RVer Safety: Guns and nuts, Part 2

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By Mike Sherman
Last week’s topic ignited a strong response with strong opinions. I believe many Americans are asking what can be done about mass shootings. Having read all of the comments, and several articles over the past few years, I’ve come to some conclusions as to the cause and potential solutions. If you have the time, continue on with your own analysis based on our findings, then offer all of us your suggestions and conclusions.

THE CAUSE: Latchkey kids, Internet games of violence, and voluntary solitary confinement. Throw in the fact that God has been thrown out … removed from the forefront of our social structure. If you think divorce is not a factor, think again. Kids are like a ship at sea, without a rudder. Abortion makes kids wonder just what value do we place on human life? What influences their thoughts? The single parent is too busy and the grandparents live on the other side of America.


I could continue on and on but I think you get my drift. The cause is complicated, convoluted and difficult to fully grasp because of the sheer volume of reasons for mass killings. Factor in the shock value that accompanies the horrors played out on national television and it is no wonder many experts cannot agree when talking about the cause. The bottom line? We are no longer the United States of America.

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS: Go camping – you’ll be safe! Statistically, that is – or so it would seem.

There are things we can do to help avoid the mass killings. Background checks are a good start. There is one untapped source of vital information being overlooked in the background process. They check FBI and DOJ data bases for convictions that would prohibit gun ownership, but we all know the bad guys don’t buy their weapons from gun dealerships. Some claim the effort is worthless.

However, a great source of information for law enforcement are the local authorities – your county sheriff and local police department. Local law enforcement agencies have computer files on just about anyone they come into contact with. Not every contact results in an arrest (and records subsequently sent to the FBI and DOJ). If someone is questioned about loitering, for example, and the officer determines the person has a legitimate reason for being where they are at, there is no record of the event other than their local data base. They are called “Incident Reports” or “Field Interrogations”– records that describe a short “who, what, when, where, why” episode. They contribute to a local database that contains good background information, and some of it might be useful to a background check regarding a gun purchase, but the DOJ and FBI will not know about it.

For example, little Johnny gets caught killing a cat. The police are called. They take a report, but there is no arrest or other legal action that sends the information to anyone other than the local department’s computer. Five years later, little Johnny has grown up and applies to purchase a weapon. The inquiry goes out to the FBI and DOJ but that’s it. Johnny gets his gun.

However, if the inquiry also included a local check they would get information that can be useful. Granted, no cause for denial of the purchase but certainly worthy of a visit from the local sheriff and perhaps a mental health worker to do an assessment. A simple knock on the door with a “Can we talk?” inquiry. No rights have been violated. Johnny can slam the door, but more likely enjoys the attention and invites them in. They talk. Other local history on him might raise more red flags worthy of consideration.

Granted, there would have to be laws on the books stopping the sale based on “local” information; but, honestly, how many times have we read about a killing suspect’s past coming to light after the fact? “Approval should have never been granted based on this information”… Ever heard that before?

In other words, if we are going to do a background, then do a real background. And we need to get real regarding “assault” rifles. They have been labeled “assault” because some look like an M-16. It’s still just a rifle. Turn it into an automatic rifle and add high capacity clips and then, yes, we have a serious problem: It is no longer a rifle used for just self-defense or target practice. So we should focus on the “mass killing capability” that is the core problem. While restricting high capacity magazines is not a solution, it does offer a level of prevention. Many assailants have been tackled while reloading.

But the bottom line is these killings will continue. It used to be someone “going postal” – a government employee walking into work with a pistol and killing a few co-workers. That was a trend that has changed. Enter “road rage.” For a while it seemed like it was happening daily. That too has subsided.

But these mass killings – they seem to be increasing, in both the number of victims and number of mass assaults taking place across America on an annual basis. The killers are using weapons that I used in Vietnam. Factor in some of their reasons for murdering innocent strangers and it becomes impossible to wrap our mind around the entire event. The Las Vegas concert killings remain “unsolved” – no clear reasoning for such carnage.

As adults, we strive to understand the world we live in; we want to understand why something happens. Motive becomes important in a murder trial, and understanding motive in our nightly news segments becomes important. It enables us to cope. But some of the nuts out there today – It boggles the mind to grasp “What were they thinking?” In some cases, we will never know.

It has become obvious that another solution is to saturate public venues with armed officers AND citizens. One shooter was stopped within 30 seconds because the police were nearby. Another was stopped early enough to prevent dozens and dozens of additional victims. An off-duty fireman with a concealed gun permit comes to mind also, drawing down last week on a nut before he could fire a single shot, at a Walmart no less.

You won’t believe this, perhaps, but many murders are prevented by citizens who happen to be in the right area at the right time, armed with a license to carry a concealed weapon. The mainstream media refuses to highlight such incidents – it goes against a liberal media’s agenda.

You want to see an increase in mass killings? Keep offering up “gun-free zones,” and make it more and more difficult for good, honest citizens to obtain a concealed weapons permit. Personally, I like the idea that 10%+ of the guys in my church service are packing heat. If I am in a theater, I am comforted by the fact that there might be a few armed citizens. If something goes wrong, I could finish my popcorn before the cops arrive … depending on the location. I am thankful for school teachers that go through training to arm themselves in school districts that are smart enough to allow it. And let us not forget airline pilots. Can’t call 911 up there!

So, now I have offered up enough dust to overrun the comments section with ample responses. Please, try to keep them civil.

Until next week, be alert, be safe, and if you see something, say something.

Note: We know what we discuss in this column may be controversial. While we invite your polite, constructive comments, inflammatory remarks will be immediately deleted.

Mike Sherman is a retired street cop and investigator with 30+ years of RV experience as a traveler, camp host and all-around advocate for the joys of living on the road. His articles are for general discussion purposes only – you should always consult your local authorities or legal counsel for specific answers if necessary. Write him at MikeShermanPI@gmail.com if you have questions, or leave a comment below. 

Read more RVer Safety articles here.

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Dan B.

Assault rifles are for sale here. You have to purchase a government stamp for $200.00 and wait about a year to take possession because of the time for the background check. They are very expensive. I’ve never seen an assualt rifle on TV except in the hands of the police.

Tom Ewing

Same observations I have had.
– Gun Free Zones are killing zones.
– More citizens taking up the duty with concealed carry, including willing teachers at schools. I’m often amazed how even here in Texas we can get a church massacre and NOBODY had their guns on them to stop the guy?! How is that possible? Promote and encourage civic duty, and carry. When the bad guys don’t know or can even ‘expect’ someone around is armed… game changer.
– Erosion of faith, family values, Pledge of Allegiance, patriotism, all things must be secular… erosion of ‘serve others’ mentality to now ‘me me me’ mentality, so kids stew and hate the world for all the things they don’t have or get that they perceive others do, and hate becomes norm. This can only be changed by national soul searching. Good luck with that.
– Just about every time, there were red flags, sometimes HUGE red flags. Law enforcement and schools must be held accountable to act, and have the support they need to be able to act legally.
– National gun haters need to step back and look at the realities above, and act against their ignorance to make the right social and legislative changes that will actually make a difference.

Cece

I agree with most of your comments Mike with the possible exception of the local reporting accessible to all background checks. I know that research has shown that most serial killers have a history of animal abuse as a child but I haven’t seen evidence that the trait carries over to mass murderers (as being discussed here – anyone who thinks a serial killer isn’t a mass murderer has their head under a rock). No argument is going to convince an anti-gun person to become a pro-gun person. But I have one thing I ask people to consider. Americans have ALWAYS owned guns. The fact of gun ownership has not changed, mass shootings have. So what changed? It isn’t the guns – they’ve always been there. If it you can’t blame the guns, what do we need to change? That’s the question we should be answering.

Ed D.

“However, if the inquiry also included a local check they would get information that can be useful. Granted, no cause for denial of the purchase but certainly worthy of a visit from the local sheriff and perhaps a mental health worker to do an assessment.”

So let me get this straight. Because someone (as a child) did something that wasn’t acceptable, they should get a knock on their door as an adult and have a Sheriff, along with a shrink, want to talk with him to determine if he is mentally fit to own a gun? I do not buy that logic (or illogic) for a second. All “red flag laws” will do is undermine our rights under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Can you guarantee me that a neighbor that doesn’t like someone’s kid won’t call the cops and say the father is unstable and should not own a gun? Of course, you can’t. Also, what if an ex-girlfriend, or ex-spouse, calls and reports you as being abusive, as a way to get even for a bad breakup? Red Flag Laws are not the way to go and seriously violate our rights under the Constitution. You gave your “opinion”, now I will offer mine: How about when it is reported to the Authorities (and backed by the individuals Social Media) that an individual is boasting about shooting up a school, that the Authorities actually do something about this! There has been more than one occurrence that a particular individual left a trail of his intentions on Social Media that he was going to do something and did just what he said he was going to do. The Authorities knew he was talking about it, reported it to the FBI and they did nothing either. How about Law Enforcement do a better job of prevention when the evidence is on Social Media. That is where I believe many of these shootings can be prevented. Not by infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens!

JAMES A. DUBOIS

I have learned one thing that I know for sure and that’s the only thing that stops a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, PERIOD! USAF veteran 1972-1975, Fire Chief 1981- 1983 Overseas we called them defence weapons not asault weapons, S. Korea remote tour on the kun with country wide Marshall Law. KEEP OUR GUNS

Jerry Jordan

I don’t have the numbers, but I suspect that more people are killed by drunk drivers than guns. Alcohol causes much suffering to users, family members, and the public. Let’s ban alcohol first.

Rod D

You only got a Semi-Auto Rifle in Viet-Nam?

WMSCV

Thanks for the article it definitely strikes a nerve it a lot of people. I’m a Vietnam Veteran, retired LEO and a strong supporter of the Constitution and all amendments as written by our founders. I have no trouble looking in a mirror. I have a problem with people giving the government unfettered power to control every aspect of our lives. Enjoy what freedoms we have left because once there gone you won’t get them back.

Dustin Robert Yetman

Lol

Jeff Andrews

How many medical malpractice deaths are in the US per year? How many alcohol related traffic accidents in the US per year? These numbers are really sad. “They” don’t believe I have a right or need to own a AR style rifle. Well to me it’s quite the fun to hit a steel target at 1000 yards. Target, not people. My firearm collection is for my enjoyment. Take them away because some nut job uses one to harm innocent people. I think not. Next you will want to take my beer away even as I have never drove after even one beer?

Drew Mueller

Look at the Firearms regulations/laws in Canada. I guarantee this would have a positive effect on our violent gun-related statistics here if we worked to duplicate their system of enforcement and diligence.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearms_regulation_in_Canada

Joe

Mike, I agree with most of your statements. The local events should be seen by all agences. I think that there should be a national cc. I have one that is good for 36 states but when traveling it is a problem.

Jim Conway

Mike
Your facts are mostly right, but there are a few more that deserve mentioning.
While Active Shooter events seem to be seen to be increasing, they are not.
What is increasing is the number of such events that are stopped by armed citizens and occasionally by armed officers
The USA does not have the most events yearly.

For the past few months all we hear on the media is how bad theses events are. What we must keep in prospective is that these active shooter events are only a tiny percentage of the firearm deaths. The leading causes are youth gang violence and suicides

J. Marcotte

Mr Sherman: First of all, I am Canadian. We, in Canada, do not have the same relationship to guns as you have in the US. Probably caused by a slightly different history. Second Amendment: I really have no opinion on that one. But I do find that it is being interpreted every which way from here to sundown, depending which side one wants to defend. But every time I see news of a mass shooting, in the US or even Canada, I ask two questions: 1) while I agree that people, not guns, kill people, if the ”people” that kills other ”people” had a knife instead of a gun, surely the body count would be much less; and 2) why would anyone want a semi or fully automatic weapon? I have no problem with ‘normal’ rifles used for hunting, and yes they also could be used for killing people, but ‘military ‘ style, automatic or easy to convert to automatic have but one use: kill many people.

While I don’t agree with you on the religion, or lack of, impact on that problem, I fully agree with you on the influence of today’s world: lack of parenting, violent videogames, too many people on the street that should not, etc. But, to only target that as the ultimate cause, I think does miss the very important contribution that the quantity of easily available guns has.

Anyway, that’s my opinion.

Monty Bonner

We require folks who want to drive a car, to study, and pass a written exam, plus they have to take and pass a driving test. Current estimates are 35-40,000 people will die on USA Roads this year. 11% of those deaths are from persons younger than 21, who are found texting while driving a car, all states I believe had laws against texting/cell phone use while driving, so much for laws.

As a requirement to own, or to be permitted to have a Concealed Weapons Permit should be TRAINING.
Regardless, the minimum training should be 24 hours classroom, it should be interspersed with 16 hours of hands on experience, stance, positioning, safe storage, safe cleaning, actual firing of the weapon is various scenarios. Qualified, state certified instructors would be required, hmmm, got lots of folks who are ex-military, who are expert in guns period, ex police officers, ex police range officers, lots of folks who can teach. One thing this would show up, by class participation is the students mental state, verbal questioning, response in class to queries on subject, “what would you do” or “How you would handle the situation” will give those instructors access to peoples mindset, and that could have a bearing on if that person is allowed to “pass the class”. Can those folks detect mental instability, my guess is, yes to a degree, they served alongside many different people, and can gauge how people are acting and thinking,
WHY, they had to trust those people with their life in stressful situations, on the streets or on the battlefield. .

chris p hemstead

Sounds more like a MAGA rally in here.

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse

You seem to be confused about an “Assault” rifle. As a result, I am afraid you confuse some of the people who read your article. I am referring to the inference that the rifles used in the recent mass shooting are the same that you used in Vietman. I am a few years to young to have gone to Vietnam, but my friends who did go used fully automatic weapons. They did not use the civilian AR15 or other semi automatic weapon. The public, fueled by the liberal mass media, has a similar confusion about civilian and military weapons. In your article, you asked for comments, and now you have mine.

chris p hemstead

All we have to do is look at Australia or Switzerland to learn what works, and works quickly. But we’re too bullheaded to do that.

Abortion? You lost me there.

Jim Webster

Mike, you sound like an ad for the NRA! PGR is right in his views.

Joe Allen

Mike, your article is spot on! I am also a Vietnam veteran, but believe in the 2nd amendment. When we start making a decision on which gun we will allow and which we will ban, it will just be a matter of time before they are all banned. We have the 2nd amendment in place to protect us from the very government that governs us. I also remember when O’hara got prayer removed from schools, Dr. Spock got us to coddle our children and all of sudden parents decided to be a pal to their kid instead of a parent. I am also sure that the violence in movies and video games are a contributing factor, but the extermination of the unborn had put America into the same definition of nazi Germany with the killing of millions without remorse! God save us from ourselves!