Gun Violence Isn't a Problem — it's actually 5 Problems, with Different Solutions

I’ve written extensively on gun violence, spoken on international TV and radio on the subject, and even pursued a gun license in the strictest city of one of the strictest states in the country. Despite my first-hand experience, the most ardent defenders of the Second Amendment — like those who marched on Richmond, Virginia this weekend to protest "Jim Crow" gun laws — will still tell me things like, “We don’t need more laws! We need to enforce the laws on the books!” or “We can’t stop every shooting because that’s just the price of freedom.” Those same #2A Avengers will of course acknowledge that yeah, okay, maybe NICS has some problems, or maybe those Parkland cops should have done something earlier, and then swiftly retreat back into the same tribalistic mindsets that always prevent human progress.

So I wrote this essay, hoping to have a rational conversation. It was originally published on Medium in 2018, but it remains frustratingly relevant, so I'm posting it here.

Naming something gives you power over it.

That’s the basic idea behind all the magic in every folktale dating back for centuries, from “Rumpelstiltskin” to the Rolling Stones’ “Hope you guessed my name.” Ancient shamans didn’t practice “magic”; they just had knowledge, and names for things like “eye of newt” that no one else could understand. To name something is to know it, and knowledge is power.Think about the relationship between “spelling” and “spells” and you won’t be so surprised that Harry Potter has been all over the gun violence conversations lately, on both the Left and the Right—which makes sense, considering that they have a word you memorize and practice reciting in order to kill people. Read the rest

Teacher trained in use of guns accidentally fires weapon, injures a student

A teacher who has received gun training as a reserve police officer accidentally shot his gun on Tuesday at a California high school. A boy was “struck in the neck by ‘debris or fragmentation’ from something overhead,” said Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen.

From The Washington Post:

Pridgen said whatever hit the student was not a bullet.

However, the student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW 8 that it was his understanding that fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged in the boy’s neck. The father said the teacher told the class before pointing the gun at the ceiling that he was doing so to make sure his gun wasn’t loaded, something that can be determined visually.

“It’s the craziest thing,” Gonzales told the station. “It could have been very bad.”

Gonzales said he learned about the incident when his 17-year-old son came home with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments in his neck.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

"Good guys" with guns cause panic, delay investigation into Walmart shooting

Shoppers drawing their firearms to help stop a more aggressive 2nd amendment rights enthusiast did not. Shoppers report panic, while the local police suggest the investigation was slowed up to 5hrs.

If one draws a weapon, they become a suspect and create more work for the boys in blue.

Via the Denver Post:

When a gunman opened fire inside a Walmart in Thornton Wednesday night, shoppers screamed and ran for cover — and others pulled out their own handguns.

But those who drew weapons during the shootings ultimately delayed the investigation as authorities pored over surveillance videotape trying to identify the assailant who killed three people, police said Thursday.

Although authorities said “a few” individuals drew handguns, they posed no physical hazard to officers. But their presence “absolutely” slowed the process of determining who, and how many, suspects were involved in the shootings, said Thornton police spokesman Victor Avila.

Read the rest