonstrators have often asked why officers are so rarely punished for shootings that seem unwarranted. Dr. Lewinski is part of the answer.

December 2017: “Philip Mitchell Brailsford, 28, is now retired from the force with a tax-free pension worth $31,000 a year for life — and his attorney confirmed Friday that the settlement was a result of him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the shooting involving Daniel Shaver of Texas. Shaver was seen on police bodycam video crawling on the floor of a Mesa hotel and sobbing for his life before he was shot — a case that drew national scrutiny over the use of deadly force.” Justice for Daniel Shaver.

February 2018: “An elite Baltimore police task force spent years plundering the city and its residents for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, drugs, and jewelry. […] The police officers in the unit set people up for baseless searches. They robbed people. They carried toy guns to plant as fake evidence in case they killed an unarmed person. They clocked overtime when they weren’t working at all.”

Baltimore City funds, by agency. The police department dwarfs everything else put together.

June 1: “The officer seemed annoyed as he said, “Is that a Poodle?” I said yes and put Merlin back in the van. The officer seemed mad as he explained the impeding traffic law, like I tricked him somehow and was wasting his time.” White woman figures out why she keeps getting pulled over while driving with a large curly-haired dog.

June 6: “This essay has been kicking around in my head for years now and I’ve never felt confident enough to write it. It’s a time in my life I’m ashamed of. It’s a time that I hurt people and, through inaction, allowed others to be hurt. It’s a time that I acted as a violent agent of capitalism and white supremacy. Under the guise of public safety, I personally ruined people’s lives but in so doing, made the public no safer… so did the family members and close friends of mine who also bore the badge alongside me.

June 25: “Three staff members of a Michigan youth center have been charged in the death of a Black teenager who died while being restrained after throwing a sandwich.” Justice for Cornelius Fredericks.

July 19: “[Navy veteran Christopher] David stood as solidly as a rock while federal officers pepper sprayed him twice and struck him at least five times with a baton during a rally outside the Hatfield Courthouse.”

July 22: “State and local leaders have repeatedly called for federal agents to leave the city, arguing that their presence has made an already-tense environment worse.”

July 24: “This is the kid’s big moment, the 20-year-olds’ big moment. When they ask for our help, it’s our job to come and be supportive and to help them do what they need to do.” The stories behind Portland’s Wall of Moms.

Gun violence links that turn into pandemic links

Ordered some art supplies online a few days ago, and ever since then I’ve had this weird anxious fixation on the package-tracking page. I guess it’s being transposed from feelings about the stats on the COVID-tracking page?

Urgh. I just hope the arrival tricks my subconscious into thinking there’s been a globally-significant drop in Things To Be Anxious About.

Anyway, links about gun violence and/or police brutality have still been piling up while I’ve been posting all-pandemic links, so here’s some of those.

Continue reading

Highlights from the past few months of gun-related news

I haven’t managed to post any of these for a while, but that’s not for lack of material.

A first grader who found his grandmother’s loaded gun at school this spring pointed it at another student[…] [Vicky] Nelson was allowed to carry the weapon as part of the district’s concealed-carry plan adopted last year to arm administrators and select staff members to protect students from potential gun violence.” Sounds like that “put more guns in reach of small children” plan is going swimmingly.

Police say the two children broke into a locked bedroom, took a semi-automatic pistol out of a drawer, and were playing when the gun discharged. [The 10-year-old died.] Capri says the homeowners were legally able to own the gun and ‘did what they felt necessary to secure the firearm.'” Gun security should be regulated by laws, because obviously “feelings” aren’t cutting it.

A Texas police officer confronted by a loose dog pulled out his gun and opened fire [August 1], missing the animal and striking a woman standing nearby, killing her.” In the chest. No, the dog was not that tall. Either his aim is so bad that he has no business being a cop, or he’s lying, he meant to shoot the unarmed pedestrian, and he has no business being a cop.

‘He didn’t just die down there did he?’ an officer asked minutes after 32-year-old Tony Timpa lost consciousness while being restrained by police. ‘I hope I didn’t kill him.'” Justice for Tony Timpa.

“Ten days after he testified in the murder trial of a former Dallas police officer [Amber Guyger, finally convicted off murdering Botham Jean], key witness Joshua Brown was gunned down at his apartment complex.” Justice for Joshua Brown.

“A black woman was shot and killed by a white police officer in her Fort Worth, Texas home after a neighbor called dispatchers to report the woman’s front door was open, police said. The officers were searching the perimeter of the woman’s home when they saw a person standing near a window inside and one of them opened fire. […] She died at 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the bedroom of her home.” Justice for Atatiana Koquice Jefferson.

“…data from the 15 years following the [assault weapon ban]’s expiration now provide stronger evidence that permitting the gun industry to flood the market with increasingly powerful weapons that allow for faster killing has facilitated exactly that outcome. In the decade after the ban, there was a 347 percent increase in fatalities in gun massacres, even as overall violent crime continued downward.”

We need stronger background checks, defective product recalls, and more prosecutions for trigger-happy cops

There is “overwhelming evidence” that [deputy stationed at Stoneman Douglas] Peterson heard gunshots, but no evidence that he attempted to investigate. Peterson instead chose to hide near a stairwell as shots rang out on the campus, the report found.” (He’s getting charged — good — but way more harshly than cops who actually shoot innocent children — not good.)

Black family is held on gunpoint (and threatened with murder) by Phoenix police because a 4-year-old child took a dollar-store Barbie without paying. (Video.)

Shaquille Dukes was admitted into the hospital for double pneumonia. He received doctors orders to walk around the hospital. He was stopped by a racist security guard, who called racist cops. He was arrested and accused of trying to steal the IV machine.” (Video.)

“The authorities say they are investigating how Mr. Martin slipped through the cracks of the Illinois law, which the police might have been able to use to confiscate his handgun years ago. And the Illinois State Police said they were reviewing why an initial background check failed to turn up a criminal conviction that should have blocked him from buying the gun to begin with.”

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission can order the recall and repair of thousands of things, from toasters to teddy bears. If a defective car needs fixing, the U.S. Department of Transportation can make it happen. The Food and Drug Administration deals with food, drugs, and cosmetics. Only one product is beyond the government’s reach when it comes to defects and safety: firearms. Not even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can get defective guns off the market. If a gunmaker chooses to ignore a safety concern, there’s no one to stop it.”

“I shopped the killed piece around for a few days until it piqued the interest of a female editor at Politico, who accepted it as it was on spec. However, my piece was again passed on to a male editor to review — who asked me to change the premise of the piece to shift more of the blame for mass shootings on mental illness rather than toxic masculinity.”