Monday, May 23, 2016

AMERICA’S GUN MAKERS (Part 3)


Mother Jones’ article, Fully Loaded, documents U.S. gun manufacturers use of money to buy politicians, military officers, and influence.

A prime example of buying influence is Springfield Armory. The magazine points to Dennis Reese, one of the two current owners of the company. Dennis and his brother Tom stopped a proposed Illinois ban on assault weapons by threatening to move the company’s factory out of the state and across the river to Iowa.

Their nefarious activity did not stop there. In 1989, Mother Jones reported that Dennis Reese admitted to authorities to offering bribes to U.S. Army Colonel Juan de la Cruz ($70,000 and a Rolex watch) in exchange for helping the company sell $1.7 million worth of arms to El Salvador.  Reese was allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for testifying against de la Cruz.

Springfield Armory has donated over $1 million to the National Rifle Association. In 2014, the company made over 576,000 guns for the U.S. market. It has, according to Mother Jones, an estimated $117 million global revenue.

Then there is Barrett Firearms. In 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called for a ban on the .50-caliber Barrett M82 and M107 sniper rifle. Christi then vetoed the bill four months later. Mother Jones reported the New Jersey governor excused his veto by saying the bill went further than he intended by prohibiting current owners from keeping the weapon.

In the middle of the debate over the bill Governor Christie’s campaign accepted $3,000 from a National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist.

Ronnie Barrett, Barrett Firearms CEO, sits on the NRA’s board of directors.

The magazine cites the National Accountability Office as reporting, “The Barrett .50-caliber rifles have been used by drug cartels, militia groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and terrorist organizations.”

Sunday, May 22, 2016

AMERICA’S GUN MAKERS (Part 2)


Mother Jones’ article Fully Loaded includes some interesting statistics on gun sales in the U.S. Here are the gun sales for the top ten gun makers in 2014:

1.  Sturm Ruger                            1,640,000 guns
2.  Smith & Wesson             1,310,000 guns
3.  Remington Outdoor                   939,000 guns
4.  Glock                                         794,000 guns
5.  Sig Sauer                                   678,000 guns
6.  O.F. Mossberg & Sons      658,000 guns
7.  Savage                                       639,000 guns
8.  Springfield Armory                   576,000 guns
9.  Beretta                                       463,000 guns
10. Taurus International                 365,000 guns
                                                    8,062,000 guns

The top ten list of gun makers does not include other manufactures such as Keystone Sporting Arms, Barrett Firearms, Kahr Arms, Norinco,  and Hi-Point Firearms.

If we just look at the 8 million guns per year figure, it means it would take the top ten just four years to produce 32 millions guns and eight years to manufacture 64 millions guns—or one gun for every two American adults.

Is it any wonder that gun manufactures fight to prevent any regulation on access to guns? They want to expand profits; they want to keep sales up, making it easy for domestic abusers, felons, terrorists, and anyone who is a danger to himself/herself or others to get a gun.

Gun manufacturers appear willing to line their pockets and pursue extravagant life styles for themselves and others no matter what the cost in human lives—just keep making more guns and making more money.  (To be continued)


Thursday, May 19, 2016

AMERICA'S GUN MAKERS (Part 1)


The May/June issue of Mother Jones has an article by Josh Harkinson entitled Fully Loaded, which exposes the truth behind this country’s 10 biggest gun makers. I will be posting a series of blogs based on the article’s excellent research and analysis.

According to Harkinson, the ten companies he researched produce eight million firearms a year, accounting for two-thirds of the market. The men in charge “are all white, live lavish lifestyles, but the majority fly under the radar.” They all are members of The Golden Ring of Freedom, an exclusive National Rifle Association (NRA) club for people who donate $1 million to the NRA.

Many of these men who champion the virtues of the Constitution and the Second Amendment, have been the focus of criminal investigations and lawsuits for everything from arms trafficking and fraud, to armed robbery and racketeering.

For example, Mother Jones reported that Joseph James Minder, former chairman of Smith & Wesson, resigned in 2004 because he had committed eight holdups in Michigan. In 2010, the company’s Vice President of Sales was indicted for attempting to bribe an FBI agent, who was posing as an African emissary for a $15 million arms deal. (The magazine did not indicate whether he had been tried on the charge.)

Then in 2014, Smith & Wesson agreed to pay $2 million to settle a case in which the company was accused of bribing foreign officials in Pakistan and Indonesia.

There is also the gun manufacturers’ use of the “honey trap.”  Mother Jones turned to Paul Barrett’s book, Glock: The Rise of America’s Guns for evidence that Glock used sex to sell guns. Quoting Barrett, the magazine reported, “In the 1980s some of Glocks biggest law enforcement contacts were allegedly won with the help of … strippers near the company’s US headquarters in Smyrna, Georgia.” Barrett quoted a former police official, “For a lot of guys coming in from out of town, this was the best time they were going to have all year, or maybe their entire life … You go to Smyrna, get laid at the best strip club in town, drink champagne—you are not going to forget the experience when it comes time choose between Glock and Smith & Wesson.’”  (To be continued)

Friday, May 6, 2016

RADIO INTERVIEW MONDAY


I will be interviewed on Monday, May 9th, at 0835 on the Neal Steele radio show--99.1 FM Gloucester, Va. Neal will be interviewing me about my new book, "The America We All Want." The book examines steps we can all take to help prevent gun violence. The book is scheduled to be published in mid-May.


About the Book

Mass slaughter on school grounds, in theaters, in churches, and in shopping malls may be the most serious and complex problem in this nation’s history. Solving the problem will take careful and deliberate thought, but thinking is hard work and there are no easy solutions. Those few who do propose ways to reduce the epidemic of gun violence are met with a fusillade of emotions on why their ideas won’t work.
Retired CIA analyst Dave Cariens gives the reader hands-on suggestions and strategies to curb gun violence. He presents evidence showing where practical application of these strategies has worked in communities all over the country.

Recognizing the stalemate in Washington, this is a guide to action at the local level. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

NOT FORGOTTEN


Today, April 16, 2016, is the ninth anniversary of the Virginia Tech rampage. Despite the warning signs 32 people were killed, and another 17 were wounded on the Blacksburg campus.

It is easy to be angry about those events. What is hard is to move forward, finding solutions and commonality in our quest to be good stewards for the legacy of Ross A. Alameddine, Christopher James Bishop, Brian R. Bluhm, Ryan Christopher Clark, Austin Michelle Cloyd, Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, Kevin Pl Granata, Matthew Gregory Gwaltney, Caitlin Millar Hammaren, Jeremy Michael Herbstritt, Rachel Elizabeth Hll, Emily Jane Hilscher, Jarett Lee Lane, Matthew Joseph La Porte, Henry J. Lee, Liviu Librescu, G.V. Loganathan, Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan, Lauren Ashley McCain, Daniel Patrick O'Neil, Juan Ramon Ortiz-Ortiz, Minal Hiralal Panchal, Daniel Alejandro Perez Cueva, Erin Nicole Peterson, Michael Steven Pohle, Jr., Julia Kathleen Pryde, Mary Karen Read, Reema Joseph Samaha, Waleed Mohamed Shaalan, Leslie Geraldine Sherman, Maxine Shelly Turner, Nicole Regina White.

How will they be remembered on the next anniversary, or the one thereafter? As shining lights for what has passed, or as light keepers who guided our way to positive approaches to help insure the safety of our children?

That isn’t up to them.

It is up to us.



Sunday, April 3, 2016

A STEP FORWARD


Kilmarnock, Virginia has taken a step forward in controlling the reckless use of firearms. I am impressed that the political leaders of a small Virginia town have made this move. Here is the letter I wrote to the local newspaper applauding the action.


Rappahannock Record
Kilmarnock, Virginia

Editor:

Congratulations to the Kilmarnock Town Council for unanimously passing an amended ordinance making the discharge of a gun, rifle, pistol, or other firearm a Class 1 misdemeanor.

We can all work together (as you have demonstrated) at the local level to accomplish what is best for our communities. Most of us are well aware the stalemate in Washington has not benefited any of us when it comes to ending the gun violence carnage.

As a victim’s rights advocate, I have seen the devastation families have suffered when common sense is not applied.

We now have a common sense firearms law in Kilmarnock.

Thank you Kilmarnock Town Council. I am sorry I do not live in the town limits so I could vote for all the incumbents running for office.

Sincerely,


     /s/           

Monday, March 28, 2016

THE WORST ONE-DAY MASS SHOOTINGS IN THE U.S.


CNN recently published a sobering list of the deadliest single day mass shootings in U.S. history from 1949 to the present. If you arrange the list chronologically, instead of by the number of deaths, it tells a story of increasing gun violence:

2011—Present     6
2001-2010            9
1991-2000            5
1981-1990            7
1971-1980            0
1961-1970            1
1951-1960            0
1949-1950            1

Here is the CNN list. It is a disturbing look back at violence in this country.

(If the shooter was killed or committed suicide during the incident, CNN did not include the shooter’s death in the total.)

Events Beginning in 1949:

1.  13 killed - September 5, 1949 - In Camden, New Jersey, 28-year-old Howard Unruh, a veteran of World War II, shoots and kills 13 people as he walks down Camden's 32nd Street. His weapon of choice is a German-crafted Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88.

2.  18 killed - August 1, 1966 - In Austin, Texas, Charles Joseph Whitman, a former U.S. Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 while shooting from a University of Texas tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.

3.  8 killed - August 20, 1982 - In Miami, 51-year-old history teacher Carl Robert Brown, angry about a repair bill and armed with a shotgun, kills eight people at a machine shop. He flees by bicycle, but is shot in the back by a witness who pursued him. He was on leave from school for psychological treatment.

4. 13 killed - September 25, 1982 - In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 40-year-old George Banks, a prison guard, kills 13 people including five of his own children. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence stating that Banks is mentally incompetent.

5. 13 killed - February 18, 1983 - Three men enter the Wah Mee gambling and social club in Seattle, rob the 14 occupants and then shoot each in the head, killing 13. Two of the men, Kwan Fai Mak and Benjamin Ng, are convicted of murder in August 1983. Both are serving life in prison. The third, Wai-Chiu "Tony" Ng, after years on the run in Canada, is eventually convicted of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. He is deported to Hong Kong in 2014.

6. 21 killed - July 18, 1984 - In San Ysidro, California, 41-year-old James Huberty, armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun shoots and kills 21 adults and children at a local McDonalds. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.

7. 14 killed - August 20, 1986 - Edmond, Oklahoma, part-time mail carrier, Patrick Henry Sherrill, armed with three handguns kills 14 postal workers in 10 minutes and then takes his own life with a bullet to the head.

8.  8 killed - September 14, 1989 - In Louisville, Kentucky, 47-year-old Joseph Wesbecker armed with a AK-47 semiautomatic assault rifle, two MAC-11 semiautomatic pistols, a .38 caliber handgun, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and a bayonet kills eight co-workers at Standard Gravure Corporation and then kills himself. He had been placed on disability leave from his job due to mental problems.

9. 9 killed - June 18, 1990 - In Jacksonville, Florida, 42-year-old James Pough, angry about his car being repossessed, opens fire at a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office, killing nine people. Pough takes his own life.

10. 9 killed - August 10, 1991 - Six monks, a nun, a monk in training and a temple worker are found shot to death at Wat Promkunaram, a Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona.
 Johnathan Doody, 17, and Alessandro Garcia, 16, are later convicted of the crime and receive multiple life sentences.

11. 23 killed - October 16, 1991 - In Killeen, Texas, 35-year-old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a Lubys Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, Hennard shoots and kills 23 people. He then commits suicide.

12.  8 killed - July 1, 1993 - In San Francisco, 55-year-old Gian Luigi Ferri kills eight people in a law office and then kills himself.

13. 13 killed - April 20, 1999 - Columbine High School - Littleton, Colorado. 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold kill 12 fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide in the school library.

14. 12 killed - July 29, 1999 - In Atlanta, 44-year-old Mark Barton kills his wife and two children at his home. He then opens fire in two different brokerage houses killing nine people and wounding 12. He later kills himself.

15.  9 killed - March 21, 2005 - Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. 16-year-old Jeff Weise kills his grandfather and another adult, five students, a teacher and a security officer. He then kills himself.

16. 32 killed - April 16, 2007 - Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. A gunman, 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounds an undetermined number of others on campus. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho then commits suicide.

17. 8 killed - December 5, 2007 - In Omaha, Nebraska, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins goes to an area mall and kills eight shoppers before killing himself.

18. 10 killed - March 10, 2009 - In Alabama, Michael McLendon of Kinston, kills 10 and himself. The dead include his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle.

19. 8 killed - March 29, 2009 - In Carthage, North Carolina, 45-year-old Robert Stewart kills a nurse and seven elderly patients at a nursing home. In May, the Moore County district attorney announces she will seek the death penalty. On September 3, 2011, a jury finds Stewart guilty of second-degree murder. Stewart is sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison.

20. 13 killed - April 3, 2009 - In Binghamton, New York, Jiverly Wong kills 13 people and injures four during a shooting at an immigrant community center. He then kills himself.

21. 13 killed - November 5, 2009 - Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 32 at Fort Hood, Texas, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death

22. 8 killed - January 19, 2010 - Christopher Speight, 39, kills eight people at a house in Appomattox, Virginia. He surrenders to police at the scene the next morning. February 2013, he is sentenced to five life terms plus 18 years.

23. 8 killed - August 3, 2010 - Manchester, Connecticut - Omar Thornton kills eight co-workers at Hartford Distributors before turning the gun on himself. Thornton had been asked to resign for stealing and selling alcoholic beverages

24. 12 killed - July 20, 2012 - Twelve people are killed and 58 are wounded in a shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater screening of the new Batman film. James E. Holmes, 24, is taken into custody outside of the movie theater. The gunman, dressed head-to-toe in protective tactical gear, set off two devices of some kind before spraying the theater with bullets from an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one of two .40-caliber handguns police recovered at the scene.

25. 27 killed - December 14, 2012 - Sandy Hook Elementary School - Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam's mother, dead from a gunshot wound. The final count is 28 dead, including the shooter.

26. 12 killed - September 16, 2013 - Shots are fired inside the Washington Navy Yard killing 12. The shooter, identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, is also killed.

27. 9 killed - June 17, 2015 - Dylann Roof, 21, shoots and kills nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina. Eight die at the scene; a ninth dies at a hospital. Roof is arrested the following day; according to police, he confesses and tells investigators he wanted to start a race war.

28.  9 killed - October 1, 2015 - Gunman Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer shoots and kills nine people, injuring another nine, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooter dies after a gun battle with police at the college. Six weapons were recovered at the school; another seven were recovered at Harper-Mercer's home
8 killed - October 12, 2011 - Eight people are killed during a shooting at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, California. The suspect, Scott Evans Dekraai, 41, of Huntington Beach, is arrested without incident as he is trying to leave the scene. The eight dead include Dekraai's ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, 48. He was armed with three guns -- a 9 mm Springfield, a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, and a Heckler & Koch .45 -- and was wearing body armor during the shooting rampage.

29. 14 killed - December 2, 2015 - Married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik open fire on an employee gathering taking place at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, killing 14 people.