RVer Safety: Guns and nuts – What can we do?

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By Mike Sherman

I usually try to bring forth topics that pertain specifically to RVers that travel the highways of America, discussing topics pertaining to your safety and your security. The readers of RV Travel have been a great asset, adding aspects and comments that I fail to touch on. Space limitations prevent deeper discussions, but today is different.

As a retired cop, I was exposed to the ugly side of humanity too often, and was fortunate to have tools to deal with the emotional impact of dealing with criminals and victims. The victim’s grief was always unsettling. This edition needs to take a turn to the impact of mass murder on a national scale, and the ugly emotions that have gripped a nation due to last week’s horrific killings on a grand scale. My tool box to deal with it is getting empty.

I always got a kick out of preventing crime. Most cops will tell you one of the most effective crime prevention tools is the vehicle code. Government lawyers never miss an opportunity to add new laws to the books, so minuscule is the code that a burned out license plate bulb creates probable cause for an officer to stop you immediately, and check you for drugs, alcohol, burglary tools, stolen property … anything that is a greater violation than what you were stopped for. It’s called “fishing,” and it is a lucrative tool for cops, especially if you work the graveyard shift.

I’m sure you have seen stories of bad guys being busted for very serious crimes, all because they were speeding, or made an unsafe lane change, or failed to signal their intent, or their vehicle suffered from a minor defect that broke the law. You have probably questioned why a suspect would, for example, be transporting thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs across state lines and not make sure their tail lights worked properly and obey the speed limit. Oftentimes the answers were explained in the squad room at shift’s end. “He wasn’t the brightest bulb in the pack,” or “The lights were on but nobody was home” or “The elevator didn’t go to the top floor.” Oh, how I miss the simplicity of the good old days of law enforcement.

Those days are gone. It seems to me that Columbine opened an era of mass killings that seem to be increasing. If you go camping, one could easily claim you are much safer than going to a theater, shopping center, medical office, concert or military base (Ft. Hood made me sick), etc. etc. etc.!

I advocate prevention and safety for RVers, but am frustrated by the inability to comprehend how in the world we, as a society, can deal with the trauma of mass killings, and oftentimes not even understanding the “why.” My heart goes out to the medical personnel who respond to such events and the law enforcement personnel that have to deal with the overwhelming aftermath of massive killings – that makes us realize how easily any one of us could become a victim simply by going about our daily routine.

So how do we prevent becoming a victim of a trend that is becoming so pervasive that a motorcycle backfiring in Times Square sends hundreds into a panic run for their lives? Like I said, my tool box is running low on my ability to grasp it all. It’s no fun knocking on someone’s door to make a death notification of a loved one. I can’t imagine having to make multiple notifications during a single shift. I can’t wrap my mind around the possibility. Yet, our first responders do the job. They make me proud.

Regular readers of my column realize that I am obviously pro-Second Amendment. However, I am beginning to question the need for a clip that holds 100 rounds of ammunition.

I would appreciate hearing your ideas on what can be done on the preventive front, to help stop these massive killings. I will put forth my own ideas next week.

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. 

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D Dark
1 year ago

Well I have an idea, although it might not be popular. It seems to me the news media fall all over themselves to publish the shooter’s face and name. Even if they are eventually killed by the police, they still know their name will be publicized. What if we made it illegal to do that? I can’t help but think that most of these shooters want notariety..and that is exactly what the media gives them. They become celebrities, in a negative way.
But if they knew going in that they would not get their name or their face in the news, it just might take away some of the incentive. The news media should be forbidden from publishing the shooter’s name or picture…ever.

RW Baker
1 year ago

The second Amendment exists so we can depose a tyrannical government, therefore, we the people, have the right to possess the same arms any potential oppressor does. No more, NO LESS.

Emile
1 year ago
Reply to  RW Baker

You the people do not have the right to possess nuclear weapons or ICBM delivery systems. So let’s you start over from a position of fact rather than lunacy.

Goldie
1 year ago

We have had guns for many years but mass shootings are a recent development. The guns didn’t change, we did. We can’t roll back the clock to make it possible for kids to grow up in households with one parent home and the other working but we can roll back the clock to a time of personal responsibility and consequences for behavior of the children. We need to go back to teaching our children self-discipline and quit rewarding negative behavior because it would hurt their self esteem. Limiting screen time and replacing it with more social behavior. What have we done to ourselves when we have created a world where parents are reported because their kids are playing in their yard without an adult present? In their own yard! What have we done when we have ceased discussing issues and instead resort to name calling and labels? Isn’t that what we were supposed to outgrow as adults? Go back to personal responsibility and add mandatory military service for our young people. Both male and female. Let’s at least attempt to stop the entitlement mind warp. I truly believe that if we start raising responsible adults again our number of mass shootings will fade to rare instances.

Admin
Kim Christiansen (@imkimc)
1 year ago
Reply to  Goldie

Well said! While video games don’t make mass shooters, isolation because of the time spent playing video games doesn’t help the mental well-being of growing and developing minds.

Dennis Wenger
1 year ago

Do away with the “Gun Free (Free Kill) Zones” and a few things would change with the ability to defend themselves and others.

By far, the majority of these have occurred in those zones.

“I believe in the Second Amendment, BUT…” people need to re-examine their commitment and belief system to freedom and liberty. Not compromising them simply for the sake of poor morals of others and the sheeple’s feelings is unpopular but necessary.

Stephen Willey
1 year ago

Background checks are not enough. How many school shooters were young who had no “backghround”? Unluke autos, ladders and other hazardous equipment, guns are manufactured for the primary purpose of destroying otherwise healthy bodies, both human and other spoecies. Actiual need for that isn extreemly rare. So liocensing makes sense.

Monty Bonner
1 year ago

It appears that from the news, the perpetrators had significant social media statements which should have raised red flags to professionals. However, that takes manpower resources, and things get missed.

But, I have researched this, and I believe the present BC system needs some more tools, but, again, how about my personal privacy rights, for instance. I don’t want my medical records investigated for my permits or purchasing options. That is my business, and is not the governments business.

We currently require anyone who wants to drive a car, take training and pass tests. I think gun use/ownership should require the same thing, personally I took gun safety classes to make sure I knew everything necessary, to handle, transport, and use a weapon. I think if you go to purchase one, or ask to receive a CWP, you have to go to at least 24 hours of classroom and 8 hours of practical range time, and only when you pass that training will the purchase or the CWP be issued. That training would give both aspects of the spectrum time to evaluate the persons involved to ensure they are capable of owning and operating a weapon.

I understand we have many people who are incapable of being responsible owning a weapon, and we also have felons who are supposed to be prevented from ever having the right of ownership of a weapon again, which I agree with. But and this is the crux of the matter, laws only apply to persons who believe in law, if everyone did, we would not see the wanton violence in many large American cities daily. Many people don’t obey or respect the law, and passing more restrictive and onerous gun laws won’t make them any more likely to obey the old laws much less the added laws.

Taking away everyone 2nd amendment rights also won’t solve the problem. and in fact may make the whole thing worse.

It’s been estimated that 30% of the population is mentally unstable at any giving time. Currently no test exists to diagnose and identify this situation. Restricting my rights is not going to help solve this issue. But I agree, no one needs magazines which hold over 20 rounds. Biometric protections also have been tested, and they don’t work.

And remember this, you are more likely to die at the other end of a vehicle driven by someone who was using their cell phone illegally than from someone with a gun. All states have laws against texting/driving while using your cell phone, and the problem is worse today, than when cell phones started, so laws have not improved that issue, the gun issue will also not be solved by laws.

Maybe, if we went back to teaching gun safety in upper high school years classes and have competitive shooting teams at the college level putting responsibility back in the school system instead of all the other garbage they are trying to teach kids today. I don’t have any of the answers we need either, and everything out of the politicians mouth lately has not made me feel like they are any better equipped to deal with this issue over me.

And I disagree with all the “so called experts” who say environmental conditions don’t have a bearing on how someone acts, violent movies, video games, and even some music, promote the taking of life to gain points or win other things in games today. Kids sit behind those PC/Consoles hours at a time using a make believe weapon to amass hundreds of deaths, albeit on a screen. Don’t tell me this has no affect on kids mindset when all they witness is killing. Society has become immune to the costs of death, because it is flashed to us hourly via phone, tv, and computers.

tusonbird
1 year ago

This discussion is getting a little ridiculous, so here’s my bit of piffle.
Confiscate all modern guns, rifles, automatic, semi-automatic, whatever weapons and let them buy muskets and flintlock pistols. Not taking away your 2nd amendment rights – you get exactly what was available when amendment was written!!!

Don Kostyal
1 year ago
Reply to  tusonbird

Ok, if we apply across the board. Like vehicles–everyone walks, or has a horse. No computers, no TV’s, no refrigerators, nor stoves or washing machines, etc–there was no electricty then. Oh, and no toilets or toilet paper either. We can all wear only wool or cotton, or skins.

The point is none everything we have today is an improvement/discovery/invention on over 200 years ago. Perhaps the greatest idea of the USA was the idea of freedom and not having our rights infringed upon.

Thomas Bloesch
1 year ago
Reply to  tusonbird

Then let’s take away all modern cars that can go more than 50 mph. More people are killed driving fast than are killed by firearms. Only allow people to drive model T’s. This will save lives. Let’s outlaw sugar, more people die from Diabetes than guns. And yes, I’m being sarcastic.

chris p hemstead
1 year ago

Saw a good show about the carnage last night by Fareed Zakaria. These majority of these shootings are not about video games and the mentally ill.

Bob Godfrey
1 year ago

I never thought I see the day where I would think this way but I personally think that the lack of “family values” has changed America. Kids who were raised in a 2 parent home where only 1 parent worked and the other was always home to actually “raise” the child would seem to me to be a deterrent to the loneliness of the “latch key” child who is home alone while the parents work. That loneliness and the nastiness of social media contribute to the feelings of isolation in younger people who need social structure in their lives. As for answers there are many more than I can think of to remedy the situation.

Uncle John
1 year ago

Many interesting comments here. Guns (and higher capacity magazines) are certainly not the problem. We have had both for years. And we have seen repeatedly that passing new laws is ineffectual. “Lost our moral compass”? You bet! Society has changed. Absent parents, video games that promote killing, stupid TV shows, etc. The question is – how can we restore civility, respect and moral values?

Secondly, apparently the mainstream media has no one intelligent enough to realize that the more they sensationalize these mass shootings, it only serves to encourage less-balanced people to engage in these horrific events. MEDIA – STOP IT!

Marybeth Almand
1 year ago

The second amendment is all about DEFENSE. Assault type guns, bump stocks, and high capacity magazines etc… are all about OFFENSE and have no place in a civilized society. They should be banned immediately. Any sale, or possession of any of these items should carry a meaningful stiff penalty. I also think a RED FLAG comprehensive data base should be maintained and any gun supplier not referring to it should also be meaningfully penalized. The NRA should shut up and get in line. They have profited long enough.

Bill
1 year ago

The Second Amendment is about MILITARY defense by a well organized MILITIA using MILITARY grade weapons. A well organized militia is a responsibility of the various States, and was intended to require annual or more frequent local musters for inspection and instruction and to elect local officers. The various States would set the rules for their militias and for the care and storage of whatever weapons were owned by the State or the militia members, and the associated ammunition. Those local officers would certainly know who owned what weapons, and if young Joe was unstable maybe he shouldn’t have a highly capable weapon. However, the States have abdicated that responsibility.

Bill
1 year ago

Now, having said the below about Militias, I would note that no one seems to think it is an unacceptable infringement of their freedoms to have to pass a test and have a license in order to drive a car, which must be registered, inspected, and insured. Even most strong second amendment supporters seem to not mind – in fact are proud of – concealed carry permits. So, why don’t we start with requiring permits for concealable weapons?

John
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill

Because driving a vehicle is a privilege, not a right. Driving is a privilege offered by the government while the rights guaranteed in the Bill of rights are bestowed by your creator. Big difference.

Bill Forbes
1 year ago
Reply to  John

Actually, the Constitution does not reference our creator – the Declaration of Independence references the rights endowed by our creator as including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Many people would regard driving as vital to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights cover the powers and duties of the federal government, established by the consent of “We the people of these United States …”

Don Kostyal
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill

Why create more red tape, cost, etc that infringes on everyone to try and prevent a few from doing something? It will not stop ALL bad people from getting what they want. In any country if you have the desire and the money to want a gun you can get a gun–yes even in England or Australia. Give the courts and law enforcement the tools and money to do a better job at removing the bad people from society. Put the criminals in jail and keep them there. Put the mentally ill in hospitals and keep them there until they are cured. People who need to be on medication to be stable need to have fail safe methods to ensure they stay on their meds. Several years ago I had a friend whose adult brother was physcophrenic (sp)–he went off his meds and burned the house down with his parents in it–luckily they all got out but the house was a loss. He no longer lived there and was just visiting over the holidays but apparently (?) no one knew he was not taking his meds regularly. (or was it a case of the people who were close to him really knew but didn’t want to say anything for fear of being wrong).

Luke
1 year ago

Active shooter in the mall you are visiting? You probably have three choices. Fight, flight or hide. In making that decision, you need to know what tools you have at your command and know your own abilities. As the scenarios are endless, what you do will be entirely dependent on the specific situation. No matter what, you need to have a general plan and discuss this today with your family members. Just like the discussion you should have, in example, of what to do in case of your RV catching fire during the night, in this day and age, the possibility of becoming involved in an active shooter situation, while remote, is still a definite possibility.

Ronl
1 year ago

Every time there is a “mass shooting”, the media and therefore the general citizenry decries guns, automatic weapons, gun dealers, drugs, mental health, etc., etc., etc. And of course the NRA. To date, not a single mass shooter has been a member of the NRA nor his any of the shooters who have killed over 200 people year to date in Baltimore just to name one major city with high murder rates. Guns have been outlawed in Great Britain for several decades and now there is an epidemic of multiple stabbings but no one is wanting to ban knives. Banning any type of weapons is simply not an intelligent, effective option. We live in a society rife with drug problems both legal and illegal, mental health issues, and what has been termed a “national depression” and all this started long before most current politicians were in office. We have violent entertainment, violent video games and hostile media. We have road rage, distracted driving, and kill many of our young people before they are even born. So where is the respect for and the sanctity of life? We will not resolve any of these issues unless and until we all change the dialogue to “what did I do to make a difference today”. And of course, we must be sure to ignore the elephant in the “room” and leave God out of the equation at all costs.

chris p hemstead
1 year ago
Reply to  Ronl

Everyone has a philosophy and something to blame, which is all well and good, but the fact is, nothing is being done. We have to make hard decisions as to what is going to be done, or we’ll just have to prepare ourselves to be in a shooter situation as Luke said. And it is unconscionable that we are so crippled by politics that nobody is willing to give an inch to help stem the tide of active shootings in public places. Doing nothing almost assures there will be more.

Mina Wells Greenlee
1 year ago

Nothing being done…translates to replace the elected officials who do not agree to stick with the bills to make change. Have the discussion. Don’t use any excuse to avoid. Only personal family issues. Do your job and complete the task.

Ronl
1 year ago

You and only you can do something. So what are you doing?

chris p hemstead
1 year ago
Reply to  Ronl

What am I doing? Voting for someone who gives a damn.

Jim Copeland
1 year ago

Mike, I don’t pay much attention to the TV personalities but the other day I read a quote from Opra Winfrey about the mass murders and went something like this ” People today have no moral compass” I believe that to be true also. I’m not sure I got the quote right word for word but the crux of the statement is we kicked God out of our lives and that is finally starting to show up in our children. When I attended high school the kids who drove to school lots of them drove pickup trucks and in rural N FL they were also hunters with a 308 or 30-30 in the rifle rack and when we had disagreements we settled it with our fist not guns. Gun safety and the proper use of a gun was something that was taught at home, we have lost that in today’s world and I for one would like to see a more concerted effort by parents to teach their children those honor bound traditional things that governed our behavior.

Mountain Mama
1 year ago

Remember the old bumper sticker, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”?

Roy B
1 year ago

I am retired LE with 45 years of service. I have said this for years, if someone is committed to commit murder, gun laws mean nothing to them.

chris p hemstead
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy B

That’s true of any law. You wouldn’t advocate having no laws, would you?

Diane M
1 year ago

I’m a retired high school teacher. I observed a number of students over the years who had anti-social tendencies. Usually male, usually loners, obsessed with violent video games, often drew pictures of weapons or hate symbols or violent deaths, had difficulty attracting girlfriends, full of anger. I could see that most of them fit the profile of a mass shooter/serial killer. Most of them needed mental health interventions; few ever got any. If only there was a mechanism for teachers to report such students to an effective interventionist so they could receive ongoing treatment. Such treatment might at least prevent the triggers that send such young people over the edge.

Billy Bob Thorton
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane M

Fat chance on that one. Many individuals see ” potential” issues. Teachers have a unique perspective, in that they interact about 50 mins. Per day, for a 40ty week school year, with a potential problem child. I commend your desire to want to be a part of the solution. Now for the flip side. New York’s governor just signed legislation that no teacher in NY can be trained and carry a gun while on school session. As long as the lunitics are running the asylums, no meaningful solutions will occur. You can pass all the restrictikns you want, only law abiding properly trained citizenry will be punished. Don’t think so, look at Chicago.

KT Gillespie
1 year ago

Mike, I can agree with you on the “need” for large capacity magazines for semi-auto weapons – actually the lack of need in reality. As a retired military member, I do support the right to keep and bear arms, I live in Arizona and do own a pistol, but I do not carry it. I watch the news and just shake my head at the Politian’s attempting to regulate humanity by background checks (didn’t work for El Paso and Ohio), and the “Assault” rifles – this one statement makes me so angry with Politian’s and the news reporters that I yell every time I hear it. NONE of these weapons are assault rifles people !!!!!!!, they are semi-automatic rifles produced to LOOK like the REAL assault weapons used by the military. The AR-15 is NOT an M16. Now having said that, can they be modified? Yes, I haven’t looked but I am sure that the instructions on how to do this are all over the internet. I do not believe that back-ground checks are the single answer, nor is banning “Assasult” rifles (they already are for the general public since they are fully automatic), nor do I believe the even more restrictive laws will stop or prevent these shootings. I do feel that public involvement and awareness will go a long way in preventing this, see something, say something, even if it is your family member. Sorry for taking up so much space…..

chris p hemstead
1 year ago
Reply to  KT Gillespie

We obviously don’t know what we’re doing in this country. Switzerland has guns, and strict gun laws and no mass shootings. We should try and learn what works in other countries, not knee-jerk reactions like mental illness and video games.

Captn John
1 year ago

They also have mandatory military service. That certainly helps,,, I’m all for that!

Billy Bob Thorton
1 year ago
Reply to  KT Gillespie

Well said. Unfortunately your views are on the losing side of the current argument. The train is going down the tracks currently, and no politician is going to stand before the general public, stick their necks out and talk the truth. There will be more carnage, some will be stopped by law abiding citizens, not be reported for the most part by the MSM. The average citizen is a basic moron when it comes to firearms. So, in the land of the blind……..

Captn John
1 year ago

I believe more people need to carry, open or concealed. In the 1960s, received my 1st concealed carry permit after talking with the sheriff in person for less than 5 minutes. That is not the way! Even though I was qualified to teach the course and had taught (along with other courses) South Carolina required me to take it. For fingerprint, law enforcement, medical, and other background checks it took 90 days to issue the permit. Three years later I moved 8 miles to North Carolina and had to go through another 90 day process. Permits are renewed every 5 years, same process. I do carry although no one is aware I’m armed. I own several semi=automatic weapons, none look military style, had enough of those while in the military. 1st stop the copy cat shooters. There is no need to ever make their names or faces public. Next a trial within 90 days. If guilty one appeal within 80 days. If found guilty execution within 90 days. No other sentence, death. Cover their face and televise the execution. I’d prefer they all be hung so viewers watch them kick and swing as they dangle.

Ike
1 year ago
Reply to  Captn John

So many great points. Too bad that they will fall on deaf ears. speedy trial & speedier punishment!

Gene Bjerke
1 year ago
Reply to  Ike

Strong punishment is a good idea, but so far only one mass shooter has been taken alive. Can’t execute them if they are already dead.

chris p hemstead
1 year ago

Blaming the past doesn’t solve anything.