We aren’t well served when the Department of Justice declines to work WITH state officials to implement policy. When the DoJ dithers about assisting Nevada’s attempt to improve the background check process for firearm purchases — [NV Indy] Gee, it almost seems like someone at the federal level is doing a bureaucratic dance routine to subvert the intent of those who want to expand background checks? Someone doesn’t want to alienate the powers that be at the NRA? Meanwhile candidate Adam Laxalt, subservient as ever to the NRA line, must be pleased with Governor Sandoval’s discomfort.
We also aren’t well served by the right wing echo chamber which has now evidently decided that if they can’t find logical arguments to deflect the demands made by the kids in March for Our Lives they will happily start tooting the Swift Boat Parade Brigade horns with personal attacks on the kids themselves. [TampaBT] [WaPo] [KCStar] However, ad hominem is all too often the preferred argument for many on the right side of the political spectrum. These people might be dismissed as small people with smaller, narrower, minds except that they have the ear of the current mis-administration, and those ears are receiving messages out of step with American concerns. Listening to these radical voices obscures national issues we should be focusing upon.
Nor are we well served when the message comes from the podium at the White House briefing room that the Department of Justice will take no role in the investigation of the shooting of Sacramento citizen Stephon Clark. There’s a pattern here.
The FBI will not facilitate the implementation of Nevada’s Question 1 decision. The Department of Justice will take its sweet time promulgating rules concerning the sale of bump stocks (see Las Vegas concert massacre). The Department of Justice will do an about-face on federal participation in the investigation of law enforcement use of lethal force on members of minority communities. This pattern may explain why the citizens of Nevada continue to be frustrated by the lack of Question 1 implementation, the citizens of the US continue to see protests related to Black Lives Matter, and young people bemoan (and organize) against the inflexible obstruction to their demands for sensible restrictions on gun ownership and sales.
What the pattern won’t accomplish is the solution to any of the problems addressed by the Black Lives Matter organization or the young people involved in March for Our Lives. The two issue areas are not unrelated.
Bullets fired from guns kill people. The bullet may be a .223 round (5.56 mm) coming at a person at 3,330 feet per second (about three times the velocity of a typical Glock pistol.) [BI] The bullets may also come from a Glock 19 or the Glock 22, or perhaps the Smith & Wesson M or P9, the most popular service handguns for law enforcement personnel. [SRI] Instances of bullets being fired by one human being at another human being, or beings, should be investigated fully. We have no problem with this concept when thinking about murder investigations in general. We do have a problem with the concept when it’s in the context of a mass shooting or in a case of the use of lethal force by a police officer.
In the instances of mass shootings authorities appear to want to investigate everything except the actual cause of death — the AR 15 is often the weapon of choice for mass shooters [BI] who want to use the gun as it was designed — to cause the greatest level of lethality in the briefest possible time. If we know the level of lethality associated with the use of assault style weapons like the AR 15 why don’t we directly address the issue of whether or not these should be in the hands of civilians?
In the instances of officer involved shootings almost the first thing reported is that the “officers feared for their lives.”
“Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people, according to a Guardian investigation which found 102 of 464 people killed so far this year in incidents with law enforcement officers were not carrying weapons.
An analysis of public records, local news reports and Guardian reporting found that 32% of black people killed by police in 2015 were unarmed, as were 25% of Hispanic and Latino people, compared with 15% of white people killed.” [Guardian 2015]
Question: Why do law enforcement personnel “fear for their lives” more often when confronting a person of color than when facing a white person? I think we know the answer, it is just that this aspect of the problem isn’t something the present Department of Justice is particularly interested in pursuing.
We aren’t well served by an administration which will not admit the vast scope of the problems presented by mass shooters and highly questionable use of force by some members of law enforcement. These are national problems which beg for national solutions, whether the current Department of Justice wants to step up to the plate or not.
The kids have broken the 10,000 contract plateau in their Parents Promise To Kids project. Right now it’s at 10,127. That’s 10,127 parents, grandparents, and other interested people who have pledged to kids they will make gun reform a major feature in their voting decisions. Step Up. Thank You.