Monday Reads: Guns Galore and Other News

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." -- C.S. Lewis

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C.S. Lewis

Good Morning!!

The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl, 34-31. I completely ignored it, so I didn’t see any of the commercials or the game. I did find this review of the commercials at the WaPo. I’m very happy for Ravens fans though–especially Janicen. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s see what else is going on in the news.

I’m sure everyone has heard about the Navy Seal sniper who was shot in by a marine he may have been trying to help. The NYT reports:

From his perch in hide-outs above battle-scarred Iraq, Chris Kyle earned a reputation as one of America’s deadliest military snipers. The Pentagon said his skills with a rifle so terrorized Iraqi insurgents during his four tours of duty that they nicknamed him the “Devil of Ramadi” and put a bounty on his head.

The insurgents never collected, and he returned home to become a best-selling author and a mentor to other veterans, sometimes taking them shooting at a gun range near his Texas home as a kind of therapy to salve battlefield scars, friends said. One such veteran was Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old Marine who had served tours in Iraq and Haiti.

But on Saturday, far from a war zone, Mr. Routh turned on Mr. Kyle, 38, and a second man, Chad Littlefield, 35, shortly after they arrived at an exclusive shooting range near Glen Rose, Tex., about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, law enforcement authorities said Sunday. The officials said that for reasons that were still unclear, Mr. Routh shot and killed both men with a semiautomatic handgun before fleeing in a pickup truck belonging to Mr. Kyle.

“Chad and Chris had taken a veteran out to shoot to try to help him,” said Travis Cox, a friend of Mr. Kyle’s. “And they were killed.”

I’m sorry about these two meaningless murders, but I’m mystified as to why anyone would want to read a book about someone who shot hundreds of people from a distance in Iraq. Supposedly they were “insurgents,” but who really knows? All those innocent people at Gitmo and dead civilians in Pakistan suggest to me that the U.S. military isn’t so great at separating civilians from combatants.

I’m even more mystified as to why taking someone with PTSD from serving in Iraq and Haiti to a gun range for therapy would be a good idea. Anyway, I don’t mean to judge, just my two cents.

According to the Dallas News, Routh became aggressive in jail and was tasered by guards.

After eating dinner, Routh refused to return his food tray to jailers. He became aggressive and tried to attack them when they tried to get it back from him, said Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant.

Jailers tasered Routh and placed him in a restraining chair in his solitary cell. He is on suicide watch, Bryant said….Routh, a former Marine and Iraqi War veteran, is believed to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Investigators say that he shot Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at point-blank range around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Please note Routh used a semi-automatic handgun to shoot the Kyle and Littlefield. Wayne LaPierre is outraged that there was no “good guy” with a bigger gun around to protect them. Sorry, I made that up.

Speaking of Crazy Wayne, he was on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and he managed to be so outrageous that Chris Wallace told him he was being “ridiculous.” From Business Insider:

Fox News host Chris Wallace and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre got into a heated exchange on “Fox News Sunday” this morning, as Wallace challenged LaPierre on a controversial ad involving President Barack Obama’s daughters.

Wallace played the clip of the ad, which called Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for sending his children to a school with armed protection while opposing it for other schools. (That ad has actually been proven false.)

Wallace asked LaPierre if he regretted putting up the ad. He avoided the question and said the point of the ad was “not to pick on the President’s kids.”

Here’s the most contentious exchange:

LAPIERRE: The President’s kids are safe, and we’re all thankful for that.
WALLACE: They also face a threat that most people do not face.

LAPIERRE: Tell that to the people in Newtown! Tell that to the people in Newtown.

WALLACE: Do you really think that the President’s children are the same kind of target as every schoolchild in America? I think that’s ridiculous, and you know it, sir.

Here’s the video of the interview:

It seems as if the entire gun safety debate has boiled down to a huge argument over the AR-15 rifle.  What is it about that gun anyway?   The New York Times has a very long read about it headlined The AR-15: The Most Wanted Gun in America.

THE phone rings again at Pasadena Pawn and Gun, and a familiar question comes down the line: “Got any ARs?”

The answer is no. Pasadena Pawn and Gun, a gun retailer and pawnshop 15 miles south of Baltimore, is pretty much sold out of America’s most wanted gun, the AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle. Since the massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December, the AR-15, the military-style weapon that the police say was used in the shootings, has been selling fast here and across the nation.

Before Newtown, the rifles sold for about $1,100, on average. Now some retailers charge twice that. At Pasadena Pawn, on the wall behind glass counters of handguns, are three dozen or so AR-15-style rifles. Dangling from nearly every one is a tag that says “Sold.”

hellokitty_ar15assault_2

Is that sick or what? Basically, the gun has become a fashion statement–like an expensive handbag or pair of shoes.

“The AR-15, it’s kind of fashionable,” says Frank Loane Sr., the proprietor. His shop has a revolving waiting list for the rifles, and a handful of people are now on it. “The young generation likes them, the assault-looking guns.”

Sick. I don’t know how else to react to that.

As everyone knows, the White House released a photo of President Obama shooting a gun–supposedly he was skeet shooting at Camp David–in response to demands from wingnuts like Marsha Blackburn.

Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, expressed doubt about Obama’s skeet shooting.

“You know, if you don’t have the photos, if this is not something that’s a new hobby, then I think he should invite me out to Camp David and I’ll challenge him,” Blackburn said on CNN, according to a transcript.

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