Mental illness is not the cause of gun violence

The last thing I remember reading about before I went to sleep Sunday night (early Monday, technically) was the headline of a USA Today article about police officers responding to reports of an active shooter in Las Vegas.  I hoped then that the shooter would either kill himself (in the United States, mass shooters are invariably men) or be killed before wounding anyone.  I awoke Monday morning to find that the shooter–Stephen Paddock–had killed over 50 people and injured more than 400 (before killing himself) in the greatest mass shooting in modern United States history.  Throughout the course of my workday, I was able to keep an eye on the news (we had it on one tv and it was slow for a while) and saw the number of casualties rise to 59 dead and 527 injured. Country music artist Jason Aldean had just taken the stage for day 3 of the Route 91 music festival when the shooting began.  An estimated 22,000 concertgoers were in the crowd when the shooting began, which maximized the number of people Paddock could kill.

As with the 272 previous mass shootings this year, there are many questions about the killer and his motives. In the days, weeks, and months ahead, authorities will likely uncover some answers (though not all, since Paddock killed himself). For many people, one of the most important questions–“Why did this happen?”–has an easy answer. One that is apparent even before the dust has settled.   It will surprise few people to learn that once again, mental illness is blamed for gun violence.

Continue reading “Mental illness is not the cause of gun violence”

Mental illness is not the cause of gun violence

Irresponsible Gun Owner Link Round-Up

Florida Woman ‘Jokingly’ Slaps Man, So He Fatally Shoots Her In The Head

A Florida man is facing manslaughter charges for allegedly fatally shooting a woman in the head after she slapped him as a joke.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said that witnesses told investigators that 26-year-old Elliott William Orsborn, 26-year-old Jamie Lee Martin and others had been drinking in Martin’s garage in Middleburg early Saturday morning, according to The Florida Times-Union.

Orsborn had reportedly been playing with his .22 revolver throughout the night, but the Sheriff’s Office said that he had taken the bullets out earlier in the evening.

Martin’s boyfriend asked Orsborn to “just chill” after he said something that upset her.

At some point, Martin “jokingly slapped the defendant across the face,” the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said. Witnesses said that Orsborn took the gun out of his shorts pocket and shot Martin in the forehead.

Yet another case of another irresponsible individual who should not be handling a gun. Guns are not toys. You don’t play with them. Moreover, the gun should not be loaded unless you’re ready to use it. You should never point a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot them. These are basics of gun ownership that a fuckton of people simply do not know or do not follow. In either case, it is once again apparent that one should have to qualify to own guns. This should not be an unfettered right. People should be trained in how to use guns to ensure they are doing so responsibly, rather than the current system that says if you have the money you can buy a gun.

* * * *

Man opens fire, killing mother of three and wounding five others, after woman rejects him

Mary “Unique” Spears, a 27-year-old mother of three, was fatally shot at the Joe Louis Post after attending a funeral for a family member, reported WJBK-TV.

Relatives said a man they had never seen before began harassing Spears at the hall, but the woman rebuffed his advances by telling him she was engaged.

The man, whose name was not released, continued to pester Spears until about 2 a.m., when he grabbed and hit her as she tried to leave with her fiancé and family members.

A fight broke out, and the man began shooting, WDIV-TV reported.

Spears was shot once as she tried to run, a family member said, and the man then fired two more shots at her head.

Her fiancé and four relatives were wounded by the gunfire, but they all are expected to recover.

The gunman was quickly arrested as he tried to flee, police said.

Another tragic story of gun violence.  This one also intersects with the sexism and culture of entitlement in the US. While it is not taught in schools, socially, we are all indoctrinated into the belief that women’s bodies are not their own.  Men feel entitled to women’s bodies. They feel entitled to sex. They feel entitled to attention (yes, this is shades of Elliot Rodger). When they don’t get their way, they lash out. Too often, the lash out with guns and the result is murder.

* * * *

Mississippi family gunfight leaves two dead, two wounded

Mickey Sudduth and his father-in-law Robert Mize both fatally shot each other outside Mize’s home near Aberdeen after a dispute involving Sudduth’s estranged wife Jennifer on Friday afternoon, Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell said.

Sudduth got into an altercation with his wife, who is Mize’s daughter, after arriving at his in-laws’ house to pick up his two children for the weekend, Cantrell said.

She ran inside to tell her father that Sudduth tried to choke her. Mize then came outside with a Glock .40 pistol and engaged in a gunfight with Sudduth, who was also armed with a handgun, Cantrell said.

During the shootout, Sudduth and Mize shot each other dead, but not before Sudduth shot and wounded his wife and his mother-in-law, Janice Mize, Cantrell said. Both women were treated at a local hospital for non life-threatening injuries, Cantrell said.

The children, who are both under 10 years of age, were not hurt, Cantrell said. He described the incident as a case of domestic violence.

* * * *

A criminal justice instructor at Technology Center of DuPage in Addison accidentally discharged a handgun during class Friday afternoon, striking a file cabinet and hollow wall, officials said.

The instructor, a retired FBI agent, wasn’t authorized to have the gun on school property, said Jim Thorne, the school’s director.

“It’s not part of the curriculum. It’s nothing we knew he had,” Thorne said.

Three students were watching the instructor’s demonstration about 1:30 p.m. in an office adjacent to a classroom, where other students were preparing for the start of class, Thorne said.

No one was struck by the bullet, which ended up lodged in another classroom, he said.

After the shooting, a school administrator came to the classroom and escorted the instructor from the building. He was sent home and has been placed on administrative leave until further notice.

Yet another case where it’s apparent that the culture of fear in the US has seeped into the people’s consciousness.  Despite the fact that you don’t need a gun in a classroom, this guy likely felt he needed one on him. That’s the mentality of people who open or concealed carry. Yes, it is their right, but that says nothing about whether or not they *need* to carry a gun on them. When the media and society at large talk about the dangers out there (especially the dangerous oogity boogity black people), the message many people take in is that they’re constantly in danger and in need of protection. Cue organizations like the NRA “you need a gun to protect yourself”.  Never mind the cost involved in owning a gun. Never mind the fact that owning a gun can increase the risk of suicide or homicide, rather than making you safer.

Irresponsible Gun Owner Link Round-Up

Domestic Violence and the NFL

Domestic violence is a horrible crime that occurs everywhere-from Smalltown, USA to San Francisco, CA. Domestic violence is committed by people from all walks of life-teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicans, nurses, scientists, chefs, cashiers, celebrities*, restaurant employees, and as has become more apparent over the years-members of the NFL.  Ray Rice, Kevin Williams, Santonio Holmes, Frostee Rucker, Randy Starks, Brandon Marshall, Cary Williams, Tony McDaniel, Chris Cook, Erik Walden, Dez Bryant, Daryl Washington, A.J. Jefferson, Greg Hardy, and Ray McDonald are 15 examples, but there are likely more (and that’s just the NFL-I know on the college level there are likely a great many; and that’s just one sport**). While both women and men can be the victims of domestic violence, women are at greater risk of homicide by an intimate partner than men.  Annually more than 4 million women experience domestic violence.  Also, men and women are not the only ones affected by domestic violence.  More than 3 million children a year witness domestic violence at home and those children living in such homes face a greater risk of child abuse and neglect. (source)

Let me drive the severity of this problem home even further:

The Consequences

  • According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.

  • In New York City, 25% of homeless heads of household became homeless due to domestic violence.

  • Survivors of domestic violence face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress.

  • Domestic violence contributes to poor health for many survivors.  For example, chronic conditions like heart disease or gastrointestinal disorders can become more serious due to domestic violence.

  • Among women brought to emergency rooms due to domestic violence, most were socially isolated and had fewer social and financial resources than other women not injured because of domestic violence.

  • Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults.

  • Without help, boys who witness domestic violence are far more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults, thus continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation.

  • Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.


Perhaps one of the scariest facts about domestic violence is this: most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police (source).

Continue reading “Domestic Violence and the NFL”

Domestic Violence and the NFL

Another day of gun violence in the US

Georgia woman saves her baby’s life seconds before being shot to death by her partner:

According to Atlanta’s WSB Radio, Jessica Arrendale’s partner and father of her 6-month-old daughter Cobie attacked her with a baseball bat and then an assault rifle, shooting her through the head.

As she fell, dying, Arrendale reportedly dropped the baby into the bowl of the toilet of the bathroom where she was trapped and covered the infant with her body. Police found the baby alive, but suffering from a head wound some 13 hours later when they stormed the apartment on Sunday.

Arrendale’s mother, Teresa Inniello, told WSB that last Saturday evening, Arrendale and the baby’s father, Antoine Davis, 30, went out to dinner and began to argue. Davis got drunk and when they arrived home, the argument escalated.

The New York Daily News said that Davis, a Marine veteran of the Iraq War, attacked Arrendale with a baseball bat some time around midnight. Forensic investigators believe that she barricaded herself in the bathroom, at which point, Davis got an assault rifle he kept on the premises.

Authorities believe that he kicked in the bathroom door and began firing at Arrendale, who stood there holding their baby.

“He shot her and they (police) don’t know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction,” Ionniello said to WSB.

“She had pure will,” Ionniello said. “She wanted that baby to live.”

Davis then went into the baby’s room and turned the weapon on himself. He was long dead when police arrived.

“She was the hero,” Ionniello said, “because her last breath was saving the child.”

Baby Cobie had been lying in the water for about 13 hours when police finally burst into the apartment. They had been reluctant to rush the residence for fear that the move would spark Davis to hurt Arrendale or the baby, not realizing that the violence had already occurred.

The couple had a history of domestic violence and Ionniello said she did not know why her daughter stayed with her abuser for as long as she did.

Gun violence alone is horrible enough.  Adding domestic violence to that is just horrifying.  I remember my late roommate Micah telling me that he was completely unprepared for a return to civilian life after serving two tours of duty in Iraq.  He said the military offered no way of easing him back into non-military life.  I have to wonder how this lack of support from the military can affect people.  I know for Micah that he routinely had nightmares, and I think his problems with alcohol might have stemmed from his time in the military.

All that said, there is no excuse for domestic violence. I don’t care what you saw or what you did in the military, taking it out on anyone is absolutely out of the question.  Despite a noticeable decline 20 years ago, domestic violence rates are still alarming.

Yet the dramatic decrease from 1995 through 2004 has largely stalled, with the numbers stabilizing at a level that appalls people in the prevention field. The latest federal figures for “serious” intimate partner violence — sexual assault or aggravated physical assault — showed 360,820 such incidents in 2013, or roughly 1,000 per day.

Of those numbers, women are at greater risk of being killed by their partner than men.

#1 FACT:

Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.

Help change the facts. Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence.


4 year old accidentally shoots aunt in back

A four-year-old playing with a .25 caliber pistol accidentally shot his aunt in the back while sitting in a parked car outside a Tampa store.

The gun had been left in the pocket behind the driver’s seat, and the child returned it to its place after looking at it and shooting his aunt, reports, a local NBC affiliate.

The weapon was left there unsecured and loaded by the child’s uncle, who came running out of the store after he heard the shots fired and then left the scene. Authorities confirm Randall Simmons is the owner of the gun and wanted for felony culpable negligence and felon in possession of a firearm.

The bullet hit the child’s aunt near her spine, and doctors have told her it’s too dangerous to operate and try to take out.

“I’m more concerned about my nephew. I’m scared that he’s going to be traumatized because after all he is a four year old kid you know,” she said.

Yet another example of a gun owner not being responsible with their weapon.  This is not something that should be casually set aside. It should not be sitting in the pocket behind the drivers seat.  When not in use, a gun should not be loaded and should be kept in a safe location away from the reach of children.  Basic gun safety.


The day after being fired, an Alabama man kills his former UPS supervisors and himself

The gunman, who was wearing a brown UPS uniform, had been terminated a day earlier, police said, adding that his motive was not immediately clear.

The shooting occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m. at a large, brick UPS service center atop a hill in the Inglenook section of Birmingham, close to the airport, police said.

Officers found the two victims along with the gunman, who had arrived at the facility in a Honda SUV and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper told reporters.

I’m sympathetic to people being fired, believe me.  But that does not, under any circumstances, justify hurting anyone, let alone killing them.

This country really needs to have a prolonged discussion about the tendency of so many people to resort to violence to achieve their goals, or when they get frustrated.  Especially since all too often, people wind up dead bc this gun is filled with people who love guns.


Cops shoot NH woman who reaches for her grandchild during a DEA raid

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant Aug. 27 at the third-floor apartment of Lilian Alonzo as part of an investigation into an oxycodone distribution ring.

Police had confiscated about 1,600 tablets, $58,000 in cash, and an unspecified number of firearms as part of the investigation at other locations in the Manchester area.

Two of Alonzo’s daughters, Johanna Nunez and Jennifer Nunez, were among nine people arrested in those previous raids.

According to an affidavit, Jennifer Nunez told an accomplice June 18 that she stashed her drug proceeds “at mom’s,” and a confidential informant told police he saw $50,000 in cash at Alonzo’s apartment.

Her son told the New Hampshire Union Leader his 10-year-old sister opened the door to Alonzo’s home and federal agents burst into the apartment.

“She went to pick up the baby,” said Daniel Nunez. “They thought she was reaching for something, and they shot her.”

The bullet ripped through her arm and entered her torso, the newspaper reported.

No drugs, weapons, or large amounts of cash were found at Alonzo’s home, Daniel Nunez said.

Three children were present at the time of the shooting in the apartment where Alonzo had lived for about six years – including the 10-year-old girl and a 4-year-old child and 1-year-old baby.

The case had been under investigation for about a year, and Nunez said authorities should have been aware children frequented the apartment.

Two shots were fired when agents barged into the apartment, including one that struck a wall and another that remains inside Alonzo – who needed 30 stitches as a result of her wounds.

The state attorney general is investigating the shooting, which authorities said may have been accidental.

“One of the officers’ weapons discharged,” said Attorney General Joe Foster’s office in a statement, but no other details were offered.

This is what happens when the police go guns a blazin’ without assessing the situation.  And I just know the race of Alonzo’s daughters had nothing to do with the amount of force deployed by the police.


Shoot first, ask questions later

A Florida  man who reportedly thought he heard and saw an intruder Sunday morning at his Sebring, Florida home opened fire and hit the person, who turned out to be his 60-year-old wife.

According to the police, Eusebio Christian, 47, is cooperating with police inquiries into the matter. Christian’s wife, whose name is being withheld as a possible domestic violence victim, received one shot in her face, but it was not life-threatening, Carr said, according to the News-Sun.

A gun in the home increases your risk of homicide or suicide by firearm:

Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death. The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.

Another day of gun violence in the US

The NFL gets a stern talking to

Anheuser-Busch gave the NFL a stern talking to:

Anheuser-Busch — the top spender in the past five Super Bowls — today issued a statement about that NFL sponsorship as reports of domestic abuse charges against league players keep piling up:

“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” A-B said. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.

That’s a whole lot of, well, nothing.  “Bad NFL”-that’s what it amounts to.  If they wanted to actually show that they’re serious about the way the NFL is handling the behaviors of their players-threaten them with no longer sponsoring the NFL.  Barring that, they could give money-a lot of it-to a charity in the name of ending domestic violence.


Domestic violence is a serious matter.   It directly affects the victims-women, children, and men on emotional, psychological, physical, financial, and spiritual levels.  It affects the wider culture bc the victims and the perpetrators are connected to the rest of us.  If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence, The National Domestic Violence Hotline may be able to help.

For over 17 years, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has been the vital link to safety for women, men, children and families affected by domestic violence. With the help of our dedicated advocates and staff, we respond to calls 24/7, 365 days a year.

We provide confidential, one-on-one support to each caller and chatter, offering crisis intervention, options for next steps and direct connection to sources for immediate safety. Our database holds over 5,000 agencies and resources in communities all across the country. Bilingual advocates are on hand to speak with callers, and our Language Line offers translations in 170 different languages.

The hotline is an excellent source of help for concerned friends, family, co-workers and others seeking information and guidance on how to help someone they know. We work to educate communities all over through events, campaigns, and dynamic partnerships with companies ranging from The Avon Foundation to Verizon. Today, the hotline is continuing to grow and explore new avenues of service.

You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

They also have a live chat available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Whether you call or chat, they work to ensure your safety is of utmost importance.  All calls and chats are completely confidential.



The NFL gets a stern talking to

Wrong Answer

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive
behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every
community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.
Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is
part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury,
psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations
and truly last a lifetime. (source: ncadv)

Domestic violence is a serious issue plaguing the United States.  Nearly 1.3 million women are the victims of domestic violence every year-by an intimate partner, such as a boyfriend, lover, or spouse.  In fact, historically, women are victimized  most often by someone they know. Those women between the ages of 20-24 face the highest risk of nonfatal domestic abuse from an intimate partner.  This violence has social costs as well:

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds
$5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for
direct medical and mental health services.17

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8
million days of paid work because of the violence
perpetrated against them by current or former
husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the
equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and
almost 5.6 million days of household productivity
as a result of violence.17

There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million
(medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner
violence annually, which costs $37 billion.18
(source:  ncadv)

Given the cost to women-in many cases, their very lives (and even when they aren’t killed, they can suffer life altering traumatic injuries), as well as the social costs, it would behoove the powers that be to work towards reducing domestic violence.

 Kentucky’s response?  Arm women:  

This week, a Kentucky lawkicks in that aims to protect domestic violence victims—not by taking away guns from their abusers, but by making it easier for victims to carry guns.

Kentucky has some of the most lax gun restrictions for domestic violence perps in the nation, and between 2003 and 2012, a greater percentage of intimate-partner homicides in Kentucky were committed with guns than anywhere else in the country. A number of states prohibit certain domestic abusers from possessing guns with laws that bar convicted stalkers, people subject to temporary restraining orders, or dating partners convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. Kentucky does none of that. For the chart above, Mother Jones looked at eight gun restrictions related to domestic violence that states have enacted; Kentucky had zero. (In the chart, Kentucky is in the upper right-hand corner.)

The new Kentucky law, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, doesn’t stop abusers from possessing a firearm. But it makes it easier for victims to carry a weapon. Under the law, anyone granted an emergency protective order or who obtains a domestic violence order can apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon, temporarily waiving the requirement to complete firearms training. (The person still has to complete a background check.) This means a victim (or someone threatened with domestic violence) can obtain a concealed carry permit in as little as 24 hours.

This is magical thinking at its best (actually at its worst): give potential victims a gun and that will protect them.  Unfortunately, people aren’t superhuman. If you’re being stalked by an intimate partner, you’d have to be ready at all times.  At work. At school. At church. In the car.  At the grocery store.  In traffic.  At the beach. At home. At dinner.  You’d constantly have to be aware of everything around you and have your gun within reach. You also have to be trained in how to use the gun effectively.  All of that is implausible.  Not impossible, but should the victims of domestic violence have to be on their guard every single second of every single day of their entire lives?  That’s living in fear and terror.  No one should have to live like that.

Also, owning a gun doesn’t necessarily make women safer:

A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that 20 percent of women killed in California were murdered by an intimate partner using a gun. But among the female victims who had purchased handguns, that number jumped to 45 percent.

The answer to reducing domestic violence isn’t an armed society.  The answer lies in protecting women from domestic violence.  One such way would be to make it harder for perpetrators of domestic violence to acquire guns.

Wrong Answer