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"My grandma shot me. I'm going to die... Help. I got shot again,"

Hoffman told the dispatcher as he gasped for air.

A few days ago Sandra Layne, a suburban Detroit grandmother, was convicted of second degree murder for the shooting death of her 17 year old grandson, Jonathon Hoffman.
“It’s certainly a tragic situation. You don’t see many times where there’s an incident like this with a grandmother and a grandson. With domestic situations, emotions run high and things can happen in a hurry when people are emotional,” he said.
Lt. Tim Diamond

Out of the vast and horrific obscenity that is American gun violence, I bring this particular incident to attention for a few reasons. One, it hit me close to home. I caught the headline on local print newspaper while pumping a quarter tank at Citgo. My own teenage daughter attended a similar and adjacent school district. West Bloomfield is 1/2 an hour out of Detroit, and a world away, populated by a mix of auto industry blue bloods and Chaldean and Jewish professionals. I began to personalize it and ponder my own experiences and my own child's circumstances, as we tend to do. And, I bring it because the absolute tragic absurdity of this transgression exemplifies the foolishness of gun proliferation advocacy and the canard for the efficacy of armed self defense.

Details below the flash in the pan

Layne had said she had bought a gun the previous month because she was afraid of her grandson's outbursts. Jonathan Hoffman was living with his grandparents so he could finish his senior year at his Michigan high school while his parents, who were divorcing, had moved to Arizona to get treatment for their daughter's brain tumor.
Jonathon Hoffman was on probation for possession of marijuana and had recently been hospitalized for a mushroom overdose. He also tested positive the day of his death for a synthetic pot substitute called Spice or K2. Having violated his probation, in his own fear, he wanted to bolt, split the state, and turning to his grandmother for resources resulted in conflict.

During the year prior grandma no doubt had heard about a rash of teenage violence in her community on the local news associated with Spice, including one brutal beating with a baseball bat of a family by a 19 year old, Tucker Cipriano, killing his father and critically injuring his mother and brother. K2 is believed to precipitate psychotic behavior, (especially when combined with preexisting mental issues, several grams of magic mushrooms and alcohol), and there seems to be some truth to that. So Oakland county municipalities and then the State of Michigan quickly banned the substance, which had been sold legally over the counter. Why teenagers are using over the counter pot substitutes that induce psychotic breaks when there’s perfectly good bud grown all over the state (for medical prescriptions), well, that’s another story.

Let it be that grandma was scared, police had been called to her house once before over a loud argument with her grandson, but left them in peace. The boy’s parents where away for an extended period and going through a divorce. Anyone out there ever been a party to, or known a situation involving teenagers and parental conflict, divorce and in-laws? Anyone? I have. Emotions run real high. Family joy. No one is immune.

And now who thinks that’s the time for a second amendment solution?  Raise your hand if your answer to domestic dysfunction is the second amendment? Come on, I see you there, sayin to yourself, yeah you go grandma, go buy a .40 caliber handgun with a ten round clip because your grandson "just won’t listen”.  

Well do ya, punk?

Where ever did she get that idea? Maybe Fox News, maybe Daily Kos. It’s all about self defense, or natural rights or some other such horse shit. She was frightened, vulnerable and exploited by politically and monetarily motivated activists, to arm herself with a firearm and a false sense of security.  

Go ahead and read up on the story, dig for a valid reason why this woman appealed to the second amendment as a first option, instead of the myriad non deadly, or non violent alternative avenues she could have taken, both defensive and preventative, other than being brainwashed with a myth, by wrong and irresponsible, loud mouthed gun zealots. West Bloomfield is onepercenterville, not suffering from inadequate social resources or first responders. West Bloomfield police have a response time of a few minutes. Grandma shot her grandson 6 times, expending 10 bullets, over a six minute period.

I wonder which had a greater influence on their respective psyches, the K2 or the gun? No, really, I don't. They have both been completely overwhelmed by the gun.

It's doubtful people will find themselves with the same colosseum style fervency in seeing Sandra Layne and her enablers go down hard and ignominiously, as is being roared into the Steubenville community. Her crime is so clearly her own tragedy, as well as the boy's and his families. They are one and the same. Can you imagine your mother, blowing your child away? Even while your other is getting brain tumor treatment?

Close to home.
I was privy to the Spice fad and more troubling behavior, through my daughter's gossip from an Oakland county school, that helped break my brief faith in that suburban public school culture, so I returned to downtown, ironically, where we would be more sheltered and comfortable. Her from at risk teens, me from Republicans. We are both much happier.

Then earlier this year a class mate at my daughter's new school, a 15 year old sophomore, was shot and killed in a hail of gun fire as she sat in the back seat of car on a weekend drive with her older sister and her boyfriend in southwest Detroit.  They cancelled a day of school for her too. One more statistic of unspeakably senseless loss and grief.

I’ve had three employees who were shot in the last ten years. One killed assassination style while he sat unaware on a couch, maybe got to close to a motorcycle gang. Another in a robbery at a gas station. His buddy was shot and killed at his side, in the process of giving him a ride to my job, with three dollars for gas. Never met the man. I found my worker of 11 years in the hospital days later, cleaved with the surgeons knife from navel to sternum, having been repaired from a 9 mm bullet that ricocheted in and about his rib cage. (BTW, his younger brother had been shot and killed in a park at 13). I guess the third one just showed me his scar.

A friend of mine lost her troubled brother as he attempted to rob a casino with a gun and was shot dead at the scene by an undercover cop.

I have family and friends who were very close to those poor souls shot dead in the  the Seattle coffee cafe rampage last year. While enduring the process of one sister in hospice, I watched my other sister's sorrow at the loss of her friends in Seattle only days before the cancer took it's final toll on our sibling, shaken to the core.

That is what I know. Actually, I remember now another guy I knew and briefly worked with ended up in prison for shooting an old man to death in his cottage up north. I'm sure there's more I can't recall at the moment.

Oh yeah, and my niece was held up at gun point with two friends last summer, walking down the sidewalk, made to lay down and stripped of their wallets, jewels and watches. No injuries thank god. If any of them had been armed it could have been a much much uglier scene.

Oh yeah, In my twenties, ages ago, I was mugged blindsided, by a couple of hood rats with some object that felt enough like the end of a gun barrel stuck in my back, stupidly walking away from a bar alone in the middle of the night. They got my wallet with out a struggle.  (I recovered my wallet the next day from the pavement in an adjacent ally, credit card and all, less $60 cash :).) No one died for a few dollars that day :) Good thing, I wasn't armed.

None of these victims were armed when they were shot, killed or held up by civilians. That says to some people, well they should have been.  And to others it says, guns and gun violence have nothing to do with self defense.  

A fifteen year old, a thirteen year old? A boy should be armed to defend himself from his granny with a glock? Or the grandmother should be assuaging her fears of a rebellious teenager with a gun in her hand? (I hear those glocks have a gentle recoil). Armed to go to work? How am I to offer protection to my own teenager?

Perhaps if Robert Cipriano was armed and ready, he could have shot his own son in the middle of the night, before being cracked in the head with a baseball bat, vindicating the high justice of an armed society. Or maybe he would have been convicted of murdering his own son, like Sandra Layne. What defines a responsible gun owner in that situation?

74 year old Sandra Layne pulled the trigger again while Jonathon Hoffman pleaded for help with the 911 dispatcher, already bleeding, already dying. The responsible gun buyer. Carried away with fear and grim destruction. Grandma. Taking full advantage of her natural born, founder founded, constitutionalized, stamped, signed, and On the second day god made gun, rights, right up until the moment she used it in a felony. Which is pretty much the only time anyone get’s shot or threatened with a gun. That and accidents. Felonies and Fails; that’s all there is to gun violence.  Legal self defense homicides account for .006% of deaths by firearms in the U.S. The total non deadly use of guns as a means of self defense accounts for maybe 1% of confrontations involving them and 20% of those are by police officers.

States in the highest quartile for gun ownership had homicide rates 114% higher than states in the lowest quartile of gun ownership.[97] Non-gun-related homicide rates were not significantly associated with rates of firearm ownership.[97
You see that last part? Lacking guns, people don't find alternative ways to kill people. Using a gun is a unique experience. It's not a car or a knife or an abortion. Try both and you will recognize the difference instantly. Gun's provide an enormous scale of violent power and authority for spit's worth of effort. That's why people like Sandra Layne, and people of all types, engage in behavior with guns that they wouldn't otherwise. It's the gun that provides that authority of power and potential coercive and actual destructive force, not the person.

All but a very minuscule number of shootings occur in self defense. It’s a myth. Guns don’t provide effective self defense, any more than watching porn is going to get you laid. It’s a lie, a lure, a ruse. All the guts, none of the romance.

Gunless Canadian tyranny is never going to storm down upon us.

Those in progressive spaces hollering about the  “constitution” and teh “natural rights”,  indistinguishably from their Tea Party counterparts, kind of make my stomach roil and my blood boil, it's trolling civilization, holding signs by the side of the progressive road saying “Get a gun Morans” while mindless slaughter continues to occur in their midsts, encouraged by their rhetoric and fear mongering.  Willful ignorance of moderation and willful ignorance of liberalism applied to gun rights just makes for stupid, not for safety or a defense of rights.

Every sentence in the Constitution is subject to ideological, ethical and moral interpretation. Proclaiming the 2nd amendment "constitutional' is redundant and simple. So is the Federal Government's insurance of "domestic tranquility".

Unfettered gun rights, proliferation advocacy, and a resultant civilian arms race is a conservative and libertarian position, It is not a 'constitutional position' and not a   progressive position, a liberal position or a democratic position.

The British aren’t coming.

The gunfight at the O.K. Corral lasted maybe a minute. Three drunken gunmen were killed by Federal Marshals for resisting arrest for violating the town's law banning the bearing of arms, even while they had the sympathy of the local sheriff.

We have a choice to sell grandma a myth and a gun or to be reasonable and reduce gun violence with an anti gun violence message, an anti gun violence culture, and anti gun violence laws. Gun fire is not the way we settle our disputes, because we are a nation of laws and not men. The American dream is not the savage dystopian nightmare gun zealots seem to relish in. It's called the Wild West for a reason.

I don’t really give a crap if you have a gun, like to shoot your gun, rub it, play with it, whatever, but there's a time and a place. I all the time I needed, in my youth, on farms and ranches, at the trap range, playing with guns, sometimes provided by careless adults. I wouldn't mind bagging a deer someday, and eating it. Cracking an engine block in a vehicle graveyard in the middle of nowhere with a .44 is some heehaw fucking good time. This crazy rancher dude drove us around at night in the Mexican dessert chasing Jackrabbits while standing in the back of the pickup with .22 rifles and a spotlight. I almost shot myself in the foot with one of those. A hunting companion once started running, after cocking the hammer on a revolver (yeah, he was after varmint with a revolver). Barely missed me, and powder burned his belly pretty bad. Real idiots.  Real fun. Then I grew up. And consider myself lucky.

• The leading cause of death among Black teens ages 15 to 19 in 2008 and 2009 was gun homicide. For White teens 15 to 19 it was motor vehicle accidents followed by gun homicide in 2008 and gun suicide in 2009.
Expertise in gunman-ship and hardware is about as intellectually stimulating and aesthetically pleasing as a dissertation on hammers, but with more gore, and I've smashed my thumb (as a professional) with one of those on more than one occasion, doing something actually useful. Hammers are necessary and useful, like guns, not endearing objects, that's just weird. Good thing I still have a thumb to strike it again.

But, when you get back to Tombstone and civilization, you check your weapons, (tool/toy) and quit swinging it around in public, rhetorically or otherwise, like some hopped up tweaker making a spectacle of himself and scaring people. Stop trying to force your weapons on me and mine, like some rug salesman in a Turkish bazar. The quality is no good, there's holes in it, it's frayed and bug ridden. It's not your sales pitch, it's your product.

" 80 percent of all firearms deaths in 23 industrialized countries occurred in the US"
Not interested. It’s offensive and stupid. You’re hurting the country and my people are getting killed.

It's time to cement pro gun control in the progressive foundation, and change our society.

Almost final point. Requiring non criminal civilians to qualify for access to a constitutional right, based on their mental capacity and status, is a monstrous undermining of the spirit of our constitution and anathema to modern conception of equality of 'rights'. But then again, the constitution wasn't written with that concept.

If a provision can not be applied and protected for all citizens equally, it is simply not a right. There are 25 million prescriptions for fluoxitine (Prozac) alone every year in the United States. What super shrink is going to determine parameters for who is pariah and who isn't? Now there's a chilling slippery slope. Control the guns, not the people. Cater to "the people" with laws, not vice versa.

Between 1955 and 1975, the Vietnam War killed over 58,000 American soldiers – less than the number of civilians killed with guns in the U.S. in an average two-year period.4
In the first seven years of the U.S.-Iraq War, over 4,400 American soldiers were killed. Almost as many civilians are killed with guns in the U.S., however, every seven weeks.5
As many Americans were killed by gun violence in Detroit alone than American soldiers where killed in the Iraq War, during the same period, and more than all those killed in the attack on the World Trade Center. Half of those homicides go unsolved.


A deep bow to the Daily Kos community as I find myself out of the diary closet and onto the rec. list for the first time.

And it's my birthday.

Originally posted to fisheye on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 11:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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