Category Archives: gun violence

Congratulations, Claud “Tex” McIver! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

A prominent Atlanta, Ga., businesswoman was accidentally shot dead by her husband trying to protect the couple from suspected carjackers:

Atlanta lawyer Claud “Tex” McIver accidentally shot his wife in the back when their car hit a bump near Piedmont Park late Sunday night, a family spokesman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Diane McIver was taken to Emory University Hospital on Clifton Road and died in surgery several hours later.

The incident unfolded after the McIvers vehicle was approached by several individuals near the intersection of Peachtree and Pine streets in Midtown, spokesman Bill Crane, a McIver family friend, said.

The McIvers retrieved their gun from the center console of the 2013 Ford Expedition, alarmed about recent unrest surrounding several Black Lives Matter protests in the area and fearing a carjacking, Crane told The AJC.

The couple, who were being driven by an unidentified individual, left the area unharmed. But several blocks later on Piedmont Ave. near the park, the SUV hit a bump and Tex McIver accidentally fired the gun, Crane said. It was still wrapped in a plastic Publix bag in which it had been stored, Crane said.

That gun sure kept everyone safe, though!

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Accidental Shootings Are So Embarrassing

News that Tennessee leads the nation in fatal accidental shootings has prompted the TN Dept. of Health to “correct” the data, from 105 to… wait for it…. five.

While 105 may indeed be wrong, five defies credibility. Especially when looking at previous years’ numbers:

2010 — 31

2011 — 31

2012– 24

2013 — 19

2014 — five…?

Safe Tennessee says they tracked 13 for 2015 and 12 so far this year. So five fatalities in 2014 is clearly bogus.

I started the Tennessee Gun Report in 2013, never intending to create a data base and research tool, but rather to highlight the public safety costs associated with Tennessee’s pro-gun policies. However, the tool is there. It’s imperfect: links to many news stories are now dead, there’s a lack of follow-up (too many reports of a victim “fighting for their life,” not enough updates on the outcome of that battle), too many weeks where I was too busy to track the local papers.

Still, I spent last night going through the 2014 archive and found 13 accidental gun fatalities. Definitely more in line with the numbers we’ve been seeing. And again, even this is imperfect.

There’s a real story here, and it’s just as embarrassing as the TN Dept. of Health revising a ridiculously off-base number with one equally incredible. It’s that nobody knows what the hell is going on because ignorance is more politically tenable than facts. The state legislature has unleashed a rash of liberal gun laws on the public: anyone wanting to avoid being around firearms is now forced to interact with gun owners in public places like restaurants, parks, the workplace, etc.

Shouldn’t we be interested in knowing what the public health and safety repercussions of that are?

Clearly, the state is unable to accurately track this data. And I can attest that the job is too big for one private citizen to do, too.

We need real data, of the kind funded by the Federal government. It’s long past time for people to grow a pair and stand up to the NRA and TN Firearms Assn. on this issue.

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Tennessee Finally #1 At Something

Congratulations, Tennessee!

Tennessee now ranks first in the nation for fatal unintentional shootings according to the most recent data from The Centers for Disease Control. Previously, Tennessee ranked 9th based on statistics from 2013, when 19 Tennesseans died in accidental shootings. In 2014, the number jumped to 105. Unintentional shootings involving adults most often occur when gun owners fail to clear the chamber before cleaning or handling firearms or when loaded guns are dropped. Unintentional shootings involving children most often occur when children gain access to unsecured, loaded guns that have not been safely stored

[…]

“We’ve actually been aware of the new numbers for several months, but the increase was so dramatic that we wanted to confirm the numbers before reporting them,” said Beth Joslin Roth, Policy Director for The Safe Tennessee Project. “We reached out to the CDC who explained that the numbers in their national database were uploaded directly from the state health departments. We then reached out to the Tennessee Department of Health who checked their records and verified that the numbers were in fact correct.

From 9th to #1 in just a couple years. It’s almost as if allowing guns in more places and telling everyone they need to get a handgun permit was a stupid idea.

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Tennessee Gun Report

I’m so far behind on this it ain’t even funny. The problem with tracking gun accidents and gun fail in general is that there’s so much, after a while one gets overwhelmed. So I sorta stopped looking, to be honest. I took August off. So, here are some of the most notable incidents over the past month, but it’s by no means a comprehensive list. According to the Safe Tennessee Project, the number of accidental shootings in TN this year has already surpassed all of 2015.

By the way, this article is in the current issue of Vanity Fair (the one with bikini-clad Margot Robbie on the cover.) I say it’s a definite must-read. It’s a fascinating look at the NRA, now more vulnerable than ever. One thing I hadn’t considered was the impact of 3-D printers on the gun manufacturers; since that is who the NRA really represents, the time is fast coming when they will have to draw a line in the sand on their “guns here, guns there, guns everywhere” stance.

Without further ado, your roundup of Tennessee gunfail.

• September 4, 2016:

1- Stray bullets rain down on a toddler’s birthday party at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge:

Whitney Smith was hosting the party for her son Ty’s fifth birthday when the celebration was interrupted by a shower of bullets.

Several unidentified people were shooting guns in a field on one side of Melton Hill Lake as stray bullets came across the lake to an area where the party was being held.

No one was hurt during the incident and no one has been charged.

No one charged; duck and cover, kids! You’re in Tennessee!

2- Lower Broadway is Nashville’s tourist district. It’s sorta like Bourbon Street or Beale Street every weekend down there. Bars, honky tonks, and the Bridgestone Arena are all in the vicinity. So it can’t be good for business to learn it’s also a place where someone can get shot by a stray bullet:

Kyle Freeman, 23, of Smyrna says he did not realize he was shot at first.

Freeman was walking with friends near the intersection of 2nd avenue and Broadway when he says he felt pain on the upper left side of his back.

Freeman says he continued walking a block before he realized he was shot and notified police.

He was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Despite the large crowd downtown, no one saw anyone with a gun.

Good grief. The only time I go downtown anymore is to go to a hockey game. Guess I’d better wear Kevlar. And by the way, this is not the first time this has happened: see the July 5, 2016 entry from this edition of the Tennessee Gun Report.

• September 1, 2016:

A responsible gun owner responsibly tried to bring their loaded gun through security at the Memphis airport.

• August 31, 2016:

A Nashville toddler accidentally shot himself with dad’s gun. Dad is a licensed security guard with a handgun permit. Safest, most responsible, etc.

• August 29, 2016:

Someone accidentally shot himself in the leg in Greeneville. Or as we call it, Monday:

The victim and his wife both told deputies that Wolfe was in a downstairs bathroom pulling up his pants when a .22 caliber derringer pistol that he kept in a small nylon cellphone case clipped to his waistband discharged.

The case fell from the waistband while still in the case and discharged when it hit the floor, and a bullet hit Wolfe in the leg, the report said.

That gun sure kept him safe, though.

• August 23, 2016:

Four Tennessee firearms executives have been sentenced for illegal gun running.

• August 22, 2016:

Drugs and a BB gun were found in a Gibson County high school student’s car.

• August 18, 2016:

In Franklin, an 11-year-old found a loaded gun in the family’s Hertz Rent-A-Car.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – A man’s child found a loaded gun in the backseat of their rental car, while his two other children were also in the back seat.

In Franklin, a man’s 11-year-old found a loaded gun in the backseat of their Hertz Rent-a-Car:

It happened after Mike Burk’s 11-year-old son Carter found the gun, and Carter said he’s just glad he found it and not his little brother.

“It was out, it was a gun, and it was facing Mason,” said Carter Burk.

Burk dialed 911 and drove to the Franklin police station and waited for officers to come out and expect the weapon.

Officers confiscated the weapon, but said it was not stolen, and no laws appeared to have been broken. Yet, Mike Burk said he will be doing his own thorough inspections from now on.

Ohhh no laws were broken, so we’re all good! Shouldn’t there be a law against leaving your gun lying around like that? By the way, was there ever an update on this story? Not that I saw. Maybe I missed something. I’d sure like to know who left that gun behind and if they were charged with negligence.

Oh, and this is not the first time this has happened, either. See here and here, for starters. Nothing to see … move along.

• August 17, 2016:

1- An employee of the gift shop at the Memphis airport brought their [loaded] gun to work, and the TSA employee who let her through security got fired for it:

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – A TSA officer at Memphis International Airport resigned after a gift shop employee was accused of bringing a loaded gun inside the airport.

TSA security lines were shut down and passengers were stopped from leaving the airport on Monday afternoon during the incident.

According to the police report, a TSA agent noticed a strange object inside Paradies employee Shwundra Boxiley’s bag. An agent, who did not check the bag, gave it back to Boxiley, who then left the checkpoint area.

Oops.

2- Two teens at Giles County High School were arrested on weapons charges. This is the part I love:

According to a press release, Orlando Ray Jr. was seen in the car rider line waiving a weapon out the window.

Stupid kids.

• August 13, 2016:

A Rockwood police officer accidentally fired a live round during a drill at a middle school.

• August 9, 2016:

A Hendersonville dad accidentally shot and killed his 11-year-old daughter on the first day of school, then lied to police about it:

He told police that he shot his daughter after being awakened by a sound in the house. He said he got the gun from his dresser and shot it.

[…]

Originally, police were told that Timea was shot between the bus stop near their home and their house. Police were told the young girl went into the house and told her dad that she had been shot.

After obtaining a search warrant to enter the home, police discovered that Timea had actually been shot inside the home.

Multiple charges have been filed because dad is a felon who shouldn’t have had a gun and he lied about what happened. Which makes me feel so much safer, considering shit like this happens all the time to non-felons, who aren’t charged at all.

• August 8, 2016:

A Rutherford County sheriff’s deputy had his rifle stolen from his patrol car.

• August 1, 2016:

In Murfreesboro, a kid found his uncle’s gun on the bedroom dresser and accidentally fired it into the apartment downstairs.

• July 14, 2016:

Guns in cars, in Murfreesboro:

Officers were told that the driver of a Nissan Titan pulled in front of another driver traveling southeast near the corner of Northwest Broad Street and Van Cleve Avenue about 5:45 p.m., according to the incident report.

The driver of the other vehicle was forced to stop abruptly when the truck pulled in front of him. When he pulled into the left lane of traffic alongside the truck’s driver, the suspect pointed a semiautomatic compact gun at him and shouted expletives, the report stated.

The suspect, whom the driver described as a white male in his 20s with facial hair and a red cast on his thumb, was last seen on North Thompson Lane, the report stated.

Angry white 20-something males waving guns around to compensate for their sense of powerlessness. Almost like it’s a trend now.

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Congratulations, Unidentified Idaho Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

It takes a special kind of genius to be sitting on the john with your .357 and fire it by accident, sending the bullet into your neighbors’ house. But that’s just what this one fellow did:

Police: Man accidently fires gun while on toilet

Police say a 22-year-old man was sitting on his toilet Saturday afternoon on the 1000 block of Bonnie Court when he accidentally discharged a .357 Magnum pistol and fired a bullet into his neighbor’s home.

Moscow Police Capt. Paul Kwiatkowski said the bullet went through a wall, television and window before traveling through the door of a home on Rodeo Drive.

No one was injured.

Police cited the man for suspicion of discharging a weapon inside city limits.

Especially distressing is that he was cited for “discharging a weapon inside city limits,” not, you know, negligent handling of a firearm. Extra points for hitting a house on “Rodeo Drive.” Wild, Wild West, y’all.

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Orlando Has PTSD

That’s the best explanation I have for this:

About 3:20 p.m., mall patrons began reporting on social media that an alleged shooting had occurred in the food court after hearing sharp popping sounds and a fire alarm. The unsettling sounds sent fearful patrons running from the mall.

Orange County Fire Medical and Orange County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the scene, but there was no gunman, OCSO spokeswoman Deputy Rose Silva said.

Instead, the scare was caused by an industry-standard test as part of the inspection for the grand opening of former ‘NSync singer Joey Fatone’s new restaurant, Silva said. An announcement was made over the mall’s public announcement system prior to the test preparing customers for the noise.

“The test consisted of six large balloons popping consecutively, followed by a fire alarm,” Silva said. “This caused people to go into panic mode and run.”

At least 10 people were injured in the ensuing panic, “mostly falls, scrapes and twisted knees.” I guess when your city is home to the nation’s deadliest mass shooting, fears of an active shooter are understamndably prevalent. Indeed, an Apple Store employee said,

“I lost two friends at Pulse, so of course that was my first thought,” he said.

Levane said he ran to the farthest corner of the parking lot, something he learned last week when the store held active shooter training. He called his mother while running and told her he loved her.

Welcome to the NRA’s America. We are truly a nation which has lost its innocence.

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Ha Ha He Was Totally Kidding You Guys

Donald Trump’s surrogates are scrambling to defend the GOP candidate, who mentioned the possibility of “2nd Amendment Solutions” to stop Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court nominations.

This seems to be a theme with the Republican fringe. Remember this?

PH2011010902150

Someone remind me what happened not long after the above appeared? Oh, yeah. This.

What the fuck is wrong with people?

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Congratulations, Rodney Cummings! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Been a while since I’ve done one of these, and there’s certainly been no shortage of candidates! The thing I loved about this Indiana prosecutor who accidentally fired his gun into a wall while eating dinner at a Texas Roadhouse is this bit:

Cummings said he plans to have the gun examined to ensure there are no mechanical problems.

Yeah, must’ve been the gun. Couldn’t possibly have been the gun owner. Which sorta goes against the NRA’s whole “guns are safe, it’s people who aren’t” slogan. And furthermore. which begs the question: if a faulty gun is just going to fire off at will on its own, isn’t that a good reason to not have it in a public place like a restaurant?

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Tennessee Gun Report

Time to check in with Tennessee’s gun crazies.

• July 13, 2016:

A Maryville man accidentally shot a woman in the stomach, then lied to police about it:

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office was called to a mobile home on Tomotley Road Thursday night around 6 p.m. where they found Kassie Deanna Hill, 34, with a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Carver told deputies a man wearing black clothing and a black cap came inside and shot Hill in the stomach and then ran through a field and woods behind the home.

After conducting an investigation, Carver admitted he lied about the home invasion and said his gun accidentally discharged while he and Hill were in close contact. HIll’s and Carver’s accounts matched up.

• July 11, 2016:

After the shootings of police officers in Dallas, this lone TN National Guardsman decided to “stand guard” outside the Murfreesboro police department. Dude looks kinda stupid if you ask me.

Stand_Guard_123

TN National Guard told him he can’t do it in uniform representing the Guard.

• July 9, 2016:

Who cares if the Republicans have a supermajority in our state legislature? Tennessee Democrats aren’t sitting still when it comes to gun violence. They’ve just announced their “10 for TN” plan to tackle the issue. Some good ideas here; now, let’s get to work electing more Democrats so this can actually happen.

• July 8, 2016:

Gee, it’s almost as if having civilians armed to the teeth might be a problem for law enforcement or something:

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) – Authorities in Tennessee say a man who opened fire on a highway in Tennessee targeted police officers and others because he was troubled by incidents involving black people and law enforcement officers.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says in a news release that initial conversations with the suspect, identified as Lakeem Keon Scott revealed he was troubled by incidents across the U.S. The TBI says the suspect is black; the shooting victims are all white.

Investigators say Scott killed one person and wounded three others, including a police officer. Scott had two guns early Thursday morning when he shot at a motel in Bristol, Tennessee, and then shot indiscriminately at several passing cars. When he was confronted by police, he fired at the three officers who responded.

Nobody could have anticipated….

• July 5, 2016:

1- A man in Nashville’s downtown tourist district was struck by a stray bullet, possibly from celebratory gunfire. In 2015, two people visiting Nashville for its huge Fourth of July event were hit by celebratory gunfire.

2- A judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the wacko Tennessee Firearms Assn. and Bill Goodman Shows over a ban on gun shows at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

3- Too many “responsible” gun owners are too cavalier with the storing of their weapons, leaving them in unlocked cars or unlocked houses, where they inevitably end up used in crimes. Can’t say that’s where all of these 9,000 gun originated but it’s safe to say a hefty percentage did:

Nearly 9,000 guns seized across U.S. in 2015 have been traced back to original TN owners Most were used in crimes

Law enforcement agencies across the United States picked up almost 9,000 guns during 2015 that traced back to original owners in Tennessee, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Most of the 8,841 guns were seized after they were used in crimes, while some of the weapons may have been found or turned in to law enforcement agencies voluntarily.

The guns were recovered from 49 states, and the states closest to Tennessee saw the most guns from Tennessee, according to a new report from ATF. Mississippi topped the list with 392 guns, followed by Georgia with 256.

On average, it took 10.5 years for a gun to go from its first owner to being used in a crime and recovered by law enforcement, according to the report.

That “time to crime” statistic helps ATF agents recognize when someone is purchasing weapons and intentionally selling them to be used in crimes, said special agent Michael Knight. A quick turnaround is suspicious, he said.

Interesting stuff.

• July 3, 2016:

A 17-year-old girl in Chattanooga accidentally shot herself.

• July 2, 2016:

Accidental shooting deaths are on the rise in Tennessee. Just as we allow more guns, everywhere. Hmm… what a coinky doinky!

• July 1, 2016:

1- A toddler in Clarksville shot himself in the face and died:

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A 3-year-old has died after he accidentally shot himself in the face.

It happened shortly before 5:30 p.m. Friday on Samantha Lane in Clarksville.

The toddler was taken to Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville in critical condition but later passed away.

Clarksville officials told News 2 this appears to be an accidental shooting.

The house was “Protected By 2nd Amendment Security”:

Screen-Shot-2016-07-03-at-12.46.12-PM

That gun sure kept that kid safe. Except that one time.

2- A Greene County man was driving home from work when his van was struck by a stray bullet.

• June 24, 2016:

Three people, including a Cleveland TN restaurant owner, were shooting an AR-15 and pistols at a jug on top of a trailer, and learned first-hand why that’s a really bad idea:

The weapons — described by the shooters as an AR-15 rifle and two pistols — were aimed at a 5-gallon water jug sitting on top of a trailer on Majeske’s property, according to a police report.

Beyond the trailer are woods, and behind the woods are three houses a “substantial distance away,” Bradford said.

“As they were shooting, bullets were actually going into multiple residences,” Bradford said. “Our deputies who got to the scene observed bullets striking trees and various objects around those residences. People were woken up by the gunfire that happened around midnight.”

Deputies found bullet holes in three homes, including the bedroom wall of one house and near the kitchen and back door of another home, where an adult and four children live.

The neighbors were evacuated from their houses as deputies tried to figure out where the bullets were coming from, Bradford said.

Are we safer yet?

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All-American Mass Shooting

[UPDATE]:

Best thing I’ve read on the Dallas shootings is in the New Yorker. Read it:

THE HORRIFIC, PREDICTABLE RESULT OF A WIDELY ARMED CITIZENRY
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-horrific-predictable-result-of-a-widely-armed-citizenry

Weapons empower extremes. Allowing members of any fringe of any movement to get their hands on military weapons guarantees that any normal dispute—political or, for that matter, domestic—can quickly lead to a massacre. Our guns have outraced our restrictions, but not our imaginations. Sometime in the not-too-distant past, annihilation replaced street theatre and demonstrations as the central possibility of the enraged American imagination. Guns allow the fringe to occupy the center.

[…]

Once again, the difference in policy views is clear, and can be coolly stated: those who insist on the right to concealed weapons, to the open carrying of firearms, to the availability of military weapons—to the essentially unlimited dissemination of guns—guarantee that the murders will continue. They have no plan to end them, except to return fire, with results we know. The people who don’t want the regulations that we know will help curb (not end) violent acts and help make them rare (not non-existent) have reconciled themselves to the mass murder of police officers, as well as of innocent men and women during traffic stops and of long, ghostly rows of harmless civilians and helpless children. The country is now clearly divided among those who want the killings and violence to stop and those who don’t. In the words of the old activist song, which side are you on?

Some really good stuff here.
————————————————–

I wish people would stop trying to spin this Dallas shooting as anything other than your ordinary, garden-variety, all-American mass shooting.

Like every other mass shooting, the shooter targeted a specific group. This time it was police officers. Last time it was the GLBT community. The time before that it was, gosh I don’t even remember — was it a workplace shooting? Women at a health clinic? Or was it a bunch of college kids? Gee, there are so many, it’s hard to keep track.

America has about one of these a month and each one is the same: a person who shouldn’t have access to a weapon gets his hands on one and takes out his anger against the (fill in the blanks) he blames for the world’s problems.

Micah Johnson was no different:

The man who the Dallas police say killed five officers in a barrage of bullets on Thursday was a troubled Army reservist who left Afghanistan under a cloud of sexual harassment charges made by a fellow soldier who sought an order of protection against him and said he needed mental health counseling.

We don’t know where Johnson’s guns came from. But there doesn’t appear to be anything that would have prevented Johnson from legally purchasing the SKS semi-automatic assault rifle and handgun he used in his attack on Dallas police officers, or the other weapons and ammo found in his home. Texas probably has the most liberal gun laws in the country, open carry is legal, the right-wing governor of Texas has shilled for the firearms industry and encouraged gun sales. The gun derp is strong. Should anyone really be surprised that there was a mass shooting here? That a culture of “guns everywhere” would end up being an issue for law enforcement? Please.

Wake up, America. Who thought allowing every idiot to buy a gun was a good idea in the first place?

One thing is clear after the Dallas shootings: the NRA’s talking points were all debunked in one horrifying blood bath. There were hundreds of police officers protecting the rally that night … armed police officers. The police officers shot were armed. And still, one crazy person with a high-powered rifle was able to take down five officers, wound seven more, and injure two civilians. The idea that everyone needs to be armed to protect against a mass shooting was proven to be wholly ridiculous.

It’s the guns, dammit. Get them off the streets. It’s long past time we stopped pretending this is about anything else.

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