The difference between a toy gun and the real thing can be a moot point, as was demonstrated this week in California. A 13-year-old boy, Andy Lopez, was riddled with bullets by a veteran deputy of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office for carrying a toy assault rifle. Given a split-second to make a decision, the deputy with a couple of decades at the job under his belt shot eight times and inflicted seven bullet wounds on the boy. The deputy's rookie partner apparently didn't fire his weapon at all.
I wonder what the grieving family, the rookie cop...what the people of California will learn from the experience?
Taking another step down the road back to the mythological wild, wild west, a South Carolina man who shot and killed an innocent bystander has received immunity from prosecution. The judge handing down the decision cited the state's Stand Your Ground law.
And to think, gun enthusiasts wonder why their guns are seen as a threat, why folks might be inclined to avoid them, even call police when they see guns being carried around. Although the shooter in this case mistakenly fired on someone simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, the state solicitor explained, "he could shoot a 4-year-old playing in her front yard and still be immune from prosecution".
The case is pending appeal to the state Supreme Court. Good luck, people of South Carolina. You're going to need it.
Universal background checks picked up another key demographic of support lately -- gun dealers. That was interesting enough to appear in the news last night. It's not as vast a majority as, say, Democrats, or even NRA members, or even tea partiers -- all of whom sport clear majorities in favor of background checks for guns.
What I did not hear yesterday on Rachel Maddow's show, well, it's news but I wouldn't call it breaking. The NRA tried to suppress this research, with a "consider the source" ad hominem so clear they couldn't have been more transparent about it. News but it ain't breaking; we can add this to the variety of ways the NRA has worked to prevent research into guns, gun laws, and gun violence, to stop the American people from knowing the facts that might swing public opinion against them.
Like learning that even gun dealers -- the ones who would have to perform more background checks -- support doing so.
It's been my dubious...pleasure, morbid curiosity perhaps, to make Right Wing Watch part of my blogroll, someplace I go to time and again to keep track of the latest ridiculousness of right-wing extremists. The religious right is featured frequently, so RWW felt the need to mention that as a warm-up of sorts.
In the last few weeks, we have heard Religious Right activists cite Bible verses to declare that those who do not have a proper "fear of the Lord" cannot be wise or have understanding and cannot be a good scientist or mathematician because they do not possess true knowledge.
Now, that's from the sorts of folks who believe we coexisted with dinosaurs and suchlike. Yeah, your prescription is a grain of salt, a big one. But that was the setup for the latest instance of some preacher citing Psalm 14:1 again
to demonize atheists such as myself -- literally.
Great news! An ex-felon and white supremacist gets caught stockpiling guns, assault weapons, ammunition and body armor.
And lists of Jewish and black leaders in Detroit!
Well, that's great. Another potential domestic terrorist nipped in the bud. I suppose this must be the result of stronger gun laws, since we hear incessantly of the woeful burden of law crushing liberty-loving gun enthusiasts underfoot.
Alas, no...the arrest and conviction of Richard Schmidt on gun charges had nothing to do with gun laws. It was pure coincidence, the result of FBI investigation into counterfeit NFL jerseys and other knock-offs Schmidt sold at a sports memorabilia store in the local mall. And so the federal attorney on the job has to admit they have no idea how this ex-felon, banned from possessing a gun, managed to acquire his arsenal.
Why would they know? After all, the NRA and the gun lobby assert that measures like universal background checks and gun registration lead to tyranny. So, gun laws to the rescue? Nope. I guess it's football, to the (accidental) rescue.
I can only imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to decide who got to speak at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, yesterday, from the many folks who must have wanted nothing more. But it seems ironic that a few minutes allocated to the Dream Defenders were cut
Rather than view this as a snub, however, Philip Agnew and the Dream Defenders present us instead with a challenge and an opportunity to keep moving forward with the conversation, to march on.
Follow me below the fold for Agnew's response, his speech, his two minutes -- dreams that cannot be deferred any longer.
Oftentimes I feel disconnected from this community, and question why I do more than just read. The metapocalypse over the surveillance state makes me question whether it's worthwhile to contribute, and the vitriol has quashed a few diary ideas in the making.
And then someone comes along and reminds me that I do have some friends here, because they're so nice to me when I go and do something ignorant and stupid and, well, probably somewhat racist.
Ack! Liberal hackles go up. Racist? Well...it's about a word I won't be using to mock anymore. Because if my friends are going to be that sweet to me about it, the least I can do is listen and learn.
I don't know what's worse here, that some bunch of conservative morons would pass off a racist picture so approvingly; that they would get busted for using an image that was photoshopped to make the racist point; or that they would misunderstand what the offense was.
I'll probably go with all of the above just to be sure.
Oblivious to the irony?
No longer a double down, this is a triple-down. The Pueblo Chieftain
in Colorado has waged a campaign against a Democrat in the state Senate, Angela Giron, and the paper's general manager have been exposed making threats against Giron. In a clear conflict of interest, the paper's manager and publisher have participated in the recall and contributed to it, all while they use the newspaper to blame Giron for the new, stronger gun laws passed in Colorado.
So after being exposed with these ethical...challenges, what do they do? Prop up a thin ethics charge against Giron.
It's frozen over!
A few hours ago, the Senate confirmed B. Todd Jones to be the director of the ATF. Huffington Post reports that the precarious deal on filibusters nearly imploded over it, but somehow, we have an actual director for the ATF for a couple of years.
It takes years, sometimes, to beat the NRA, but on occasion it does happen.
ACTION DIARY: Florida state senator who voted for the Stand Your Ground law regrets vote and now calls on the governor to hold a special session on SYG law. Support the Dream Defenders by donating, sharing on Facebook or Twitter (they use #TakeoverFlorida, Kossacks also use #kt2). Follow the Support the Dream Defenders group here. Join in, participate, share and like and tip and rec. It all matters.
Les Miller led the Democrats in the Florida state Senate back in 2005, when the Stand Your Ground law was passed -- unanimously in the Senate, 39-0, and with many Democrats voting for it in the state House, 94-20. Miller now regrets this vote, and explained yesterday in the Tampa Bay Times...well, honestly, gave the usual excuses is more like it. They didn't understand it. They relied on the advice of staffers and lawyers. They ignored warnings and defeated attempts to modify the law. And then, because they would be 'soft on crime' otherwise, they voted for Stand Your Ground.
Regrets are one thing, but now Les Miller is calling on the governor to hold a special session on the law. Florida needs more than a focus on the law. As the Dream Defenders have stated, the legislature needs to repeal Stand Your Ground.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Curious, that this bill was reintroduced in the House several days ago and yet all I can find for news on it is from conservative sites, but oh well. Here's my attempt to change that.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) has reintroduced this bill as --
H.R. 2812: To encourage States to prohibit “stand your ground” laws and require neighborhood watch programs to register with ...
... local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice, to direct the Attorney General to study such laws, and for other purposes.
And simply put, it seeks to prohibit Stand Your Ground laws, with a punishing hit to the pocketbook for states that refuse to change -- reducing their federal funding, and reallocating that money to states that do not have Stand Your Ground laws on their books.