Thursday, December 31, 2015


It's the last day of the year and I don't want to work hard for a post, so why not a Post Star letter. This one from Chuck Sharrow has some stuff I like. And some that I don't.

I have to wonder if you have fallen victim to the rhetoric of people like Cuomo, Tingley, Doolittle, etc.

I've written three letters recently to the paper on guns and all I am is etc.? I'd like to think he writes in response to H.P. Oswald because he can't cope with my sterling rhetoric. Gonna go with that.

When the Second Amendment was adopted, it is true that only muzzle-loading firearms were available to the citizenry. However, that is all that was available to the government as well. Even-steven. Follow me? 

No. Not really. Are you saying the government of Britain or the U.S.?

Fast forward to 2015. Are you suggesting, sir, that the American citizen could mount an effective defense against an enemy, foreign or domestic, using muzzleloaders?

Sounds like it's the U.S. government. Could be wrong, but I think he's suggesting that he should have the same weaponry as the police and military. Guessing Santa did not bring him an MRAP. 

For that is what the Second Amendment is truly about. It is not about our hunting rifles. 

He has a militia? God, I hope not. It would make it a fairer fight, though. I still think this "fighting against a tyrannical government" stuff is just another way of saying suicide by cop. Want to thank all these brave volunteers for keeping me safe from my government whom I mostly voted for. 

Consider where you may be today if our forefathers had fought its government with an inferior weapon such as the bow and arrow. If you’re not sure, ask the American Indian and visit his reservation.

Is there any doubt that he's an Alex Jones fan? What happened to the foreign enemies? Fuck that. We got bigger ones here at home.

Look deeper into the Democratic agenda of bigger government with more citizen dependency and you will understand why they want to abolish the Second Amendment. After all, it’s their last hurdle in their march toward socialism!

I think I've used up my letters for the month to the paper and it's probably not worth responding to him anyway. There's likely no convincing him or anyone loony enough to listen to him that Andrew Hitler and Barack Stalin aren't coming for his precious guns. Or maybe they will.

President Barack Obama is expected to announce executive action expanding background checks on gun sales, media outlets reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with White House proposals and planning.

The changes, which could come as soon as next week, would include requiring more small-scale gun sellers to be licensed and to conduct a background check whenever selling a weapon, Politico reported.

Additional measures would impose tighter rules for reporting guns that are lost or stolen on their way to a buyer, the political news website said.

Background checks? Reporting lost or stolen guns? The horror. It's obviously the first step toward repeal of the second amendment. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jon Swift Memorial Round-up Link and, Surprise Gun Links

Why save the best for last? The Vagabond Scholar gives us a late Christmas present in compiling a list of wonderful blog posts from a wonderful collection of talented bloggers whom I am so in awe of. If I manage a good post this year, who knows?

A little pressed for time, but I should pass along some great news for the gun fetishists. Yes, you folks can take your perversion out in the open now. The shame and the need for concealed carry is no more. Whip it out proudly. 

As of Jan. 1, it’s a new world in Texas. Or a throwback to the past, depending on how you look at it.

For the first time in more than a century, licensed Texans will be free to walk the streets, or travel the state, openly wearing their holstered handguns.

It's a happy day for Scott Graves, I can assure you of that. 

Oh my beloved Adirondacks,
How I miss thee, 
Ne'er again will I,
Gaze upon your verdant hills.

Then again, maybe I'll stick to prose. 

This is a link to an article on this notion of "we'll just spend some money on mental health and that'll take care of the gun problems." Hoping to get back to this. Until then a letter to the Post Star about that very thing.

I'm just going to add this on to the end of this post. It's too sad to get one of its own.

Claude Campbell, Jr. placed a breathless 911 call late Tuesday evening as his step-daughter lay unconscious in his 10th Street home.

He tells the dispatcher that 27-year-old Ashley Doby has "passed out. She has a pacemaker. She has a heart problem," in a recording released by police.

But not once during the five-minute 911 call does Campbell, a veteran member of the St. Cloud Police Department, mention why Doby was struggling to breathe: a gunshot wound to the chest.

Campbell omitted that fact because he was asleep when his wife shot Doby, mistaking her for an intruder, police said on Wednesday. He didn't realize what happened until his wife — a 911 dispatcher with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office – explained it to him, according to authorities.

It was too late. Doby was taken to a local hospital, where she later died. Her death is being characterized by St. Cloud Police as an "accidental shooting," according to Sgt. Denise Roberts. Sherry Campbell, 45, fired one fatal shot. She has not been arrested on any criminal charges. 

May the New Year be a better one.

Who Will Speak for the Guns?

Jim Hull will in a letter to the Post Star today. Thanks, Jim. You mentioned something I've been meaning to mention.

Cars are plowing into crowds killing and injuring, ban cars? Far more are killed and maimed by drunken drivers than legal gun owners; put alcohol interlocks in all cars? More according to the FBI were killed in New York by hands and fists than guns, amputate citizens?

I get this argument a lot, "cars kill people and we don't ban cars." First, the obvious point is that most people who are calling for gun control are not calling for banning guns. When I say most, I mean all of them. They are calling for things like background checks to prevent firearms from being in the wrong hands. The second point is that drivers of cars are required to pass a written and practical driver's test before getting a license, have the vehicle registered and inspected, have insurance, follow laws and such. These are all things that the most extreme gun owners would have a conniption over. 

Just want to mention that there are no organizations around calling for the promotion of drunk driving. That is the equivalent of what the NRA and others like the Gun Owners of America do. In fairness, the NRA was not always what they are now. At one time they did promote hunter safety and were not merely a mouthpiece for the gun industry. 


Monday, December 28, 2015

Letter to a Texas Concern Troll

So, if the State of New York eliminates its income tax and all gun control laws, this guy will deign to once again live among us.

Yet another decade passes and still I hesitate moving back to my beloved southern Adirondacks. Why? I'm retired now so I certainly could go. The problems lie in the overbearing control that the state government exerts on its citizens. Your taxes are astronomical. Texas has no income tax. Your gun laws are horrifying. I buy and keep as many guns as I want in Texas including the dreaded AR-15. My Adirondacks will remain a distant memory and Texas my adopted home.

My response:
    In response to Scott Graves from El Paso: I'd like to say that your love for the Adirondacks must be very shallow if being required to pay a bit in taxes and follow some restrictions on your guns keeps you from living here. If you're retired, it doesn't even seem that your income tax bill would be that high. I know there are people here who own guns and hunt. Don't believe they use AR-15s, though. Unlike Texans, New Yorkers don't make a practice of going, en masse, into restaurants bearing assault rifles. We don't have that level of insecurity.
     Of course, recently a lot of folks in Texas were convinced that they were going to be invaded by the U.S. military. No, I don't get it either, but that's what they thought. So, they may have anxiety problems that are only relieved by their guns. And you know what; Governor Abbott, Senator Cruz and other Texas politicians did nothing to dissuade their citizenry of that notion. The governor even sent out the National Guard to keep an eye on the federal troops.

     The same Texas government fought the Affordable Care Act fervently while New York was working with the federal government to implement it here. The difference shows now, too. So, I'll take the "overbearing" government that works to ensure its citizens have health insurance over the one that doesn't, and is willing to allow its people to believe conspiracy theories. I'm retired, as well. I do love New York and I'm willing to pay taxes in order to live in a sane and civilized society.   

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate wingnuts in my morning paper? 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Good For You, Virginia, Santa is on His Way

The state of Virginia earned a stocking full of goodies.

Beginning Feb. 1, Virginia will no longer recognize concealed handgun permits from more than two dozen states.

The move follows an audit conducted by the attorney general’s office and the Virginia State Police pursuant to the state criminal code, which requires both agencies to determine whether reciprocating states “meet the requirements and qualifications” for recognition of their concealed handgun permits.

The Brady campaign gives them a solid "D." Trying to get on the Nice List?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Last Link for Monday

So, here's another piece from the Daily News. This is on the disparity in spending between gun research and other causes of death in the US.

Guns killed 33,636 people, according to CDC data from 2013, which are the latest figures available. The number of motor vehicle deaths during the same period was 33,804.

Yes, I am thinking of changing the name of my blog to Fuck the Guns. Trying to stay semi PG, tho. 

Keeping the NRA on the Run

The Daily News had an editorial up on Sunday blasting away some more at the mouthpiece for the gun industry. It's worth reading all of it so I'm not going to pick and choose. Wanted to point to a couple of things I was not aware of.

One is the Tiahrt Amendment.

 The Tiahrt Amendments require the FBI to destroy all approved gun purchaser records within 24 hours of approval, making it extremely difficult for ATF to retrieve firearms from prohibited persons who are mistakenly sold guns or from gun owners who become ineligible to possess guns. The destruction of gun purchaser records also limits ATF’s ability to quickly and efficiently trace crime guns.

Records of completed firearm sales are invaluable tools for law enforcement. These records are most useful when they are collected in a central database and retained permanently. In California, for example, handgun sales records are permanently retained in a California Department of Justice database. As a result, law enforcement agencies in the state are able to quickly trace the ownership of handguns recovered in crime. (Commencing January 1, 2014, long gun sales records also will be permanently retained by the California Department of Justice.)

Records regarding gun ownership also help protect law enforcement officers who must respond to emergency calls at private residences because they allow officers to determine if a person at a residence may own a firearm. In addition, firearm ownership records facilitate the relinquishment of firearms by persons who are convicted of a felony or otherwise become ineligible to possess guns.

Then there is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005.

In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a federal statute which provides broad immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers in federal and state court. Generally speaking, the PLCAA prohibits “qualified civil liability actions,” which are defined as civil or administrative proceedings which “result[] from the criminal or lawful misuse” of firearms or ammunition. 

The editorial also mention a study by Johns Hopkins. There's too much to pick and choose from so I'm just linking to that as well. This is my method of bookmarking.

Since I believe what I linked to there is not what the Daily News was referring to I'm going to copy and paste from the editorial:

That requiring gun permits saves lives. After Missouri dropping its permit requirement, the state’s murder rate rose 16% and increased the body count by roughly 50 a year, according to a study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

That, over a recent multi-year period, the 14 states (like New York) with background checks for all handgun purchases had, compared to the other 36 states:
  •  46% fewer domestic violence gun killings
  •  48% fewer law enforcement officers shot dead
  •  48% fewer gun suicides
  •  52% fewer mass shootings

The NRA may be able to bully representatives in the halls of Congress, while Americans bury ever more bodies from gun violence. But they cannot be allowed to bury the truth.

Yes, what they said.

How Could This Have Been Worse?

The alternate post title would have been: Reasons to Shop Online. I feel OK joking about this because the "only" casualty was a guy getting shot in the leg. That feels like a victory nowadays.

Gunfire erupted during a dispute inside a large Wisconsin mall Saturday, leaving one man wounded in the leg and sending thousands of people scrambling for cover on one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas. 

I misspoke, another casualty was apparently a pair of chinos.

A worker at a mall kiosk was hit in the pant leg by a bullet ricochet but was not injured, DeSpain said.

Do you suppose this would have gone better if there had been 2, 3, 4 or more good guys with guns in that mall doing their Christmas shopping? Hard for me to believe it would have. As it was, one guy has a leg wound and the shooter has been taken into custody. With just the amount of gunfire that was involved:

"My understanding is it was a chaotic scene," he said, adding that thousands of people tried to flee the area.

Shopper Evan Flood said he saw a heated argument among about 15 people and a couple of punches were thrown. Within three or four seconds a gun went off, he said.

"Myself and a lot of other people just went into whatever store was nearest, and they did a real good job of putting the gate down and getting us into the back, where we waited until police showed up," Flood said.

"There were a lot of kids actually around ... and they were in tears and their parents were trying to get them to calm down, but they were crying the entire time," he said.

I had planned to blog on this story today, but because God loves me, he gave me this early Christmas gift courtesy of Charles Pierce. I had forgotten about this story what with so much other gunnuttery going on. 

This woman opened fire in a parking lot of a Home Depot. Intent, as Jack McCoy always reminds us, follows the bullet. She's lucky her intent didn't follow the bullets right into a busload of nuns. 

Yes, this was the woman who tried to shoot down the shoplifters in the Home Depot parking lot. The story mentions that she is a sharpshooter. Fortunately for the petty criminals involved not much of one. God knows what she did hit. Not the busload of nuns either because they also have God on their side. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Steve Rosenfeld on Gun Dementia

Just putting up a link to this because it's all worthwhile.

Thank the God of Rhetoric

Or Ken Tingley at the Post Star. My letter ran today. So, I was happy when I opened the paper and saw it was there. I got happier when I saw that Andrew DiCroce had the letter preceding mine and ecstatic when I saw that it was also on guns. Thanks for coming early, Santa.

Right on cue the good little puppets at The Post-Star come out with once again another in their long line of anti-gun propaganda, this time they use training as the lead in. Gun control makes it easier to defend yourself? What are you guys smoking? It is gun control that has put more people in harm’s way and got more people killed. Almost every one of these mass shootings has happened in gun free zones. Same weekend as California, 18 died and over 70 injured in Chicago, by the way has the toughest gun laws. Did real well for the 18 killed?

On 9/11 thousands of lives lost and tens of billions of damage was done with box cutters! Oklahoma City, hundreds killed and millions of dollars in damage done with a van, diesel fuel and fertilizer, not one gun used! Israel, how many have been killed or injured because of car and knife attacks? DWI, how many deaths and have more laws stopped them? Heroin, how many stories about the epidemic have you done? Last time I checked it's illegal to make, sell or use, will more laws change that?

It is not the tool that is used, but the heart and mind of the people who use it, and that is the "common sense" part that you keep missing! Let’s face it, your way of doing it has not worked, and you just want to keep going down the same road of insanity doing the same thing over and over. 

May as well rerun mine.

If there was an epidemic killing 90 Americans a day, 33,000 a year, do you think we would be wise to spend money researching it? Yes, is the answer I'm hoping for. If so, you're not a congressman protecting his precious standing with the NRA. Mass shootings are less than the tip of the iceberg at 2 percent to 3 percent of the firearm deaths in this country. We need to have someone to look at the 97 percent that don't run on TV for days on end.

The Dickey Amendment in 1996 cut off funding to the CDC because Congress (the NRA) was afraid that research into firearm deaths would hurt gun and ammo sales. A study prior to the amendment found that having a gun in your house does not make you and your family safer. Why are gun producers allowed to control research on their deadly product? And push misinformation on the public? We don't allow cigarette manufacturers to control tobacco research and education.

Even Jay Dickey now says, "Doing nothing is no longer an acceptable solution." Continuing to allow the National Rifle Association to control gun policy in the U.S. is also not an acceptable solution. We can start fixing that next November in this district. Anyone who's stamped Grade A Prime venal by their organization is not going to help solve the problem. 

I have a few random thoughts on Mr. DiCroce's letter, though I hope not as random as the thoughts that run skittering around in the letter itself. He starts out complaining about the editorial and ends up going onto 9/11, Oklahoma City, Israel, DWI and heroin.  At one time, I would respond to the Post Star with a letter of my own disputing some of those fine points he makes. Reasons not to; include not wanting to pick low hanging fruit, not wanting to pick on the slow kids and not wanting to discourage him from writing these sterling missives. Dear Lord, don't stop! I do, in some perverse way, enjoy reading them and I can't believe he's doing his side any good. In fact, it's hard to believe that there isn't some mucky-muck, GOP chairman or some such that doesn't contact this guy and say, "I beseech you to please stop writing to the editor."  

Also wanted to point out that at least I answer my rhetorical questions. Really wish he had because I believe that on some of them I may not have been answering quite as he was indicating. On DWI: yes, I believe more laws have at least caused there to be fewer, though of course it cannot be proven. On heroin: the PS has run stories on the epidemic. Though maybe his point is that the stories didn't stop the abuse of this drug. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Center for American Progress 28 Points

Just wanted to put this up quickly.

Strengthening background checks
  1. Issue guidance to licensed gun dealers to encourage them to conduct voluntary background checks on behalf of private sellers
  2. Require background checks for private sales at gun shows that are held on publicly owned property
  3. Create an interagency working group to evaluate the state’s progress in providing prohibiting records to the background check system
  4. Apply for federal grant funding to improve background check records
  5. Ensure that all domestic violence and drug abuse prohibiting records are pre-validated and flagged in the background check system
Enhanced enforcement of current laws
  1. Investigate and prosecute cases in which prohibited individuals attempt to purchase guns from licensed dealers and fail a background check
  2. Create a dedicated gun crime investigative unit in state and local police departments to focus on illegal gun trafficking and gun crime
  3. Create an illegal gun tip line
  4. Increase the use of technology to solve gun crimes and prevent shootings
  5. Implement de-escalation training for police officers and increase the use of independent prosecutors in investigations of police officers who use lethal force
  6. Implement a lethality assessment program for officers who are responding to domestic violence calls
  7. Implement statewide standardized protocol requiring prohibited domestic abusers to surrender all firearms in their possession
  8. Provide guidance to local judges to ensure that they order the surrender of firearms by domestic abusers in appropriate cases
Improved data collection and analysis
  1. Require state and local law enforcement agencies to trace all crime guns
  2. Conduct an annual review of trace data to identify the largest sources of crimeguns in the state
  3. Create an opt-in program for law enforcement agencies across the state toshare trace data
  4. Create a review commission to study every gun-related death in the state
  5. Improve statewide collection of crime and gun death data
Enhanced community engagement
  1. Implement a violence-intervention program in local hospital emergency rooms for gunshot victims
  2. Implement community-based programs to prevent violent crime in vulnerable communities
Enhanced oversight of gun carrying
  1. Conduct an annual review of concealed-carry permit reciprocity agreements with other states and rescind those agreements with states that fail to meet certain standards
  2. Conduct monthly background checks to ensure continued eligibility for individuals who have been issued concealed-carry permits
  3. Use existing criminal laws to discourage reckless acts of open carry
Enhanced regulation of the gun industry
  1. Increase security measures and improve other business practices of gun dealers
  2. Create a grading system for gun dealers that incentivizes adoption of best practices
  3. Use state and local buying power to encourage best practices by gun manufacturers and dealers
  4. Divest public funds from gun manufacturers that fail to adopt best practices
  5. Enforce state sales tax laws on high-volume sellers of guns who have notobtained a federal firearms license

An Observation on Gun Cultists

Just wanted to put up a few thoughts on debates I've had in various locales (mostly the PS) with gun fetishists. One thing I've noticed is the defeatist attitude. First, I saw it in the idea that criminals get guns so why bother having gun laws. I'm not going to bother looking now, but I kinda believe that most of the deaths that occur from firearms are ones that were legally acquired. But, there's this idea from them that since criminals are able to get guns there's no sense in trying to regulate them at all.

Then there was the terror watch list vote. I had some of them saying to me that since there are people on the watch list who maybe shouldn't be there we had to respect their due process rights. I admit that maybe there are people on the list unjustly, but that doesn't seem like a reason to just say fuck it, let 'em all get armed.

So, what I'm seeing is a real quitter attitude. And what gets me is that these are the same guys who expect to be in a shooting situation and blow away the bad guy and be the hero. I don't think so. Maybe on Xbox or Play Station.

Post Star Letters and Such

First, link to a comment thread at the GF paper of record. And another.

And a link to Al Scoonz who had a letter in, today.

And since Al mentioned him in his letter and I had meant to put this up:

Will Doolittle and Ken Tingley try using their Alinsky tactics on people because we do not believe we should bring the Syrian so-called refugees here and how we will be safe because of the vetting. Is this the same vetting they are going to use that let the wife, who with her husband, killed 14 people? Homeland Security could not even vet this one woman who they knew where she came from, but thousands of people from who knows where, they will get, right? Willing to put yours and your family’s life on the line for that decision?

The Y story: Why is it the vile and mean language is coming only from the fascist left? Why can’t this person have shown concern for the people around them? Until you have the surgery to become one or the other, use the private unisex room. It's called common courtesy, something those of you on the left have forgotten.

Does anybody else worry that the Liar in Chief is more concerned with phony global warming than terrorists killing Americans? 


Glens Falls

Andrew DiCroce in all his glory. He's become a regular on the letters page lately. I don't bother responding to out and out nuts. Alinsky blah blah. Fascist blah blah. 

Robert Bateman on Carpet Bombing

Because this is interesting and educational and I want to link to it.

That a man who is running to be the President of the United States of America, a lawyer who has submitted briefs and argued before the Supreme Court, is apparently so ignorant of not only the law, but also the definitions of simple military terminology and history, is more than interesting.

Oh yes, and because Ted Cruz is an asshole and probably more psychopathic than Trump.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Good News on Guns

Because I like to look at the half full portion of the glass.

While the attack at the holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., and the June shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, S.C., will remain seared in public consciousness, in 2015, mass public shootings remain the least common form of gun violence in America.

Focusing on the widely accepted FBI definition – an incident in which four or more victims are shot and killed – there have been 22 mass shootings this year, according to a Monitor analysis of two crowdsourced databases that rely on news reports.

I've seen stories where it's stated that there is a mass shooting on average more than one a day. I don't want to minimize these tragedies, but exaggerating them doesn't help either. The focus on them in general bothers me. When over 97% of the firearm deaths are in incidents that are not mass shooting events and are given short shrift. 

Barring further shootings before the end of the year, 2015 should end up being just slightly above average when compared with the past 15 years.

I realize that saying things are not totally falling apart is not that reassuring maybe. I take solace where I can find it.

A report published by the Congressional Research Service in July found that, using the same definition, between 1999 and 2013 there were an average of 21 mass shootings per year, killing 1,554 people in total and wounding 441. During that 15-year period, the CRS found that about four incidents per year could be defined as “public mass shootings.” According to the CRS, there were 4.1 mass public shootings a year in the 2000s and 4.5 from 2010 through 2013.

I had forgotten about this one in Vermont. Close to home. 

In 2015, the most common type of mass shooting was a “familicide” mass killing, in which a family member or former intimate partner shoots four or more victims. There were nine such cases. Jody Herring is accused of going on a shooting rampage in Barre, Vt., in August after losing custody of her daughter, with three relatives and a social worker killed.

We need a lot more study and a lot more education. Fewer guns would help, too. But, how realistic is that?

One anomaly found in 2015 mass shootings is the decline in the number of “felony mass shootings,” a subcategory that the CRS defined as “attributable to an underlying criminal activity or commonplace circumstance.”


These subcategories are important, researchers say, because different kinds of mass shootings require different policy responses.

"The guy who goes home to his family [and shoots them], that’s a different event than someone who goes out and shoots someone in public," says Deborah Azrael, associate director of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center.

"I don't rank one as being more important than the other. I think they have really different policy implications," she adds. 


Dr. Azrael argues that subdividing different kinds of mass shootings and improving data collection on them will help researchers detect trends to better direct policy responses. 

The NRA is on the run. Keep at them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"the warm heart of the Republican party"

Had to use that quote for the post title because it's not the sort of idea I would ever see expressed anywhere.

They can't admit it. It goes against all their conditioning, all their training. They simply cannot admit that, for going on 40 years now, the warm heart of the Republican party—namely, the conservative movement and the fundamentalist Protestant right, both of which rose to power in the late-70's—has converted that party into an identity-based cult, and now the reactor's gone super-critical and nobody can remember which buttons to push and which dials to spin. At this point, their identity is their ideology—an ideology of victimhood, and of the fantasy oppressors that people outside the cult see merely as evidence of a changing world. They look at the country's shifting demographics the way that the Heaven's Gate people looked at the Hale-Bopp comet. It's going to take something seriously awful to shake them to their senses and, frankly, I'm not sure I want to live through whatever that has to be.

Thanks for writing me a post, Mr. Pierce. Might as well steal the rest of it. I feel like DD doing this.

 It's because they've become moronized by the weaponized ignorance that spews forth every day from their favorite radio hosts and their favorite TV news stars, and their crazy drunk uncle who can't stay off the Internet, and Alex Jones, and the prejudices and meanness that every human heart is heir to and to which Frank Luntz has made a career of appealing, and the awful journalistic malpractice that has allowed the ignorance to run unchecked simply because it wins elections and the country gets worse, and there's always somebody else to blame.

That's how professionals write. 

More Gun Crankiness to the Post Star

    If there was an epidemic killing 90 Americans a day, 33,000 a year, do you think we would be wise to spend money researching it? Yes, is the answer I'm hoping for. If so, you're not a congressman protecting his precious standing with the NRA. Mass shootings are less than the tip of the iceberg at 2% to 3% of the firearm deaths in this country. We need to have someone to look at the 97% that don't run on TV for days on end.
   The Dickey Amendment in 1996 cut off funding to the CDC because Congress (the NRA) was afraid that research into firearm deaths would hurt gun and ammo sales. A study prior to the amendment found that having a gun in your house does not make you and your family safer. Why are gun producers allowed to control research on their deadly product? And push misinformation on the public? We don't allow cigarette manufacturers to control tobacco research and education.

     Even Jay Dickey now says, "Doing nothing is no longer an acceptable solution." Continuing to allow the National Rifle Association to control gun policy in the US is also not an acceptable solution. We can start fixing that next November in this district. Anyone who's stamped Grade A Prime venal by their organization is not going to help solve the problem.    

Monday, December 14, 2015

Eulogy for the Last Gun Fetishist

First, they came for the guns of the terrorists. But, I was not a terrorist. I was just defending against a tyrannical government. So, I said nothing. Then they came for the guns of the mentally ill. But, the voices in my head told me I was not mentally ill. So, they and I said nothing. Then, when they came for my guns, there was no one to speak for me. So, I had to shoot it out with the cops alone. And die in a hail of bullets. But they had to pry the gun from my cold, dead fingers. Wolverines!

Remember Newtown. Those who truly deserve eulogies.

We have let a collection of kooks and armed sociopaths bully us into accepting that the watering the Tree of Liberty with blood of first graders is the price of freedom and vigilance.

I choose to believe it will get better. 

Happy Nihilist Holidays

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Lazy Sunday Posting:Congrats Elise Edition

A belated congrats for my congresswoman on that A double plus good rating from the NRA.

Glens Falls—Today, Elise Stefanik earned the highest NRA rating possible for a first time candidate and announced the founding members of her Second Amendment Coalition Group.

Elise has earned an AQ rating from the NRA. This rating is the highest rating a first time candidate for Congress can receive. Elise has proved time and again that she will be a staunch defender of our Constitutionally protected Second Amendment rights in Congress and strongly opposes the SAFE Act. She is the only candidate in this Congressional race who attended anti-SAFE Act rallies in 2013.

As you may suspect, I'll be looking for the candidate with the failing grade come November.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Least We Can Do

If we're not going to strengthen background checks or even keep guns out of the hands of people who are on the terror watch list, then can we do this?

Even before today's tragic shooting in San Bernardino, pressure was building in Washington to overturn an amendment, backed by the National Rifle Association, that has barred federal research on gun violence for nearly 20 years. More than 2,000 physicians, dozens of Democratic lawmakers, and even the author of the amendment have all called on Congress to once again allow gun violence to be investigated as a public health issue.

It's a rhetorical question. I know the answer.

 "We dedicate $240 million a year on traffic safety research, more than $233 million a year on food safety, and $331 million a year on the effects of tobacco, but almost nothing on firearms that kill 33,000 Americans annually,"

From my new go-to source of info on all things gun related:

Guns kill 32,000 Americans a year, but not one penny is given to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find out why.

Victims of gun violence can thank the National Rifle Association for squeezing off that funding.

The NRA began lobbying Congress in the 1990s to limit the CDC’s funding after the agency gave financial backing to an independent study that found that keeping a gun in the home was strongly associated with an increased risk of homicide.

Update on the search for Jihadi Wayne: it's day 24.


Mark Rosenberg, former director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, didn’t mince words about the NRA’s bullying in a 2012 interview with an Atlanta paper.

“The scientific community has been terrorized by the NRA,” Rosenberg told the Journal-Constitution.

Give Me the Syrian Refugees

I know, I've probably used that title before. The 3 percenters are a new one on me, though. Not following SPLC as closely as I should.

They are known as "Three Percenters," followers of a movement that has rallied against gun control efforts nationwide, patrolled the U.S. border with Mexico and recently begun confronting Muslim Americans.

Followers describe themselves as armed "patriots." But some of their leaders have been blamed for threats and vandalism against lawmakers, police and Muslims. One prominent member from Phoenix prompted an FBI alert in November after posting an expletive-filled Facebook video saying he was headed to upstate New York with guns to challenge a Muslim group. A Three Percenter in suburban Dallas led a mosque protest by armed, masked men that same month.

Hopefully, Homeland Security has time to follow these guys as well as the potential Muslim bad guys.

"We will interfere with every move they (Muslims) make towards taking over our country," Dallas protest organizer David Wright said in response to questions the Associated Press sent to his personal Facebook page. "We are ready to fight back if they come at us violently."

What a hero he is.

Followers appear to consist mainly of white, male, conservative gun owners who believe the nation has been pushed to a tipping point by socialists in government aiming to disarm them, strip their constitutional rights and take their property, according to groups that track anti-government movements.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Glens Falls Liberal Media vs. The Donald

Who's your money on? Anyway the Post Star decided today was a good day to give Trump an extra 5 percentage points among local wingnuts.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if our warring political parties settled their differences and came to together to save the country from a billionaire businessman who made it clear this week his views are “un-American?”

The answer is no because the rest of the party is just as vile as he is, only in different ways. 

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said that Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigrants “goes against everything we stand for and believe in as a country.”

You know like torture and not granting the right of habeas corpus.

In news of other NY State media: credit where credit is due to the Daily News. I probably disagree with them on 90 plus per cent of what they write. But when you're right, you're right.

A New York City tabloid is continuing its battle with the National Rifle Association, calling NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre “Jihadi Wayne” on the cover of Monday morning’s edition for opposing sensible gun laws that could prevent terrorists from purchasing high-powered weapons.

The New York Daily News screaming headline “Nowhere To Hide, Jihadhi Wayne” on Monday morning comes on the heels of a similar headline last Wednesday reading: “NRA’s Sick Jihad.”

At issue is the NRA using their overwhelming influence with lawmakers to block a law that would ban anyone on the terrorist watch list from purchasing a gun.

Hometown Rifles

Glens Falls and the surrounding towns are pretty small, so we take our gun excitement where we can find it.

Police swarmed an area in front of Jackson Heights Elementary School on Thursday afternoon after someone spotted two guns in a car parked in front of the school. The driver of the car was later charged.

She was not charged with driving while stupid which would have been probably the most appropriate charge. A confession here: I was young and stupid at one time as well and did way stupider things.

She was identified as Gracie M. Guilder, 23, of Glens Falls, and was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and having a loaded gun in a vehicle, a violation.

Glens Falls Police Detective Lt. Peter Casertino said the guns -- a .22-caliber rifle and muzzleloader -- were being moved from the back seat to the front to make room for a child who was being picked up from school, as two younger children sat in the back seat.

At least none of the kids shot her. I am offering to represent her in court. I believe she was just following the advice of local sheriffs and going armed everywhere. What good does it do to have a gun if it's not loaded? 

Thank you, Gracie Guilder for the excuse to play the most excellent genius of Paul Weller. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Plants That Are for the Birds

Gonna just say no to guns today. Been avoiding Trump mostly anyway. Besides, Shaw has that covered pretty well. Happy Trump Hump Day? Bring on the plants.

Once insects and other summer foods are gone, birds begin eating more fruit. That explains the flocks of robins now gorging on the small fruits still hanging from my flowering crab apple and mountain ash trees. Both have persistent fruits, fruits that last into fall and winter. They will lure a horde of varied birds, including marauding bands of cedar waxwings, with their Zorro-like black masks and wings tipped with red. 

Depending on your location and the availability of berries – by “berry” I mean any small, fleshy fruit – you may entice dozens of bird species. Bluebirds, blue jays, catbirds, chickadees, finches, grosbeaks, mockingbirds, northern cardinals, orioles, phoebes, tanagers, vireos, warblers, and woodpeckers are just a few of the birds that turn to eating fruit when the mercury drops. 

I have my own fruit trees and shrubs: 3 apple, 2 pear, 2 blueberry, 2 raspberry, 3 aronia and 2 cherry. No partridge in any of them. Yet. For the birds I have a crab apple and june berry that they are welcome to. There are also many varied perennials. I had planned to add some Lonicera this year to attract hummingbirds. I have a Trumpet vine that is still a year or so away from producing, hopefully, copious trumpets. Reading this article, I've decided, at least, to also add an arrowwood viburnum. 


Most birds eat an array of berries, and most plants attract an array of birds. Dogwoods alone attract nearly 100 bird species, as do sumacs.

Yes, probably another dogwood or two as well. Have a small one now. 

The experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in New York ( recommend choosing native plants, which have coevolved with native wildlife. They are the most appealing to the birds living in and migrating through your neighborhood.

Shout out to Fiddlehead Creek Nursery if anyone local stumbles in here. 

Better look for some Mountain Ash, too.

You can’t add too many fruiting plants to your garden, but birds can eat too much fruit, it seems. Drunken birds are an oft-reported sight in winter when fruits may ferment. It’s common enough that in 2014 officials in Canada’s Yukon had to set up “drunk tanks” for waxwings that overindulged on the red berries of mountain ashes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Should Have Gone to the US, Bruv

So, if this guy had been here he could have done some real damage.

The stabbing of a man in the London metro in what police described as a terrorist attack provoked a defiant riposte from a bystander that has struck a chord in Britain: "You ain't no Muslim, bruv".

The 29 year old assailant shouted "This is for Syria" as he attacked a 56 year old man and threatened others before being detained by police who used a stun gun, witnesses said.

I realize the people who were wounded likely consider it to have been serious and I am concerned for them. England has annual gun deaths in the hundreds, though. I'm sure the NRA would love to propagandize them into arming up to combat incidents like this. 
BTW, if the bruv had been in our fair land, the majority party in Congress would have been more than glad to allow him to have been armed. 

Senate Republicans voted against barring suspected terrorists, felons and the mentally ill from getting guns on Thursday afternoon, parroting National Rifle Association arguments that doing so would strip some innocent people of their constitutional rights to gun access just a day after yet another massacre on U.S. soil.

Yeeha! Land of the free and the home of the armed. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Some Ideas for Stopping the Insanity

Just want to put a link up to a piece at CSM.

While it often is left out of political rhetoric, America has seen dramatic successes in quelling violent crime in the past century – from the elimination of lynchings to decreases in domestic violence and child abuse, from declines in cop shootings and gun homicides, which have dropped 49 percent since a peak in 1993, according to Pew. Considering progress made in reducing other forms of violence, Americans and their institutions aren’t quite as powerless as it may sometimes seem to, if not eliminate, dramatically curb what’s become a numbing kind of new normal.

At the same time, it’s clear that any broad-based attempt to address mass shootings as a societal ill will have to involve several factors. Chief among them is compromise among political partisans and a greater willingness to accept advances in science, forensics, mental health screening, and gun safety features.

TU cartoons: