Andrew Ross Sorkin New York Times (September 12, 2019)
In a direct and urgent call to address gun violence in America, the chief executives of some of the nation’s best-known companies sent a letter to Senate leaders on Thursday, urging an expansion of background checks to all firearms sales and stronger “red flag” laws.
“Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety,” the heads of nearly 150 companies, including Levi Strauss, Twitter and Uber, say in the letter, which was shared with The New York Times.
The letter — which urges the Republican-controlled Senate to enact bills already introduced in the Democrat-led House of Representatives — is the most concerted effort by the business community to enter the gun debate, one of the most polarizing issues in the nation and one that was long considered off limits.
Editor’s Note: While this article was published two months ago it ably covers the basics of state and federal efforts at Red Flag “precrime” laws designed to preempt citizens’ due process before depriving them of their Second Amendment rights. After the Dayton and El Paso mass shooting events Congressional leaders are effectively in competition to outdo each other in gun control legislation.
[Senator Marco] Rubio’s TAPS Act would encourage law enforcement to give EVERYONE a personal threat assessment (adults and children) and single out those they deem as future threats. That information would then be used as a kind of Precog substitute to “stop dangerous individuals before they can commit an act of violence.
A little over a year ago, I wrote a satirical piece entitled The Minority Report Act of 2018: a Law Guaranteed to End Gun Violence. Using the Minority Report movie as a basis, I demonstrated the extremes Republicans and Democrats are willing to go to find ways to deny us our Second Amendment rights in the name of “preventing” acts of terrorism.
The inspiration for the article came to me after witnessing the overreaction by Trump and the GOP to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, and a bill presented in 2016 by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (H.R. 5611). McCarthy’s bill allowed the government to deny gun rights without charges being filed, a trial, or a conviction based merely on a prediction that you’ll someday be a terrorist.
#HR5611 allows govt to infringe your gun rights w/o charge, trial, or conviction—based merely on prediction you'll someday be a terrorist.
In the Minority Report movie, murders are predicted using three mutated humans called “Precogs” who “previsualize” crimes before they happen, thus allowing would-be murderers to be imprisoned before they kill. And while Precogs are science fiction, Republicans are working to create the next best thing in reality.
President Trump on Sunday declared that “hate has no place in our country” after a pair of back-to-back mass shootings over the weekend rocked the nation.
“Hate has no place in our country, and we’re going to take care of it,” Trump told reporters at Morristown Airport before departing for the White House after spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf resort.
Trump’s three-minute remarks were the first the first time he spoke publicly about the deadly shootings. He ignored shouted questions about whether the El Paso shooter’s anti-immigrant manifesto shared similarities with his rhetoric and said the shootings are part of “a mental illness problem.”
The president said his White House has “done much more than most administrations” when it comes to addressing gun violence but conceded that “perhaps more has to be done.”
He said he would deliver a lengthier statement at 10 a.m. Monday. He did not answer further questions about the shooting roughly an hour later upon arriving at the White House.
In the wake of the Parkland shooting a handful of individuals pointed to one of many especially glaring discrepancies in the event’s coverage. An odd video depicts an apparent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student rehearsing a pro-gun control rant.
She’s doing so at the prompting of David Hogg, the would be high school-attendee and aspiring journalist, on the morning of February 14, 2018. This footage then oddly aired after the “live” Parkland incident that afternoon. To make matters more confusing, the individual goes by “Alex Vieux” in the morning, and “Isabelle Robinson” hours later as the same footage is widely broadcast in the aftermath of the event.
“I really don’t think there’s anything new to say, but there shouldn’t have to be because if you looked around this close and saw everyone just hiding together you would know that this shouldn’t be happening anymore, and that it doesn’t deserve to happen anymore [sic]. And no amount of money should make it more easily accessible to get guns [sic]. Uhm, and that’s that.”
Shortly thereafter the young woman becomes visibly nervous and, when Hogg asks, “Do you want to say anything else?” she demurs from stating her name on camera, “That was more or all articulated in my head.”
On Saturday morning, October 27, 2017, a mass shooting was reported at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill region of Pittsburgh, PA. A suspect, Robert Gregory Bowers, was apprehended at the scene, after being wounded by SWAT officers. Before he was taken into custody, Bowers is said to have killed 11 of the congregants and injured six, including four members of the SWAT team that he engaged in two separate gun battles. Bowers was allegedly armed with “an AR-15-style assault rifle,” a Glock pistol, and two other handguns.
The officers who rushed to the scene came upon Mr. Bowers as he was trying to leave the synagogue. He fired at them, injuring one officer in the hand, according to the criminal complaint. Another officer had injuries to his face from shrapnel and broken glass. Mr. Bowers then darted back inside and ran up to the third floor.
At that point, a SWAT team went in and came upon the scene of the massacre. Two people were still alive and the police carried them out. As they were searching for other victims, SWAT officers encountered Mr. Bowers, who fired at them and critically injured two officers.
The remaining officers “engaged the suspect in a gun battle in which multiple rounds were exchanged,” the criminal complaint said. At some point in the shootout, Mr. Bowers was wounded, and he eventually surrendered to the police.
Bowers reportedly entered the synagogue just before 10 am, and “the Allegheny County Emergency Operations center received calls of an active shooter at 9:54 am ET…Officers were dispatched at 9:55 am,” according to CNN. In all, Bowers is said to have been inside the synagogue for a full 20 minutes.
On a August 27th broadcast National Public Radio announced its finding that the US Department of Education’s most recent mass shooting figures at US public schools appear to be grossly inflated. This is especially significant since there are public misconceptions toward such events that stem in part from dubious statistics. These numbers are then often taken by gun control advocacy groups to mislead and frighten the public on the scope of the problem.
How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?
We should know. But we don’t.
This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates.
But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government’s Civil Rights Data Collection.
We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.
In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.
“When we’re talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful,” says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.