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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

America Still Has That Gun Problem

Category: Guns
Posted: 06/19/15 02:06

by Dave Mindeman

I don't think there is anything I can add to any of the discussion about the shootings at that Charleston, SC church that is remotely new or illuminating. It is just such a sad and tragic event. Senseless. Full of hate.

And only in America does it happen like this.

President Obama echoed he sentiment that he has stated before:

Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let's be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. (Emphasis mine).

Yes, this is true. We do not have a monopoly on mental illness. We are not unique in having people with psychoses. We are not even alone in having a large number of people who hate and act on that hate.

But of all the advanced countries, only the United States stands out as to the number of these senseless mass shootings, year after year after year.

Back in January of 2013, I examined our trusted ally and fellow English speaking democracy, Australia, and how they reversed their legal stance on guns in that country - ending their own string of violent rampages.

I talked about it in a 4 part segment - The Shooter. The Event. The Reaction. The Comparisons.

It is an interesting study in what sensible gun legislation can do to change the nature of a society. Something we, in the US, refuse to do.

There is an enormous amount of lobbyist money coming from enormously profitable gun manufacturers to keep us from taking the kind of action that Australia did. Money that destroys the political will of the elected officials who could do something about it.

Gun lobbyists and the NRA are often desperate to keep us from focusing on our "gun problem" - and the spin they utilize in times like these is truly dizzying.

In this particular instance, the focus has been (and probably should be) on the individual's hateful motives. But the availability of guns make it so much easier for these lone individuals to magnify their destructive capabilities.

America needs a 12 step program on guns....but like any program, we first have to admit we have a problem.

We know what our democratic allies have done to change that culture; when we get around to admitting we have our own problem, there are good examples to follow.

We live in a time when terrorist acts are what we fear. And our country spends billions on making us safe from the remotest of chances of an actual occurence. And that is fine.

But one man with a gun can undermine all feelings of safety in one catastrophic moment, with one simple legal purchase, and a self motivated hate for someone different from himself.
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Gun Culture Wins Another One

Category: Guns
Posted: 04/25/15 10:25

by Dave Mindeman

Despite Democratic control in the MN Senate, there are elements of the Senate that should worry progressives.

In another indication that there is a NRA type majority in the MN Senate, that body tacked an amendment onto a bill that would remove the ban on gun silencers.

The amendment puts this policy change along side a change that would give felons who have served their sentences, the right to vote once more. It was that part of the total bill that caused most of the GOP minority to vote against the bill.

But the silencer amendment passed 40-23. To me, that is disturbing.

Gov. Dayton issued a veto threat on the silencer issue, but if this language stays in the final general bill, will that threat still hold?

The NRA influence in the legislator is much too strong. Even with Democratic majorities (in the current Senate and in the previous House), their policy demands always get undue attention. The NRA looks to promote a number of obscure gun laws that seem to be looking for a complete elimination of any gun restriction - no matter how minor. What possible value can there be for silencers? What general public purpose need is that addressing?

Gun culture dominates this society...it even permeates Minnesota.

This has to change.
comments (5) permalink

College Students Right To Carry? That's More Of The Crazy

Category: Guns
Posted: 06/09/14 19:27

by Dave Mindeman

What do you think of a column that starts out like this:

Pepper spray, police and cardboard signs failed to prevent the June 5 Seattle Pacific University shooting. Let's stop mass violence on college campuses by defending college students' right to carry firearms on campus.

I'm not sure why we allow the NRA and their advocates to produce this "guns everywhere" idea as any kind of solution for mass violence.

I have a 17 year old son who is a senior in high school, but within a year he will be attending college. I cannot for the life of me imagine him carrying a weapon on his person or being around a campus full of 18 and 19 year olds with loaded guns. I trust his judgment - but why tempt fate?

Wayne LaPierre told us, after Sandy Hook, that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun". And he was allowed to say that nonsense without impunity. It has become an argument to debate....instead of the just plain crazy idea that it is.

Allow a person to carry a gun anywhere they want, as the NRA advocates, is to empower them with acting on their own. It is a virtual license to take matters into your own hands.

We give police officers hours and hours of training and testing to be able to discern when and how to properly use a firearm - and yet gun advocates believe themselves capable of making that judgment with a few hours on the firing range.

It is foolish and improper - and to actually conceive of it as a "solution" to violence is a non-starter.

We have serious problems in this country when it comes to guns. Almost every other civilized nation in the world has more restrictions on firearms than we do.....and they all have fewer deaths from guns as well. Yet, we cannot get the simplest gun regulation passed in this country because the NRA has the political debate locked up and under their control.

Extended background checks. Safety locks. Gun studies by the CDC. Restrictions on mental capacity and criminal records. DNA use technology. All of these things are set aside and not acted upon, pending approval from the NRA, which is an extension of the gun manufacturing lobby.

This is backwards politics and it has to stop. I don't know what will convince the American public that gun violence has to be stopped with common sense gun safety legislation. Guns themselves are not rights. Guns are not toys. Guns are not symbols of freedom. They are weapons. Weapons used to kill. And they need limits - as do the people who use them.

That's not crazy - that's common sense.
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