Mayor Bob Filner, along with representatives from the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Unified, hosted a sit-down yesterday to talk about local responses and precautions in the wake of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
The Mayor cited his own struggle over talking with his two grandchildren about the Sandy Hook tragedy as being a motivation for calling the meeting. Police Chief William Landsdowne mentioned his opposition to legal assault weapons as the video tape from NBCNews7 rolled, quickly qualifying his statement as being a political matter not necessarily germane to the matters at hand.
A video monitoring system installed throughout San Diego schools over the past couple of years will now be interfaced with laptops in police cars, giving them the ability to see situations in real time as they respond to a situation. One thousand cameras are in place, covering hallways, lunchrooms, offices and building exteriors, according to SDUSD police Lieutenant Joe Florentino.
NBC Reporter Brandi Powell cited a reported 53% increase in local reports of crises involving mentally ill individuals since 2008. She also Tweeted yesterday about incidents of racist comments aimed at her in response to reporting on San Diego angles of this story. (See, we have plenty of nuts in this town!)
Officials at the summit encouraged the public to contact officials about potentially dangerous mental health situations early on, saying everyone has a responsibility to report issues that could lead to violence. Calls can be made to the Access and Crisis Line (888) 724-7240, school district offices or local police.
A Symbolic Signing Sets the Stage for the Filner Administration
The law will create a registry of foreclosed properties and encourage owners of those homes going through foreclosure to keep up their properties. Title-holders will have to provide contact information to code enforcement officers, along with paying a fee to cover the expense of creating and maintaining the registration system and the cost of monitoring, inspecting and investigating the properties. The ordinance authorizes the assessment of administrative civil penalties for failing to comply with the registration requirements.
Problems with abandoned properties with overgrown weeds, broken windows and other signs of neglect were especially acute in Barrio Logan and south San Diego neighborhoods, prompting Councilman David Alvarez to introduce the law. Active support from ACCE, Center on Policy Initiatives, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFSCME Local 127, the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice , Proyecto de Casa Saludables, San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP) kept the issue alive and increased public awareness of the issue, making passage possible.
The Gun Nuts Run and Hide While Their Enablers Bide Their Time
The airwaves and ink wells utilized by the nation’s media continue to be dominated by stories about repercussions of Friday’s tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Except for the editorial pages of the local daily, which have gone into lock-down mode on this issue.
While the rest of the nation talks about guns, mental illness and, perhaps, trying to restore rationality to the process of society’s involvement with these issues, the UT-San Diego editorial crew has moved on.
Today we’re treated to an editorial about U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice (the Benghazi ‘scandal’ must live on), the Boy Scouts of America’s shameful behavior in suppressing release documents relating to sex crimes, and an op-ed by George Will telling us that Michigan Republicans’ passage of Right to Work laws is a “blow for individual liberty”.
This makes me wonder if the editorial wiseguys at the local daily are simply getting their moves from the NRA handbook. Or maybe they feel that there’s nothing to say, so re-cycling old opinions about old news is the best they can do.
This isn’t an issue that will go away. Today we’ll cover some of the stuff that wasn’t ‘fit to print’ in the local press.
NRA Remains on Lockdown
The noise machine at the National Rifle Association is still silent this morning. The NRA suspended its Facebook page about 10 hours after the shooting on Friday. The group has also remained silent on its various Twitter, YouTube and GooglePlus accounts.
The NRA’s Washington DC offices were besieged by hundreds of demonstrators yesterday seeking to draw attention to the gun lobby group’s role in suppressing firearm regulation. The protesters marched from Spirit of Justice Park to the NRA offices on First Street near the Capitol chanting “Shame on the NRA”.
Following a moment of silence, they read off the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims. ‘Model responses’ from an NRA questionnaire given to politicians in order to grade them on their adherence to the NRA’s policies were shared with the crowd.
Several articles appeared yesterday highlighting the close cooperation between the NRA and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in promoting the gun lobby agenda. The corporate-funded ALEC facilitates “model bills” behind closed doors reaching into almost every area of American life. Public outrage over their schemes has resulted in over forty two corporations, including Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, and General Motors withdrawing their financial support of ALEC.
The Insanity of NRA Lobbying Campaigns
Just in case you’re wondering what kinds of legislation the NRA supports, Think Progress has come up with six types of outrageous legislative actions supported by the gun lobby:
1. Wanted people on the terrorist watch list to be legally able to acquire guns. In as much as it makes sense to have a secret “terrorism watch list,” one would think a primary reason would be to prevent people who might commit terrorism from accessing the weapons that one uses to do so. Yet people on the watch list are still allowed to by guns: in 2010 alone, at least 247 people suspected of involvement with terrorism bought guns legally. While 71 percent of NRA members support closing the so-called “terror gap,” the NRA claims efforts to close the loophole are plots by “politicians who hate the Second Amendment.”
2. Opposed required background checks on every gun sale. Forty percent of all gun sales legally take place without background checks on the purchaser, because federal law doesn’t require them for so-called “private” gun sales at places like gun shows. Eighty percent of gun crimes involve guns purchased in this fashion. NRA members recognize how dangerous this law is; 69 percent of them support a “proposal requiring all gun sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks of the people buying guns.” Yet the NRA opposes any effort to close this loophole, calling it “a stepping stone for gun control advocates seeking to ban all private sales, even among family and friends.”
3. Lobbied to allow warlords to get arms on the international market. The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty is a small step towards the regulation of the massive international weapons trade, aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of murderous insurgents and terrorists. It contains zero restrictions on domestic gun markets. Yet the NRA has vigorously opposed the ATT, calling it an “attack on our Second Amendment freedoms” by “global gun grabbers.”
4. Wanted to prevent the public from accessing information about where guns come from. Though there’s a federal database that traces sales of guns used in crimes, you’ll never know what’s in there. That’s because NRA has helped muscle through the so-called “Tiahrt Amendments” (named after sponsor, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt [R-KS]) to the federal gun code, which prevent the public, journalists, academic researchers, some police officers, and people suing the gun industry from accessing crucially valuable data. The Tiahrt Amendments were passed over the objection of federal and local law enforcement.
5. Pushed to keep guns in bars. Guns and drunk people don’t mix well. Yet when the Tennessee legislature was considering banning guns in establishments that make most of their money from booze, an NRA lobbyist was given a rare opportunity to address the state GOP caucus opposing the bill.It died.
6) Supported forcing all business owners to allow guns on their property. Many business owners are understandably nervous about permitting people to bring loaded guns to work. Yet the NRA has pushed legislation in a number of statesthat would force businesses to allow employees to bring guns to work provided they leave them in their cars.
Shooting Survivor Speaks Out
One of the most galling tactics used by the gun lobby is the “drag the crime victim before cameras to wish they’d had a gun” scenario. The San Francisco Chronicle published a most powerful rebuttal written by Ventura County business manager and shooting survivor Timothy J. Hayne, who saw his best friend and girl friend gunned down.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the right to bear arms is protected by the Constitution, but what type of weapon and where and how it can (and can’t) be used and owned can be regulated. Where do we start? We get the assault weapon ban that sunsetted during the Bush era reinstated. We stop permitting the sale of extended magazines that permit these monsters to fire hundreds of rounds of death just as fast as they can pull a trigger. We unify background checks throughout the nation, and we close the gun-show loophole that permits unlicensed sellers to peddle their wares without so much as showing a driver’s license in some states. All of these are just common sense. None of these laws impedes the right of a safe and legal gun owner.
The NRA and the gun lobby are at the core of most of this bloodshed. Not the rank and file. I’ve spoken to many, many NRA members who share my views on safe and sensible gun laws. It’s the gun lobby hierarchy that crafts and distorts the message and conversation to make it all about America, the Constitution and whatever other drivel they can make up to keep their coffers and political influence fat and their paranoid and fear-driven propaganda flying. They are insidiously evil entities that make the tobacco lobby look like the Make-A-Wish campaign by contrast.
Their leadership has the blood of children on its hands today. Politicians who take gun-lobby money and are afraid to utter a word against them or have the courage to step up and make change: Your hands are even redder than theirs.
Nuts and More Nuts
The loonies at Westboro Baptist Church are planning a “God Sent the Shooter” protest at the funerals of the dead kids from Sandy HookElementary School. They’ll do so with a little less secrecy than they’ve had in the past though, as the hacker hive known as Anonymous released a huge pile of personal data over the weekend, purported to be the individual names, email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of every adult member of the infamous Kansas congregation. Their “GodHatesFags” website was taken offline Monday by a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack ostensibly launched by Anonymous.
Deadspin.com wrote up a story about all the Tweeting football fans enraged by the President’s speech on the shootings Sunday evening. Not that they’re racist or anything, but they all found room in their 140 character messages to use the “N” word. A football player on the University of Northern Alabama squad was reportedly been kicked off the team after his racist tweet made the press.
Investors Wash Their Hands
The Private Equity firm that owns the manufacturer of the Bushmaster Rifles announced this morning they were getting out of the gun business. Cerberus Capital Management, one of the world’s largest investment funds and a dominant player in the American gun industry cited the horror of the shooting — not the commercial risk or negative attention — as the decisive factor in its decision.
On This Day: 1865 – Slavery was abolished in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution being ratified. 1892 – Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite” publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia. 1944 – The Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also stated that undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Coronado (1st St. & B Ave., Ferry Landing) 2:30 – 6 pm, Escondido (Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia St.) 2:30 – 6:00 pm , Mira Mesa (Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd.) 3–7 pm, Morena District (1240 West Morena Blvd.) 3 – 7 pm, Otay Ranch – Chula Vista (2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd.) 4 –8 pm, Pacific Beach (Bayard & Garnet) 2 – 6:30pm, UCSD/La Jolla (UCSD Campus, Town Square at Gilman/Meyers) 10 am – 2 pm (Sept. 25 through mid-June; closed for winter, spring and summer breaks)
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas toDougPorter@