This is a public safety announcement: 1951 vs. 2012

There was a time when the government put out silly little public safety films on how to deal with far fetched disasters, like how to hide under a desk when an atom bomb went off:

But today, the disasters aren’t far fetched, and the videos aren’t silly, they’re terrifying:

Who’d have thought we’d need a training film that tells us what to do when a psychopath loaded with guns starts shooting up our buildings? But this is the kind of stuff I worry about because:

— Two years after I left one of my former jobs, a guy armed with an AK-47 and several handguns entered the building went on a rampage and killed eight people, wounded 12 and then killed himself.

— Three years after I left my state job, a state official pulled out a .357 Magnum during a press conference, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. I had met him a couple of times and attended numerous press conferences in the room he killed himself in.

— When I was working in Europe, I read that a former co-worker in New York slipped into insanity, went into a pizzeria and shot a guy to death, then shot to death two auxiliary police officers who were chasing him. Police had to shoot him to death. He had two guns and 100 rounds of ammunition. I used to work with him daily. He was odd, but I didn’t know he was going insane.

Guns don’t kill people. Crazy people with guns kill people.

I cannot condemn the gun lobby and the NRA enough for putting us through this.

Shoot first. Don’t ask questions later.

Tom Tomorrow released this cartoon last year after Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six other people were killed in Arizona: Nothing has changed.

Oh, and last week, there was an antigun rally at the National Rifle Association offices in Washington. The reason you didn’t see any news coverage of it was only 12 people showed up. And no one wants to address the issue of gun control, because “We shouldn’t politicize the issue.” God forbid we talk about gun control when a mass murder occurs in an election year.

We don’t have a chance.

Goons with guns: Aurora, Colo.

John Cole at Balloon Juice makes this observation:

It occurred to me tonight that we live in a country where the Supreme Court has decided the 1st amendment does not give you the right to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theatre, but the 2nd Amendment gives you an unfettered right to amass enough guns to shoot 71 people in the same theatre.

And he points out that we are now a broken record when it comes to America’s reaction to gun violence:

R- Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

D- Yes, but guns make it very easy to kill people in large quantities. He would not have been able to stab 71 people.

R- Stop trying to politicize this tragedy! What we need are not fewer guns, but more guns. If only someone else in that theatre had had a gun, they would have been able to stop him in his tracks.

D- Yes. Nothing could go wrong with crossfire in a dark theatre. This is absurd. There is a clear lesson here, and we need to do something about the ease with which people get firearms.

R- There’s no lesson to be learned, the guy was crazy. You can’t stop every crazy person.

D- We could try to make it harder for crazy people to walk around with a shotgun, a rifle, two handguns, and gas cannisters.

R- I knew Obama and you liberals were coming for our guns. Second Amendment!

Despite what happened in Aurora, Colo., Thursday night, where a lunatic with a lot of guns killed at least a dozen people during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,” nothing is going to change. We went through shock yesterday. Today, we will mourn. Tomorrow, we’ll listen to the argument that you shouldn’t adjust gun policy because of the actions of a crazy person. And by Monday, we’ll look at new reports about massacres in the Middle East or Africa and pat ourselves on the back because we live in a civilized country.

Someone will say this isn’t the time to talk about politics. But here goes.

1) Our legislators are cowards. They know nothing is absolute in the Constitution (look at how we’ve bastardized free speech) but they appear to think the Second Amendment is actually the Second Commandment of the Book of Exodus. They’re not going to do anything to restrict guns, because they’re in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and they’d rather remain in office than protect Americans from armed psychopaths.

2) The gun lobby is killing us. We can be shot by people who feel threatened by a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. We can be shot by a two-bit hood on a city street who was sold a gun in a back alley. We can be shot by a goofball who went to the local gun fair and forgot to put on the safety as he jokingly and unwittingly waves a loaded gun in our face. If we’re cops, we can be shot if we enter someone’s house in Indiana. And the NRA‘s answer is that we need more guns.

3) When you’re driving along the highway and see a cop pull a car over for no apparent reason, you’re going to see a black guy behind the wheel. When an Arizona cop stops a person on the street and demands to see identification, you see a Latino searching through his pockets. When you’re at the airport and going through security, the woman who’s pulled out of line for a more elaborate screening is going to be a Muslim. But when you pick up the morning paper and read that a gunman went nuts at the local mall or a teenager packing heat rampaged through his high school, what do you think the shooter is going to look like?

Some idiot in the White House press corps today asked the president’s press secretary if Aurora was a terrorist attack. What the moron was asking was “did a brown person do it?” Because in this country, only brown people are perceived to be terrorists. The answer from the press secretary was: no.

But it was a terrorist attack. Just like the attack in Arizona on Congresswoman Gabriele Giffords. Just like the attack years ago at Columbine High School (which isn’t far from Aurora). Just like the attack earlier this year in Oslo when the white supremacist murdered more than 70 kids at a youth camp. But we don’t call white guys with arsenals terrorists. We say they’re “deranged.” And that is our racial profiling lesson for the day.

4) To our friends on the right. Despite your paranoid fantasy, Obama isn’t going after your guns. And that’s why he disappoints our friends on the left. If he had trampled your god-given right to have as many guns as you have fingers and toes (at least the ones you haven’t shot off yet), Aurora might not have happened.

‘Shoot your neighbor’ insurance

Given that the NRA pushed state legislatures throughout the country to enact “Stand Your Ground” laws that allow people to shoot other people when they feel threatened, and that the NRA motivated Indiana to pass a law that allows people to shoot police officers entering their homes, you’d think they’d give their “kill anything that moves” mantra a rest for a while?

Right?

Bors has to be kidding, right?

Our Self-Defense Insurance protects National Rifle Association members who need extra protection not found in most homeowners’ policies.

The coverage is a rider to the Excess Personal Liability coverage, and provides civil defense and liability and criminal defense reimbursement if you are involved in an act of self-defense.

What’s Covered:

• Provides coverage up to the limit selected for criminal and civil defense costs.
• Cost of civil suit defense is provided in addition to the limit of liability for bodily injury and property damage.
Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.

Liability Limit Options:

• $100,000 Combined Single Limit with $50,000 criminal defense reimbursement sub-limit
• $250,000 Combined Single Limit with $50,000 criminal defense reimbursement sub-limit

Purchase your Self-Defense Coverage online.

*If you currently have a policy with us, please call a representative to renew.

I especially like their buyers comments:

“The NRA Endorsed Insurance Program offers me peace of mind; knowing I will have the coverage I need if I ever have to defend myself or my family.”

Look, people. The NRA isn’t going to stop until it takes its bullets from our cold, dead bodies. And then, it’s going to reload.

Hoosiers on parade: They shoot cops, don’t they?

News across the river from home:

Every time police Sgt. Joseph Hubbard stops a speeder or serves a search warrant, he says he worries that suspects assume they can open fire – without breaking the law.

Hubbard, a 17-year veteran of the Police Department in Jeffersonville, Ind., says his apprehension stems from a state law approved this year that allows residents to use deadly force in response to the “unlawful intrusion” by a “public servant” to protect themselves and others, or their property.

And we thought Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was way out there.

The Indiana law was pushed by the National Rifle Association.

Indiana is the first U.S. state to specifically allow force against officers, according to the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in Washington, which represents and supports prosecutors. The National Rifle Association pushed for the law, saying an unfavorable court decision made the need clear and that it would allow homeowners to defend themselves during a violent, unjustified attack. Police lobbied against it.

The NRA has worked to spread permissive gun laws around the country. Among them is the stand-your-ground self-defense measure in Florida, which generated nationwide controversy after the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teenager.

It’s like a flashback to the ’60s, but back then the ones who called for owning guns for protection from police intrusion included Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. They were considered extremists, dangerous radicals and terrorists.

I never thought there would be a way to equate the NRA with the Black Panthers, but the NRA has accomplished what a some Panthers were shot to death for … by the police. Difference is, the NRA didn’t lose any blood, and it got a state legislature to agree with it.

How can any police organization support this group?

Meet interesting people and shoot them

Somehow, this seems extremely relevant these days (via Digby):

There’s been a lot of talk about race in the Trayvon Martin case. And race is a significant factor here. But what’s getting lost in the outrage is this (via Pro Publica).

Alabama

Arizona

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois (The law does not includes a duty to retreat, which courts have interpreted as a right to expansive self-defense.)

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Michigan

Mississippi

Montana

Nevada

North Carolina

Oklahoma

Oregon (Also does not include a duty to retreat.)

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Washington (Also does not include a duty to retreat.)

West Virginia

If you live in the above states. You are allowed to murder if you think you’re in danger. Even if you’re following a kid with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles who is walking on the street suspiciously. By the same token, you can be murdered if you’re walking along a street with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles if you decide to defend yourself from some weird guy who gets out of his SUV and accosts you. And the above states aren’t Florida. Here’s that state’s law.

And what does a guilty person look like?

As Media Reports Conflict, Why Was Trayvon Martin Photo Altered?

Among a few interesting items uncovered in trying to examine the facts behind the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin without drawing any conclusions, was that a widely viewed photograph of Martin appears to have been altered, somewhat….

The one below has been observed in the media and at forums such as Democracy Now. Clearly, it has been lightened, or softened, somehow. Along with other possible alterations, he looks far more, perhaps innocent is the right word, in the altered image.

What? His skin was lightened? That bit of paranoia comes from the Breitbart crowd over at Media Reports Conflict. As Little Green Footballs points out:

It’s a photograph of a low resolution copy of the picture on a sign at a protest — not “the original” at all.

But that’s not relevant. What is relevant is that these right wingers associate light skin with innocence and dark skin with guilt. Just like George Zimmerman did.

And isn’t it a little bit odd that the National Rifle Association, the instigator of these shoot to kill laws, hasn’t said a word about how Trayvon Martin should have been armed to defend himself? Because they always say everybody should have a gun to defend themselves. It’s all about safety, right?

Oh yeah. This was explained in “Bowling for Columbine.”