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Reposted from Village Vet by a2nite

They say a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. Apparently that doesn't apply to women. . . .

A Texas (where else) teenager (fourteen) showed up behind Pasadena High School for a challenge by another girl she barely knew, over a boy.

She never expected the other girl's mom to show up too.

"I saw her and heard her," Victoria said.

But she didn't realize how bad it was until she saw a classmate's cell video, believed to show 33-year old Viridiana Alvarez.

"I didn't know she had a gun until after I saw I picture of the fight afterward," she said.

Alvaraz denied there were ever bullets in the gun and said it was only there to intimidate. By the time a school officer came to break things up, witnesses said she had tucked it away in her purse.

She now faces charges of aggravated assault.

The girl's father was sickened when he saw the mobile telephone video of the woman pointing a gun at his daughter's head.

The full article is at KHOU here, with video.

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Reposted from Elizaveta by Glen The Plumber

Quick post as I need to leave to take my son to school (my heart is racing even though he's not at this school):

In Thurston County in Washington State--no one was hurt:

Nobody was hurt during a shooting that was reported at North Thurston High School Monday morning, according to district spokeswoman Courtney Schrieve....Schrieve said she heard reports that the gunman was taken down by AP Government teacher Brady Olson.

Read more here:

My son figures more and more kids are grabbing for guns when they're pissed off instead going for just a plain old-fashioned fight.

More on that teacher here.

What a world. At least no one was hurt and the hero of the day was unarmed.

Discuss
Reposted from Daily Kos by a2nite

If creationism is the zombie lie behind all biology and geology, the Governor's Mansion in Louisiana might stand in for the castle ruins where the burnt and battered monster is reanimated and sent off to terrorize the countryside again. There's certainly no shortage of creeps and crackpots lurking in the political shadows to cast lesser characters in the horror-genre analogy. But when it comes to one specific zombie lie about evolution, ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have found our Igor and Wormtail rolled into one!

Standing at the witness table, [Darrell] White [a retired millitary judge and member of the Creation Museum] held a cane in" one hand and with the other was shaking a shirt that read, “natural selection.” According to White, it was the same as the shirt that Columbine murderer Dylan Klebold had worn (Eric Harris, not Klebold, actually wore the shirt), and teaching evolution would lead to a “Columbine-style shooting” in the schools of Baton Rouge.

White, a lifetime member of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, has spent years trying to connect evolution to the Columbine massacre. In a 2006 article for the creationist site Answers in Genesis, he proclaimed that Charles Darwin should be “dubbed the patron saint of school violence.”

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Reposted from weinenkel by Glen The Plumber
Pine Eagle District Oregon
Elementary school teacher Lina McLean has filed a lawsuit against the school administration, school board members, and security company all responsible for the outrageous school shooting "drill" that surprised her on April 26, 2013.
A man dressed in a black hoodie and goggles suddenly burst through her classroom door. He leveled a pistol at McLean's face and pulled the trigger. The terrified teacher heard gunfire, smelled smoke, felt her heart racing, she says.

"You're dead," the gunman said, and stalked out of her room.

The levels of stupidity and criminal misbehavior of such a drill are bewildering. But this is why the Pine Eagle School District is getting sued now. If you need a refresher on how horrendous this was you can take a quick peek at Jen Hayden's diary from 2013. The "drill" took place a few months after the terrible events in Sandy Hook, CT. McLean says she suffers from PTSD now. She thought she was dead.
"Panic ensued," according to McLean's lawsuit. One teacher wet her pants. Another teacher tried to keep Minarich from entering his room and scuffled with the school board member, leaving the teacher's arm injured. Some teachers fell down trying to hide. [...]

"McLean could not figure out what was going on," the complaint alleges. "She felt very confused. Her heart was racing. She walked out of the classroom and saw a pistol lying on the ground. ... She wondered if she was really shot and was going to die."

For an instant, McLean alleges, she thought perhaps it was OK to die. Then she thought about her daughter, who was pregnant, and grew angry that she wouldn't be around to help with the new baby.

I hope she gets everything she asks for.
Discuss
Reposted from weinenkel by a2nite
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, on Capitol Hill in Washington January 30, 2013. The hearing comes six weeks after the massacre of 26 people at a Conn
I am yucky!
Alan Berlow over at Yahoo News has a very disturbing (though not particularly surprising) piece about how the National Rifle Association uses its financial contributions from ordinary people. Mr. Berlow began donating small amounts (single dollars "here and there"), and then tracked where that money ended up.
Some of it quickly found its way into the account of the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, the NRA’s political action committee. And that was of no small interest, because I never knowingly contributed to the NRA-PVF. [...]

The issue is not just that my donations ended up in a political fund account, but the way the NRA solicited them — and presumably those of thousands of others. In fact, each of these transactions almost certainly violated multiple provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and a legion of state and federal antifraud statutes designed to protect the public from phony charities and false or misleading solicitations.

FECA laws include an entire section about how one can solicit contributions for campaigns—and it includes telling the people you are asking for money that you are using it for elections et al.
Federal election law solicitation requirements
This law is to protect people from being involved in politics they have no interest in. We all may like an organization for the work they do (even the NRA); but not all of us are interested in certain candidates. We may even dislike a candidate an organization we support has decided to back. Also, the NRA spends a lot of money on elections—and continues to spend more and more.
2014 PAC Summary Data

Total Receipts: $21,905,192
Total Spent: $20,785,386
Begin Cash on Hand: $1,369,033
End Cash on Hand: $2,488,839
Debts: $0
Independent Expenditures: $15,537,565
Date of last report: December 31, 2014
The above numbers are just contributions. There are the working fees that bring those totals up another $15 million.
“There are at least three clear violations” of federal law, says Brett Kappel, an expert on political law and campaign finance at the law firm Akerman LLP. “First of all, they can’t be soliciting from the general public at their website. Then there’s the fact that the money is not being solicited in the name of the PAC; they have to say it’s for the PAC and what the political purpose of the PAC is. And then there are multiple missing disclaimers such as the disclaimer saying that contributions have to be voluntary.”
Maybe the NRA thought the phrase "cold dead hand" counts for the "contributions have to be voluntary" disclaimer? Who knows. Mr. Berlow proceeds to break down how the NRA may have also violated tax law.
In addition to violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act, the NRA’s accounting of its corporate political expenditures may have run afoul of federal tax laws, because the powerful lobbying organization apparently failed to report tens of millions of dollars in political expenditures made in connection with federal election campaigns. The Internal Revenue Service has special reporting requirements for tax-exempt corporations like the NRA, which is classified as a “social welfare organization,” or a 501(c​)(4) corporation in IRS nomenclature. Unlike tax-exempt charities such as the Red Cross or the United Way, which may engage in only very limited political activities, “social welfare” organizations are given broader latitude to spend money on politics, so long as their “primary purpose” is not political. A social welfare organization can, for example, send out communications urging its members to vote for particular candidates, and it can buy political ads that favor or oppose candidates. It can set up a political action committee, as the NRA did with its Political Victory Fund, and it can pay for a PAC’s salaries, office space and other expenses. Most important, the Internal Revenue Code allows these tax-exempt corporations to raise funds for their PACs.

In return for this broader authority to engage in politics, the IRS insists that tax-exempt groups like the NRA report all their corporate political expenditures.

Amazing. Maybe you think, well, this is how everybody's been doing it since Citizens United. Actually, no. Not at all. Even the Koch-driven Americans for Prosperity paid their taxes.
Nevertheless, among the top 25 political nonprofit groups spending money in federal elections in 2012, only the NRA failed to report any of its political expenditures to the IRS. The other politically active nonprofits all acknowledged when they were involved in direct or indirect political activity, filed the required IRS reporting schedule with their tax return, declared how much they spent to support or oppose candidates, and paid any tax owed. Although several reported huge expenditures — $71 million for Crossroads GPS, $36 million for the Chamber of Commerce and $37 million for Americans for Prosperity — none had anywhere near the investment income reported by the NRA, or a substantial tax liability. Based on the NRA’s reports, it appears it would have owed more than $600,000. Put another way, none of the other groups had as much to lose by filing the returns required by law as did the NRA.
The entire Alan Berlow piece is really worth a read. The inference is that this may just be the tip of the iceberg for the NRA's dubious dealings in campaign finance. He's just uncovering their violations online. The NRA gets most of its money via direct mail. Who knows where that money is actually going.
Discuss
Reposted from JNEREBEL by Glen The Plumber

A scientific consensus has been reached on the effects of guns as outlined in an op-ed column in the LA Times today by David Hemenway, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and a director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.

In his column Professor Hemenway laments the journalistic "he said - she said" approach being used in stories on guns and crime as his understanding of the scientific literature gave no reason for using pro-gun rhetoric to balance reality.

He therefore determined to prove his understanding scientifically through polling.

My first step was to put together a list of relevant scientists. I decided that to qualify for the survey the researcher should have published on firearms in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and that he or she should be an active scientist — someone who had published an article in the last four years. I was interested in social science and policy issues, so I wanted the articles to be directly relevant. I was not interested in scientists doing research in forensics, history, medical treatment, psychiatric issues, engineering or non-firearms (for example, nail guns, electron guns).

Most of the scientists who were publishing relevant articles were from the fields of criminology, economics, public policy, political science and public health. Since there are typically many more authors on public health articles than on criminology articles, to have a balanced list I decided to include only the first author on the byline. Graduate students working for me identified more than 300 distinct first authors, and found more than 280 email addresses.

Each month he and his graduate students would send survey questions to these scientists.

The survey results were unsurprising to him.

...one survey asked whether having a gun in the home increased the risk of suicide. An overwhelming share of the 150 people who responded, 84%, said yes.

...

I also found widespread confidence that a gun in the home increases the risk that a woman living in the home will be a victim of homicide (72% agree, 11% disagree) and that a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place to be (64%) rather than a safer place (5%). There is consensus that guns are not used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime (73% vs. 8%) and that the change to more permissive gun carrying laws has not reduced crime rates (62% vs. 9%). Finally, there is consensus that strong gun laws reduce homicide (71% vs. 12%).

You will always be able to find someone creating atmospherics in denying the science but the community has reached a consensus and it isn't a pretty picture for the NRA.
Discuss
Reposted from Steven D by Steven D

Many people and organizations (e.g., the NRA) have been blasting Tim McGraw ever since he announced that the proceeds from his concert in Hartford, Connecticut on July 27, 2015 would be donated to Sandy Hook Promise, both a charitable foundation and a lobbying organization that was formed after the mass murder of school children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. In light of the continuing controversy eleven families whose children were murdered in that tragedy have now deemed it necessary to announce they have no affiliation with Sandy Hook Promise and McGraw's concert.

"Our decision to publicly address this matter is not related to a position regarding any of the complex issues surrounding our tragedy, as recent news reports have suggested (i.e. the gun debate, mental health, etc.)," the families said. "We wish only to provide clarification for the many generous donors that believe they are directly supporting the families at the center of this tragedy by contributing to the Sandy Hook Promise origination."

Okay, that's fine, if clarification is needed.  However, I fear the strong and vehement reaction to McGraw's concert for Sandy Hook Promise by a very vocal minority on social media may have weighed heavily in their decision to go public at this time.

But let us at consider these families' stated reason for issuing this statement now.  Has Sandy Hook Promise stated that the monies from the concert would go to directly support the families of victims?  Has Tim McGraw? Well, let's try to find out below the orange whatever it is.

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Reposted from Witgren by a2nite

New Richmond Police officer Jesse Kidder, in confronting a double murder suspect, used restraint when the suspect attempted "suicide by cop".  Gun nuts are now PO'd that the officer didn't blow the suspect away.

Poll

Did Officer Kidder do the right thing in refraining from shooting the suspect?

90%58 votes
6%4 votes
3%2 votes

| 64 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from claytoonz by Glen The Plumber
I have a new cartoon on my site I can't post here, plus lots of commentary. Go visit at Claytoonz.

Follow me on Twitter.

Poll

Like this cartoon?

74%23 votes
25%8 votes

| 31 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from moranbetterDemocrats by a2nite
Only in Texas, the state which gave us George W Bush and "Mission Accomplished" could give the world an Open Carry law for handguns that requires a concealed-handgun permit, making the concept of concealment at best transparent, at worst absurd. Brownbag your handgun by all means.

OTOH, challenging someone to show their concealed-handgun permit while they are wearing a visibly holstered firearm does bring new meaning to the words "risky" and "impertinent". Folks will freak out, whether it's in retail establishments or in the workplace and many ad hoc regulatory activities will prove to be challenging, for example an amendment to allow open carry on college campuses. Many new de facto and de jure senseless legal restrictions will abound, as will the endless Killeen Luby's Cafeteria hypotheticals.

More fine-grained analysis is needed relative to existing law once the laws are enacted actually could indicate some interesting issues in regards to issuance, although in contrast with other concealed permitting states Texas might not have the differences between state and local agencies that can reveal some potential bias in terms of who gets a permit.  

The Texas House of Representatives on Friday voted 96-35 to allow residents with concealed-handgun licenses to openly carry their guns in public in holsters. A similar open-carry measure passed the Texas Senate last month; the two open-carry bills must be squared before being sent to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has indicated support for the idea.

In contrast to its reputation for being permissive on firearms, Texas is one of six states, including California, New York and Florida, that currently bars citizens from openly carrying handguns. People who want to carry handguns in public on their person must obtain concealed-weapons permits and keep the weapons hidden.

Texas currently allows citizens to openly carry long guns in public, however. That has spurred gun-rights groups to carry assault rifles into restaurants and stores and along the sidewalks adjoining the Texas Capitol, to highlight what they see as a senseless legal distinction.

------------------

AUSTIN – The state House on Friday gave preliminary approval to legislation to end  Texas'125-year ban on the open carry of handguns, despite repeated efforts from Democrats to delay debate and water down the bill.

House Bill 910 by Sherman Republican Larry Phillips would allow anyone with a concealed carry license to also openly carry a handgun in a shoulder or hip holster. While open carry of rifles and shotguns is legal in Texas, the same has been illegal for handguns since Reconstruction.

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Reposted from Steven D by a2nite

Sorry pal, time for you to crawl back into your hole.

A few days ago, the situation described in this story seemed headed for another Bundy-style train wreck.  An Oregon miner on Federal land had asked the local chapter of the Oath Keepers to defend his mining operation.  Those good folks promptly put out a call for any and all "true Militia, true III%, Oathkeeper etc." to come armed and ready to blow the heads off anyone with the Federal Government who dared to enforce a notice which the BLM had sent demand the mining operation shut down because it lacked the "necessary paperwork."

This resulted in a massive brouhaha in the rightwingnutosphere.  Folks even posted YouTube videos of themselves as they drove to Oregon support this noble cause.

In light of all this commotion and excitement, the mine operator had a change of heart and decided that having a bunch of wild-eyed gun crazy fools defending his "constitutional rights" might not be the best way to proceed in his dispute with the BLM.  Indeed, he's called of them off.  Now all he wants his his day in court.

A man who owns a gold-mining claim on federal land in southwestern Oregon asked for help defending it after U.S. authorities ordered him to stop work, but he is now telling his armed supporters to back off.

Rick Barclay said Thursday that he hoped to prevent his fight with federal regulators from turning into the kind of high-profile standoff at a Nevada ranch last year.

It seems the mine operator had a panic attack and feared the BLM was going to seize equipment at the site of his cold mining operation, which was when he made the mistake of getting the Oath Keepers involved.  The BLM and his lawyer then had a chat, however, and informed Mr. Barclay that no one from the government intended to seize his property until he had a chance to appeal its action in the federal courts. Mr. barclay, apparently on the advice of his lawyer, decided to take his chances in the court.  He says he has a valid claim to the surface rights of the land on which his mine is located that supersedes the authority of the BLM.

Meanwhile, more and more kooks with guns kept showing up, and Mr. Barclay decided he wasn't prepared to host a circus full of heavily armed idiots just itching for a another confrontation with Big Guvmint.  Especially since the BLM is now receiving threatening phone calls, and a unknown number of domestic terrorists a/k/a "activists" are patrolling his mine site and continue to have arrive at a staging area nearby.

Now, Barclay is telling his supporters that the mine is not under attack, posts online by "keyboard warriors" have gotten out of hand and he was not interested in a repeat of the Cliven Bundy ranch standoff.

"We are not looking for Bundyville. We are not looking to challenge anything. We are just holding our constitutional rights and property rights in reserve until we get our day in court," Barclay said.

Of course, convincing these folks to leave after they come bearing arms in defense of someone in a legal dispute with the "evil" feds may not be as easy as he hopes.  For the time being, though, the local sheriff, Dave Daniel, is trying to keep things calm, stating that "he has no plans to send patrols to the area."  Obviously he doesn't wish a repeat of a scene such as this one that occurred last year at the height of the Bundy Ranch standoff:

Approximately 30 Metro officers stood between a crowd of 400 heavily armed, self- described militia and the federal employees who had gathered a few hundred head of  Bundy's cattle. As the crowd swelled and tempers flared, many in the crowd tried to goad the police, hurling taunts and insults.

"They had no respect for authority. Everything that you can think of to call a human being, animals, everything," Jenkins said.

One person in the crowd even asked Jenkins if he was ready to die.

"I don't know his name. He was wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey. I'll never forget that," he said. [...]

Shuttling back and forth between the Bundy forces and BLM was Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who'd been left in charge by Sheriff Doug Gillespie. He was trying to keep everyone calm. [...]

"It was a scary point in itself. They were in my face yelling profanities and pointing weapons. The Bundy son himself, that I was negotiating with, Dave, he did not do that, but all the associated people around him did do that," Lombardo said.

But this time, the Oath Keepers assure us they are "not trying to confront the Bureau of Land Management, and ... vetting everyone who showed up."  Right.  I believe that, don't you?  Mr. Barclay, maybe you should go have a chat with these eager beaver boy scouts whose help you requested.  Because merely talking to the press might not do the trick.

 

  The co-owner of a Josephine County mining claim at the center of a land-use dispute with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says an armed security presence by members of the Oath Keepers movement has "taken on a life of its own," and he is pleading for calm after supporters apparently phoned in threats to BLM employees.

    "We don't need any more volunteers, we're not under attack, this is not the Bundy Ranch," said Sugar Pine Mine co-owner Rick Barclay. "Please stop calling the BLM and threatening their personnel."

Hey, you started this sh#tstorm, Mr. Barclay.  Why don't you go and talk to your "militia friends" in person and ask them politely to leave?

Discuss
Reposted from Hugh Jim Bissell by a2nite

This week, the magazine Mother Jones published an article on the dollar cost of gun violence in America.  The article can be viewed here.

The article is detailed, and I will only present the highlights here.

* Reporters at Mother Jones magazine collaborated with economist Ted Miller of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (a non-profit public health and safety think tank) to calculate the yearly dollar cost of gun violence in America.

* Since the year 2000, over 100,000 Americans are shot every year, and over 30,000 Americans die from their shooting injuries.  The majority of fatal shootings are due to an act of suicide, not from criminal violence.

* The direct costs of gun violence were calculated as costs due to emergency services, medical care, police investigations, and court and incarceration costs.  American tax-payers pay about 87% of these costs.  When it was all added up, the total direct costs of gun violence were found to be $8.6 billion per year.  The average direct cost of a single homicide is over $440,000 – the majority of which pays for long-term incarceration for the shooter.  On average, there are 32 homicides in America every day.  

* The indirect costs of gun violence were calculated as lost wages for the person shot, lost productivity and other costs for the employer of the person shot, and costs due to a reduced quality of life for the person shot (calculated based on jury awards for pain and suffering in cases of wrongful injury or death).  These indirect costs were found to be $221 billion per year: about $49 billion in lost wages, and $169 billion in reduced quality of life for the person shot.

* The average direct and indirect cost of every shooting death is $6 million; The average cost of every shooting injury requiring hospitalization is over $500,000.

* The costs for gun violence per tax-payer in states with permissive gun laws is greater – in some cases five times greater – than the cost per tax-payer in states with restrictive gun laws.  Wyoming residents pay a whopping $1,400 per person for gun violence, even though the state has low levels of crime.

* In sum, America pays $229 billion per year for gun violence.  In contrast, the federal government budgeted $141 billion last year for spending on education, the total yearly costs to Americans due to obesity have been estimated at $234 billion, and the total yearly costs due to tobacco smoking have been estimated at $289 billion.  

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