Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
The Armed Citizen
Boy dies from accidental shooting
By Megan Gray The Denton Record Chronicle
A 5-year-old boy was pronounced dead at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas Monday after allegedly being shot in the head at his Denton home Saturday morning by a friend.
Officer Orlando Hinojosa, spokesman for the Denton Police Department, said it was with “a heavy heart” that he had to announce the little boy’s death to the media Monday afternoon.
He said the boy, whose name is not being released at this time, was pronounced dead at 12:05 p.m.
The reported incident took place inside the boy’s home after 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the 2700 block of Stockton Street.
Police said the 5-year-old and his 8-year-old friend were in a bedroom alone when the 8-year-old found a .22-caliber rifle.
The 8-year-old boy then allegedly pointed the rifle at his younger friend and shot him in the head, according to a news release issued by the department.
Officials are unsure where the loaded gun was found, but ruled out the parents’ bedroom.
“The parents were at work at the time of the accident,” Hinojosa said.
The 5-year-old’s grandparents, along with a teenage uncle, were home when the shooting occurred, police said.
The 5-year-old was taken from Denton Regional Medical Center to Children’s Medical Center Dallas.
The investigation is still ongoing and no charges are being filed at this time, but that could change pending further investigation, Hinojosa said Monday.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
The Armed Citizen
BURKESVILLE, Ky. — A 5-year-old boy accidentally shot his 2-year-old sister to death in rural southern Kentucky with a rifle he had received as a gift last year, authorities said.
The children’s mother was home at the time of the shooting Tuesday afternoon but had stepped on to the porch for “no more than three minutes,” Cumberland County Coroner Gary White told WKYT-TV.
White told the Lexington Herald-Leader the boy received the .22-caliber rifle as a gift. He said the rifle was kept in a corner and the family didn’t realize a bullet was left inside it.
“It’s a Crickett,” White said, referring to a company that specifically makes guns, clothes and books for children. “It’s a little rifle for a kid. … The little boy’s used to shooting the little gun.”
White said the shooting was an accident.
It wasn’t immediately clear who gave the boy the gun or exactly what led up to the shooting. White did not return a telephone call from The Associated Press on Wednesday.
State police said in a brief news release the shooting occurred when the boy was “playing” with the rifle, but did not elaborate.
It is not clear whether any charges will be filed, said Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Billy Gregory.
“I think it’s too early to say whether there will or won’t be,” Gregory said Wednesday.
Keystone Sporting Arms, based in Milton, Penn., produced 60,000 Crickett and Chipmunk rifles in 2008, according to its website. It also makes guns for adults, but most of its products are geared toward children.
The company’s slogan is “my first rifle” and its website has a “Kids Corner” section where pictures of young boys and girls are displayed, most of them showing the children at shooting ranges and on bird and deer hunts. The smaller rifles are sold with a mount to use at a shooting range.
“The goal of KSA is to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters and encourage them to gain the knowledge and respect that hunting and shooting activities require and deserve,” the website said.
No one at the company answered the phone Wednesday.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The line-up this week was unusual; all Republicans. They were:
Laura Ingraham, a conservative talk show host who makes a nice living scaring old people on Fox News and selling books smearing President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Mickey Edwards, an eight-term congressman from Oklahoma who was primaried out of his seat in 1993 after the House Banking Scandal.
David Brooks, an establishment weather vane for the New York Times.
And finally Ralph Reed, the former “right hand of God,” who escaped prosecution for his part as a bible-thumping shill for Jack Abramoff’s Indian casino shakedown and then got whipped in his campaign to be elected Lieutenant Governor of Georgia.
The motion for debate was “The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die.”
Before the debate each audience is polled on the motion. They are again polled after the debate and the side that makes the most headway wins. This audience initially supported the motion 65% to 14% against.
Next, the four panelists argued over who were the real conservatives, and whether Ronald Reagan was a saint or merely a hero. Quite entertaining if one likes that sort of thing.
Afterwards, 65% of the audience again favored the motion, but now 28% were opposed. So Reed and Ingraham, the ‘opposed’ side, won the debate, and no doubt went home that night happy that they had proven their point, that the ‘Party of God’ ought to go on its merry way, pushing for a heavily-armed theocratic plutocracy that bashes gays and immigrants.
Some win. I think this shows the future of the GOP; a hell-bound snowball. With such ideologically pure leadership, this party that just a decade ago plotted a ‘permanent majority’ will end up in the wilderness on the strength such pyrrhic victories. Demographics aside, as a great Republican once said; “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
“Oversight of the plant has been sporadic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which oversees workplace safety, last inspected the plant in 1985. Throughout the past 25 years, various local and state agencies responded to complaints of foul odors and improper storage. Resolutions sometimes took months to occur, but the plant did document the necessary changes, including better labeling on storage tanks and adoption of an emergency plan.
“"If there's a better way to do this, we want to know about it," Perry said last week.”
“Gov. Rick Perry on Monday defended the state's inspections process regarding the West fertilizer plant where a fire and explosion last week killed 14 people and devastated the small Central Texas town while officials began offering theories on a cause.” –Houston Chronicle
“Somebody has to tell the E.P.A. that we don’t need you monkeying around and fiddling around and getting in our business with every kind of regulation you can dream up,” he said. “You’re doing nothing more than killing jobs. It’s a cemetery for jobs at the E.P.A.” - Governor Rick Perry
“The EPA is a runaway federal agency that must be reined in.” -Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
“In the city of Houston, sexually oriented businesses are forbidden to be within 1,500 feet of a school. Say what you want about strip clubs, they are generally not prone to exploding. From a safety perspective, it’s no contest.” –Charles Kuffner
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
News that Gets My Goat
From today’s Chronicle:
“The Texas attorney general would be able to settle environmental lawsuits filed by cities and counties without input or approval from local officials, under a bill backed by business interests that is scheduled for a hearing in Austin on Tuesday.
“A second bill would bar cities and counties from hiring outside lawyers if they are to be paid from winnings to help fight costly environmental cases aimed at extracting penalties from polluters.
“Together the bills, to be heard before the House Environmental Regulations Committee, effectively would limit local governments' ability to pursue environmental claims against deep-pocketed companies accused of causing significant environmental damage requiring expensive cleanups, according to county and municipal attorneys across the state. The bills are being carried by state Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Garland.”
“Environmental groups are questioning the Texas environmental agency's proposal to remove from its pollutant watch list a chemical that figured prominently in a massive release that led to more than 48,000 claims for damaged health.
“The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is considering removing benzene and hydrogen sulfide from its air pollutant watch list for Texas City, saying monitoring stations in 2009 and 2010 recorded significant drops in emissions.
“During 40 days in 2010, however, the former BP refinery, now owned by Marathon, belched more than 538,000 pounds of gases into the air. The release included at least 17,371 pounds of benzene, the third largest release of that chemical in Texas from 2009-11. Environmentalists say this makes the decision to remove benzene from the watch list questionable.”
-Well, as Rick Perry is fond of saying, “the State of Texas is open for business.” These foxes really resent anything getting in the way of their running the henhouse. Texas cities have had to take polluters to court because the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is an unabashed flackcatcher for industry. Now industry would have relief from even that feeble channel for monitoring and regulation. And benzene! A toxicological revue prepared by the Harvard School of Public Health in 1948 for the American Petroleum Institute (!) states that "it is generally considered that the only absolutely safe concentration for benzene is zero."
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
Today’s Chronicle has a column by Peggy Fikac where she tells of more money bringing a kinder tone to this year’s legislature.
“They’ve stayed away from the issues that divided the last legislative session,” “Even Gov. Rick Perry didn’t find anything controversial to declare an emergency item.”
She quotes Senate Finance vice chair Juan Hinojosa who says “First of all we have money. More importantly, we have really stayed away from the divisive issues. I think the last election had consequences.”
Well, when a solid majority in the statehouse insists on living in an imaginary past, any current issue is “divisive.” Such issues include public health, infrastructure and education funding.
The legislature has ignored the pleas of city and county officials and hospital administrators across the state to join in a medicaid expansion that would bring ten billion dollars a year in federal money to provide affordable health coverage to the 25% of Texans without it.
With most of the state seeing another year of drought conditions, this legislature has yet to make a realistic effort to fund a state water plan that gets more expensive with every year of inaction.
They have failed to address a school funding crisis caused by the last session’s budget cuts, again leaving the issue in the hands of the Federal Court system, while school districts lay off staff and classrooms bulge.
The Lege also considered legislation to regulate payday and auto title lenders in Texas, who can charge 600% interest on small loans to broke and desperate Texans. The industry weighed in, spending $4 million to influence lawmakers and now the bill is so watered-down that even the sponsors won’t support it. Worse, the bill would nullify local laws passed by the city of San Antonio and others. As one lawmaker put it, the law as written now would legitimize usury in Texas.
So, all is groovy in Austin this session, and the legislature is doing a heck of a job, if you ask the right people.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Those Rice guys always good for a quote..
Thursday, March 21, 2013
News that Gets My Goat
News today from Washington that Congress has passed the first gun–related measures since the Newtown schoolhouse massacre that killed twenty elementary school children three months ago.
The Congress passed a spending bill to continue funding government operations and attached two measures to make permanent a pair of often-renewed NRA-inspired rules that first; forbid the use of any Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms gun data by social scientists or public health professionals to study the cause and effects of gun violence in America, and second; prohibit the ATF from requiring licensed gun dealers to take inventory of their stock.
Let’s take these separately; first, consider this common event. Somewhere in America, a proud owner of a new automatic pistol is showing it off to an acquaintance. Being safety-minded, he removes the magazine before handing it to his friend to admire, unmindful that he’s already jacked a round from the magazine into the tube. His friend then pulls the trigger, firing that forgotten round god-knows-where. This probably happens at least once a day in America. Now; if some concerned doctor, say at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center has decided to study such incidents, he has to do it working from scattered reports from law enforcement agencies all across the country because Federal authorities are prohibited from sharing any data they may have. This would be an impediment to doctors or scientists who might lobby legislators to require that such firearms sold in this country be designed to indicate to the user when a round is in the chamber or that it not fire when the magazine is removed.
And secondly; imagine some day in the future. In this future, President Justin Bieber is attacked by a cell of heavily-armed bi-polar ex-cons from North Korea. Law enforcement authorities trace the automatic weapons used in the attack to a gun dealer in the Rio Grande Valley, and Congress and citizens ask who is responsible for selling these guns to the international cell of deranged criminals. Well, Mr. Jimmy Bob Inbrid, proprietor of Valley View Guns and Liquor need only say that the weapons in question were ‘lost or stolen’ from his extensive inventory, which is ‘too durn big to count or keep track of anyways’ and he is home-free.
Such legislative ham-stringing of law enforcement belies the oft-heard line from the NRA that “we don’t need more gun laws; we just need to enforce the ones already on the books.” The ATF has not had a permanent director since 2006, when at the behest of the NRA, Congress decreed that the ATF Director would thereafter be confirmed by the Senate. The ATF today has the same number of agents that it had in the 1970’s, when the US population was just over 200 million. Now we have half again as many people and twice as many guns.Such is what we’ve come to expect from the sausage factory that is Congress, where the will of the people is of little note to legislators in the sway of the gun manufacturer’s lobby; the NRA, which spent $15 million last year on campaign contributions and lobbying. Despite all that spending, the NRA actually had a losing record in races they tried to influence last year; and there lies the answer to this problem of democracy. “Gun Rights” legislators are going to have to have their asses handed to them by ‘voters for gun sanity’ before they stop bowing to the increasingly bizarre demands of the gun lobby. Let’s do it.