Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Listen Up America • Update Spring 2014 "Just like tobacco, guns do kill people."

Let's install a chip in every gun in America. If a gun is found without a chip the gun is to be scrapped and melted down. We Americans have GPS chips in our cars and in our phones and in our laptops and in our dogs and our cats and on many felons with ankle bracelets and even in some of our kids. So it is proven the technology works and works well. Authorities would have access to the position of any gun, anywhere in America at any time. This is not an invasion of privacy. This is a reasonable step in the prevention of gun murders and gun accidents in our nation. This could save untold lives. The NRA and gun people will not allow our congress or our states or our cities to effectively control gun sales and misuse so let's simply track where the people with guns are located. Then if some people kill or maim with a gun we'll be able to find them and the weapon for police and the courts to use as evidence at trial. 

In January 1936 Hitler's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels declared, "We can do without butter, but despite all our love of peace not without arms. One cannot shoot with butter, but with guns." And for once in his wretched life Goebbels said something truthful. As a result of his media deceptions most savvy people consider Goebbels the father of modern propaganda. Now even with all the delirious militant gun carriers in Fly-Over-America and the lavish NRA spin doctors in Washington let's try to put some reason in a look at guns and the impact of gunshot trauma on the regular people of our nation. 

A couple of years ago January 2011 in Tucson, Arizona US Representative Gabrielle Giffords was direly injured by gunshot. A beautiful and bright nine year old girl Christina-Taylor Green was murdered by gunshot. A US Federal Judge John Roll was murdered by gunshot. Representative Gifford's aide Gabe Zimmerman was murdered by gunshot. Her husband George tried to shield her, but Dorothy "Dot" Morris was murdered by gunshot. Dorwan Stoddard tried to shield his wife Mavy and he was murdered by gunshot. A church volunteer Phyllis Schneck was murdered by gunshot. Susan Hileman, Pamela Simon, Ronald Barber, James Tucker, Kenneth Veeder, George Morris, James Fuller, Randy Gardner, Mary Reed, Kenneth Dorushka, and Bill Badger were all wounded by gunshot. The shooter bought his automatic hand gun with an extended thirty shot clip at a mall sporting goods store. Prior to trial, the shooter was diagnosed with schizophrenia and he is now in prison. How could these murders have been prevented? 

In July of 2012 a dozen people were murdered and over seventy injured at a movie house in Aurora, Colorado. Most of the murdered were young people: Jonathan Blunk, Alexander J. Boik, Jesse Childress, Gordon Cowden, Jessica Ghawi, John Larimer, Alex Sullivan, Alexander C. Teves, Rebecca Wingo. The shooter used several weapons including a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 (military & police 15) assault rifle. How could these lives have been saved? 

Six months later, in December of 2012 another rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.  A very damaged man killed his mother and then drove to a nearby school where he murdered Rachel D'Avino a teacher's aide, Dawn Hochsprung school principal, Anne Marie Murphy a teacher's aide, Lauren Rousseau a teacher, Victoria Leigh Soto a teacher,  Mary Sherlach, school psychologist, and first grade students Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Dylan Hockley, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, Ana Marquez-Greene, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt.  These are not just names. These are six year old and seven year old little kids. Twenty six people who were attending school or just teaching were murdered. After murdering all these people and wounding others the shooter killed himself.  The NRA gun people propaganda machine noted that the gun was given to the shooter by his own mother. The mother should never have been allowed to buy that gun. 

Recently this June 2013 a man firing an assault rifle along a street and at a college in Santa Monica, California killed five people. That man should never have been sold that assault rifle.

This past September week another twelve people were murdered in the Washington Navy Yard.  The shooter was a schizophrenic who heard voices in the wind, and the shooter was able to easily get cleared for a legal permit to carry a weapon by the vile adolescent cowboy culture of Texas.  

Now in June 2014 more murders of police officers in Las Vegas by psychotic white supremacists.  Last month a teacher and security administrator in Watts, Los Angeles was murdered in a drive-by shooting.  The murders continue every day in America.  The NRA and Wayne Lapierre continue to aid and abet the crimes of murder and child endangerment in our America. 

According to the FBI in Washington, every 58 minutes in 2009 someone in the USA was murdered by a gun either a handgun, or a rifle, or a shotgun, or some other unknown type of firearm. This statistic ignores the numerous wounded who may survive only to be subjected to months of recovery or those with spinal injuries whose lives are shattered forever. 

To not do something about all of these killings and all these sadistic injuries is cowardly and demented. It is simple ethics to consider how more murders may be prevented. What is the right thing to do about this? 

A few years in the past Americans smoked cigarettes in bars and in restaurants and even in elevators and on airplanes. Sometime in the 1990's an awareness came over the social consciousness of our nation. Scientists proved that cigarette smoke cause cancer. The scientists later proved that people who do not smoke can also get cancer from cigarette smoke just by breathing smokey air. So we stopped smoking so much. We passed laws to prevent people from smoking in public facilities, and then in work places. One solid reason for the new laws was that each government entity held a responsibility to protect the safety and health of the people. A cowardly government may be brought to account for relinquishing that government's responsibility to protect the people. A gun is no different than a cigarette. A gun murders people just like a cigarette murders people. 

The gun people and the NRA people have a propaganda mantra about people killing people not guns. That is a lie. Guns do kill people. Proof positive, ask any mother from the Tucson murders or the Aurora, Colorado murders or the Sandy Hook murders. Replace that lie with something truthful like "Only cowards carry guns." The gun people and the NRA people certainly will hate this epithet. They are cowards. The gun people and the NRA people are fearful of unseen evils. The gun people and the NRA people have always clearly known the price of everything, and the value of nothing. 

Conservatively about 250,000 people are living with Spinal Cord Injury in the USA. Of those about 13% are a result of gunshot wounds according to the American Medical Association. That is 32,500 people who may be paraplegic by gunshot and confined to wheelchairs or sometimes they may be quadraplegics by gunshot and cannot care for themselves at all. In the most extreme cases care would be provided for the rest of their lives by their families or possibly through state and federal crime victim funds. 

The human sorrow from gunshot violence cannot be measured. The medical cost of treating gunshot injuries is multiple billions of dollars every year. The cost of ambulances and emergency treatments at the scene of the violence is multiple billions of dollars every year. And police investigations for gunshot crimes is multiple billions of dollars every year. All these costs are born usually by city and county governments. There is no other way to cover those costs except by taxing the purchase of guns and ammunition. But the federal government's hands are tied by the deranged and cowardly NRA gun people in Washington. 

That deranged Nazi Joe Goebbels tagged the first rule of propaganda:  Loudly declare that the evil you are doing is "really" being done by your opponent.  Psychologists call this projection.  If some psychopath has a bag of money to buy media time the spinmeisters can succeed easily in distracting many, many people from the real problem just like the psychopaths did in 1930s Germany. 

The gun people and the NRA gun people say that only people kill people.  But that propaganda lie gives us a warning that we should prevent psychotic gun people from getting guns and ammunition. We need to severely restrict the types of guns sold in America. We need to severely regulate how guns are sold. We need to put in place a precise and comprehensive investigation of any buyer's background.  Only cowardly people oppose background checks. 

Our city and county and state and federal representatives cannot pass any new laws that regulate the sale of guns. So let the President declare that sales of guns and ammunition must be regulated for the safety of the people of the nation under the US Constitution's Preamble "to insure the domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity." 

Legally and ethically the Preamble trumps the Second Amendment. We need to codify harsh penalties for the illegal sale of guns. It is a heinous failure of our local and federal governments to not protect the regular people of America. We have a "Do Not Fly" list. Why not a "Do Not Buy" list to prevent psychotic and criminal people from buying guns? 

There's some foul sickness in the body politic that we have not yet vigorously demanded laws to regulate guns. The infection continues to corrode America's future, gunshot murder by gunshot murder. Any controls will take enormous resolve.  The propaganda spin by the gun people and the NRA gun people is oppressively loud and lavishly financed. Perhaps now at last there's some change in the air to quash that flood of distortion. 

A dead tenderhearted girl. A dead young father in a movie theater.  A dead first grader in a sheltered classroom surrounded by one after another dead school mate. Only cowards carry guns. 

(Please note this post updates for the third time, the commentary originally published in January 2011. The story of guns and gun people has become a continuing American cliche of horror and unremitting disgrace. The NRA has found a way to stop any legislation in the US congress, and the NRA is targeting Colorado legislators who voted for gun regulation. The NRA is clearly a propaganda cabal that aids and abets murder.) 


Anonymous said...

Hi Martin! It's strange that I should be reading this after just coming from the living room where I told Jack that I really didn't like him playing with toy guns and that I wish he would play with toy swords instead!

There was a boy across the street over here who thought he was playing with a wooden shotgun when in fact it was a real one. He accidentally shot a 12-year old passerby who now has a permanent bullet in his now ineffective shoulder joint- and I'm sure he has little to no help from any government-funded program here to help him rehabilitate.

I don't think we even keep statistics over here about gun-related deaths in Cebu. This all kind of makes me LIKE the Taser gun a little bit more but I don't think that contraption will ever take over the industry. There is not much threat in just a stun...

Miss you and your lectures-

Ronin said...

Quite a moving post, Sensei. Its really hard to get one's hands on a gun here in India, because guns are not sold openly and the required license with its lengthy acquiring procedures and background checks and tax/import duties are very discouraging for aspiring gun-owners.

Not to say people do not die in India; we just like bludgeoning them. I believe human nature is the same and we will kill, guns or no guns. Just my two cents.

Ayna, swords are WAY cooler! :)

Jerry Hoke said...

Well worth the repetition, Marty.
Jerry Hoke

kleber said...

While intelligent legal restrictions on the sale and ownership of firearms makes safety-enhancing sense, claiming that “only cowards carry guns” is the “truth” is utter nonsense. Furthermore, this type of divisive, incendiary censure does not contribute productively to a sensible dialogue on the issue.

The vast majority of gun owners in the United States are law-abiding citizens who favor increased regulatory accountability regarding the sale, purchase, and use of guns. Yet, many of our governmental “leaders” regard support of legislation to achieve this aim as political suicide. The gun lobby, funded in large measure by the firearms industry, compels many elected officials at the federal, state, and local level to subvert the public will. The demonstrated ability of the NRA and similar pro-gun organizations to mobilize their constituency at the polls is the hammer that drives the coffin nails into proposed gun control legislation, and until the electorate makes clear with their votes that candidates who oppose such legislation do so at their political peril, the situation will not change.

It’s a no-brainer that restricting availability of rapid fire armaments, high capacity magazines, and virtually unlimited amounts of ammunition will make it more difficult to execute murderous rampages. All of these measures should be enacted to promote public safety and reduce the violence quotient in gun crimes.

But would a more restrictive environment have actually prevented the tragedies in Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and Santa Monica? Most people believe the answer is “no.” That’s because these crimes were committed by individuals whose deadly agendas were driven by mental dysfunction that invalidates the notion that shooting or attacking someone else – regardless of method – is the wrong thing do. In each case, despite ample evidence they were troubled, these killers did not receive the help they needed to thwart their violent urges.

Making it harder for those who think like this to get their hands on assault weapons might slow them down, but once defective mentation takes over, warped minds can often prove extremely resourceful in hacking the system. There are so many weapons and so much ammunition available through channels defiant of regulation that it’s only a matter of time.

How might the outcome have differed, however, had these killers been effectively treated for their psychological problems?

If we want to end gun crimes, we need to end situations where gun violence makes warped sense to warped people. This means comprehensive and aggressive attention to mental health as a basic function of productive socialization, including issues associated with poverty, parenting, and abuse at all socio-economic levels. Gun violence ends when individuals choose to categorically reject the violent use of guns, no matter how many are in circulation. This will not occur unless those at risk for perpetrating gun violence are identified and get proactive help.

Are we all willing to pay the price to make this happen? Sadly, the answer today is “no.” Despite conflations between gun ownership and Constitutional freedoms, the real problem is one of national consciousness. We tear up for a few days of remote grief whenever gun violence dominates the news cycle, but we can’t be bothered to get off our asses and vote for leaders who value public safety and social compassion over another term in office courtesy of callous corporate interests and elitist power mongers. We spend billions on “entertainment” that sensationalizes and mythologizes gun violence, but we balk on funding better public education or assistance programs for the less fortunate. Gun regulation may help to avert some suffering resulting from gun crime, but it does not address the true root of the problem – our collective heartlessness in the face of widespread suffering that promotes and perpetuates gun crime.

Perhaps this is where a charge of cowardice is appropriate. Do we as a society have the courage to face these issues and resolve them?


Adrian said...

So true, Martin. I especially agree with your comparison of guns and cigarettes.

Anonymous said...

Well put Kleber,...

It's sadly naive of Martin to place Gobbels on par with the NRA... WW2 would have turned out quite differently if something like our NRA had existed in Nazi Germany. Their NRA would have assured those targeted by the government of hope and change had something to fight back with. Their propaganda as Martin likes to call it would have strongly recommended that socialism be damned and not the guns they're coming after..

Anonymous said...


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Jason Guse said...

What you're advocating is something we already have in Canada. Let me tell you something: IT WORKS. You're totally on the right track. Keep up the good work!

Paul Hanstedt said...

Let's take the comparison between guns and cigs a step further: one way we won the battle against cigarettes was by engaging rhetoric, by countering the images of smoking as cool and hip and suave with small, boxed warnings that recounted the negative effects of smoking.

Why not do that with guns? Right now, the only rhetoric that's prevalent comes from the pro-gun folks, particularly those who manufacture and sell guns (and groups like the NRA, who profit from the desire to keep selling more and more and more guns). The world these groups construct is one in which guns are cool, guns are safe, guns save lives.

Let's counter that. Every gun, every box of ammo, every gun accessory, should come with a small label that says things like: Warning: X number of women are killed every year by spouses using guns. Warning: Children are X times more likely to die of a gunshot wound in a house that contains guns, than in a house that does not. Etc. etc.

Or what about this? Warning: Every year, gun manufacturers make X dollars scaring the living crap out of you, making you think the government is going to take your guns away.

Time to tell the truth. Time to counter their crap rhetoric with some truth. Time to take back our world.

Keta said...

Good writing. The slogan "Only Cowards Carry Guns" is apt, especially in view of the "popcorn killer" in Florida. If it said "Only Cowards Own Guns" that would have been a big stretch. In the comparison between guns and cigarettes the most important thing to remember is that it took a VERY long time -- from 1964, when the first Surgeon General's report was issued, to the 1990s -- for the shift to occur universally. It took tiny baby steps to get to the point where LA would consider an ordinance making it illegal to smoke inside your apartment! So too with guns. We need to realize that it's going to take years, if not a couple of generations, to put that genie back in it's bottle. But we must begin somewhere and I think that some baby steps we should work toward are uniform parental responsibility laws and outlawing the sale of more than a small amount of ammo per weapon. Regulation not elimination (for now).

gsp said...

Gun Control: Because only celebrities and politicians have the right to self-defense. Their lives are more important!

Anonymous said...

The NRA is the biggest domestic terrorist group in the United States, maybe the world. They love their guns more than people. With politicians in their pockets all we can do is brace ourselves for the next NRA sponsored slaughter. The policies and laws created by The NRA killed the kids in Newtown and allowed the vigilante George Zimmerman to murder Trayvon Martin. Back ground checks, that the NRA strongly oppose, would help keep guns out of the hands of unstable people preventing many deaths. STAND YOUR GROUND is nothing more than a license to legally hunt and kill African Americans PERIOD on Listen Up "Only Cowards Carry Guns"

Jim Haynie said...

Murder is not the answer to hateful feelings! Never again should states sponsor murder to promote prejudice. There is a limit to what some "conservatives" should be able to "conserve"! There is no "right" to "conserve" murder as a solution to feelings of racial bias. The fact is Jordan Davis was murdered. The fact is Trayvon Martin was murdered.

Steve Freeman said...

Martin, as the author of "Guns In America: Common Sense versus Nonsense," I must say that this is very well written and to the point. It should be people like you who argue the case instead of weak-kneed politicians.

Anonymous said...

The 18th Century 2nd Amendment "Militias" of the US Constitution were vigilantes mainly for capturing and killing runaway slaves. Every time some doctrinaire gun fool quotes the 2nd Amendment remind them that they support killing runaway slaves.
The NRA and gun fools have changed America into the Gaza Strip.
Arm every nut case and fake patriot.
Give them an assault rifle. Give them a glock. Give them a grenade.
Next the NRA will defend a citizen's right to make IEDs or land mines.
All this because of the NRA and gun people sociopaths!
Guns are pieces of metal and plastic that kill people. Guns do not have rights.
Outlaw all deadly firearms now, before others are murdered for no reason.

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Philip Tucker said...

I'm 62 years old and I've been saying this for a long, long time. If you are not a police officer and carry a gun for any reason other than hunting, then you are a coward.
I am not afraid of making that comment in person and have often done exactly that.

Michele Mallory-Davidson said...

I have believed much the same for quite sometime, but as the mother of a student at Reynolds High School, where their was a shooting by a student last month, I thank you for writing this and putting it out there... Hopefully people will read this and come to some sane conclusions about controlling gun violence. I used to think it would happen here, to my child, but then it did.

Patty Michaels said...

Martin's words are like clear water in this drainage ditch of pathetic thinking. I look back on my 62 years and marvel at the irony that as technology grows Americans seem to not use it to research facts only spread gossip, get more close-minded, stubborn, and downright stupid in thought and deed. I look at the idiocy of Open Carry and think of the buffoon comedies of the 60`s...Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, Beverly Hillbillies...and wonder, is this really 2014? There were more gun manners in the Old Wild West if one checks the history books...we ARE a nation out of control...and there is a disease underlying it that is the Elephant in the Room. And it's what no one will admit to, not a politician, not a citizen, but we all know what the nasty disease is...and it started the day Obama won his first election. You don't have to be black to see the "other" America that has laid dormant for however many years and now raised it's ugly head in the form of different organizations, churches, political groups...all of course, innocently with an agenda against Obama other than his color but c`mon, in sic years has any other President since George Washington dealt with any of this?? Have WE as citizens had to deal with people LIKE THIS?? I personally am sick of it, sick of having to deal with the worst of humanity on my own American soil!! Take your guns and your hatred and your darkness and find a country that THRIVES ON THAT...there are plenty!! But you won't, because you like your cake (America), but want to devour it, too, leaving nothing for those of us that take care of her!!

Anonymous said...

My WWII veteran father taught us the importance of guns for hunting and use in the northern woods of Minnesota. He has withdrawn from the NRA stating that it is an UnAmerican organization that puts military style weapons into the hands of "urban youth", "mentally unstable individuals that listen to voices of hate, insecurity, and rage". So many guns and so few brains.

Unknown said...

Sorry. The only answer is to BAN guns completely. The people who kill are the ones evade almost everything including morality. Social science cannot identify these people. Confiscate ALL arms. It is the ONLY way out.

Anonymous said...

When people loose all hope to have a job that can afford you to have a home a family a vehicle, food and medical for you're self and family and when you can take a vacation at least once a year this is when the hopelessness end's.