Street artist droplifts 'back-to-school' bulletproof vests

Plastic Jesus, the Los Angeles-based street artist behind the "Future Internment Camp" signs and other cool stunts, is back with a new piece. For his latest work, he's droplifted specially-tagged bulletproof vests in the kids' back-to-school section of three Target stores and one Macy’s in Los Angeles.

He writes:

“Back to school” get everything you need for the new year. Including ‘Bullet Proof Kids™️- Level 3A bullet proof vests. By Plastic Jesus industries . This one at Target . Los Angeles. “Show your child how much you care... Don’t let your child be the next victim... money back guarantee... endorsed by the NRA” Coming to a store near you.

And in Newsweek, he's quoted as saying:

“Good visual communication has to engage people, not switch them off or horrify them. This might be a potential reality. We might be sending our kids to school like this...

We’re finding so many excuses to validate these shooters. Things like video games or bad families are being used to excuse their actions. Seeing shootings so normalized is abhorrent."

“We’re finding so many excuses to validate these shooters. Things like video games or bad families are being used to excuse their actions. Seeing shootings so normalized is abhorrent.”

photos by Plastic Jesus Read the rest

Powerful new PSA reminds owners to secure their guns from children

Eight American kids are killed or injured daily by unsecured guns in their homes. The Ad Council, creators of Smokey Bear and other iconic PSAs, launched the End Family Fire campaign to raise awareness. Read the rest

Surveillance camera shows off-duty NYPD cop dropping a weapon near man he shot in the face

After NYPD Sgt. Richard Blake shot Thavone Santana in the face during a confrontation, we were told a terrifying story of being threatened and mugged early Thursday on the mean streets of Brooklyn. Unfortunately for Blake, a nearby video camera captured him drawing his gun, shooting someone who was trying to move away from him, then dropping a knife near his unconscious body.

Blake paces back and forth, then appears to pat down Santana’s pockets. He then appears to take a sheathed knife from his own back pocket, the New York Times reported, slides it from its sheath and drops it next to Santana’s crumpled body. He then pauses for a moment and retrieves the knife, the video shows.

The New York Police Department said Thursday that Santana was in stable condition.

“The video captures actions that raise serious questions and require further investigation,” Detective Sophia Mason, a department spokeswoman, told The Washington Post in a statement. Blake was placed on administrative duty, the department said. The Times reported that he was stripped of his badge and service weapon.

Santana is in intensive care. Locals say the men were in an ongoing dispute over a woman. Blake, the New York Daily News reports, was recently suspended from the force after "punching his girlfriend in the face." What a charmer. Read the rest

Toronto's aural panic: why we need digital rights now

Last week, my city became a garbage fire. Within 48 hours of a mass shooting on Toronto's Danforth Avenue, City Council had passed a motion to purchase the American acoustic surveillance system ShotSpotter, making Toronto the first Canadian municipality to adopt the technology. As Americans already know, the system is designed to monitor "at risk" (read: poor and black) neighbourhoods for potential gunshots, which it geolocates and pushes to local law enforcement personnel for a substantial fee. Of course, ShotSpotter would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy on the Danforth and there are real questions about its effectiveness as a gunshot detection system, but why let facts get in the way of a rash political decision?

Time For America To Freak Out About 3-D Guns Again

None of the mass shootings in America have been committed by shooters using 3-D Guns, but that's not stopping Donald Trump and a bunch of NRA-backed lawmakers from freaking out about the threat DIY weapons pose, before doing anything about how readily available regular old guns are to regular old bad guys. Read the rest

Florida youth voter registration up 41% since Parkland shooting

The only thing worse than a horrific tragedy is a horrific tragedy from which nothing decent is salvaged. Florida's youth voter registration is up 41% since the Parkland shooting and the ensuing Republican Party indifference to mass-murder and open contempt for young gun-control advocates. Florida is the nation's largest swing state. 2018 is an election year. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Maria Butina, NRA-linked Russian, pleads not guilty to being Kremlin foreign agent

This is the story that may unravel the presidency of Donald Trump. Read the rest

More Sacha Baron Cohen funnies: getting wingnuts to endorse "kinder-guardians" program to arm 3-year-olds

Sacha "Ali G/Borat" Baron Cohen has a new prank show called "Who Is America?" in the offing in which he punks political figures into endorsing bizarre, extreme political positions (think of it as a 21st century "Brass Eye"). Read the rest

3D printed guns just cleared a major legal hurdle

Last week, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson won a major ruling in his quest to distribute gun-printing software. The video above from February outlines the background of the case. Read the rest

Man brandishes gun at immigration rally

Shane Ryan Sealy, 34, was charged with menacing and reckless endangerment Saturday after pulling a gun on protestors gathered in a Huntsville, Alabama park to support immigrants. He shouted "Womp womp" and sang "Ice Ice Baby" to little attention before pulling out the gun. He was then chased off by those he sought to intimidate, according to reports.

Gun, gun, gun, gun!” someone shouted in video published by WAFF 48 — just as Holder-Joffrion was praying for the nation’s strength.

Panicked shouts drowned her out, and the camera turned from the priest to Sealy, about 15 feet from the gazebo, brandishing what appeared to be a pistol at the crowd.

Most people dropped. “I got down on my face on the other side of the gazebo right here and just cried, I was so in shock,” rally organizer Ava Caldwell told WBTV.

Raw Story reported finding a Facebook profile by his name "full of extremist conservative propaganda," but it's been deleted. The Huntsville Police Department would like to remind "the public" that you cannot bring firearms within 1000 ft. of a protest.

Clearer video at Facebook: Read the rest

Robert Longo's new sculpture is a Death Star of 40,000 bullet casings

Artist Robert Longo has created Death Star II, a stunning sphere made with a bullet for each gun death in the US. It premiered at Art Basel this week (photos below). Read the rest

Congresswoman Diane Black [R-TN] blames school shootings on "pornography"

"[Pornography is] available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store. Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there. All of this is available without parental guidance. I think that is a big part of the root cause." -Congresswoman Diane Black [R-TN] Read the rest

US public schools are still theoretically safer than combat-zones

Politifact ran the math on Gwen Graham's Washington Post story comparing numbers of 2018 US school shooting deaths vs 2018 US armed service combat deaths to-date. Schools have seen more deaths than combat this year. Politifact, however, reminds us that combat-zones should be be more dangerous than public school.

Combat zones should be more dangerous, but are not. How incredibly we are failing.

Poltifact:

Graham wrote, "So far this year, more students have been killed in schools than soldiers in combat zones."

On the numbers, she is right. This year at least, within Graham’s stated parameters, exactly twice as many students have died in school shootings than military personnel have died in combat zones.

It is important to know, however, the likelihood of being killed in a combat zone is still vastly higher than it is in a school.

The statement is accurate but needs additional information. That meets our definition of Mostly True.

Earlier this month my daughter, aged 11, spent an afternoon sheltering-in-place at her school. There was an unrelated-to-school incident of domestic violence a block or two away. The sound of shots appropriately sent the school into 'save the kids' mode. My daughter huddled in a corner for 3.5 hours. This is not the school experience our kids should have: wondering when it will be their turn to die. Read the rest

NRA president Ollie North partially blames school shootings on Ritalin

On Fox News Sunday, the National Rifle Association's incoming president Oliver North partially blamed the increase in school shootings on the ADHD medication Ritalin:

"The problem that we've got is, we're trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease, and the disease in this case isn't the Second Amendment; the disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence. They've been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male, and they're young teenagers in most cases, and they've come through a culture where violence is commonplace. Many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten. Now, I am certainly not a doctor, I'm a Marine, but I can see those kinds of things happening."

Over at CNN, psychology professor George DuPaul of Lehigh University counters North's bullshit:

"No, there is no evidence of that. In fact, if anything, there's stronger evidence that Ritalin and other medications that are used to treat ADHD would reduce violence and aggressive behavior."

(CNN) Read the rest

Off-duty officer holds man at gunpoint over $1 package of mints

An off-duty Buena Park, California Police officer decided that a $1 pack of candy was worth risking human life. Mistakenly believing Jose Arreola was shoplifting a package of Mentos he had just purchased, the cop went into thug mode. After repeatedly being told Arreola had paid for the candies, by both the victim and the store's cashier, the officer offers an apology.

What are the guidelines for when an officer is supposed to draw a firearm? Was anyone in any danger here? Did he need a gun to stop a suspected candy thief? I would hope officer education programs explain that considering consequences like "One of us dies, or that candy gets stole" might be part of the rubric?

Buena Park PD Chief of Police Corey S. Sianez offered this statement via Facebook: "I want you to know that after I watched the video I found it to be disturbing, as I’m sure it was to you. However, because there is an ongoing personnel investigation and potential litigation pending against the city, I am unable to discuss the details of our investigation."

Video via the Orange County Register Read the rest

Newspaper runs gun show ad on front page below Parkland massacre story

Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Sun Sentinel daily newspaper published an ad for a gun show on the front page just below stories about a benefit for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and another article about the guilty plea of the man who killed 5 people last year at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport. After Stoneman Douglas families and others responded with WTF, the paper apologized and then later announced a moratorium on gun ads. From the Miami New Times:

"It's a mess. It's horrible," says Julie Anderson, the Sun Sentinel's editor in chief. "We're taking every step possible to make sure our editorial staff always see ads before publication so something like this doesn't slip through."

In her statement, publisher Nancy Meyer said, "We deeply regret placement of a gun advertisement on our front page Wednesday morning. It has been against our policy to run gun and other types of controversial advertising on our front page."

(Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)

Read the rest

How to destroy an AR-15

Dick's Sporting Goods has decided to destroy its stock of AR-15 rifles. If you'd like to do the same, I suggest you refer the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)'s official guide to destroying "machineguns" that would surely be effective to render AR-15 rifles completely useless. The key tool is "a cutting torch having a tip of sufficient size to displace at least ¼ inch of material at each location."

• Each cut must completely sever the receiver in the area indicated by the diagonal lines.

• The receiver must be completely severed in each area indicated with a diagonal torch cut.

• Cutting by means of a band saw or cut-off wheel does not ensure destruction.

"Machinegun Destruction" (via Rolling Stone) Read the rest

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