Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clocks

Posts tagged "Shootings"


Yet another massacre occurred last night at an institution of learning, this time the University of California, Santa Barbara. The price we paid for the National Rifle Association’s “freedom” was seven people murdered and seven injured at nine different crime scenes.

A young man who Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown called “severely mentally disturbed” drove by various student hangouts to commit an act of “premeditated mass murder” apparently—according to videos posted to YouTube and threats made to women on campus—due to his anger at being “rejected” by women on campus.

The NRA wants less information and more Santa Barbaras.

Of course, this is all too familiar: a young aggrieved male, mentally disturbed, threatening others—especially women—but still able to get his hands on a high-capacity magazine of the variety used in so many other mass murders. This doesn’t happen in any other high income country with the regularity it does here; in fact, it almost never happens in any of them.

But here, in the good ole US of A, we’ve allowed a group of rich, entitled thugs who run an operation fronting for arms dealers—guys who represent a minority position on pretty much every issue having to do with reasonable regulation of firearms even among gun owners—to dictate our policies to cowardly, careerist politicians.

I already hear the outrage from the right: how can you blame the NRA? We need good guys to have guns, we have to stop the “haters” and “knockout gamers” and … I can’t even bear to repeat the infantile and inane talking points coming from cynical and callous people like the NRA’s Executive Vice President and foaming mouthpiece Wayne LaPierre.

We know how to stop these incidents, or at least greatly reduce them. We’ve seen other countries do it, such as Australia, which was averaging one of these massacres a year until their infamous Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. After which they completely overhauled their gun laws. Since then, a country with the same frontier history as the United States has not experienced one mass shooting. Not one. Their homicides and suicides have also precipitously dropped.

We, of course, could learn even more about how to stop these mass killings, as well as the everyday homicides, suicides and accidental killings that rob this nation of our youth, and everything they could have ever been. But this past week we’ve had numerous examples of how the NRA does their best to block this from happening, because they will gladly accept mass murder in Santa Barbara and Newtown, as well as an accidental bystander shooting in a neighborhood near you, if it keeps the dollars floating into their pockets from the ultimate blood-drenched 1%ers who own various staples of the gun industry

After attending the NRA’s Convention in Indianapolis, I wrote recently in these pages about all the NRA does to encourage paranoia and hatred while selling the weaponry not of self protection or hunting, but war, to anyone with a stack of bills and a glint in their eye.

But this past week we’ve seen the other side of the coin. How the NRA works to suppress information that would lead to treating a public health catastrophe that claims over 30,000 lives per year and injures over 100,000 as that very thing, while fighting to ensure we have as little access to information as possible that might help save lives.

The simple fact is, much like with their friends on the right from the tobacco industry to the oil industry to the megachurch, science and information are the enemies of the NRA. They have proven they will do whatever it takes to make sure we have less of it, and more Santa Barbaras.

The clearest example, of course, is the NRA’s labeling a bill sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) to allow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to once again use its considerable expertise to research gun violence prevention, “unethical.” Yes, they actually said that.

Because anyone who does statistically significant research on a public health problem from the angle of helping people and not profiting from misery, and again and again finds obvious truths such as owning guns makes you more likely to get shot, is not someone the NRA and its allies will countenance without smearing. I debated one of these types from the Second Amendment Foundation on NPR recently regarding the CDC. It is amazing how tongue-tied they get when you present them with irrefutable information.

As for the “unethical” attack, mind you, this comes from an organization that promotes the “work” of well-traveled right-wing welfare recipient John Lott, a clown and a fraud who has created studies lacking any statistical validityhas “lost” his research when asked to produce it, and actually got busted for creating a fake online persona—Mary Rosh—to show up in comments sections where he wrote articles to say how swell and dreamy he was as a professor. Unethical (and embarrassing), indeed.

As Rep. Maloney rightly put it, “In America, gun violence kills twice as many children as cancer, and yet political grandstanding has halted funding for public health research to understand this crisis.”

The NRA’s fight to suppress information couldn’t be more apparent than it is in a rather pathetically titled column in Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller this past Friday. (Side note: As the NRA usually shuts up for at least 72 hours after a shooting, lest they remind people of their position as an accessory, having their views aired mere hours before this latest tragedy is enlightening).

The piece, written by chief NRA lobbyist and super-shill Chris Cox, was actually named, “We Love Our Moms and Trust Our Doctors, But We Still Don’t Want Gun Control.” Yes, we’re at the point where one of the top officials in the NRA feels the need to point out he has warm feelings for those who give life and those who save lives.

The reason for this, as he points out in his piece, is that he and his fellow street-war profiteers are fighting to block President Obama’s U.S. Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, from being appointed. What was his crime? He has been honest about guns being a public health problem, and has made the common sense recommendation that civilians not be allowed to own military weaponry.

The NRA is worried that, like with smoking in the past, if we have a Surgeon General who tells the truth, they will see their profits plummet. In fact, they’re not even trying to hide this fact (or doing a really, really bad job), as reported by Politico:

[Murthy’s] strongly backed by several health constituencies, such as public health advocates, research organizations and physician groups. Yet the NRA, as well as some Republicans, say past Murthy statements in support of gun control indicate that he could use the surgeon general job to promote anti-gun policies. Murthy has stated that he would not focus on gun violence in the position.

Cox attacks Moms Demand Action in this piece too, because Shannon Watts and her group have also used available information in the age of social media—in this case photos of lunatics open-carrying long guns in family establishments and intimidating customers—to get Chipotle to tell the gun fondlers they don’t want them bringing their weapons in their stores. And now Chili’s and other eateries are considering taking similar action.

Also this past week, the House’s answer to untreated rabies, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), attempted to force more guns on military institutions that don’t want them. Once again, we were forced to look at the NRA’s enemy: actual information—some of it bravely provided by top military brass both active and retired,standing up to the lies of the NRA and its allies.

Retired Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D., even took the step of authoring a strongly worded letter to Congress, which laid out his thinking as follows:

As someone who has had to make the tough decisions about how best to manage service members under my command, I urge you to oppose Mr. Gohmert’s Amendment. This amendment will only cause more stress, confusion, and danger on military bases.

Later that night, Gohmert went to the House floor, defeated, and pulled his amendment.

Sadly for the NRA, we are in the Information Age, and the truth is starting to regularly get past their efforts to thwart it. But sadly for the rest of us—and at this moment, most tragically, the victims at Santa Barbara—the NRA have been so successful at bullying, threatening and obfuscating for so long, that we likely have too many more UC Santa Barbaras to come.

Source: Cliff Schecter for The Daily Beast




Elliot Rodger, Santa Barbara mass shooting suspect, “My Twisted World” manifesto by Matthew Keys

h/t: The Hufftington Post via AP

Conservative radio host Erik Rush blames Obama for Kansas City shootings (via Raw Story )

Conservative radio host and commentator Erik Rush claimed on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s “anti-Israel sentiment” is to blame for the shooting rampage in Kansas City, KS that left three dead over the weekend. Right Wing Watch reported…



In a 2010 radio interview, Frazier Glenn Miller, the man suspected of killing three people on Sunday at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement center in Kansas, said he was interested in the tea party, voiced support for then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and spoke approvingly of Ron Paul, the Texas Republican congressman and presidential candidate. In late April 2010, Miller, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, was a guest on The David Pakman Show, a nationally syndicated left-of-center radio and television program. At the time, Miller was running for US Senate as an independent in his home state of Missouri with the slogan, “It’s the Jews, Stupid,” and Pakman pressed Miller on his extreme views.

During the interview, Miller was unabashed about his anti-Semitic positions. When asked whether he thought the United States would be better off if Hitler had succeeded, Miller responded, “Absolutely, the whole world would… Hitler would have created a paradise on Earth, particularly for white people. But he would have been fair to other people as well.” He added, “Germans are blamed collectively because of the alleged so-called Holocaust.”

Not surprisingly, Miller denigrated most American politicians, but cited one positively: “If I had my way [all US Senators] would be in jail right now for treason, if not hung from a sturdy oak tree… Ron Paul is the only independent politician, representative in Washington.” He also spoke highly of another conservative: “Patrick Buchanan, he’s a great man, he’s a great historian, he’s one of the very few journalists who has the courage to speak out against Jewish domination in the country.” Miller called Howard Stern ”a Jew liar.” When asked whether he supported the tea party, Miller replied, “The school’s still out on them. They’re a new movement. I’m watching them closely. I suspect, however, they’ll be infiltrated by the Jews and therefore led into defeat.”

During the interview, Pakman asked Miller whom he would “elect, deport, and waterboard”—given the choices of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former Fed chair Alan Greenspan. Miller answered, “I like Obama more than the other two, by far.” He chose to elect Obama, deport Greenspan, and waterboard Biden. Miller said, “I have a great deal of admiration [for] Louis Farrakhan,” and he called Ahmadinejad “a great man” because he “has guts and he tells the truth about the Jews.”

"I’m a convicted felon and I’m proud of it," Miller boasted, noting that he "was convicted of declaring war on the federal government and possession of illegal weapons." He added that Jews "were responsible for my conviction that prompted me to go underground and declare war… Morris Dees mainly, he’s a Jew that runs the Southern Poverty Law Center." (The SPLC monitors hate groups.)

In November 2013, Pakman had an exchange of emails with Miller in which Miller noted that he was “close friends” with Craig Cobb, a white supremacist who had attempted to form an all-white town in Leith, North Dakota. According to Miller, the two had worked together “on several White Nationalist projects, including the Aryan Alternative newspaper.” Referring to the recent news that a DNA test indicated that Cobb had African ancestry, Miller told Pakman, “I can’t believe a man as intelligent as you, actually believes Craig Cobb is an octoroon. Surely, you know it’s just another jewsmedia fraud.”

Source: Tim Murphy & Dana Liebelson for Mother Jones

On VCY America’s Crosstalk last week, Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt agreed with a caller who said that unarmed teachers who protect students during school shootings aren’t heroes.

“When you see these stories on the news about teachers, and they’re saying they’re heroes because they’re running and hiding and locking doors and everything, and that’s supposed to be a heroic act. I think it’s sheer terror,” the caller complained.

“I’d rather they be a hero with a good shot,” Pratt agreed.

Earlier in the program, Pratt said that gun laws are only rational “if you want to be a dictator.”

“For those who are not thinking as totalitarians, gun control otherwise is not rational,” he said. “Now, if you want to be dictator, gun control is very rational. Like Hitler said, we’d have to be crazy to let the conquered people have guns. And crazy is one thing I don’t think he was. So, he understood that, but we apparently can’t think even as clearly as that monster.”

From the 04.03.2014 of VCY America’s Crosstalk:

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

When a mass shooting occurs, conservative media rush to blame mental health, video games, a lack of armed people present, and even liberal values — anything but the fact that the shooter was able to get a gun.

But the single proximate factor in all mass shootings, and in all gun violence really, is that it is easy for dangerous people to access high-powered firearms. Lack of access to firearms typically makes it difficult for would-be mass murderers to carry out their plans. For instance, experts say mass stabbings are extremely rare in the United States. To the contrary, 69 percent of all homicides are committed with a gun. Of 37 public mass killings since 2006, 33 involved firearms, while the Boston Marathon bombings, an incident involving a car, and two cases of arson accounted for the other four incidents.

Furthermore, academic research has linked the easy availability of firearms to homicide. According tonumerous studies, “where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” Compared to other high income nations which typically more strongly regulate the availability of firearms, the United States’ gun homicide rate is 19.5 times higher, leading to an overall homicide rate that is 6.9 times higher. Research has also shown, “across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides. These results often hold even when the United States is excluded.”

Following the April 2 shooting at Fort Hood that left three victims dead and 16 others wounded, conservative media have refused to acknowledge the role of easy access to firearms in shootings and have instead claimed mass shootings are caused by video games, mental health problems, the “culture war,” and by a deficiency in the number of firearms carried by the general public.

All of these claims are canards. The claim that there is a causal relationship between playing video games and future violence, including mass shootings, has been debunked by academic research. While it is important to limit firearms access for individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others, the existence of a mental health condition alone is an extremely poor predictive factor for future violence. Claims that mass shootings are caused by a liberalized culture are plainly inflammatory attempts at political point scoring. And there is no evidence that locations where guns are not allowed attract mass shooters or that more people carrying guns in public would prevent mass shootings. Additionally, the suggestion that everyone on a military base carry a gun for self-defense has been rejected by a retired four-star general and a Medal of Honor recipient, among other military experts.

Below are examples taken from past mass shootings that show conservative media dishonestly exonerating the role of easy firearm access in gun violence:


After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox Military Analyst Ralph Peters Cited Video Games As A Reason Mass Shootings Are “Semi-Approved In Society.” While appearing on The O’Reilly Factor on April 3, Ralph Peters expressed the belief that because of video games and the Internet, mass shootings have “become almost an act of self-actualization that is semi-approved by society,” before adding, “I’m exaggerating.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor4/3/14]

Fox News Segment Linked Video Games To Recent Mass Shootings In Connecticut, Colorado, And Arizona. During a September 2013 segment, Fox News “Medical A-Team” member Dr. Keith Ablow compared video games to a drug that makes people violent and added, “Guns are irrelevant to this problem.” Days later in a column following the September 2013 mass shooting at Washington Navy Yard, Ablow wrote that the shooter “was also reportedly addicted to a drug — violent video games (which are no different than heroin or cocaine, but potentially more of a public health threat).” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom9/13/13,, 9/17/13]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Fox News Linked Seven Mass Killers To Video Games. Fox News host Steve Doocy claimed that the gunmen responsible for six well-known mass shootings, including Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Columbine, are “all described as essentially being addicted to video games” while a graphic asked, “Link Between Teen Killers & Video Games?”


[Fox News, Fox & Friends9/17/13]


Fox News Graphic Bizarrely Suggested The “Motive” In The Fort Hood Shootings Was “Mental Illness.” The April 4 edition of Fox & Friends made the claim that the military was eyeing “mental illness as motive,” but hours later Fort Hood’s commanding general said the shooter’s “underlying medical conditions are not a direct precipitating factor. We believe that the immediate precipitating factor was more likely an escalating argument in his unit area.”


[Fox News, Fox & FriendsThe Washington Post4/4/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Scapegoated People With Mental Health Conditions. While discussing the Navy Yard shooting,America’s Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that we have “become so PC that we do not understand that there are categories of people” who need to be institutionalized. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom9/19/13]

After Columbia, Maryland Mall Shooting, Fox News Psychiatrist Said “It Isn’t The Gun” Before Baselessly Speculating About Shooter’s Mental State. When discussing the motive of the shooter at the Columbia mall on Fox News, Keith Ablow said, “It isn’t the gun. We have a crisis in terms of mental health care.” [Fox News, America’s News HQ1/27/14 via Media Matters]

One Year After Newtown, Frequent Fox Guest Ann Coulter Claimed That Mass Shootings “Correlate With Not Locking Up Crazy People.” In a December 2013 column on her website, Coulter wrote that mass shootings “correlate with not locking up crazy people,” then added, “Fixating on guns after a crazy person commits mass murder is like draining the ocean to find a ring you dropped.” [Ann Coulter, 12/18/13]


After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox News Graphic Linked Attack To “Culture War.” During a discussion of the Fort Hood shooting, a Fox & Friends graphic linked the shooting to the “culture war” and asked, “Are Mass Shootings Result Of Changed Society?”


[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/4/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting, Conservative Media Falsely Blamed Shooting On Clinton-Era Policy. Even though the policy regulating when and where guns can be carried on military bases was created during the George H.W. Bush administration, Rush Limbaugh and other members of the conservative media used their mistaken belief about when the policy was created to attack President Clinton after the Navy Yard shooting. [Media Matters9/17/13]

After Sandy Hook Shooting, Rush Limbaugh Claimed That Mass Shooters Are All Liberals Before Saying, “I Take That Back.” Before taking it back, radio host Rush Limbaugh said of mass shooters, “[t]hey all are liberals. If they’re mentally disturbed,” when discussing the Sandy Hook shooting. Additionally, Fox News host Mike Huckabee said the shooting happened because “we have systematically removed God from our schools,” NRA board member Ted Nugent blamed the shooting on “politically correct culture,” and a National Review Online writer said the attack was caused by a “feminized setting.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/21/12, Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto12/14/12Media Matters12/19/12]

After Virginia Tech Shooting, Conservative Commentators Blamed Mass Shooting On “The Wussification Of America” And “A General Culture Of Passivity.” On Fox News, conservative writer Mark Steyn said “part of the problem” that led to the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 “is a general culture of passivity.” Then-conservative talk radio host Neal Boortz invoked “the wussification of America” when discussing the behavior of the victims of the shooting. [Fox News, Your World4/19/07 via Media MattersMedia Matters,4/18/07]


After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Suggested That “Lives Could Have Been Saved” With More Armed Individuals. On the April 3 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum claimed, “in every one of these cases, what stops these shooters, is another person with a gun who stops them. I mean, we know that. So in this case, if other people had been armed on that base … it’s highly possible that some of these lives could have been saved.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom4/3/14]

After Navy Yard Shooting Conservative Commentators Falsely Characterized Facility As A “Gun-Free Zone” That Invited Attack. Even though guns can be carried on military bases by authorized persons, MacCallum, Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich, and CNN host S.E. Cupp all suggested that easier availability of guns in the Navy Yard facility could have prevented the shooting. [Media Matters,9/16/13]

After Aurora Movie Theater Shooting, Glenn Beck Claimed Shooter “Wouldn’t Have Gotten Off More Than Four Shots” If Armed Individuals Present. Talk radio host Glenn Beck claimed of the movie theater shooting in Colorado, “If people had a gun in their back and they were — and they were licensed to carry it, that guy wouldn’t have gotten off more than four shots.” His guest Ted Nugent added, “But dear God in heaven, doing nothing is not an option. Training, having a firearm to neutralize an evil gun maniac is a way to go, and we train for that. And I wish I would have been in the theater that day.” [The Blaze, The Glenn Beck Program7/26/12, via Media Matters]

h/t: Timothy Johnson at MMFA


File Photo / Via Twitter: @forthood

Fort Hood’s official Twitter account tweeted at 6:01 p.m. ET that all personnel on the Army base had been instructed to shelter in place. According to central Texas TV station KCEN, there are reports of possible injuries at the base. Local law enforcement officials told BuzzFeed that they could not confirm or deny an incident was happening at the base. There are also reports of police on the base.

As reported by KCEN, an ongoing Active Shooter Emergency at Fort Hood requires all CTC personnel and students to immediately evacuate CTC Central Campus. All evening and night classes for Central and Fort Hood Campuses are cancelled for Wednesday April 2, 2014.

In 2009, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and injured more than 30 at the base. It was one of the worst mass shootings ever at a military base in the United States.

Hasan, Army psychiatrist, never denied his role in the 2009 shootings. He was sentenced to death in 2013.

ALERT: All personnel on Fort Hood should shelter in place immediately, close doors and stay away from windows.

All personnel on post are asked to shelter in place.

Be AWARE!! If you are in the Ft. Hood Post area there is an on-going active shooter. Take shelter immediately and monitor media.

Emergency sirens on-going at Ft.Hood. All are being advised to “Shelter in place”. Stay where you are as numerous law enforcement on the way

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.

Source: Ryan Broderick for Buzzfeed

Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt, who previously claimed that liberals were happy about the Boston Marathon bombing, said in an interview last week that the “gun control crowd” “privately rejoice” at events like the Sandy Hook massacre.

When a caller told Pratt, who was a guest on VCY America’s Crosstalk on Thursday, that he thought the Sandy Hook shooting “stinks of a conspiracy,” Pratt responded that “the gun control crowd” are “opportunistic.”

“My guess is that privately they rejoice when something like this happens,” he added. “Because they immediately go to their buddies in the media and they immediately start shedding their crocodile tears, pushing for more gun control.”

Later in the interview, a caller asked whether President Obama wants to impose martial law on the United States. Pratt agreed that he probably did but that the military wouldn’t follow the order.

That led the show’s host, Vic Eliason, to ask, “Is there an effort to generate chaos so that martial law would step in?”

Pratt responded, “I guess it’s a possibility because we know the president is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist, he’s going to fundamentally transform the country, and he’s been doing quite a job toward that. But I just don’t think that he would have the means to carry that out.”

From the 03.13.2014 edition of VCY America’s Crosstalk:

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW


Newtown Anniversary: Daily Drumbeat Of Child Homicides Gets Little Notice, With 170 Children Under The Age of 12 Dying From Gun Homicide In America Since The Sandy Hook Shooting

ABOVE: Just in the year since the Newtown school shooting, at least 173 children under age 12 have died from gunshots in the U.S., according to original reporting and research by NBC News. Click on the photo for a timeline of the 173 deaths. From left to right, from top: Alton and Ashton Perry, Leonard J. Smith Jr., Aaron Vu; Middle: Trashawn Jaylen Macklin, Tiana Ricks, Mia Lopez; Bottom: Antonio Santiago, Jaidon Dixon, Madison Dolford. 

To mourn the 20 children and six educators killed a year ago at Sandy Hook elementary, residents of the Connecticut suburb of Newtown will take a quiet action on Saturday: placing candles in windows to remember the lives lost.

But who will put a candle in the window for the hundreds of American children each year killed in everyday violence, closer to home, usually by someone they knew?

The nightmare gripped parents across the nation after the pop-pop-pop of gunfire on a crisp December morning: a stranger in a school with guns. Although mass killings are watersheds in the American consciousness, it’s easy to forget that more than 900 children in the U.S. die in homicides each year. And most of them perish at the hands of a relative, according to an NBC News analysis of 25 years of homicide reports submitted by police to the FBI. Only seven of every 100 child homicides are committed by strangers. See the patterns in child homicides.

"The high profile tragedies that glue us to the TV screen are a very small part of the overall problem, and they’re not representative of it," said Garen Wintemute, a professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the UC Davis School of Medicine. "If you take Sandy Hook and the Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting and Aurora and Virginia Tech and Columbine, 95 people were killed in those shootings. And each of those deaths is horrific. But we lose on average 88 people per day to firearm violence."

As part of its coverage of the Newtown anniversary, NBC News examined the broader patterns in homicides of children and spoke with researchers about the changes that could save young lives.

Too young to die: an special report

Just since Newtown, at least 173 children under 12 have died from gunshots in the U.S., according to original reporting and research by NBC News. Explore a timeline of their deaths with details on each case: The US children shot to death since the Sandy Hook massacre.

The people of Newtown have decided against having a public memorial service on the Dec. 14 anniversary, but have asked residents to put a candle in the window to show their commitment to a year of public service, kindness and compassion. Families of victims have a new website, My Sandy Hook Family, for remembrances of those lost in the shooting at the neighborhood elementary school.

The patterns in homicides of children
NBC News took a fresh look at killings of children, using detailed homicide reports submitted to the FBI by police departments across the nation from 1987 through 2011, the most recent available. The FBI records, for all ages, include 549,020 incidents with 574,774 victims. NBC focused on the homicides of 17,650 victims under age 12.

Scott Olson / Getty Images file

Guns, homicide and America’s children: Explore 24 years of FBI data on victims, killers, circumstances and weapons. Click on the photo to open.

Four patterns emerge:

  • Few of the killers are strangers. Family members account for 51 percent of the killers. Other people known to the victim account for another 28 percent. Strangers are only 7 percent. And 13 percent of cases, the relationship status couldn’t be determined.
  • Few killings of children happen during “street crime” or “gang violence.” Arguments and home violence are far more deadly for children than getting caught up in a crime unfolding. Police reported only 13 percent of the homicides as happening during commission of another felony.
  • Guns are used in about one in four homicides of children under 12. Guns are not the No. 1 weapon in homicides of younger children. Why? Because so many of the children killed are very young. Babies rarely get shot, but they do get strangled or shaken, so the most often used “weapon” is hands or feet, at 34 percent. Next are guns, at 23 percent. The picture changes rapidly as one moves up the age range — older children can fight back or run away. By the time children are 3, the most common weapon in homicides is a gun. For all age groups, including adults, guns are used in 66 percent of homicides.
  • Most of the guns that kill children are handguns, which are far more commonly used than all other types of guns combined. The same pattern holds for adult victims.

Explore details of the homicide data, with state-by-state breakouts of age, sex, race and other characteristics: What 25 years of FBI data show about child homicides. See the box below, “About the data,” for details on the analysis.

Putting school shootings in perspective
America’s schools and streets are safer than Americans know.

An average of 23 youths per year were the victims of homicides at elementary or secondary schools or on the way to a school event, from 1992 to 2011, according to the most complete federal study, by the U.S. Department of Education and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. And those deaths include all kinds of homicides — drug deals gone bad, fights over a girl — in a nation with 130,000 schools and more than 50 million students in grades K-12.

School violence is decreasing, just as the general crime rate has decreased steadily over the past 20 years. With the focus by the news media and public on crime, particularly gun crimes, the public is largely unaware that the gun homicide rate is down 49 percent from its peak in 1993. Most of the public believes incorrectly that gun crime is higher than two decades ago, according to a study from the Pew Research Center.

Every spike in homicides grabs public attention, but the general decline is little noticed, as few news stories reflect more than a single month or year. Consider Chicago, which is often cited by gun-rights activists as proof that gun-control laws do not work, because of its strict law and its spike in homicides in 2012. Did you know that this year Chicago is on track for its fewest homicides since 1965, continuing the general trend of fewer homicides in that city? The number of homicides in Chicago was consistently above 800 a year in the early 1990s, but has steadily dropped to below 500 recently, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Still, no one is arguing that the number of deaths is low enough. A child aged 5 through 14 in America is about 13 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than children in Japan, Italy or other industrial countries, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. (Watch the Harvard forum on gun violence.)

Ways to bring down gun violence
Is it possible to bring down the number of homicides of children without talking about guns?

From a gun-rights perspective, the National Rifle Association argues that guns make America safer, that the crime rate and the murder rate have been dropping — precisely because more people own guns and more states permit the carrying of concealed weapons.

"When the wolves can’t distinguish the lions from the lambs, the whole flock is safer," wrote Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the NRA.

From a public health perspective, the American Psychological Association released a report Thursday on preventing gun violence, calling for actions based on scientific evidence, not politics.

"The prevention of gun violence might include efforts focused on guns — because guns are such a powerful tool for violence — but should also include other strategies such as conflict resolution programs and improved mental health services," the APA urged. "Measures to keep prohibited persons from accessing firearms, such as licensing handgun purchases, background checks for all gun sales and close oversight of gun retailers can reduce the diversion of guns to criminals."

Emergency physician Wintemute argues that the first step to protecting children is to shed the assumption that homicides are inevitable, that America has a uniquely high share of wolves. If one ranks the 36 developed nations on the rates of violent assault, he says, America is third from the bottom, relatively safe.

"What makes us unique is not our violence rate but our homicide rate," Wintemute said. "We add firearms to the mix."

Wintemute said research on homicides with guns supports the following suggestions for parents and policy makers:

  • "Don’t bring a gun into the home. It’s counterproductive, increases your risk, to have a gun at home."
  • "If you have a gun, and you’re going to keep it, store it safely. Store it locked up. Better yet, locked up and unloaded."
  • "Keep high-risk adults from having access to firearms," particularly those with a history of violence or crimes involving alcohol abuse, which is closely associated with homicide.
  • Teach kids, especially in high-risk populations, alternatives to violence for solving problems.

Not only homicides, but also suicides and accidental deaths, could be reduced by such steps. Suicides by gun are twice as common as gun homicides, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. Most suicide attempts with a gun are successful, while most suicide attempts by other means are not, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. In 2010, the latest year with final statistics, the CDC counted 19,392 suicides using guns, 11,078 homicides with guns, 606 accidental gun deaths and 252 gun deaths with undetermined cause. These figures don’t count the 31,672 injuries with firearms.

Each of these recommendations provokes a Second Amendment rebuttal. Wintemute found in a survey, for example, that a majority of gun sellers support tougher background checks and bans on purchases by people with histories of violence, mental illness or alcoholism-related crimes. That study, however, was opposed by the NRA, which sent out an email discouraging its members from participating. Wintemute received a copy of the email, because he’s an NRA member.

A group of parents of Sandy Hook victims has tried to make its voice heard in this debate. They formed a group called Sandy Hook Promise, which is focusing on breakthroughs in research and new technologies, such as smart guns, which render a gun useless to anyone other than the owner or authorized user.

The NRA says it doesn’t oppose such technology — so long as governments don’t require its use. “NRA does not oppose new technological developments in firearms,” the NRA’s lobbying group said in a recent news release. “However, we are opposed to government mandates that require the use of expensive, unreliable features, such as grips that would read your fingerprints before the gun will fire. And NRA recognizes that the ‘smart guns’ issue clearly has the potential to mesh with the anti-gunner’s agenda, opening the door to a ban on all guns that do not possess the government-required technology.”

Optimism or pessimism for action?
Gun-control advocates have expressed their disillusionment with the inability of the Obama administration to get Congressional backing for changes such as background checks and limits on high-capacity magazines.

But Wintemute , who has researched gun violence for 30 years, said he is more optimistic.

"Washington is not the only place that change can happen," he said. "Change can happen in the home, in a doctor’s office, in a state legislature. Lots of people are talking. There are an array of organizations committed to making change happen, and that’s never happened before."


(via politiciansoc)

The Center for Marriage Policy was founded in part to promote the theory that marriage equality is a plot cooked up by feminists so they can marry their female friends and extract child support from their male lovers. But this isn’t the only dubious social theory the group promotes. In a series of Facebook posts this year, the Center has blamed various acts of violence – including the Newtown school shooting, the murder of a Massachusetts high school teacher by a student, and Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds’ son’s attempted murder-suicide – on liberal divorce laws.


The group argued that the divorce theory negates the need for gun violence prevention laws. “The majority of gun violence begins with marriage-absence,” the group wrote. “Marriage policy IS the key to cutting all types of violence, reducing demand social spending, and balancing budgets.”

The Center for Marriage Policy was founded in 2011 with the blessing of Phyllis Schlafly, and its board includes Schlafly’s niece Suzanne Venker.

h/t: Right Wing Watch


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -Several suspects have been taken in for questioning in connection with a shooting that left three students injured near Brashear High School Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, the shooting happened on Crane Avenue around 3 p.m.

According to school officials, a shooter came out of the woods near the school, shot three students and then retreated into the woods.

The latest updates below…

  • NEW DETAILS: Police probe drug link in shooting that injured 3 at Pittsburgh high school; 6 being questioned -
  • WTAE: Police took 6 people into custody in connection with the Brashear H.S. shooting, 5 men, 1 woman.
  • Aunt of 17-year-old basketball player shot in the neck at Pittsburgh, Pa., school going says he is going into surgery - @WTAE