Washingtonpost.com:

When a gunman opened fire on Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church Wednesday, spraying bullets into a group of worshippers gathered for a mid-week prayer meeting, it was as though history repeated itself.

This historic congregation, the oldest of its kind in the South, had already seen more than its fair share of tumult and hate. It was founded by worshippers fleeing racism and burned to the ground for its connection with a thwarted slave revolt. For years its meetings were conducted in secret to evade laws that banned all-black services. It was jolted by an earthquake in 1886. Civil rights luminaries spoke from its pulpit and led marches from its steps. For nearly two hundred years it had been the site of struggle, resistance and change.

On Wednesday, the church was a crime scene — the street outside aglow with the flashing red lights of police cars and echoing with the screech of sirens. Nine people had been killed there, reportedly including the church’s pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, though police had not confirmed his death.

Rev. Pinckney has been confirmed as dead. What would possess a person to commit such a horrible act? he people were worshipping. What makes this a hate crime? Was it because it was in a church? Was it racially motivated? Was there past history with one of the victims?

This case seems very dreadful and very scary.

104 thoughts on “Hate crime at historic black church in Charleston–9 dead

  1. Steve Thomas

    @punchak
    That would depend on the can. Those little tomato-paste cans aren’t nearly as deadly as those big honkin’ #10 cans of Hannover beans and potatos. Those #10s should be classified as “assault cans” and banned from private ownership. They scare me. Only the military and government institutions need cans with that kind of capacity. To quote NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, “You don’t need a number 10 can to serve dinner”.

  2. Scout

    If as many innocent people were being murdered en masse by loonies wielding automobiles, knives, or canned peas as happens with guns, I could give the arguments advanced here about “object equivalence” a little more respect. I think, however, we can’t pretend not to notice that modern firearms have characteristics that lend themselves to killing and grievously wounding large numbers of people in very short periods of time. This isn’t just a potential problem. We see it happening over and over and over. So I return to my question, why do we tolerate this in our country. And don’t tell me about canned peas.

    1. I believe that is the evolution of the gun. More killed in less time. From a military point of view, this is a good plan if the objective of war is to take land, kill people trying to stop you, etc etc. For a non-military pan, how much is too much? I think that might be where the discussion starts.

      The Charleston Massacre was sort of up close ad personal, making it all that much more repugnant. I don’t think any gun laws in the world would have stopped it.

      Aurora? Not so much.

  3. Lyssa

    I don’t think removing all guns will solve the problem. Why I find deeply deeply disturbing is the fierce unwillingness of gun advocates and the NRA to even open dialogue. As someone said if it wasn’t possible after Sandy Hook sadly it never will be. I’ll never understand that – even after reading all the arguments. And my faith in humanity dies a little more….

  4. Scout

    You can’t remove the guns, and, for better or worse, we have recent interpretation of the Constitution that affirms that the right to bear arms, whether my cavalry sword that I always wear, or Steve Thomas’s pistol, is a personal right. My point is why do we not have rigorous regulation in the form of background checks and competence training requirements to screen out the Charleston, Blacksburg, North Carolina, Connecticut-type crazies? It is simply unacceptable. We are absolutely awash in guns, but seem extraordinarily unwilling to be assertive about who gets access and how we regulate this, despite clear statistical evidence that they are being used to kill more Americans by many multiples than the jihadists that we spend billions to control.

    Steve’s early comment seems to imply that we just have to accept this as a logical consequence of living in a free society. However, there are many extremely free countries in the Western World that have strict requirements for gun issuance that in no way compromise the freedom of their citizens.

    1. We really need to start some weeding out as a society. I simply don’t believe Everyone has a right to bear arms. Kids don’t. Felons don’t. Some crazies don’t. Let’s start having a real conversation about it.

      That’s my big problem with the NRA. They don’t acknowledge that there is a problem even. Just catchy slogans.

  5. Steve Thomas

    Lyssa :
    I don’t think removing all guns will solve the problem. Why I find deeply deeply disturbing is the fierce unwillingness of gun advocates and the NRA to even open dialogue. As someone said if it wasn’t possible after Sandy Hook sadly it never will be. I’ll never understand that – even after reading all the arguments. And my faith in humanity dies a little more….

    It is because we’ve seen what has happened when “reasonable” gun control was applied in the UK, Australia, and other places, as an emotional response to the actions of a deranged person. It is because we know that when someone says “I respect the Second Amendment, BUT….” what they really mean is “shotguns are ok for hunting and clay shooting, and these are the legitimate uses for firearms”.

    The “Right to keep (possess) and bear (carry and use) arms (weapons on par with those possessed by the state) shall not be infringed. It ain’t about duck hunting or skeet shooting. It’s about a person’s natural right to defend life, liberty, and property from those who would attempt to take these natural rights away.

    And it is because we “2nd Amendment types” understand that evil exists and bad people do bad things. Evil cannot be restrained by disarming the good, as we have seen in other countries where this has been tried, and worse, in those places where it has been tried here, in the USA.

    1. Somehow, the “2nd Amendment types” have to do a better job ensuring that only “the good” have weapons. They have to become part of the national conversation because 30,000 gun deaths a year is just too many. Too many innocent people are being killed senselessly.

      I believe that this unlimited (for the most part) access to guns is also an emotional response. We have to do better as a society. We have abrogated our responsibilitities on many levels.

      Having said all that–I can’t think of one law that would have prevented the Charleston massacre.

  6. Steve Thomas

    @Scout
    Scout,

    Here what having to seek “approval” to exercise the “keep” portion of a constitutional right gets you: http://freebeacon.com/issues/new-jersey-woman-stabbed-to-death-by-ex-while-waiting-for-gun-permit/

    I would argue that any permitting scheme is an infringement, whether to “keep” or “bear” arms. I do support background checks, if for the same reason one must prove they are legally able to purchase alcohol or tobacco. A felon, the adjudged mental deficient, or someone underage has surrendered or not yet achieved their societal franchise. Anything else beyond this is indeed an infringement of that which shall not be infringed.

    1. The bottom line is, its all a matter of interpretation, like all other “rights” that have moved through Constitutional time.

      Obviously, people are quite willing to infringe upon the rights of others, even if they have paid their debt to society, have been involuntarily hospitalized for mental illness or are under age. I am sure here must be other restrictions. I don’t have answers but I do know there needs to be meaningful discussions not just sloagans.

  7. Steve Thomas

    What has struck me about this case is how the victim’s families, the church, and the Charleston community has reacted. Statements of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and the love of Christ, made by the victims toward the shooter. Messages of unity to confront the sick, racist motivations of a disturbed young man.
    These outward expressions of what must be a deep, abiding love of Christ, and a faith that doesn’t crumble when shaken..these are what strike me, a professing Christian. I read the statements. My pastor read them from the pulpit. I am sure that many practicing Christians are asking themselves, as I am, “is my faith this strong, that I could not only forgive this killer, but pray for his salvation as well?”.

    1. Perhaps reliance on personal faith is the only thing that even begins to help make sense out of their senseless loss.

      I doubt if I would be feeling that charitable. Forgiveness is not my long suit.

  8. Lyssa

    @Steve – After the murder of 20 babies, nothing will ever justify the unwillingness of so many to be so unwilling to talk because of a few extremists. All I and many hear is continued anger, defensiveness, rationalization and then stony silence. And I just heard it again.

    Also, forgiveness and salvation are not the same thing. Not even close.

  9. Steve Thomas

    @Lyssa
    Lyssa…”20 babies”? What a strange turn of phrase, and an ironic one. A deranged abortion doctor is prosecuted for running a slaughterhouse, and those who oppose abortion are told “don’t use the actions of this sick bastard to justify restricting a woman’s right to choose”. “Don’t you dare blame Planned Parenthood for this…they represent ethical doctors, provide education, and defend a constitutional right.” 70 million babies since 1973. 70 MILLION.

    The difference I see is the SCOTUS didn’t have to dig too deep to find the words “Arms” “Keep”, “Bear” in the same sentence as “shall not be infringed”, but had to dig deep and twis.t the.m.selves into verbal pretzels to find a constitutional right to abortion. And yet the right exists…at least according to the SCOTUS.

    What part of “Shall not be infringed” don’t understand?

    1. I believe Lyssa was speaking of the 5 and 6 year olds who were slaughtered in cold blood in Sandy Hook. Not strange at all.

      Speak to me about abortion related issues, not Lyssa. She wasn’t talking about abortion at all and I happen to know for a fact she isn’t an abortion supporter.

      Why would you go off on a rant about abortion? Is that to take the focus off of how many people are killed annually in gun shot incidents?

      By the way, I don’t think the doctor in Philadelphia was deranged. I think he was greedy and a criminal, trying to make a buck off of women who were desperate.

      Why would anyone be stupid enough to blame Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider over one greedy bastard? No one is blaming gun owners for this SC tragedy. They are asking for a dialogue and some solutions to what is becoming a huge problem. We have mass shootings almost daily now.

      Degrees seems to be the part we are missing here. Why not just give everyone a weapon, including IEDs. No right is without restrictions, regardless of how much we want it o be so.

  10. Lyssa

    I think you just made a horrible leap and ASSumed I support abortion because I have concerns about NRA and guns. I’m pro life – always have been. If that’s truly what you just did you need to step back and re-think your thought process.

  11. blue

    Wait, Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider now– so taxpayer funding is a legitimate issue now too right? I am so confused. And if its about the degrees of a right – then the right to bear IEDs is the same as the right to abort in the 2nd and 3rd tri-mester? Help!

    1. Yes, you are confused. To all, take the abortion issue to the open thread, please. Let’s not try to mix up the topics. One has nothing to do with the other.

  12. Cargosquid

    @Moon-howler
    “No one is blaming gun owners for this SC tragedy.”

    You apparently missed the President’s attempt to push gun control again.
    I’ve seen nothing else since it happened. If you are a gun owner, conservative, white, or Republican, or any combination thereof, you are considered to be at fault for this attack.
    The internet is full of attacks on anyone that supports the 2nd amendment or is to the right of Sharpton.

    1. Repeat: no one is blaming gun owners for the incident. That is different from saying there should be some controls in place so certain people don’t have access to guns.

      I think what you are saying is paranoid. It shouldn’t come as a shock to hear that most Americans think that guns are too easily accessible in this country. Surely that isn’t a news flash.

  13. Lyssa

    ..and again.

  14. blue

    @Moon-howler

    OK , what additional gun law would you have had in place that would have prevented the SC Church shooting?

    1. I have said several times that I cannot think of a single gun law that would have prevented that shooting.

      You seem to be spoiling for a fight. I was very clear from the beginning.

  15. Steve Thomas

    @Lyssa
    Lyssa,

    My apologies if I painted with too large a brush. My point is, whenever a sick, demented person commits a mass killing, and uses a firearm, the first cries are for “Gun Control”. When those of us who cherish our 2nd Amendment rights point out that either the individual was prohibited from owning a firearm, or gained the firearm through the commission of one or several crimes, we are painted as “uncaring” “unsympathetic”, “butchers” etc. The NRA is demonized, with little regard for who makes up the NRA. Decent, law-abiding, hardworking men and women who have joined an the largest (of MANY organizations) dedicated to protecting an expressed constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

    Adam Lanza was prohibited from owning a firearm, due to his age, and his pending civil commitment. He obtained the firearm through theft and murder (a capital offense). Next he carried the firearm into a k-12 school, also a felony, as firearms are prohibited in Connecticut schools. Then he discharged the firearm without good cause (a felony) and then committed multiple aggravated assaults and murders. How many laws were broken here? How will additional laws and regulations prevent this?

    I am all for increasing the penalties for those who are found to be illegally possessing a firearm, use firearms in the commission of other crimes, and for those found to be negligent in the use of firearms.

    We made drunk driving illegal (I remember when it wasn’t). We’ve lowered the threshold of impairment. We’ve implemented check-points. We’ve passed laws holding those who KNOWINGLY continue to serve inebriated patrons responsible, if that patron leaves the establishment, drives and kills someone. We’ve increased the penalties and fines. Yet, people still drink and drive, and drink driving kills more people than do spree killers. Do we call for bans on certain vehicles, as some have more “death potential” than others? Do we blame the AAA every time a drunk causes a fatal accident? No. We don’t…and driving isn’t a constitutional right.

    One thing I’ve noticed is every time this administration starts making noises about gun control, gun sales increase. Pew Polling has reported support for private ownership of firearms and opposition to new gun control are at historic highs. First-time gun-purchases are also at an all-time high, and women make up the largest portion of these first-timers. 11 states have passed Constitutional Carry laws, and 21 others have considered bills allowing for permitless carry, for the law-abiding. The total courts have struck down the last of the total bans, and the “May Issue” schemes are being picked apart as well.

    What does this mean? It means more people than ever are choosing to “Keep” and “Bear” arms, as they go about their lives, and this trend shows no signs of slowing. Those calling for gun control are in the minority, and are no longer mainstream. It is because people understand the false-premise upon which all proposed gun control rests, that criminals actually respect laws.

  16. Steve Thomas

    @Moon-howler
    Why would you go off on a rant about abortion? Is that to take the focus off of how many people are killed annually in gun shot incidents?

    I use it a a means of comparing constitutional rights, either expressed (in the case of the 2A) and implied (the due process clause of the 14th amendment), that people are willing to defend. Are there innocent victims of criminals using firearms? Yes. Are there criminals who shoot other criminals? Yes. Are there law-abiding citizens who use firearms to defend their lives, and the lives of others? Oh Yes. Not all “killed annually in gun shot incidents” were innocent. Many had it coming. If a criminal attempts to deprive someone of “Life, Liberty, and Property” and their intended victim happens to be armed, the criminal has forfeited their rights to the same…PROVIDED that the use of lethal force meets the legal criteria of “Ability. Opportunity, Jeprody”

    Here’s a great .gif that shows the pro-2A trend.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_carry#/media/File:Rtc.gif

    “By the way, I don’t think the doctor in Philadelphia was deranged. I think he was greedy and a criminal, trying to make a buck off of women who were desperate.”

    I think he was a sociopath, which is pretty much the same thing as what you said. I don’t hold him up as representative of those doctors who perform these procedures in accordance of the law, anymore than Roof or Lanza or any of the other deranged criminals who use guns to achieve their sick aims, represent the millions upon millions of law-abiding, responsible gun-owners.

    1. Yes, some did have it coming. I don’t disagree. However, there are degrees of ” having it coming.”

      Then there are a whole bunch who didn’t deserve to be maimed or die. Those are the people we need to have a dialogue about.

      I would make it tougher to be able to buy or receive a gun. I don’t think all rights are without limits. Yes, that also includes abortion.

    2. Sociopath–probably. He deserves prison.

      I don’t think the serial shooters are representative of average gun owner.

      I will say this about gun owners–I think some people are too immature, even as adults, to own guns. I have known far too many people that fit that description.

  17. Steve Thomas

    @Moon-howler

    “It shouldn’t come as a shock to hear that most Americans think that guns are too easily accessible in this country. Surely that isn’t a news flash.”

    Moon, the data does not support your assertion. On the contrary, more people believe it is more important to protect the rights of citizens to own firearms, than it is to limit ownership.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/01/09/a-public-opinion-trend-that-matters-priorities-for-gun-policy/

    1. Polarized questions rarely give a full indication of how people feel. It also depends on what heinous crimes have been committed what kind of answer you get. The term “gun control” in general projects an image of the government racing around from house to house with sacks, collecting guns from everyone. Most people don’t feel that way. Most people also don’t want any old psychotic having an arsenal.

      Here we go back to degrees. I think we can have restrictions for some folks without compromising the rights of law abiding citizens.

      I grew up with a copy of the NRA magazine as a permanent fixture in the bathroom. I grew up with guns in the house. I also wasn’t allowed to touch them. The NRA had more sense back in those days. It didn’t have spokesmen like Cat Scratch.

  18. Steve Thomas

    @Moon-howler
    “That’s my big problem with the NRA. They don’t acknowledge that there is a problem even. Just catchy slogans.”

    Do you know anything first-hand about the NRA, or just what the media feeds you? I’m a life member. I get the emails, the magazines, the dvds, and have even gone to a conference or two. I can say this: The NRA supports gun safety, and has programs to teach gun safety to all age groups, even kids. Can the Brady Campaign, Bloomberg, or “Mom’s Demand Action” make this claim? No. The NRA supports the National Instacheck System. The NRA supports limiting firearms possession to anyone who, with due process, has had their rights revoked. The NRA supports strict penalties for criminals illegally posessing firearms, or attempting to obtain them through criminal means.

    What they oppose are the meaningless, “feel-good” bans, capacity limitations, gun-free zones, or any of the other “sensible” schemes being put forth by the left…and it is the left.

  19. Steve Thomas

    Here is a repost of a link from above. It shows the other side of “sensible gun controls”. New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and severely limits not just “carry”, but ownership as well. This woman did everything the law required. Got a restraining order. Installed security cameras and got a service. Went through the arduous process to obtain “permission” just to purchase and own a firearm, and was killed while waiting the MONTHS it takes there to obtain a “purchase permit”. Is her death any less tragic than those in Charleston?

    http://freebeacon.com/issues/new-jersey-woman-stabbed-to-death-by-ex-while-waiting-for-gun-permit/

    And her assailant used a knife. Wonder if he chose a knife because he’s an ex-con and prohibited from owning a firearm, or knew that a knife would be enough, since his ex-girlfriend didn’t have a gun?

  20. Lyssa

    @Steve Thomas

    Okay – Pro-life does include the death penalty. Long ago, I decided I had to make up my mind based on teachings, beliefs, allegiance to the US and myself. I’ve hit a good place with regard to these issues. They also do not dictate my vote. There’s more to consider.

    There are plenty of people like me that think the NRA could make an effort. My husband and sons have guns. I’m not anti gun. But my husband did leave the NRA for many reasons – to this day he thinks he made the best decision and is thankful he’s not still a member after some of their dismissive actions and unwillingness to budge. He’s comfortable with his rights and responsibility without getting upset. He also avoids gun shows due to his personal opinions on the quality of the sellers and prefers not be associated with gun shows. NRA support of increased sentencing and addressing gun show problems could go a long way. Perception can influence. They may do that but my guess is they don’t spend a lot of money reaching lots of people.

  21. Cargosquid

    @Moon-howler
    Moon…I’ve seen gun owners get blame…as in “All gun owners are part of this problem.”
    Please don’t tell me what I haven’t seen.

    Most Americans think this? You’ve polled most Americans? Funny…. restrictive gun laws keep falling and ownership is rising. The shooter followed all the gun laws, including a background check.

  22. Steve Thomas

    @Lyssa

    Lyssa,

    Whether or not you are pro or anti death-penalty, or pro-life or pro-choice to me is much more of a personal matter, than are your views regarding gun-control. I too have had that internal debate regarding each of these issues, and have come to the conclusion that if an individual holds a position on a social issue that does not infringe upon my rights, then we really are just having a difference of opinion. I don’t plan to be on death row. I’m not the final decider regarding a pregnancy, as I lack the plumbing, but I strongly support parental consent laws for minors. These are all postitions I consider when casting my vote.

    But we all have our “go to the mat” issues, and mine is the 2A. I know more than a few gun owners who are what we call “Fuds” as in “Elmer Fud”. As long as someone doesn’t infringe on their “hunting of wabbits”, they are fine with “reasonable gun control”, and don’t necessarily align with the NRA. Fine. This is where we part ways. I don’t consider them on the same side of the issue as am I. For you see, I have little interest in killing “Bambi” or “Thumper” or “Pumba” or any of the other forest creatures out there…but I respect and support the rights of those who do hunt as a way of life, or for sport. I buy a hunting license every year, and when I last checked, the NRA, as well as our local firearms advcoate orgainization, VCDL, does fight for the rights of hunters and sportsman. I pay my dues to these organizations as well. I approach the 2A from the original intent: an armed citizenry is a free citizenry.

    I don’t attend gunshows often, maybe 1 in the last 5 years. It’s strictly out of a desire not to get in trouble with my equally pro-gun spouse, for making an impulse purchse. Why someone would feel the quality of sellers at a gunshow is somewhat deficient is beyond me. They are licensed dealers of a legal (albeit heavily regulated) product, engaging in free-market commerce. To me, that is tantamount to saying vegetable sellers at farmers markets are somehow deficient, when compared to grocerers. But I do respect someones choice to spend their money elsewhere, as long as they are not advoacting to deny me the opportunity to engage in legal commerce with a gun-show exhibitor.

    As fas as the NRA supporting increased sentencing…they do. They also advocate for aggressive prosecution of criminals who knowingly try to obtain firearms through straw-purchase, falsified info on the Federal form 4473, or other illegal means. They’ve called out this administration for not only running an illegal gun-walking scheme (fast and furious) but for lax enforcement of illegal attempts to purchase. They support maximum sentencing for those who use a firearm in the commission of a felony.

    Were they won’t budge is on the right of a law-abiding individual to have the means of self-defense, and I am with them, 100%. For you see, the NRA, GOA, VCDL, SAF, USCCA, and the other national and state level gun-rights organizations all have something in common: They recognize that they are subject to the will of their constituient members. I take the surveys, send the emails, et cetera, to make my positions known to these organizations to which I belong. They are advocating my postions, and defending my rights. To demonize them, is to demonize me. And they do spend a lot of money trying to reach a lot of people. Maybe you don’t see it, because you don’t frequent places, read websites, or watch the TV programs where you might be identified as a possible ally or member. Go to a gun show. If you join the NRA, the NRA pays your admission. Watch the American Sportsman TV show. Read the blaze.com. Listen to WMAL. If my interest was advocating to dog owners, why would I advertise at a cat convention?

    Here’s MY bottom line: I am an evangelical christian. I have a pretty clear, black and white concept of the existance of good and evil. I accept and am painfully aware that evil exists in this world, and while we can resist evil, work to restrain evil, we cannot eliminate evil. Evil has always existed, and it will continue and even grow, until the 2nd coming. These spree-killers, these serial-killers, these political or religious terrorists, these home-invaders, these rapists and armed robbers, anyone who would use violence to take something from me, such as my life, liberty, or property, or that of someone I am ordained (that’s right, ordained) to defend (my family), are evil. Evil must be resisted, with lethal force if necessary.

    If you (generic “you”) respect and support my natural right to self-defense and the defense of my family, I have no quarrell with you, even if you choose not to exercise that right yourself. However, if you support or advocate the infringment of my right, then we have an issue. The right to self-preservation and the preservation of ones mate and offspring is fundamental. You think a “Mama Bear” is mean when her cubs are threatened? Try a Silver-back Gorilla.

    Evil visited that Church. Evil visits the rape-victim. Evil visited Sandyhook elementary. Evil visited the Arora movie theater. Evil visited a Luby’s restaurant in 1991. Evil took the disarmed jews from the Warsaw ghetto to the gas chamber. Evil needs to be resisted and restrained. You cannot restrain evil by restraining the good. You cannot disarm the criminal, by disarming the law-abiding. That is why I dig in and say “not one step back, press forward” with regards to the 2nd amendment.

    1. Steve, I actually get a good feeling knowing you are armed. I am glad I can count on it even. I don’t feel that way about some people. That’s my problem here. I don’t have answers.

      I have just known too many people in my life who aren’t personally mature enough to be armed. I am sure you have also. What do we do about these people?

  23. Cargosquid

    Very well said, Steve.

  24. Ed Myers

    People with guns who are legal but reckless are out to steal my right to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Gun control is needed because many gun owners have no concern for the preservation of the 30,000 lives per year lost to gun violence and the untold millions wasted to patch up those injured. Those who have an unhealthy interest in killing another human being in the guise of self defense is a source of evil in this country. Violence is not the best approach to self preservation (it actually increases the probability of being violently killed) but by promoting it and lauding it as a lifestyle gun owners encourage mass murder by the weak minded, the mentally ill and the truly evil.

    Each person deserves the right to own a gun provided they behave responsibly (e.g. drop the objection to the sale of safer guns–i.e. smart guns, trigger locks, etc.) and accept liability for the misuse of their guns when it results in death or injury by carrying liability insurance.

    Because we are awash in guns and hotheads who do are not responsible gun owners I was terribly inconvenienced and experienced a big loss in privacy by having to go through a metal detector and a pat-down just to gain entrance to a marriage ceremony at a courthouse. We couldn’t take pictures either because of security. What is this world coming to? Selfish gun owners are ruining our civil society.

  25. Lyssa

    I didn’t make that leap..

  26. Ed Myers

    When fear sets in we have two natural responses: flee or fight. We develop a more civil society when we encourage fleeing rather than fighting. Our laws should promote and encourage fearful people to get the tools to escape their fears rather than fight them. When society encourages people to fight their fears with guns, we encourage people with irrational fears to use guns in an irrational manner. That is the moral hazard of a gun culture.

  27. Steve Thomas

    @Ed Myers
    Ed…how and where did you get that 30,000 per year stat? I call BS. Even if it were an accurate number, the bulk of those would be criminals shooting other criminals, or criminals harming the innocent in the commission of a felony, such as armed robbery. And lawfully armed citizens are not out to deprive you of any of your rights, as you argue, and as any court would do, I challenge your standing to make such a specious argument. Yes, Ed, on both counts I believe you are full of horse-fruit.

  28. Ed Myers

    Steve you can believe any lies you want but here are verifiable facts: CDC.gov estimates the number of US deaths due to firearms at 33,636 for 2013. If you want to dig deeper you’ll find the largest group are suicides.

    You can’t convict a dead person so none of the dead victims of gun violence are criminals. They don’t have a chance to refute your accusation that they were engaged in criminal conduct. You just get in deeper into a moral hazard by implying that people killed with guns just aren’t as human or as worthy or life.

    Your claim that gun owners do not infringe my rights requires you to add the qualifier of “lawfully.” How lawyerly of you. Gun owners are often lawful up until the moment they commit a crime with the gun. A reckless gun discharge is unlawful but can happen to many owners who until that point had no criminal records. Often the recklessness is covered up because the dead person can’t testify and there isn’t enough evidence to prove the shooter was not in fear of their lives when they shot in “self defense”. Thankfully cellphone cameras are exposing how often shootings are not justified.

    As a victim of reckless gun discharges my experience is that gun owners are rarely held accountable.

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