As Individual 1 promotes his “Wall” as the solution to a “growing humanitarian crisis” on the southern border, a real crisis is completely ignored by the Trumpian Party (f/k/a the GOP). The Houston Chronicle reports that since the beginning of 2018, 23 children in the Houston area have been killed by guns. Of those 23, at least 7 were accidental shootings resulting primarily from unsecured guns in households. Others were the result of intentional shootings either directed at the kids or who were killed when someone else was targeted. Red personally knows of several children who have been accidentally killed by guns left unsecured by adults who should have known better. Is the price of freedom, the death of children? Must the tree of liberty be watered with the blood of innocents? The Second Amendment absolutists apparently find this to be so.
Something seems different this time. Maybe it is because of the articulate and formerly somewhat carefree students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS like Sam Zeif, Chris Grady, Jose Iglesias and Isabella Pfeiffer to name a few. Maybe it is because they are getting support from their parents and the community to try to make a difference this time. Maybe it is because people are truly scared. Maybe it because Americans are fed up with legislators running scared from the NRA. Maybe it is because enough is finally enough. Maybe it is because they are tired of hearing the one and only answer that comes from the bought and paid for GOP weasels in Congress and State Legislatures (and clearly some Democratic weasels as well to be fair). And that answer is as always – WE NEED MORE GUNS!.
That is what our Reality TV Show Sick Joke of a President proposed again yesterday with his preposterous plan to arm teachers. Only a complete fool could believe that having a gun in classrooms with our children is a good idea. Teachers across the nation have responded to Trump’s proposal with scorn, disbelief and derision.
Red supports more safety measures for schools. Sadly, we may need metal detectors and secure perimeters around our schools and we may need trained and armed licensed peace officers at every school. We need to severely restrict access to semi-automatics the same way we have done for automatic weapons since the 1930’s. We need background checks. We need mental health services. We do not need guns in the classroom.
We don’t need a President who has kowtowed to the gun lobby by rolling back a regulation that would have added people who are getting Social Security disability for mental problems to the list for background checks, who purged about 500,000 fugitives from the ATF list and changed the definition of fugitive to only include someone who has crossed state lines to avoid arrest under an outstanding warrant, who revoked a ban on lead ammo in federal wildlife refuges and made it easier for people to carry guns on public lands, who has proposed cutting millions of dollars from the national background check system. We need a President who doesn’t need notes (see photo) to instruct him on how to behave like a normal compassionate human being. We need lots of people with the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and say that finally “enough is enough.”
Unfortunately, Red doesn’t really think that this time will be different. A guy can hope though.
It wasn’t always this way. You used to have a rifle and maybe a shotgun for hunting. Some folks had a pistol – usually a revolver. Boys had a .22 to shoot bottles and vermin. Maybe a few guys bought a gun that their wife didn’t know about and hid it in the attic. A few “collectors” had some rare pieces. You might have some extra ammo around. No one had an arsenal. No one kept 1000’s of rounds of ammunition in their garage or basement. Some men and a goodly number of women liked owning a gun, but it didn’t go much beyond that.
Somewhere that changed. Red can’t exactly pinpoint it, but maybe it was in the late 70’s that the gun lust started to build.
After college, Red was living in an apartment up in Northwest Hills with his friend Tom. He didn’t own a gun, but there were some fairly well-to-do country boys who lived next door. Red thinks they were taking the 5.5 year route to a degree at UT and enjoying their time in Austin before heading back to God knows where. Tom was much friendlier with these guys than Red who was working pretty hard to make ends meet. But when Red would go over to visit, the guns were always out. And as Tom put it, these boys wouldn’t just handle their guns – it was like they were fondling them. You almost expected them to put their lips up to a .45 and give it a long loving kiss. It was a love affair. Red’s not sure but between the three of them, they probably had 20-30 weapons in that apartment. You’re probably wondering like Red did at the time, “why so many guns, gentlemen?” Because other than that, they seemed like fairly normal country boys. Except for this. They were virulent racists. As they more or less indicated, they were armed to the teeth because at almost any moment “the niggers in East Austin” were sitting there plotting how they were going to rise up, sweep into Northwest Hills (or any other white part of town) raping, pillaging, killing, looting and most importantly stealing all the guns. They weren’t about to let that happen to their little corner of the world.
This was the first time Red encountered true naked gun lust. Yes many of his friends had guns, but Red did not at the time. Red’s daddy had been through the worst of it as a medic and ambulance driver in a battalion aid station in France, Belgium and Germany in WWII. Red could only guess at how many wounded and dying soldiers he had seen. He wanted nothing to do with guns or hunting. He did let Red have .22 and shoot bottles out at the ranch, but that was about it.
But still, the gun lust in Red started to grow. He started hunting in his 30’s and found that it was an enjoyable experience. Not so much the shooting and taking of game, but the outdoors experience and camaraderie. And everyone had a nice deer rifle but Red. So he bought one and then a shot gun and then he wanted more and more. The lust was taking hold. When Lil’ Red came of hunting age, he got a rifle and a shot gun (both nicer than Red’s by the way). But was that enough. The lust was strong and Red couldn’t even tell where it came from. It made no sense really. Red believed that there should be some restrictions on gun ownership, that nobody needed a semi-automatic weapon or stockpiles of ammo, that there should not be loopholes for background checks and that some other ideas might be useful as well. Yet, the creeping lust was there. Red would always check out the gun counter at the local sporting goods store and think, “It would be nice to have one of those.”
Finally, Red said enough was enough. He kept the two hunting rifles and shotguns because they were actually used for hunting and a .357 because his father-in-law gave it to him and sold everything else to someone in whom the lust was still running strong. Yet, it still makes Red a little proud somewhere deep inside that he is a “gun owner.”
Please don’t claim that you are surprised to find out that a State Mental Hospital cannot ban visitors from bringing guns into the facility. Hospital officials, however, were taken off guard when they recently discovered that under Texas law the longstanding practice of prohibiting handguns at the ten state psychiatric hospitals was illegal – and had been for years.
“Patients in our facilities are a danger to themselves or others,” Cathy Campbell, a policy coordinator for the state hospitals, wrote in a December email. “It seems inconceivable that we would require visitors to store box cutters but allow them to bring a gun on campus.” But despite Campbell’s concerns, the law in Texas does not allow the state-run hospitals to ban handguns.
Tom Benning of the Dallas Morning News has the whole sad story of how the Texas Legislature failed to foresee the consequences in their zeal to promote more guns in the state.
Lawmakers who passed gun carry laws in the 1990s don’t appear to have contemplated the scenario. Carve-outs in the law and later legislative tweaks fuzzed things. At some point, “no guns” signs were posted at those hospitals. And until last year, the setup went largely unnoticed.
Officials with the Department of State Health Services have now taken steps to mitigate the risk of a patient accessing a gun – posting signs, for example, that ask visitors to voluntarily keep guns away.
But at least one facility, Austin State Hospital, has been slow to put up the new signs — which remain difficult to notice. And though there’s optimism that lawmakers will address the issue next year, the state remains in somewhat uncharted territory.
“It defies comprehension,” Dorthy Floyd, superintendent at Terrell State Hospital, wrote in an email in January. The News obtained the emails under the state’s open-records law after the gun policy earned international attention in January.
State-run psychiatric hospitals are just one of several government institutions re-evaluating their firearms policies these days. Private mental hospitals continue to have the right to bar guns on their property.
Students for Concealed Carry quickly moved to exploit the tragic death of a UT Co-ed on campus last week. UT-Austin is apparently one of the safest places on earth since there had not been a murder on campus in the almost 50 years since the UT Tower tragedy. For some the answer is no guns, for some the answer is always more guns. Red lets you decide if the following makes any sense. It seems so full of holes to Red, that commentary is unnecessary.
Imagine that you’re a 22-year-old woman walking back to your car after studying late at the UT library. As you reach for your car door, a man lunges from the shadows and grabs your other arm. Your adrenaline surges, and your mind goes to the concealed handgun tucked into your waistband. As the man twists your arm and tries to force you to the ground, your free hand grabs the gun. You draw it just as his free hand draws a knife from his pocket. You point the gun at your assailant, squeeze the trigger, and…CLICK. Per UT-Austin’s campus carry policy, your gun’s chamber is empty. Even if you had an extra second to chamber a round, you’d need both hands free to do so.
Now imagine that you’re a female university employee walking through that same garage when a man with a knife steps out in front of you. Your first instinct is to reach for the secret handgun pocket built into the side of your purse, but it’s empty. Because you’re never sure when your job will require you to visit an office that the occupant has declared “gun-free,” you’re seldom able to carry your gun on campus. According to state law, you have the right to carry a concealed handgun on campus, but thanks to university policy, you enjoy that right in name only.
The recent tragedy at UT-Austin should serve as a wakeup call to university administrators who seek to handicap LTC holders on campus.
KHOU is reporting that Texas Tech will allow guns in the classroom.
Texas Tech University plans to ban guns in its recreation center, chapel and some dorms, but won’t prevent students with concealed handgun licenses from carrying in classrooms, the school announced Tuesday.
The policy, which was finalized by Interim President John Opperman, will be reviewed by the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents in April. Under state law, the board doesn’t have to approve the policy but can change it if it sees a need.
“I am confident we have submitted a set of recommendations that respects the spirit of the law while reflecting input from our community,” Opperman said.
Red was batching it this weekend and went looking for evidence of the imminent takeover of Texas by the United States – the country which more or less legally controls it already. A few hours cruising in the Redmobile failed to discover anything remotely suspicious. They must run and hide when they see Red coming. Even the buzz on the internet is barely audible at this point. The only real development was the arrest of 3 North Carolina men who are accused of trying to lure Army troops into a booby trapped camp in South Carolina. Stars and Stripes has the story. Hey, you buy a few illegal weapons, make some pipe bombs, exploding tennis balls and coffee can anti-personnel devices, then plan to draw in government forces and massacre them and the next thing you know the feds are all over your case. What’s happened to freedom in this country? So bury your guns now. Don’t worry about encasing them in anything, just get ’em in the ground quick because the jack-booted thugs of the Federal government are coming to take away your women, children and most importantly guns. Since there might be some issues with burying the women and children, Red recommends that you just put them in the cellar. And if you don’t have a cellar, send ’em off to Grandma’s house. That way you might get in a round of golf before Obama sneaks in and takes away your new set of Callaways too.
The intruder was then rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital via Life Flight. His condition is unknown.
Pastor Holmes made national headlines last year for taking down a suspected package thief in his front yard. At the time, he said pointing his 45mm pistol at the grandmother was the only way he would get her to feel the fear of God.
The Texas Tribune reports that the conservative quest to have more guns on Texas campuses is still alive. Despite repeated admonitions from university administrators across the board (except shamefully for John Sharp at Texas A&M), the Legislature is more interested in kowtowing to its extreme right wing than doing what is in the best interests of our state universities and their students.
Campus carry legislation lived to fight another day as a last-minute deal saved Senate Bill 11 just before a midnight deadline in the House to take initial votes on bills originating in the Senate.
The dramatic scene occurred close to 11:30 p.m. The House had just spent 30 minutes considering a point of order raised by San Antonio Democrat Trey Martinez Fischer. With about 100 filed amendments awaiting debate, many had already started writing the obituaries for the legislation that would require public colleges and universities to allow concealed handgun license holders to bring guns on campus.
The Senate has approved Senate Bill 228 which designates one weekend a year where as a tax-free holiday for gun sales. The bill sponsored by Sen. Brandon Creighton (TP-Conroe) exempts firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies from sales tax during the last weekend in August. Creighton calls it a Second Amendment tax holiday weekend. Part of the rational for the sales tax exemption stems from a similar tax holiday that occurs one week earlier in Louisiana. Proponents claim that Texas businesses near the Louisiana border lose considerable sales because of the tax disparity for that one weekend. The Legislative Budget Board estimates that Texas will lose over $3.5 million in sales tax revenue each year if Creighton’s bill becomes law.