Wednesday, November 08, 2017

That Database Failure Is A Texas-Sized Red Herring


-by Michael Wolkowitz

Michael is an old friend and Chairman Emeritus of The Brady Campaign/Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Sure, the Air Force should have entered Devin Kelley’s name into the National Background Check System. That might well have stopped him from buying traceable guns from registered gun dealers. And after the system stopped him, he could have gone to one or more of the many gun shows in the great State of Texas and bought the very same guns and just as much ammunition without any background checks. The only difference in that case is that it would have been harder or impossible to trace the weapons back to their source. Notice I don’t mention tracing ammunition: you cannot do it.

Tracing those weapons back to their source will have absolutely no effect on the registered gun dealers who sold him the stuff: they behaved perfectly legally. While it would be interesting to trace the stuff back to people who sell without background checks at gun shows in Texas, they are not breaking the law either: private sellers, and the definition is broader than all the barn doors in Texas, are not required to perform background checks, so they would have been law abiding too.

We are so far away from doing anything about gun deaths in this country that is useless to talk about what specific aspects of the latest event might or might not have made a difference. The five worst gun massacres in the U.S. have occurred over the last ten years, four of them over the last 18 months. In descending order (of number killed): Las Vegas NV, 2017, Orlando FL 2016, Virginia Tech VA 2007, Sandy Hook CT, 2012, Sutherland Springs TX, 2017. Four of these mass murders were perpetrated by white males. One (Pulse in Orlando) was perpetrated by an American-born Muslim with Pashtun roots, but remember, his Muslim faith drove him to kill gay people – so it was not really as bad as the other four that killed regular people.

All those white males, including one smart Christian Asian male who might as well have been white VA Tech), have been deemed mentally disturbed by our elected officials and their acts are called “shootings.” Comparable acts (post 9/11/2001) by brown men who are Muslims, deemed sane by our elected officials, like the ones in Boston at The Marathon, the club in Orlando, and that truck the other day in Manhattan, are called “terrorist events” or “Islamic terrorist events.” Oddly enough the mentally sound terrorists have not been nearly as effective in their killing as the mentally deficient guys.

If mentally disturbed white guys are who we need to focus on-- good luck. Going after that population is as politically likely as closing all the barn doors in Texas.


Derrick Crowe is another old friend. He's running for the Texas congressional seat being abandoned by Science-denier and gun nut Lamar Smith. This week he shared his thoughts about the the horrific shooting in Sutherland Springs with TX-21 voters with the video below below and this letter:
We know we have a problem with senseless gun violence in this country, and Congress is too busy taking NRA money to do anything to save the lives of constituents.

Here's the full chart with the country names added back in, courtesy of Everytown for Gun Safety.

The Sutherland Springs shooter, like most mass shooters, had a history of domestic violence, and under the law, should not have been able to own a firearm. Yet, somehow, he was able to purchase a rifle from a sporting goods store in April 2016.

President Trump has tried to make this tragedy about mental health and not about how easy it is for people who should not have guns to obtain them. Yet, one assumes the countries on the charts above also have citizens who struggle with mental health, and they don't face anywhere near the number of gun murders that we do in the United States.

(And by the way, Trump proposed a budget this year that would gut mental health programs, which makes his feigned concern for mental health something of an unfunny joke.)

The real problem is that in this country, it is far, far too easy for people who shouldn't be able to get a gun to own one. Until we face that fact, and until we confront the NRA's hold on our Congress, we will always be waiting for the next Sutherland Springs.

In solidarity,
Derrick Crowe

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At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laws only matter when the executive branch cares to enforce them.
Tax cuts will be enforced. Tax evasion... not so much unless you are poor and/or nonwhite.
Bank fraud? Torture (most all international law, btw)? Rape? Sexual predation? Only if you're poor and/or nonwhite.

If you are young, black and male, your FUTURE crimes will likely be enforced by killing you if you are walking alone.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US initiated the practice of ethnic cleansing. There is nothing to stop the resumption of the practice once the bigots get total control of the nation.


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