Texa’s police

There has been a spate of events where police in Texas overplays the use of force against upper-class non-white teenagers. Most recently, Mohamed, a 14 year old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, was taken into police custody when he brought a homemade digital clock to school to impress the teachers. Regardless of … Continue reading Texa’s police

There has been a spate of events where police in Texas overplays the use of force against upper-class non-white teenagers. Most recently, Mohamed, a 14 year old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, was taken into police custody when he brought a homemade digital clock to school to impress the teachers.

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Regardless of  whether  the school’s actions of taking the clock for a bomb and calling the police were paranoiac or due-diligence, the police had no grounds to arrest and handcuff a 14 year old in school without contacting his parents first and assessing the situation properly. The kid did not treat anyone and only showed the clock to a teacher, that assumed without other cause than racial profiling, that it was a bomb.

In June 2015, In McKinney, Texas, police broke a local pool party on Friday night, like if it were a burglary of some sort, harassing black kids, but leaving white ones alone, as if they were invisible. A situation between a mom and a girl broke out and when the cops showed up everyone ran, including the people who didn’t do anything. So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason. This kind of force is uncalled for especially on children and innocent bystanders. In particular, a police officer put a 13 year old girl face down in the floor for no reason at all. The officer was placed on administrative leave after being filmed aggressively handcuffing, and then pulling a weapon on, a group of black teens.

The harsh treatment of teens that are handcuffed while involved in non-aggressive normal day-to-day activities contrast with the treatment given thugs actually involved in murder and a shoot out at a mall.

Police in Waco charged 170 people with organised crime in what could potentially represent the largest mass arrest on a capital charge in American history. The gangsters were arrested and charged in connection with a deadly shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, which left nine dead and 18 injured. However, if one looks at pictures of the arrest, he gangsters were not even handcuffed.

Texa’s police

There has been a spate of events where police in Texas overplays the use of force against upper-class non-white teenagers. Most recently, Mohamed, a 14 year old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, was taken into police custody when he brought a homemade digital clock to school to impress the teachers. Regardless of … Continue reading Texa’s police

There has been a spate of events where police in Texas overplays the use of force against upper-class non-white teenagers. Most recently, Mohamed, a 14 year old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, was taken into police custody when he brought a homemade digital clock to school to impress the teachers.

CO_9UsXUYAA33sT

Regardless of  whether  the school’s actions of taking the clock for a bomb and calling the police were paranoiac or due-diligence, the police had no grounds to arrest and handcuff a 14 year old in school without contacting his parents first and assessing the situation properly. The kid did not treat anyone and only showed the clock to a teacher, that assumed without other cause than racial profiling, that it was a bomb.

In June 2015, In McKinney, Texas, police broke a local pool party on Friday night, like if it were a burglary of some sort, harassing black kids, but leaving white ones alone, as if they were invisible. A situation between a mom and a girl broke out and when the cops showed up everyone ran, including the people who didn’t do anything. So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason. This kind of force is uncalled for especially on children and innocent bystanders. In particular, a police officer put a 13 year old girl face down in the floor for no reason at all. The officer was placed on administrative leave after being filmed aggressively handcuffing, and then pulling a weapon on, a group of black teens.

The harsh treatment of teens that are handcuffed while involved in non-aggressive normal day-to-day activities contrast with the treatment given thugs actually involved in murder and a shoot out at a mall.

Police in Waco charged 170 people with organised crime in what could potentially represent the largest mass arrest on a capital charge in American history. The gangsters were arrested and charged in connection with a deadly shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, which left nine dead and 18 injured. However, if one looks at pictures of the arrest, he gangsters were not even handcuffed.

Hobby Lobby

The decision, written by Justice Alito, is beyond disturbing. It essentially grants for-profit corporations a free pass not to follow laws by invoking their “religious rights” under RFRA. While Alito and his buddies said their ruling was narrow, nothing could … Continue reading

The decision, written by Justice Alito, is beyond disturbing. It essentially grants for-profit corporations a free pass not to follow laws by invoking their “religious rights” under RFRA.

While Alito and his buddies said their ruling was narrow, nothing could be further from the truth. The door is now wide open for corporations to run to court saying they can discriminate in a variety of ways.

Some key points about Hobby Lobby:

As Justice Ginsberg noted in her dissent, “‘Closely held’ is not synonymous with ‘small.’” America’s five largest “closely held” corporations alone employ more than 436,000 people — one of those companies being the $115 billion, 60,000-employee Koch Industries. And the Washington Post reported that, according to a 2000 study, “closely held” is a term that covers as much as 90 percent (or more) of all businesses, and studies from Columbia University and New York University showed that closely held corporations employed 52 percent of the American workforce.
The duplicitousness of pretending that limiting the ruling to “closely held” corporations really limits it substantially in scope goes beyond just the size and number of “closely held” corporations. In providing no actual reasoning as to why only “closely held” corporations would be afforded religious rights under RFRA, Justice Alito’s Hobby Lobby decision certainly could pave the way for all corporations — even publicly traded ones — to claim these rights.
Many on the Religious Right are already asserting employers’ right to discriminate against LGBT people. While Hobby Lobby states that employers cannot claim religious objections in order to discriminate based on race, it says nothing about sex or sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court ponders the contraceptive mandate

ON March 25th the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare”, was back before the Supreme Court. Two years ago the justices upheld most of the law. This week they heard oral arguments in Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v Sebelius. These two consolidated cases concern Obamacare’s “contraceptive mandate”—the requirement that businesses offering their employees health insurance must provide plans that cover all federally-approved contraception methods at no extra cost to their employees.

The legal merits of these cases revolve around the concept of  Corporate personhood


Corporations are NOT people. While it is true that what guides them is the human activity of their executives, boards of directors, managers and employees, all the human emotional factors of the people in the corporation pass through a “filter” created by the two basic rules:

  1. Maximize profit
  2. Do whatever is necessary to continue the business.

(Rule number 1 should be modified when it conflicts with rule 2)

It is a slippery road to give personal rights to corporations. The corporation is an amoral entity, i.e., not governed by human moral values. It lacks guilt for what it does, or empathy for those it harms. What’s worse, this “sociopathic” entity is given the rights of a human being, but not similar responsibilities. A corporation is particularly dangerous because of its great concentration of money, power, and political influence–which it uses freely to reach its goals.

To give a concrete example of the dangers of giving too much power to corporations to allow corporations to participate directly on political campaigns is a very serious threat to democracy.

Campaign finance law in the United States changed drastically in the wake of two 2010 judicial opinions: the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in SpeechNow.org v. FEC.[42] According to a 2011 Congressional Research Service report, these two decisions constitute “the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades.” [43]

Citizens United struck down, on free speech grounds, the limits on the ability of organizations that accepted corporate or union money from running electioneering communications. The Court reasoned that the restrictions permitted by Buckley were justified based on avoiding corruption or the appearance of corruption, and that this rationale did not apply to corporate donations to independent organizations. Citizens United overruled the 1990 case Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, in which the Supreme Court upheld the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, which prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections.

Two months later, a unanimous nine-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided SpeechNow, which relied on Citizens United to hold that Congress could not limit donations to organizations that only made independent expenditures, that is, expenditures that were “uncoordinated” with a candidate’s campaign. These decisions led to the rise of “independent-expenditure only” PACs, commonly known as “Super PACs.” Super PACs, under Citizens United and SpeechNow, can raise unlimited funds from individual and corporate donors and use those funds for electioneering advertisements, provided that the Super PAC does not coordinate with a candidate.

One should not confuse the individuals working within a corporation with the corporation proper. To elaborate and clarify the point of freedom of speech and corporations let’s consider the case of Media corporations, those whose actual activity revolves around disseminating information and opinion. While journalist, writers, news anchors, and the like have 1st amendment rights, the corporations that they work for do not. This might be a subtle point but it is crucial. When corporations do have positions on some issues, and they always have an agenda, this is NOT freedom of speech, it is censorship. This censorship is exercised trough the firing or ostracizing of staff or source that go astray of the corporate line. Thus, to give corporations freedom of speech rights is actually antithetical of the spirit of the first amendment.

Corporations as such do not have national loyalties. Just as an example, Standard Oil supplied the German government during WW II as Coca Cola did.

The Standard Oil group of companies, in which the Rockefeller family owned a one-quarter (and controlling) interest,1 was of critical assistance in helping Nazi Germany prepare for World War II. This assistance in military preparation came about because Germany’s relatively insignificant supplies of crude petroleum were quite insufficient for modern mechanized warfare; in 1934 for instance about 85 percent of German finished petroleum products were imported. The solution adopted by Nazi Germany was to manufacture synthetic gasoline from its plentiful domestic coal supplies. It was the hydrogenation process of producing synthetic gasoline and iso-octane properties in gasoline that enabled Germany to go to war in 1940 — and this hydrogenation process was developed and financed by the Standard Oil laboratories in the United States in partnership with I.G. Farben.

Evidence presented to the Truman, Bone, and Kilgore Committees after World War II confirmed that Standard Oil had at the same time “seriously imperiled the war preparations of the United States.”2Documentary evidence was presented to all three Congressional committees that before World War II Standard Oil had agreed with I.G. Farben, in the so-called Jasco agreement, that synthetic rubber was within Farben’s sphere of influence, while Standard Oil was to have an absolute monopoly in the U.S. only if and when Farben allowed development of synthetic rubber to take place in the U.S.

Fanta is a global brand of fruit-flavored carbonated soft drinks created by The Coca-Cola Company. There are over 100 flavors worldwide. The drink originated in Germany in 1941.

Fanta originated as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo.[2] To circumvent this, Max Keith, the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace – the “leftovers of leftovers”, as Keith later recalled.[2][3] The name was the result of a brief brainstorming session, which started with Keith exhorting his team to “use their imagination” (“Fantasie” in German), to which one of his salesmen, Joe Knipp, immediately retorted “Fanta!”[3]

While the plant was effectively cut off from Coca Cola headquarters during the war, plant management did not join the Nazi Party. After the war, the Coca Cola corporation regained control of the plant, formula and the trademarks to the new Fanta product — as well as the plant profits made during the war

The U.S. Federal tax system also helps corporations operate in this amoral way by allowing them to deduct from their profits, with some limitations, the cost of public relations campaigns to cover for the damage they cause, the compensation to victims, the cleanup operations, the cost of legal defense, legal damage awards, and the cost of lobbying to change the laws in their favor or gain exemptions from the law. In other words, if they are caught, corporations pay the costs of their destructive, illegal activities with tax-free money. (Tax free for one corporation = somebody else pays more taxes.)

In their current form, corporations are the most dangerous things on earth–because they threaten the survival of humankind and the entire planetary ecosystem.

Birth control does not mean abortion I am not in favor of abortion but I am against using this kind of complicated issues for political ends. How do one balance in black and white gun ownership and the statement that murder is wrong? In the same way that gun advocates justify killing a human being outside the womb (to themselves) by redefining murder according to the circumstances, others justify killing a human being inside the womb (to themselves) by redefining abortion according to the circumstances.

Tea Party types do believe that killing is proper under some conditions and are against governments interfering with the freedoms of people, so why be in favor of government regulations of any kind? Criminalizing behaviors is not a solution for social problems.

Republican Jodie Laubenberg, who co-authored Texas strict anti-abortion laws in 2013, (because she says she believes that “life begins at conception”) also opposed healthcare for newly developing fetuses. Laubenberg testified that the unborn should not be entitled to health care, because “they aren’t born yet.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) the single most important factor for a healthy pregnancy is a healthy mother. This means that every woman who is of child-bearing age should have regular health screenings, as well as access to services and medications which can help diagnose, prevent, treat or cure chronic or temporary health conditions.

According to the CDC (the only agency in the United States that has the ability to monitor and track abortion rates) in 2009 there were 15.1 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Of those abortion 91.7 percent were performed earlier than 13th week of pregnancy, and of those the majority, almost 70 percent, were performed prior to the 8th week of pregnancy. Additionally, statistics show that many of the abortions that occur later in pregnancy are performed for medical reasons.

In this highly informative article published on Patheos.com, the author explains the many reasons she lost faith in the right wing’s pro-life movement.

“Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.”

There’s a circus of political shows with no other end that entertain and distract. Like for example that speech of a democrat meant to be an attack on Republican policies when Reagan had just passed an immigration amnesty, and now it is used for opposite purposes. Life is not as simple as good conservatives on the shadow of God against evil liberal lefties doing the devil’s work.


pro-gun laws; where can’t we carry them?

By CAMERON MCWHIRTER and KARISHMA MEHROTRA
June 29, 2014 9:11 p.m. ET

ATLANTA—Bars, houses of worship, and other public establishments are wrestling with what to do about a new law in Georgia that starting on Tuesday dramatically will expand gun-permit holders’ right to carry weapons where people congregate.

The law allows licensed gun owners to bring weapons to bars and houses of worship, unless forbidden by proprietors. Legally-owned guns also are allowed in unrestricted areas of airports and government buildings, and may be carried at schools and in colleges if permitted by officials.

Several other states allow guns in bars or churches, but Georgia’s «Safe Carry Protection Act,» which passed the state legislature overwhelmingly earlier this year, is unusual in that it expanded gun rights in multiple places with one omnibus law.


This is horrifying: According to multiple news outlets, a Target employee found a loaded handgun in the toy aisle of a store in South Carolina.

When you’re shopping at Target, you shouldn’t have to worry about someone parading around with a semiautomatic rifle, or whether your kid is going to find a loaded handgun while looking at toys.

More than 115,000 people have already signed the petition to Target asking for gun sense policies to protect customers and employees from gun violence — and over the next two days volunteers are going to be delivering these petitions all across the country.

Gun extremists armed with semiautomatic rifles have walked into Target locations around the country, weapons out and loaded, making sure customers saw their guns.
It’s often legal to do this, because many states have weak laws that allow people to openly carry around loaded weapons without any permits, training, or background checks. That means it’s up to companies themselves to protect their customers when the law won’t. Yet according to the Wall Street Journal, Target doesn’t have any policies to stop people from carrying weapons in its stores:

Target, which boasts on its website that between 80% and 90% of its customers are women, has no restrictions on customers carrying guns in its stores.

Chipotle, Starbucks, Chili’s, Sonic Drive-In, and Jack in the Box have already responded to petitions from moms and other gun sense supporters asking the stores not to allow guns. Now it’s up to Target to protect families who shop in its stores..

Sign the petition


Concealed weapon law tossed by fed appeals court

Published February 13, 2014Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – A divided federal appeals court on Thursday struck down California’s concealed weapons rules, saying they violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

By a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said California was wrong to require applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

«The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense,» Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote for the majority.


September 24, 2013

It has been 577 days since George Zimmerman shot and killed our son Travyon. And it’s been 74 days since a jury set George Zimmerman free, in part because of broken «Stand Your Ground» laws that protect killers like Zimmerman — killers who first instigate conflicts and then claim self-defense.
In July, we started a petition on Change.org calling for «Stand Your Ground» laws to be reviewed and amended nationwide, but we need to turn up the pressure in order to change the same law in Texas.
Can you start your own petition calling on Governor Perry and the Texas legislature to review and amend Texas’ «Stand Your Ground» law so that people like George Zimmerman can’t kill with impunity?
Reviewing and amending separate laws in 22 different states isn’t going to be easy — we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we’re asking for your help in Texas, because we know that Governor Perry and your state legislature will be most heavily influenced by the voices of constituents like you.
We already know that there’s a major groundswell of people who want to see these laws amended, because more than 400,000 people have signed our petition. Now it’s time to take that energy and harness it, state by state, to make sure no one can stalk, chase, and kill an unarmed child and get away with it.
Not in Texas. Not in Florida. Not anywhere in America.
Our grief is overwhelming, but we are fortified by our fight to honor Trayvon’s memory by fixing these broken laws. Starting a petition only takes a few minutes. Yours could be the voice that makes sure no child in Texas ever has to experience what happened to our son.
Click here to start your own petition calling on Governor Perry and the Texas legislature to review and amend Texas’ «Stand Your Ground» laws.
Thank you for standing with us, and with Trayvon.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton


Friend —

My son, Daniel, was a smart, quiet kid.

He’d just become a straight-A student, and he was overcoming his shyness as a new member of the debate team.

On April 20th, 1999, my beautiful and bright 15-year-old son was killed by two teenagers with guns in the library of Columbine High School — one of 12 innocent kids who lost their lives for no reason at all.

It’s been 14 years since that horrible day — 14 years of fighting so no family has to grieve like ours did.

These tragedies keep happening, and so far, Congress has failed to take common-sense action to stop them — even though nine in 10 Americans have agreed that it’s time to act by expanding background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people.

This Wednesday, OFA and allied organizations are standing up for a national Day of Action to ask members of Congress: What will it take to finally act to prevent gun violence?

I hope you’ll join in — say you’ll do one thing this week to show Congress you want action to prevent gun violence.

The last questions you ever want to hear as a parent are: «What was your child wearing, and do you have any dental records?»

That’s what the police asked me the evening of the shooting at Columbine High, as they tried to establish who had been killed.

It was the most hopeless I’d ever felt.

Since Daniel’s death, I’ve found a way to honor him: by trying to prevent other families from feeling this pain. I’ve advocated locally and nationally for smarter gun laws — even helping achieve a statewide ballot victory here in Colorado.

In December, when I heard about the shooting in Newtown, I sat in my office and broke down. I was watching another community torn apart by guns — more parents grieving, more kids who would never see graduation, or a wedding, or a family of their own.

And in the wake of another tragedy, nine in 10 Americans agreed that it was time to act — expand background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people.

But Congress disappointed us, putting politics above the safety of our kids.

That’s why this week, we’re asking: How many parents will have to go through what I did before we say «enough»?

You should be a part of this, too. Tell Congress you’re going to keep asking until they act:

http://my.barackobama.com/Do-One-Thing-for-Gun-Violence-Prevention

Thank you,

Tom

Tom Mauser
Littleton, Colorado


January 17, 2013

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the sweeping gun measure, the nation’s toughest. It includes a ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines.

The
 statute currently written does NOT exempt law enforcement officers. The NYPD, the State Police and virtually every law enforcement agency in the state carry 9-millimeter guns, which have a 15-round capacity.

Unless an exemption is added by the time the law takes effect in March, police would technically be in violation of the new gun measure. A spokesman for the Governor’s office called us to say, «We are still working out some details of the law and the exemption will be included.»


Published: 31 December, 2012, 18:57

There’s no country in the world where you can’t smoke a cigar in a bar, but you may sip bourbon with your Colt Python – only in America!

While the Pentagon assiduously burns billions of dollars to export the cult of violence abroad, in the meantime, back at the domestic front, the Connecticut carnage has resurrected the moribund discussion about the perennial issue: the national suicidal pastime which annually devours 30,000 people, including 2,800 kids.

Even US casualties in Afghanistan – 309 KIA in 2012 – is no match to 414 murders in New York City the same year, celebrated as the record-lowest level in over four decades, down from the apex of 2,000 annual homicides, which accidentally coincides with the overall Operation Enduring Freedom body-count since the beginning of the invasion.

I ain’t no gun-shy latte-lapping liberal or trigger-happy loony. As a veteran and responsible gun owner with a concealed carry permit, I have to admit that the sheer enormity of violence in the US doesn’t jibe well with black & white, left & right polarized partisanship.

In essence, the debate is divided & dominated by one question – what is the main culprit of the homeland heinous crimes, a deadly gun or an evil mind?

In Utopia, nobody would pack heat and everybody would live in harmony, in Dystopia, everybody would be armed to the teeth and dangerously paranoiac.

Given a choice between disarmament & arms race, the USA today is on a fast track to destination D – distraction or despair, you name it.
Spiking the guns

There’s no doubt that all too often, firearms figure prominently as killing multipliers in endemic shooting sprees. Nevertheless, to single them out as the one & only reason that gnaws at the heart of America would be:

– Morally & intellectually dishonest, absolving society at large, the local community and individuals in particular from any duty & responsibility and shifting the blame from the perpetrators & collaborators to the material evidence to the crime.

– Disingenuous – if guns were intrinsically sinful, the US president, Congress and the Supreme Court wouldn’t kowtow to NRA. Stand united, and they’d show the true colors and call for abolition of the 2nd Amendment and comprehensive weapons ban.

– Cynical – drugs, fast food & soft drink legally and profitably hurt more kids than illegal access to alcohol, tobacco & firearms. Who would dare to infringe on ‘freedom of choice’ and prohibit all sweet & slow killers?

The point is it takes a wicked mind to convert a gun into a murderous accomplice, not the other way around.
Multiple delivery vehicles

The gun manufacturing industry is just a little bro of the omnipotent military industrial complex, but it wields tremendous clout over its customer base in the most politicized business in the US.

Some of its ethically-free members shamelessly exploit & condone the cult of violence, propagated by entertainment industry, as freebie product placement in toys, movies, TV and video training games, including the nefarious “Kindergarten Killer.”
Target audience

So what drives the restless minds to ubiquitous guns, making Americans pony up $12 billion for arms & ammo a year, come hell or high water? Here’s a cursory profiling, but some characters could be tempted by multiple motives:

Frontier spirit: The true believers in the sacrosanct right for any individual to bear arms under the aegis of the 2nd Amendment. They flatly refuse to consider a “states’ rights” view that the purpose of the clause is only to protect the states in their authority to maintain formal, organized militia units which are currently substituted and overrepresented by the Pentagon and the National Guard.

Whether they need a gun or not, it doesn’t matter: for ‘the freedom fighters’, the ‘right’ to cling to firearms is article of faith in preordained exceptionalism, the ultimate totem of Americana, which, even if imported, is more symbolic than Stetson hats and Lucchese boots made in the USA.

‘The freedom fighters’ are the posse comitatus and the stormtroopers of the NRA who are ready to fight tooth & nail against Indians, Brits, aliens, commies, feds and legislators to protect their rights to bear arms any time anywhere, no matter what and the hell with individual responsibility and public safety.

Collecting spirit: This is a rarified breed of aloof connoisseurs which are mostly intelligence & military types, active duty and otherwise. They keep a low profile and enjoy the pleasure of quietly building up their exquisite caches to the envy of their pals at local SWAT teams. They keep their powder dry, but they’re the champs at burning their greenbacks on amassing the formidable arsenals of trophies.

Shooting spirit: They love it, they know it and they do it skillfully, safely & responsibly. As hunters and sports enthusiasts, ‘the weekend warriors’ wastemore ammo than all other categories combined, being the most active fun-loving crowd among gun owners. They don’t bullshit about guns & rights. For them, it’s all about shooting the bull’s eye.

Shopping spirit: Impulsive & skittish customers – prodded by the fear factor, peer pressure and propaganda of violence, these armchair commandos and wannabe Rambos ogle a gun as an adult pacifier with ‘cool’ bragging rights, a tangible insurance against intangible threats, however remote & imaginary.

This nervous Nellie types are suckers for bigger, ‘badder’ guns, which they honestly believe could compensate their total lack of situational awareness and friend or foe selective accuracy under the adrenalin rush of the enemy fire.

They are the driving force of consumerism and the firepower fetishism, oblivious to mundane murder depredations, only to be jolted into panic hoarding after media coverage of another shooting rampage or gun limitations rumor mill.
Possessed & obsessed

The extreme sides of the antisocial personality disorder are lopsidedly represented by the traditional ‘sane’ majority and deinstitutionalized & marginalized ‘insane’ minority:

Long-time active serial killers: career criminals who don’t have suicidal ideations or qualms of conscience. As outlaws and the main customers of the firearms black market, they illegally & easily get anything they want and couldn’t care less about regulations & restrictions for legit gun owners.

The committed killers, isolated & organized, are responsible for the overwhelming majority of homicides – with and without firearms – but haven’t gotten the public attention they deserve. The true heroes of the violence cult who made America exceptional by the notorious homicide rate (which exceeds Japan’s by 1,000 times), they represent & reproduce its core value, the freedom to kill & be killed.

One-time dormant multiple murderers: the miserable misfits aka psychos, while not necessarily ‘born to kill’, have their worst basic instinct awakened & conditioned by omnipresent propaganda of violence & vengeance.

They are the ultimate customers of the cult, who are capable to decode its subliminal message – death shall make thou free – into clarion call to action as the ‘ultimate solution’ to settle the scores with the hostile society.

The liberals have ‘liberated’ maniacs from involuntary commitment, exposing them to the ‘values’ of violence, while the NRA has lobbied to protect their rights to legally obtain & keep firearms, thus channeling their macabre fantasies into the outer world.

These ‘accidental’ murderers, neglected or abused by their families & communities, perpetrate less than 1 per cent of overall homicides, but attract 99 per cent of media attention, prompting publicity vultures of their kind to step out from the dark and copycat their horrific crimes.
Mind Control

To paraphrase the old adage, guns don’t regulate themselves, people do. No doubt, it’s a commendable idea to tighten up gun legislature: eliminate restrictions on tracing info sharing (Tiahrt amendments), close the gaping loopholes in state laws, ban assault rifles & high capacity clips and establish comprehensive national FBI & ATF data clearing house to encompass prospective buyers, owners & guns.

Alas, in the Disunited States of America, it is a daydream that will scarcely ever come true: a state of anarchy in firearms regulation has been created & guarded by a cabal of special interests, led by the NRA, which controls pusillanimous politicians, represents armed extremists & psychos and discredits responsible gun manufacturers & owners.

If Biden & Bloomberg have the mojo to win the undeclared war by Americans against Americans for Americans, they should set the priorities straight: liberate the USA from the bloody NRA!

Are you ready for the American Spring?

Godspeed and Happy New Year!


«The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,»

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA

In Washington on Friday, influential National Rifle Association (NRA) broke a week-long silence with a robust defence of its pro-gun position.

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA, criticised politicians who had «exploited» the tragedy in Newtown for «political gain» and took aim at laws designating schools as gun-free zones.

«They tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk,» he said.

Mr LaPierre called for a national database of the mentally ill and blamed violent video games and films for portraying murder as a «way of life».

He spoke out against the media for demonizing lawful gun owners, and for suggesting a ban on certain types of weapon would be effective.

Congress should authorise funding for armed security in every school in the country, he said, adding that an «extraordinary corps» of trained professionals could be drawn from active and retired police officers, security professionals and firefighters around the country.

Mr LaPierre was interrupted twice by anti-gun protesters carrying banners and declaring that the NRA had «blood on its hands».

The guns used in the shooting had been legally bought by the gunman’s mother, Nancy Lanza.

The shooting has seen some pro-gun congressmen say the mass shooting has prompted them to change their views on whether guns should be regulated more strictly in the US.

Meanwhile California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has been an advocate for tighter gun laws, said she would introduce new legislation when Congress meets for the first time in the new year.

But there is no bipartisan consensus on the issue, with others backing the NRA line that teachers in schools should be armed in order to better defend students if a shooting occurs.

In recent years, the N.R.A. has aggressively lobbied federal and state governments to dilute or eliminate numerous regulations on gun ownership. And the clearest beneficiary has been the gun industry — sales of firearms and ammunition have grown 5.7 percent a year since 2007, to nearly $12 billion this year, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm. Despite the recession, arms sales have been growing so fast that domestic manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up. Imports of arms have grown 3.6 percent a year in the last five years.
The industry has, in turn, been a big supporter of the N.R.A. It has contributed between $14.7 million and $38.9 million to an N.R.A.-corporate-giving campaign since 2005, according to a report published last year by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit group that advocates greater gun control. The estimate is based on a study of the N.R.A.’s “Ring of Freedom” program and very likely understates the industry’s total financial support for the association, which does not publicly disclose a comprehensive list of its donors and how much they have given.
Officials from the N.R.A. have repeatedly said their main goal is to protect the Second Amendment rights of rank-and-file members who like to hunt or want guns for protection. But that claim is at odds with surveys that show a majority of N.R.A. members and a majority of American gun owners often support restrictions on gun sales and ownership that the N.R.A. has bitterly fought.
For instance, a 2009 poll commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 69 percent of N.R.A. members would support requiring all sellers at gun shows to conduct background checks of prospective buyers, which they do not have to do now and which the N.R.A. has steadfastly argued against. If lawful gun owners are willing to subject themselves to background checks, why is the association resisting? Its position appears only to serve the interest of gun makers and dealers who want to increase sales even if it means having dangerous weapons fall into the hands of criminals and violent individuals.
Businesses and special-interest groups often cloak their profit motives in the garb of constitutional rights — think Big Tobacco and its opposition to restrictions on smoking in public places and bold warnings on cigarette packages. The Supreme Court has made clear that the right to bear arms is not absolute and is subject to regulations and controls. Yet the N.R.A. clings to its groundless arguments that tough regulations violate the Second Amendment. Many of those arguments serve no purpose other than to increase the sales of guns and bullets.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Should veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their own financial affairs be prevented from buying a gun?

The issue, for a time last week, threatened to become the biggest sticking point in a $631 billion defense bill for reshaping a military that is disengaging from a decade of warfare.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought to amend the bill to stop the Veterans Affairs Department from putting the names of veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their finances into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which prohibits them from buying or owning firearms.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., objected, saying the measure would make it easier for veterans with mental illness to own a gun, endangering themselves and others.

«I love our veterans, I vote for them all the time. They defend us,» Schumer said. «If you are a veteran or not and you have been judged to be mentally infirm, you should not have a gun.»

Currently, the VA appoints fiduciaries, often family members, to manage the pensions and disability benefits of veterans who are declared incompetent. When that happens, the department automatically enters the veteran’s name in the Criminal Background Check System.

A core group of lawmakers led by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has for several years wanted to prohibit the VA from submitting those names to the gun-check registry unless a judge or magistrate deems the veteran to be a danger. This year’s version of the bill has 21 co-sponsors. It passed the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee by voice vote, a tactic generally reserved for noncontroversial legislation. Coburn’s amendment to the defense bill contained comparable language.

«All I am saying is, let them at least have their day in court if you are going to take away a fundamental right given under the Constitution,» Coburn said in the Senate debate last Thursday night.

Congressional aides said Coburn will likely drop his effort to amend the defense bill with his proposal, but that he intends to try again on other bills coming to the Senate floor.

The number of veterans directly affected by the VA’s policy doesn’t appear to very large. Only 185 out of some 127,000 veterans added to the gun-check registry since 1998 have sought to have their names taken off, according to data that the VA shared with lawmakers during a hearing last June.

Still, the legislation over the years has attracted strong support from the National Rifle Association and various advocacy groups for veterans.

«We consider it an abject tragedy that so many of our veterans return home, after risking life and limb to defend our freedom, only to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights because they need help managing their compensation,» Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, wrote last year in an editorial.

The NRA did not respond to queries from the AP about Coburn’s latest effort.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said gun control advocates consider the VA’s current policy reasonable.

«We’re talking about people who have some form of disability to the extent that they’re unable to manage their own affairs,» Gross said. «If you’re deemed unable to handle your own affairs, that’s likely to constitute a high percentage of people who are dangerously mentally ill.»

Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said veterans with a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder but who pose no threat to others are possibly being barred from gun ownership. The current restrictions might even be a disincentive for veterans to seek needed treatment, he said.

«We want to remove these stigmas for mental health treatment. It’s a combat injury,» Tarantino said. «They wouldn’t be doing this if you were missing your right hand, so they shouldn’t be doing it if you’re seeking treatment for post-traumatic-stress-disorder or traumatic brain injury.»

VA officials have told lawmakers they believe veterans deemed incompetent already have adequate protections.

For example, they said, veterans can appeal the finding of incompetency based on new evidence. And even if the VA maintains a veteran is incompetent, he can petition the agency to have his firearm rights restored on the basis of not posing a threat to public safety.


Jul 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Last week, a federal judge permanently blocked Florida from enforcing a law that banned doctors from discussing gun ownership with their patients. The law, the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, signed last year by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), prohibited “inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession…by licensed health care practitioners” and “discrimination…based solely on upon a patient’s firearm ownership or possession.”

Because the law’s exceptions, which allow inquiries about guns if a doctor believes in “good faith” that it is relevant to a patient’s care or safety, fail to provide standards for physicians to follow, the law violates the First Amendment rights of doctors:

In her ruling, Cooke clearly sided with the physicians, saying evidence showed that physicians began “self-censoring” because of the “chilling” effect of the legislation.

“What is curious about this law — and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners’ speech — is that it aims to restrict a practitioner’s ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient,” Cooke wrote, citing the benefit of such “preventive medicine.” […]

Cooke, the judge, said the legislation was based on anecdotal information and unfounded conjecture. Her decision was praised by the groups of plaintiffs, which included the Florida Pediatric Society and Florida Academy of Family Physicians.

Not only did the NRA-backed Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act violate doctors’ First Amendment rights, it interfered with routine, meaningful discussion between a doctor and a patient. Questions concerning safety and the home environment are a key part of preventative medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that guns constitute a public health issue and that doctors have a duty to ask about ownership.

Out of the 65 children shot in the U.S. every day, eight are killed. And of the one-third of homes with children that have firearms in them, 40 percent store them unlocked. Guns unquestionably affect the health of American children, just as “the presence of open containers of bleach, swimming pools, balloons, and toilet locks” do.

–Alex Brown

  Gold Star Open Carry State
  Open Carry Friendly State
  Licensed Open Carry State
  Non Permissive Open Carry State
  Rural Open Carry State

In the United States, open carry is shorthand terminology for «openly carrying a firearm in public«, as distinguished from concealed carry, where firearms cannot be seen by the casual observer.

The practice of open carry, where gun owners openly carry firearms while they go about their daily business, has seen an increase in the U.S. in recent years.[1][2] This has been marked by a number of organized events intended to increase the visibility of open carry and public awareness about the practice.[3]

Proponents of open carry point to history and statistics, noting that criminals usually conceal their weapons: The 2006 FBI study «Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers» by Anthony Pinizzotto revealed that criminals carefully conceal their firearms, and they eschew the use of holsters.[4] Encouraged by groups like OpenCarry.org, GeorgiaCarry.org and some participants of the Free State Project, open carry has seen a revival in recent years,[5][6][7] but it is not yet clear if this represents just a short-term trend.[8][9]

The gun rights community has been mixed in its response. Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA have been cautious in expressing support,[10] while special-interest groups such as the aforementioned OpenCarry.org and GeorgiaCarry.org, state-level groups such as the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), and certain national groups such as the Gun Owners of America (GOA) have been more outspoken in favor of the practice.

Open carry is strongly opposed by gun control groups such as the Brady Campaign and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

In the United States, the laws concerning open carry vary by state and sometimes by municipality.

Definitions

Open carry
The act of publicly carrying a loaded firearm on one’s person in plain sight.
Plain sight
Broadly defined as not being hidden from common observation; varies somewhat from state to state.
Preemption
In the context of open carry: the act of a state legislature passing laws which limit or eliminate the ability of local governments to regulate the possession or carrying of firearms.
Prohibited persons
People prohibited by law from carrying a firearm. Typical examples are felons, those convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence, those found to be addicted to alcohol or drugs, and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

Today in the United States, the laws vary from state to state regarding open carry of firearms. The categories are defined as follows:

Permissive open carry states
A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry to all non-prohibited citizens without permit or license. Open carry is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle. Shown on the map to the right as «Gold Star» states; the term carries a pro-gun bias, as gun-control advocacy groups like the Brady Center generally give these states very low «scores» on their own ratings systems.
Licensed open carry states
A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry of a handgun to all non-prohibited citizens once they have been issued a permit or license. Open carry of a handgun is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle.
Anomalous open carry states
In these states, open carry of a handgun is generally lawful, but the state may lack preemption or there may be other significant restrictions. Shown in the map legend as «Open Carry Friendly» states; the term is questionable as the limitations and/or lack of pre-emption means that certain areas of these states are, in their judicial system and law enforcement societies, not very «friendly» towards the practice.
Non-permissive open carry states
In these states, open carry of a handgun is not lawful, or is only lawful under such a limited set of circumstances that public carry is prohibited. Such limited circumstances may include when hunting, or while traveling to/from hunting locations, while on property controlled by the person carrying, or for lawful self-defense.

Open carry has never been ruled out as a right under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by any court. In the majority opinion in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), Justice Antonin Scalia wrote concerning the entirety of the elements of the Second Amendment; «We find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.» However, Scalia continued, «Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.»[14]

Forty-three states’ constitutions recognize and secure the right to keep and bear arms in some form, and none of those prohibit the open carrying of firearms. Five state constitutions provide that the state legislature may regulate the manner of carrying or bearing arms, and advocates argue that none rule out open carry specifically. Nine states’ constitutions indicate that the concealed carrying of firearms may be regulated and/or prohibited by the state legislature. Open carry advocates argue that, by exclusion, open carrying of arms may not be legislatively controlled in these states. But this is not settled law.[citation needed]

Section 1.7 [15] of Kentucky’s state constitution only empowers the state to enact laws prohibiting «concealed carry».

Concealed carry, or CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or in proximity.

While there is no federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry permits, 49 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from local government and/or law enforcement.[1] Illinois is the only state without such a provision. The states give different terms for licenses or permits to carry a concealed firearm, such as a Concealed Handgun License/Permit (CHL/CHP), Concealed (Defensive/Deadly) Weapon Permit/License (CDWL/CWP/CWL), Concealed Carry Permit/License (CCP/CCL), License To Carry (Firearms) (LTC/LTCF), Carry of Concealed Deadly Weapon license (CCDW), Concealed Pistol License (CPL), etc. Thirteen states use a single permit to regulate the practices of both concealed and open carry of a handgun.
Some states publish statistics indicating how many residents hold permits to carry concealed weapons, and their demographics. For example, Florida has issued 2,031,106 licenses since adopting its law in 1987, and had 843,463 licensed permit holders as of July 31, 2011.[2] Reported permit holders are predominantly male.[3] Some states have reported the number of permit holders increasing over time.[4]

The number of permit revocations is typically small.


by Joshua Vogel on September 10, 2011

I’m a liberal (or progressive, if you prefer the term). I’ve always had mixed feelings about gun ownership. As a child, I enjoyed playing with cap guns, and a macho, caveman corner of my personality has always liked the idea of wielding a weapon. But, the rational pragmatist in me has never been able to actually justify owning a gun.

Every so often I’ll get the urge to buy a gun for defense purposes. But when I start to reflect on it, I realize that I can’t really envision a situation where I’d need to use it. I mean, sure- I can picture a home break-in, where I’d run to the closet and open my gun safe and pull out a hand gun… but such scenarios feel like the boyhood daydreams of fighting a terrorist (and/or ninja) takeover of my high school. Even if it were to happen, it seems like something that would always play out better in my head than it would in real life.

I’m not a paranoid person. I enjoy reading the masturbatory rants of the folks who contribute to forums about the upcoming collapse of society, or post survivalist or “prepper” videos on youtube, or fret about “Peak Oil”. But I take all these things with more than a grain of salt. For the most part they are unsupported (or poorly supported) fears mixed with outright delusions.

But a couple things happened this week that did finally tip me over the edge and seriously consider a gun purchase: I watched the Republican Presidential Debates, and I heard Obama’s Address to Congress.

As someone who was recently unemployed for well over a year, and who saw his father get laid off during the tail end of that period, I now know firsthand the deep despair that fills someone who can’t get a foothold in this economy. If I hadn’t had the support of my family and friends, I may well have ended up homeless (and that’s within months of receiving a law degree).

Multiply that anxiety by the 14 million unemployed folks in this country, and the countless underemployed, and it’s not hard to see that there are a lot of scared and angry people out there.

Other countries– large, stable countries– have begun to see riots. Without an immediate reversal in course, it is only a matter of time before we see riots in the U.S. –which brings me back to the debates, and the President’s speech.

All of the front-running Republicans have decided that the path to economic recovery is a return to the laissez faire system of government– the same philosophy that was in place when America’s working class was at its weakest, poorest, and most abused. This isn’t a big surprise. As other, well respected, authors have noted, almost all modern Republican policies can be traced back to a singular goal: the creation of cheap labor. That’s all well and good, unless you are the labor. And, in case you didn’t know: 99% of us are the labor.

The President’s speech the next day didn’t make me feel any better. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a terrific speech- or at least it would have been if he had given it two years ago when it might have done some good. But it’s too late in the game for half-measures. Even if the President got everything that he asked for (he won’t), it still wouldn’t make a significant dent in the unemployment crisis.

So I spent the next few days thinking about the state of nation, and imaging what America is going to look like in a few years. If Obama stays in power without a liberal Congress, things will be much the same for years to come: political gridlock and slowly worsening conditions for the middle class.

If the Republicans take back the executive branch, then political gridlock is the best we can hope for. If they’re able to get traction with their radical fiscal policies, they’ll keep feeding our money to corporations, banks and the ultra-wealthy. The middle class will shrink. More of us will fall into poverty, and with fewer people buying any products, even the large corporations will start to buckle and fail.

With more unemployment, more disparity between the haves and have-nots, and no clear path to prosperity in sight, I can no longer pretend that the U.S. is the stable and secure place I always knew it to be.

It is no longer unreasonable to think that things may go from bad to much, much worse. I’m not saying that an economic collapse will happen, or even that it it is likely to happen. Nor can I begin to predict the severity or duration of any crash that might occur. But in the current political climate it feels foolhardy to ignore the possibility that something very bad is on the horizon.

If you’re skeptically minded, you may be thinking that I’m being alarmist or that my anxiety is premature. You’re right of course. But there’s logic behind my madness. History is rife with examples giant social upheavals that happen with very little notice. Most recently, Egypt taught us that lesson anew. That country went from protests to revolution in a span of days.

I’m not saying that the U.S. is poised for such a revolution, of course- but I am saying that things could turn ugly here, very quickly. With the proper trigger, massive protests could form. If handled poorly, those protests could easily turn to riots. If it can happen in the U.K., it can certainly happen here. And how big could those riots be? And how long might they last? And by the time we’ve figured out the answers to those questions, will it be too late to prepare?

And so, for the first time in my life, I found myself in a gun shop, talking to the proprietor about a good beginner’s firearm for someone who is interested in home defense.

If you’ve never been to a large gun shop (and I’m sure many progressives have not), I strongly recommend that you step inside. For my part, I found the place unsettling. For the first time in my life I held a working firearm, but I didn’t feel any safer– quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.

The thing about being a liberal in a gun shop is that you are privy to a lot of conversations that you wouldn’t otherwise hear. It was rather like walking into a Tea Party convention.

The shop I went to was near my home in North Carolina. When the gruff man behind the counter found out that I was from Massachusetts, he openly mocked it for being a “socialist” state. Moments later, I overheard a woman loudly ranting about how Obama’s job plan was “destroying the country” with more spending. She was interested in buying some gold coins for when the economy collapsed.

To be fair, most folks were just there to talk about guns, and play with guns, and buy new gadgets to affix to their guns. Their comfort and knowledge of firearms made me feel nervous. I was in store full of 50+ people who didn’t feel at all shy about expressing their distain for liberals and “socialists”. All of them, I’m convinced, would have had no trouble gunning me down in an honest firefight.

I went into that store to buy a gun to protect my family in the event of a riot. I walked out feeling very nervous that if their actually was major social upheaval in the United States, a lot of angry conservatives would have no problem forming an organized militia, and they wouldn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the scores of unarmed “socialist” progressives out there.

Now I find myself wishing that liberals would flock to gun shops en masse so that they can see the world I caught a glimpse of, and so that they could interact with the same folks I did, and maybe engage in some lively political discussion. These gun shops are factories for unchecked Tea-Party-style nonsense. It means that a lot of angry and armed folks are spending their days amplifying each other’s misunderstanding and distrust of the rest of us.

And also- (and I realize that this part is just pure paranoia)– I’d like to know that if things ever really degrade, there would be a whole lot of armed liberals out there to keep the armed conservatives in check. Or at the very least, I’d like enough of them to lay down sufficient cover fire for me while I run from Whole Foods back to my Prius.


Why Americans now carry handguns in so many public places, from parks to college campuses. Is it making the country safer or more dangerous?

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / March 11, 2012

Garner, N.C.

Leaning against a scrub pine as preschoolers scurry about at his feet, Shane Gazda, father of 3-year-old twins, recalls a conundrum he faced earlier that morning: whether to take his Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun to a Groundhog Day celebration in this town’s White Deer Park.

After all, what was once against the law in North Carolina – carrying a concealed gun in a town park, square, or greenway – is now, as of Dec. 1, 2011, very much allowed. To Mr. Gazda, who likes to shoot targets in his backyard, an event as innocent as paying homage to a rodent could turn dangerous if the wrong person shows up.

«Part of it is being ready for cataclysm every day,» says Gazda, a hospital maintenance engineer. «And to be honest, I started carrying precisely to protect not just myself, but my family, and anyone around me who needs help.»

Gun laws: How much do you know?

In the end, Gazda left the gun at home. But his internal debate is emblematic of one a growing number of Americans are having almost daily. Thirty years after a powerful gun-control movement swept the country, Americans are embracing the idea of owning and carrying firearms with a zeal rarely seen since the days of muskets and militias.

A combination of favorable court rulings, grass-roots activism, traditional fears of crime, and modern anxieties about government has led to what may be a tipping point on an issue that just a few years ago was one of America’s most contentious. Gun rights have now expanded to the point where the fundamental question seems not to be «should we be able to carry guns,» but instead is «where can’t we carry them?«

The answer: not very many places.

The new North Carolina statute, in fact, is one of hundreds of new gun-friendly laws enacted by states and localities in the past few years alone. Mississippi lawmakers, for instance, recently voted to allow gun owners who take an extra safety class to carry hidden weapons on college campuses and in courthouses. Ohio has granted people with permits the right to bring concealed weapons into restaurants, bars, and sports arenas. A 2010 Indiana law stipulates that private business owners let employees keep guns in their cars when parked on company property. And New Hampshire, along with several other states, has removed restrictions on bearing arms in the ultimate politically symbolic place – the State House.

In 2009, three times as many pro-gun laws were passed in the United States as antigun measures – a trend that experts say has only accelerated since then. Fully 40 states now mandate that anyone who asks for a concealed-carry permit and meets the qualifications must be issued one. One result: The number of concealed-weapon license holders in the US has gone from a few hundred thousand 10 years ago to more than 6 million today. In some parts of Tennessee, 1 out of every 11 people on the street is either carrying a weapon or has a license to do so.

«It’s a huge sea change, and one lesson to take out of all of this is that it’s amazing how fast attitudes on constitutional issues can change,» says Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and the author of «An Army of Davids.» «The thinking has turned in a way that many thought to be impossible only 15 years ago.»

By CAMERON MCWHIRTER and KARISHMA MEHROTRA
June 29, 2014 9:11 p.m. ET

ATLANTA—Bars, houses of worship, and other public establishments are wrestling with what to do about a new law in Georgia that starting on Tuesday dramatically will expand gun-permit holders' right to carry weapons where people congregate.

The law allows licensed gun owners to bring weapons to bars and houses of worship, unless forbidden by proprietors. Legally-owned guns also are allowed in unrestricted areas of airports and government buildings, and may be carried at schools and in colleges if permitted by officials.

Several other states allow guns in bars or churches, but Georgia's "Safe Carry Protection Act," which passed the state legislature overwhelmingly earlier this year, is unusual in that it expanded gun rights in multiple places with one omnibus law.



This is horrifying: According to multiple news outlets, a Target employee found a loaded handgun in the toy aisle of a store in South Carolina.

When you're shopping at Target, you shouldn't have to worry about someone parading around with a semiautomatic rifle, or whether your kid is going to find a loaded handgun while looking at toys.

More than 115,000 people have already signed the petition to Target asking for gun sense policies to protect customers and employees from gun violence -- and over the next two days volunteers are going to be delivering these petitions all across the country.

Gun extremists armed with semiautomatic rifles have walked into Target locations around the country, weapons out and loaded, making sure customers saw their guns.
It’s often legal to do this, because many states have weak laws that allow people to openly carry around loaded weapons without any permits, training, or background checks. That means it’s up to companies themselves to protect their customers when the law won’t. Yet according to the Wall Street Journal, Target doesn’t have any policies to stop people from carrying weapons in its stores:
Target, which boasts on its website that between 80% and 90% of its customers are women, has no restrictions on customers carrying guns in its stores.
Chipotle, Starbucks, Chili’s, Sonic Drive-In, and Jack in the Box have already responded to petitions from moms and other gun sense supporters asking the stores not to allow guns. Now it’s up to Target to protect families who shop in its stores..

Sign the petition




Concealed weapon law tossed by fed appeals court

Published February 13, 2014Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – A divided federal appeals court on Thursday struck down California's concealed weapons rules, saying they violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

By a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said California was wrong to require applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

"The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense," Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain wrote for the majority.








September 24, 2013

It has been 577 days since George Zimmerman shot and killed our son Travyon. And it's been 74 days since a jury set George Zimmerman free, in part because of broken "Stand Your Ground" laws that protect killers like Zimmerman -- killers who first instigate conflicts and then claim self-defense.
In July, we started a petition on Change.org calling for "Stand Your Ground" laws to be reviewed and amended nationwide, but we need to turn up the pressure in order to change the same law in Texas.
Can you start your own petition calling on Governor Perry and the Texas legislature to review and amend Texas' "Stand Your Ground" law so that people like George Zimmerman can't kill with impunity?
Reviewing and amending separate laws in 22 different states isn't going to be easy -- we can't do it on our own. That's why we're asking for your help in Texas, because we know that Governor Perry and your state legislature will be most heavily influenced by the voices of constituents like you.
We already know that there's a major groundswell of people who want to see these laws amended, because more than 400,000 people have signed our petition. Now it's time to take that energy and harness it, state by state, to make sure no one can stalk, chase, and kill an unarmed child and get away with it.
Not in Texas. Not in Florida. Not anywhere in America.
Our grief is overwhelming, but we are fortified by our fight to honor Trayvon's memory by fixing these broken laws. Starting a petition only takes a few minutes. Yours could be the voice that makes sure no child in Texas ever has to experience what happened to our son.
Click here to start your own petition calling on Governor Perry and the Texas legislature to review and amend Texas' "Stand Your Ground" laws.
Thank you for standing with us, and with Trayvon.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton




Friend --

My son, Daniel, was a smart, quiet kid.

He'd just become a straight-A student, and he was overcoming his shyness as a new member of the debate team.

On April 20th, 1999, my beautiful and bright 15-year-old son was killed by two teenagers with guns in the library of Columbine High School -- one of 12 innocent kids who lost their lives for no reason at all.

It's been 14 years since that horrible day -- 14 years of fighting so no family has to grieve like ours did.

These tragedies keep happening, and so far, Congress has failed to take common-sense action to stop them -- even though nine in 10 Americans have agreed that it's time to act by expanding background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people.

This Wednesday, OFA and allied organizations are standing up for a national Day of Action to ask members of Congress: What will it take to finally act to prevent gun violence?

I hope you'll join in -- say you'll do one thing this week to show Congress you want action to prevent gun violence.

The last questions you ever want to hear as a parent are: "What was your child wearing, and do you have any dental records?"

That's what the police asked me the evening of the shooting at Columbine High, as they tried to establish who had been killed.

It was the most hopeless I'd ever felt.

Since Daniel's death, I've found a way to honor him: by trying to prevent other families from feeling this pain. I've advocated locally and nationally for smarter gun laws -- even helping achieve a statewide ballot victory here in Colorado.

In December, when I heard about the shooting in Newtown, I sat in my office and broke down. I was watching another community torn apart by guns -- more parents grieving, more kids who would never see graduation, or a wedding, or a family of their own.

And in the wake of another tragedy, nine in 10 Americans agreed that it was time to act -- expand background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people.

But Congress disappointed us, putting politics above the safety of our kids.

That's why this week, we're asking: How many parents will have to go through what I did before we say "enough"?

You should be a part of this, too. Tell Congress you're going to keep asking until they act:

http://my.barackobama.com/Do-One-Thing-for-Gun-Violence-Prevention

Thank you,

Tom

Tom Mauser
Littleton, Colorado







January 17, 2013

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the sweeping gun measure, the nation's toughest. It includes a ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines.

The
 statute currently written does NOT exempt law enforcement officers. The NYPD, the State Police and virtually every law enforcement agency in the state carry 9-millimeter guns, which have a 15-round capacity.

Unless an exemption is added by the time the law takes effect in March, police would technically be in violation of the new gun measure. A spokesman for the Governor's office called us to say, "We are still working out some details of the law and the exemption will be included."





Published: 31 December, 2012, 18:57

There’s no country in the world where you can’t smoke a cigar in a bar, but you may sip bourbon with your Colt Python – only in America!

While the Pentagon assiduously burns billions of dollars to export the cult of violence abroad, in the meantime, back at the domestic front, the Connecticut carnage has resurrected the moribund discussion about the perennial issue: the national suicidal pastime which annually devours 30,000 people, including 2,800 kids.

Even US casualties in Afghanistan – 309 KIA in 2012 – is no match to 414 murders in New York City the same year, celebrated as the record-lowest level in over four decades, down from the apex of 2,000 annual homicides, which accidentally coincides with the overall Operation Enduring Freedom body-count since the beginning of the invasion.

I ain’t no gun-shy latte-lapping liberal or trigger-happy loony. As a veteran and responsible gun owner with a concealed carry permit, I have to admit that the sheer enormity of violence in the US doesn’t jibe well with black & white, left & right polarized partisanship.



In essence, the debate is divided & dominated by one question – what is the main culprit of the homeland heinous crimes, a deadly gun or an evil mind?

In Utopia, nobody would pack heat and everybody would live in harmony, in Dystopia, everybody would be armed to the teeth and dangerously paranoiac.

Given a choice between disarmament & arms race, the USA today is on a fast track to destination D – distraction or despair, you name it.
Spiking the guns

There’s no doubt that all too often, firearms figure prominently as killing multipliers in endemic shooting sprees. Nevertheless, to single them out as the one & only reason that gnaws at the heart of America would be:

– Morally & intellectually dishonest, absolving society at large, the local community and individuals in particular from any duty & responsibility and shifting the blame from the perpetrators & collaborators to the material evidence to the crime.

– Disingenuous – if guns were intrinsically sinful, the US president, Congress and the Supreme Court wouldn’t kowtow to NRA. Stand united, and they’d show the true colors and call for abolition of the 2nd Amendment and comprehensive weapons ban.

– Cynical – drugs, fast food & soft drink legally and profitably hurt more kids than illegal access to alcohol, tobacco & firearms. Who would dare to infringe on ‘freedom of choice’ and prohibit all sweet & slow killers?

The point is it takes a wicked mind to convert a gun into a murderous accomplice, not the other way around.
Multiple delivery vehicles

The gun manufacturing industry is just a little bro of the omnipotent military industrial complex, but it wields tremendous clout over its customer base in the most politicized business in the US.

Some of its ethically-free members shamelessly exploit & condone the cult of violence, propagated by entertainment industry, as freebie product placement in toys, movies, TV and video training games, including the nefarious “Kindergarten Killer.”
Target audience

So what drives the restless minds to ubiquitous guns, making Americans pony up $12 billion for arms & ammo a year, come hell or high water? Here’s a cursory profiling, but some characters could be tempted by multiple motives:

Frontier spirit: The true believers in the sacrosanct right for any individual to bear arms under the aegis of the 2nd Amendment. They flatly refuse to consider a “states’ rights” view that the purpose of the clause is only to protect the states in their authority to maintain formal, organized militia units which are currently substituted and overrepresented by the Pentagon and the National Guard.

Whether they need a gun or not, it doesn’t matter: for ‘the freedom fighters’, the ‘right’ to cling to firearms is article of faith in preordained exceptionalism, the ultimate totem of Americana, which, even if imported, is more symbolic than Stetson hats and Lucchese boots made in the USA.

‘The freedom fighters’ are the posse comitatus and the stormtroopers of the NRA who are ready to fight tooth & nail against Indians, Brits, aliens, commies, feds and legislators to protect their rights to bear arms any time anywhere, no matter what and the hell with individual responsibility and public safety.

Collecting spirit: This is a rarified breed of aloof connoisseurs which are mostly intelligence & military types, active duty and otherwise. They keep a low profile and enjoy the pleasure of quietly building up their exquisite caches to the envy of their pals at local SWAT teams. They keep their powder dry, but they’re the champs at burning their greenbacks on amassing the formidable arsenals of trophies.

Shooting spirit: They love it, they know it and they do it skillfully, safely & responsibly. As hunters and sports enthusiasts, ‘the weekend warriors’ wastemore ammo than all other categories combined, being the most active fun-loving crowd among gun owners. They don’t bullshit about guns & rights. For them, it’s all about shooting the bull’s eye.

Shopping spirit: Impulsive & skittish customers – prodded by the fear factor, peer pressure and propaganda of violence, these armchair commandos and wannabe Rambos ogle a gun as an adult pacifier with ‘cool’ bragging rights, a tangible insurance against intangible threats, however remote & imaginary.

This nervous Nellie types are suckers for bigger, ‘badder’ guns, which they honestly believe could compensate their total lack of situational awareness and friend or foe selective accuracy under the adrenalin rush of the enemy fire.

They are the driving force of consumerism and the firepower fetishism, oblivious to mundane murder depredations, only to be jolted into panic hoarding after media coverage of another shooting rampage or gun limitations rumor mill.
Possessed & obsessed

The extreme sides of the antisocial personality disorder are lopsidedly represented by the traditional ‘sane’ majority and deinstitutionalized & marginalized ‘insane’ minority:

Long-time active serial killers: career criminals who don’t have suicidal ideations or qualms of conscience. As outlaws and the main customers of the firearms black market, they illegally & easily get anything they want and couldn’t care less about regulations & restrictions for legit gun owners.

The committed killers, isolated & organized, are responsible for the overwhelming majority of homicides – with and without firearms – but haven’t gotten the public attention they deserve. The true heroes of the violence cult who made America exceptional by the notorious homicide rate (which exceeds Japan’s by 1,000 times), they represent & reproduce its core value, the freedom to kill & be killed.

One-time dormant multiple murderers: the miserable misfits aka psychos, while not necessarily ‘born to kill’, have their worst basic instinct awakened & conditioned by omnipresent propaganda of violence & vengeance.

They are the ultimate customers of the cult, who are capable to decode its subliminal message – death shall make thou free – into clarion call to action as the ‘ultimate solution’ to settle the scores with the hostile society.

The liberals have ‘liberated’ maniacs from involuntary commitment, exposing them to the ‘values’ of violence, while the NRA has lobbied to protect their rights to legally obtain & keep firearms, thus channeling their macabre fantasies into the outer world.

These ‘accidental’ murderers, neglected or abused by their families & communities, perpetrate less than 1 per cent of overall homicides, but attract 99 per cent of media attention, prompting publicity vultures of their kind to step out from the dark and copycat their horrific crimes.
Mind Control

To paraphrase the old adage, guns don’t regulate themselves, people do. No doubt, it’s a commendable idea to tighten up gun legislature: eliminate restrictions on tracing info sharing (Tiahrt amendments), close the gaping loopholes in state laws, ban assault rifles & high capacity clips and establish comprehensive national FBI & ATF data clearing house to encompass prospective buyers, owners & guns.

Alas, in the Disunited States of America, it is a daydream that will scarcely ever come true: a state of anarchy in firearms regulation has been created & guarded by a cabal of special interests, led by the NRA, which controls pusillanimous politicians, represents armed extremists & psychos and discredits responsible gun manufacturers & owners.

If Biden & Bloomberg have the mojo to win the undeclared war by Americans against Americans for Americans, they should set the priorities straight: liberate the USA from the bloody NRA!

Are you ready for the American Spring?

Godspeed and Happy New Year!




"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,"

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA
In Washington on Friday, influential National Rifle Association (NRA) broke a week-long silence with a robust defence of its pro-gun position.

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA, criticised politicians who had "exploited" the tragedy in Newtown for "political gain" and took aim at laws designating schools as gun-free zones.

"They tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk," he said.

Mr LaPierre called for a national database of the mentally ill and blamed violent video games and films for portraying murder as a "way of life".

He spoke out against the media for demonizing lawful gun owners, and for suggesting a ban on certain types of weapon would be effective.

Congress should authorise funding for armed security in every school in the country, he said, adding that an "extraordinary corps" of trained professionals could be drawn from active and retired police officers, security professionals and firefighters around the country.



Mr LaPierre was interrupted twice by anti-gun protesters carrying banners and declaring that the NRA had "blood on its hands".

The guns used in the shooting had been legally bought by the gunman's mother, Nancy Lanza.

The shooting has seen some pro-gun congressmen say the mass shooting has prompted them to change their views on whether guns should be regulated more strictly in the US.

Meanwhile California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has been an advocate for tighter gun laws, said she would introduce new legislation when Congress meets for the first time in the new year.

But there is no bipartisan consensus on the issue, with others backing the NRA line that teachers in schools should be armed in order to better defend students if a shooting occurs.

In recent years, the N.R.A. has aggressively lobbied federal and state governments to dilute or eliminate numerous regulations on gun ownership. And the clearest beneficiary has been the gun industry — sales of firearms and ammunition have grown 5.7 percent a year since 2007, to nearly $12 billion this year, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm. Despite the recession, arms sales have been growing so fast that domestic manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up. Imports of arms have grown 3.6 percent a year in the last five years.
The industry has, in turn, been a big supporter of the N.R.A. It has contributed between $14.7 million and $38.9 million to an N.R.A.-corporate-giving campaign since 2005, according to a report published last year by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit group that advocates greater gun control. The estimate is based on a study of the N.R.A.’s “Ring of Freedom” program and very likely understates the industry’s total financial support for the association, which does not publicly disclose a comprehensive list of its donors and how much they have given.
Officials from the N.R.A. have repeatedly said their main goal is to protect the Second Amendment rights of rank-and-file members who like to hunt or want guns for protection. But that claim is at odds with surveys that show a majority of N.R.A. members and a majority of American gun owners often support restrictions on gun sales and ownership that the N.R.A. has bitterly fought.
For instance, a 2009 poll commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 69 percent of N.R.A. members would support requiring all sellers at gun shows to conduct background checks of prospective buyers, which they do not have to do now and which the N.R.A. has steadfastly argued against. If lawful gun owners are willing to subject themselves to background checks, why is the association resisting? Its position appears only to serve the interest of gun makers and dealers who want to increase sales even if it means having dangerous weapons fall into the hands of criminals and violent individuals.
Businesses and special-interest groups often cloak their profit motives in the garb of constitutional rights — think Big Tobacco and its opposition to restrictions on smoking in public places and bold warnings on cigarette packages. The Supreme Court has made clear that the right to bear arms is not absolute and is subject to regulations and controls. Yet the N.R.A. clings to its groundless arguments that tough regulations violate the Second Amendment. Many of those arguments serve no purpose other than to increase the sales of guns and bullets.





WASHINGTON (AP) — Should veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their own financial affairs be prevented from buying a gun?

The issue, for a time last week, threatened to become the biggest sticking point in a $631 billion defense bill for reshaping a military that is disengaging from a decade of warfare.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought to amend the bill to stop the Veterans Affairs Department from putting the names of veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their finances into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which prohibits them from buying or owning firearms.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., objected, saying the measure would make it easier for veterans with mental illness to own a gun, endangering themselves and others.

"I love our veterans, I vote for them all the time. They defend us," Schumer said. "If you are a veteran or not and you have been judged to be mentally infirm, you should not have a gun."

Currently, the VA appoints fiduciaries, often family members, to manage the pensions and disability benefits of veterans who are declared incompetent. When that happens, the department automatically enters the veteran's name in the Criminal Background Check System.



A core group of lawmakers led by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has for several years wanted to prohibit the VA from submitting those names to the gun-check registry unless a judge or magistrate deems the veteran to be a danger. This year's version of the bill has 21 co-sponsors. It passed the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee by voice vote, a tactic generally reserved for noncontroversial legislation. Coburn's amendment to the defense bill contained comparable language.

"All I am saying is, let them at least have their day in court if you are going to take away a fundamental right given under the Constitution," Coburn said in the Senate debate last Thursday night.

Congressional aides said Coburn will likely drop his effort to amend the defense bill with his proposal, but that he intends to try again on other bills coming to the Senate floor.

The number of veterans directly affected by the VA's policy doesn't appear to very large. Only 185 out of some 127,000 veterans added to the gun-check registry since 1998 have sought to have their names taken off, according to data that the VA shared with lawmakers during a hearing last June.

Still, the legislation over the years has attracted strong support from the National Rifle Association and various advocacy groups for veterans.

"We consider it an abject tragedy that so many of our veterans return home, after risking life and limb to defend our freedom, only to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights because they need help managing their compensation," Chris Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, wrote last year in an editorial.

The NRA did not respond to queries from the AP about Coburn's latest effort.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said gun control advocates consider the VA's current policy reasonable.

"We're talking about people who have some form of disability to the extent that they're unable to manage their own affairs," Gross said. "If you're deemed unable to handle your own affairs, that's likely to constitute a high percentage of people who are dangerously mentally ill."

Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said veterans with a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder but who pose no threat to others are possibly being barred from gun ownership. The current restrictions might even be a disincentive for veterans to seek needed treatment, he said.

"We want to remove these stigmas for mental health treatment. It's a combat injury," Tarantino said. "They wouldn't be doing this if you were missing your right hand, so they shouldn't be doing it if you're seeking treatment for post-traumatic-stress-disorder or traumatic brain injury."

VA officials have told lawmakers they believe veterans deemed incompetent already have adequate protections.

For example, they said, veterans can appeal the finding of incompetency based on new evidence. And even if the VA maintains a veteran is incompetent, he can petition the agency to have his firearm rights restored on the basis of not posing a threat to public safety.



Jul 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Last week, a federal judge permanently blocked Florida from enforcing a law that banned doctors from discussing gun ownership with their patients. The law, the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, signed last year by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), prohibited “inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession…by licensed health care practitioners” and “discrimination…based solely on upon a patient’s firearm ownership or possession.”

Because the law’s exceptions, which allow inquiries about guns if a doctor believes in “good faith” that it is relevant to a patient’s care or safety, fail to provide standards for physicians to follow, the law violates the First Amendment rights of doctors:



In her ruling, Cooke clearly sided with the physicians, saying evidence showed that physicians began “self-censoring” because of the “chilling” effect of the legislation.

“What is curious about this law — and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners’ speech — is that it aims to restrict a practitioner’s ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient,” Cooke wrote, citing the benefit of such “preventive medicine.” [...]

Cooke, the judge, said the legislation was based on anecdotal information and unfounded conjecture. Her decision was praised by the groups of plaintiffs, which included the Florida Pediatric Society and Florida Academy of Family Physicians.

Not only did the NRA-backed Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act violate doctors’ First Amendment rights, it interfered with routine, meaningful discussion between a doctor and a patient. Questions concerning safety and the home environment are a key part of preventative medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that guns constitute a public health issue and that doctors have a duty to ask about ownership.

Out of the 65 children shot in the U.S. every day, eight are killed. And of the one-third of homes with children that have firearms in them, 40 percent store them unlocked. Guns unquestionably affect the health of American children, just as “the presence of open containers of bleach, swimming pools, balloons, and toilet locks” do.

–Alex Brown





  Gold Star Open Carry State
  Open Carry Friendly State
  Licensed Open Carry State
  Non Permissive Open Carry State
  Rural Open Carry State

In the United States, open carry is shorthand terminology for "openly carrying a firearm in public", as distinguished from concealed carry, where firearms cannot be seen by the casual observer.



The practice of open carry, where gun owners openly carry firearms while they go about their daily business, has seen an increase in the U.S. in recent years.[1][2] This has been marked by a number of organized events intended to increase the visibility of open carry and public awareness about the practice.[3]

Proponents of open carry point to history and statistics, noting that criminals usually conceal their weapons: The 2006 FBI study "Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation's Law Enforcement Officers" by Anthony Pinizzotto revealed that criminals carefully conceal their firearms, and they eschew the use of holsters.[4] Encouraged by groups like OpenCarry.org, GeorgiaCarry.org and some participants of the Free State Project, open carry has seen a revival in recent years,[5][6][7] but it is not yet clear if this represents just a short-term trend.[8][9]

The gun rights community has been mixed in its response. Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA have been cautious in expressing support,[10] while special-interest groups such as the aforementioned OpenCarry.org and GeorgiaCarry.org, state-level groups such as the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), and certain national groups such as the Gun Owners of America (GOA) have been more outspoken in favor of the practice.

Open carry is strongly opposed by gun control groups such as the Brady Campaign and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

In the United States, the laws concerning open carry vary by state and sometimes by municipality.

Definitions

Open carry
The act of publicly carrying a loaded firearm on one's person in plain sight.
Plain sight
Broadly defined as not being hidden from common observation; varies somewhat from state to state.
Preemption
In the context of open carry: the act of a state legislature passing laws which limit or eliminate the ability of local governments to regulate the possession or carrying of firearms.
Prohibited persons
People prohibited by law from carrying a firearm. Typical examples are felons, those convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence, those found to be addicted to alcohol or drugs, and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
Today in the United States, the laws vary from state to state regarding open carry of firearms. The categories are defined as follows:
Permissive open carry states
A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry to all non-prohibited citizens without permit or license. Open carry is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle. Shown on the map to the right as "Gold Star" states; the term carries a pro-gun bias, as gun-control advocacy groups like the Brady Center generally give these states very low "scores" on their own ratings systems.
Licensed open carry states
A state has passed full preemption of all firearms laws. They permit open carry of a handgun to all non-prohibited citizens once they have been issued a permit or license. Open carry of a handgun is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle.
Anomalous open carry states
In these states, open carry of a handgun is generally lawful, but the state may lack preemption or there may be other significant restrictions. Shown in the map legend as "Open Carry Friendly" states; the term is questionable as the limitations and/or lack of pre-emption means that certain areas of these states are, in their judicial system and law enforcement societies, not very "friendly" towards the practice.
Non-permissive open carry states
In these states, open carry of a handgun is not lawful, or is only lawful under such a limited set of circumstances that public carry is prohibited. Such limited circumstances may include when hunting, or while traveling to/from hunting locations, while on property controlled by the person carrying, or for lawful self-defense.
Open carry has never been ruled out as a right under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by any court. In the majority opinion in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), Justice Antonin Scalia wrote concerning the entirety of the elements of the Second Amendment; "We find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation." However, Scalia continued, "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."[14]

Forty-three states' constitutions recognize and secure the right to keep and bear arms in some form, and none of those prohibit the open carrying of firearms. Five state constitutions provide that the state legislature may regulate the manner of carrying or bearing arms, and advocates argue that none rule out open carry specifically. Nine states' constitutions indicate that the concealed carrying of firearms may be regulated and/or prohibited by the state legislature. Open carry advocates argue that, by exclusion, open carrying of arms may not be legislatively controlled in these states. But this is not settled law.[citation needed]

Section 1.7 [15] of Kentucky's state constitution only empowers the state to enact laws prohibiting "concealed carry".


Concealed carry, or CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one's person or in proximity.

While there is no federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry permits, 49 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from local government and/or law enforcement.[1] Illinois is the only state without such a provision. The states give different terms for licenses or permits to carry a concealed firearm, such as a Concealed Handgun License/Permit (CHL/CHP), Concealed (Defensive/Deadly) Weapon Permit/License (CDWL/CWP/CWL), Concealed Carry Permit/License (CCP/CCL), License To Carry (Firearms) (LTC/LTCF), Carry of Concealed Deadly Weapon license (CCDW), Concealed Pistol License (CPL), etc. Thirteen states use a single permit to regulate the practices of both concealed and open carry of a handgun.
Some states publish statistics indicating how many residents hold permits to carry concealed weapons, and their demographics. For example, Florida has issued 2,031,106 licenses since adopting its law in 1987, and had 843,463 licensed permit holders as of July 31, 2011.[2] Reported permit holders are predominantly male.[3] Some states have reported the number of permit holders increasing over time.[4]

The number of permit revocations is typically small.







by Joshua Vogel on September 10, 2011

I’m a liberal (or progressive, if you prefer the term). I’ve always had mixed feelings about gun ownership. As a child, I enjoyed playing with cap guns, and a macho, caveman corner of my personality has always liked the idea of wielding a weapon. But, the rational pragmatist in me has never been able to actually justify owning a gun.

Every so often I’ll get the urge to buy a gun for defense purposes. But when I start to reflect on it, I realize that I can’t really envision a situation where I’d need to use it. I mean, sure- I can picture a home break-in, where I’d run to the closet and open my gun safe and pull out a hand gun… but such scenarios feel like the boyhood daydreams of fighting a terrorist (and/or ninja) takeover of my high school. Even if it were to happen, it seems like something that would always play out better in my head than it would in real life.

I’m not a paranoid person. I enjoy reading the masturbatory rants of the folks who contribute to forums about the upcoming collapse of society, or post survivalist or “prepper” videos on youtube, or fret about “Peak Oil”. But I take all these things with more than a grain of salt. For the most part they are unsupported (or poorly supported) fears mixed with outright delusions.

But a couple things happened this week that did finally tip me over the edge and seriously consider a gun purchase: I watched the Republican Presidential Debates, and I heard Obama’s Address to Congress.

As someone who was recently unemployed for well over a year, and who saw his father get laid off during the tail end of that period, I now know firsthand the deep despair that fills someone who can’t get a foothold in this economy. If I hadn’t had the support of my family and friends, I may well have ended up homeless (and that’s within months of receiving a law degree).

Multiply that anxiety by the 14 million unemployed folks in this country, and the countless underemployed, and it’s not hard to see that there are a lot of scared and angry people out there.

Other countries– large, stable countries– have begun to see riots. Without an immediate reversal in course, it is only a matter of time before we see riots in the U.S. –which brings me back to the debates, and the President’s speech.

All of the front-running Republicans have decided that the path to economic recovery is a return to the laissez faire system of government– the same philosophy that was in place when America’s working class was at its weakest, poorest, and most abused. This isn’t a big surprise. As other, well respected, authors have noted, almost all modern Republican policies can be traced back to a singular goal: the creation of cheap labor. That’s all well and good, unless you are the labor. And, in case you didn’t know: 99% of us are the labor.

The President’s speech the next day didn’t make me feel any better. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a terrific speech- or at least it would have been if he had given it two years ago when it might have done some good. But it’s too late in the game for half-measures. Even if the President got everything that he asked for (he won’t), it still wouldn’t make a significant dent in the unemployment crisis.

So I spent the next few days thinking about the state of nation, and imaging what America is going to look like in a few years. If Obama stays in power without a liberal Congress, things will be much the same for years to come: political gridlock and slowly worsening conditions for the middle class.

If the Republicans take back the executive branch, then political gridlock is the best we can hope for. If they’re able to get traction with their radical fiscal policies, they’ll keep feeding our money to corporations, banks and the ultra-wealthy. The middle class will shrink. More of us will fall into poverty, and with fewer people buying any products, even the large corporations will start to buckle and fail.

With more unemployment, more disparity between the haves and have-nots, and no clear path to prosperity in sight, I can no longer pretend that the U.S. is the stable and secure place I always knew it to be.

It is no longer unreasonable to think that things may go from bad to much, much worse. I’m not saying that an economic collapse will happen, or even that it it is likely to happen. Nor can I begin to predict the severity or duration of any crash that might occur. But in the current political climate it feels foolhardy to ignore the possibility that something very bad is on the horizon.

If you’re skeptically minded, you may be thinking that I’m being alarmist or that my anxiety is premature. You’re right of course. But there’s logic behind my madness. History is rife with examples giant social upheavals that happen with very little notice. Most recently, Egypt taught us that lesson anew. That country went from protests to revolution in a span of days.

I’m not saying that the U.S. is poised for such a revolution, of course- but I am saying that things could turn ugly here, very quickly. With the proper trigger, massive protests could form. If handled poorly, those protests could easily turn to riots. If it can happen in the U.K., it can certainly happen here. And how big could those riots be? And how long might they last? And by the time we’ve figured out the answers to those questions, will it be too late to prepare?

And so, for the first time in my life, I found myself in a gun shop, talking to the proprietor about a good beginner’s firearm for someone who is interested in home defense.

If you’ve never been to a large gun shop (and I’m sure many progressives have not), I strongly recommend that you step inside. For my part, I found the place unsettling. For the first time in my life I held a working firearm, but I didn’t feel any safer– quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.

The thing about being a liberal in a gun shop is that you are privy to a lot of conversations that you wouldn’t otherwise hear. It was rather like walking into a Tea Party convention.

The shop I went to was near my home in North Carolina. When the gruff man behind the counter found out that I was from Massachusetts, he openly mocked it for being a “socialist” state. Moments later, I overheard a woman loudly ranting about how Obama’s job plan was “destroying the country” with more spending. She was interested in buying some gold coins for when the economy collapsed.

To be fair, most folks were just there to talk about guns, and play with guns, and buy new gadgets to affix to their guns. Their comfort and knowledge of firearms made me feel nervous. I was in store full of 50+ people who didn’t feel at all shy about expressing their distain for liberals and “socialists”. All of them, I’m convinced, would have had no trouble gunning me down in an honest firefight.

I went into that store to buy a gun to protect my family in the event of a riot. I walked out feeling very nervous that if their actually was major social upheaval in the United States, a lot of angry conservatives would have no problem forming an organized militia, and they wouldn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the scores of unarmed “socialist” progressives out there.

Now I find myself wishing that liberals would flock to gun shops en masse so that they can see the world I caught a glimpse of, and so that they could interact with the same folks I did, and maybe engage in some lively political discussion. These gun shops are factories for unchecked Tea-Party-style nonsense. It means that a lot of angry and armed folks are spending their days amplifying each other’s misunderstanding and distrust of the rest of us.

And also- (and I realize that this part is just pure paranoia)– I’d like to know that if things ever really degrade, there would be a whole lot of armed liberals out there to keep the armed conservatives in check. Or at the very least, I’d like enough of them to lay down sufficient cover fire for me while I run from Whole Foods back to my Prius.





Why Americans now carry handguns in so many public places, from parks to college campuses. Is it making the country safer or more dangerous?

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / March 11, 2012


Garner, N.C.


Leaning against a scrub pine as preschoolers scurry about at his feet, Shane Gazda, father of 3-year-old twins, recalls a conundrum he faced earlier that morning: whether to take his Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun to a Groundhog Day celebration in this town's White Deer Park.

After all, what was once against the law in North Carolina – carrying a concealed gun in a town park, square, or greenway – is now, as of Dec. 1, 2011, very much allowed. To Mr. Gazda, who likes to shoot targets in his backyard, an event as innocent as paying homage to a rodent could turn dangerous if the wrong person shows up.

"Part of it is being ready for cataclysm every day," says Gazda, a hospital maintenance engineer. "And to be honest, I started carrying precisely to protect not just myself, but my family, and anyone around me who needs help."

Gun laws: How much do you know?

In the end, Gazda left the gun at home. But his internal debate is emblematic of one a growing number of Americans are having almost daily. Thirty years after a powerful gun-control movement swept the country, Americans are embracing the idea of owning and carrying firearms with a zeal rarely seen since the days of muskets and militias.

A combination of favorable court rulings, grass-roots activism, traditional fears of crime, and modern anxieties about government has led to what may be a tipping point on an issue that just a few years ago was one of America's most contentious. Gun rights have now expanded to the point where the fundamental question seems not to be "should we be able to carry guns," but instead is "where can't we carry them?"

The answer: not very many places.

The new North Carolina statute, in fact, is one of hundreds of new gun-friendly laws enacted by states and localities in the past few years alone. Mississippi lawmakers, for instance, recently voted to allow gun owners who take an extra safety class to carry hidden weapons on college campuses and in courthouses. Ohio has granted people with permits the right to bring concealed weapons into restaurants, bars, and sports arenas. A 2010 Indiana law stipulates that private business owners let employees keep guns in their cars when parked on company property. And New Hampshire, along with several other states, has removed restrictions on bearing arms in the ultimate politically symbolic place – the State House.

In 2009, three times as many pro-gun laws were passed in the United States as antigun measures – a trend that experts say has only accelerated since then. Fully 40 states now mandate that anyone who asks for a concealed-carry permit and meets the qualifications must be issued one. One result: The number of concealed-weapon license holders in the US has gone from a few hundred thousand 10 years ago to more than 6 million today. In some parts of Tennessee, 1 out of every 11 people on the street is either carrying a weapon or has a license to do so.

"It's a huge sea change, and one lesson to take out of all of this is that it's amazing how fast attitudes on constitutional issues can change," says Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and the author of "An Army of Davids." "The thinking has turned in a way that many thought to be impossible only 15 years ago."

la frontera

De Tabasco a Tamaulipas: la ruta de los secuestros
Enviado el Wednesday, 30 September a las 23:11:57
Tópico: Estados

La zona de Tabasco a la frontera norte de Tamaulipas se ha convertido en los últimos años en una ruta de alto riesgo para los indocumentados.

Los casos de secuestros, asaltos, agresiones y abusos a migrantes, principalmente centroamericanos, por parte del crimen organizado se han incrementado en esta región en medio de la apatía y corrupción de las autoridades, sostienen la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH)y la Iglesia católica.

El Informe Especial sobre los Casos de Secuestros en contra de Migrantes de la CNDH, indica que, de diez mil indocumentados plagiados en seis meses, el 55 % de los delitos se cometió en Veracruz y Tabasco.

En algunos casos se documenta que los centroamericanos fueron trasladados a casas de seguridad o bodegas ubicadas en Reynosa, Tamaulipas, desde donde los captores exigían a los familiares un pago por su liberación.
«Se concentran en Reynosa, ya sea porque los secuestros se lleven a cabo ahí o porque son secuestrados desde el sur de la República, como en Coatzacoalcos, en Tenosique. Entonces, es en Reynosa en donde finalmente son trasladados para pedir el rescate», asegura el quinto visitador del organismo, Mauricio Farah.
El funcionario no descarta que grupos armados como los “Zetas» estén involucrados en los secuestros, pues el organismo defensor de los derechos humanos ha documentado que este grupo delictivo está frecuentemente relacionado en la comisión de este delito en el corredor Tabasco-Tamaulipas.
En lo que va del año, el Ejército ha liberado a más de 550 indocumentados, la mayoría centroamericanos, retenidos por el crimen organizado en al menos cinco casas de seguridad, cuatro en Reynosa y una en Río Bravo, Tamaulipas.

Los sacerdotes Francisco Pellizzari, responsable de la Casa Nazareth de Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, y Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, responsable de la Casa del Migrante en Ixtepec, Oaxaca, coinciden en que los “Zetas», brazo armado del Cártel del Golfo tienen el control del tráfico de personas y secuestro en el Golfo de México.
«Hay una coordinación de todos estos grupos de “Zetas”, pero hay todo un aparato oficial que está al servicio de ellos, que está pagado por ellos.
«Ellos pueden desplazarse, ya sean “Zetas” o “Zetitas” (sería como la franquicia del grupo armado).Tienen capacidad para ir desde Centroamérica, todo el recorrido pueden hacerlo, hasta Estados Unidos, pasando Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tamaulipas. Ellos vuelven a regresar. Si hay alguno que no está ‘registrado’ o que no paga, que no está debidamente ‘documentado’ con ellos, lo torturan, lo matan», indicó Solalinde.
Según Pellizzari, no siempre el agente o el policía es corrupto porque quiere dinero, sino porque está amenazado. «No siempre la gente es corrupta porque quiere, sino porque a veces necesita salvar su vida y la de sus familiares.
«El acoso que usan las bandas de delincuentes es muy interesante. Es un acoso psicológico, constante, todos los días de la semana, ‘te estamos cuidando’, ‘te estamos checando’, ‘sabemos dónde estás’. Te inmovilizan. Esto, si lo vivimos nosotros, ¿cuánto más lo puede llegar a sentir un migrante, que es un don nadie en la calle?», cuestionó Pellizzari.
En la impunidad.- Una investigación realizada por la CNDH entre septiembre de 2008 y febrero de 2009 arroja que en este lapso:

9,758 indocumentados fueron secuestrados.
6,555 permanecieron en cautiverio en casas de seguridad.
2,448 estuvieron varios días en bodegas.
2,500 dólares, monto promedio del pago de rescate.
Del sueño a la pesadilla.- Relatos de migrantes que la CNDH incluye en el libro Bienvenidos al Infierno del Secuestro y donde se acusa a ‘Los Zetas’ del plagio

Describen a sicarios.- Un migrante secuestrado por «Los Zetas» describe a los integrantes de este grupo delictivo.
«La mayoría de ‘Los Zetas’, bueno, el grupo principal, lo forman los mexicanos, pero trabajan muchos centroamericanos, hondureños, salvadoreños, nicaragüenses.
«Caminan con muchas armas, como con 5 ó 6 armas cada sujeto. Usan botas con sus pantalones por dentro. Son de piel blanca, con muchos tatuajes en sus brazos, en sus espaldas en todo su cuerpo y la mayoría tienen cicatrices en cualquier parte de su rostro», dice.
En su caso, un supuesto pollero lo llevó, junto con otros migrantes a una casa, les dio de comer y, posteriormente, empezó a pedir números telefónicos de sus familias.
Todos dieron sus teléfonos, menos él y dos personas más.
«Llamó a uno de ‘Los Zetas’. Nos dice: ‘¿Y quién es el que no quiere dar el número? Den esos números en una hora, y si no, vengo por ustedes. Y se fue».
Finalmente, como la mayoría de los familiares de los migrantes secuestrados pagó rescate, dejaron ir a quienes no proporcionaron los números telefónicos.
‘Aquí no existe Dios’.- Chucho, de nacionalidad salvadoreña, cuenta la historia de unos amigos que fueron secuestrados por la Mara Salvatrucha.
«La Mara los entrega a ‘Los Zetas’ y ‘Los Zetas’ dan comisión a la Mara.
«Hay ‘zetas’ que son salvadoreños, hay ‘zetas’ que son guatemaltecos, que no les importa ver a un hombre llorar, sacarle los sesos. Cuando uno les habla de Dios, nomás se enojan. ‘Aquí no existe Dios’, me dicen, ‘aquí existimos nada más nosotros'», relata.
Dice que uno de sus amigos logró escapar de «Los Zetas» y denunciar su secuestro a la Policía. Le dio señas de la casa donde lo tuvieron y le prometieron ayuda.
«Lo llevaron nuevamente ahí, con ‘Los Zetas’. Entonces le dijeron: ‘Para que aprendas, te vamos a cortar la mano, cabrón’, y se la cortaron.
«Lo dejaron abandonado. Llegó la Cruz Roja y lo llevó al hospital, pero no hay investigación», agrega Chucho.
De acuerdo con el salvadoreño, el grupo armado que opera para el Cártel del Golfo recibe, vía Western Union, entre 2 mil y 5 mil dólares por 15 personas todos los días sin que la empresa haga preguntas.
«Espero en Dios que no me vuelva a topar con ‘Los Zetas’, porque cuando estás ahí estás tocando el infierno con tus propias manos», indica.
‘La Policía nos reportó’.- Juana y su hermano iban saliendo de Tampico cuando los detuvieron agentes del Instituto Nacional de Migración y de la Policía Federal en una caseta. A medianoche los dejaron en una calle oscura, los subieron a unos carros y los trasladaron a una casa donde estuvieron 9 días, hasta que sus familiares pagaron el rescate.
Relatan que cuando llegaron a la casa de seguridad había 100 personas más y a una muchacha la estaban violando.
«Yo digo que eran ‘Los Zetas’ porque ellos mismos lo dijeron: ‘ustedes no saben con quién están, están con el Cártel del Golfo y ‘Los Zetas'», cuenta Juana.
Dice que, después de que se pagó por su liberación, los plagiarios los subieron a un autobús y les cambiaron el nombre.
«A mí me pusieron Carmen Rebollosa y cuando íbamos pasando la caseta que está saliendo de Tampico, ya estábamos reportados con ‘Los Zetas’.
«Reportaron que nosotros veníamos en el asiento 25 y 26, y en la otra caseta, entrando a Reynosa, también ya estábamos reportados. La Policía y ellos trabajan juntos. Yo sé que ya estábamos reportados, porque ellos nos lo dijeron: ‘El asiento 25 y 26 ya están reportados por ellos, a ellos ya no hay que tocarlos'»,sostiene Juana.


01 de febrero de 201412:52

California.- Activistas han expresado su ira por una fotografía en la que un agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza ayuda a un menor a disparar con una pistola de paintball contra un objetivo que asemeja a una persona.

La escena parece representar como si se abriera fuego contra un inmigrante, a decir de los activistas.

Sin embargo, la Patrulla Fronteriza señaló el viernes en un comunicado que cualquier sugerencia que implique que la agencia enseña a civiles a atacar a inmigrantes es totalmente falsa.

La fotografía, en la que se ve un dispositivo que parece un arma, fue tomada durante una demostración de la Policía en un centro comercial cerca de la frontera mexicana.

El portavoz Paul D. Carr dijo que el objetivo utilizado fue una figura antropomorfa sin características particulares como las que se utilizan de manera ordinaria en los campos de tiro.

«El objetivo utilizado es el común usado por las autoridades y por aficionados en todo EU», dijo Carr.

Para el presidente del Consorcio de Derechos de los Inmigrantes en San Diego, Pedro Ríos, la demostración fue inadmisible porque implicó a un menor y se efectuó en un lugar próximo a zonas donde han sido baleadas personas de verdad.

Las fotos fueron tomadas durante una celebración de la Fundación Roberto J. Durán, creada por varios agentes fronterizos en memoria de un agente fallecido en 2002, que se realiza desde hace 10 años en la zona fronteriza de San Ysidro, California.

El evento consiste en una carrera de 5 kilómetros, y en ninguna parte del sitio web se menciona un juego con armas, pero, según testigos citados por diario El País, la actividad se realiza al menos desde 2012.

Algunas de las fotos estaban en la página de Facebook del evento, que desde entonces ha sido borrada.

«Es una seria falta de sensibilidad que permitan a menores usar a una figura que representa a un migrante, cuando a unos 100 metros de allí agentes de la patrulla fronteriza han estado involucrados en actos donde migrantes han perdido la vida», dijo el director del Comité de Servicios Americanos al diario El País.


Los barzonistas de Chihuahua se dicen víctimas del que consideran desgobierno de César Duarte. Incluso lo acusan del asesinato de su compañero Ismael Solorio y su esposa, todo por defender el agua de la que, dicen, se apropian los mineros y un grupo de menonitas pudientes. Y aun cuando han expuesto su problema en diversas instancias estatales y federales nadie les hace caso. Lo peor: Se enteraron de que sus cabezas tienen precio, pues algunos menonitas intentaron contratar a La Línea para que los ejecutaran. En esas tierras, las del desierto del norte del estado, los narcos imponen la ley.

CHIHUAHUA, Chih. (Proceso).- Con el rostro hinchado, morado por los golpes propinados dos días antes por empleados de la minera Mag Silver, Ismael Solorio entró al Palacio de Gobierno de Chihuahua acompañado de otros campesinos y defensores de los derechos humanos y le advirtió a Raymundo Romero, secretario de Gobierno del estado: “Si no se arregla el asunto de la mina en nuestro ejido Benito Juárez, va a haber muertos”.

Los integrantes de El Barzón que ese 15 de octubre lo acompañaban expusieron la campaña de linchamiento que enfrentan por su lucha en defensa del agua y se pronunciaron contra las extracciones ilegales por parte de la minera y de un grupo de menonitas con poder económico. De las amenazas, dijeron, se pasó a la agresión física; también aportaron información sobre el precio que, según relataron, los acaparadores ofrecieron a sicarios para que los mataran.

Una semana después, el 22 de octubre, Solorio –líder estatal del Barzón– volvió a entrar al palacio. Esta vez acompañado por su esposa, Manuela Martha Solís. Los dos iban en ataúdes color caoba. En ese recinto fueron velados.

Los barzonistas, enardecidos, indignados, adoloridos, insistieron en que se trató de un “crimen de Estado”. La policía estatal intentó desalojarlos pero no hubo manera: era mucha la rabia contenida.

Solorio Urrutia y su esposa fueron víctimas del desgobierno en esa entidad y de la inacción de las autoridades federales. Fueron asesinados por defender el agua, escasa en el desierto chihuahuense; por exigir el respeto a la veda impuesta en su región desde 1957, que prohíbe las perforaciones de nuevos pozos y las obras de retención del líquido.

El exdiputado Víctor Quintana, dirigente del Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) en el estado y quien estuvo presente en la reunión del 15 de octubre, dijo que dos días después de ese encuentro, Solorio, Martín Solís y Heraclio Rodríguez fueron amenazados ante el Congreso del estado por asalariados de la minera, quienes estaban acompañados por integrantes de la Confederación Nacional Campesina.

“En las videograbaciones del ‘acribillamiento verbal’ se puede apreciar a varios sicarios que actúan en el ejido Benito Juárez”, escribió el político.

En un céntrico hotel del Distrito Federal, Proceso entrevista a la abogada del Barzón, Lucha Castro, también directora del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Mujer (Cedehm). Están también los líderes estatales Rodríguez, Solís, Gabino Gómez y Joaquín Solorio, hermano de Ismael, quienes se dicen amenazados. Saben que se fijó un precio por su cabeza.

Hacen una pausa en medio de sus idas al Senado, a organizaciones de derechos humanos, a los medios, a oficinas de gobierno donde repiten el relato del asesinato anunciado y la historia de corrupción, negligencia, complicidad e irregularidades en el que está enmarcado.

Tierra de narcos

El noroeste de Chihuahua, donde se ubica el ejido Benito Juárez, es un enclave peligroso. Es una zona árida, de poca vegetación y altas montañas. Sus habitantes nutrieron los movimientos agrarios del siglo pasado y es cuna de personas como Solorio, que desde los noventa participó en cabalgatas, caravanas y marchas hacia la Ciudad de México en defensa del campo.

Hasta ahí se llega por caminos varicosos que cruzan montañas y despoblados, por los que se puede llegar a Estados Unidos. Es la ruta donde la droga se trafica por veredas. Es la ruta de pueblos fantasmas, silenciados, zona de desplazamiento por miedo (Proceso 1734).

Aunque en octubre de 2010 la PGR ofreció recompensas de 3 millones de pesos por los cabecillas de las bandas que operan en la zona, éstos siguen libres. Son Eduardo Gallegos Valdez, El Lalo; Óscar Rafael Ruiz Gallegos, El Junior; Juan Ismael Granillo Chavira, El Chorrias; Raúl Rueda Quiroga, El Pony; Guadalupe Méndez Basurto, El Gato; Ricardo Alfredo Rueda Quiroga, El Caballo; Luis Enrique Lira, El Barrica; Manuel Adrián García Rodríguez, El Balín; Lorenzo Gallegos Valdez o Rafael Chavira Rentería o Rafael Sánchez, El Borrego.

Durante este sexenio, en esa zona ocurrió la desaparición de cuatro defensas rurales y un teniente del Ejército que viajaban desde la fronteriza Ciudad Juárez a la serrana ciudad de Madera. Posteriormente desaparecieron dos maestros.

Ahí fueron asesinados Benjamín LeBarón y su cuñado, lo que dio inicio a las acciones de autodefensa de la comunidad mormona en el municipio de Galeana, aun bajo protección de policías federales (Proceso 1706). Después, José Alfredo Silly Peña, el coordinador nacional de inteligencia de la Policía Federal; les siguieron los dos agentes comisionados para investigar el crimen. Ambos fueron ejecutados en una mina de Benito Juárez, lo que propició la entrada del Ejército para “reventar” las casas de los narcos. Durante ese tiempo las tropas desaparecieron a los primos Nitza Paola Alvarado Espinoza, José Ángel Alvarado Herrera y Rocío Irene Alvarado Reyes (Proceso 1842).

En este contexto los barzonistas están en una situación complicada: requieren protección pero bajo un esquema distinto. Saben que si piden la intervención del Ejército o la Policía Federal, los narcotraficantes, los verdaderos amos del territorio, no les perdonarían haber calentado la plaza.

“Nuestra pelea no es contra ellos (los narcos), nuestra intención no es interferir en sus cosas. Nuestra denuncia es contra el gobierno omiso de la aplicación de leyes porque nos están dejando sin agua; no queremos que el gobierno aproveche este conflicto para hacer su tarea sucia y que nosotros seamos afectados porque nosotros vamos a seguir viviendo en la comunidad. Sólo queremos que aplique la ley por las demandas del agua y la minería ilegal, esclarezca el móvil, dé con los autores materiales e intelectuales y se responsabilice de nuestra seguridad sin calentar los ánimos de la región”, explican los barzonistas.

Por eso, dicen, les indignó que el jueves 1 por la noche un convoy de 70 camionetas de soldados y federales paseara por el ejido y se retirara dos horas después.

(Extracto del reportaje que se publica esta semana en la revista Proceso 1879)


MÉXICO, D.F. (proceso.com.mx).- La caravana de madres de migrantes centroamericanos “Liberando la Esperanza” concluyó este sábado su recorrido de 19 días por 14 entidades del país en su búsqueda de sus seres queridos desaparecidos en su paso por México.

Las mujeres procedentes de El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras y Guatemala iniciaron su trayecto el pasado 14 de octubre.

Durante su recorrido, las madres centroamericanas presenciaron cinco reencuentros, el primero de ellos en la casa del migrante “La 72, hogar-refugio para personas migrantes”, localizada en Tenosique, Tabasco, y el segundo en las afueras de Monterrey, Nuevo León. Los tres reencuentros restantes se realizaron, uno, en la Ciudad de México, y dos en Chiapas.

Durante su recorrido, las integrantes de la caravana le recordaron al Estado mexicano su responsabilidad por el hostigamiento, la persecución, la discriminación y la violencia hacia sus hijos cuando atraviesan este territorio con el propósito de llegar a Estados Unidos, todo ello con la complicidad de “funcionarios corruptos”.

Tras concluir su recorrido por México, la caravana emitió una declaratoria.

En el documento, leído en conferencia de prensa, señalan que buscaron la empatía de la sociedad mexicana para la causa migrante, además de “exigir a los gobiernos centroamericanos y mexicano, que de manera definitiva ejecuten acciones congruentes, a fin de detener la crisis humanitaria que afecta a los migrantes centroamericanos y sus familiares”.

Agregan que “encontramos que las organizaciones criminales amplían cada vez más su espectro de acción con estas poblaciones migrantes, donde la trata y el secuestro ya ocupan el segundo lugar de ingresos para la delincuencia organizada”.

Además, sostienen, el secuestro, la extorsión, el asesinato, la violación de mujeres y hombres, y la trata de personas son una constante que convierte a los migrantes en una mercancía más para sus gigantescas ganancias económicas, según el texto, reproducido por Notimex.

Destacaron que “los gobiernos locales sólo nos ayudaron con temas de seguridad, pero no hubo ningún compromiso verdadero, ningún gobernador de los estados tuvo ese interés por escuchar a las madres, dijo Rubén Figueroa, integrante del Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano a la agencia noticiosa EFE.



Dallas, Texas.- Al menos dos inmigrantes murieron y otro más resultó herido, luego de que un agente del Departamento de Seguridad Pública de Texas (DPS) disparó desde un helicóptero contra un vehículo en el que viajaban varios indocumentados, se informó hoy.

El DPS confirmó este viernes la muerte de los dos indocumentados en el incidente registrado alrededor de las 15:00 horas del jueves (20:00 GMT) al norte de la comunidad de La Joya, en la frontera con México.

Mientras, el consulado de Guatemala en McAllen ya investiga los hechos pues las víctimas podrían ser originarias de ese país.

En un comunicado, el DPS indicó que se lleva a cabo la investigación correspondiente ya que al parecer el vehículo era seguido por las autoridades al considerarlo como sospechoso de transportar un cargamento con drogas.

El incidente ocurrió cuando un helicóptero de la DPS se sumó a la persecución de un vehículo sospechoso, que era seguido por agentes del Servicio de Parques y Vida Silvestre de Texas.

El vehículo, un pick-up rojo de modelo reciente, «parecía tener una típica carga de droga cubierta» en la parte trasera y «estaba viajando a velocidades imprudentes que ponen en peligro al público», señaló la corporación.

El DPS admitió que uno de sus patrulleros disparó su arma desde el helicóptero para desactivar al vehículo y que una vez que el automóvil se detuvo se determinó que no transportaba droga, sino a 10 indocumentados, dos de ellos murieron y otro resultó lesionado.

Los agentes del DPS y de la Patrulla Fronteriza detuvieron a los otros siete indocumentados en el lugar y transportaron al lesionado a un hospital de la zona.

El DPS informó que la investigación está siendo conducida por los «Texas Rangers», el grupo elite de la policía estatal. El agente que disparó el arma está bajo suspensión administrativa, mientras se concluye la averiguación.

De Tabasco a Tamaulipas: la ruta de los secuestros
Enviado el Wednesday, 30 September a las 23:11:57
Tópico: Estados

La zona de Tabasco a la frontera norte de Tamaulipas se ha convertido en los últimos años en una ruta de alto riesgo para los indocumentados.



Los casos de secuestros, asaltos, agresiones y abusos a migrantes, principalmente centroamericanos, por parte del crimen organizado se han incrementado en esta región en medio de la apatía y corrupción de las autoridades, sostienen la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH)y la Iglesia católica.

El Informe Especial sobre los Casos de Secuestros en contra de Migrantes de la CNDH, indica que, de diez mil indocumentados plagiados en seis meses, el 55 % de los delitos se cometió en Veracruz y Tabasco.

En algunos casos se documenta que los centroamericanos fueron trasladados a casas de seguridad o bodegas ubicadas en Reynosa, Tamaulipas, desde donde los captores exigían a los familiares un pago por su liberación.
"Se concentran en Reynosa, ya sea porque los secuestros se lleven a cabo ahí o porque son secuestrados desde el sur de la República, como en Coatzacoalcos, en Tenosique. Entonces, es en Reynosa en donde finalmente son trasladados para pedir el rescate", asegura el quinto visitador del organismo, Mauricio Farah.
El funcionario no descarta que grupos armados como los “Zetas" estén involucrados en los secuestros, pues el organismo defensor de los derechos humanos ha documentado que este grupo delictivo está frecuentemente relacionado en la comisión de este delito en el corredor Tabasco-Tamaulipas.
En lo que va del año, el Ejército ha liberado a más de 550 indocumentados, la mayoría centroamericanos, retenidos por el crimen organizado en al menos cinco casas de seguridad, cuatro en Reynosa y una en Río Bravo, Tamaulipas.

Los sacerdotes Francisco Pellizzari, responsable de la Casa Nazareth de Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, y Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, responsable de la Casa del Migrante en Ixtepec, Oaxaca, coinciden en que los “Zetas", brazo armado del Cártel del Golfo tienen el control del tráfico de personas y secuestro en el Golfo de México.
"Hay una coordinación de todos estos grupos de “Zetas”, pero hay todo un aparato oficial que está al servicio de ellos, que está pagado por ellos.
"Ellos pueden desplazarse, ya sean “Zetas” o “Zetitas” (sería como la franquicia del grupo armado).Tienen capacidad para ir desde Centroamérica, todo el recorrido pueden hacerlo, hasta Estados Unidos, pasando Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tamaulipas. Ellos vuelven a regresar. Si hay alguno que no está 'registrado' o que no paga, que no está debidamente 'documentado' con ellos, lo torturan, lo matan", indicó Solalinde.
Según Pellizzari, no siempre el agente o el policía es corrupto porque quiere dinero, sino porque está amenazado. "No siempre la gente es corrupta porque quiere, sino porque a veces necesita salvar su vida y la de sus familiares.
"El acoso que usan las bandas de delincuentes es muy interesante. Es un acoso psicológico, constante, todos los días de la semana, 'te estamos cuidando', 'te estamos checando', 'sabemos dónde estás'. Te inmovilizan. Esto, si lo vivimos nosotros, ¿cuánto más lo puede llegar a sentir un migrante, que es un don nadie en la calle?", cuestionó Pellizzari.
En la impunidad.- Una investigación realizada por la CNDH entre septiembre de 2008 y febrero de 2009 arroja que en este lapso:

9,758 indocumentados fueron secuestrados.
6,555 permanecieron en cautiverio en casas de seguridad.
2,448 estuvieron varios días en bodegas.
2,500 dólares, monto promedio del pago de rescate.
Del sueño a la pesadilla.- Relatos de migrantes que la CNDH incluye en el libro Bienvenidos al Infierno del Secuestro y donde se acusa a 'Los Zetas' del plagio

Describen a sicarios.- Un migrante secuestrado por "Los Zetas" describe a los integrantes de este grupo delictivo.
"La mayoría de 'Los Zetas', bueno, el grupo principal, lo forman los mexicanos, pero trabajan muchos centroamericanos, hondureños, salvadoreños, nicaragüenses.
"Caminan con muchas armas, como con 5 ó 6 armas cada sujeto. Usan botas con sus pantalones por dentro. Son de piel blanca, con muchos tatuajes en sus brazos, en sus espaldas en todo su cuerpo y la mayoría tienen cicatrices en cualquier parte de su rostro", dice.
En su caso, un supuesto pollero lo llevó, junto con otros migrantes a una casa, les dio de comer y, posteriormente, empezó a pedir números telefónicos de sus familias.
Todos dieron sus teléfonos, menos él y dos personas más.
"Llamó a uno de 'Los Zetas'. Nos dice: '¿Y quién es el que no quiere dar el número? Den esos números en una hora, y si no, vengo por ustedes. Y se fue".
Finalmente, como la mayoría de los familiares de los migrantes secuestrados pagó rescate, dejaron ir a quienes no proporcionaron los números telefónicos.
'Aquí no existe Dios'.- Chucho, de nacionalidad salvadoreña, cuenta la historia de unos amigos que fueron secuestrados por la Mara Salvatrucha.
"La Mara los entrega a 'Los Zetas' y 'Los Zetas' dan comisión a la Mara.
"Hay 'zetas' que son salvadoreños, hay 'zetas' que son guatemaltecos, que no les importa ver a un hombre llorar, sacarle los sesos. Cuando uno les habla de Dios, nomás se enojan. 'Aquí no existe Dios', me dicen, 'aquí existimos nada más nosotros'", relata.
Dice que uno de sus amigos logró escapar de "Los Zetas" y denunciar su secuestro a la Policía. Le dio señas de la casa donde lo tuvieron y le prometieron ayuda.
"Lo llevaron nuevamente ahí, con 'Los Zetas'. Entonces le dijeron: 'Para que aprendas, te vamos a cortar la mano, cabrón', y se la cortaron.
"Lo dejaron abandonado. Llegó la Cruz Roja y lo llevó al hospital, pero no hay investigación", agrega Chucho.
De acuerdo con el salvadoreño, el grupo armado que opera para el Cártel del Golfo recibe, vía Western Union, entre 2 mil y 5 mil dólares por 15 personas todos los días sin que la empresa haga preguntas.
"Espero en Dios que no me vuelva a topar con 'Los Zetas', porque cuando estás ahí estás tocando el infierno con tus propias manos", indica.
'La Policía nos reportó'.- Juana y su hermano iban saliendo de Tampico cuando los detuvieron agentes del Instituto Nacional de Migración y de la Policía Federal en una caseta. A medianoche los dejaron en una calle oscura, los subieron a unos carros y los trasladaron a una casa donde estuvieron 9 días, hasta que sus familiares pagaron el rescate.
Relatan que cuando llegaron a la casa de seguridad había 100 personas más y a una muchacha la estaban violando.
"Yo digo que eran 'Los Zetas' porque ellos mismos lo dijeron: 'ustedes no saben con quién están, están con el Cártel del Golfo y 'Los Zetas'", cuenta Juana.
Dice que, después de que se pagó por su liberación, los plagiarios los subieron a un autobús y les cambiaron el nombre.
"A mí me pusieron Carmen Rebollosa y cuando íbamos pasando la caseta que está saliendo de Tampico, ya estábamos reportados con 'Los Zetas'.
"Reportaron que nosotros veníamos en el asiento 25 y 26, y en la otra caseta, entrando a Reynosa, también ya estábamos reportados. La Policía y ellos trabajan juntos. Yo sé que ya estábamos reportados, porque ellos nos lo dijeron: 'El asiento 25 y 26 ya están reportados por ellos, a ellos ya no hay que tocarlos'",sostiene Juana.





California.- Activistas han expresado su ira por una fotografía en la que un agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza ayuda a un menor a disparar con una pistola de paintball contra un objetivo que asemeja a una persona.

La escena parece representar como si se abriera fuego contra un inmigrante, a decir de los activistas.

Sin embargo, la Patrulla Fronteriza señaló el viernes en un comunicado que cualquier sugerencia que implique que la agencia enseña a civiles a atacar a inmigrantes es totalmente falsa.



La fotografía, en la que se ve un dispositivo que parece un arma, fue tomada durante una demostración de la Policía en un centro comercial cerca de la frontera mexicana.

El portavoz Paul D. Carr dijo que el objetivo utilizado fue una figura antropomorfa sin características particulares como las que se utilizan de manera ordinaria en los campos de tiro.

"El objetivo utilizado es el común usado por las autoridades y por aficionados en todo EU", dijo Carr.

Para el presidente del Consorcio de Derechos de los Inmigrantes en San Diego, Pedro Ríos, la demostración fue inadmisible porque implicó a un menor y se efectuó en un lugar próximo a zonas donde han sido baleadas personas de verdad.

Las fotos fueron tomadas durante una celebración de la Fundación Roberto J. Durán, creada por varios agentes fronterizos en memoria de un agente fallecido en 2002, que se realiza desde hace 10 años en la zona fronteriza de San Ysidro, California.

El evento consiste en una carrera de 5 kilómetros, y en ninguna parte del sitio web se menciona un juego con armas, pero, según testigos citados por diario El País, la actividad se realiza al menos desde 2012.

Algunas de las fotos estaban en la página de Facebook del evento, que desde entonces ha sido borrada.

"Es una seria falta de sensibilidad que permitan a menores usar a una figura que representa a un migrante, cuando a unos 100 metros de allí agentes de la patrulla fronteriza han estado involucrados en actos donde migrantes han perdido la vida", dijo el director del Comité de Servicios Americanos al diario El País.



Los barzonistas de Chihuahua se dicen víctimas del que consideran desgobierno de César Duarte. Incluso lo acusan del asesinato de su compañero Ismael Solorio y su esposa, todo por defender el agua de la que, dicen, se apropian los mineros y un grupo de menonitas pudientes. Y aun cuando han expuesto su problema en diversas instancias estatales y federales nadie les hace caso. Lo peor: Se enteraron de que sus cabezas tienen precio, pues algunos menonitas intentaron contratar a La Línea para que los ejecutaran. En esas tierras, las del desierto del norte del estado, los narcos imponen la ley.

CHIHUAHUA, Chih. (Proceso).- Con el rostro hinchado, morado por los golpes propinados dos días antes por empleados de la minera Mag Silver, Ismael Solorio entró al Palacio de Gobierno de Chihuahua acompañado de otros campesinos y defensores de los derechos humanos y le advirtió a Raymundo Romero, secretario de Gobierno del estado: “Si no se arregla el asunto de la mina en nuestro ejido Benito Juárez, va a haber muertos”.

Los integrantes de El Barzón que ese 15 de octubre lo acompañaban expusieron la campaña de linchamiento que enfrentan por su lucha en defensa del agua y se pronunciaron contra las extracciones ilegales por parte de la minera y de un grupo de menonitas con poder económico. De las amenazas, dijeron, se pasó a la agresión física; también aportaron información sobre el precio que, según relataron, los acaparadores ofrecieron a sicarios para que los mataran.

Una semana después, el 22 de octubre, Solorio –líder estatal del Barzón– volvió a entrar al palacio. Esta vez acompañado por su esposa, Manuela Martha Solís. Los dos iban en ataúdes color caoba. En ese recinto fueron velados.

Los barzonistas, enardecidos, indignados, adoloridos, insistieron en que se trató de un “crimen de Estado”. La policía estatal intentó desalojarlos pero no hubo manera: era mucha la rabia contenida.

Solorio Urrutia y su esposa fueron víctimas del desgobierno en esa entidad y de la inacción de las autoridades federales. Fueron asesinados por defender el agua, escasa en el desierto chihuahuense; por exigir el respeto a la veda impuesta en su región desde 1957, que prohíbe las perforaciones de nuevos pozos y las obras de retención del líquido.

El exdiputado Víctor Quintana, dirigente del Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) en el estado y quien estuvo presente en la reunión del 15 de octubre, dijo que dos días después de ese encuentro, Solorio, Martín Solís y Heraclio Rodríguez fueron amenazados ante el Congreso del estado por asalariados de la minera, quienes estaban acompañados por integrantes de la Confederación Nacional Campesina.

“En las videograbaciones del ‘acribillamiento verbal’ se puede apreciar a varios sicarios que actúan en el ejido Benito Juárez”, escribió el político.

En un céntrico hotel del Distrito Federal, Proceso entrevista a la abogada del Barzón, Lucha Castro, también directora del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Mujer (Cedehm). Están también los líderes estatales Rodríguez, Solís, Gabino Gómez y Joaquín Solorio, hermano de Ismael, quienes se dicen amenazados. Saben que se fijó un precio por su cabeza.

Hacen una pausa en medio de sus idas al Senado, a organizaciones de derechos humanos, a los medios, a oficinas de gobierno donde repiten el relato del asesinato anunciado y la historia de corrupción, negligencia, complicidad e irregularidades en el que está enmarcado.

Tierra de narcos

El noroeste de Chihuahua, donde se ubica el ejido Benito Juárez, es un enclave peligroso. Es una zona árida, de poca vegetación y altas montañas. Sus habitantes nutrieron los movimientos agrarios del siglo pasado y es cuna de personas como Solorio, que desde los noventa participó en cabalgatas, caravanas y marchas hacia la Ciudad de México en defensa del campo.

Hasta ahí se llega por caminos varicosos que cruzan montañas y despoblados, por los que se puede llegar a Estados Unidos. Es la ruta donde la droga se trafica por veredas. Es la ruta de pueblos fantasmas, silenciados, zona de desplazamiento por miedo (Proceso 1734).

Aunque en octubre de 2010 la PGR ofreció recompensas de 3 millones de pesos por los cabecillas de las bandas que operan en la zona, éstos siguen libres. Son Eduardo Gallegos Valdez, El Lalo; Óscar Rafael Ruiz Gallegos, El Junior; Juan Ismael Granillo Chavira, El Chorrias; Raúl Rueda Quiroga, El Pony; Guadalupe Méndez Basurto, El Gato; Ricardo Alfredo Rueda Quiroga, El Caballo; Luis Enrique Lira, El Barrica; Manuel Adrián García Rodríguez, El Balín; Lorenzo Gallegos Valdez o Rafael Chavira Rentería o Rafael Sánchez, El Borrego.

Durante este sexenio, en esa zona ocurrió la desaparición de cuatro defensas rurales y un teniente del Ejército que viajaban desde la fronteriza Ciudad Juárez a la serrana ciudad de Madera. Posteriormente desaparecieron dos maestros.

Ahí fueron asesinados Benjamín LeBarón y su cuñado, lo que dio inicio a las acciones de autodefensa de la comunidad mormona en el municipio de Galeana, aun bajo protección de policías federales (Proceso 1706). Después, José Alfredo Silly Peña, el coordinador nacional de inteligencia de la Policía Federal; les siguieron los dos agentes comisionados para investigar el crimen. Ambos fueron ejecutados en una mina de Benito Juárez, lo que propició la entrada del Ejército para “reventar” las casas de los narcos. Durante ese tiempo las tropas desaparecieron a los primos Nitza Paola Alvarado Espinoza, José Ángel Alvarado Herrera y Rocío Irene Alvarado Reyes (Proceso 1842).

En este contexto los barzonistas están en una situación complicada: requieren protección pero bajo un esquema distinto. Saben que si piden la intervención del Ejército o la Policía Federal, los narcotraficantes, los verdaderos amos del territorio, no les perdonarían haber calentado la plaza.

“Nuestra pelea no es contra ellos (los narcos), nuestra intención no es interferir en sus cosas. Nuestra denuncia es contra el gobierno omiso de la aplicación de leyes porque nos están dejando sin agua; no queremos que el gobierno aproveche este conflicto para hacer su tarea sucia y que nosotros seamos afectados porque nosotros vamos a seguir viviendo en la comunidad. Sólo queremos que aplique la ley por las demandas del agua y la minería ilegal, esclarezca el móvil, dé con los autores materiales e intelectuales y se responsabilice de nuestra seguridad sin calentar los ánimos de la región”, explican los barzonistas.

Por eso, dicen, les indignó que el jueves 1 por la noche un convoy de 70 camionetas de soldados y federales paseara por el ejido y se retirara dos horas después.

(Extracto del reportaje que se publica esta semana en la revista Proceso 1879)





MÉXICO, D.F. (proceso.com.mx).- La caravana de madres de migrantes centroamericanos “Liberando la Esperanza” concluyó este sábado su recorrido de 19 días por 14 entidades del país en su búsqueda de sus seres queridos desaparecidos en su paso por México.

Las mujeres procedentes de El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras y Guatemala iniciaron su trayecto el pasado 14 de octubre.

Durante su recorrido, las madres centroamericanas presenciaron cinco reencuentros, el primero de ellos en la casa del migrante “La 72, hogar-refugio para personas migrantes”, localizada en Tenosique, Tabasco, y el segundo en las afueras de Monterrey, Nuevo León. Los tres reencuentros restantes se realizaron, uno, en la Ciudad de México, y dos en Chiapas.

Durante su recorrido, las integrantes de la caravana le recordaron al Estado mexicano su responsabilidad por el hostigamiento, la persecución, la discriminación y la violencia hacia sus hijos cuando atraviesan este territorio con el propósito de llegar a Estados Unidos, todo ello con la complicidad de “funcionarios corruptos”.

Tras concluir su recorrido por México, la caravana emitió una declaratoria.

En el documento, leído en conferencia de prensa, señalan que buscaron la empatía de la sociedad mexicana para la causa migrante, además de “exigir a los gobiernos centroamericanos y mexicano, que de manera definitiva ejecuten acciones congruentes, a fin de detener la crisis humanitaria que afecta a los migrantes centroamericanos y sus familiares”.

Agregan que “encontramos que las organizaciones criminales amplían cada vez más su espectro de acción con estas poblaciones migrantes, donde la trata y el secuestro ya ocupan el segundo lugar de ingresos para la delincuencia organizada”.

Además, sostienen, el secuestro, la extorsión, el asesinato, la violación de mujeres y hombres, y la trata de personas son una constante que convierte a los migrantes en una mercancía más para sus gigantescas ganancias económicas, según el texto, reproducido por Notimex.

Destacaron que “los gobiernos locales sólo nos ayudaron con temas de seguridad, pero no hubo ningún compromiso verdadero, ningún gobernador de los estados tuvo ese interés por escuchar a las madres, dijo Rubén Figueroa, integrante del Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano a la agencia noticiosa EFE.




Dallas, Texas.- Al menos dos inmigrantes murieron y otro más resultó herido, luego de que un agente del Departamento de Seguridad Pública de Texas (DPS) disparó desde un helicóptero contra un vehículo en el que viajaban varios indocumentados, se informó hoy.

El DPS confirmó este viernes la muerte de los dos indocumentados en el incidente registrado alrededor de las 15:00 horas del jueves (20:00 GMT) al norte de la comunidad de La Joya, en la frontera con México.

Mientras, el consulado de Guatemala en McAllen ya investiga los hechos pues las víctimas podrían ser originarias de ese país.

En un comunicado, el DPS indicó que se lleva a cabo la investigación correspondiente ya que al parecer el vehículo era seguido por las autoridades al considerarlo como sospechoso de transportar un cargamento con drogas.

El incidente ocurrió cuando un helicóptero de la DPS se sumó a la persecución de un vehículo sospechoso, que era seguido por agentes del Servicio de Parques y Vida Silvestre de Texas.

El vehículo, un pick-up rojo de modelo reciente, "parecía tener una típica carga de droga cubierta" en la parte trasera y "estaba viajando a velocidades imprudentes que ponen en peligro al público", señaló la corporación.

El DPS admitió que uno de sus patrulleros disparó su arma desde el helicóptero para desactivar al vehículo y que una vez que el automóvil se detuvo se determinó que no transportaba droga, sino a 10 indocumentados, dos de ellos murieron y otro resultó lesionado.

Los agentes del DPS y de la Patrulla Fronteriza detuvieron a los otros siete indocumentados en el lugar y transportaron al lesionado a un hospital de la zona.

El DPS informó que la investigación está siendo conducida por los "Texas Rangers", el grupo elite de la policía estatal. El agente que disparó el arma está bajo suspensión administrativa, mientras se concluye la averiguación.

Tar sands danger

By Kiley Kroh on October 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

Petroleum coke, a byproduct of tar sands refining, is building up along Chicago’s Calumet River and alarming residents, reported Midwest Energy News.
Petroleum coke is a high-carbon, high-sulfur byproduct of Canadian tar sands that are shipped from Alberta to the U.S. to be refined and is rapidly becoming a cause for concern in Chicago. “It’s growing by leaps and bounds,” Southeast Environmental Task Force member Tom Shepherd, told Midwest Energy News. “It’s coming at a breathtaking rate.”
The pet coke is owned by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch whose operations drew similar outrage from residents and elected officials in Detroit earlier this year. In July, a large black cloud of pet coke dust was spotted over the Detroit River and caught on camera by residents across the border in Windsor. Members of the communities in close proximity to the piles were complaining of respiratory problems as the thick, black dust was blowing off the piles and into their apartments.


Rep. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township), whose district includes the Detroit waterfront where the piles were building up, said the tar sands waste “is dirtier than the dirtiest fuel” and demanded a federal study into the impacts of the product on public health and the environment.
In August, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing ordered the removal of the pet coke piles — after which they reportedly became Ohio’s problem.
Detroit’s pet coke piles were produced by Marathon Refinery but owned by Koch Carbon, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. In Chicago they are owned by KCBX, an affiliate of Koch Carbon, which has large parcels of land along the Calumet River and, according to Midwest Energy News, expanded its presence in the area last year. And it’s not just the Koch piles area residents have to worry about; just across the border in Indiana, BP Whiting’s refinery is undergoing a $3.8 billion upgrade which includes construction of the world’s second largest coker. Not only does petroleum coke pose a serious risk to nearby air and water supplies, but the product can also be used as a cheaper — and even dirtier — alternative to coal. Since most power plants in the U.S. and Canada won’t burn pet coke due to the high level of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, the companies often ship the waste product to developing countries with looser pollution restrictions.
And as companies look to expand their pipeline network to keep pace with the increased production of tar sands in Alberta, petroleum coke piles could be appearing in more U.S. communities that contain refineries, such as the Midwest and the Gulf Coast.
(HT: Midwest Energy News)


January 08, 2013

A coalition of more than 70 environmental groups released an open letter urging President Obama to meaningfully confront climate change in his second term. The letter urges Obama to begin by rejecting the Keystone XL, saying: «The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in our national interest because it would unlock vast amounts of additional carbon that we can’t afford to burn, extend our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels, endanger health and safety, and put critical water resources at risk.»


Texas blockade to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Learn more about how you can get involved with the Tar Sand Blockade, and join the pre-action training July 27-29th in East Texas.
Take action now!

CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.

Dear Friend,
As the Obama Administration rushes through approval of the southern portion of the Keystone XL Pipleline, Texas landowners and activists may be our best chance to block this disastrous project.
That’s why our friends at Rising Tide North Texas are organizing the Tar Sands Blockade — a serious civil disobedience action to blockade TransCanada from building their dirty pipeline.
Participating and supporting this action is definitely not for everyone. But we wanted to let you know about it in case you or someone you know wants to join the Tar Sands Blockade and put your body on the line to stop the pipeline.
Tar Sands Blockade is looking for activists who would be willing to participate in the blockade and risk arrest, activists who could support those in the blockade, and also activists who may want to organize their own non-violent direct actions in Texas.
For those interested in joining the action, the Tar Sands Blockade is holding a three-day training near Tyler, Friday July 27th — Sunday, July 29th.
Those participating in the blockade training will be camping outside, and should be prepared to be outdoors in the heat. Once again, this isn’t for everyone — and if you can’t join the training, there will be other ways to help fight this in Texas, including helping to promote the blockade once it begins.
The exact timing of the blockade action will depend on when TransCanada gets final approval from President Obama’s Army Corps of Engineers. The project has already received approval from two district offices and we expect approval from the third any day now.1
Then TransCanada will begin seizing Texans’ land to dig their pipe to bring the Canadian tar sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries — where it can be exported and sold overseas.
No part of that benefits the U.S. — but it leaves the people, land and water of Texas and Oklahoma vulnerable to toxic oil spills, like the country’s biggest on-land oil spill that happened almost exactly two years ago on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.2
President Obama has failed to stand up and protect us from this disastrous project. So it’s up to the people of Texas to block it.
Learn more about the blockade and RSVP to join the training:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6915555&id=43700-5154581-N5ItVKx&t=7
We wish it didn’t have to come to this. And we are grateful to any brave souls who are able to participate and support the blockade, whether or not they risk arrest.
If you can’t participate, there will (unfortunately) be plenty more to do, and we’ll let you know when you can help.
Thanks for everything you are doing.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. — If you can’t participate, a great way to support the action is with a small donation. This Tar Sands Blockade is being organized on a very small budget, so every contribution makes a difference. If you’d like to chip in, you can do so here.


Dear Friend, 

In the same week that record June heat blanketed the southeast, Minnesota tried to recover from record flooding, and the biggest fire in Colorado’s history continued to burn out of control — President Obama doubled down in his support for the energy that is causing this deepening climate change spiral. 

In a single week, the Obama Administration approved the first portion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, gave away 720 million tons of publicly owned coal to a coal company for virtually nothing, and promised to lease more arctic offshore areas for oil drilling. 

Now, the Canada to Oklahoma portion of the Keystone XL pipeline – which would turn up the spigot on deadly, «game over for the climate» tar sands production – is back before the State Department after being rejected by President Obama earlier this year when Republicans tried to force his decision. 

Without the pressures of the election, President Obama could very conceivably cave when a decision is made in 2013 – if he is re-elected. This public comment period is our opportunity to go on the record, before the election, with our fierce opposition. And to stop the administration from making another terrible decision. 

Please join me in urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/extreme_xl/?r_by=42748-5154581-kYRiPex&rc=confemail


Stop Keystone XL. Again!
Rejected by President Obama in Janaury, Keystone XL is being considered again by the State Department, which is now accepting public comments. Submit a comment telling the Obama Administration to reject this disastrous pipeline.

Take action now!

CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.

Dear Friend,
In the same week that record June heat blanketed the country, an massive summer storm wreaked havoc from Indiana to Washington, and the biggest fire in Colorado’s history continued to burn out of control — President Obama doubled down in his support for the energy that is causing this deepening climate change spiral.
Last week, the Obama Administration approved the first portion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,1 gave away 720 million tons of publicly owned coal to Peabody Energy for virtually nothing,2 and promised to lease more Arctic offshore areas for oil drilling.3
Now, the Canada-to-Oklahoma portion of the Keystone XL pipeline — which would turn up the spigot on deadly, «game over for the climate» tar sands production — is back before the State Department after being rejected by President Obama earlier this year when Republicans tried to force his decision.
Without the pressures of the election, President Obama could very conceivably cave if he is the one making the decision in 2013. This public comment period is our opportunity to go on the record, before the election, with our fierce opposition. And to stop the administration from making another terrible decision for our present and future climate.
Today’s weather is a scary prelude of things to come. And it’s clear that our leaders can’t take the heat.
Our leaders are simply not confronting the abundantly obvious, terrifying realities of escalating climate change. The present Congress is simply hopeless. And the Obama Administration consistently undermines any progress it might have made. We can’t depend on our leaders. But we can take action.
We must make sure the State Department considers the full climate impacts of Keystone XL when determining if it’s in our national interest.
Stopping Keystone XL won’t reverse the spiral of our heating climate. But as one of the single largest projects to turn up the spigot on the dirtiest form of energy in the world, it will stop us from making the problem much worse for our future. And so we must stop it.
Tell the Obama Administration: Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. Click below to submit a comment to the State Department: 
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6905050&p=extreme_xl&id=42748-5154581-kYRiPex&t=7
Thanks for taking action — somebody has to.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets


Oil sands, tar sands or, more technically, bituminous sands, are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. The oil sands are loose sand or partially consolidated sandstone containing naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, and water, saturated with a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen (or colloquially tar due to its similar appearance, odour and colour). Natural bitumen deposits are reported in many countries, but in particular are found in extremely large quantities in Canada.[1][2] Other large reserves are located in Kazakhstan and Russia. Total natural bitumen reserves are estimated at 249.67 billion barrels (39.694×109 m3) globally, of which 176.8 billion barrels (28.11×109 m3), or 70.8%, are in Canada.[1]

Oil sands reserves have only recently been considered to be part of the world’s oil reserves, as higher oil prices and new technology enable them to be profitably extracted and upgraded to usable products. They are often referred to as unconventional oil or crude bitumen, in order to distinguish the bitumen extracted from oil sands from the free-flowing hydrocarbon mixtures known as crude oil traditionally produced from oil wells.

The crude bitumen contained in the Canadian oil sands is described by Canadian authorities as «petroleum that exists in the semi-solid or solid phase in natural deposits. Bitumen is a thick, sticky form of crude oil, so heavy and viscous (thick) that it will not flow unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons. At room temperature, it is much like cold molasses«.[3] The World Energy Council (WEC) defines natural bitumen as «oil having a viscosity greater than 10,000 centipoises under reservoir conditions and an API gravity of less than 10° API».[1] The Orinoco Belt in Venezuela is sometimes described as oil sands, but these deposits are non-bituminous, falling instead into the category of heavy or extra-heavy oil due to their lower viscosity.[4]
Natural bitumen and extra-heavy oil differ in the degree by which they have been degraded from the original crude oil by bacteria and erosion. According to the WEC, extra-heavy oil has «a gravity of less than 10° API and a reservoir viscosity of no more than 10,000 centipoises».[1]

Making liquid fuels from oil sands requires energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases per barrel of final product as the «production» of conventional oil.[5] If combustion of the final products is included, the so-called «Well to Wheels» approach, oil sands extraction, upgrade and use emits 10 to 45% more greenhouse gases than conventional crude.

Bituminous sands are a major source of unconventional oil, although only Canada has a large-scale commercial oil sands industry. In 2006, bitumen production in Canada averaged 1.25 million barrels per day (200,000 m3/d) through 81 oil sands projects. 44% of Canadian oil production in 2007 was from oil sands.[21] This proportion is expected to increase in coming decades as bitumen production grows while conventional oil production declines, although due to the 2008 economic downturn work on new projects has been deferred.[2] Petroleum is not produced from oil sands on a significant level in other countries.[20]

The Alberta oil sands have been in commercial production since the original Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor Energy) mine began operation in 1967. A second mine, operated by the Syncrude consortium, began operation in 1978 and is the biggest mine of any type in the world. The third mine in the Athabasca Oil Sands, the Albian Sands consortium of Shell Canada, Chevron Corporation, and Western Oil Sands Inc. [purchased by Marathon Oil Corporation in 2007] began operation in 2003. Petro-Canada was also developing a $33 billion Fort Hills Project, in partnership with UTS Energy Corporation and Teck Cominco, which lost momentum after the 2009 merger of Petro-Canada into Suncor.[22]

In the Republic of the Congo, the Italian oil company Eni have announced in May 2008 a project to develop the small oil sands deposit in order to produce 40,000 barrels per day (6,400 m3/d) in 2014.

Conventional crude oil is normally extracted from the ground by drilling oil wells into a petroleum reservoir, allowing oil to flow into them under natural reservoir pressures, although artificial lift and techniques such as water flooding and gas injection are usually required to maintain production as reservoir pressure drops toward the end of a field’s life. Because bitumen flows very slowly, if at all, toward producing wells under normal reservoir conditions, the sands must be extracted by strip mining or the oil made to flow into wells by in-situ techniques, which reduce the viscosity by injecting steam, solvents, and/or hot air into the sands. These processes can use more water and require larger amounts of energy than conventional oil extraction, although many conventional oil fields also require large amounts of water and energy to achieve good rates of production.

It is estimated that approximately 90% of the Alberta oil sands are too far below the surface to use open-pit mining. Several in-situ techniques have been developed.

Since Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor) started operation of its mine in 1967, bitumen has been extracted on a commercial scale from the Athabasca Oil Sands by surface mining. In the Athabasca sands there are very large amounts of bitumen covered by little overburden, making surface mining the most efficient method of extracting it. The overburden consists of water-laden muskeg (peat bog) over top of clay and barren sand. The oil sands themselves are typically 40 to 60 metres (130 to 200 ft) deep, sitting on top of flat limestone rock. Originally, the sands were mined with draglines and bucket-wheel excavators and moved to the processing plants by conveyor belts. In recent years companies such as Syncrude and Suncor have switched to much cheaper shovel-and-truck operations using the biggest power shovels (100 or more tons) and dump trucks (400 tons) in the world.[25] This has held production costs to around $27 per barrel of synthetic crude oil despite rising energy and labour costs.[26]

After excavation, hot water and caustic soda (NaOH) is added to the sand, and the resulting slurry is piped to the extraction plant where it is agitated and the oil skimmed from the top.[27] Provided that the water chemistry is appropriate to allow bitumen to separate from sand and clay, the combination of hot water and agitation releases bitumen from the oil sand, and allows small air bubbles to attach to the bitumen droplets. The bitumen froth floats to the top of separation vessels, and is further treated to remove residual water and fine solids.

About two tons of oil sands are required to produce one barrel (roughly 1/8 of a ton) of oil. Originally, roughly 75% of the bitumen was recovered from the sand. However, recent enhancements to this method include Tailings Oil Recovery (TOR) units which recover oil from the tailings, Diluent Recovery Units to recover naptha from the froth, Inclined Plate Settlers (IPS) and disc centrifuges. These allow the extraction plants to recover well over 90% of the bitumen in the sand. After oil extraction, the spent sand and other materials are then returned to the mine, which is eventually reclaimed.

Alberta Taciuk Process technology extracts bitumen from oil sands through a dry-retorting. During this process, oil sand is moved through a rotating drum, cracking the bitumen with heat and producing lighter hydrocarbons. Although tested, this technology is not in commercial use yet.[28]

Four oil sands mines are currently in operation and two more (Jackpine and Kearl) are in the initial stages of development. The original Suncor mine opened in 1967, while the Syncrude mine started in 1978, Shell Canada opened its Muskeg River mine (Albian Sands) in 2003 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd opened its Horizon Project in 2009. New mines under construction or undergoing approval include Shell Canada’s,[29]Imperial Oil‘s Kearl Oil Sands Project, Synenco Energy’s Northern Lights mine and Suncor’s Fort Hills mine.

Mining Canada's Oil Sands.ogv

Satellite images show the growth of pit mines over Canada’s oil sands between 1984 and 2011.

Oil sands extraction is generally held to be more environmentally damaging than conventional crude oil.[47] It can affect the land when the bitumen is initially mined, water by its requirement of large quantities of water during separation of the oil and sand and the air due to the release of carbon dioxide and other emissions.[48] Heavy metals such as vanadium, nickel, lead, cobalt, mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, selenium, copper, manganese, iron and zinc are naturally present in oil sands and may be concentrated by the extraction process.[49] The environmental impact caused by oil sand extraction is frequently criticized by environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Climate Reality Project, 350.org, MoveOn, League of Conservation Voters, Patagonia, Sierra Club, and Energy Action Coalition.[50][51] The European Union has indicated that it may vote to label oil sands oil as «highly polluting». Although oil sands exports to Europe are minimal, the issue has caused friction between the EU and Canada.

Between 2 to 4.5 volume units of water are used to produce each volume unit of synthetic crude oil in an ex-situ mining operation. According to Greenpeace, the Canadian oil sands operations use 349 million cubic metres per annum (12.3 × 109 cu ft/a) of water, twice the amount of water used by the city of Calgary.[62] Despite recycling, almost all of it ends up in tailings ponds. As of 2007, tailing ponds in Canada covered an area of approximately 50 square kilometres (19 sq mi). However, in SAGD operations, 90–95% of the water is recycled and only about 0.2 volume units of water is used per volume unit of bitumen produced.[63]
For the Athabasca oil sand operations water is supplied from the Athabasca River, the ninth longest river in Canada.[64] The average flow just downstream of Fort McMurray is 633 cubic metres per second (22,400 cu ft/s) with its highest daily average measuring 1,200 cubic metres per second (42,000 cu ft/s).[65][66] Oil sands industries water license allocations totals about 1.8% of the Athabasca river flow. Actual use in 2006 was about 0.4%.[67] In addition, according to the Water Management Framework for the Lower Athabasca River, during periods of low river flow water consumption from the Athabasca River is limited to 1.3% of annual average flow.[68]

In December 2010, the Oil Sands Advisory Panel, commissioned by former environment minister Jim Prentice, found that the system in place for monitoring water quality in the region, including work by the Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program, the Alberta Water Research Institute, the Cumulative Environmental Management Association and others, was piecemeal and should become more comprehensive and coordinated.[69][70] A major hindrance to the monitoring of oil sands produced waters has been the lack of identification of individual compounds present. By better understanding the nature of the highly complex mixture of compounds, including naphthenic acids, it may be possible to monitor rivers for leachate and also to remove toxic components. Such identification of individual acids has for many years proved to be impossible but a recent breakthrough in analysis has begun to reveal what is in the oil sands produced waters.[71]

In October 2009, Suncor announced it was seeking government approval for a new process to recover tailings called Tailings Reduction Operations, which accelerates the settling of fine clay, sand, water, and residual bitumen in ponds after oil sands extraction. The technology involves dredging mature tailings from a pond bottom, mixing the suspension with a polymer flocculent, and spreading the sludge-like mixture over a «beach» with a shallow grade. According to the company, the process could reduce the time for water reclamation from tailings to weeks rather than years, with the recovered water being recycled into the oil sands plant. In addition to reducing the number of tailing ponds, Suncor claims that the process could reduce the time to reclaim a tailing pond from 40 years at present to 7–10 years, with land rehabilitation continuously following 7 to 10 years behind the mining operations


Dear Friend,

It just gets worse and worse.
To make up for the fact that rapid tar sands extraction is threatening caribou herds by destroying vast swaths of forest habitat in Alberta, the Canadian government has called for killing thousands of wolves.1
If Alberta Canada’s tar sands fields are fully developed, an area of boreal rainforest the size of Florida will be eviscerated, leaving in its wake giant ponds of toxic wastewater.2
It’s obvious why this would pose a massive threat to all wildlife species who reside there, including birds, wolves, woodland caribou and the iconic spirit bear.
But instead of preserving the habitat caribou need for their survival, the Canadian government’s answer is to blaze ahead with tar sands extraction, and kill thousands of wolves who would naturally prey on the caribou. A paper released by the National Wildlife Federation reports that The Ministry of the Environment’s plan calls for aerial shooting, and poisoning with bait laced with strychnine — a particularly painful type of poison.
This plan to kill wolves is a misguided, cruel response that does nothing to alleviate the greater problem: tar sands oil extraction is a huge threat to wildlife, local communities, and all of our futures.
But despite the clear negative consequences, the Canadian government continues working to rapidly expand tar sands production and sales, including promoting the Keystone XL Pipeline to export refined tar sands bitumen all over the world.
Understandably, this has begun to earn Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and many in the country’s government, a negative reputation to which they are becoming increasingly sensitive.3
The Ministry of the Environment has not yet begun this planned wolf kill. With enough public pressure, we can get them to abandon the plan, and build the case for Canada to stop their devastating race to expand tar sands development.
Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=5532375&id=35696-5154581-qjqw2%3Dx&t=10
Thank you for fighting tar sands and all their devastation.
Elijah zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Tell the Canadian government: 

Stop your tar sands wolf kills!

It just gets worse and worse.
To make up for the fact that rapid tar sands oil mining is threatening caribou herds by destroying vast swaths of rainforest habitat in Alberta, the Canadian government has called for strychnine poisoning and aerial shooting of thousands of wolves in areas of tar sands mining.1
Tell Prime Minister Harper: Stop Canada’s planned wolf killings!
If Alberta Canada’s tar sands oil fields are fully developed, an area of boreal rainforest the size of Florida will be eviscerated, leaving in its wake only giant ponds of toxic wastewater.2

It’s obvious why this would pose a massive threat to all wildlife species who reside there, including birds, caribou and the iconic spirit bear.
But instead of preserving the habitat caribou need for their survival, the Canadian government’s answer is to blaze ahead with tar sands oil extraction, and kill thousands of wolves who would naturally prey on the caribou. The Ministry of the Environment’s plan calls for aerial shooting, and poisoning with bait laced with strychnine — a particularly painful type of poison.
Tell Prime Minister Harper: Stop your planned wolf killings! Preserve wolf and caribou habitat, and stop the irresponsible development of tar sands oil which threatens all of us.

This plan to kill wolves is a misguided, cruel response that does nothing to alleviate the greater problem: Tar sands development is a huge threat to wildlife, local communities, and all of our futures.

But despite the clear negative consequences, the Canadian government continues working to rapidly expand tar sands production and sales, including with the Keystone XL Pipeline to export tar sands oil all over the world.
Understandably, this has begun to earn Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and many in the country’s government, a negative reputation, to which they are becoming increasingly sensitive.2

The Ministry of the Environment has not yet moved forward with this planned wolf kill. And with enough public pressure, we can get them to abandon the plan, and build the case for Canada to stop their devastating race to expand tar sands oil fields.
1. «Tar Sands Development to Lead to Poisoning of Wolves,» National Wildlife Federation, February 6, 2012
2. «Tar Sands,» Friends of the Earth
3. «Monitoring plan would bolster oilsands image, federal documents show,» Vancouver Sun, February 3, 2012


Tar sands oil is a high carbon fuel strip-mined from beneath Canada’s Boreal forest. Fuel from tar sands represents an increasingly significant portion of the fuel used in cars in the United States. To extract oil from tar sands, companies must destroy fragile forest ecosystems and then use a very energy-intensive upgrading and refining process to turn that oil into transportation fuel. Tar sands mining and production harm the boreal forest’s fragile ecosystem, waste enormous amounts of water, and disrupt the lives of indigenous people in the area.

Our primary tar sands campaign objective at present is to stop the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

Climate Impacts

Tar sands oil extraction and production emits three times more carbon dioxide than average from production of conventional oil consumed in the United States. If we expand our use of dirty tar sands, we could jeopardize the gains we make combating climate change via fuel economy standards and the use of clean energy sources as vehicle fuels.

Ecosystem Destruction

Tar sands extraction requires total destruction of pristine areas within the Canadian Boreal forest, one of the few large, intact ecosystems on Earth. The forest is clear cut, the wetlands are drained, and living matter and soil are hauled away to expose the tar sands. Oil companies remove and dump four tons of sand and soil for every one barrel of oil they get from tar sands. Oil companies have so far failed to deliver on their promises to mitigate some of this destruction by refilling tar sands mines and planting new vegetation.

Water Waste

Extracting the fossil fuels in tar sands from the sand, silt, and clay requires enormous amounts of water. It takes about three barrels of water to extract one barrel of oil. More than 90 percent of this water, 400 million gallons per day, ends up as toxic waste dumped in massive pools that contain carcinogenic substances like cyanide.

Disruption of Native People

The tar sands are being mined in a region home to many native people. They have trouble practicing their cultural traditions because of the destruction caused by tailing ponds and strip mining operations. The people downstream from the toxic tailing ponds have high rates of rare cancers, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. Indigenous groups have organized and protested to stop the expansion of tar sands operations. This opposition is shared by the majority of Albertans, with 71 percent supporting a moratorium on new projects in a recent survey.

What We Can Do

The majority of tar sands oil is exported to the United States.  Tar sands already make up four percent of the crude oil we use and our tax dollars are already subsidizing pipelines and refineries that would allow oil companies to quadruple that amount. Also, the president must approve any new pipelines (like the Keystone XL pipeline) that the tar sands industry wants to build to the U.S. So far, the Canadian government and oil companies have not found any buyers of tar sands oil outside of the United States. As a result, stopping U.S. permits and taxpayer subsidies for new pipelines and upgraded refineries will go a long way towards ending oil companies’ exploitation of this dirty fuel and the havoc wrought on the local environment and indigenous people’s livelihoods in the process.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++===

Thanks for taking action.

Here are some ways you can spread the word to build pressure on Canadian officials to abandon this cruel plan and stop their rapid expansion of tar sands mining which threatens all of us.

If you are on Facebook, click here to post the petition to your Wall.

If you have a Twitter account, click here to automatically tweet:
Tell Canadian Prime Minister Harper and @ec_minister Peter Kent: Stop your planned tar sands #wolf kills! http://bit.ly/xRSXlC @pmharper

You can also send the following e-mail to your friends and family. Spreading the word is critical, but please only pass this message along to those who know you — spam hurts our campaign.

Thanks for all you do.

–The CREDO Action Team

Here’s a sample message to send to your friends:


Subject: Stop Canada’s planned tar sands wolf killings!
Dear Friend,

If Alberta Canada’s tar sands oil fields are fully developed, an area of boreal rainforest the size of Florida will be eviscerated, leaving in its wake only giant ponds of toxic wastewater.

To make up for the fact that extracting tar sands oil is threatening caribou herds by destroying vast swaths of rainforest habitat in Alberta, the Canadian government has called for strychnine poisoning and aerial shooting of thousands of wolves in areas of tar sands mining.

This plan is both cruel and deeply misguided.

I just signed a petition telling Canada’s Prime Minister Harper to Stop Canada’s planned tar sands wolf killings. Learn more and add your name here:

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/tar_sands_wolves/?r_by=35696-5154581-qjqw2%3Dx&rc=confemail 

By Kiley Kroh on October 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

Petroleum coke, a byproduct of tar sands refining, is building up along Chicago’s Calumet River and alarming residents, reported Midwest Energy News.
Petroleum coke is a high-carbon, high-sulfur byproduct of Canadian tar sands that are shipped from Alberta to the U.S. to be refined and is rapidly becoming a cause for concern in Chicago. “It’s growing by leaps and bounds,” Southeast Environmental Task Force member Tom Shepherd, told Midwest Energy News. “It’s coming at a breathtaking rate.”
The pet coke is owned by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch whose operations drew similar outrage from residents and elected officials in Detroit earlier this year. In July, a large black cloud of pet coke dust was spotted over the Detroit River and caught on camera by residents across the border in Windsor. Members of the communities in close proximity to the piles were complaining of respiratory problems as the thick, black dust was blowing off the piles and into their apartments.


Rep. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township), whose district includes the Detroit waterfront where the piles were building up, said the tar sands waste “is dirtier than the dirtiest fuel” and demanded a federal study into the impacts of the product on public health and the environment.
In August, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing ordered the removal of the pet coke piles — after which they reportedly became Ohio’s problem.
Detroit’s pet coke piles were produced by Marathon Refinery but owned by Koch Carbon, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. In Chicago they are owned by KCBX, an affiliate of Koch Carbon, which has large parcels of land along the Calumet River and, according to Midwest Energy News, expanded its presence in the area last year. And it’s not just the Koch piles area residents have to worry about; just across the border in Indiana, BP Whiting’s refinery is undergoing a $3.8 billion upgrade which includes construction of the world’s second largest coker. Not only does petroleum coke pose a serious risk to nearby air and water supplies, but the product can also be used as a cheaper — and even dirtier — alternative to coal. Since most power plants in the U.S. and Canada won’t burn pet coke due to the high level of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, the companies often ship the waste product to developing countries with looser pollution restrictions.
And as companies look to expand their pipeline network to keep pace with the increased production of tar sands in Alberta, petroleum coke piles could be appearing in more U.S. communities that contain refineries, such as the Midwest and the Gulf Coast.
(HT: Midwest Energy News)



January 08, 2013


A coalition of more than 70 environmental groups released an open letter urging President Obama to meaningfully confront climate change in his second term. The letter urges Obama to begin by rejecting the Keystone XL, saying: "The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in our national interest because it would unlock vast amounts of additional carbon that we can’t afford to burn, extend our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels, endanger health and safety, and put critical water resources at risk."







Texas blockade to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Learn more about how you can get involved with the Tar Sand Blockade, and join the pre-action training July 27-29th in East Texas.
Take action now!
CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
Dear Friend,
As the Obama Administration rushes through approval of the southern portion of the Keystone XL Pipleline, Texas landowners and activists may be our best chance to block this disastrous project.
That's why our friends at Rising Tide North Texas are organizing the Tar Sands Blockade — a serious civil disobedience action to blockade TransCanada from building their dirty pipeline.
Participating and supporting this action is definitely not for everyone. But we wanted to let you know about it in case you or someone you know wants to join the Tar Sands Blockade and put your body on the line to stop the pipeline.
Tar Sands Blockade is looking for activists who would be willing to participate in the blockade and risk arrest, activists who could support those in the blockade, and also activists who may want to organize their own non-violent direct actions in Texas.
For those interested in joining the action, the Tar Sands Blockade is holding a three-day training near Tyler, Friday July 27th — Sunday, July 29th.
Those participating in the blockade training will be camping outside, and should be prepared to be outdoors in the heat. Once again, this isn't for everyone — and if you can't join the training, there will be other ways to help fight this in Texas, including helping to promote the blockade once it begins.
The exact timing of the blockade action will depend on when TransCanada gets final approval from President Obama's Army Corps of Engineers. The project has already received approval from two district offices and we expect approval from the third any day now.1
Then TransCanada will begin seizing Texans' land to dig their pipe to bring the Canadian tar sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries — where it can be exported and sold overseas.
No part of that benefits the U.S. — but it leaves the people, land and water of Texas and Oklahoma vulnerable to toxic oil spills, like the country's biggest on-land oil spill that happened almost exactly two years ago on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.2
President Obama has failed to stand up and protect us from this disastrous project. So it's up to the people of Texas to block it.
Learn more about the blockade and RSVP to join the training:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6915555&id=43700-5154581-N5ItVKx&t=7
We wish it didn't have to come to this. And we are grateful to any brave souls who are able to participate and support the blockade, whether or not they risk arrest.
If you can't participate, there will (unfortunately) be plenty more to do, and we'll let you know when you can help.
Thanks for everything you are doing.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. — If you can't participate, a great way to support the action is with a small donation. This Tar Sands Blockade is being organized on a very small budget, so every contribution makes a difference. If you'd like to chip in, you can do so here.





Dear Friend, 

In the same week that record June heat blanketed the southeast, Minnesota tried to recover from record flooding, and the biggest fire in Colorado's history continued to burn out of control -- President Obama doubled down in his support for the energy that is causing this deepening climate change spiral. 

In a single week, the Obama Administration approved the first portion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, gave away 720 million tons of publicly owned coal to a coal company for virtually nothing, and promised to lease more arctic offshore areas for oil drilling. 

Now, the Canada to Oklahoma portion of the Keystone XL pipeline - which would turn up the spigot on deadly, "game over for the climate" tar sands production - is back before the State Department after being rejected by President Obama earlier this year when Republicans tried to force his decision. 

Without the pressures of the election, President Obama could very conceivably cave when a decision is made in 2013 - if he is re-elected. This public comment period is our opportunity to go on the record, before the election, with our fierce opposition. And to stop the administration from making another terrible decision. 

Please join me in urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/extreme_xl/?r_by=42748-5154581-kYRiPex&rc=confemail






Stop Keystone XL. Again!

Rejected by President Obama in Janaury, Keystone XL is being considered again by the State Department, which is now accepting public comments. Submit a comment telling the Obama Administration to reject this disastrous pipeline.








Take action now!
CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
Dear Friend,
In the same week that record June heat blanketed the country, an massive summer storm wreaked havoc from Indiana to Washington, and the biggest fire in Colorado's history continued to burn out of control — President Obama doubled down in his support for the energy that is causing this deepening climate change spiral.
Last week, the Obama Administration approved the first portion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,1 gave away 720 million tons of publicly owned coal to Peabody Energy for virtually nothing,2 and promised to lease more Arctic offshore areas for oil drilling.3
Now, the Canada-to-Oklahoma portion of the Keystone XL pipeline — which would turn up the spigot on deadly, "game over for the climate" tar sands production — is back before the State Department after being rejected by President Obama earlier this year when Republicans tried to force his decision.
Without the pressures of the election, President Obama could very conceivably cave if he is the one making the decision in 2013. This public comment period is our opportunity to go on the record, before the election, with our fierce opposition. And to stop the administration from making another terrible decision for our present and future climate.
Today's weather is a scary prelude of things to come. And it's clear that our leaders can't take the heat.
Our leaders are simply not confronting the abundantly obvious, terrifying realities of escalating climate change. The present Congress is simply hopeless. And the Obama Administration consistently undermines any progress it might have made. We can't depend on our leaders. But we can take action.
We must make sure the State Department considers the full climate impacts of Keystone XL when determining if it's in our national interest.
Stopping Keystone XL won't reverse the spiral of our heating climate. But as one of the single largest projects to turn up the spigot on the dirtiest form of energy in the world, it will stop us from making the problem much worse for our future. And so we must stop it.
Tell the Obama Administration: Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. Click below to submit a comment to the State Department: 
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6905050&p=extreme_xl&id=42748-5154581-kYRiPex&t=7
Thanks for taking action — somebody has to.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets






Oil sands, tar sands or, more technically, bituminous sands, are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. The oil sands are loose sand or partially consolidated sandstone containing naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, and water, saturated with a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen (or colloquially tar due to its similar appearance, odour and colour). Natural bitumen deposits are reported in many countries, but in particular are found in extremely large quantities in Canada.[1][2] Other large reserves are located in Kazakhstan and Russia. Total natural bitumen reserves are estimated at 249.67 billion barrels (39.694×109 m3) globally, of which 176.8 billion barrels (28.11×109 m3), or 70.8%, are in Canada.[1]

Oil sands reserves have only recently been considered to be part of the world's oil reserves, as higher oil prices and new technology enable them to be profitably extracted and upgraded to usable products. They are often referred to as unconventional oil or crude bitumen, in order to distinguish the bitumen extracted from oil sands from the free-flowing hydrocarbon mixtures known as crude oil traditionally produced from oil wells.

The crude bitumen contained in the Canadian oil sands is described by Canadian authorities as "petroleum that exists in the semi-solid or solid phase in natural deposits. Bitumen is a thick, sticky form of crude oil, so heavy and viscous (thick) that it will not flow unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons. At room temperature, it is much like cold molasses".[3] The World Energy Council (WEC) defines natural bitumen as "oil having a viscosity greater than 10,000 centipoises under reservoir conditions and an API gravity of less than 10° API".[1] The Orinoco Belt in Venezuela is sometimes described as oil sands, but these deposits are non-bituminous, falling instead into the category of heavy or extra-heavy oil due to their lower viscosity.[4]
Natural bitumen and extra-heavy oil differ in the degree by which they have been degraded from the original crude oil by bacteria and erosion. According to the WEC, extra-heavy oil has "a gravity of less than 10° API and a reservoir viscosity of no more than 10,000 centipoises".[1]

Making liquid fuels from oil sands requires energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases per barrel of final product as the "production" of conventional oil.[5] If combustion of the final products is included, the so-called "Well to Wheels" approach, oil sands extraction, upgrade and use emits 10 to 45% more greenhouse gases than conventional crude.

Bituminous sands are a major source of unconventional oil, although only Canada has a large-scale commercial oil sands industry. In 2006, bitumen production in Canada averaged 1.25 million barrels per day (200,000 m3/d) through 81 oil sands projects. 44% of Canadian oil production in 2007 was from oil sands.[21] This proportion is expected to increase in coming decades as bitumen production grows while conventional oil production declines, although due to the 2008 economic downturn work on new projects has been deferred.[2] Petroleum is not produced from oil sands on a significant level in other countries.[20]

The Alberta oil sands have been in commercial production since the original Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor Energy) mine began operation in 1967. A second mine, operated by the Syncrude consortium, began operation in 1978 and is the biggest mine of any type in the world. The third mine in the Athabasca Oil Sands, the Albian Sands consortium of Shell Canada, Chevron Corporation, and Western Oil Sands Inc. [purchased by Marathon Oil Corporation in 2007] began operation in 2003. Petro-Canada was also developing a $33 billion Fort Hills Project, in partnership with UTS Energy Corporation and Teck Cominco, which lost momentum after the 2009 merger of Petro-Canada into Suncor.[22]

In the Republic of the Congo, the Italian oil company Eni have announced in May 2008 a project to develop the small oil sands deposit in order to produce 40,000 barrels per day (6,400 m3/d) in 2014.

Conventional crude oil is normally extracted from the ground by drilling oil wells into a petroleum reservoir, allowing oil to flow into them under natural reservoir pressures, although artificial lift and techniques such as water flooding and gas injection are usually required to maintain production as reservoir pressure drops toward the end of a field's life. Because bitumen flows very slowly, if at all, toward producing wells under normal reservoir conditions, the sands must be extracted by strip mining or the oil made to flow into wells by in-situ techniques, which reduce the viscosity by injecting steam, solvents, and/or hot air into the sands. These processes can use more water and require larger amounts of energy than conventional oil extraction, although many conventional oil fields also require large amounts of water and energy to achieve good rates of production.

It is estimated that approximately 90% of the Alberta oil sands are too far below the surface to use open-pit mining. Several in-situ techniques have been developed.





Since Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor) started operation of its mine in 1967, bitumen has been extracted on a commercial scale from the Athabasca Oil Sands by surface mining. In the Athabasca sands there are very large amounts of bitumen covered by little overburden, making surface mining the most efficient method of extracting it. The overburden consists of water-laden muskeg (peat bog) over top of clay and barren sand. The oil sands themselves are typically 40 to 60 metres (130 to 200 ft) deep, sitting on top of flat limestone rock. Originally, the sands were mined with draglines and bucket-wheel excavators and moved to the processing plants by conveyor belts. In recent years companies such as Syncrude and Suncor have switched to much cheaper shovel-and-truck operations using the biggest power shovels (100 or more tons) and dump trucks (400 tons) in the world.[25] This has held production costs to around $27 per barrel of synthetic crude oil despite rising energy and labour costs.[26]

After excavation, hot water and caustic soda (NaOH) is added to the sand, and the resulting slurry is piped to the extraction plant where it is agitated and the oil skimmed from the top.[27] Provided that the water chemistry is appropriate to allow bitumen to separate from sand and clay, the combination of hot water and agitation releases bitumen from the oil sand, and allows small air bubbles to attach to the bitumen droplets. The bitumen froth floats to the top of separation vessels, and is further treated to remove residual water and fine solids.

About two tons of oil sands are required to produce one barrel (roughly 1/8 of a ton) of oil. Originally, roughly 75% of the bitumen was recovered from the sand. However, recent enhancements to this method include Tailings Oil Recovery (TOR) units which recover oil from the tailings, Diluent Recovery Units to recover naptha from the froth, Inclined Plate Settlers (IPS) and disc centrifuges. These allow the extraction plants to recover well over 90% of the bitumen in the sand. After oil extraction, the spent sand and other materials are then returned to the mine, which is eventually reclaimed.

Alberta Taciuk Process technology extracts bitumen from oil sands through a dry-retorting. During this process, oil sand is moved through a rotating drum, cracking the bitumen with heat and producing lighter hydrocarbons. Although tested, this technology is not in commercial use yet.[28]

Four oil sands mines are currently in operation and two more (Jackpine and Kearl) are in the initial stages of development. The original Suncor mine opened in 1967, while the Syncrude mine started in 1978, Shell Canada opened its Muskeg River mine (Albian Sands) in 2003 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd opened its Horizon Project in 2009. New mines under construction or undergoing approval include Shell Canada's,[29] Imperial Oil's Kearl Oil Sands Project, Synenco Energy's Northern Lights mine and Suncor's Fort Hills mine.


Mining Canada's Oil Sands.ogv
Satellite images show the growth of pit mines over Canada's oil sands between 1984 and 2011.

Oil sands extraction is generally held to be more environmentally damaging than conventional crude oil.[47] It can affect the land when the bitumen is initially mined, water by its requirement of large quantities of water during separation of the oil and sand and the air due to the release of carbon dioxide and other emissions.[48] Heavy metals such as vanadium, nickel, lead, cobalt, mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, selenium, copper, manganese, iron and zinc are naturally present in oil sands and may be concentrated by the extraction process.[49] The environmental impact caused by oil sand extraction is frequently criticized by environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Climate Reality Project, 350.org, MoveOn, League of Conservation Voters, Patagonia, Sierra Club, and Energy Action Coalition.[50][51] The European Union has indicated that it may vote to label oil sands oil as "highly polluting". Although oil sands exports to Europe are minimal, the issue has caused friction between the EU and Canada.

Between 2 to 4.5 volume units of water are used to produce each volume unit of synthetic crude oil in an ex-situ mining operation. According to Greenpeace, the Canadian oil sands operations use 349 million cubic metres per annum (12.3 × 109 cu ft/a) of water, twice the amount of water used by the city of Calgary.[62] Despite recycling, almost all of it ends up in tailings ponds. As of 2007, tailing ponds in Canada covered an area of approximately 50 square kilometres (19 sq mi). However, in SAGD operations, 90–95% of the water is recycled and only about 0.2 volume units of water is used per volume unit of bitumen produced.[63]
For the Athabasca oil sand operations water is supplied from the Athabasca River, the ninth longest river in Canada.[64] The average flow just downstream of Fort McMurray is 633 cubic metres per second (22,400 cu ft/s) with its highest daily average measuring 1,200 cubic metres per second (42,000 cu ft/s).[65][66] Oil sands industries water license allocations totals about 1.8% of the Athabasca river flow. Actual use in 2006 was about 0.4%.[67] In addition, according to the Water Management Framework for the Lower Athabasca River, during periods of low river flow water consumption from the Athabasca River is limited to 1.3% of annual average flow.[68]

In December 2010, the Oil Sands Advisory Panel, commissioned by former environment minister Jim Prentice, found that the system in place for monitoring water quality in the region, including work by the Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program, the Alberta Water Research Institute, the Cumulative Environmental Management Association and others, was piecemeal and should become more comprehensive and coordinated.[69][70] A major hindrance to the monitoring of oil sands produced waters has been the lack of identification of individual compounds present. By better understanding the nature of the highly complex mixture of compounds, including naphthenic acids, it may be possible to monitor rivers for leachate and also to remove toxic components. Such identification of individual acids has for many years proved to be impossible but a recent breakthrough in analysis has begun to reveal what is in the oil sands produced waters.[71]

In October 2009, Suncor announced it was seeking government approval for a new process to recover tailings called Tailings Reduction Operations, which accelerates the settling of fine clay, sand, water, and residual bitumen in ponds after oil sands extraction. The technology involves dredging mature tailings from a pond bottom, mixing the suspension with a polymer flocculent, and spreading the sludge-like mixture over a "beach" with a shallow grade. According to the company, the process could reduce the time for water reclamation from tailings to weeks rather than years, with the recovered water being recycled into the oil sands plant. In addition to reducing the number of tailing ponds, Suncor claims that the process could reduce the time to reclaim a tailing pond from 40 years at present to 7–10 years, with land rehabilitation continuously following 7 to 10 years behind the mining operations




Dear Friend,
It just gets worse and worse.
To make up for the fact that rapid tar sands extraction is threatening caribou herds by destroying vast swaths of forest habitat in Alberta, the Canadian government has called for killing thousands of wolves.1
If Alberta Canada's tar sands fields are fully developed, an area of boreal rainforest the size of Florida will be eviscerated, leaving in its wake giant ponds of toxic wastewater.2
It's obvious why this would pose a massive threat to all wildlife species who reside there, including birds, wolves, woodland caribou and the iconic spirit bear.
But instead of preserving the habitat caribou need for their survival, the Canadian government's answer is to blaze ahead with tar sands extraction, and kill thousands of wolves who would naturally prey on the caribou. A paper released by the National Wildlife Federation reports that The Ministry of the Environment's plan calls for aerial shooting, and poisoning with bait laced with strychnine — a particularly painful type of poison.
This plan to kill wolves is a misguided, cruel response that does nothing to alleviate the greater problem: tar sands oil extraction is a huge threat to wildlife, local communities, and all of our futures.
But despite the clear negative consequences, the Canadian government continues working to rapidly expand tar sands production and sales, including promoting the Keystone XL Pipeline to export refined tar sands bitumen all over the world.
Understandably, this has begun to earn Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and many in the country's government, a negative reputation to which they are becoming increasingly sensitive.3
The Ministry of the Environment has not yet begun this planned wolf kill. With enough public pressure, we can get them to abandon the plan, and build the case for Canada to stop their devastating race to expand tar sands development.
Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=5532375&id=35696-5154581-qjqw2%3Dx&t=10
Thank you for fighting tar sands and all their devastation.
Elijah zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets



Tell the Canadian government: 

Stop your tar sands wolf kills!

It just gets worse and worse.
To make up for the fact that rapid tar sands oil mining is threatening caribou herds by destroying vast swaths of rainforest habitat in Alberta, the Canadian government has called for strychnine poisoning and aerial shooting of thousands of wolves in areas of tar sands mining.1
Tell Prime Minister Harper: Stop Canada's planned wolf killings!
If Alberta Canada's tar sands oil fields are fully developed, an area of boreal rainforest the size of Florida will be eviscerated, leaving in its wake only giant ponds of toxic wastewater.2

It's obvious why this would pose a massive threat to all wildlife species who reside there, including birds, caribou and the iconic spirit bear.
But instead of preserving the habitat caribou need for their survival, the Canadian government's answer is to blaze ahead with tar sands oil extraction, and kill thousands of wolves who would naturally prey on the caribou. The Ministry of the Environment's plan calls for aerial shooting, and poisoning with bait laced with strychnine -- a particularly painful type of poison.
Tell Prime Minister Harper: Stop your planned wolf killings! Preserve wolf and caribou habitat, and stop the irresponsible development of tar sands oil which threatens all of us.

This plan to kill wolves is a misguided, cruel response that does nothing to alleviate the greater problem: Tar sands development is a huge threat to wildlife, local communities, and all of our futures.

But despite the clear negative consequences, the Canadian government continues working to rapidly expand tar sands production and sales, including with the Keystone XL Pipeline to export tar sands oil all over the world.
Understandably, this has begun to earn Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and many in the country's government, a negative reputation, to which they are becoming increasingly sensitive.2

The Ministry of the Environment has not yet moved forward with this planned wolf kill. And with enough public pressure, we can get them to abandon the plan, and build the case for Canada to stop their devastating race to expand tar sands oil fields.
1. "Tar Sands Development to Lead to Poisoning of Wolves," National Wildlife Federation, February 6, 2012
2. "Tar Sands," Friends of the Earth
3. "Monitoring plan would bolster oilsands image, federal documents show," Vancouver Sun, February 3, 2012


Tar sands oil is a high carbon fuel strip-mined from beneath Canada’s Boreal forest. Fuel from tar sands represents an increasingly significant portion of the fuel used in cars in the United States. To extract oil from tar sands, companies must destroy fragile forest ecosystems and then use a very energy-intensive upgrading and refining process to turn that oil into transportation fuel. Tar sands mining and production harm the boreal forest’s fragile ecosystem, waste enormous amounts of water, and disrupt the lives of indigenous people in the area.

Our primary tar sands campaign objective at present is to stop the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.


Climate Impacts

Tar sands oil extraction and production emits three times more carbon dioxide than average from production of conventional oil consumed in the United States. If we expand our use of dirty tar sands, we could jeopardize the gains we make combating climate change via fuel economy standards and the use of clean energy sources as vehicle fuels.

Ecosystem Destruction

Tar sands extraction requires total destruction of pristine areas within the Canadian Boreal forest, one of the few large, intact ecosystems on Earth. The forest is clear cut, the wetlands are drained, and living matter and soil are hauled away to expose the tar sands. Oil companies remove and dump four tons of sand and soil for every one barrel of oil they get from tar sands. Oil companies have so far failed to deliver on their promises to mitigate some of this destruction by refilling tar sands mines and planting new vegetation.

Water Waste

Extracting the fossil fuels in tar sands from the sand, silt, and clay requires enormous amounts of water. It takes about three barrels of water to extract one barrel of oil. More than 90 percent of this water, 400 million gallons per day, ends up as toxic waste dumped in massive pools that contain carcinogenic substances like cyanide.

Disruption of Native People

The tar sands are being mined in a region home to many native people. They have trouble practicing their cultural traditions because of the destruction caused by tailing ponds and strip mining operations. The people downstream from the toxic tailing ponds have high rates of rare cancers, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. Indigenous groups have organized and protested to stop the expansion of tar sands operations. This opposition is shared by the majority of Albertans, with 71 percent supporting a moratorium on new projects in a recent survey.

What We Can Do

The majority of tar sands oil is exported to the United States.  Tar sands already make up four percent of the crude oil we use and our tax dollars are already subsidizing pipelines and refineries that would allow oil companies to quadruple that amount. Also, the president must approve any new pipelines (like the Keystone XL pipeline) that the tar sands industry wants to build to the U.S. So far, the Canadian government and oil companies have not found any buyers of tar sands oil outside of the United States. As a result, stopping U.S. permits and taxpayer subsidies for new pipelines and upgraded refineries will go a long way towards ending oil companies’ exploitation of this dirty fuel and the havoc wrought on the local environment and indigenous people’s livelihoods in the process.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++===

Thanks for taking action.

Here are some ways you can spread the word to build pressure on Canadian officials to abandon this cruel plan and stop their rapid expansion of tar sands mining which threatens all of us.

If you are on Facebook, click here to post the petition to your Wall.

If you have a Twitter account, click here to automatically tweet:
Tell Canadian Prime Minister Harper and @ec_minister Peter Kent: Stop your planned tar sands #wolf kills! http://bit.ly/xRSXlC @pmharper

You can also send the following e-mail to your friends and family. Spreading the word is critical, but please only pass this message along to those who know you -- spam hurts our campaign.

Thanks for all you do.

--The CREDO Action Team

Here's a sample message to send to your friends:


Subject: Stop Canada's planned tar sands wolf killings!
Dear Friend,


If Alberta Canada's tar sands oil fields are fully developed, an area of boreal rainforest the size of Florida will be eviscerated, leaving in its wake only giant ponds of toxic wastewater.

To make up for the fact that extracting tar sands oil is threatening caribou herds by destroying vast swaths of rainforest habitat in Alberta, the Canadian government has called for strychnine poisoning and aerial shooting of thousands of wolves in areas of tar sands mining.

This plan is both cruel and deeply misguided.

I just signed a petition telling Canada's Prime Minister Harper to Stop Canada's planned tar sands wolf killings. Learn more and add your name here:

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/tar_sands_wolves/?r_by=35696-5154581-qjqw2%3Dx&rc=confemail 

Stand Your Ground

Michigan shooting: Reasonable self-defense or second-degree murder?

By Staff writer / November 15, 2013 

In a case that is drawing comparisons to George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin in a gated Florida community, a white homeowner in suburban Detroit was charged Friday with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an unarmed young black woman who came to his front door in the middle of the night two weeks ago.


The homeowner, Theodore Wafer of Dearborn Heights, Mich., was also charged with manslaughter and the possession of a firearm in the shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. Wayne County prosecutors allege Mr. Wafer shot Ms. McBride through the locked screen door of his home after 4 a.m. on Nov. 2.
If convicted Wafer, who was released on bond after his arraignment Friday afternoon, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Key to the case will be assessing how threatened Wafer felt when he came to his door, and whether those feelings were reasonable. Police say Wafer told them he thought someone was breaking into his house and that he accidentally fired his 12-gauge shotgun.

It is uncertain why McBride ended up on Wafer’s front porch; three hours earlier, she crashed her car into a parked vehicle about a mile from the house and walked off in a bloodied condition, according to police.
Prosecutors say Wafer violated Michigan law on self-defense that says the shooter “must honestly and reasonably believe that he is in imminent danger of either losing his life or suffering great bodily harm,” says Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.


Racial bias

By Staff writer / August 6, 2013

During the closing arguments of the George Zimmerman trial, defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked the courtroom to be quiet for four long minutes. When he at last broke the silence, he said those four minutes were the amount of time that Trayvon Martin had had to go home.

Mr. O’Mara left no doubts: It was Trayvon’s decision not to go home, but instead to «plan» an attack on Mr. Zimmerman, punching and beating him, that caused Zimmerman to fatally shoot him. Because he did not go home, O’Mara said, «Trayvon Martin caused his own death.»

The implication in O’Mara’s argument was that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, who was armed, and who ignored a 911 dispatcher’s instructions not to follow Trayvon, had more of a right to stand his ground than did 17-year-old Trayvon, who was black. And the verdict suggests the jurors agreed.
Data from other states with stand-your-ground laws indicate that the Zimmerman jury was not alone in being sympathetic to such a claim. Whites are significantly more successful claiming self-defense when their attacker is black than blacks are when fighting back against an attacker who is white, according to one study.

Stand-your-ground laws have begun to change the calculus of self-defense in the United States. The idea behind them is to «expand the legal justification for the use of lethal force in self-defense, thereby lowering the expected cost of using lethal force and increasing the expected cost of committing violent crime,» say researchers Cheng Cheng and Mark Hoekstra in a Texas A&M study.
Statistics included in the study bore that out, showing that justifiable homicides rose by 8 percent in stand-your-ground states, amounting to some 600 additional killings.

The laws have spread quickly. Since Florida passed the first stand-your-ground law in 2005, at least 30 other states have followed suit, either though legislative action or court decisions.


September 12, 2013

«Stand Your Ground» and other Shoot First laws lead to tragedy, as we witnessed in the case of Trayvon Martin.
Now Congress is investigating the devastating impact of these laws. On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary will be holding a hearing to consider how these laws have spread and what effect they’ve had on civil rights and public safety.1
Senator Dick Durbin, the chair of the committee, is seeking testimony about these laws for committee members to consider. This is an important opportunity to show support for repeal of these deadly laws.
Submit your testimony telling the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to stand up to the NRA and stop the spread of Stand Your Ground laws. Click here for sample text.
The NRA, backed by gun manufacturers and politicians associated with the shadowy right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), helped shepherd Shoot First laws through dozens of states.2 These laws dangerously offer a legal stamp of approval to a «shoot first, ask questions later» mentality.
Throw in the eye-popping number of concealed-carry permits (which now stands at 8 million nationally) and lax gun laws generally, and you have a dangerous recipe for unnecessarily violent, often fatal conflict.3
In Florida, for example, the rate of «justifiable» homicides has tripled since the state passed its Shoot First law, in 2005.4 Now it’s time for the public to push back against these dangerous laws.
Submit your testimony telling the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to stand up to the NRA and stop the spread of Stand Your Ground laws. Click the link below for sample text:
http://act.credoaction.com/go/1862?t=4&akid=8889.5084505.5Pnv5G
Thank you for standing up to the NRA.
Jordan Krueger, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Take action now ►
1. «‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force.» Senate Judiciary Committee.
2. Adam Weinstein, «How the NRA and Its Allies Helped Spread a Radical Gun Law Nationwide.» Mother Jones, June 7, 2012.
3. «Shoot First Laws Policy Summary.» Law center to Prevent Gun violence, July 18, 2013.
4. Alex Seitz-Wald, «Stand Your Ground Laws Coincide With Jump In ‘Justifiable Homicides’.» ThinkProgress, April 9, 2012.


Last year, our son Trayvon Martin was stalked, chased down and killed by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman received no punishment whatsoever. That’s in large part because Florida is one of at least 21 states with some form of ‘Stand Your Ground’ law which enables people like George Zimmerman to claim self-defense.
‘Stand Your Ground’ was never meant to give aggressors the opportunity to get away with murder, but that is what happened when our son Trayvon was killed. After Trayvon’s death, law enforcement used the law as an excuse to refuse to arrest George Zimmerman. Even worse, the jury in the case was instructed to think of what Zimmerman did as self-defense, even though Zimmerman ignored instructions from the police and instigated conflict with our son, who was just trying to get home to his father.
We are shocked and heartbroken by the jury’s decision to allow our son’s killer to go free. Despite our despair, we must honor Trayvon’s legacy by doing all that we can to protect other young people from being targeted, pursued, and senselessly murdered.
We started a petition on Change.org calling on 21 governors whose states have some form of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to review those laws and amend them so that people who instigate conflicts — people like George Zimmerman — won’t be able to use these laws to get away with murder.
We are not the only ones calling for ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to be reviewed. President Obama spoke out on the need for review, and prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain have joined him. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s not ‘black’ or ‘white’ issue, it’s a wrong and right issue.
This is a matter of making sure that no other family will ever have to go through what we have been through. No parents should ever have to know what it feels like to watch your child’s killer walk free.
Our hearts broke on the night of February 26, 2012 when George Zimmerman killed our son — and we were stunned and devastated when the police refused to arrest Zimmerman. We petitioned for Zimmerman’s arrest on Change.org, and after more than 2 million people joined our call, Zimmerman was charged with our son’s murder. We felt so much closer to justice for Trayvon, and so grateful for the support of those who signed our petition.
But on July 13, 2013, our hearts broke again when the jury set Zimmerman free. Our hearts broke because it is so hard to accept that we can’t protect Trayvon anymore. But we can fight to make sure that this never happens again. 
Please sign our petition calling for a thorough review of all ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to prevent killers like George Zimmerman from going free.
We want to say thank you to all of you who have stood up for our son. Because of all your efforts, Trayvon’s life is celebrated all over the world. Please continue to stand with us as we fight to ensure that his legacy is to leave behind a safer and more peaceful world for all our sons and daughters.
Thank you,
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton


The Joe Horn shooting controversy refers to the events of November 14, 2007, in Pasadena, Texas, United States, when local resident Joe Horn shot and killed two men burglarizing his neighbor’s home. Publicized recordings of Horn’s exchange with emergency dispatch indicate that he was asked repeatedly not to interfere with the burglary because the police would soon be on hand.[1] The shootings have resulted in debate regarding self-defense, Castle Doctrine laws, and Texas laws relating to use of deadly force to prevent or stop property crimes. The illegal alien status of the burglars has been highlighted because of the U.S. border controversy.[2] On June 30, 2008, Joe Horn was cleared by a grand jury in the Pasadena shootings.

Joe Horn, 61, spotted two burglars breaking into his next-door neighbor’s home in Pasadena, Texas. He called 9-1-1 to summon police to the scene. While on the phone with emergency dispatch, Horn stated that he had the right to use deadly force to defend property, referring to a law (Texas Penal Code §§ 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43) which justified the use of deadly force to protect Horn’s home. Horn exited his home with his shotgun, while the 9-1-1 operator tried to dissuade him from that action. On the 9-1-1 tape, he is heard confronting the suspects, saying, «Move, and you’re dead»,[3] immediately followed by the sound of a shotgun blast, followed by two more.[4] Following the shootings Mr. Horn told the 9-1-1 operator, «They came in the front yard with me, man, I had no choice!» [5]

Police initially identified the dead men in Horn’s yard as 38-year-old Miguel Antonio DeJesus and Diego Ortiz, 30, both currently resident in Houston and of Afro Latino descent. However, DeJesus was actually an alias of an individual named Hernando Riascos Torres.[3] Torres and Ortiz were carrying a sack with cash and jewelry taken from the home next door to Joe Horn. Both were criminals from Colombia who had been convicted on drug trafficking charges.[1] Police found a Puerto Rican identification card on Ortiz. Torres had three identification cards from Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, and had been previously sent to prison for dealing cocaine. Torres had been deported in 1999.[6]

A plain clothes police detective responding to the 9-1-1 call arrived at the scene before the shooting, and witnessed the escalation and shootings while remaining in his car.[3] His report on the incident indicated that the men who were killed «received gunfire from the rear».[1] Police Capt. A.H. Corbett stated the two men ignored Mr. Horn’s order to freeze and that one of the suspects ran towards Joe Horn before angling away from Horn toward the street when the suspect was shot in the back. The medical examiner’s report could not specify whether they were shot in the back due to the ballistics of the shotgun wound.[7] Pasadena police confirmed that the two men were shot after they ventured into Horn’s front yard. The detective did not arrest Horn.

The incident touched off protests, led by Quanell X, leader of the Houston chapter of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) that were met by counter-protests from Horn’s neighbors and other supporters, with the NBPP protesters rapidly leaving.


Former President Bill Clinton said the “tragedy” of the killing of Trayvon Martin should cause a re-thinking of the “Stand Your Ground” law.

“There are different stories being told,” the former president said, “so the first thing I have to say is that it’s important to find out the facts.”

Clinton continued “but to me, beyond the incredible personal tragedy- this young man was not armed, he clearly presented no threat to anybody’s life — is, the most important thing I’ve read was from the former police chief in Florida in the community, he was one of many law enforcement officers testifying against that Stand Your Ground law. And he said, you know this is going to create all kinds of problems. And it’s going to be almost impossible to prove what was in someone’s mind when a certain thing happened.”

Clinton said “people have always had a right to have a handgun in their home- to protect their homes- then we’ve seen this breathtaking expansion of the concealed weapons laws in America moving from the late 90′s into this decade, far — if you will — to the extreme that America had ever been on these.

“And now the Stand Your Ground law,” he continued. “I think the law is going to create real problems because anyone can — anyone who doesn’t have a criminal background, anyone not prohibited by the Brady Bill and caught by the checks — can basically be a part of a neighborhood watch where they have a concealed weapon whether they had proper law enforcement training or not. And whether they’ve had any experience in conflict situations with people or not.

“So I hope this will lead to a reappraisal of the Stand Your Ground laws,” President Clinton said, “and I hope that the truth will come out and that the tragedy of this young man’s loss will not be in vain- it’s just terrible. Whatever the facts were — all these people trying to jump on him and talking about some mistake he made in his life- that’s irrelevant because unarmed person who was killed on the street by a gun. And so I hope justice will be done in this case but I hope that the larger justice that would somehow redeem a portion of this terrible loss.”

He said: “the American people should re-examine their position on that and ask: Is this really worth it? Are we really all that much safer taking the chance that this kind of thing could happen over and over and over again?”

The president made his comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News focused on his work with Clinton Global Initiative University.

See more from the interview here.
-Jake Tapper


Trayvon Martin’s alleged attacker not covered under law I wrote

Published March 21, 2012
| FoxNews.com

The tragic story of Trayvon Martin’s death in Sanford, Florida has ignited a great deal of passion and concern regarding the circumstances of his death and the defense applied by the attacker, George Zimmerman. The fact that Trayvon Martin unnecessarily lost his life is troubling and an investigation into the surrounding circumstances is certainly warranted.
First of all I’d like to extend my condolences to the Martin family. 
I have been in the funeral services profession for over 40 years; I’ve walked with families through many tragic circumstances and I know how difficult it is.
I would like to emphasize that the approach that is currently developing in this situation, to convene a grand jury, is the proper one in which to discern the facts of this case. I certainly agree with everyone that justice must be served.
During the debate concerning this incident, some have brought into question the «Stand Your Ground» law, more commonly referred to as the «castle doctrine,» which has been used by the attacker to pardon his actions. 
As the prime sponsor of this legislation in the Florida House, I’d like to clarify that this law does not seem to be applicable to the tragedy that happened in Sanford. There is nothing in the castle doctrine as found in Florida statutes that authenticates or provides for the opportunity to pursue and confront individuals, it simply protects those who would be potential victims by allowing for force to be used in self-defense.
When the «stand your ground» or «castle doctrine» legislation passed in 2005, the catalytic event that brought the issue to the attention of the Florida Legislature was the looting of property in the aftermath of hurricanes. 
Specifically, there was a situation in the panhandle of Florida where a citizen moved an RV onto his property, to protect the remains of his home from being looted. One evening, a perpetrator broke into the RV and attacked the property owner. The property owner, acting in self-defense in his home, shot and killed the perpetrator. 
It was months before the property owner knew if he would be charged with a crime because of the lack of concrete definition in the statutes regarding self-defense and a perceived duty to retreat by the potential victim.
Until 2005, the castle doctrine had never been canonized into Florida law, but had been used with differing definition and application to the concept of self-defense. The focus of the law was to provide clear definition to acts of self-defense. 
The facets of the castle doctrine deal with using force to meet force as an act of self-defense when in your home, in your car, on your property, or anywhere you are legally able to be. The law also protects property owners and their homeowner’s insurance from being wrongfully sued by perpetrators who claim to be harmed while committing a crime.
The castle doctrine as passed, clarified that individuals are lawfully able to defend themselves when attacked and there is no duty to retreat when an individual is attacked on their property. Since the passage of this law in Florida, 26 other states have implemented similar statues. 
Additionally, the American Legislative Exchange Council used the Florida version of the castle doctrine as model legislation for other states. 
Quite simply the castle doctrine is a good law which now protects individuals in a majority of states. However, the castle doctrine does not provide protection to individuals who seek to pursue and confront others, as is allegedly the case in the Trayvon Martin tragedy in Sanford.
The information that has been publicly reported concerning Trayvon Martin’s death indicates that the castle doctrine may not be applicable to justify the actions of the attacker, Mr. Zimmerman. 
Media stories sharing the transcripts of the 911 tapes from the evening of the incident clearly show that Mr. Zimmerman was instructed by authorities to remain in his vehicle and to cease pursuit of Mr. Martin. George Zimmerman seems to have ignored the direction of the authorities and continued his pursuit of Mr. Martin. 
Mr. Zimmerman’s unnecessary pursuit and confrontation of Trayvon Martin elevated the prospect of a violent episode and does not seem to be an act of self-defense as defined by the castle doctrine. There is no protection in the «Stand Your Ground» law for anyone who pursues and confronts people.
I have great sympathy for the family of Trayvon Martin and am grateful that things are finally moving in the right direction to further explore what actually happened on that night in Sanford, Florida. Awaiting the convening of the grand jury, I trust that justice will be served and healing will begin for all of those affected.
Republican Dennis Baxley represents the 24th district in Florida’s House of Representatives. He was the prime sponsor of the «Stand Your Ground» law in 2005. He is the principal owner and vice president of Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services.

Castle Doctrine (also known as a Castle Law or a Defense of Habitation Law) is an American legal doctrine that designates a person’s abode (or, in some states, any place legally occupied, such as a car or place of work) as a place in which the person has certain protections and immunities and may in certain circumstances attack an intruder without becoming liable to prosecution.[1] Typically deadly force is considered justified, and a defense of justifiable homicide applicable, in cases «when the actor reasonably fears imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to himself or another».[1] The doctrine is not a defined law that can be invoked, but a set of principles which is incorporated in some form in the law of most states.
The term derives from the historic English common law dictum that «an Englishman’s home is his castle». This concept was established as English law by 17th century jurist Sir Edward Coke, in his The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628.[2] This was carried by colonists to the New World, who later removed «Englishman» from the phrase, thereby becoming simply the Castle Doctrine.[2] The term has been used to imply a person’s absolute right in England to exclude anyone from their home, although this has always had restrictions, and since the late twentieth century bailiffs have also had increasing powers of entry.[3]
The term «Make My Day Law» arose at the time of the 1985 Colorado statute that protects people from any criminal charge or civil suit if they use force – including deadly force – against an invader of the home.[4] The law’s nickname is a reference to the line «Go ahead, make my day» uttered by actor Clint Eastwood’s character Harry Callahan in the 1983 film Sudden Impact, inviting a suspect to make himself liable to deadly retaliation by attacking Eastwood’s character.

Intruder stopped for snack before fatal shooting


Can you imagine that he was in the couple’s place, making a meal in the kitchen, opening the fridge, and they only woke up when he came upstairs to wake up the couple? Someone needs a guard dog.

Good for the husband that he 86’d him with only 1 round to the chest.


The incident was mentioned Thursday morning in the Utah Legislature where the Utah Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that clarifies a person is justified in defending their home and family against criminal activity and may not be held civilly liable for damage or injury to perpetrators.


Wow – what an arrogant burglar. Props to the homeowner. I can remember more than one ‘drive me to an ATM’ story where the perp later killed the abducted victim.

I agree with the may not be held liable for civil damages also. Some people don’t understand that when you kill an intruder in your home you may not be criminally liable, but the person’s family/heirs often sue you, and win.


Sounds like Darwin’s natural selection was at work again. As for civil lawsuits, these are getting less common because juries aren’t buying that b.s. anymore


Don’t we criticize urban youth who shoot and kill each other over a pair of sneakers that cost a hundred bucks? But it’s OK for adults to shoot and kill each other over what? A guy wanted a sandwich and was asking for a couple hundred bucks? A human life was worth less to this homeowner than a small amount of money. And now everyone is praising him over it. Jesus would have fed a hungry man.


I specifically created an account so I could respond to your RIDICULOUS comment. Did you not read the part where there were THREE children under the age of 5 in the house? Or that the intruder BROKE INTO THEIR HOME and said he had a gun? I would have pulled the trigger too. No one is welcome to threaten my family that way. There are other ways to get a couple hundred bucks – breaking into a home with small children and stating that you have a weapon is not one of them.


This is why I own a gun. And don’t reply with all your statistics about how somebody is more likely to die in my family then an intruder.


SPRINGVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Police say a man who broke into a Springville home was killed after he was shot by a resident.

The Springville Police Department told ABC 4 News that officers responded to the area of 800 South 475 East at around 3:00 a.m. on reports of a home invasion robbery.

When police arrived, officers say they found the alleged robber deceased from an apparent gunshot wound.

Police say the crime scene was being investigated but preliminary reports suggest that the home invasion victim reportedly shot the suspect who entered the residence through an unlocked back door.

The suspect’s name was not immediately released, although investigators identified him and were trying to contact his next-of-kin.

Police say that it appears the suspect had rummaged throughout the neighborhood in an effort to find unlocked homes and vehicles.

Police say that tracks left in the snow around other homes an vehicles in the neighborhood matches those found at the home where the break-in happened.

Police say the suspect broke a latch and entered the home, where he changed out of his wet clothes and into some of the resident’s clothing, and then made a ham sandwich tortilla wrap.

According to police, after the suspect helped himself to the food and clothes, he entered the master bedroom where a man and his wife were sleeping, woke them up, told the victims that he had a gun he’d recently stolen, and demanded that he be taken to an ATM.

Police say that’s when the resident went to his closet to retrieve some clothes, but instead reached for a hand gun and shot the suspect in the chest, killing him.

Springville Police say that the home invasion victims were safe and uninjured, including three children who were also sleeping in the home at the time of the break in.

Springville police responded to a call of a home invasion robbery at 2:48 a.m. in the area of 800 South and 475 East. When officers arrived they found Martinez had been fatally shot in the bedroom.

Lt. Dave Caron with the Springville Police Department said Martinez entered the home through a back sliding glass door. The door was locked with a child lock, but Martinez apparently disabled it by pulling hard on the door.

Once inside, Martinez took off clothes that had become wet while traipsing through the snow and change into some of the resident’s clothes, which were folded on the couch in the living room. Caron said Martinez then went to the kitchen, made a tortilla and ham wrap, ate some of it and returned the uneaten portion to the refrigerator before going upstairs.

Martinez then entered the master bedroom, told the homeowner and his wife that he had a gun, and ordered them to get keys to drive him to an ATM. Under the guise of getting ready to leave, the homeowner walked into a closet, got his .9-mm gun and shot Martinez , striking him once in the chest, Caron said.

Investigators say it appears that prior to entering this home, Martinez had walked through the neighborhood, checking at least 20 homes and several cars for unlocked doors. There are no reports of anything missing or any other homes or cars being broken into. Police are currently trying to document the route before the tracks melt.

Caron said Martinez matches the general description of a man wanted in connection with a similar incident last week.

«In that case he went into the home, stole a gun and apparently a cellphone,» Caron said. «He told these homeowners tonight that he had stolen a gun before, so we’re pretty sure it’s the same guy.»

Caron said neither the gun nor cellphone from the previous robbery was recovered at the scene of Thursday’s shooting. In fact, while the suspect claimed to have had a gun Thursday morning, none was found.

Investigators are treating the incident as a case of self-defense, but Caron said police are conducting a full investigation that will be treated just like any other. Still, the incident appears straightforward.

«I don’t see any reason to think it’s anything but (self-defense),» Caron said. «They don’t know this guy. This guy came into the house, threatened them, claimed he had a gun and, to protect his family, (the homeowner) took that action.»

There were three children — 3-year-old twin boys and an infant girl — in the home at the time. None of the family was injured, and police said the family is handling the situation well.

«It’s a pretty traumatic experience to have someone break into your home and then threaten you,» Caron said. «Then, to actually take the man’s life in your bedroom is pretty upsetting. All things considered, they were hanging in there pretty well.»

Neighbor Bridger Frampton said he spoke to the homeowner and said he sounded rattled and was still in shock. He was one of a number of neighbors who said they would have done the same thing if they had found themselves in a similar situation.

The incident was mentioned Thursday morning in the Utah Legislature where the Utah Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that clarifies a person is justified in defending their home and family against criminal activity and may not be held civilly liable for damage or injury to perpetrators.


THE GAZETTE

An El Paso County jury on Friday awarded nearly $300,000 to the daughter of a burglar who was fatally shot in 2009 while breaking into an auto lot.

Parents of the victim, Robert Johnson Fox, embraced their attorneys after a judge announced the jury’s verdict, capping a two-week-long civil trial in which business owner Jovan Milanovic and two relatives were painted as vigilantes who plotted a deadly ambush rather than let authorities deal with a string of recent burglaries.

Phillip and Sue Fox, who filed suit for wrongful death in 2010 on behalf of Fox’s 3-year-old daughter, called the jury’s award a victory in their fight to seek accountability for the death of their son, who they say never posed a threat to the heavily armed men.

“Rob was in the wrong place doing the wrong thing, but the punishment didn’t fit the crime,” Sue Fox said afterward. “I can’t excuse his actions, but he didn’t deserve to be executed.”

The exact amount of the award was $269,500, for factors such as loss of companionship and loss of future earnings. The family will also be awarded some of the costs associated with the more than yearlong legal battle.

The jury of three men and three women deliberated for 2½ days over closely contested testimony about the predawn shooting on April 19, 2009.

Fox, 20, was shot after he and a friend scaled a fence to get inside Southwest Auto Sales at 2444 Platte Place in the city’s Knob Hill neighborhood. According to the accomplice, Brian Corbin, they had smoked methamphetamine and were looking to steal anything to buy more drugs.

Corbin testified he saw two armed men charge out of a building and run in their direction, one of them shouting “we’re gonna get you” in an obscenity-laced threat. Corbin, who escaped by climbing over a car and jumping a fence, said he felt a bullet pass by him as someone fired four gunshots.

Fox was standing inside a small shed when a .45-caliber rifle bullet passed through the shed’s door and pierced his heart.

Police said in a 145-page investigative report that the intruder had knives in his pockets and one strapped to his ankle, but never posed a threat to Milanovic or the other men, his father Ljuban Milanovic and brother-in-law Srdjan Novak.

The men are refugees who came to the United States from the former Yugoslavia in 1998.

Jurors found that Fox’s death was the result of “willful and deliberate” conduct by Jovan Milanovic, who was accused of firing the rifle, and Novak, who supplied the semiautomatic Heckler & Koch that Milanovic used in the killing.

Only Ljuban Milanovic emerged without a judgment against him.

The jurors declined to comment after the trial.

«It’s been a long two weeks,» one said before getting on an elevator.

The three men were accused of keeping an armed vigil over the auto lot and firing on the first burglars they saw. The men were angry over a series of thefts that began when someone broke in a week earlier and stole keys to customers’ automobiles as well as keys to buildings on the property.

Car stereos were taken in the days that followed, according to testimony.

Under Colorado’s self-defense laws, the use of deadly force is justified only under the “reasonable belief” that it’s necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or death. The jury found that none of the men had a legitimate claim of self-defense.

Property rights are not a lawful defense for using deadly force in Colorado, and the state’s so-called Make My Day law, which sets lower standard for using force, applies to households, not businesses.

For the plaintiff’s attorneys, Terry Rector and Jennifer Stock, Friday’s verdict ended an emotionally draining fight for the girl, Sidney Richardson, who has been cared for by the elder Foxes for the past year.

Rector, of Colorado Springs, had represented Fox on traffic matters, and said his death came as a blow.

«I can see him sitting in my office today,» an emotional Rector said as participants filed out of the courthouse.

«This is a victory for Sidney Richardson. It’s the only measure of justice we have – we cannot bring her father back.»

Said Stock: «This jury didn’t let sympathy and bias influence them. That’s why we got the correct verdict that follows the law.»

Milanovic and his father told police a week before the shooting they would shoot any intruders who returned. Police say the men concealed the rifle in the trunk of a car so well that a police detective initially missed it during a search.

The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges in the shooting, and instead sent the case to a grand jury, which decided against returning an indictment, effectively clearing the trio of criminal wrongdoing.

The civil award has no criminal implications for the Milanovics or Novak.

Defense attorneys John P. Craver and Chelsey Burns declined to comment.

Read more:Burglar’s family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

Read more: http://www.gazette.com/articles/jury-123946-burglar-lot.html#ixzz1ojiIqC5U

http://www.koaa.com/news/suspected-burglar-shot-by-homeowner/

Michigan shooting: Reasonable self-defense or second-degree murder?


By Staff writer / November 15, 2013 

In a case that is drawing comparisons to George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin in a gated Florida community, a white homeowner in suburban Detroit was charged Friday with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an unarmed young black woman who came to his front door in the middle of the night two weeks ago.


The homeowner, Theodore Wafer of Dearborn Heights, Mich., was also charged with manslaughter and the possession of a firearm in the shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. Wayne County prosecutors allege Mr. Wafer shot Ms. McBride through the locked screen door of his home after 4 a.m. on Nov. 2.
If convicted Wafer, who was released on bond after his arraignment Friday afternoon, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Key to the case will be assessing how threatened Wafer felt when he came to his door, and whether those feelings were reasonable. Police say Wafer told them he thought someone was breaking into his house and that he accidentally fired his 12-gauge shotgun.

It is uncertain why McBride ended up on Wafer’s front porch; three hours earlier, she crashed her car into a parked vehicle about a mile from the house and walked off in a bloodied condition, according to police.
Prosecutors say Wafer violated Michigan law on self-defense that says the shooter “must honestly and reasonably believe that he is in imminent danger of either losing his life or suffering great bodily harm,” says Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.





Racial bias


By Staff writer / August 6, 2013

During the closing arguments of the George Zimmerman trial, defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked the courtroom to be quiet for four long minutes. When he at last broke the silence, he said those four minutes were the amount of time that Trayvon Martin had had to go home.

Mr. O'Mara left no doubts: It was Trayvon's decision not to go home, but instead to "plan" an attack on Mr. Zimmerman, punching and beating him, that caused Zimmerman to fatally shoot him. Because he did not go home, O'Mara said, "Trayvon Martin caused his own death."

The implication in O'Mara's argument was that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, who was armed, and who ignored a 911 dispatcher's instructions not to follow Trayvon, had more of a right to stand his ground than did 17-year-old Trayvon, who was black. And the verdict suggests the jurors agreed.
Data from other states with stand-your-ground laws indicate that the Zimmerman jury was not alone in being sympathetic to such a claim. Whites are significantly more successful claiming self-defense when their attacker is black than blacks are when fighting back against an attacker who is white, according to one study.

Stand-your-ground laws have begun to change the calculus of self-defense in the United States. The idea behind them is to "expand the legal justification for the use of lethal force in self-defense, thereby lowering the expected cost of using lethal force and increasing the expected cost of committing violent crime," say researchers Cheng Cheng and Mark Hoekstra in a Texas A&M study.
Statistics included in the study bore that out, showing that justifiable homicides rose by 8 percent in stand-your-ground states, amounting to some 600 additional killings.

The laws have spread quickly. Since Florida passed the first stand-your-ground law in 2005, at least 30 other states have followed suit, either though legislative action or court decisions.




September 12, 2013

"Stand Your Ground" and other Shoot First laws lead to tragedy, as we witnessed in the case of Trayvon Martin.
Now Congress is investigating the devastating impact of these laws. On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary will be holding a hearing to consider how these laws have spread and what effect they've had on civil rights and public safety.1
Senator Dick Durbin, the chair of the committee, is seeking testimony about these laws for committee members to consider. This is an important opportunity to show support for repeal of these deadly laws.
Submit your testimony telling the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to stand up to the NRA and stop the spread of Stand Your Ground laws. Click here for sample text.
The NRA, backed by gun manufacturers and politicians associated with the shadowy right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), helped shepherd Shoot First laws through dozens of states.2 These laws dangerously offer a legal stamp of approval to a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality.
Throw in the eye-popping number of concealed-carry permits (which now stands at 8 million nationally) and lax gun laws generally, and you have a dangerous recipe for unnecessarily violent, often fatal conflict.3
In Florida, for example, the rate of "justifiable" homicides has tripled since the state passed its Shoot First law, in 2005.4 Now it's time for the public to push back against these dangerous laws.
Submit your testimony telling the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to stand up to the NRA and stop the spread of Stand Your Ground laws. Click the link below for sample text:
http://act.credoaction.com/go/1862?t=4&akid=8889.5084505.5Pnv5G
Thank you for standing up to the NRA.
Jordan Krueger, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Take action now ?
1. "'Stand Your Ground' Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force." Senate Judiciary Committee.
2. Adam Weinstein, "How the NRA and Its Allies Helped Spread a Radical Gun Law Nationwide." Mother Jones, June 7, 2012.
3. "Shoot First Laws Policy Summary." Law center to Prevent Gun violence, July 18, 2013.
4. Alex Seitz-Wald, "Stand Your Ground Laws Coincide With Jump In ‘Justifiable Homicides’." ThinkProgress, April 9, 2012.





Last year, our son Trayvon Martin was stalked, chased down and killed by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman received no punishment whatsoever. That's in large part because Florida is one of at least 21 states with some form of 'Stand Your Ground' law which enables people like George Zimmerman to claim self-defense.
'Stand Your Ground' was never meant to give aggressors the opportunity to get away with murder, but that is what happened when our son Trayvon was killed. After Trayvon's death, law enforcement used the law as an excuse to refuse to arrest George Zimmerman. Even worse, the jury in the case was instructed to think of what Zimmerman did as self-defense, even though Zimmerman ignored instructions from the police and instigated conflict with our son, who was just trying to get home to his father.
We are shocked and heartbroken by the jury’s decision to allow our son’s killer to go free. Despite our despair, we must honor Trayvon’s legacy by doing all that we can to protect other young people from being targeted, pursued, and senselessly murdered.
We started a petition on Change.org calling on 21 governors whose states have some form of 'Stand Your Ground' laws to review those laws and amend them so that people who instigate conflicts -- people like George Zimmerman -- won't be able to use these laws to get away with murder.
We are not the only ones calling for 'Stand Your Ground' laws to be reviewed. President Obama spoke out on the need for review, and prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain have joined him. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s not ‘black’ or ‘white’ issue, it’s a wrong and right issue.
This is a matter of making sure that no other family will ever have to go through what we have been through. No parents should ever have to know what it feels like to watch your child's killer walk free.
Our hearts broke on the night of February 26, 2012 when George Zimmerman killed our son -- and we were stunned and devastated when the police refused to arrest Zimmerman. We petitioned for Zimmerman's arrest on Change.org, and after more than 2 million people joined our call, Zimmerman was charged with our son's murder. We felt so much closer to justice for Trayvon, and so grateful for the support of those who signed our petition.
But on July 13, 2013, our hearts broke again when the jury set Zimmerman free. Our hearts broke because it is so hard to accept that we can't protect Trayvon anymore. But we can fight to make sure that this never happens again. 
Please sign our petition calling for a thorough review of all 'Stand Your Ground' laws to prevent killers like George Zimmerman from going free.
We want to say thank you to all of you who have stood up for our son. Because of all your efforts, Trayvon’s life is celebrated all over the world. Please continue to stand with us as we fight to ensure that his legacy is to leave behind a safer and more peaceful world for all our sons and daughters.
Thank you,
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton





The Joe Horn shooting controversy refers to the events of November 14, 2007, in Pasadena, Texas, United States, when local resident Joe Horn shot and killed two men burglarizing his neighbor's home. Publicized recordings of Horn's exchange with emergency dispatch indicate that he was asked repeatedly not to interfere with the burglary because the police would soon be on hand.[1] The shootings have resulted in debate regarding self-defense, Castle Doctrine laws, and Texas laws relating to use of deadly force to prevent or stop property crimes. The illegal alien status of the burglars has been highlighted because of the U.S. border controversy.[2] On June 30, 2008, Joe Horn was cleared by a grand jury in the Pasadena shootings.

Joe Horn, 61, spotted two burglars breaking into his next-door neighbor's home in Pasadena, Texas. He called 9-1-1 to summon police to the scene. While on the phone with emergency dispatch, Horn stated that he had the right to use deadly force to defend property, referring to a law (Texas Penal Code §§ 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43) which justified the use of deadly force to protect Horn's home. Horn exited his home with his shotgun, while the 9-1-1 operator tried to dissuade him from that action. On the 9-1-1 tape, he is heard confronting the suspects, saying, "Move, and you're dead",[3] immediately followed by the sound of a shotgun blast, followed by two more.[4] Following the shootings Mr. Horn told the 9-1-1 operator, "They came in the front yard with me, man, I had no choice!" [5]

Police initially identified the dead men in Horn's yard as 38-year-old Miguel Antonio DeJesus and Diego Ortiz, 30, both currently resident in Houston and of Afro Latino descent. However, DeJesus was actually an alias of an individual named Hernando Riascos Torres.[3] Torres and Ortiz were carrying a sack with cash and jewelry taken from the home next door to Joe Horn. Both were criminals from Colombia who had been convicted on drug trafficking charges.[1] Police found a Puerto Rican identification card on Ortiz. Torres had three identification cards from Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, and had been previously sent to prison for dealing cocaine. Torres had been deported in 1999.[6]

A plain clothes police detective responding to the 9-1-1 call arrived at the scene before the shooting, and witnessed the escalation and shootings while remaining in his car.[3] His report on the incident indicated that the men who were killed "received gunfire from the rear".[1] Police Capt. A.H. Corbett stated the two men ignored Mr. Horn's order to freeze and that one of the suspects ran towards Joe Horn before angling away from Horn toward the street when the suspect was shot in the back. The medical examiner's report could not specify whether they were shot in the back due to the ballistics of the shotgun wound.[7] Pasadena police confirmed that the two men were shot after they ventured into Horn's front yard. The detective did not arrest Horn.

The incident touched off protests, led by Quanell X, leader of the Houston chapter of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) that were met by counter-protests from Horn's neighbors and other supporters, with the NBPP protesters rapidly leaving.





Former President Bill Clinton said the “tragedy” of the killing of Trayvon Martin should cause a re-thinking of the “Stand Your Ground” law.

“There are different stories being told,” the former president said, “so the first thing I have to say is that it’s important to find out the facts.”

Clinton continued “but to me, beyond the incredible personal tragedy- this young man was not armed, he clearly presented no threat to anybody’s life — is, the most important thing I’ve read was from the former police chief in Florida in the community, he was one of many law enforcement officers testifying against that Stand Your Ground law. And he said, you know this is going to create all kinds of problems. And it’s going to be almost impossible to prove what was in someone’s mind when a certain thing happened.”

Clinton said “people have always had a right to have a handgun in their home- to protect their homes- then we’ve seen this breathtaking expansion of the concealed weapons laws in America moving from the late 90?s into this decade, far — if you will — to the extreme that America had ever been on these.

“And now the Stand Your Ground law,” he continued. “I think the law is going to create real problems because anyone can — anyone who doesn’t have a criminal background, anyone not prohibited by the Brady Bill and caught by the checks — can basically be a part of a neighborhood watch where they have a concealed weapon whether they had proper law enforcement training or not. And whether they’ve had any experience in conflict situations with people or not.

“So I hope this will lead to a reappraisal of the Stand Your Ground laws,” President Clinton said, “and I hope that the truth will come out and that the tragedy of this young man’s loss will not be in vain- it’s just terrible. Whatever the facts were — all these people trying to jump on him and talking about some mistake he made in his life- that’s irrelevant because unarmed person who was killed on the street by a gun. And so I hope justice will be done in this case but I hope that the larger justice that would somehow redeem a portion of this terrible loss.”

He said: “the American people should re-examine their position on that and ask: Is this really worth it? Are we really all that much safer taking the chance that this kind of thing could happen over and over and over again?”

The president made his comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News focused on his work with Clinton Global Initiative University.

See more from the interview here.
-Jake Tapper




Trayvon Martin's alleged attacker not covered under law I wrote

Published March 21, 2012
| FoxNews.com



The tragic story of Trayvon Martin's death in Sanford, Florida has ignited a great deal of passion and concern regarding the circumstances of his death and the defense applied by the attacker, George Zimmerman. The fact that Trayvon Martin unnecessarily lost his life is troubling and an investigation into the surrounding circumstances is certainly warranted.
First of all I'd like to extend my condolences to the Martin family. 
I have been in the funeral services profession for over 40 years; I've walked with families through many tragic circumstances and I know how difficult it is.
I would like to emphasize that the approach that is currently developing in this situation, to convene a grand jury, is the proper one in which to discern the facts of this case. I certainly agree with everyone that justice must be served.
During the debate concerning this incident, some have brought into question the "Stand Your Ground" law, more commonly referred to as the "castle doctrine," which has been used by the attacker to pardon his actions. 
As the prime sponsor of this legislation in the Florida House, I'd like to clarify that this law does not seem to be applicable to the tragedy that happened in Sanford. There is nothing in the castle doctrine as found in Florida statutes that authenticates or provides for the opportunity to pursue and confront individuals, it simply protects those who would be potential victims by allowing for force to be used in self-defense.
When the "stand your ground" or "castle doctrine" legislation passed in 2005, the catalytic event that brought the issue to the attention of the Florida Legislature was the looting of property in the aftermath of hurricanes. 
Specifically, there was a situation in the panhandle of Florida where a citizen moved an RV onto his property, to protect the remains of his home from being looted. One evening, a perpetrator broke into the RV and attacked the property owner. The property owner, acting in self-defense in his home, shot and killed the perpetrator. 
It was months before the property owner knew if he would be charged with a crime because of the lack of concrete definition in the statutes regarding self-defense and a perceived duty to retreat by the potential victim.
Until 2005, the castle doctrine had never been canonized into Florida law, but had been used with differing definition and application to the concept of self-defense. The focus of the law was to provide clear definition to acts of self-defense. 
The facets of the castle doctrine deal with using force to meet force as an act of self-defense when in your home, in your car, on your property, or anywhere you are legally able to be. The law also protects property owners and their homeowner's insurance from being wrongfully sued by perpetrators who claim to be harmed while committing a crime.
The castle doctrine as passed, clarified that individuals are lawfully able to defend themselves when attacked and there is no duty to retreat when an individual is attacked on their property. Since the passage of this law in Florida, 26 other states have implemented similar statues. 
Additionally, the American Legislative Exchange Council used the Florida version of the castle doctrine as model legislation for other states. 
Quite simply the castle doctrine is a good law which now protects individuals in a majority of states. However, the castle doctrine does not provide protection to individuals who seek to pursue and confront others, as is allegedly the case in the Trayvon Martin tragedy in Sanford.
The information that has been publicly reported concerning Trayvon Martin's death indicates that the castle doctrine may not be applicable to justify the actions of the attacker, Mr. Zimmerman. 
Media stories sharing the transcripts of the 911 tapes from the evening of the incident clearly show that Mr. Zimmerman was instructed by authorities to remain in his vehicle and to cease pursuit of Mr. Martin. George Zimmerman seems to have ignored the direction of the authorities and continued his pursuit of Mr. Martin. 
Mr. Zimmerman's unnecessary pursuit and confrontation of Trayvon Martin elevated the prospect of a violent episode and does not seem to be an act of self-defense as defined by the castle doctrine. There is no protection in the "Stand Your Ground" law for anyone who pursues and confronts people.
I have great sympathy for the family of Trayvon Martin and am grateful that things are finally moving in the right direction to further explore what actually happened on that night in Sanford, Florida. Awaiting the convening of the grand jury, I trust that justice will be served and healing will begin for all of those affected.
Republican Dennis Baxley represents the 24th district in Florida's House of Representatives. He was the prime sponsor of the "Stand Your Ground" law in 2005. He is the principal owner and vice president of Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services.




Castle Doctrine (also known as a Castle Law or a Defense of Habitation Law) is an American legal doctrine that designates a person's abode (or, in some states, any place legally occupied, such as a car or place of work) as a place in which the person has certain protections and immunities and may in certain circumstances attack an intruder without becoming liable to prosecution.[1] Typically deadly force is considered justified, and a defense of justifiable homicide applicable, in cases "when the actor reasonably fears imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to himself or another".[1] The doctrine is not a defined law that can be invoked, but a set of principles which is incorporated in some form in the law of most states.

The term derives from the historic English common law dictum that "an Englishman's home is his castle". This concept was established as English law by 17th century jurist Sir Edward Coke, in his The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628.[2] This was carried by colonists to the New World, who later removed "Englishman" from the phrase, thereby becoming simply the Castle Doctrine.[2] The term has been used to imply a person's absolute right in England to exclude anyone from their home, although this has always had restrictions, and since the late twentieth century bailiffs have also had increasing powers of entry.[3]

The term "Make My Day Law" arose at the time of the 1985 Colorado statute that protects people from any criminal charge or civil suit if they use force – including deadly force – against an invader of the home.[4] The law's nickname is a reference to the line "Go ahead, make my day" uttered by actor Clint Eastwood's character Harry Callahan in the 1983 film Sudden Impact, inviting a suspect to make himself liable to deadly retaliation by attacking Eastwood's character.




Intruder stopped for snack before fatal shooting



Can you imagine that he was in the couple's place, making a meal in the kitchen, opening the fridge, and they only woke up when he came upstairs to wake up the couple? Someone needs a guard dog.

Good for the husband that he 86'd him with only 1 round to the chest.


The incident was mentioned Thursday morning in the Utah Legislature where the Utah Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that clarifies a person is justified in defending their home and family against criminal activity and may not be held civilly liable for damage or injury to perpetrators.



Wow - what an arrogant burglar. Props to the homeowner. I can remember more than one 'drive me to an ATM' story where the perp later killed the abducted victim.

I agree with the may not be held liable for civil damages also. Some people don't understand that when you kill an intruder in your home you may not be criminally liable, but the person's family/heirs often sue you, and win.



Sounds like Darwin's natural selection was at work again. As for civil lawsuits, these are getting less common because juries aren't buying that b.s. anymore



Don't we criticize urban youth who shoot and kill each other over a pair of sneakers that cost a hundred bucks? But it's OK for adults to shoot and kill each other over what? A guy wanted a sandwich and was asking for a couple hundred bucks? A human life was worth less to this homeowner than a small amount of money. And now everyone is praising him over it. Jesus would have fed a hungry man.


I specifically created an account so I could respond to your RIDICULOUS comment. Did you not read the part where there were THREE children under the age of 5 in the house? Or that the intruder BROKE INTO THEIR HOME and said he had a gun? I would have pulled the trigger too. No one is welcome to threaten my family that way. There are other ways to get a couple hundred bucks - breaking into a home with small children and stating that you have a weapon is not one of them.



This is why I own a gun. And don't reply with all your statistics about how somebody is more likely to die in my family then an intruder.





SPRINGVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Police say a man who broke into a Springville home was killed after he was shot by a resident.

The Springville Police Department told ABC 4 News that officers responded to the area of 800 South 475 East at around 3:00 a.m. on reports of a home invasion robbery.

When police arrived, officers say they found the alleged robber deceased from an apparent gunshot wound.

Police say the crime scene was being investigated but preliminary reports suggest that the home invasion victim reportedly shot the suspect who entered the residence through an unlocked back door.

The suspect's name was not immediately released, although investigators identified him and were trying to contact his next-of-kin.

Police say that it appears the suspect had rummaged throughout the neighborhood in an effort to find unlocked homes and vehicles.

Police say that tracks left in the snow around other homes an vehicles in the neighborhood matches those found at the home where the break-in happened.

Police say the suspect broke a latch and entered the home, where he changed out of his wet clothes and into some of the resident's clothing, and then made a ham sandwich tortilla wrap.

According to police, after the suspect helped himself to the food and clothes, he entered the master bedroom where a man and his wife were sleeping, woke them up, told the victims that he had a gun he'd recently stolen, and demanded that he be taken to an ATM.

Police say that's when the resident went to his closet to retrieve some clothes, but instead reached for a hand gun and shot the suspect in the chest, killing him.

Springville Police say that the home invasion victims were safe and uninjured, including three children who were also sleeping in the home at the time of the break in.

Springville police responded to a call of a home invasion robbery at 2:48 a.m. in the area of 800 South and 475 East. When officers arrived they found Martinez had been fatally shot in the bedroom.

Lt. Dave Caron with the Springville Police Department said Martinez entered the home through a back sliding glass door. The door was locked with a child lock, but Martinez apparently disabled it by pulling hard on the door.

Once inside, Martinez took off clothes that had become wet while traipsing through the snow and change into some of the resident's clothes, which were folded on the couch in the living room. Caron said Martinez then went to the kitchen, made a tortilla and ham wrap, ate some of it and returned the uneaten portion to the refrigerator before going upstairs.

Martinez then entered the master bedroom, told the homeowner and his wife that he had a gun, and ordered them to get keys to drive him to an ATM. Under the guise of getting ready to leave, the homeowner walked into a closet, got his .9-mm gun and shot Martinez , striking him once in the chest, Caron said.

Investigators say it appears that prior to entering this home, Martinez had walked through the neighborhood, checking at least 20 homes and several cars for unlocked doors. There are no reports of anything missing or any other homes or cars being broken into. Police are currently trying to document the route before the tracks melt.

Caron said Martinez matches the general description of a man wanted in connection with a similar incident last week.

"In that case he went into the home, stole a gun and apparently a cellphone," Caron said. "He told these homeowners tonight that he had stolen a gun before, so we're pretty sure it's the same guy."

Caron said neither the gun nor cellphone from the previous robbery was recovered at the scene of Thursday's shooting. In fact, while the suspect claimed to have had a gun Thursday morning, none was found.

Investigators are treating the incident as a case of self-defense, but Caron said police are conducting a full investigation that will be treated just like any other. Still, the incident appears straightforward.

"I don't see any reason to think it's anything but (self-defense)," Caron said. "They don't know this guy. This guy came into the house, threatened them, claimed he had a gun and, to protect his family, (the homeowner) took that action."

There were three children — 3-year-old twin boys and an infant girl — in the home at the time. None of the family was injured, and police said the family is handling the situation well.

"It's a pretty traumatic experience to have someone break into your home and then threaten you," Caron said. "Then, to actually take the man's life in your bedroom is pretty upsetting. All things considered, they were hanging in there pretty well."

Neighbor Bridger Frampton said he spoke to the homeowner and said he sounded rattled and was still in shock. He was one of a number of neighbors who said they would have done the same thing if they had found themselves in a similar situation.

The incident was mentioned Thursday morning in the Utah Legislature where the Utah Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that clarifies a person is justified in defending their home and family against criminal activity and may not be held civilly liable for damage or injury to perpetrators.



THE GAZETTE

An El Paso County jury on Friday awarded nearly $300,000 to the daughter of a burglar who was fatally shot in 2009 while breaking into an auto lot.

Parents of the victim, Robert Johnson Fox, embraced their attorneys after a judge announced the jury’s verdict, capping a two-week-long civil trial in which business owner Jovan Milanovic and two relatives were painted as vigilantes who plotted a deadly ambush rather than let authorities deal with a string of recent burglaries.

Phillip and Sue Fox, who filed suit for wrongful death in 2010 on behalf of Fox’s 3-year-old daughter, called the jury’s award a victory in their fight to seek accountability for the death of their son, who they say never posed a threat to the heavily armed men.

“Rob was in the wrong place doing the wrong thing, but the punishment didn’t fit the crime,” Sue Fox said afterward. “I can’t excuse his actions, but he didn’t deserve to be executed.”

The exact amount of the award was $269,500, for factors such as loss of companionship and loss of future earnings. The family will also be awarded some of the costs associated with the more than yearlong legal battle.

The jury of three men and three women deliberated for 2½ days over closely contested testimony about the predawn shooting on April 19, 2009.

Fox, 20, was shot after he and a friend scaled a fence to get inside Southwest Auto Sales at 2444 Platte Place in the city’s Knob Hill neighborhood. According to the accomplice, Brian Corbin, they had smoked methamphetamine and were looking to steal anything to buy more drugs.

Corbin testified he saw two armed men charge out of a building and run in their direction, one of them shouting “we’re gonna get you” in an obscenity-laced threat. Corbin, who escaped by climbing over a car and jumping a fence, said he felt a bullet pass by him as someone fired four gunshots.

Fox was standing inside a small shed when a .45-caliber rifle bullet passed through the shed’s door and pierced his heart.

Police said in a 145-page investigative report that the intruder had knives in his pockets and one strapped to his ankle, but never posed a threat to Milanovic or the other men, his father Ljuban Milanovic and brother-in-law Srdjan Novak.

The men are refugees who came to the United States from the former Yugoslavia in 1998.

Jurors found that Fox’s death was the result of “willful and deliberate” conduct by Jovan Milanovic, who was accused of firing the rifle, and Novak, who supplied the semiautomatic Heckler & Koch that Milanovic used in the killing.

Only Ljuban Milanovic emerged without a judgment against him.

The jurors declined to comment after the trial.

"It's been a long two weeks," one said before getting on an elevator.

The three men were accused of keeping an armed vigil over the auto lot and firing on the first burglars they saw. The men were angry over a series of thefts that began when someone broke in a week earlier and stole keys to customers’ automobiles as well as keys to buildings on the property.

Car stereos were taken in the days that followed, according to testimony.

Under Colorado’s self-defense laws, the use of deadly force is justified only under the “reasonable belief” that it’s necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or death. The jury found that none of the men had a legitimate claim of self-defense.

Property rights are not a lawful defense for using deadly force in Colorado, and the state’s so-called Make My Day law, which sets lower standard for using force, applies to households, not businesses.

For the plaintiff's attorneys, Terry Rector and Jennifer Stock, Friday's verdict ended an emotionally draining fight for the girl, Sidney Richardson, who has been cared for by the elder Foxes for the past year.

Rector, of Colorado Springs, had represented Fox on traffic matters, and said his death came as a blow.

"I can see him sitting in my office today," an emotional Rector said as participants filed out of the courthouse.

"This is a victory for Sidney Richardson. It's the only measure of justice we have - we cannot bring her father back."

Said Stock: "This jury didn't let sympathy and bias influence them. That's why we got the correct verdict that follows the law."

Milanovic and his father told police a week before the shooting they would shoot any intruders who returned. Police say the men concealed the rifle in the trunk of a car so well that a police detective initially missed it during a search.

The 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office declined to file charges in the shooting, and instead sent the case to a grand jury, which decided against returning an indictment, effectively clearing the trio of criminal wrongdoing.

The civil award has no criminal implications for the Milanovics or Novak.

Defense attorneys John P. Craver and Chelsey Burns declined to comment.



Read more:Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

Read more: http://www.gazette.com/articles/jury-123946-burglar-lot.html#ixzz1ojiIqC5U


http://www.koaa.com/news/suspected-burglar-shot-by-homeowner/

Public opinion matters

Even gun owners and NRA members overwhelmingly support background checks2 — although the NRA’s leadership opposes background checks and is at odds with its own members.3

Let’s make sure members of Congress listen to their constituents and not the gun lobby. Call your Senators right now and ask them to support the Fix Gun Checks Act:

http://DemandAPlan.org/100percent

Thanks for supporting common sense reform and spreading the word!

Mayors Against Illegal Guns
______________
1. «Background Checks Overwhelmingly Supported By Gun Owners In 4 States,» January 21, 2013.
2. «Does the NRA agree with Wayne LaPierre?» January 31, 2013.
3. «NRA Supported Universal Background Checks After Columbine Massacre,» January 31, 2013.


As a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, I believe it is essential to safeguard the law-abiding citizen’s constitutional right to own and use firearms designed for legitimate purposes such as hunting, target shooting, collecting, and self-protection.  Restricting this right runs counter to the intent of our Founding Fathers, who expressly guaranteed that citizens would retain the right to keep and bear arms.  

It is encouraging that the Supreme Court has upheld the will of our Founders and re-affirmed the ideals our country was established upon.  The Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller provides a greater guarantee that Americans’ Constitutional rights remain secure from federal government intrusion.  I was proud to sign an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in that case stating an individual’s right to bear arms is fundamental.  This historic ruling continues to have implications far beyond the District of Columbia.  In 2010, the Supreme Court decided in McDonald v. City of Chicago to strike down the arbitrary gun ban in Chicago—and thereby affirm that the Second Amendment safeguards against state and local encroachments on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.
As a former Texas Supreme Court Justice and Attorney General, I have firsthand knowledge of crime-fighting policies that work, and I believe that citizens’ Second Amendment rights should not be restricted because of the actions of criminals.  Rather, we must focus our attention on the source of violent crime: criminals who use firearms to commit crimes.  I believe that strictly enforcing the law—and meting out tougher sentences for career criminals and those who use firearms when committing crimes—will reduce crime more effectively than gun or equipment bans, which primarily serve to take firearms away from law-abiding citizens.
I appreciate the opportunity to represent Texans in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will continue working with my colleagues to protect our Second Amendment rights.  Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Sincerely,
JOHN CORNYN
United States Senator
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2934
Fax: (202) 228-2856
Please sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/newsletter.
PLEASE NOTE:
Due to the nature of electronic communication, if you did not receive this e-mail directly from my office, I cannot guarantee that the text has not been altered.  If you have questions about the validity of this message, or would like to respond to this message, please use the web form available at my website, http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact.


My nine-year-old daughter, Christina-Taylor Green, was murdered with a gun in Tucson, Arizona two years ago today.

Since that day, far too many families have gone through similar pain.

Families in Aurora, Colorado. Families in Newtown, Connecticut. Families of the 33 people who are murdered with guns every single day across America.

How many more families need to feel that pain before our leaders take action? What will it take for them to find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby?

Today, please watch the TV ad I made with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and join me in calling on your leaders in Congress to Demand A Plan to end gun violence.


It’s past time for our leaders to take action.

Please make a donation of $35 or more to support the fight to end gun violence.

This July, I went to see a midnight movie with a couple of friends in Aurora, Colorado. Our fun night out turned into a nightmare.

At first, I thought it was a prank — just some kids setting off fireworks. But when I realized what was happening, I immediately thought about other mass shootings: Columbine. Virginia Tech. Tucson.

Could what happened there actually be happening to us? The terrifying answer was yes, and Aurora is now part of that list.

My friends and I were lucky. We were among the 58 people who survived their injuries. But twelve others weren’t so lucky.

In the weeks that followed, we heard a lot of promises from politicians. Unfortunately, those promises didn’t go anywhere. And now, not even six months later, the list of mass shootings has grown again:Newtown.

Is there anything more horrible than the mass murder of innocent children? Do we need a clearer reason to finally take action?

The time is NOW! Join me in supporting the fight to end gun violence with a donation of $35 or more to Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Demand A Plan campaign.

My survival, and the survival of my friends, was arbitrary. It all came down to where we chose our seats, where the shooter aimed his gun, where the bullets entered our bodies.

We can’t let fate be the difference between life and death in our country.

We need a real plan to end gun violence — a plan to stop mass shootings and protect the 33 people murdered every day with guns. We need to stop dangerous people from getting their hands on deadly weapons.

Will you step up and support our fight?

http://DemandAPlan.org/now

Thank you,

Stephen Barton
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

P.S. — I grew up just ten minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary. My heart goes out to the families of Newtown, and I’m committed to making sure our leaders hear their voices and take action. Your support today can make the difference.


That line of defense from gun proponents comes up again and again in the wake of mass shootings, like last week’s at Sandy Hook elementary school that left 20 children and seven adults dead. It’s true, in a sense: when holding objects that are specifically designed to be the most effective killing machines possible, people do, in fact, kill people.
And yes, people have gone on murderous rampages for all of human history, and have used whatever tools were at their disposal – rocks, knives, swords, their own hands – to inflict violence. The problem comes in when the tools at their disposal are really good at killing others without much work on the part of the killer, which is why lots of folks would like to see the United States institute some reasonable laws regulating gun ownership.
Time and again, though, the pro-gun right’s answer is the same: people will find a way to kill, and violence is inevitable, so taking away guns won’t work. Their solution seems to be a society where every citizen has a gun in one hand and crossed fingers on the other.

That perspective represents not just an intense cultural tie to guns, but a typically conservative view of humanity: people (other than me) are fundamentally bad and our time on Earth is in preparation for the afterlife, so why worry about making it better?

As we’ve seen in the debates on issues from climate change to gender equality to foreign policy, facts, statistics and rational arguments don’t really matter if the goal of offering them up is to improve things in the here and now. It’s a deeply pessimistic view of humanity that projects a strong sense of fatalism.
The point of being «good» isn’t because goodness is valuable unto itself or because goodness is widely beneficial. The point of being good is to earn heaven points. Goodness, then, is defined according to a very particular set of religious and cultural values, and is highly «in-group» focused. Goodness means going to church, marrying early, submitting to a husband-in-charge family structure, having children out of obligationand upholding the social pillars that organize society to keep a particular group on top.
Goodness isn’t necessarily helping other people or taking steps that are proven effective at decreasing violence or working to create a more accepting and happy world for our children. Goodness is upholding the power structures that have traditionally benefited the small group of men who think they have a monopoly on defining «goodness.»
Without strong social incentives and harsh social punishments for deviation from these structures, they collapse – and they collapse because they simply don’t serve large swaths of the American population (women who want equal rights, people of color, immigrants, poor people, non-Christians, gay people). There isn’t much of a reason for why these particular structures are the best, other than that the few people who benefit from them seem to like them. But the fundamental argument in their favor seems to be that without a social organization that puts white Christian men on top, the hordes of «bad» people will simply be out there – and there is nothing we can do other than arm ourselves against them.
That’s why «guns don’t kill people, people kill people» is still considered an actual argument. It’s why the debates on gun control go in circles. One side thinks we have serious but fixable cultural problems with violence, with a masculinity that is tied to aggression and with the glorification of gun culture, and that the wide availability of all sorts of deadly weaponry in such a culture enables an unconscionable amount of lethal violence. The other side thinks people are just sinners, our time on this planet is meant to be trying and ugly, guns represent freedom and man’s dominion over the Earth, and gun deaths simply result from a lack of Christianity and the attendant breaks from a «traditional» model that necessitated the oppression of a great many Americans.
As Dennis Prager argued in the National Review, no one fears being massacred by a «decent» person. We fear being massacred by someone bad.
It is certainly true that «good» people don’t walk into a classroom and shoot a group of six year-olds. It’s also true that good people don’t murder their wives and girlfriends – yet five times more women are killed by intimate partners every year than by strangers, and 95% of the women who are killed with a firearm are murdered by a man. If there’s a gun involved, an incident of domestic violence is 12 times more likely to result in death. And while mass shootings understandably capture our national attention, the more than 30,000 American gun deaths every year (and their $37bn price tag) should spur us to action.
It’s easy to read those figures and conclude that conservatives are right: we are a world of awful, violent people who are going to keep on being awful and violent no matter what, so gun control serves no purpose and we’ll all be better off in Heaven anyway. But as is true with almost anything that makes life on Earth brutish and miserable, we have the power to change that. Gun deaths are lower in the states with the strictest gun control laws. And the majority of US gun deaths actually comprises suicides – acts committed not generally by evil, murderous people, but by individuals who are sick and hurting and need help.
Many other gun deaths occur in neighborhoods plagued by violence and poverty. What’s clear is that while some gun homicides are surely meticulously plotted by an evil-doer who would find a different weapon if no guns were available, the vast majority is lethal specifically because a gun was readily available.
The solutions, then, must be multifold: poverty alleviation; better mental health care with a focus on suicide prevention and depression treatment, not the stigmatization of the mentally ill, who are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators; and yes, gun control to make it more difficult for a firearm to be such an easily-accessed weapon.
To most people who believe in evidence-based policy and sociological realities, those solutions make sense. But to people who have no interest in actually finding solutions or making the world a better, safer, happier place, it’s like talking to a brick wall. Why improve life on earth if life on earth is temporary and all that matters is to secure a seat in the clouds?
That’s why you hear people like Mike Huckabee saying that mass shootings are somehow related to prayer in school and contraception, or Charlotte Allen arguing that the decline of traditional gender roles led to these shootings and that husky 12-year-old boys should throw their bodies at armed men.
Huckabee doesn’t actually think that saying prayers prevents gun violence or that contraception makes killers go on shooting sprees, any more than Allen believes that 12-year-old boys are made of Kevlar. They think that the world is divided into sinners and repentant sinners, and the only way to be a «decent» person is to fall in line behind their very narrow, often very harmful, beliefs.
Gun deaths, of course, are significantly more common in the most religious states of the nation. And gun deaths are very low in the relatively non-religiously-observant states of northern Europe. In the UK, the homicide by firearm rate is approximately one in a million. Ditto in France. That must be nice. More people are killed by guns in the US every day than in an entire year in Japan – by a factor of about 12.
Every nation in the world has people who are sadistic and violent or sick and violent. And yet, the kinds of regular mass rampages that have now happened several times this year alone in the United States seem to be a specifically American phenomenon.
As the Sandy Hook shootings unfolded, I watched many of the journalists I follow on Twitter post links to the articles about gun violence that they had written after the previous mass shooting, or the one before that. I watched friends on Facebook like and link to the inevitable memorial pages, this time around noting the too-short lives of 20 smiling kids who were practically infants, ensuring readers and supporters that these little angels are now safely in Heaven.
That’s an impulse I understand, but it’s not a solution.
Only in America do political writers all seem have a stable of articles about mass shootings that they can bring out and repost or revise when the next one occurs.
Only in America do we collectively shrug our shoulders when yet another young white man goes on a shooting spree.
Only in America do we remain convinced that people will kill no matter what, so we may as well give people virtually unlimited access to some of the deadliest hand-held weapons ever invented.
Only here, in America, do we think that the best we can do is a Facebook page and a plea to God.


More than 31,000 Americans have signed a petition calling for British TV host Piers Morgan to be deported.

They are angry about his advocacy of gun control, in the wake of the 14 December shootings in Connecticut.

The petition followed an interview with Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, on CNN – in which Mr Morgan called his guest «a dangerous man».

Petitions posted on the White House website only require 25,000 signatures to get a response from the government.

The campaign was started by a journalist in Texas following Mr Morgan’s CNN programme of 19 December.

The petition says the talk show host «is engaged in a hostile attack against the US Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment», which protects an individual’s right to own guns.

«We demand that Mr Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.»

Mr Morgan has responded, repeatedly, on his Twitter account.

«If I do get deported from America for wanting fewer gun murders, are there any other countries that will have me?» the 47-year-old joked after the 25,000-signature threshold was passed.

He added: «Wanting America to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines isn’t anti-constitutional – it’s called ‘common sense.'»

Later he said, in a reference to the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech: «Ironic US gun rights campaign to deport me for ‘attacking Second Amendment rights’ – is my opinion not protected under 1st Amendment rights?»

In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama has vowed to push for immediate and concrete gun safety proposals.

But the pro-gun National Rifle Association (NRA), which has more than four million members, has rejected the need for tighter gun control. According to the Small Arms Survey, there were 88.8 firearms for every 100 Americans in 2007.

‘Stupid man’
Mr Morgan’s interview, on his nightly chat show, came five days after gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Mr Pratt said tighter controls on gun sales would not put an end to similar tragedies.

«The problem occurs in those areas precisely where we have said ‘no guns’,» he said.

Mr Morgan hosts a nightly chat show on news network CNN
«Where the guns are allowed freely to be carried… we have very low murder rates.

«We only have problems in our cities and, unhappily, in our schools, where people like you have been able to get laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves.»

Mr Morgan responded: «You’re a very stupid man, aren’t you?

«You have absolutely no coherent argument. You don’t actually give a damn about the gun murder rate in America.»

He ended the combative interview by calling Mr Pratt «a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense» and declared, «you shame your country».


The tone deaf and horrifyingly self-serving speech given by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association on Friday cast a pall over our holiday season. It took the NRA a full week to prepare THIS?

1. Blamed video games for massacre of 6-year-olds and elementary school teachers. No evidence video games implicated.

2. Blamed movies for massacre of 6-year-olds and elementary school teachers. No evidence movies implicated.

3. Urged creation of 100,000-strong new Federal bureaucracy of armed school guards, which implies big tax increase. Thanks, Wayne! (And did not mention that Columbine had an armed guard or that Virginia Tech has its own police department.)

4. Condemned “gun-free schools” policy as insane.

5. Scaremongered about rise in violent crime. Murder rate in US cut in half since 1990, but did not mention that firearms murder rate remains highest among advanced countries.

6. Condemns confusion of semi-automatic guns with “machine guns.” Does not mention how many bullets a minute a semi-automatic gun with expanded clip can shoot.

7. Seems to call for armed adult volunteers to show up at our elementary schools to engage in vigilante ‘guarding’ of them. Are these likely the people we want in our schools?

8. Wants cordons around schools instead of gun control.

9. Offers to train elementary school children in use of firearms.

10. Does not mention that semi-automatic rifles were designed for military use and are not necessary for hunting, or that they are banned for civilians among all our NATO allies.


Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Today’s NRA press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis our country is facing. Their proposed solution to reduce mass shootings like the one in Newtown, CT: put armed guards in every school in America.
The NRA’s extreme leadership has completely lost touch with the American people, their members, and reality. Today, they made it even more clear with what they didn’t say:
Not a word about background checks. Not a word about assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Not a word about ending gun trafficking.
Not an ounce of common sense.
Please join me in rejecting the NRA’s vision of a world where everyone is armed and no one is safe.
You would think that following the execution of 20 first graders, the NRA would finally come around to the need for common sense gun laws. Instead, they doubled down on their extreme agenda.
What we need are the tough new laws that we know will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and protect our children.
What we don’t need is a culture of fear that increases gun sales while putting our families at even greater risk.
Tell your members of Congress that it’s time to stand up to the NRA:
Thanks you for standing against the gun lobby,
Mark Glaze
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
P.S. — A group of 53 artists joined our effort to Demand A Plan and recorded a powerful, personal message. Please take a minute to watch the video and share it with your friends and family:http://DemandAPlan.org.


(Reuters) – Gun makers are facing pressure from some major U.S. investors after the Newtown elementary school shooting, with private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP announcing it would sell the largest U.S. manufacturer of firearms and major public pension funds reviewing their gun-related investments.

Cerberus said on Tuesday it would sell Freedom Group, whose AR-15-type Bushmaster rifle was used by a 20-year-old gunman to kill 20 children and six staff in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Cerberus’ move came after some of its investors had expressed concerns, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), which said on Monday that it was reviewing its investment with the private equity firm.

«It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level,» said Cerberus, which has more than $20 billion under management.

The $150.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is reviewing its investments in firearm manufacturers, a spokesman for New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said on Tuesday.

New York City’s pension funds are also reviewing investments and may sell nearly $18 million worth of stock in four companies that manufacture guns and ammunition, a spokesman said on Tuesday. The city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been a leading advocate for gun control in the U.S.

The city’s $128 billion pension funds hold nearly $14 million worth of shares in ammunition maker Olin Corp, $1.7 million in gun maker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp, $2.4 million in gun maker Sturm Ruger & Co Inc and $17,866 worth of stock in Brazilian gun maker Forjas Taurus SA.

Shares of Smith & Wesson fell nearly 10 percent, shares of Sturm Roger fell 7.7 percent, shares of Forjas Taurus fell 3.8 percent and shares of Olin fell 2.1 percent on Tuesday.

It wasn’t just public pension funds who were questioning whether they should have investments in gun companies.

King Lip, chief investment officer for San Francisco-based wealth adviser Baker Avenue Asset Management, said has received calls from clients wanting to make sure that the firm did not own or buy shares in gun-makers or gun-related companies.

«This one has especially hit close to home for a lot of people. A lot of our clients have kids or grandkids,» said Lip, whose firm has about $800 million in client assets under management. The firm does not own any gun-related stocks.

As outrage grew over the killings in Newtown, some gun retailers pulled rifles off their shelves. Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, took down an informational website about semi-automatic Bushmaster rifles.

Dick’s Sporting Goods pulled all guns from its store closest to the site of the massacre, and suspended the sale of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles from its chains nationwide. Cabela’s however, continued to advertise the AR-15 type Bushmaster rifles on its website.

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Monday asked CalSTRS and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to account for their investments in gun manufacturers. Lockyer proposed that the state’s public pension funds, the largest in the United States, sell their interest in any company that makes guns that are illegal under California’s assault weapons ban. California’s ban includes the Bushmaster rifle.

«We are not precluding the possibility of extending a divestment move to the retail sector, but right now we are focused on the source, which is the manufacturers,» Lockyer’s spokesman Tom Dresslar said.

KNEE-JERK REACTION?

U.S. lawmakers have not approved a major new federal gun law since 1994, and a ban on certain semi-automatic rifles known as assault weapons expired in 2004.

The Newtown killings have led President Barack Obama and some congressional leaders to reconsider what has been a largely hands-off approach to gun control in recent years.

The percentage of Americans favoring tough gun regulations rose significantly after the killings at the Connecticut school, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Monday.

While the latest moves by investors could herald a new chapter in corporate America’s stance toward the issue of gun rights, it remains to be seen if they will have lasting effects.

Several investors held firm about investing in gun-related stocks, seeing the debate more as a knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy. Vanguard Group Inc, the largest shareholder in Smith & Wesson, for example, said it was not in a position to meet what it called the «social concerns» of all shareholders.

Vanguard said in a statement it was «deeply saddened by the tragedy» but that most of its shares in Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger were held in index funds.

«All these stocks are getting hit, but ironically I think what we’ll find is that traditional gun purchases will actually rise,» said Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in New York.

«People are scared, and there’s a good slice of America that very much believes they have a right to protect themselves,» said Ghriskey, whose firm has a small position in gun retailer Cabela’s. Cabela’s shares fell 5.9 percent.

A German fund manager, who focuses on «sin» stocks such as firearms, alcohol and gambling, said he was sticking with his recommendation to buy Smith & Wesson stock despite Newtown.

It’s a terrible tragedy, he said, «but everyone who changes his investment strategy now should ask himself if he really is surprised. Didn’t they read newspapers in the past?»

CERBERUS DELIBERATION

Still, investor outrage over the shooting was enough for Cerberus to decide to sell Freedom Group.

The firm’s decision came late on Monday night, after executives deliberated on the impact of the shooting, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

The private equity firm, which was founded by Stephen Feinberg and William Richter in 1992, also has to be careful not to anger investors at a time it is seeking to raise up to $3.5 billion for a new buyout fund.

Feinberg’s father, Martin Feinberg, is also a resident of Newtown, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing an interview with him. Public records show a Martin Feinberg residing in a retirement facility in Newtown.

Cerberus bought firearms maker Bushmaster in 2006 and later merged it with other gun companies to create Freedom Group, which reported net sales of $677 million for the nine months ended September, up from $565 million a year earlier.

Cerberus filed for an initial public offering of Freedom Group in October 2009 but withdrew the registration in April 2011, without offering a reason.

«It’s an unusual move by Cerberus but it was a terrible event, so they are responding to some of their investors who are teachers’ funds. I’m sure they will be selling it at a low price because now would not be a good time to sell the business,» said Steven Kaplan, a University of Chicago finance professor.

(Additional reporting by Martine Geller, Hilary Russ and Ashley Lau in New York, Lisa Baertlein and Peter Henderson in Los Angeles and Dan Burns in Newtown, Connecticut; Editing by Paritosh Bansal, Tiffany Wu and Michael Perry)


Dec 18 (Reuters) – The National Rifle Association said on Tuesday it is «prepared to offer meaningful contributions» to prevent future massacres like the Connecticut shooting on Friday, marking a sharp change in tone for the nation’s largest gun rights group.

«The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown,» the organization said in a statement sent to reporters.

The NRA plans a news conference on Friday after staying silent out of respect for families in Newtown, Connecticut, and as a matter of common decency, the statement said.


It turns out that the Newtown shooter used a semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle and he had lots of thirty-round high-capacity clips for it. Authorities have revealed that each of the 20 children and six adults he killed was shot multiple times, but given the number of clips Lanza brought with him, the number of victims could have been much, much higher. The Federal ban on weapons such as the Bushmaster, in place 1994-2004, was allowed to lapse by the George W. Bush administration and his Republican Congress, all of whom received massive campaign donations from the gun lobby. There is a Connecticut ban, but the maker of the Bushmaster used a loophole in the poorly written state law to continue to sell the gun in the state. The Bushmaster is manufactured by a subsidiary of the Wall Street hedge fund, Cerberus Capital Management, called the “Freedom Group”– which also owns Remington and DPMS Firearms. It is the largest single maker of semi-automatic rifles in the US, and they are expected to be a major growing profit center in the coming years. The Freedom Group was sued over the Washington, DC, sniper attacks, and paid $500,000 without admitting culpability.


A US private equity firm has said it is to sell its stake in the maker of the AR15-style rifle used in the Newtown school shootings.

Cerberus Capital Management’s move came after pressure from one of its own biggest investors, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (Calstrs).

Cerberus bought Bushmaster in 2006, and more gunmakers since, merging them into Freedom Group, which it will now sell.

The firm said it wanted to avoid being drawn into the gun control controversy.

The announcement by Cerberus comes four days after 20 young children and six adults were killed by 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Mr Lanza then killed himself.

He had earlier killed his mother at her home before travelling to the school.

The murders have renewed the debate over the need for gun control in the US, with President Barack Obama promising «meaningful action», and adding that «as a country, we have been through this too many times».

The National Rifle Association, the largest pro-gun rights organisation in the US, has not commented since the mass shooting.

Politicians previously against more gun control have also generally been quiet, while one, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, said the Newtown attack had made him rethink his opposition to a ban on assault weapons.

However, gun control is difficult to tighten in the US, because the second amendment of the country’s constitution guarantees the «right to keep and bear arms».

‘Senseless violence’
«We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so,» Cerberus said in a statement.

«We do not believe that Freedom Group or any single company or individual can prevent senseless violence or the illegal use or procurement of firearms and ammunition,» the firm added, noting that Freedom Group only sold weapons to federally licensed dealers and distributors, and not directly to US citizens.

Freedom Group claims to be the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial firearms, selling over two billion rounds of ammunition each year.

As well as Bushmaster, the maker of the AR15-style rifle, Freedom Group also owns Remington, the oldest US gunmaker established in 1816, and seven other gun arms manufacturers, as well as majority stakes in two clothing companies specialising in hunting and paramilitary apparel.

The group made profits before tax of $2.7m in the 12 months to September 2012, on $875m of sales.

Calstrs, which is the second largest pension fund in the US, had said on Monday that it was reviewing its own $750m (£460m) investment in Cerberus in light of the deaths of 20 school children and seven adults including teachers at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday.

Cerberus, which is one of the biggest private equity firms in the world with over $20bn of assets under management, said that the shootings represented «a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level».

Proceeds from the sale of Freedom Group would be returned to Cerberus’ investors, and not reinvested by the firm.

Even gun owners and NRA members overwhelmingly support background checks2 -- although the NRA's leadership opposes background checks and is at odds with its own members.3

Let's make sure members of Congress listen to their constituents and not the gun lobby. Call your Senators right now and ask them to support the Fix Gun Checks Act:

http://DemandAPlan.org/100percent

Thanks for supporting common sense reform and spreading the word!

Mayors Against Illegal Guns
______________
1. "Background Checks Overwhelmingly Supported By Gun Owners In 4 States," January 21, 2013.
2. "Does the NRA agree with Wayne LaPierre?" January 31, 2013.
3. "NRA Supported Universal Background Checks After Columbine Massacre," January 31, 2013.





As a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, I believe it is essential to safeguard the law-abiding citizen's constitutional right to own and use firearms designed for legitimate purposes such as hunting, target shooting, collecting, and self-protection.  Restricting this right runs counter to the intent of our Founding Fathers, who expressly guaranteed that citizens would retain the right to keep and bear arms.  

It is encouraging that the Supreme Court has upheld the will of our Founders and re-affirmed the ideals our country was established upon.  The Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller provides a greater guarantee that Americans' Constitutional rights remain secure from federal government intrusion.  I was proud to sign an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in that case stating an individual’s right to bear arms is fundamental.  This historic ruling continues to have implications far beyond the District of Columbia.  In 2010, the Supreme Court decided in McDonald v. City of Chicago to strike down the arbitrary gun ban in Chicago—and thereby affirm that the Second Amendment safeguards against state and local encroachments on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.
As a former Texas Supreme Court Justice and Attorney General, I have firsthand knowledge of crime-fighting policies that work, and I believe that citizens' Second Amendment rights should not be restricted because of the actions of criminals.  Rather, we must focus our attention on the source of violent crime: criminals who use firearms to commit crimes.  I believe that strictly enforcing the law—and meting out tougher sentences for career criminals and those who use firearms when committing crimes—will reduce crime more effectively than gun or equipment bans, which primarily serve to take firearms away from law-abiding citizens.
I appreciate the opportunity to represent Texans in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will continue working with my colleagues to protect our Second Amendment rights.  Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Sincerely,
JOHN CORNYN
United States Senator
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2934
Fax: (202) 228-2856
Please sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/newsletter.
PLEASE NOTE:
Due to the nature of electronic communication, if you did not receive this e-mail directly from my office, I cannot guarantee that the text has not been altered.  If you have questions about the validity of this message, or would like to respond to this message, please use the web form available at my website, http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact.





My nine-year-old daughter, Christina-Taylor Green, was murdered with a gun in Tucson, Arizona two years ago today.

Since that day, far too many families have gone through similar pain.

Families in Aurora, Colorado. Families in Newtown, Connecticut. Families of the 33 people who are murdered with guns every single day across America.

How many more families need to feel that pain before our leaders take action? What will it take for them to find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby?

Today, please watch the TV ad I made with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and join me in calling on your leaders in Congress to Demand A Plan to end gun violence.







It’s past time for our leaders to take action.

Please make a donation of $35 or more to support the fight to end gun violence.

???This July, I went to see a midnight movie with a couple of friends in Aurora, Colorado. Our fun night out turned into a nightmare.

At first, I thought it was a prank -- just some kids setting off fireworks. But when I realized what was happening, I immediately thought about other mass shootings: Columbine. Virginia Tech. Tucson.

Could what happened there actually be happening to us? The terrifying answer was yes, and Aurora is now part of that list.

My friends and I were lucky. We were among the 58 people who survived their injuries. But twelve others weren’t so lucky.

In the weeks that followed, we heard a lot of promises from politicians. Unfortunately, those promises didn’t go anywhere. And now, not even six months later, the list of mass shootings has grown again:Newtown.

Is there anything more horrible than the mass murder of innocent children? Do we need a clearer reason to finally take action?

The time is NOW! Join me in supporting the fight to end gun violence with a donation of $35 or more to Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Demand A Plan campaign.

My survival, and the survival of my friends, was arbitrary. It all came down to where we chose our seats, where the shooter aimed his gun, where the bullets entered our bodies.

We can’t let fate be the difference between life and death in our country.

We need a real plan to end gun violence -- a plan to stop mass shootings and protect the 33 people murdered every day with guns. We need to stop dangerous people from getting their hands on deadly weapons.

Will you step up and support our fight?

http://DemandAPlan.org/now

Thank you,

Stephen Barton
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

P.S. -- I grew up just ten minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary. My heart goes out to the families of Newtown, and I'm committed to making sure our leaders hear their voices and take action. Your support today can make the difference.






That line of defense from gun proponents comes up again and again in the wake of mass shootings, like last week's at Sandy Hook elementary school that left 20 children and seven adults dead. It's true, in a sense: when holding objects that are specifically designed to be the most effective killing machines possible, people do, in fact, kill people.
And yes, people have gone on murderous rampages for all of human history, and have used whatever tools were at their disposal – rocks, knives, swords, their own hands – to inflict violence. The problem comes in when the tools at their disposal are really good at killing others without much work on the part of the killer, which is why lots of folks would like to see the United States institute some reasonable laws regulating gun ownership.
Time and again, though, the pro-gun right's answer is the same: people will find a way to kill, and violence is inevitable, so taking away guns won't work. Their solution seems to be a society where every citizen has a gun in one hand and crossed fingers on the other.



That perspective represents not just an intense cultural tie to guns, but a typically conservative view of humanity: people (other than me) are fundamentally bad and our time on Earth is in preparation for the afterlife, so why worry about making it better?
As we've seen in the debates on issues from climate change to gender equality to foreign policy, facts, statistics and rational arguments don't really matter if the goal of offering them up is to improve things in the here and now. It's a deeply pessimistic view of humanity that projects a strong sense of fatalism.
The point of being "good" isn't because goodness is valuable unto itself or because goodness is widely beneficial. The point of being good is to earn heaven points. Goodness, then, is defined according to a very particular set of religious and cultural values, and is highly "in-group" focused. Goodness means going to church, marrying early, submitting to a husband-in-charge family structure, having children out of obligationand upholding the social pillars that organize society to keep a particular group on top.
Goodness isn't necessarily helping other people or taking steps that are proven effective at decreasing violence or working to create a more accepting and happy world for our children. Goodness is upholding the power structures that have traditionally benefited the small group of men who think they have a monopoly on defining "goodness."
Without strong social incentives and harsh social punishments for deviation from these structures, they collapse – and they collapse because they simply don't serve large swaths of the American population (women who want equal rights, people of color, immigrants, poor people, non-Christians, gay people). There isn't much of a reason for why these particular structures are the best, other than that the few people who benefit from them seem to like them. But the fundamental argument in their favor seems to be that without a social organization that puts white Christian men on top, the hordes of "bad" people will simply be out there – and there is nothing we can do other than arm ourselves against them.
That's why "guns don't kill people, people kill people" is still considered an actual argument. It's why the debates on gun control go in circles. One side thinks we have serious but fixable cultural problems with violence, with a masculinity that is tied to aggression and with the glorification of gun culture, and that the wide availability of all sorts of deadly weaponry in such a culture enables an unconscionable amount of lethal violence. The other side thinks people are just sinners, our time on this planet is meant to be trying and ugly, guns represent freedom and man's dominion over the Earth, and gun deaths simply result from a lack of Christianity and the attendant breaks from a "traditional" model that necessitated the oppression of a great many Americans.
As Dennis Prager argued in the National Review, no one fears being massacred by a "decent" person. We fear being massacred by someone bad.
It is certainly true that "good" people don't walk into a classroom and shoot a group of six year-olds. It's also true that good people don't murder their wives and girlfriends – yet five times more women are killed by intimate partners every year than by strangers, and 95% of the women who are killed with a firearm are murdered by a man. If there's a gun involved, an incident of domestic violence is 12 times more likely to result in death. And while mass shootings understandably capture our national attention, the more than 30,000 American gun deaths every year (and their $37bn price tag) should spur us to action.
It's easy to read those figures and conclude that conservatives are right: we are a world of awful, violent people who are going to keep on being awful and violent no matter what, so gun control serves no purpose and we'll all be better off in Heaven anyway. But as is true with almost anything that makes life on Earth brutish and miserable, we have the power to change that. Gun deaths are lower in the states with the strictest gun control laws. And the majority of US gun deaths actually comprises suicides – acts committed not generally by evil, murderous people, but by individuals who are sick and hurting and need help.
Many other gun deaths occur in neighborhoods plagued by violence and poverty. What's clear is that while some gun homicides are surely meticulously plotted by an evil-doer who would find a different weapon if no guns were available, the vast majority is lethal specifically because a gun was readily available.
The solutions, then, must be multifold: poverty alleviation; better mental health care with a focus on suicide prevention and depression treatment, not the stigmatization of the mentally ill, who are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators; and yes, gun control to make it more difficult for a firearm to be such an easily-accessed weapon.
To most people who believe in evidence-based policy and sociological realities, those solutions make sense. But to people who have no interest in actually finding solutions or making the world a better, safer, happier place, it's like talking to a brick wall. Why improve life on earth if life on earth is temporary and all that matters is to secure a seat in the clouds?
That's why you hear people like Mike Huckabee saying that mass shootings are somehow related to prayer in school and contraception, or Charlotte Allen arguing that the decline of traditional gender roles led to these shootings and that husky 12-year-old boys should throw their bodies at armed men.
Huckabee doesn't actually think that saying prayers prevents gun violence or that contraception makes killers go on shooting sprees, any more than Allen believes that 12-year-old boys are made of Kevlar. They think that the world is divided into sinners and repentant sinners, and the only way to be a "decent" person is to fall in line behind their very narrow, often very harmful, beliefs.
Gun deaths, of course, are significantly more common in the most religious states of the nation. And gun deaths are very low in the relatively non-religiously-observant states of northern Europe. In the UK, the homicide by firearm rate is approximately one in a million. Ditto in France. That must be nice. More people are killed by guns in the US every day than in an entire year in Japan – by a factor of about 12.
Every nation in the world has people who are sadistic and violent or sick and violent. And yet, the kinds of regular mass rampages that have now happened several times this year alone in the United States seem to be a specifically American phenomenon.
As the Sandy Hook shootings unfolded, I watched many of the journalists I follow on Twitter post links to the articles about gun violence that they had written after the previous mass shooting, or the one before that. I watched friends on Facebook like and link to the inevitable memorial pages, this time around noting the too-short lives of 20 smiling kids who were practically infants, ensuring readers and supporters that these little angels are now safely in Heaven.
That's an impulse I understand, but it's not a solution.
Only in America do political writers all seem have a stable of articles about mass shootings that they can bring out and repost or revise when the next one occurs.
Only in America do we collectively shrug our shoulders when yet another young white man goes on a shooting spree.
Only in America do we remain convinced that people will kill no matter what, so we may as well give people virtually unlimited access to some of the deadliest hand-held weapons ever invented.
Only here, in America, do we think that the best we can do is a Facebook page and a plea to God.



More than 31,000 Americans have signed a petition calling for British TV host Piers Morgan to be deported.

They are angry about his advocacy of gun control, in the wake of the 14 December shootings in Connecticut.

The petition followed an interview with Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, on CNN - in which Mr Morgan called his guest "a dangerous man".

Petitions posted on the White House website only require 25,000 signatures to get a response from the government.

The campaign was started by a journalist in Texas following Mr Morgan's CNN programme of 19 December.

The petition says the talk show host "is engaged in a hostile attack against the US Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment", which protects an individual's right to own guns.

"We demand that Mr Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens."



Mr Morgan has responded, repeatedly, on his Twitter account.

"If I do get deported from America for wanting fewer gun murders, are there any other countries that will have me?" the 47-year-old joked after the 25,000-signature threshold was passed.

He added: "Wanting America to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines isn't anti-constitutional - it's called 'common sense.'"

Later he said, in a reference to the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech: "Ironic US gun rights campaign to deport me for 'attacking Second Amendment rights' - is my opinion not protected under 1st Amendment rights?"

In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama has vowed to push for immediate and concrete gun safety proposals.

But the pro-gun National Rifle Association (NRA), which has more than four million members, has rejected the need for tighter gun control. According to the Small Arms Survey, there were 88.8 firearms for every 100 Americans in 2007.

'Stupid man'
Mr Morgan's interview, on his nightly chat show, came five days after gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Mr Pratt said tighter controls on gun sales would not put an end to similar tragedies.

"The problem occurs in those areas precisely where we have said 'no guns'," he said.


Mr Morgan hosts a nightly chat show on news network CNN
"Where the guns are allowed freely to be carried... we have very low murder rates.

"We only have problems in our cities and, unhappily, in our schools, where people like you have been able to get laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves."

Mr Morgan responded: "You're a very stupid man, aren't you?

"You have absolutely no coherent argument. You don't actually give a damn about the gun murder rate in America."

He ended the combative interview by calling Mr Pratt "a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense" and declared, "you shame your country".



The tone deaf and horrifyingly self-serving speech given by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association on Friday cast a pall over our holiday season. It took the NRA a full week to prepare THIS?

1. Blamed video games for massacre of 6-year-olds and elementary school teachers. No evidence video games implicated.

2. Blamed movies for massacre of 6-year-olds and elementary school teachers. No evidence movies implicated.

3. Urged creation of 100,000-strong new Federal bureaucracy of armed school guards, which implies big tax increase. Thanks, Wayne! (And did not mention that Columbine had an armed guard or that Virginia Tech has its own police department.)

4. Condemned “gun-free schools” policy as insane.

5. Scaremongered about rise in violent crime. Murder rate in US cut in half since 1990, but did not mention that firearms murder rate remains highest among advanced countries.

6. Condemns confusion of semi-automatic guns with “machine guns.” Does not mention how many bullets a minute a semi-automatic gun with expanded clip can shoot.

7. Seems to call for armed adult volunteers to show up at our elementary schools to engage in vigilante ‘guarding’ of them. Are these likely the people we want in our schools?

8. Wants cordons around schools instead of gun control.

9. Offers to train elementary school children in use of firearms.

10. Does not mention that semi-automatic rifles were designed for military use and are not necessary for hunting, or that they are banned for civilians among all our NATO allies.



Mayors Against Illegal Guns


Today's NRA press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis our country is facing. Their proposed solution to reduce mass shootings like the one in Newtown, CT: put armed guards in every school in America.
The NRA's extreme leadership has completely lost touch with the American people, their members, and reality. Today, they made it even more clear with what they didn't say:
Not a word about background checks. Not a word about assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Not a word about ending gun trafficking.
Not an ounce of common sense.
Please join me in rejecting the NRA’s vision of a world where everyone is armed and no one is safe.
You would think that following the execution of 20 first graders, the NRA would finally come around to the need for common sense gun laws. Instead, they doubled down on their extreme agenda.
What we need are the tough new laws that we know will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and protect our children.
What we don’t need is a culture of fear that increases gun sales while putting our families at even greater risk.
Tell your members of Congress that it's time to stand up to the NRA:
Thanks you for standing against the gun lobby,
Mark Glaze
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
P.S. -- A group of 53 artists joined our effort to Demand A Plan and recorded a powerful, personal message. Please take a minute to watch the video and share it with your friends and family:http://DemandAPlan.org.





(Reuters) - Gun makers are facing pressure from some major U.S. investors after the Newtown elementary school shooting, with private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP announcing it would sell the largest U.S. manufacturer of firearms and major public pension funds reviewing their gun-related investments.

Cerberus said on Tuesday it would sell Freedom Group, whose AR-15-type Bushmaster rifle was used by a 20-year-old gunman to kill 20 children and six staff in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Cerberus' move came after some of its investors had expressed concerns, including the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), which said on Monday that it was reviewing its investment with the private equity firm.



"It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level," said Cerberus, which has more than $20 billion under management.

The $150.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is reviewing its investments in firearm manufacturers, a spokesman for New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said on Tuesday.

New York City's pension funds are also reviewing investments and may sell nearly $18 million worth of stock in four companies that manufacture guns and ammunition, a spokesman said on Tuesday. The city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been a leading advocate for gun control in the U.S.

The city's $128 billion pension funds hold nearly $14 million worth of shares in ammunition maker Olin Corp, $1.7 million in gun maker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp, $2.4 million in gun maker Sturm Ruger & Co Inc and $17,866 worth of stock in Brazilian gun maker Forjas Taurus SA.

Shares of Smith & Wesson fell nearly 10 percent, shares of Sturm Roger fell 7.7 percent, shares of Forjas Taurus fell 3.8 percent and shares of Olin fell 2.1 percent on Tuesday.

It wasn't just public pension funds who were questioning whether they should have investments in gun companies.

King Lip, chief investment officer for San Francisco-based wealth adviser Baker Avenue Asset Management, said has received calls from clients wanting to make sure that the firm did not own or buy shares in gun-makers or gun-related companies.

"This one has especially hit close to home for a lot of people. A lot of our clients have kids or grandkids," said Lip, whose firm has about $800 million in client assets under management. The firm does not own any gun-related stocks.

As outrage grew over the killings in Newtown, some gun retailers pulled rifles off their shelves. Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, took down an informational website about semi-automatic Bushmaster rifles.

Dick's Sporting Goods pulled all guns from its store closest to the site of the massacre, and suspended the sale of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles from its chains nationwide. Cabela's however, continued to advertise the AR-15 type Bushmaster rifles on its website.

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Monday asked CalSTRS and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) to account for their investments in gun manufacturers. Lockyer proposed that the state's public pension funds, the largest in the United States, sell their interest in any company that makes guns that are illegal under California's assault weapons ban. California's ban includes the Bushmaster rifle.

"We are not precluding the possibility of extending a divestment move to the retail sector, but right now we are focused on the source, which is the manufacturers," Lockyer's spokesman Tom Dresslar said.

KNEE-JERK REACTION?

U.S. lawmakers have not approved a major new federal gun law since 1994, and a ban on certain semi-automatic rifles known as assault weapons expired in 2004.

The Newtown killings have led President Barack Obama and some congressional leaders to reconsider what has been a largely hands-off approach to gun control in recent years.

The percentage of Americans favoring tough gun regulations rose significantly after the killings at the Connecticut school, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Monday.

While the latest moves by investors could herald a new chapter in corporate America's stance toward the issue of gun rights, it remains to be seen if they will have lasting effects.

Several investors held firm about investing in gun-related stocks, seeing the debate more as a knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy. Vanguard Group Inc, the largest shareholder in Smith & Wesson, for example, said it was not in a position to meet what it called the "social concerns" of all shareholders.

Vanguard said in a statement it was "deeply saddened by the tragedy" but that most of its shares in Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger were held in index funds.

"All these stocks are getting hit, but ironically I think what we'll find is that traditional gun purchases will actually rise," said Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in New York.

"People are scared, and there's a good slice of America that very much believes they have a right to protect themselves," said Ghriskey, whose firm has a small position in gun retailer Cabela's. Cabela's shares fell 5.9 percent.

A German fund manager, who focuses on "sin" stocks such as firearms, alcohol and gambling, said he was sticking with his recommendation to buy Smith & Wesson stock despite Newtown.

It's a terrible tragedy, he said, "but everyone who changes his investment strategy now should ask himself if he really is surprised. Didn't they read newspapers in the past?"

CERBERUS DELIBERATION

Still, investor outrage over the shooting was enough for Cerberus to decide to sell Freedom Group.

The firm's decision came late on Monday night, after executives deliberated on the impact of the shooting, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

The private equity firm, which was founded by Stephen Feinberg and William Richter in 1992, also has to be careful not to anger investors at a time it is seeking to raise up to $3.5 billion for a new buyout fund.

Feinberg's father, Martin Feinberg, is also a resident of Newtown, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing an interview with him. Public records show a Martin Feinberg residing in a retirement facility in Newtown.

Cerberus bought firearms maker Bushmaster in 2006 and later merged it with other gun companies to create Freedom Group, which reported net sales of $677 million for the nine months ended September, up from $565 million a year earlier.

Cerberus filed for an initial public offering of Freedom Group in October 2009 but withdrew the registration in April 2011, without offering a reason.

"It's an unusual move by Cerberus but it was a terrible event, so they are responding to some of their investors who are teachers' funds. I'm sure they will be selling it at a low price because now would not be a good time to sell the business," said Steven Kaplan, a University of Chicago finance professor.

(Additional reporting by Martine Geller, Hilary Russ and Ashley Lau in New York, Lisa Baertlein and Peter Henderson in Los Angeles and Dan Burns in Newtown, Connecticut; Editing by Paritosh Bansal, Tiffany Wu and Michael Perry)



Dec 18 (Reuters) - The National Rifle Association said on Tuesday it is "prepared to offer meaningful contributions" to prevent future massacres like the Connecticut shooting on Friday, marking a sharp change in tone for the nation's largest gun rights group.

"The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters - and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown," the organization said in a statement sent to reporters.

The NRA plans a news conference on Friday after staying silent out of respect for families in Newtown, Connecticut, and as a matter of common decency, the statement said.



It turns out that the Newtown shooter used a semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle and he had lots of thirty-round high-capacity clips for it. Authorities have revealed that each of the 20 children and six adults he killed was shot multiple times, but given the number of clips Lanza brought with him, the number of victims could have been much, much higher. The Federal ban on weapons such as the Bushmaster, in place 1994-2004, was allowed to lapse by the George W. Bush administration and his Republican Congress, all of whom received massive campaign donations from the gun lobby. There is a Connecticut ban, but the maker of the Bushmaster used a loophole in the poorly written state law to continue to sell the gun in the state. The Bushmaster is manufactured by a subsidiary of the Wall Street hedge fund, Cerberus Capital Management, called the “Freedom Group”– which also owns Remington and DPMS Firearms. It is the largest single maker of semi-automatic rifles in the US, and they are expected to be a major growing profit center in the coming years. The Freedom Group was sued over the Washington, DC, sniper attacks, and paid $500,000 without admitting culpability.



A US private equity firm has said it is to sell its stake in the maker of the AR15-style rifle used in the Newtown school shootings.

Cerberus Capital Management's move came after pressure from one of its own biggest investors, the California State Teachers' Retirement System (Calstrs).

Cerberus bought Bushmaster in 2006, and more gunmakers since, merging them into Freedom Group, which it will now sell.

The firm said it wanted to avoid being drawn into the gun control controversy.

The announcement by Cerberus comes four days after 20 young children and six adults were killed by 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Mr Lanza then killed himself.

He had earlier killed his mother at her home before travelling to the school.

The murders have renewed the debate over the need for gun control in the US, with President Barack Obama promising "meaningful action", and adding that "as a country, we have been through this too many times".

The National Rifle Association, the largest pro-gun rights organisation in the US, has not commented since the mass shooting.

Politicians previously against more gun control have also generally been quiet, while one, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, said the Newtown attack had made him rethink his opposition to a ban on assault weapons.

However, gun control is difficult to tighten in the US, because the second amendment of the country's constitution guarantees the "right to keep and bear arms".

'Senseless violence'
"We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so," Cerberus said in a statement.

"We do not believe that Freedom Group or any single company or individual can prevent senseless violence or the illegal use or procurement of firearms and ammunition," the firm added, noting that Freedom Group only sold weapons to federally licensed dealers and distributors, and not directly to US citizens.

Freedom Group claims to be the world's largest manufacturer of commercial firearms, selling over two billion rounds of ammunition each year.

As well as Bushmaster, the maker of the AR15-style rifle, Freedom Group also owns Remington, the oldest US gunmaker established in 1816, and seven other gun arms manufacturers, as well as majority stakes in two clothing companies specialising in hunting and paramilitary apparel.

The group made profits before tax of $2.7m in the 12 months to September 2012, on $875m of sales.

Calstrs, which is the second largest pension fund in the US, had said on Monday that it was reviewing its own $750m (£460m) investment in Cerberus in light of the deaths of 20 school children and seven adults including teachers at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday.

Cerberus, which is one of the biggest private equity firms in the world with over $20bn of assets under management, said that the shootings represented "a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level".

Proceeds from the sale of Freedom Group would be returned to Cerberus' investors, and not reinvested by the firm.

a $17 trillion debt

Uploaded on Nov 4, 2011 The United States debt limit explained. A satirical short film taking a look at the national debt and how it applies to just one family. http://www.debtlimitusa.org. Oct 16, 2013 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today … Continue reading

Uploaded on Nov 4, 2011

The United States debt limit explained. A satirical short film taking a look at the national debt and how it applies to just one family.

http://www.debtlimitusa.org.


Oct 16, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Rand Paul today voted no on H.R. 2775, as amended, that will suspend the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014 and fund the government to January 15, 2014.

“Tonight, a deal was struck to re-open the government and avoid the debt ceiling deadline. That is a good thing,” Sen. Paul said. “However, our country faces a problem bigger than any deadline: a $17 trillion debt. I am disappointed that Democrats would not compromise to avoid the looming debt debacle.”


10/16/13

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate’s proposed legislation to resume federal government funding and to raise the debt ceiling:

“This evening, I voted against the Senate’s proposed legislation to resume federal government funding and to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling. I voted ‘no’ because this legislation allows the debt ceiling to be increased without any much-needed reforms to fix our country’s critical fiscal challenges; it does not address the operational flaws and exploding costs of the newest federal entitlement, Obamacare; and it does not address other much needed economic growth policies such as tax reform, regulatory reform and energy security solutions.

“On the positive side, this legislation adheres to the post-sequester discretionary spending levels set forth in the Budget Control Act of 2011; restores near-term certainty to the capital markets by avoiding a debt ceiling default; and provides for the appointment of conferees to a Budget Conference, which I hope will substantively address the federal government’s precarious fiscal condition.

“While this legislation does reopen the doors to the federal government and avoids default, it does nothing to address the true drivers of our debt. Congress needs to quit kicking the can down the road and to address America’s critical fiscal challenges sooner rather than later.  With each day that Congress delays dealing with this issue, the adverse impact upon the economic opportunities for future generations become increasingly harder to resolve.  Like the rest of my colleagues in the House Majority, I remain committed to addressing our nation’s fiscal crisis and to improving the economic outlook for our children and grandchildren. Now more than ever, we must work towards a fiscally sustainable America through balanced budgets, job creation, economic growth and energy security.”

Congressman Bill Flores represents the 17th District of Texas and is an entrepreneur, former energy executive, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and member of the House Budget, Natural Resources and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.


border town


By Lourdes Medrano, Correspondent / December 3, 2012 NOGALES, ARIZ. It’s a scene all too familiar on this Arizona stretch of the Southwest border: One or more people, under the cover of darkness, clamber over the tall metal fence that is the international boundary in a mad rush to smuggle marijuana bundles into the United States without detection.

On Oct. 10, authorities say, a similar incident resulted in the death of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, shot multiple times after a Border Patrol agent responded with gunfire to a rock attack.
Under Border Patrol policy, bullets can be a justified response to rocks, because rocks have caused serious injuries to agents in the past. But both American civil liberties groups and Mexican authorities are drawing attention to the incident, saying it raises worrying questions not only about the Border Patrol’s use of force, but also its recent surge of manpower along the border.
The teen became at least the 16th person to die along the 2,000-mile border at the hands of the Border Patrol since January 2010 – and the eighth in which agents have cited rock-throwing as a reason for using deadly force, according to border watch groups.
The FBI is investigating, as are Mexican officials. At the behest of concerned members of Congress, the Office of Inspector General is already reviewing border agencies’ use-of-force guidelines in connection with a different incident.
A primary concern is whether a hiring boom in recent years has hurt training.
«This massive increase of agents with very little proportional accountability and oversight, I think has led to some problems,» says Vicki Gaubeca, director of the American Civil Liberties Union‘s Regional Center for Border Rights in Las Cruces, N.M.
The Border Patrol, which in 2003 became part of the Department of Homeland Security under Customs and Border Protection, has more than doubled its size to approximately 21,000 agents since 2004. Most, close to 18,500, guard the Southwest border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a congressional committee in September.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) representatives in Arizona, Washington, and Texas, declined to discuss the agency’s use-of-force policy or any of the agent-involved fatalities.

EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. Border Patrol agent, accused of buying guns in the United States and smuggling them to Mexico for use by drug cartels, must remain in jail pending a detention hearing later this week, a U.S. Magistrate Judge ruled on Tuesday. Ricardo Montalvo, 28, and his girlfriend Carla Gonzales-Ortiz, 29, briefly appeared in court for the first time since their arrest on Monday. They are charged with conspiracy to buy firearms and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition to be smuggled into Mexico. They are accused of acting as «straw purchasers» of at least nine firearms between November 2010 and January 2011. Straw purchasers say they are purchasing weapons for themselves but conceal the true buyer. A grand jury indictment accuses Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz of purchasing guns, including five AK-47-type pistols, two .380-caliber pistols, and two .22-caliber rifles. The guns are favored by Mexican drug cartels, the indictment says. The pair are accused of purchasing more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, 97 high-capacity magazines and four 37mm flair guns, which are sought by Mexican cartels for conversion into grenade launchers, the indictment says. The indictment does not say if the weapons were actually smuggled into Mexico. Montalvo, who is based in El Paso, Texas, had been on administrative desk duty since January 2011 when the investigation started. Mexican cartels rely on purchases of firearms in the United States and the Mexican government has often complained about the smuggling across the border. The arrest of Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz came only days after three men pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking high-powered rifles and other guns to Mexico from Arizona under the botched «Fast and Furious» federal sting operation. Republicans have criticized President Barack Obama’s administration for allowing the Fast and Furious program – under which a government agency permitted weapons smuggling across the border in order to try to nab the criminals in a sting operation. The failed operation embarrassed the administration and led to some calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz will be arraigned at a hearing on Friday, said Terri Abernathy, senior litigation counsel. (Editing by Greg McCune and Lisa Shumaker)


SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — While much of New Mexico is west of the Rio Grande, this dusty enclave of 14,000 residents is the only U.S. city located on the Mexico side of the river, on the same side as — and just across the border fence from — Juarez.

But it’s more than the anomalous location that lends to the town’s persistent reputation as a self-contained banana republic.

When state police descended on the dysfunctional community before the March elections, the reaction wasn’t so much surprise as «what now?»

And that would be the latest allegations of extortion and financial kickbacks among municipal officials, and, more colorfully, that a mayoral candidate tried to force his opponent out of the race with a secretly recorded video of the other man getting a topless lap dance.

But what is relatively new in Sunland Park and in other troubled border cities and towns is the harsh response to such shenanigans. State and federal agencies are cracking down on border town corruption as part of the larger effort to battle Mexican drug cartels.

«Everyone turned their heads for so long,» said Richard Schwein, a former FBI agent in nearby El Paso, Texas, where at least 28 people have either been convicted or indicted recently for voting scandals or awarding fraudulent contracts. Then, when the Department of Justice and the FBI made it a priority, «Bingo!»

Another example can be found 70 miles west of El Paso, in tiny Columbus, N.M., where authorities a year ago arrested the mayor, police chief, a town trustee and 11 other people who have since pleaded guilty to charges they helped run guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels.

That corruption that seems endemic to the border towns can be blamed on a mix of small-town politics, an influx of corrupt government practices from across the border, and, of course, the rise of the cartels and their endless supply of cash.

«If you’re (a small town police officer) making $35,000 a year, and someone offers you $5,000 cash … and next month there’s another $5,000 in it for you, you’ve just (substantially increased) your income by not being on patrol on a given road,» said James Phelps, an assistant professor with the Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.

The U.S. attorney for New Mexico, Kenneth Gonzalez, says more local officials have gotten caught up in scandals as federal authorities put a more intense and sophisticated focus on border towns as part of their attempts to thwart the cartels.

«A result of that intense scrutiny is that we more than likely are going to ensnare someone abusing their position,» Gonzalez said.

In Sunland Park, an inquiry into local elections turned into a major probe by multiple agencies.

State auditor Hector Balderas said that broad cooperation among agencies shows that law enforcement is starting to realize that «many crimes are interrelated.»

«I think law enforcement agencies and other agencies are now learning that these fiscal problems are symptoms of potentially greater corruption,» Balderas said. «And a village or municipality can be infiltrated by criminal elements very easily.»

Dona Ana District Attorney Amy Orlando stated in court that Sunland Park’s former mayor pro tem and then mayor-elect, Daniel Salinas, 28, had boasted to his codefendants in the cases there that he had ties to the cartels and could call on them to have people who testify against him killed.

Salinas’ attorney vehemently denied those allegations.

The two dozen felonies filed against Salinas to date focus on corruption of the financial and voting processes. Although he won the mayor’s chair, he was barred from taking office by the terms of his bail.

So allies on the City Council recently named a political newcomer to the job. The new mayor, 24-year-old Javier Perea, most recently worked as a jewelry store employee at an El Paso mall. He replaces former Mayor Martin Resendiz, who dropped a bid for Congress after admitting in a deposition that he signed nine contracts while drunk.

Said Orlando, «Unfortunately I think what is happening down in Sunland Park is that it was being run by a small group of people that were using funds and using the resources there for their own gain, operating it really as just their own little town — not following rules, not following regulations.»

Incorporated in 1983, Sunland Park could geographically be considered a suburb of El Paso or Las Cruces, N.M., or even an upscale neighborhood in north Juarez. The town has a modern racetrack, replete with casino gambling, on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. There are a few store fronts, churches and even horse stables lining its main road.

The residents are friendly, but weary of the attention that they fear has made the town a laughingstock.

Salinas has declined to talk about the case, citing advice from his lawyer. But during an encounter outside his house after the second of his three arrests, he seemed at ease for a man facing multiple felony charges and continued investigation.

«I could write a book,» he said with a wry smile.

And the native of the town still has many supporters.

«He is a good man, you can see it in his eyes,» a man at the senior center said, before rushing off when asked for his name.

Besides Salinas, several city workers, including the city manager, the city’s public information officer, the public works director and former city councilors and the former police chief, have also been indicted in the three separate criminal cases.

In one, Salinas and others are accused of trying to force his mayoral opponent, Gerardo Hernandez, out of the race with the lap dance video. Hernandez, who finished second, told investigators that an unidentified man threatened to blackmail him by producing a still image from the video. Hernandez said he was set up.

In another case, Salinas is accused of giving the former acting police chief the job of chief for convincing his sister not to run against a Salinas ally for city council. And in the third, Salinas and others are accused of billing hookers, drinks and campaign videos to a $12 million fund set up for the city by the owner of Sunland Park casino and racetrack to aid the town’s ongoing efforts to get a border crossing built there.

State auditor Balderas said he’s been monitoring the town since 2009. A previous auditor recommended the state take over the town in 2004 after finding scores of violations of state and local laws.

«Sunland Park has had a culture that has lacked accountability for many years,» Balderas said. «They probably should have been taken over many years ago. They got more brazen when they didn’t.»




By Lourdes Medrano, Correspondent / December 3, 2012 NOGALES, ARIZ. It's a scene all too familiar on this Arizona stretch of the Southwest border: One or more people, under the cover of darkness, clamber over the tall metal fence that is the international boundary in a mad rush to smuggle marijuana bundles into the United States without detection.
On Oct. 10, authorities say, a similar incident resulted in the death of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, shot multiple times after a Border Patrol agent responded with gunfire to a rock attack.
Under Border Patrol policy, bullets can be a justified response to rocks, because rocks have caused serious injuries to agents in the past. But both American civil liberties groups and Mexican authorities are drawing attention to the incident, saying it raises worrying questions not only about the Border Patrol's use of force, but also its recent surge of manpower along the border.
The teen became at least the 16th person to die along the 2,000-mile border at the hands of the Border Patrol since January 2010 – and the eighth in which agents have cited rock-throwing as a reason for using deadly force, according to border watch groups.
The FBI is investigating, as are Mexican officials. At the behest of concerned members of Congress, the Office of Inspector General is already reviewing border agencies' use-of-force guidelines in connection with a different incident.
A primary concern is whether a hiring boom in recent years has hurt training.
"This massive increase of agents with very little proportional accountability and oversight, I think has led to some problems," says Vicki Gaubeca, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Regional Center for Border Rights in Las Cruces, N.M.
The Border Patrol, which in 2003 became part of the Department of Homeland Security under Customs and Border Protection, has more than doubled its size to approximately 21,000 agents since 2004. Most, close to 18,500, guard the Southwest border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a congressional committee in September.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) representatives in Arizona, Washington, and Texas, declined to discuss the agency's use-of-force policy or any of the agent-involved fatalities.

EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol agent, accused of buying guns in the United States and smuggling them to Mexico for use by drug cartels, must remain in jail pending a detention hearing later this week, a U.S. Magistrate Judge ruled on Tuesday. Ricardo Montalvo, 28, and his girlfriend Carla Gonzales-Ortiz, 29, briefly appeared in court for the first time since their arrest on Monday. They are charged with conspiracy to buy firearms and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition to be smuggled into Mexico. They are accused of acting as "straw purchasers" of at least nine firearms between November 2010 and January 2011. Straw purchasers say they are purchasing weapons for themselves but conceal the true buyer. A grand jury indictment accuses Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz of purchasing guns, including five AK-47-type pistols, two .380-caliber pistols, and two .22-caliber rifles. The guns are favored by Mexican drug cartels, the indictment says. The pair are accused of purchasing more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, 97 high-capacity magazines and four 37mm flair guns, which are sought by Mexican cartels for conversion into grenade launchers, the indictment says. The indictment does not say if the weapons were actually smuggled into Mexico. Montalvo, who is based in El Paso, Texas, had been on administrative desk duty since January 2011 when the investigation started. Mexican cartels rely on purchases of firearms in the United States and the Mexican government has often complained about the smuggling across the border. The arrest of Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz came only days after three men pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking high-powered rifles and other guns to Mexico from Arizona under the botched "Fast and Furious" federal sting operation. Republicans have criticized President Barack Obama's administration for allowing the Fast and Furious program - under which a government agency permitted weapons smuggling across the border in order to try to nab the criminals in a sting operation. The failed operation embarrassed the administration and led to some calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz will be arraigned at a hearing on Friday, said Terri Abernathy, senior litigation counsel. (Editing by Greg McCune and Lisa Shumaker)
SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — While much of New Mexico is west of the Rio Grande, this dusty enclave of 14,000 residents is the only U.S. city located on the Mexico side of the river, on the same side as — and just across the border fence from — Juarez.

But it's more than the anomalous location that lends to the town's persistent reputation as a self-contained banana republic.

When state police descended on the dysfunctional community before the March elections, the reaction wasn't so much surprise as "what now?"

And that would be the latest allegations of extortion and financial kickbacks among municipal officials, and, more colorfully, that a mayoral candidate tried to force his opponent out of the race with a secretly recorded video of the other man getting a topless lap dance.

But what is relatively new in Sunland Park and in other troubled border cities and towns is the harsh response to such shenanigans. State and federal agencies are cracking down on border town corruption as part of the larger effort to battle Mexican drug cartels.

"Everyone turned their heads for so long," said Richard Schwein, a former FBI agent in nearby El Paso, Texas, where at least 28 people have either been convicted or indicted recently for voting scandals or awarding fraudulent contracts. Then, when the Department of Justice and the FBI made it a priority, "Bingo!"

Another example can be found 70 miles west of El Paso, in tiny Columbus, N.M., where authorities a year ago arrested the mayor, police chief, a town trustee and 11 other people who have since pleaded guilty to charges they helped run guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels.

That corruption that seems endemic to the border towns can be blamed on a mix of small-town politics, an influx of corrupt government practices from across the border, and, of course, the rise of the cartels and their endless supply of cash.

"If you're (a small town police officer) making $35,000 a year, and someone offers you $5,000 cash ... and next month there's another $5,000 in it for you, you've just (substantially increased) your income by not being on patrol on a given road," said James Phelps, an assistant professor with the Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.

The U.S. attorney for New Mexico, Kenneth Gonzalez, says more local officials have gotten caught up in scandals as federal authorities put a more intense and sophisticated focus on border towns as part of their attempts to thwart the cartels.

"A result of that intense scrutiny is that we more than likely are going to ensnare someone abusing their position," Gonzalez said.

In Sunland Park, an inquiry into local elections turned into a major probe by multiple agencies.

State auditor Hector Balderas said that broad cooperation among agencies shows that law enforcement is starting to realize that "many crimes are interrelated."

"I think law enforcement agencies and other agencies are now learning that these fiscal problems are symptoms of potentially greater corruption," Balderas said. "And a village or municipality can be infiltrated by criminal elements very easily."

Dona Ana District Attorney Amy Orlando stated in court that Sunland Park's former mayor pro tem and then mayor-elect, Daniel Salinas, 28, had boasted to his codefendants in the cases there that he had ties to the cartels and could call on them to have people who testify against him killed.

Salinas' attorney vehemently denied those allegations.

The two dozen felonies filed against Salinas to date focus on corruption of the financial and voting processes. Although he won the mayor's chair, he was barred from taking office by the terms of his bail.

So allies on the City Council recently named a political newcomer to the job. The new mayor, 24-year-old Javier Perea, most recently worked as a jewelry store employee at an El Paso mall. He replaces former Mayor Martin Resendiz, who dropped a bid for Congress after admitting in a deposition that he signed nine contracts while drunk.

Said Orlando, "Unfortunately I think what is happening down in Sunland Park is that it was being run by a small group of people that were using funds and using the resources there for their own gain, operating it really as just their own little town — not following rules, not following regulations."

Incorporated in 1983, Sunland Park could geographically be considered a suburb of El Paso or Las Cruces, N.M., or even an upscale neighborhood in north Juarez. The town has a modern racetrack, replete with casino gambling, on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. There are a few store fronts, churches and even horse stables lining its main road.

The residents are friendly, but weary of the attention that they fear has made the town a laughingstock.

Salinas has declined to talk about the case, citing advice from his lawyer. But during an encounter outside his house after the second of his three arrests, he seemed at ease for a man facing multiple felony charges and continued investigation.

"I could write a book," he said with a wry smile.

And the native of the town still has many supporters.

"He is a good man, you can see it in his eyes," a man at the senior center said, before rushing off when asked for his name.

Besides Salinas, several city workers, including the city manager, the city's public information officer, the public works director and former city councilors and the former police chief, have also been indicted in the three separate criminal cases.

In one, Salinas and others are accused of trying to force his mayoral opponent, Gerardo Hernandez, out of the race with the lap dance video. Hernandez, who finished second, told investigators that an unidentified man threatened to blackmail him by producing a still image from the video. Hernandez said he was set up.

In another case, Salinas is accused of giving the former acting police chief the job of chief for convincing his sister not to run against a Salinas ally for city council. And in the third, Salinas and others are accused of billing hookers, drinks and campaign videos to a $12 million fund set up for the city by the owner of Sunland Park casino and racetrack to aid the town's ongoing efforts to get a border crossing built there.

State auditor Balderas said he's been monitoring the town since 2009. A previous auditor recommended the state take over the town in 2004 after finding scores of violations of state and local laws.

"Sunland Park has had a culture that has lacked accountability for many years," Balderas said. "They probably should have been taken over many years ago. They got more brazen when they didn't."