Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Deadly equation

October 5, 2017

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Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

In Chicago, more restrictive gun laws = more deadly violence.

Glen Stovall 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You forgot the other half of the conservative response; "it's not the right time".

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Kansas has higher gun ownership per capita than Illinois and the gun deaths per 100,000 is higher in Kansas than Illinois: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Drop that down to just catch Chicago and see what you find. The majority of Illinois is safe.

William Cummings 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Did that, Bob. On a per capita basis over the past 5 years, the Chicago murder rate does not even come in as high as Kansas City. https://www.thetrace.org/2016/10/chicago-gun-violence-per-capita-rate/

William Cummings 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The Brady Campaign Scorecard gives us a sense as to where the most restrictive gun laws are. Chicago [whose once tough city ordinances are mostly now nonexistent] is not even in the top 5. https://www.bradycampaign.org/sites/default/files/SCGLM-Final10-spreads-points.pdf

CBS News published an interesting article with the rate of gun deaths per 100000 by state, located here. https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/death-by-gun-top-20-states-with-highest-rates/18/

If you compare the states with the highest Brady score ("B" or better), you will find that none of them are in the "top 20" list of states with the highest rate of gun deaths.

William Cummings 1 month, 2 weeks ago

In comparing the 10 states having the highest gun death rates with their corresponding Brady Campaign score, the reader will find that all but one have a Brady score of "F" [one has a D-].

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"In 2010, the high court followed up Heller with a ruling in McDonald vs. City of Chicago which nullified Chicago’s ban. At that, the concealed carry of firearms was still outlawed in Chicago as it was throughout all of Illinois. Two years later, however, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Illinois concealed carry ban as unconstitutional and the state soon after became the last in the nation to approve concealed carry.

Concealed carry is regulated by the Illinois state police, so Chicago has no control over that, unlike other large cities in the US, like New York. Chicago does strictly enforce Illinois' gun laws, which is why they are considered tough on guns, and Illinois' gun laws are stricter than Kansas. But even in Kansas the penalty of violating any gun laws is pretty light.

And since there is almost no laws now regulating guns in Kansas, except federal laws, I guess there is nothing to enforce. Of course it's ironic that those of you who hate those federal gun laws which states have to follow, also love the fact that the state can do the same to cities. Ironic or hypocritical?

Stop repeating the lies, Bob. Chicago has a gang problem, but they don't have strict gun laws.

Bob Forer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Dorothy!!!!

FTW!!!!!!!!!

Awwww. Now bob is a little butthurt.

Bob Forer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

And how is this relevant Or are you an imbecile?

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Correction: fewer guns = more deaths by kittens.

This country is facing a serious rise in kitten on human violence. Something should be done.

Bob Summers 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Congenital Liberals live in a fantasy world. They allow Blacks to die by gun shot and will not ban them from getting firearms.

Yet, they perpetuate the fantasy of eliminating guns. Why don't they start small and eliminate those people ability to get guns that tend to kill with guns the most?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/feature/wp/2013/03/22/gun-deaths-shaped-by-race-in-america/?utm_term=.4c32554bf462

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/gun-deaths/

Bob Forer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

People on the lower end of the Bell IQ curve kill with handguns more than others. Following your logic summers, you need to.turm in your arsenal.

Justin Hoffman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"People on the lower end of the Bell IQ curve..." Says the man who can't spell "turn". Lol.

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 2 weeks ago

A typo is not the same thing as an inability to spell.

Larry Sturm 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You may have a right to have a gun but that right has a big responsibility that goes with it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

What is really sad is the fact the some 2nd Amendment defenders think that all these gun death are just collateral damage, so they can have their gun. But not all gun owners think that. I heard this interview of Paul Glasco on NPR yesterday. I thought here is a man with whom you could sit down and have an intelligent discussion about guns.

I liked what he said about bump stocks. " You wouldn't find any - I don't think any responsible gun owner has any real practical use for it. It is more of a novelty than anything." And he said he would't oppose a ban on them, because they are an accessory, not a gun.

http://www.npr.org/2017/10/04/555710495/how-a-bump-stock-device-can-alter-guns

Bob Summers 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Why don't you Liberals ban guns from the groups of people that kill the most?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Like white guys who gamble? Or ones who like to shoot black people or Jewish people (except this one was too stupid to know that non Jews actually hang out at Jewish community centers), or those who like to shoot Indian nationals, because their skin is brown and they talk funny?

And when we suggested that anyone on the No Fly list shouldn't be allowed to buy guns, you had a fit. Which is it? Or the mentally ill? Your lord and master stopped the SSA from reporting mentally ill people, so that would be considered in a gun purchase. And the NRA wants to give felons gun rights, and that's okay? Oh, as long as they are white felons, right?

But Blacks with guns. That scares you?

David Reynolds 1 month, 2 weeks ago

In a recent LJW article regarding the Las Vegas Shooting I commented in part the following: “The real issue here is not the instrument of death. The real issue is the state of mind of the person & the societal environment. I would propose that societal break down of values and norms combined with the political tactics used to divide the country are the real issue causing anger and hate...constant arguing. 

I believe the discussion should not be pointed outward to an inanimate object. I believe the discussion should be pointed inward, and with some self-introspection ask how each of us can make our discourse and interaction environment better.

Outlawing guns doesn't change human nature or the environment in which society lives.”

In support of the above there are two articles with relevant information.

The American Enterprise Institute ran an article titled: “More guns, less gun violence between 1993 and 2013”. It can be found at the following site: http://www.aei.org/publication/chart-of-the-day-more-guns-less-gun-violence-between-1993-and-2013/

The article studied gun ownership & gun violence over a 20 year period, using data from the Centers for Disease Control, Congressional Research Service, and found privately owned firearms increased 56%, while in the same time period gun homicide rate went down 49%.

Bottom Line: Even if you’re not convinced that increased gun ownership reduces violent crime and gun homicides, you should be totally convinced of this indisputable fact: Gun violence has been decreasing significantly over time, not increasing as you’ll frequently hear from anti-gun politicians and progressives. 

Secondly the Washington Post ran a column by Leah Libresco.

The article can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-used-to-think-gun-control-was-the-answer-my-research-told-me-otherwise/2017/10/03/d33edca6-a851-11e7-92d1-58c702d2d975_story.html?utm_term=.5f84fc99f8fb

Leah says: “My colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence.” 

In part, she concluded: “Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them.” Paraphrasing: “1 in 5 aged 15 to 34, killed in gang homicides; 1,700 women murdered usually via domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

Her conclusion: ...We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Good article in the Washington Post, David--thanks. So at the end of that article, the author recommends the following strategies, which I presume you also support, right?

-better access to good counseling options for middle aged men who are most prone to suicide;

-including gun purchasing bans on people with restraining orders due to domestic violence;

-treating gang violence as following a similar dynamic as an infectious disease and developing and implementing strategies similar to curbing the spread of infectious diseases.

I also presume that you are all for the CDC and other federal grants which will collect good data and study the efficacy of various strategies in reducing gun violence? I hope so. That would put us on the same page, David.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The domestic violence one is already in place.

Identify Prohibited Persons

The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, to include any person:

convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; who is a fugitive from justice;

who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);

who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution; who is an illegal alien;

who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;

who has renounced his or her United States citizenship; who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or

who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 992(n) also makes it unlawful for any person under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition.

Further, the GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) makes it unlawful to sell or otherwise dispose of firearms or ammunition to any person who is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Already in place on paper and woefully underutilized, with a general lack of coordination between courts, law enforcement and other entities responsible for ensuring that this occurs and is maintained. This has been identified as a real issue, very clearly described in this article: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/domestic-violence-in-portland/

Hopefully Portland will be developing effective strategies--it sounds promising. If that pans out, hopefully these will be strategies that others will emulate. This is an example of what I described as collecting good data and doing good research on how to effectively reduce gun violence. I hope you also support such initiatives.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The same can be said about mental illness reporting.

As you know I am a strong 2Nd amendment advocate but understand and support we fund and provide access to mental health professionals and ensure that reporting of both mental illness and domestic abuse are reported.

David Reynolds 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ken with regard to your specifics:

In any of these situations, there is not a one size fits all solution. One must know the circumstances & the environment of the situation before any reasonable solution or action can be taken. That's one of the problems in this situation, the politicization, the rush to judgement & promoting one size fits all solutions based on agendas not looking at things seriously and objectively.

That said:

Counseling should be available for anyone contemplating suicide, not just middle-age men. The problem is in identifying them.

The gun purchasing ban on people with restraining orders due to domestic violence. I am not so sure about that, especially as an "every situation" solution. I would have to see more specifics. Possibly a sub-set of that category. Based on what I understand, not everyone accused of domestic violence is a threat of gun violence.

Regarding gun violence & treating it like an infectious disease...Absolutely Not!!! Gangs are formed out of the persons environment...single parent families, poverty, squalid living conditions, lack of education, drugs, & due to poverty gang members enticed into selling drugs for easy money...generally a lack of hope. With this lack of hope the gang offers a sense of purpose, an identity/importance, not in a constructive way, but to a person without hope they are easily influenced.

Thus my recommendation for gangs is more community interaction & support. As I have preached here for years there is a need for employable job skills & education and decent jobs within communities. Better education. Our public schools have failed minorities horribly over the decades, and are not environments promoting hope and a way out. Single parent families are promoted by the "Great Society Programs" set up during the '60's. They are means tested programs. My recommendation for this is if the joint income of the married couple exceeds the means tested value, but is still less than the income provided by the welfare program, then the program should just pay the couple the difference between what they earn and what they would otherwise get without the combined income. Drugs are a scourge. This will take a combined effort of citizens & police. We need to reach these families and give them hope so we and they can clean up their living conditions. In short our actions in this case is for the community to provide hope, and a visible way out of their current situation. This situation does not have an easy solution, but with real concerted effort and goal setting I believe we can start to make a difference.

With regard to "collecting good data", I believe we already have it. Books have been written about these problems. The very last thing we need is another study.

What we need to do is acknowledge the issues involved, take the politics out of the equation, and get down to work with real solutions.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Brock, David, It sounds like both of you support counseing and mental health supports for those at risk for suicide, and I think that there is real common ground across the board for effective supports for those who contemplate this and also to make guns somehow less accessible to those contemplating suicide without unduly restricting second amendment freedoms.

I also think that the progress made in Portland and elsewhere to actually enforce the laws that restrict gun possession for those under restraining orders is an important step toward reducing domestic abuse victims from being shot and killed. These efforts warrant greater real world efficacy studies which will help communities find the most effective next steps, which is the kind of research I'm advocating, David, not just another silly book like you imply I'm advocating.

The gang violence measures I'm talking about also, David, are frequently just what you advocated for: community action and support. These are very specific, very personal interventions of individuals who are at highest risk of killing/being killed after a homicide occurs and has proven to be very effective at preventing the spread of homicides when a homicide occurs. Your broad brushed "give them hope and resources" approach is fine and dandy if there are unlimited time and resources, support for building community in places where it has been destroyed, having those benefiting from poverty let go of some resources to allow for opportunity to spread around more, and willing to share some more of their own wealth to make it happen, but that set of strategies will be a long and difficult road at best. In the meantime, finding ways of stopping the spread of young in a community from killing each other is a worthwhile interim step.

So there is common ground here. I think there is a justifiable fear of government overreach and of fear of crime and inability to defend yourself and the ones you love. I think the NRA has stirred up those fears to such a pitch that we cannot protect the ones we love from suicide, from domestic violence-related homicide, and from infectious patterns of gang-related homicides. I think blind emotional campaigns to ban all guns comes from the same fear-based place. It is time for the average citizen to stand up and say that we can address these issues by better understanding the issues, by being able to figure out what will work and not work based on in-the-trenches experiences and efficacy studies. The more progress we make, the less folks will be cowed by the shrill cries coming from both extremes.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It is interesting that we can find common ground when focusing on solutions that don’t make the gun the focal point and yet, I was mocked and insulted by others for suggesting it.

Your ideas make sense as they address the root cause of violence. I support them.

I do think you and others give to much credit to the NRA. Those that I know are not influenced by the NRA’s propaganda. We have arrived at our views independent of the NRA. We may be members and may share similar views, but they are ours and not influenced by the NRA. Most literature I receive from them goes right into the trash unread.

I suspect many other members share a similar view to mine.

We can achieve a lot when we are civil, focus on a common goal and leave politics out of it.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I recommend the fivethirtyeight series on gun violence through the ESPN podcast "What's the Point" in July 2016 where they explore a whole series of steps that could be taken to reduce gun violence, including some steps supported by the NRA. I don't think that the NRA is not all bad by any stretch, but it has not helped its own cause by taking such extremist stances and language. As a gun owner, I do not support their organization and will not because of those extremist stances. I'm glad you and your NRA-belonging friends DO think on your own, independently from either the NRA or anti-gun extremists. That is where common ground solutions like we've been talking about can take root, grow and flourish.

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