Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Trump’s “Enemies” List, like the NRA’s, Keeps Growing

Monday, July 25th, 2016

 

“It’s the temperament, stupid!” Many who fear a Trump presidency are less worried about his policies than his “attack back” reflex which is his most distinguishing characteristic.

 

When provoked, Trump has attacked everyone from news outlets/reporters (including Fox News) to leaders in his own party like governors Scott Walker, Rick Scott and Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain. He has even attacked mega donor Charles Koch, Karl Rove (once the Republican party “architect”) and federal judges. Does he even think before he fires?

 

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In his “get even” reprisal reflex Trump is just like the gun lobby he has recently* come to embrace. (*In 2015, his Chicago Trump International Hotel and Tower sported a “no guns” sign.) The gun lobby is notorious for shooting its wounded and taking no prisoners.

 

Does anyone remember what happened to outdoors personality Jim Zumbo when he said this about military style weapons in 2007: “Maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I’ll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist’ rifles,” he wrote on a blog. “We don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them.”

 

Zumbo was promptly called a “turncoat” by his brethren. He was stripped of his Outdoors Network TV show, Outdoor Life magazine position and his relationship with Remington Arms. His TV show was restored after he issued this offensive recantation. “I’ll do all I can to educate others who are, or were, as ignorant as I was about ‘black’ rifles and the controversy that surrounds them,” he vowed. “My promise to you is that I’ll learn all I can about these firearms, and by the time this week is out, I’ll order one.” In the words of George Orwell, Zumbo loved Big Brother, too.

 

Then there was the termination and resignation of editors at Guns & Ammo magazine in 2013 for daring to call for mandatory gun-owner training–a clear violation of “gun rights” said the gun lobby. Why should people carrying lethal weapons know how to handle or shoot them? The government “should not deem it necessary to micromanage the citizen exercise of essential rights,” said the NRA.

 

And how about these reprisals in Florida? The NRA launched a rabid campaign calling Republican state lawmaker Charles McBurney ”unfit” to be a circuit court judge in the Jacksonville area. His “crime”? When chairing the House Judiciary Committee, he did not bring a bill up for vote that would have strengthened Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

 

A few years before that, lawmaker Juan-Carlos Planas, who had served in the Florida House, opposed a bill allowing gun owners to leave weapons in their cars at work. Many employers and property owners oppose guns stored on their property for obvious reasons from insurance and accidents to workplace beefs and deliberate violence. But, by defending property owner rights, Planas was shocked to receive a grade of “D” from the NRA.

 

“I went to Marion Hammer [a fierce gun lobbyist] and was like, ‘How the hell can you name me anti-gun?’” he recounts. “She was like, ‘You earned that rating.’” They are no doubt the same words Trump says to those on his growing enemies list.

 

 

 

 

 

Armed Husbands Shoot Seven Women This Week, Five Die

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

 

Gun Gendercide Continues

 

 

While the nation tries to digest the crime of two media members killed on camera in Virginia by a legal gun owner, a spate of women killed by enraged armed husbands has received less notice.

 

Hours after receiving a year of unsupervised probation for violating an order of protection against domestic violence filed by his wife, James Terry Colley, Jr. shot and killed his wife Amanda Cloaninger and her friend Lindy Dobbins in St. Augustine, Florida last Thursday, say police. Until Colley was apprehended, three nearby schools were locked down including one where the couple’s child attends.

 

Two days later, Blessing Okereke was fatally shot in the Bank of America tower in Oak Cliff in Dallas by her husband say police. Husband David Thompson told police he believed his wife was reaching for his pistol, so he shot her in self-defense. Right.

 

The following day, Nuria N. Kudlach was fatally shot at her home in State College, PA and her husband was charged with first- and third-degree murder the following day. And yesterday Sonja Wells Raine was fatally shot on her job in Pascagoula, MS by her enraged husband according to police. Raine’s “sister got killed the same way by her boyfriend or husband, so that is shocking,” said co-worker Kim Pinkney.

 

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Amazingly, more women were shot by enraged husbands last week. Also shot were Francisca Jew at a donut shop in Devine, Texas and an unidentified Arlington, Washington woman. The Devine and Arlington women are expected to survive.

 

Half the murders of women in the US each year are by intimate partners and homicide increases 500 percent when a firearm is present. Yet the overwhelmingly male NRA is okay with the gendercide statistics and actually works for the “gun rights” of suspected domestic abusers, also overwhelmingly men. In Michigan the NRA sought to push through a law allowing people under court issued restraining orders to keep their guns. Like David Thompson, the suspect in the Bank of America tower murder in Dallas, they might have to “defend ” themselves.

 

When women are gunned down by enraged partners, often in public places where others are injured too, the NRA likes to say if women are really scared they should arm themselves too. The rhetoric is offensive. Should Nadia Ezaldein, fatally shot by an enraged boyfriend in front of horrified shoppers as she worked behind the cosmetics counter at Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Nordstrom’s last Black Friday, have kept a gun under the counter just in case?

 

“Women should arm themselves” is an NRA fiction to occlude the bloody gun “gendercide” committed by known domestic abusers under orders of protection who the gun lobby says have “rights.” In at least four instances in recent years, women who had armed themselves were killed with their own guns because of the element of fear and surprise and because the men were bigger, angrier and motivated perpetrators.

 

The NRA also likes to say no laws can stop partner murderers, ignoring every developed country in the world where domestic gun homicide does not happen weekly--or at all. If seven men were shot in the head in one week by wives who were known to be violent and armed, would it say the same thing?

 

Tell these top corporations, with pre-written tweets, to protect their employees and customers by banning guns in their stores and offices.

 

 

 

Who remembers this Stand-Your-Ground Case Months After Trayvon Martin?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

 

Chicago

 

Who remembers the shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida nine months after Trayvon Martin’s death in Sanford, Florida? The case received less media play than that of Trayvon Martin but both focused attention on white gun carriers profiling African-Americans as “bad guys” and using Florida’s extreme laws to defend themselves. George Zimmerman famously said he felt scared for his life even though he was the stalker and Trayvon Martin was unarmed. Like most bullies, Zimmerman thought he was the victim.

 

Zimmerman did not invoke Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in his defense but George Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer charged with murdering Jordan Davis, did and a new Sundance documentary covers his trial.

 

“3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” from Participant Media, written and directed by Marc Silver, had its Chicago premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center to a sold out audience earlier this month. Lucia McBath, Jordan Davis’ mother, spoke after the film which will be shown on HBO this fall.

 

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Many remember the highlights of the case which was dubbed the “loud music” or “thug music” trial by the media. Angry about loud music in a car next to him at a gas station (while his girlfriend was buying something inside) George Dunn got in an altercation with the four youths in the car and shot and killed Jordan Davis.

 

Much of the movie’s tension centers on trial proceedings to determine if Dunn was really threatened or felt threatened before he shot 10 bullets into the car. Dunn’s lawyer, Cory Strolla, valiantly tries to prove in the film that Dunn was scared for his life before he shot, either seeing the barrel of a gun or a lead pipe, both of which are weapons that could do “harm” he notes. Dunn’s defense attorney puts law enforcement officers on the stand and tries to prove that they did a poor job of examining the crime scene; that a weapon could indeed have been displayed, as Dunn claims, and then discarded, perhaps in a dumpster. But Dunn’s girlfriend, Rhonda Rouer, denies on the stand that Dunn ever mentioned a gun or other weapon immediately after the shooting, later that evening or even the next day.

 

Moved and relieved by Rouer’s testimony, which proved a turning point in the trial leading to Dunn’s conviction, Lucia McBath says in the movie she does not know if Rouer has children of her own but felt that her compassion had inspired her to tell the truth about the shooting.

 

“3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” includes real time audio and video from the shooting as Rouer pays in the gas station while shots ring out and bystanders yell someone’s “shooting” and they better call “911.” The film intercuts between dramatic trial footage, close up interviews with Jordan’s friends and the effect of the shooting and trial on McBath and Jordan’s father Ron Davis and even the community.

 

Despite its subject, there are some moments of laughter in “3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” like when Jordan’s friends say he dressed sharp but was miserable at basketball and when they are asked on the witness stand why they bought gum at the gas station where the shooting occurred. (They wanted to meet girls and make sure their breath wasn’t bad, they say.)

 

Still, the broken lives from the shooting are hard to ignore–from friends and family of Jordan to those close to Michael Dunn. Upon sentencing Dunn to life in prison (after a second trial which found him guilty of murder) Circuit Court Judge Russell Healey admonishes Dunn that there would have been “nothing wrong” with retreating from the scene instead of shooting. Stand Your Ground laws remove the “duty to retreat.”

 

The first “shoot first,” Stand Your Ground law was signed in Florida by then governor Jeb Bush in 2005 and self-defense claims quickly tripled. Before enactment, Miami police chief John F. Timoney said the law was dangerous and could be used against “trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard” or “some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house.” In addition to the Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis cases, over zealous gun owners have killed a woman who knocked on a door near Detroit after a car accident, an Alzheimer’s patient who knocked on a door in Georgia and a German exchange student who had entered the garage of homeowners in Montana.

 

 

 

Who is a Bad Guy? Someone Who Makes You Mad?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Gun advocates have managed to legalize “concealed carry” in every state and recently on Texas campuses so they are ready for “bad guys.”

 

But how do you know a bad guy? On the first day of Georgia’s “guns everywhere all the time” law, one carrier accosted another in a convenience store–both thinking the other might be a bad guy. Maybe they should have been wearing white hats.

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In the last two years in Florida, often called the Gunshine state, men carrying Skittles, popcorn and playing loud music have been mistaken for bad guys and shot dead on the spot. Sorry about that.

 

Last year, gun owners shot and killed an unarmed black woman, an unarmed elderly Alzheimer’s patient and an unarmed foreign exchange student on their property because they thought they were bad guys. Sorry about that too. Several times a year gun advocates shoot their own family members, thinking them bad guys trying to break into the house.

 

Another problem is that gun advocates’ definition of a bad guy changes when they get mad. A few weeks ago, a 74-year-old man who police say was lawfully carrying a concealed gun shot another motorist in the face in Warwick township, PA over a road rage incident. In February, Ashley R. Curry was charged with shooting Jamie J. Roland in the abdomen after a road rage incident in Columbia, PA. This month, in Omaha, police arrested Randolph Headrick for shooting at a motorist in another road rage incident. Hey, the motorist cut him off.

 

Sometimes a boss, doctor or authority figure seems like a bad guy. Last year, Tony DeFrances, a law-abiding citizen and chief technology officer got mad at his company’s CEO and fatally shot him in a Chicago Loop high-rise. Last January, Stephen Pasceri, described as a “churchgoing Army veteran and father of four,” got mad at cardiovascular surgeon Michael Davidson in Brigham and Women’s Hospital and shot him dead. Also last year, Michael Hrnciar, a “law-abiding citizen” who worked at an Illinois chemical business for ten years without incident, decided to ambush and murder a police officer because he got mad. Hrnciar may have been “law-abiding,” but he moved to gun-friendly Indiana from Illinois so he could legally carry a handgun.

 

Of course when gun advocates get mad, their families and loved ones can also appear like bad guys. This week, a Montana man killed his three children and wife. In the last year, there have been four other instances of men shooting and killing their whole families including Don Spirit who murdered his daughter and six grandchildren at his Florida home last summer.

 

The truth is when someone has easy access to a lethal weapon, anyone is or can be a “bad guy” if they make him mad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NRA Puppet of the Week- Marion Hammer, Repeat Winner

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

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When it comes to gun activism you are a busy bee. After getting Florida’s Stand Your Ground law on the books, you pushed for a law criminalizing doctors who ask about a gun in the home. “Physicians interrogating and lecturing parents and children about guns is not about gun safety. It is a political agenda to ban guns,” you said. Now you are accusing Florida police chiefs who spoke against a bill allowing guns on campuses of “lobbying” with tax dollars. Like the $400,000 in tax dollars each gun homicide costs taxpayers?
 
Gun Loving Ghoul “OK” With A Little Homicide, You, Marion Hammer, are the NRA Puppet of the Week
 
Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws. Follow us at @GunVictimsAct
 

See List of All NRA Puppets

 

Why Shouldn't Domestic Abusers and Stalkers Have Gun Rights?

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Chicago

 

It is hard to believe but true. NRA lobbyists recently pushed a bill through the Michigan legislature that would have allowed gun permits for abusers in domestic violence and stalking cases, including those under court-issued restraining orders. Luckily Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the incomprehensible legislation.

 

Those of us who live in Chicago are still haunted by the brazen Black Friday murder of 22-year-old law student Nadia Ezaldein at the Nordstrom’s on Chicago’s Michigan avenue by just such a person. Estranged boyfriend Marcus Dee, say police, used a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun to murder Ezaldein in front of horrified shoppers following a string of domestic violence incidents.

 

This month in a north Chicago suburb, Elpidia Munoz-Garcia was similarly shot and killed by her boyfriend as was Detret Burley in Palatka, Florida!

 

Last month, also in the Chicago area, Allan Kustok was found guilty of fatally shooting his wife Anita “Jeanie” Kustok at their suburban home which the defense called a “suicide.” Instead of calling 911, investigators said Kustok waited for a period of time and then took his wife to the hospital, arguing that her death was a suicide. But, testified Dr. Hilary McElligott who conducted the autopsy, it “wasn’t possible for Jeanie Kustok to use her right hand to shoot herself on the left side of her face at such an angle.”

 

In 2012, Zina Haughton was killed by her estranged husband Radcliffe Haughton along with two other women in suburban Milwaukee, said police. Haughton had threatened to throw acid on his wife’s face and burn her and her family with gas if she ever left him according to news reports. He was under a restraining order. Haughton stalked his wife to a nail spa where she shot seven women.

 

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According to psychologists and law enforcement experts, lethal domestic abuse is predictable and follows months or years of escalating threats and violence. Domestic abusers often become violent when their partner threatens to leave them as George Zimmerman’s recent police-related events suggest.

It is shocking to think the NRA cares more about the “rights” of violent domestic abusers than the women they kill but it is true. According to Marion Hammer, one of the NRA’s top lobbyists who is credited with drafting original Stand Your Ground laws, violent criminals have rights too. When 1,400 probable Florida felons were reported issued concealed weapon licenses including one charged with shooting his girlfriend in the head,  she actually defended their “rights.” “When you begin taking away the rights of people that you don’t like, that’s the slippery slope,” she said. Don’t like? Gun violence is a women’s issue and NRA its macabre sponsor.

National Gun Victims Actions Council is the U.S.’s largest gun victims group. Join our effort to get corporate America to take a stand against gun violence. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws. Follow us! @GunVictimsAct

 

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NRA Puppet of the Week- George Zimmerman

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

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Weeks after emboldening vigilantes everywhere with your acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin, your wife, Shellie phoned 911 and told emergency operators “He’s in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun and keeps saying step closer and he’s gonna shoot us.” Three months later, your girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, told police on a 911 call you were pointing “your gun at my fricking face.” Then this week you were arrested for allegedly throwing a wine bottle at another girlfriend who told police you were a “psycho.”
 
Cop wannabe who terrorizes women in his spare time, you GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, are the NRA Puppet of the Week.

 
National Gun Victims Actions Council is the U.S.’s largest gun victims group. Join our effort to get corporate America to take a stand against gun violence. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.  Follow us! @GunVictimsAct
 

See List of All NRA Puppets

 

These Defeats Show the NRA is a Paper Tiger

Monday, January 12th, 2015

 

Many Americans think the NRA is powerful. It certainly blocked new gun legislation after the Sandy Hook shootings which it blamed on violent video games as it called for arming teachers. Right.

 

But soon after the Virginia Tech shootings, Georgia politicians served the NRA a resounding defeat. It tried to push a bill through allowing gun owners to hide firearms in their cars without even passing carry permit background checks. The bill also made it illegal for employers and property owners to ban guns on their property. The NRA even circulated a letter from Chris Cox, warning Georgia lawmakers if they tried to add hostile amendments or not vote, they could expect a bad grade from the gun group.

 

But despite its threats, the NRA couldn’t raise a vote and ended up getting its own “F.”

 

Things were even worse in Florida, the so-called Gunshine state where you don’t even need a permit to buy a firearm and can buy more than one at a time. A week after the Virginia Tech shootings, a guns-in-parking-lot bill was defeated in the Florida House of Representatives by a 10-4 vote!

 

Then there was the NRA’s ill-fated boycott of ConocoPhillips in 2005 when the energy giant dared to challenge the Oklahoma law preventing companies from banning loaded guns in employee cars and 12 employees were fired.

 

“ConocoPhillips went to federal court to attack your freedom,” NRA leader Wayne LaPierre thundered. “We’re going to make ConocoPhillips the example of what happens when a corporation takes away your Second Amendment rights. If you are a corporation that’s anti-gun, anti-gun owner, or anti-Second Amendment, we will spare no effort or expense to work against you, to protect the rights of your law-abiding employees.”

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But nothing happened! There was no limping quarterly report, no reaction from ConocoPhillips or palliative corporate statement. Not even a mention on the web site.

 

Did the NRA really think it could intimidate the nation’s largest integrated energy company like it does state politicians? Hello?

 

(And did the NRA really think Florida employers and property owners want its constituents blowing a fuse in their parking lots with loaded guns?)

 

Then there was the NRA’s anti-UN histrionics because the UN was clearly planning to grab Americans’ weapons. Everyone knows that. The NRA staged a demonstration outside the UN building on a day it was closed. (The press had a lot of fun with that.) The embarrassingly paranoid signs said “Support Our Human Right To Guns and Self-Defense, And Protest the Gun Control Schemes of the United Nations.”

 

Tell corporate America to take a stand against gun violence and the paper tiger NRA.  When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws. @GunVictimsAct

NRA Puppet of the Week- Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General

Friday, December 12th, 2014

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Despite the press’ exposure of the $750,000 that the NRA-backed Republican Attorneys General Association gave your campaign, your pro-gun activism continues. In November, you said a road rager who drew his gun should enjoy “immunity” from arrest under Stand Your Ground. Right. Then, you helped trash Florida’s ban on weapons in public schools by ruling that school districts have the authority to determine who can carry–opening the door for “non-law enforcement officers and non-district employees to carry weapons on campuses,” says the Herald Tribune.
 
Sleazy, for-sale Republican Party star whose gun activism knows no shame, YOU, PAM BONDI, ARE THE NRA PUPPET OF THE WEEK.
 
Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.
 

See List of All NRA Puppets

 

Tallahassee Murder is Third Arson/Shooting of Officers This Year

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Curtis Wade Holley, who police identify as the arsonist/murderer who took the life of Leon County Sheriff deputy Chris Smith this week in Florida, was known to police. He was in the system for issuing previous threats and being “antigovernment.”

 

Was Holley a legal gun owner whose weapons were not scrutinized as he became dangerous? Did he buy his murder weapons from a legal gun dealer after his threats became known–thanks to huge holes in the NICS background check system? Did Holley buy his weapons in the many background check-free sales ops the NRA defends? Hey, shady people have gun rights!

 

However Holley procured his weapon, we have the NRA to thank for the death of another law enforcement officer. The NRA blocks a registry, universal background checks, mandatory reporting of lost guns, bans on high capacity magazines, retention of owner data beyond 24 hours, illegal trafficking legislation and more. The NRA even works to restore the “gun rights” of convicted felons, people under orders of protection and people with severe mental illness. Sales are $ales.

William Spengler Identified As Webster Firefighter Shooter; Kill

Who remembers William Spengler? Last Christmas Eve, Spengler, a felon convicted of killing his own grandmother, set a fire to entice fire fighters to his location in Webster, NY and shot and killed two fire fighters. Spengler bought his weapon at Gander Mountain, according to published reports, picking out an AK 15 while a straw buyer stood by.

 

Police Shoot, Kill Kurt Myers, Ending Standoff in Herkimer, NewWeeks later in March, Kurt Myers set his home ablaze and fatally shot a correctional officer, a retired correctional officer and two others in Herkimer County, NY. Like Spengler, he was widely known to be unbalanced and dangerous.

 

Four months later, Pedro Vargas started a fire in his Miami area apartment and shot and killed the building manager and his wife when they came to investigate. For eight hours Vargas terrorized his five-story apartment complex and killed four more people. He was also well known in his community as unbalanced and angry.

It is ironic that Vargas’s rampage, the murder of deputy Chris Smith and Myron May’s library rampage all happened in Florida which has led the nation in stand your ground and other gun proliferation laws. Law enforcement officers have disproportionately been killed by guns in Florida and in 2007 three major Florida law-enforcement groups and a coalition of police, prosecutors, politicians and parents of children slain by firearms called for tightening of eligibility rules for concealed weapon licenses. Since then, cop wannabes George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn have further earned the state its “Gunshine state” nickname.

Why do lawmakers enable “guns-everywhere” legislation that kills their own law enforcement officers and fire fighters? How could the threat of “government tyranny” be worth arming government-hating murderers like Spengler, Myers and Holley?

 

Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.

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