Sunday, June 19, 2016

RETHINK OUR FREEDOMS AND THEN ACT



            In the wake of the Orlando rampage, all of us need to rethink our freedoms in order to protect innocent Americans from being slaughtered in theaters, nightclubs, restaurants, schools, and homes. All places once thought to be safe.

The balance between collective security and individual rights needs a thorough re-examination. We begin this examination by acknowledging there are restrictions on all the amendments to the Constitution. We do not use the First Amendment to guarantee newspapers and media companies a profit. Why should we use the Second Amendment to guarantee gun manufactures make money?

            The Second Amendment should not be an exception to restrictions. Untethered access to automatic, rapid-fire weapons designed to kill people should not be allowed. If someone is suspected of terrorism, he or she is on the No Fly List. Yet that same individual can go into any gun store, almost anywhere and buy arms and ammunitions—no questions asked.

            We must not support any politician or candidate running for a U.S. elected office whether it is the Presidency, Senator, Representative, Governor, state or local official who will not help or work with others to support gun safety.

            Do not vote for any one running for office who will not pledge to work toward ending gun violence. Do not allow these individuals to hold the honored position of representing U.S. citizens.

All of us can begin to curb the violence today by calling our senators and urging them to vote in favor of pending legislation that would block people on the No Fly List from buying guns. Make it clear if your senator does not support the legislation, he or she will lose your vote.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

GENTLEMEN: WE ARE THE PROBLEM: WE NEED TO FIX IT


            Approximately 97% of mass murderers are males; they invariably signal their intent to commit violence through a variety of traits: most notably, their problems with women.

The Orlando killer, Omar Mateen, beat his first wife and a friend quoted him as saying he “hated women because you have to be nice to them to get sex.” Seung Sui Cho stalked and harassed women at Virginia Tech before he went on his rampage; Peter Odighizwa, the killer at the Appalachian School of Law, was also a wife beater and at one point took control of a class, ranting about the evils of women; and Isla Vista, California murder Elliot Roger, threw things at women who did not pay attention to him and lamented he was still a virgin and had never even kissed a girl.

How many more examples of threatening traits are needed before we take action to keep guns out of the hands of these monsters?

How about starting with laws prohibiting men who stalk, harass, or beat women from owning any gun at all. And let’s not stop there. Any man who drags an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and rapes her, is an out-of-control low-life who should never be allowed to own a weapon.

Does it ever occur to these sick men that these are mothers, daughters, wives, and aunts: the women we love.

Gentlemen you can do something about these shootings. Your manhood is not measured by the size of your gun; it is measured by the size of your backbone and your willingness to speak up.


If you want to be a man, don’t buy a gun, speak up and demand laws to put an end to this violence.

Monday, June 13, 2016

NOW ORLANDO


Terrorism, mental illness, lax gun laws, and hatred of people with non-traditional life styles came together on June 12, 2016 in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The results were horrific; the worst mass shooting in this nation’s history.

At least 49 people are dead and another 53 are wounded because the American political system, on the national level, is paralyzed. This paralysis stands in sharp contrast to countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, both of whom, when confronted with mass shootings, adopted laws to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, those who are a threat to themselves and others, and terrorists.

To say that nothing can be done is simply not true. And those who hide behind the Second Amendment never mention when the founding fathers wrote the Constitution, the cutting edge weaponry was a musket. A lone shooter cannot carry out a mass murder with a musket.

The weapon used by Omar Mateen was an AR-15, the same style automatic weapon used by the killer at Sandy Hook. A simple step forward would be to ban ammunition clips of more than five rounds. Having to reload gives law enforcement more time to respond and potential victims to get away.

AR-15s were designed for the military. They are meant to kill people. Yet anyone can buy such a weapon—often with no background check. The AR-15 is not used for hunting. You can defend your home with a pistol or rifle. When someone wants an automatic weapon such as an AR-15, why not ask him or her to explain why? Australia does and self-defense is not acceptable.


If the federal government will not take action, then we need to move at the local level.

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)