Bullet Head– The Teacher Who Could Kill With His Bare Hands

I am not making this up. I had a teacher in high school who bragged about how lethal he was. He claimed he was an ex-Marine.

Some of the fringe in Congress are talking about passing laws that require every teacher to carry a gun and be trained to shoot. They did not go to Pilgrim High School and sit in Bullet Head’s class, or they would have been grateful he did not carry.

I remember him vividly. Sadly, I have no recollection at all of what subject he was supposed to be teaching. Bullet Head– The Teacher Who Could Kill With His Bare Hands

Strong Words from Mitt Romney

An officer and a citizen were killed in the latest random assault weapon murder, but let’s get our priorities straight…

MIAMI (AP) — Mitt Romney says gun laws are not the answer to the recent string of mass shootings.

Romney says it’s not about the weapons used in the attacks, but about the individuals who choose to commit violence against others.

The Republican presidential candidate spoke hours after a police officer, a gunman and a third person were killed in a shooting near Texas A&M University.

Romney says “thoughtful consideration” is needed about what can be done to prevent violent attacks. But he says he isn’t calling for any particular legislation.

Rest in peace, County Constable Brian Bachmann. No one has your back.

The Lone Gunman– A Continuing Drama

As of this writing we don’t know what spark ignited homicide in the mind of the latest famous shooter. This is happening near the campus of Texas A&M, but when all is sorted out, may have nothing at all to do with the college–may have no connection with anything we consider rational.

These days I am reminded of a book by journalist Jessica Stern called, ‘Terror in the Name of God’.

Jessica Stern interviews men and women willing to kill for a cause, Muslims, Christians and Jews across the globe. One of her interviewees is Bob Lokey, an American antiabortion activist–

“What fraction of the antiabortion movement supports killing abortion providers, what you call defensive action? I ask
“A small core would actually carry it out in my view” he says. “But one hundred percent of the people I talk to believe the things I says about it. I sometimes ask people, ‘Do you believe America needs a civil war?’ and everybody I talk to about that says yes. And I talk to a lot of people. A civil war would be pretty violent. Most people that I know and that I talk to would agree with me on this–it’s just that they’re not as vocal as I am.”

Bob Lokey names as an inspiration Paul Hill, who shot and killed Dr. John Britton, and his security escort, James Barrett, a retired air force lieutenant colonel. What is the motive?

“Individual operatives can have their own reasons for turning to terrorism unrelated to the group’s goals. “Individuals are drawn to terrorism in order to commit terrorist violence.” Jerrold Post argues. They feel “psychologically compelled” to commit violent acts, and the political objectives they espouse are only a rationalization.”

Wade Michael Page committed mass murder of his fellow Americans as they peaceably assembled for worship. It may be that he was a missile that misfired– an angry armed man whose suicide mission failed to inspire the masses. An unstable fellow-traveler whose regrettable action is to be deplored. The racists he hung out with are not canonizing him, more like distancing. S..t happens.

But if you believe that in the social ecology nothing persists that fails to serve some purpose, this from Politico raises some questions…

By TOMER OVADIA | 8/13/12 4:50 PM EDT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Monday defended gun rights as police investigated a deadly shooting near Texas A&M University, saying firearms issues should be addressed by states and that he doesn’t think “taking guns away from law-abiding citizens” would make the country after.

“When it gets back to this issue of taking guns away from law abiding citizens and somehow know that’s going to make our country safer, it’s just I don’t agree with that,” Perry, who noted he didn’t have all the details of the shootings, said on Fox News while sitting next to Florida Governor Rick Scott.

“I think most people in Texas certainly don’t agree with that, and that is a state-by-state issue, frankly, that should be decided in the states and not again a rush to Washington, D.C., to centralize the decision-making, and them to decide what is in the best interest for the citizens of Florida or for Texas,” Perry continued. “That’s for the people of these states to decide.”

Perry also said people should be able to own guns so that they can defend themselves.

One of the dead was a law enforcement officer on duty, but the Governor is not wasting any breath on regrets.

More fear= more gun sales= more fear= more gun sales. It’s an ill wind blows nobody good.

Serial Killings?

There is crazy– like the guy I saw at the IMH who spent his days eating dirt off the floor– and then there is acting out a script.

Posts on Twitter report a shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Ridge Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports 8 to 20 people shot. The shooter is not yet identified.

From ABC News…

According to information broadcast over police radio, a witness to the shooting told law enforcement the shooter was a white male, bald, with a heavy build. He was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, according to Oak Creek Patch. He was last seen with two handguns.

We don’t know yet who or why, but this has the familiar feeling of the angry man who goes out in a blaze of glory. We know the script, why do we give then the props?

Is this the new normal? Like when pubs were bombed in Ireland in a pattern that made sense to political terrorists but was random to the innocent people killed and injured? Sikhs are a minority within a minority in the US. Some members of the religion stand out as ‘other’ by their dress and observance. Are we supposed to be learning a lesson here? To be more afraid? To buy more guns? Is this repeated violence serving anyone’s purpose? Maybe just the perpetrators, and all the angry souls who build a private arsenal and feel the power of what they could do.

UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune–

Seven people, including the suspected shooter, are reported dead and three are wounded, including a police officer who killed the gunman, after a shooting this morning at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee.

Greenfield, Wis., Police Chief Brad Wentlandt said in a press conference that four people had been found dead inside the temple and three people were found dead outside the temple. Officials say three people are in critical condition at a Milwaukee hospital.

Wentlandt said that after a 10:25 a.m. call to 911, officers were sent to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, 7512 S. Howell Ave., in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan.

“A police officer responded to the scene and when he arrived, he engaged an active shooter,” the chief said. “Gunfire was exchanged and the gunman shot the officer multiple times.”

A HATE CRIME: Today’s CNN tells a story that is too familiar…

Oak Creek, Wisconsin (CNN) — The man who shot six people to death and wounded three others during a rampage at a Sikh temple in a Milwaukee suburb was an Army veteran who may have been a white supremacist, according to a law enforcement source involved in the investigation.

The name of the shooter, who himself was killed by police after wounding an officer, may be released as early as Monday morning, the source added.

Earlier, the FBI said that it had not determined a motive for the Sunday morning shooting and that investigators were looking into whether the attack might be classified as domestic terrorism.

The article goes on to list incidents of violence against members of the Sikh religion since 9/11. Observant Sikh men wear turbans and have been mistaken for Muslims.

The investigation is just beginning, but this type of crime– a mass shooting of unarmed, unsuspecting people who exercised their right to peacefully assemble, to worship as their conscience dictates– has happened too many times in the last three decades to be called an aberration.

There’s a phrase, ‘suicide magnet’ for places like the Empire State Building, where multiple incidents finally lead to the construction of barriers.

We need to look at ‘homicide magnets’. We need to discredit the hateful ideologies that motivated a violent few, and stop giving them what they want– a glorious martyrdom. And we have to put the ‘well-regulated’ back into the 2nd Amendment and reinstate the assault weapons ban. All freedoms are moderated by all other freedoms. Our right to peaceably assemble is under attack. It’s time for sensible gun control and time for politicians to dial down the rhetoric and look at what unites us.

Why?

Army Navy Store on Thayer Street

My father-in-law told me a story about self-defense with a gun.

The family lived far out in the country, and in Alabama in the 1930′s there was no justice for Black people in the courts of law. One day when the adults were away, a gang of racists drove out to the house planning some act of terrorism. The sight of a rifle barrel poking through the window persuaded them to move on. My father-in-law laughed at the fact that the rifle was held by a twelve year old boy.

A rifle in a farmhouse, though it saved a family that day, could not protect the Black community of Selma from many other crimes and violations. It took the intervention of the Federal Government to bring equal protection under law to those citizens.

For some people a gun is a means of self-defense. But where is the self-defense in an assault weapon? How many rounds of ammunition does it take to stop a housebreaker?

Why are our politicians so afraid of an extreme fringe that confuses self-defense with the ‘right’ to build a private arsenal and buy weapons of mass destruction? Who does it serve when one gun is not enough, when accountability is seen as an intrusion on individual rights. When each senseless, horrific murder of innocent people is a murder of our right to peaceably assemble– without high security, without fearing our neighbors.

Words Fail.

Before we get bombarded with news stories about the shooter, feeding into the myth that will inspire the next criminal to grab a gun and the headlines– here’s from Associated Press…

Twelve people who died in the Colorado movie shooting have been identified by the Arapahoe County coroner.

—Jessica Ghawi, 24, of Denver; aspiring sports journalist

—Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, whose mother was critically injured

—Matt McQuinn, 27, of Denver; technical support provider

—Alex Sullivan, 27, of Aurora; worked at Red Robin restaurant

— Micayla Medek, 23, of Westminster, Colo., student at Aurora Community College

—John Larimer, 27, of Buckley Air Force Base, Navy cryptologist

—Jesse Childress, 29, of Thornton, Colo., Air Force cyber-systems operator

—Gordon W. Cowden, 51, of Aurora, small business owner and father of two teens

—Jonathan T. Blunk, 26, of Aurora, worked at a hardware store, served five years in the U.S. Navy.

—Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32, of Aurora customer relations representative at a mobile medical imaging company

—Alexander C. Teves, 24, of Phoenix, earned master’s degree in counseling psychology in June from University of Denver

—Alexander J. Boik, 18, incoming freshman student at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design who planned to become an art teacher

No More

Today’s Providence Journal has a story by Amanda Milkovits that has been told too many times in Providence and elsewhere…

PROVIDENCE — A half-dozen boys were on the basketball courts at the Manton Heights housing development on Tuesday evening, shooting hoops and practicing The Jerk dance moves.
By quarter to 8, it was dark, and 12-year-old Joshua Torres was long overdue home. He asked his friend 13-year-old Angel Santiago if he wanted to walk with him. They were heading home when they saw a man about 100 feet away walking to the unlit porch of one of the row houses.
The man was dressed in black. The boys saw him sit down casually on the darkened stoop. He pulled out a gun.

Joseph Hector was shot and murdered on Camp Street over ten years ago. A street shrine for him is kept up by someone who won’t forget. When do we just shake our heads and say it’s a shame– and when do we say, no more?