By Doug Porter
The national conversation over gun regulations continues to dominate the news cycle. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings yesterday saw astronaut Mark Kelly directly confronting the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre over the shooting of his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Giffords (D-Ariz.) was the first witness called yesterday, and at the end of the day it was her seventy two word statement that still echoed in the halls of Congress:
Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important.
Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying – too many children. We must do something.
It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be Courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.
Witnesses for the other side included the NRA Executive Vice President Wayne La Pierre and Gayle Trotter, an attorney representing the Independent Women’s Forum(IWF) a group originally organized to support Justice Clarence Thomas in the face of allegations that he sexually harassed Anita Hill.
Trotter provided the most forceful testimony for the guns right set, advocating against legislation banning assault weapons on the grounds that “guns make women safer” if they are defending themselves against home invaders. Here’s the testimony and analysis from Slate:
IWF’s Gayle Trotter testified at today’s Senate hearing on gun safety, and unsurprisingly claimed that guns make women safer. She apparently seems to believe most violence against women resembles Buffy the Vampire Slayer facing down a gang of vampires:
“Guns make women safer,” Trotter argued, because they eliminate the advantage violent criminals might have in size and strength. “Using a firearm with a magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, a woman would have a fighting chance even against multiple attackers.”
The fact of the matter is that more guns put women in danger. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center has found that states with more guns have more female violent deaths. Their research also found that batterers who owned guns liked to use them to scare and control their victims, and would often use the gun to threaten the victim, threaten her pets or loved ones, clean them menacingly during arguments, or even fire them to scare her. The Violence Policy Center‘s research showed that in 1998, the year they studied, 83 women were killed by an intimate partner for every woman who used a gun in self-defense. Futures Without Violence compiled the statistics and found that guns generally make domestic violence worse, both by increasing the likelihood of murder and also by creating situations where abuse is more violent, controlling, and traumatic.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre schooled the Senate Judiciary Committee members on the purpose of the 2nd Amendment yesterday:
I think without any doubt, if you look at why our Founding Fathers put it [the Second Amendment] there, they had lived under the tyranny of King George and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny. I also think, though, that what people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by their government. If a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs, that they’re gonna be out there alone. And the only way they’re going to protect themselves in the cold and the dark, when they’re vulnerable, is with a firearm. And I think that indicates how relevant and essential the Second Amendment is in today’s society to fundamental human survival.
Baltimore Maryland Police Chief James Johnson responded:
I find it to be creepy, scary, and simply just not based on logic. Certainly law enforcement across this nation is well prepared to deal with any natural or man made disaster that’ll occur. And frankly, I can’t relate to that kind of thinking.
But, then again, this whole thing never was about logic. Or facts.
Ten Gun Control Myths
Sometimes it seems like it’s a waste of my time arguing when the pro-gun people treat any proposal dealing with gun violence (except putting more guns on the street) as if it’s an all out assault on their ‘freedoms’. And they do this by continually repeating ‘facts’ that aren’t relevant or even true.
So when Mother Jones published this fact check yesterday, I knew that it should be shared. Let us not let a small minority derail this needed conversation. The article debunks the top ten myths used by guns rights advocates. I’ve included #1 with details, along with the handy-dandy chart created by Mother Jones. You’ll have to follow the link to read the rest, because these guys are doing a great job and deserve all the eyeballs they can get:
Myth #1: They’re coming for your guns.
Fact-check: No one knows the exact number of guns in America, but it’s clear there’s no practical way to round them all up (never mind that no one in Washington is proposing this). Yet if you fantasize about rifle-toting citizens facing down the government, you’ll rest easy knowing that America‘s roughly 80 million gun owners already have the feds and cops outgunned by a factor of around 79 to 1.
Here are the other nine myths. (Go read the article to get the facts that dispute them)
Myth #2: Guns don’t kill people—people kill people.
Myth #3: An armed society is a polite society.
Myth #4: More good guys with guns can stop rampaging bad guys.
Myth #5: Keeping a gun at home makes you safer.
Myth #6: Carrying a gun for self-defense makes you safer.
Myth #7: Guns make women safer.
Myth #8: “Vicious, violent video games” deserve more blame than guns.
Myth #9: More and more Americans are becoming gun owners.
Myth #10: We don’t need more gun laws—we just need to enforce the ones we have.
The bottom line here, as Greg Sargent at the Washington Post put it: “It’s the NRA, the gun industry, and leading GOP (and a few red state Dem) officials on one side, and the nation’s law enforcement officials and the vast majority of the American public, Republicans, NRA households and gun owners included, on the other.”
Sandy Hook Kids to Sing America the Beautiful at the SuperBowl
The National Football League announced yesterday that twenty-six kids from Sandy Hook Elementary Choir will sing America the Beautiful at the Superbowl on Sunday. The number 26 represents the number of children and adults who were gunned down in Sandy Hook in December. Apparently an anonymous donor is paying their expenses.
Since the Gun Nuts on the right have already seen fit to harass and heckle Sandy Hook residents and parents, it’s unlikely they’ll pass up an opportunity to make sure the children know the Second Amendment is the only amendment that counts. I’ll report on these asshats Monday.
Here are members of the Sandy Hook Elementary Choir singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with Ingrid Michaelson:
District 4 Council Race in Place, But That’s About All We Know
Following the resignation of City Council member Tony Young, nine candidates have qualified for the special election to fill his seat, set for the last Tuesday in March. Nomination papers with 100 signatures from voters registered in District 4 had to be submitted to the City Clerk’s office by last Friday.
Yesterday morning, following a random drawing at the City Clerks’ office, the ballot order was announced, so the candidates (in the order they will appear to voters) are: Blanca Lopez Brown (teacher), Bruce Williams (City Hall aide), Myrtle Cole (senior care advocate), Dwayne Crenshaw (LGBT Pride Executive Director), Tony Villafranca (businessman), Brian “Barry” Pollard (businessman), Ray Smith (pastor), Sandy Spackman (educator), and Monica Montgomery (attorney).
Should no candidate garner more than 50 percent of the vote in the special election, which will probably be the case given the large number of candidates, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff within 49 days.
Here’s the non-report from the candidate forum last night at the Jacobs Center, sponsored by the Voice and Viewpoint newspaper (via Twitter):
So i just got tossed out of District 4 debate because media wasn’t allowed. And it was hosted by Voice and Viewpoint.
— Craig Gustafson (@gustafsoncraig) January 31, 2013
Candidate Dwayne Crenshaw apparently thought that media exclusion was cool (Or didn’t realize the media was pissed), responding to the reporter’s tweet:
And then this:
— Dwayne Crenshaw (@Dwayne_Crenshaw) January 31, 2013
The Occupation isn’t Over; Protestors Sue City
Soon-to-be-departed reporter Dave Maass over at SD City Beat has a story posted about lawsuits resulting from police actions targeting the Occupy San Diego encampment at the San Diego Civic Center back in October, 2011. Fifty one activists were arrested in an early morning roundup; police used plenty of muscle and pepper spray to herd protestors onto buses, where they sat. And sat. With no access for hours on end to lawyers, water or even bathrooms.
As formal review of police actions was undertaken, but the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department refused to release the resulting report. From City Beat:
Now, six of the women arrested during the Occupy protests are suing the law enforcement agencies over a range of alleged civil-rights abuses. The women are represented by members of the San Diego chapter of the National Lawyers Guild—including Julia Yoo, Gerald Singleton and Marjorie Cohn— with the assistance of four Thomas Jefferson School of Law interns.
“Number one, they didn’t have the legal right to arrest them; number two, they used grossly excessive force in doing it,” Singleton, their attorney, says. “Whether it was to teach them a lesson or because they don’t like their political views, I don’t know. It’s really inexcusable. To use the kind of force against these two women, it just doesn’t have a place in civilized society.”
Four women who were arrested when the plaza was raided on Oct. 28 are suing in federal district court over the experiences on the sheriff’s buses and in detention. Yoo, their attorney, expects to add more defendants to the case as it progresses.
San Onofre Hearing Set: Are We Going to Continue to Pay?
The California Public Utilities Commission has announced it will hold the first of a series of public hearings to determine whether customers should be paying for operating costs of the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
The meetings will be held Feb. 21 at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave. Meetings will be held at 2 and 6 p.m.San Diego meetings are also expected, but the date and location have not been determined.
According to the CPUC, no official action will be taken at the meetings. Written comments can be submitted to the CPUC Public Advisor’s Office, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On This Day: 1865 – The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. It was ratified by the necessary number of states on December 6, 1865. The amendment abolished slavery in the United States. 1940 – The first Social Security check was issued by the U.S. Government. 1970 – In New Orleans, the Greatful Dead were busted for possession of LSD and barbituates. The event was alleged to be the inspiration for the song “Truckin.”
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmer’s Markets: Carmel Valley (Canyon Crest Academy 5951 Village Center Loop Road) 3:30 – 7:00 pm, Chula Vista(Downtown, Center St. & Third Ave.) 3 –7 pm, Linda Vista (6900 Linda Vista Road Between Comstock & Ulric) 2 – 7 pm, North Park (CVSPharmacy parking lot 3151 University & 32nd St.) 3 – 7 pm, Oceanside Market & Faire (Pier View Way & Coast Hwy. 101) 9 am – 1 pm,Oceanside Sunset (Tremont & Pier View Way) 5 –9 pm, San Carlos (Pershing Middle School 8204 San Carlos Drive) 4 – 7 pm, SDSU Farmers’ Market (Campanile Walkway btw Hepner Hall & Love Library) 10 – 3 pm, University Town Center (Genesee Ave. at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza) 3 – 7 pm.
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 to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.