Guns don’t kill people, the gun lobby does

Last week Aurora, Colorado lost 12 people to gun violence. Yesterday, the United States lost 34 more. It just didn’t make headlines. I’m sick of listening to people tell me that I shouldn’t “politicize” gun violence. I’m sick of people calling me a fascist because I don’t think they need an assault weapon.

There’s a difference between liking something and needing it. I’ve fired an AK-47 and I liked it. I don’t need to fire an AK-47 again.  I’ve also gone hunting and while I didn’t really like it, I can definitely see how someone might need to do it.

I’ve also defended myself against someone with a gun and I can tell you that in my particular situation, an AK-47 would have been virtually useless. While a 9 mm might have been more useful, I’m still pretty sure I would have lost that fight. My choice–in reality–was to disarm the guy, give him my money or run. I reacted with a combination of options 1 and 3. I swung, disarmed and ran for my life.

Some people have called me brave. Some people have called me stupid. Other people have said I’m just lucky. All I know is that I’m alive and I didn’t get shot. Yesterday 34 people in this country might have been brave, they might have been stupid, but they sure as hell weren’t as lucky. Neither were the people who gave their lives a week ago in Aurora.

At the end of the day, I’m a pragmatist. I believe in what works. I don’t live in some video game fantasy land where I’m gunning down assailants left and right with my AK-47 and I don’t live in a movie where I play some rich jerk walking around in a bat costume covered in body armor.  I do live in a world where I can help protect someone by putting in place some very common sense gun laws.

1. Even if you can think of a reason why you need an AR-15 or AK-47, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts you can’t think of a good reason you need a 100 round clip. Neither can the gun lobby.

Its time to ban high capacity magazines.

2. Even if you can think of a good reason why you need an AR-15 or AK-47, I’m pretty sure you won’t be too burdened if you have to wait a year to get one. Neither will the gun lobby.

Its time to institute a reasonable waiting period on all assault weapons.

3. If you have a good reason for needing an assault weapon (highly unlikely), there’s almost certainly no good reason to fear a non-invasive follow up call from the ATF. The gun lobby shouldn’t fear it either.

Its time for the police to use good community policing tactics and get to know gun owners.

4. If you actually like shooting guns,  you probably aren’t stockpiling ammunition, but if you have a good reason for doing so it probably won’t matter to you if the ATF or Homeland Security flags those purchases and looks into them as an anti-terrorism consideration. That shouldn’t matter to the gun lobby either.

5. Finally: If you truly believe in the 2nd Amendment and the freedom it represents, you shouldn’t have to live in fear. True freedom is the absence of fear. If the gun lobby really cared about freedom, they’d support common sense gun laws too.

Its time to think about what our rights really mean.

I’m not trying to take your guns away. The cops aren’t trying to take guns away from responsible gun owners and you don’t live in an intergalactic war zone where all you have to defend yourself against heavily armed alien invaders is your handy M-16.  The gun lobby would like you to think you are because that might justify the loss of 12 innocent people in a movie theater.

Nothing else does.

Its time for Colorado and America to grow up so we can have an adult conversation about gun violence in this country.

 

 

 

 

Proof positive: Mitt Romney profited from abortions

Since the Huffington Post then Mother Jones  broke their stories that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney invested in medical-waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses, the Internet has been abuzz about the timing of Romney’s departure from Bain Capital. But so far, the biggest unanswered question has been when Stericycle began performing medical-waste disposal. Many anti-abortion bloggers are now…

The Prison Family Bill of Rights

A Coalition of prison family¶ members and representatives of secular and faith based organizations serving prison families from across the United States in attendance at the 2012 National Prisoner’s Family Conference affirmed the following rights. The bill is intended to be a living document for prison families. If you are a member of a prison…

How PC do you have to be when presumed guilty?

Update & Correction: An early version misidentified the role of one of the parties involved in the death of Kristopher Lohrmeyer. 5280 Magazine’s recent article simply titled “Presumed Guilty” is more than an homage to the tireless investigative work of fourth estate journalists like Miles Moffeit and Susan Greene; it’s an objective indictment of a failed…

Judge finds that education standards require funding

It’s no secret that voters balk at the cost of education in Colorado, but the recent claim by Rep. Steve King (R-Colorado Springs) that “we’ve done a thorough and comprehensive job of analyzing how to fund districts in the state of Colorado”  and “they are not underfunded” is beyond ludicrous. What Republicans like King and…

The pendulum swings: A mash up of juvenile justice reform stories

The last two months have seen an enormous amount of news coverage on the subject of child incarceration and pretrial practices. With recent coverage on the politics of trying kids as adults in Denver as well as national and international coverage of children sentenced to die in prison, the pendulum seems to be swinging back…

The trend that wasn’t: Analyzing real progess on juvenile justice reform in Colorado

Back in March The Campaign for Youth Justice issued a report analyzing state trends in juvenile justice reform. Out of all fifty states Colorado was the only one to have made legislative changes in three out of four areas. While that fact appears to make Colorado a national trend setter in juvenile justice reform, what’s…

Criminal acts & innocent minds: Supreme Court takes up JLWOP & Felony Murder

The Supreme Court, today, agreed to hear two cases that will test the constitutionality of juvenile life without parole for children convicted of murder. In the first case, then 14-year-old Kuntrell Jackson was found guilty of the unintentional felony murder of a store clerk who died at the hands of another boy during the ill-fated…

If Hillary Adams fought back

By now, this video has reached more than two and a half million people. I think it speaks for itself, but I have one question to ask: What if Hillary Adams had tried to defend herself? WARNING: The material in this video is graphic The answer to my question is simple. She would have been…

Felony Murder: At the wrong place at the wrong time

On a cold night in 1993 I ventured out to a coffee shop in Denver with some people I had met at school. I was new to town, but I was told this coffee shop was a great place to meet girls. My “friends” were, unabashedly, trying to sell drugs. One member of my group…