Blog Posts

Guns: What's really the problem in urban communities?

posted Oct 29, 2013, 1:55 PM by Ronnie V   [ updated Oct 29, 2013, 2:25 PM ]

Editor/Admin notes

Editor/Admin note:
The following blog post is by guest commentator, Marc Olivier. This commentary is in response to comments by LeRoy Duncan, Protect Minnesota, made during the anti-gun group's so called "gun violence summit" on October 25, 2013, in north Minneapolis, and also in response to a March 2013 opinion piece in the Washington Post, titled, "White men have much to discuss about mass shootings."


We continue to focus on the "changing of the narrative" by Protect Minnesota and their anti-human rights cohorts. We parse more of the comments made by LeRoy Duncan of Protect Minnesota from his WCCO.com interview on Friday. His comments revealed a number of the ways in which they plan to attack law abiding gun owners rather than focusing on the real causes of gun violence (and violence as a whole) and rather than focusing on meaningful solutions to help curb the violence.

One of their planned attacks is to demonize and discredit white males (white male gun owners), as indicated by Duncan's (misleading and deceptive) reference to the "homogeneous" and "isolated" nature of gun owners, and another punitive measure revealed by Duncan is that they plan to attack the legitimate and legal businesses of gun manufacturers.

October 29, 2013
by Marc Oliver, guest commentator


Is The Problem White Men and Guns, Or A Systemic Undermining of the Family, Based On Private Family Choices? 

Focusing on the WaPo opinion piece,  the authors take events and influences, and blend them together so they come out as an indictment SOLELY against white men, and particularly against white men who lead certain corporations and associations (the NRA, gun manufacturers, electronic gaming companies, and the white male members and customers who support them). Notice what they (anti-gunners) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, leave out? The influence of family. Particularly family influences on crime, school, income, drug use, and everything else in society. Anti-gunners don't like talking about what happens within the four walls of the family home. But that's not all. They also leave out any analysis of the influence of government and economic policies on the family, from the federal level on down. And I think there is a definite reason for this, based on an ugly agenda.

We need to look at the WaPo opinion piece closely, their central premise, and what they did with it. As anti-gunners, they chose to focus on the issue of aggression ONLY as expressed by white males involved in mass shooting events. They do not look at *serialized crime events*. Our government does. This is what forms the basis for plea bargaining by the criminal justice system. Government does acknowledge that one individual can and often does commit multiple incidents of crime over a period of time (the time they are undetected, and allowed to roam free). Where do these individuals come from?

Turn on the TV during daytime, and you will find any number of judge shows and talk shows, involving couples *with children* discussing their trials and tribulations of being a relationship with each other. Pay close attention to when the issue comes to the children. Listen to how many times males are challenged to "stepping up" to be "involved in the children's lives" - what used to be called "being a father." Pay particular attention to how many times the matter of child support is brought up. Or rather, notice how many times it is avoided.

This gets to comments made by LeRoy Duncan, Protect Minnesota's lead organizer. Let's look at “systems.” Let's look at media influences directed at minority, urban youth. Look at the litigants and guests of these type of daytime TV shows, which must be popular and a part of our culture, because they've been on for a generation now. Pay attention to when the core issues concern family and children. If you have time, and you get the litigants' and guests' real names, do FB searches on them. YOU look at them and tell us all what you find. I try from time to time, just because I can. It is often enlightening and sometimes frightening. Besides often-repeated lip service, a "shout out" to other people in extended families, you don't see much, if anything about family, unless you were to count the "hook-up" culture as somehow being family.

Go a step further. Picture undetected, unrestrained felons, whether convicted and yet-to-be convicted. Men, and boys, who are not known for their self-control. Picture them living in multiple households, sometimes one at a time, sometimes at the same time, with other men's children. No, really. Look at it. Hard. Tell us all what you find concerning poverty, domestic partner abuse, domestic child abuse, drug abuse, vandalism and abandonment. Explain to us in detail what role gun manufacturers, and taxation of gun owners, should have in these families, their internal dynamics, and especially the outcome of the lives of the children in these families? What overt, direct power and influence will we have in what happens in those families, in exchange for the dollars you and soon-to-be-ex-Mayor R.T. Rybak are after? 

In certain communities, unwed, single parenthood is higher than out-state and national averages. This, despite studies and statistics that show single parenthood (motherhood) is perhaps the biggest indicator of household poverty that exists. And this is based on generations of observation. A corollary to these findings is that poverty is linked to crime in this country. These issues are being addressed in many states, especially in Minnesota, through many programs, both tax-supported and non-profit, federal state and local. This includes many agencies covering a broad range of human needs and activities. These programs and agencies run into the $Multi-Millions of dollars. And despite all this, by most widely accepted standards of measure, the failures are glaring. 

National education achievements are among the lowest when compared to other industrialized countries. Twin Cities youth education and employment, particularly minority youth, is the lowest in the country. Poverty rates are increasing, no matter the demographic label used to describe a particular subset. All this, despite Minnesota being among the most socialized states in the country.


IGNORING ROOT CAUSES IN FAVOR OF A BLIND AGENDA

But, instead of examining and reevaluating the policies, programs and procedures already in place, and the cultural influences at work in family systems statewide, to get a clear look at what works and what doesn't, groundwork has been laid and is being carried out to get more money from more people to expand on programs and agendas that appear, in many ways, to be failing. Do an internet search on Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and gun manufacturers. Listen to LeRoy Duncan on the WCCO interview. The agenda becomes clear. It is two-fold. Before, during and after they get their gun-ban legislation, they intend to soak gun manufacturers and gun owners for more money, any way they can.

Where's my proof on the strategy to soak gun manufacturers and gun owners? Legislation pushed to increase taxes, require higher insurance premiums, and more, all directed against *known and permitted* gun owners and *licensed* gun dealers. You know, those who abide by laws and fill out government paperwork to get permits to purchase firearms. The same paperwork that is targeted for use to form gun and gun owner registries. The same registries that were made public by a certain newspaper, complete with maps, names and addresses of gun owners, thereby exposing those gun owners to robberies and other crimes. Some of these same people are the ones pushing to keep convicted felons' records from the public's eyes for any number of reasons, and to be even more lenient with them. Anyone else see a discrepancy and other problems here?

   

Gun control tricks are no treat

posted Oct 27, 2013, 3:15 PM by Ronnie V   [ updated Oct 27, 2013, 3:36 PM ]

Editor/Admin note:
The following blog post is by guest commentator, Marc Olivier. This commentary is in response to comments by LeRoy Duncan, Protect Minnesota, made during the anti-gun group's so called "gun violence summit" on October 25, 2013, in north Minneapolis:


On Friday, October 25, 2013, Protect Minnesota held a series of workshops to stir their pot of gun control agenda stew once again. The workshop was scheduled to run from 10:00 AM to approximately 3:00 PM. The base ingredients are pretty much the same: misrepresentations, distortions and outright lies. The putrid essence of the stew is still unchanged. The question that must constantly be asked of Protect Minnesota is “Why?” Why this singular focus on guns, and only violent acts committed with guns? It is a type of social myopia that, now, suggests another influence and purpose, another less obvious agenda at work.

Make no mistake, the long-term goal of Protect Minnesota and its affiliates is a “gun-free” society. What is “gun-free”? Perhaps that question should be asked of those who have endured brutal assaults, robberies, home invasions and rape. Unfortunately, we cannot ask the victims of murder, and expect them to respond. One could ask Protect Minnesota, but it seems they don't care about the reasons for wanting a firearm, they don't care about the Second Amendment, they don't care about individual rights, and with their mantra about gun violence, they do not care anything about any other acts of violence, or the victims of that violence, if it doesn't involve the use of a gun.


EXTREME ACTION

Protect Minnesota took extreme action in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shootings, even though mental health professionals as well as some in law enforcement conceded that the law changes being sought would not have stopped the shooting, had they been in place. Protect Minnesota:

--fought existing permit to carry laws;

--fought to get full registration of weapons and ammunition;

--fought to get inspections of gun owners' homes by law enforcement without a warrant, based on paperwork filed to buy firearms;

--fought to get law enforcement access to gun applicants' medical records to make determinations whether to grant permits to buy guns;

--fought to get forced mental health evaluations by non-credentialed personnel;

--fought to get outright blanket bans and confiscations of guns, gun parts and ammunition.

Please review the plethora of gun control bills, and the signers and co-signers, presented during the 2013 Legislative session in the Minnesota House and Senate, but particularly HF 0241, HF 0242 and HF 0243.

While reviewing these laws, please also look fully at bills HF 1323, HF 1324 and HF 1325 (I just list them as HF 1323-5). It is critical to do this. This bill is of particular importance in this article, because it has become a key target of Protect Minnesota and particularly Mr. LeRoy Duncan, and others harping about “gun violence.” Whereas HF 0241 sought to penalize gun owners who already passed background checks, as mentioned above, HF 1323-5 sought to compel the State of Minnesota to fully comply with existing federal law, specifically getting mental health records from court-ordered hearings and procedures into the NICS background check system. Further, it laid out specific actions for government officials to take when laws involving firearms are broken, and stiffer penalties for repeat offenders who commit crimes with firearms.

Duncan himself lobbied in the State Capitol against HF 1323-5, calling it racist, and a bill that victimizes those who have already been victimized. He's not talking about those who have been beaten, robbed, raped, stabbed and killed by violent offenders. He's talking about the offenders themselves. He calls the bill racist because many of the violent, repeat offenders come from racial minorities. More on this later. He says, “We see Hilstrom's proposal from last session as just furthering the belief that the only way to solve this gun violence problem is locking people up, or killing them and having your own gun..” This statement is intentionally misleading to the extreme. Read the bill, then read the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the State of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension statistics and charts concerning violent crime before deciding for yourself.


INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS DO NOT MATTER

During the WCCO interview, Duncan said individual rights do not matter. Rights of individual women fighting for their Constitutional rights, particularly their Second Amendment rights, don't count. Rights of individuals of any given racial and ethnic group don't count. Rights of young people who are aware of, and speak up for their rights don't count. He misrepresents and puts down those seeking to preserve and exercise their rights of gun ownership, calling them “homogenous” and “isolated,” although he doesn't come right out and define exactly what he means.

Here are some comments from Duncan. 

--He wants to see the legislature and corporations, especially gun manufacturers “step up and start talking about real solutions to these issues.”

--“Because the ones (solutions) we've been talking about, in terms of arming everyone in the world? They aren't working.”

--“We really want to see a changing of the conversation.”

--“If you are coming into this space, simply talking about your right to have a gun, your individual right to own a gun, that's not helpful to the solution.”

--“We now have to pivot the conversation to go beyond the individual, and start talking about the systems, and people who are impacted, and the people who are stakeholders’ rights, and talk about the community, and those who are stakeholders in this, as I said, gun manufacturers. We really want people to start thinking about what we can do as a community, and as a state, … finding solutions.”

--“The way (gun violence) is being experienced in rural Minnesota, it's manifesting itself in as suicides, and that currently is not being seen as a problem.”

As a member of the administration of Protect Minnesota, Duncan's comments are made clear through the words of Rebecca Lowen; a local university professor currently living abroad, and a member of a local synagogue closely affiliated with Protect Minnesota. Ms. Lowen went on a talk radio show in Washington D.C., and flat out said the pro-gun people who showed up at legislative hearings were old white men, most of whom were bused to the hearings from out-state Minnesota, using funds from the NRA. There is a sound file of the interview available online. She claimed the reasons gun control people were not at the hearings in greater numbers (which took place over the course of several days and nights), was because they were working and could not take time off their jobs to attend. She portrayed those supporting Constitutional rights as disorderly, disruptive and basically, not knowing their place, literally. Videos of the hearings are available on the Minnesota Legislature website, as well as Youtube. Watch the videos, and then you decide what the truth is.


PREJUDICE, RACISM, SEXISM, DIVISION, EXCLUSION, AND TOTALITARIAN INTENT

I wrote earlier, Protect Minnesota, their affiliates and associates called the Hilstrom Bill, HF 1323-5, racist and claimed it victimizes those who are already victims - meaning convicted felons. I believe there is something being attempted here that needs special attention. Recently, the “drug war” has gained national attention, as have incarceration rates in this country. In fact, many claim national incarceration rates are the highest in the world because of draconian drug laws. Many states have firearms laws tied to drug laws. Many drug-induced crimes are committed with firearms, to be sure. These are crimes of violence. They must be dealt with. Studies and statistics show felons who commit drug-fueled crimes are most likely to re-offend violently, when exposed to more drugs.

Drug treatment and support groups are available while incarcerated, and once a sentence has been completed. Programs are available. Minnesota offers public and private job skills training programs, many available to ex-offenders. If a felon completes his/her sentence, and undergoes sufficient transformation of attitude, behavior and actions, s/he can file for an expungement of their records, and if successful, can be restored certain legal abilities, including the right to own and bear firearms. The criteria for expungement are under Minnesota Statutes 609A, and 609.165. Minnesota law also provides similar benefits for those who have undergone mental commitment. Protect Minnesota mentions none of this. They make no distinction between violent offenders and non-violent offenders. I ask why?

Protect Minnesota seeks to usurp efforts of other organizations without forming clear affiliations, nor doing justice to the core causes of those other organizations. At a Capitol rally during the legislative session, they claimed give voice to adults and juveniles in the criminal justice system, and called Hilstron's bill HF 1323-5 racist. I did not see these other long-standing organizations, who actually work with offenders (AMICUS and Volunteers of America) at the rally, voicing opposition to HF 1323-5. I did not see Children's Defense Fund at this rally, protesting the bill (although they themselves are clearly against guns, as evidenced by their summer school children's march in Minneapolis this past summer). Children's Defense Fund, under Marian Wright Edelman, is concerned with children's issues, one of which is the involvement of corporations administering prison industries becoming involved in the nation's schools, with highly questionable and undesirable outcomes. HF-1323-5 has nothing to do with such corporations, or such programs in schools. As I said, I did not see any of these groups at Protect Minnesota's rally. I only saw Protect Minnesota, trying to block a bill that sought to protect society by identifying and isolating violent offenders from the rest of society; a bill to make government do what it is supposed to do.

Protect Minnesota claimed HF 1323-5 was racist. Read the bill. The wording and directives of the bill do not give race any weight in the performance required by those enforcing the law. The bill sought to control those who have committed crimes of violence, especially when these individuals are found to be illegally using or possessing guns and ammunition, regardless of race; while preserving the rights of those who have NOT broken any laws. Protect Minnesota and sympathetic lawmakers at the Capitol were successful in blocking the bill. In doing so, they did nothing to promote public safety, and in fact, put the public in danger, because proven violent offenders were left to the same revolving-door criminal justice system to be back on the streets to cause and endure mayhem and murder. 

Duncan's comments in the nearly 5 minute WCCO interview pit young people against older people, minority against white, urban against rural. Readers who are individual gun owners, those who know and seek to preserve their Constitutional rights, are not “stakeholders” in his world. The fact of the matter is, Protect Minnesota and their affiliates demonstrate prejudice, racism, sexism, division, exclusion and totalitarian intent and outcomes. When they say the word “conversation,” understand they mean “dictate,” “command,” “compel” and “coerce.” This is what they do. Do these words sound familiar? Exchange them all for the word “bully.”
 
   

How and why Minnesota legislators rejected the gun control lobby

posted Oct 5, 2013, 5:16 PM by Ronnie V   [ updated Oct 7, 2013, 11:37 AM ]

Editor/Admin note:
The following blog post by guest commentator, Marc Olivier, is a rebuttal in response to MinnPost's "Community Voices" piece published on Oct. 4, 2013:
Why Minnesota DFLers failed the gun violence test

Mr. Olivier's response, below, was submitted to MinnPost's "Community Voices" editor, but was not published. So much for "Community Voices." Apparently the only "Community Voices" MinnPost allows are those that fit their own biased narrative or that of their funding sources, i.e. the gun-grabber group, Joyce Foundation.


How and why Minnesota legislators rejected the gun control lobby
October 5, 2013
by Marc Olivier, guest commentator

I was originally going to respond to an article by Heather Martens, director of Protect Minnesota, which was published September 11, 2013; namely, her response to the Colorado recall elections. Her article expands her target well beyond gun rights advocates and activists, and she attempts to link her “gun” control position to other, broader causes. Her article, and her performance at the Minnesota Legislative hearings earlier this year, demonstrate her position to favor legislation that is un-Constitutional, anti-majority, anarchistic, and ultimately unsupportable. This is just ONE reason gun control legislation she proposed failed. 


Her article tries to link those who support the Second Amendment to the "richest 1% in the nation," to use the verbiage of Occupy Wall Street. She specifically rants against the Koch Brothers, but she is for Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns. So, she is not really against injecting Big Money into elections, as long as this gets a faux-"progressive," statist agenda and totalitarian candidates into office. 

 

Other "gun" control advocates take a similar position, and use similar tactics. Scholars Rebecca Lowen and Doug Rossinow, who are currently living abroad, seek to position the Second Amendment and its supporters as being viciously against women, minorities, gays, immigrants, students, and the “poor.” They openly join Martens' crusade to demonize the U.S. Constitution, its supporters, and the ability to utilize rational thought processes to weigh and evaluate legislative proposals; now, they collectively target DFL legislators who saw through the ruse.

 

Lowen and Rossinow, like Martens, want to build a coalition of persons concerned with other political issues, in order to take on the Second Amendment and its supporters. The article distorts, misleads and misrepresents. A specific example concerns how the writers describe legislative positions and actions of Representatives Paymar and Hilstrom.

 

Representative Michael Paymar is described as working to put a background check through the House, "only to be undercut by one of the DFLers on his committee, Debra Hilstrom, who reached out to the NRA for help in drafting a rival bill." This paragraph, indeed the entire piece, distorts and misleads readers in a variety of ways, some obvious, some not so obvious.

 

First, the writers demean Representative Hilstrom by not affording her the title, House Representative, which she earned. (Is this sexism?) Second, the writers omit telling how much of the original "gun" control legislation submitted (some authored by unelected activist, Heather Martens) was plainly unconstitutional, clearly violating not only the Second Amendment, but most of the rest of the first 10 Amendments in the Constitution.

 

Let's look at this closely. The Minnesota House Representative co-sponsors to Martens' bills did not remove their names from the unconstitutional bills, at last check. So, although Ms. Martens was actually the author and presenter of the bills in the House, certain House Representatives felt comfortable in leaving their names on bills which called for registries of gun owners, registries of the guns themselves, warrantless searches and seizures of persons and properties because they legally owned guns, administrative interrogations and medical examinations of those legally owning or attempting to legally purchase guns. These are not an unsupported statements. The bills are viewable on the Minnesota Legislature website, and the hearings are viewable on recorded video on Youtube, if not State of Minnesota Legislature websites.

 

Further, when “gun” control advocates' legislation and tactics was met with clear, unequivocal, multi-racial, multi-gender, mass resistance, "gun" control advocates then began calling for expanded background checks for all firearms transactions, while claiming they had the numbers to push for more, but were being "generous," "reasonable" and "willing to compromise." On its face, demanding "universal" background checks doesn't sound like "asking for much"; why, it sounds like "common sense.”

 

But, what the Martens, Paymar, Lowen and Rossinow don't tell readers is that background checks 

---Are routinely done in gun stores and gun shows.

---Aren't even an issue when criminals are the suppliers and purchasers of stolen merchandise, because criminals won't do them.

---That when background checks are done, relevant material is often missing. 

--- That Minnesota is one of several states that refused to comply with federal laws to submit mental health records to Feds to enter into the NICS background check system. (The case of the Washington D.C., Navy Yard shooter clearly demonstrates what the breakdown in following through on existing laws, policies and procedures gets us.)

---That at the Minnesota Legislative hearings, as well as nationally, Second Amendment proponents, through the NRA, specifically requested mental health records be supplied to NICS. 


These distortions and misrepresentations are misleading. That's misrepresenting the truth.


But, perhaps the biggest hole in the Lowen and Rossinow's article, and the rest of the local "gun" control lobby, is that the writers won't address what Second Amendment supporters forced the entire Minnesota Legislature to look at: Current laws go unenforced, and a broken criminal justice system gives violent, repeat offenders lenient charging, prosecution and sentencing, until they escalate to murder. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics contains reports that verify the majority of violent crimes, including those committed with firearms, are carried out by violent, repeat offenders. Other federal statistics go further and point out the majority of violent crimes committed with firearms are committed by those with gang affiliations. Representative Hilstrom's bill sought to address these matters, but Paymar blocked the bill, which had bipartisan support and more than 70 cosigners, from having a hearing in the Public Safety Committee, which he, Paymar, chaired.

 

You need to look deeper into what this action by Paymar actually did. If you understand that a gun is an inanimate object until someone with intent to use it actually acquires and uses it, then you may be able to understand that Paymar's action ensured that those who have demonstrated violence in the past will continue to face favorable prospects for lenient criminals charging, prosecution and sentencing. If you understand that women and children, and young males of poor and minority communities are the most negatively affected (that is, maimed and killed) by violent repeat offenders living among and with them, using all manner of weapons, of which guns are only a small percentage, you may be able to understand how truly dangerous, reckless, and subversive Paymar's act was, Martens' acts are, and Lowen and Rossinow's article is. But the writers of the article in question, Lowen and Rossinow, would rather you not look at any of this. We would all do well to ask Lowen, Rossinow, the "gun" control lobby and ourselves why this is so.

 

The questions are especially important to ask this month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We have women, children and some men who only have a piece of paper between them and harm. Certain people want to keep it that way, rather than admit guns are effective, and allow and encourage responsible adults to avail themselves of these effective tools for protection from harm. We have a chorus of voices staging events and having public temper tantrums against "illegal" guns, but some of these same people are actively working to increase leniency for violent, repeat offenders, who have been proven in study after study to be the ones who prey on others in their homes, their communities and on the streets of cities nationwide. It's on record. It is publicly available knowledge, not a blanket, unsubstantiated claim. Look it up. Then, and only then, should readers decide. 


Marc Olivier

A Concerned Citizen, Lifelong Minnesota Resident and Registered Voter.






 
   

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