Guns, guns everywhere but where are the well-regulated militias?

Today seems to be another one of those days that is all about guns.

Capitol police shot and injured a man, who was described by Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa as an individual “known by Capitol Police” who had been to the complex on an unspecified number of times. Verderosa told reporters the man was attempting to enter the Capitol Visitors Center when a magnetometer used for detecting metal went off. The suspect withdrew his weapon and he was immediately shot by an officer. Other details are not yet available as the shooting happened about 1:30 p.m. my time (Central DST.) The Daily Beast has a story naming the alleged suspect, as well as a linked story about that individual’s capture after an incident in October 2015 in which the man yelled that he was a “prophet of God” from the U.S. House balcony. The report indicates the man was charged with “unlawful conduct” at the Capitol, as well as assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. The story does not say why the man is still out walking the streets.

Previous violent incidents have happened inside and outside the nation’s Capitol. Two Capitol police officers were killed in 1998 by a deranged man, two others and the suspect was shot. The suspect, Russell Eugene Weston Jr., 59, has never faced trial as he is believed to be too mentally ill. He remains indefinitely in a federal prison in North Carolina. A famous incident dating back to 1856 also happened inside the Capitol among two congressional members. U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks beat Sen. Charles Sumner with a walking cane, nearly killing the senator. The beating came after Sumner denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have admitted Kansas as a free, or slavery-free, state, to the nation. Sumner attacked the bill and mocked the authors of the Act, Sens. Stephen Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina. Brooks was Butler’s cousin. Apparently, there was no walking cane lobby the size of the NRA in those antebellum days.

Down here in Texas, there is hardly a worry that anyone will be near-fatally caned at the Capitol in Austin. The Capitol is guarded by a special force of state troopers who take their jobs very seriously. Plus, one who is licensed to carry a firearm is admitted on an expedited basis. Members of the press, or just plain ol’ Texans wanting to visit the beautiful pink granite edifice, have to wait in another line.

The GNA, Gun Nuts of America, lost one battle over firearms, however. Actually, no group was identified but a person whose psudonym is the hypernationalist, enlisted folks to sign a petition on to allow the open carry of firearms during the July Republican National Convention in Cleveland. More than 42,000 people have signed on despite the fact that federal law says that ain’t happening. A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service told the Washington Post:

“Title 18 United States Code Sections 3056 and 1752 provides the Secret Service authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states,” Secret Service spokesman Robert K. Hoback said in a statement. “Only authorized law enforcement personnel working in conjunction with the Secret Service for a particular event may carry a firearm inside of the protected site.”

The hilarious, or maddening, however one cares to define it, GOP presidential candidates have tippy-toed all around the Secret Service laying down the law. The stock answer for Donald J. Trump is “I’d have to see the law first.” Well, Donald “The Donald” Trump, why don’t you go wearing six-guns on each hip on the stage and sees what happens?

I tried to find a non-partisan group with statistics on gun violence. While the Brady Bunch are well meaning altough the figures sometimes are not associated with a particular point in time. But I  presented a link anyway.

A site I found this afternoon presents some pretty near real-time evidence as to what is going on out there with people and guns. The Gun Violence Archives lets one see what is happening in a particular sector of gun violence. Let’s say for instance, children killed by guns. I have no idea how far the database goes back but it is over the last several years at least. The database gives the date, the state, city, address, the number killed and the number wounded. Each incident has a linking “source,” which is likely a newspaper story. There is also a link for the “incident” itself, which lists the names, ages of those killed and wounded and the reason for violent act.

Here's a thought!
Here’s a thought!

Here is a mass murder (which is classified by the database when more than four people are killed) that happened last August in a part of Houston that is less than 85 miles from where I reside. This incident took place Aug. 8, 2015 leaving dead six children ranging in age from six-to-13 years of age, and two adults. The 49-year-old shooter tied up all eight victims and shot them in the head. This is cast as a “family-involved” shooting. Here is just one of the stories with the very saddening details. This article from the Houston Chronicle also includes the three-page criminal complaint against the alleged shooter. The accused, charged with capital murder, turned himself into Harris County Sheriff’s deputies after a standoff.

Many Americans know the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by heart, even though somewhat less probably kn0w the First or the Fourth Amendments word-for-word. Gun nuts cite the 2nd Amendment but probably kn0w even less about the Supreme Court decisions that give gun owners and the “well-regulated militias” a little room to breathe. That is why groups like the NRA wants a pro-gun-nut as president and as members of Congress. The next president in January 2017 can, especially with a Democrat majority in the Senate, replace perhaps a couple or more aging justices of the Court who might arrive with all sorts of ideas — such as tinkering with that language on the “well-regulated justices.” Maybe that’ll happen. Maybe it will not happen. Just read some of those gun-violence cases. If nothing else, perhaps it will make one think about guns and how they are destroying families and friendships one bullet at a time.


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