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Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy

Hello fellow Kossacks! I've had the privilege to interview politicians like Rep. Ted Deutch (D. FL-21) and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D. AK) in the past but this upcoming interview I am the most excited about. I consider former Congressman and Decorated Admiral Joe Sestak (D. PA) as a friend and I am very thankful and excited that while he's walking across the state of Pennsylvania that he wants to grant me an interview. Of course I could use my fellow Kossacks help so if you have questions for the Admiral, please post them in the comments. I will submit them after the weekend. In the mean time, feel free to get involved and learn more about Sestak's campaign here:

Congressman Joe Sestak stands with his daughter Alex (left) and wife susan (right, behind) as he gives his concession speach after losing to Pat Toomey on Tuesday, October 2, 2010 at the Radnor Hotel.  //ed note: ROB KANDEL / THE MORNING CALL  ***** Headline:  2010 THE YEAR IN REVIEW ** From a quadruple homicide in Northampton to the defeat of Pennsylvania's longest-serving senator, 2010 will go down as a year of heartache, anxiety and political change (12/26/10) *****
Reposted from Shut Down the NRA by a2nite

In case you missed it, several of the NRA's Facebook fans responded to Gabby Giffords' renewed push for universal background checks with vicious death threats.  Unless I missed something, thus far, this has been the NRA's response.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is unacceptable.  Regardless of how much the gun lobby hates Giffords, can't they have the basic decency to condemn this kind of pigweed?  I'm starting to wonder if they do.

It was already past time for the NRA's sane members to walk out and leave the NRA an empty shell.  This should definitely be the last straw for any sane members left in there.

Reposted from Hugh Jim Bissell by Glen The Plumber

A 22-year veteran of the White Plains, NY police force used his gun to murder his two teen-aged daughters, shoot his three family pet dogs, and then kill himself Saturday (news report here:

Glen Hochman, aged 52, had an unblemished record as a police officer in a wealthy suburb of New York City, and was recently retired.  He and his daughters, aged 17 and 13, along with the three dogs, were all discovered shot dead by police in their Harrison, NY home.  Police are calling the shootings a murder-suicide event, and their investigation is continuing.

Mr. Hochman's oldest daughter and his wife were out of town at home at the time of the murders.  According to news reports today, the Hochman parents had recently discussed making a separation agreement.

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Reposted from Steven D by poco

This is the tale of a fiend, a true murdering devil.  Not only did he ruthlessly kill Michael "Mike" McClelland, 63, the  the Prosecutor of Kaufmann County and his wife Cynthia, 65, but also the assistant prosecutor, Mark Hasse.  Hasse was ruthlessly gunned in the street in January, 2013, while walking home. The McClellands were callously shot down like dogs in their home in March of the same year.

All three, were viciously butchered  by a large, ugly brute who calls himself Eric Williams.  It goes without saying he was a felon who had a prior record of burglary and theft.  Yet somehow he had amassed a veritable arsenal of weapons as prosecutors during the penalty phase of his trial revealed:

On Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors assembled the arsenal of weapons found in Williams’ storage unit in the courtroom. The guns were displayed on three wooden racks in the middle of the courtroom, 42 handguns in the middle and 22 long guns flanking each side.

In front of the racks were boxes of ammunition — thousands of rounds were recovered — and a crossbow. Bullets were loose in bags, as well as still packaged in boxes.

By the way, this is the face of the killer of these three upstanding citizens, a true animal (if I may say so) with no sense of morality and little if any respect for human life:

Yeah, he's a white guy.

Still, he got a trial.  He wasn't shot by the police when they went to arrest him.  Sure he didn't steal "cigars" (allegedly) or sell loose cigarettes in public.  Williams wasn't caught carrying a toy air rifle around Walmart (John Crawford) or playing with a BB gun in a park (Tamir Rice) or dressing up like his favorite Anime character (Darrien Hunt).  He only stole county equipment and hoarded enough guns to arm a small militia.  

Unlike the young men and boys listed above, no one had to gin up evidence of his wicked character, or post facto justifications for why he should be killed by officers of the state.   I'll bet I'm the first person to label him a "thug" or a "brute" or an "animal."  That's because the use of those terms have been reserved for young African American males of late.  These terms, such as thug, are acceptable code words for a certain racial slur that starts with the letter N.  They are used to reinforce racial stereotypes among whites regarding African Americans - that they are criminals, a brutish, dangerous, amoral, drug infested  people who represent a threat to civil society.

So while Eric Williams is one sick, evil SOB, he does have the color of his skin going for him.  You won't hear of any Fox News host or right wing radio jocks calling him a thug. They probably won't mention him at all, and if they do, there won't be any discussion of white on white crime.  They sure as hell won't touch the subject of his gun collection, which is every white American's God given right under the second amendment.  

White people with strong political agenda can walk around the street and in stores carrying their semiautomatic "long guns" and nothing happens to them. A drunken, angry white man stand outs in the street pointing a loaded rifle at passersby, and law enforcement treats him with respect and spend as much time as they need to "de-escalate the situation."  Black boys play in an empty park with a fake gun, or carry a fake samurai sword and get shot shortly after police arrive on the scene.

And let's not forget the masses of white men who took their guns to Cliven Bundy's Ranch in Nevada to protect the rights of a common criminal. They threatened and intimidated local law enforcement, Federal officials and the people of Clark County, but not one of Bundy's numerous supporters who endangered the lives of everyone withing the range of their high powered rifles was arrested or charged with a crime, much less fired upon by law enforcement - with the possible exception for Jerad and Amanda Miller who were kicked out of the Bundy compound and then went on a shooting spree in Las Vegas, killing two police officers and an armed civilian at a local Walmart before killing themselves.

So, my friends, who are the real thugs?  The armed white people who shoot to kill, such as Mr. Eric Williams, or the unarmed black men and boys killed by police and left to die?  Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Darrien Hunt, Tamir Rice and so many more have been labeled "thugs," their reputations smeared in the National news media.  In the case of 12 year-old Tamir Rice, his parents' past history and their alleged bad parenting were blamed for his death by cop. Protestors in Ferguson and elsewhere these past few months have been described as looters, rioters, criminals, et cetera, who deserved the massive militarized police response to what were primarily peaceful protests.

Words matter.  They define how we interpret events, and how we judge the character and actions of individuals.  They reinforce existing bias, prejudice and stereotypes.  They justify violence against innocent people when those people are labeled with words that have negative and sinister connotations.  Native Americans were constantly called savages in the 19th century.  European Jews in the 20th century were labeled cockroaches and vermin.  African Americans, especially males, in the 21st Century are now called "thugs."  Words that dehumanize their subjects.  Words that lead to fear and loathing.  Words that make it easier to kill and/or tolerate, and in some quarters of our society celebrate, the deaths of those so named.

Words like "Thug."

Reposted from numerology doesn't add up by Glen The Plumber

Hat Tip to TXConservative for the heads up on this.

Send in your comments to the ATF now ---- they are taking comments until March 15, 2015

NRA is all over this. It is flying through the gun crowd.

They are responding. Step up to the plate. Turn the AR-15 into a baseball bat.

The NRA Howl here

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Reposted from Patrick Leary, aka pajoly by night cat
This contraption's days are numbered, even if the NRA has its way.
Here were four days later and what a difference kinetic marketing and handful of determined and outraged people can make. Here in Saint Petersburg, if you've not been able to keep up, a 21 year old has built a 4 foot eroding and crumbling cube of sand and wooden pallets, backstopped by a vinyl fence and homes. You know, where people live. And literally less than 20' away? My friend's side fence in their backyard where lots of kids climb trees, play in any of the three tree houses, swing on ropes, chase frogs and otherwise play like kids do, or did until the "gun range" was, er, constructed.

Yesterday was seminal though, as the miraculous has happened since this story has gone viral, making its way to New York (I interviewed with the New York Daily News) and California. Yesterday, local leaders from BOTH parties have weighed in with public statements.

None have been more bold than Democratic Mayor Kriseman, who said as reported in the Tampa Bay Times today,

"It's a ridiculous situation, and we are going to put a stop to it,'' Kriseman said. "If it's not reckless and negligent to have a gun range in the middle of all these houses, then I don't know the definition of those words.
"… If they want to sue us, then let them sue us. My No. 1 job is public safety … and those residents are not safe right now.''
And while you might have expected that from a Democratic mayor, this might surprise you:
Even Second Amendment enthusiasts are calling the man’s impromptu range a bad idea. Republican State Senator Jeff Brandes issued a statement Monday calling it “inappropriate” and “dangerous.” And NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer told the Tampa Bay Times “Shooting ranges don’t belong in dense residential neighborhoods.”
Senator Brandes has been particularly strong in his opposition to this, perhaps because he is a combat veteran. As fellow neighbors, we appreciate his efforts and now that he is learning (from the local Republican Sheriff) that there are more of these things in this area he wants them gone too. He'll find 100% of his colleagues across the aisle in agreement. I am hopeful he'll forward or at least co-sign onto a bill in the Florida State senate.

This morning I put up the petition, and it seems to be taking off rather nicely. Your help would, well, help, so please share and tweet the URL with the tag #frontyardgunrange:

Expressly prohibit by law the creation or use of outdoor gun ranges in all land zones primarily for residential use and within 500 feet from any occupied dwelling, including off hours when residents or employees may not be present.
We think this is a VERY, VERY modest request, and now that the NRA has stated its clear opinion that this insanity has no place in residential neighborhoods all political barriers have been smashed, giving legislators who care about human life the opportunity to take the ambiguity out of the current law.

State representative Darryl Rouson said he'll be entering a bill in the coming session. May he find many willing co-signers. We'll be watching here, and hopefully making a trip up to the state house to share our concerns as parents and neighbors.

Meanwhile, we are keeping up the pressure. Local activists continue to agitate and spread the word. Our civic association president continues to wage battle. And, I just finished another television interview, this time with Bay News 9, a leading cable channel here owned by a cable company people actually really like, Brighthouse.

Thank you dear DKosians for all your support so far.

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Reposted from Patrick Leary, aka pajoly by night cat
This is the "gun range" that stands between our children and a young man's bullets. Feel safe yet? Please share this picture broadly.  #frontyardgunrange  I want this image even spread among super conservative sites so they can see what they are defending. Would they tolerate this 30 feet from where their children play?
It has been a wild day. My neighbors and I are exhausted. You'll be hearing about this story in many outlets between now and this weekend. I've interviewed with the New York Daily News, yes, that one. But so far, universally the commenters even on that site agree this is nuts.

Cooler heads may prevail. State legislators have just informed me a bill is headed to the state house to at least put some bumpers around this law. I've been speaking with staff and legislators themselves in some case on both sides of the aisle, because, it seems, this is simply unsupportable.

We are hopeful, but not naïve. We expect ugliness. We expect threats. We expect smears. Our community seems to have our backs though. Please wish us well.


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Reposted from night cat by night cat

Channel KOB in Albuquerque is reporting that a 3 year old child shot both his pregnant mother and his father when he reached for an iPod in his mother's purse and instead grabbed a gun.  The shot first hit the father and then the bullet exited the father's hip, striking the mother.  The couple's two year old child was also nearby.  

According to the father, Justin Reynolds:

"It was like if I was to get up shake your hand and sat back down. That's how fast it happened, "said Reynolds." All of a sudden we heard a gun go off and the next minute I realized my girlfriend was bleeding. Then I sat down and realized I was shot too."

The mother is still in the hospital in stable condition.  

Fortunately, this situation is being taken seriously by the authorities.

Both children were placed on a 48 hour hold with CYFD [Children, Youth and Families Department].  

APD [Albuquerque Police Department] says the case will be forwarded to the DA's office and pending charges of felony criminal negligence will be reviewed on both parents.

I continue to be amazed at the number of people who will keep a deadly weapon within reach of their children.   Tragedies like this are entirely avoidable.  
Reposted from Patrick Leary, aka pajoly by night cat
This sat 8' from my neighbor's side fence where my kids play. There is no backstop. Behind it another fence and a home immediately behind that. The back wall of the home is direct path should any round miss its target, and everyone misses. In fact, NYPD can miss 22% of their FIXED targets and still qualify. Miss here, and there's a bullet hole in his neighbors home, at the least.
I've launched a Facebook pageto help folks find the petition to ban these things in dense residential neighborhoods.

My son is 9. His best friend is 10 and that little boy has a 7 year old little sister. My son loves playing at their house. These are no computer game kids. They have a tree fort, rope ladders, tree swings and even a zip line. It is perfect place for the sort of innocent, creative, and active outdoor play I enjoyed as kid so many years ago. There's just one problem:

The outdoor "gun range" next door. That's right, the homeowner behind their property has decided his front yard, which is 8 feet from my friend's back yard property line and a few houses away from mine, is the perfect spot for a gun range. This is a residential neighborhood in the city limits of Saint Petersburg, Florida. The lots are as small at 1/4 acre. A gun range. With real guns. With real bullets.

Oh, but it gets so much better. Here are the words of our community association president in an email to the community this evening:

This is not a "back yard" gun range.  It's an amateur and reckless set-up in which a man has to stand in his front yard and fire toward his house (and therefore at the house behind him), at a pile of sand held together with an old wooden palette.

The pile of sand is 8' from a neighbor's property where small children live and about 20' feet from the children's bedroom windows.  

The owner of this house has arrests for DUI, cocaine and hydrocodone, and has had 2 domestic violence cases filed against him. His son has announced he is coming to the house with a "variety of guns," including an assault rifle.

Shocked yet? Oh, it gets better still. This is Florida.
That's right. Florida law allows people to build and maintain shooting ranges in their backyards. And unless an owner becomes negligent or reckless, there's nothing a neighbor can do.

For example:

* There's no restriction on the type of firearms or ammunition that can be used in a backyard shooting range.

* There's no restriction on the time of day or night your neighbors can use their gun range.

* And there's no restriction on gun ranges near a public school, day-care center or neighborhood playground. Talk about the need for duck-and-cover lessons.

We need your help DKos community. We need your help America. We need the help of sane people everywhere. Please follow over to see how you can.
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Reposted from Firearms Law and Policy by Glen The Plumber

The gun industry usually gets what it wants from legislatures, like getting Congress to bestow immunity on it from deaths and injuries by use of its products. A lawsuit filed last month confronts that immunity head on.

AR-15 silhouette
If anything can hold the gun industry accountable, it will be Soto v Bushmaster Firearms, brought on behalf of several of the 20 children and six adults who were massacred and others who were wounded at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Responses are due February 3. While we wait, come below the orange bulls eye for a look at plaintiffs' case and the likely defenses against it.

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Reposted from The Disappointed Optimist by WakeUpNeo

On December 30, 2014, in Hayden, Idaho a two year old shot and killed his mother. The woman was shopping at Wal-Mart, with the boy and her purse in the shopping cart. She had a license for a concealed handgun, and the gun was in her purse in a special zippered pouch for a concealed weapon. Her son reached into the purse, and the gun fired, killing the woman. Presumably they boy was playing, and just thought it was a toy, or maybe it was a tragic accident and the child inadvertently hit or squeezed the trigger. The news story is not clear on the details.  [Here's the Story from Fox News.] But ....

According to a favorite gun advocate slogan, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." The idea behind the slogan is that every shooting is intentional, and if someone is intent on killing they will do it with whatever tool is available. The slogan strongly implies that every killing is intentional, and if a gun is not available the killer will use something else. So, according to this theory, if that toddler in Idaho hadn't used a gun he would have killed his mother with something else. Perhaps he would have toddled to the auto supply section and grab a tire iron to bash in his mother's brains. But clearly that idea is as absurd as it is sick. The child obviously had no intent to kill his mother (and will undoubtedly be traumatized by it for the rest of his life). Had the gun not been in his mother's purse he may have played with her car keys or cell phone, and she would be alive today. So clearly it was the gun that killed the woman. The gun killed the woman, the child didn't kill the woman.

Every year roughly 30,000 Americans are killed by guns. (See, Of that, roughly 10,000 are murdered, 19,000 commit suicide, and between 500 and 1,000 are killed accidentally. [The Wikipedia Entry for Gun Violence in the United States has a good overview of these numbers.] In 2011, the last year for which data is available, 32,163 people were killed by guns. Of that 19,766 committed suicide, 11,101 were murdered, and 851 were killed by accidental discharge of a firearm.  [The CDC Data is here, in Table 2] There is no way to know about the 10,000 murders, and it is likely that if the murderer did not have a gun he would have used something else. (I say "he" because men commit 95% of all homicides. I apologize to the female murderers out there for my sexist language.) But it is worth noting that there were 4,852 murders by other means in the United States in 2011, so some would have been committed by other means. But just as clearly it is not true of those 500 to 1000 "accidental" gun deaths.

The two year old in Hayden Idaho had no intent to kill his mother, nor did the three year old in Arizona who shot is 18 month old brother, or the three year old in Oklahoma who killed his mother. Just Google "toddler shoots ...." parent or sibling, and you'll get dozens of hits of small children inadvertently killing a family member. (It's really disconcerting.) There is no way to know what percentage of the roughly 500 to 1000 accidental deaths each year are kids killing a parent, but clearly it happens with some frequency. Other leading causes of "accidental" gun deaths are people cleaning guns, and showing off with guns. But in every one of those accidental cases there was no intent to kill.      

That means that between 5% and 10% of all non-suicide gun deaths each year are accidental, with no intent to kill. And this means that in 5% to 10% of all non-suicide gun deaths each year it was the gun, and not the person that did the killing. So guns do kill people, even when the person pulling the trigger had no intent to harm anyone.

The NRA and gun rights advocates may not care about logic, and they certainly don't care about the roughly 1000 people killed accidentally by guns each year. They believe that their rights, or rather their warped idea about those rights, are more important than the lives of a thousand people a year. Those people are merely collateral damage, statistical blips, background noise lost in the chatter of silly slogans.

Reposted from Happy in MA by WakeUpNeo Editor's Note: An important reminder for all... -- WakeUpNeo

It is very hard to believe it’s been 20 years since my friend, Amy Silberman, lost her life in New Orleans, on NYE, 1994.  She was struck in the top of the head by a bullet fired from miles away; a tragic example of being in the wrong place at the right moment.

Although I think about her often, and have mementos in my home that remind me of her every day, now seems like the right time to try to put my thoughts together.  I also am deeply concerned about the insane gun culture we are grappling with, and how so many innocent and young people are dying across the country, accidental and otherwise, by guns.  Amy also would have been troubled by this, and so perhaps by sharing this story, if it raises some awareness, it honors her memory.

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