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Willa Frej   |   November 24, 2015    7:50 AM ET

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) recently praised U.S. security officials for keeping the country safe in the years since the 9/11 attacks, but also highlighted the threats posed by white men who carry out mass shootings.

The terrorist attacks that killed 130 in Paris on Nov. 13 have reignited a discussion about security within the U.S., prompting politicians to opine on foreign versus domestic threats.

“I think most of us recognize that we’re concerned but we also know that we trust the FBI and our security forces to do this right,” Brown told WAKR radio last week. “Since the beginning of the Bush administration when we were attacked, Sept. 11, we’ve not had any major terrorist attack in this country. We’ve had individual crazy people; normally, they look more like me than they look like Middle Easterners. They are generally white males, who have shot up people in movie theaters and schools. Those are terrorist attacks; they’re just different kinds of terrorists.”

Individuals shouldn't live in fear of being attacked, he added, because the federal government and local communities have "done a pretty good job keeping us safe" from "foreigners attacking this country," he added.

Yet there are still "crazy gunmen" who enter schools and movie theaters, he noted. The U.S. is home to 31 percent of the world's mass shooters, a larger share than any other country, according to a recent study by University of Alabama criminologist Adam Lankford.

Other politicians have expressed similar sentiments. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (D) said he's more afraid of "large gatherings of white men that come into schools, theaters and shoot people up."

Also on HuffPost:

The Lepers in America

René Zografos   |   November 23, 2015    3:08 PM ET

While many Americans have two or three jobs on a daily basis, there are at the same time many people who are left outside of the daily working and social life. If we compare Americans' labor force to countries elsewhere, we find that US workers put in more working hours than any other industrial nation in the world. Americans work more than a month more annually than the Japanese, and three months more than the Germans, three months more than Germans who are the locomotive in the European economy!

People abroad believe America must think twice about their work situation, because to work as much as Americans do may be self-destructive for individuals as well as the country itself.
First of all, an American with an average, normal salary should be able to live from that one job. It's not healthy to go from one job to another day after day while your kids are waiting for you at home. That stress can cause illness, heart attacks, depression, and problems in many relationships. At the same time, we find many people who are left outside for different reasons such as expensive education, learning problems, drugs, and many other applicants who also want jobs.

Second, we also know that many American workers don't have statutory right to paid vacations, and if we count in the days during the different Holidays seasons where many industrial countries have days and weeks off, Americans again come in last place.

Because of this, it's also very challenging to be left outside the working life in the US, in America, more than any other country in the world; to participate at school, having a job and a career is significant. Through school and job you can find mates, activities, gatherings and a social life. If you count in that America is about money and wealth, these people without jobs are becoming the lepers in America with very few to socialize with in addition to less wealth.

The result of this kind of labor policy is that America has exhausted people working with little spare time. At the same you have unemployed people with enough time that are forced outside of the daily society and are not let in.

To include everyone gives a warmer and healthier society. Photo: René Zografos

Since the prices to get a decent education have risen enormously the last decade, America automatically excludes youngsters from the daily society. For many young people, it's essential to have an education in today's competitive America.

What I also have learned from other cultures is that there must be both work and play time. That the healthiest and also the most prosperous countries can balance between work and leisure time. The best industrial countries in the world are also great at involving most of the population into working life - no matter what background they have.

America may try to learn and adopt something from these countries. Let unemployed get work; pay all workers a minimum wage they can live from, let all Americans; to start with, have two statutory weeks off. It will most likely be paid back with interest with hardworking, loyal, motivated and healthy staff. There will then be fewer poor people and less crime. The middle class will bloom and suddenly you will have a nation of well-paying customers that will bring America back to the glory days. Today's politics just does not work for the common American, and therefore, changes that involve and lead all Americans into a brighter future seems to be the right direction - for both rich or poor, because it's not necessary to have any more lepers in today's America.

New Reality TV From TLC and the NRA: Baby's Got a Gun

Joseph Huff-Hannon   |   November 23, 2015   12:38 PM ET

(I just received this press release from a PR flack at TLC. A new reality show about America's armed and dangerous toddlers? WTF?? Is this for real?!?)

WASHINGTON, DC. Nov. 23, 2015 / PRNewswire -- Discovery Communications announced today the launch of Baby's Got a Gun, a new reality television series coming to American homes this Spring, from the team at TLC who catapulted the nation's sassiest sweetheart to fame in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

The new show explores a precocious cast of all American characters passionate about the Second Amendment. The series is part of a new partnership with the National Rifle Association (NRA), America's premiere organization for sport shooting enthusiasts.

Baby's Got a Gun follows a fast-growing but deeply misunderstood American demographic; one that's received a bum rap in recent sensationalist media coverage.

But don't believe the hype! These American toddlers are standing their ground with the best of them, taking part in target practice and Open Carry demonstrations across the country, and having a blast all the way. Discovery Communications is thrilled to unveil a sneak peak of the new network trailer:

"With Toddlers in Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC pulled back the curtain on pageant culture and introduced us to a pint sized American icon," said Raquelle Simmons, Vice President for Acquisitions at Discovery Communications. "Viewers will no doubt be equally bewitched by this intimate tag-along with a group of rootin tootin shootin American youngsters."

Gun owning toddlers have received an unusual amount of attention in the American news media recently, not all of it positive. Baby's Got a Gun is a corrective to some of that biased reporting.

The program is the brainchild of the National Rifle Association's "Eddie Eagle" program, the wildly successful GunSafe® curriculum for children. The NRA is providing some of the program's more high calibre props.

"The liberal media has been having a field day with inaccurate depictions of young Americans shooting their parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, and even babysitters," said Dr. Lisa Monroe, NRA spokesperson and child firearm safety expert. "We are thrilled that this show is leaving the politics behind, and letting these kids speak and shoot for themselves."

Baby's Got a Gun premieres on Thanksgiving on November 26, at 8:00 pm ET on TLC, available in most major cable markets. A pre-launch party is scheduled Wednesday November 25, 6pm ET, at Kissimmee Florida's new all ages amusement park, Machine Gun America.

To learn more about Baby's Got a Gun contact the NRA at:
1-800-231-0752 or


PS) This is a work of satire, though just barely: "Senate Democrats want to know why American toddlers keep shooting people" The Washington Post recently reported. The author is working on a new play about American gun culture, with a particular focus on America's increasingly armed tots.

Selective Good and Selective Silence -- The Politics of Corporate Social Good and Guns

Rebecca Bond   |   November 23, 2015    4:35 AM ET

Last month our gun safety organization Evolve issued a challenge to Walmart on MSNBC asking them to promote gun safety on the biggest shopping day of the year. Which also happens to be one of the biggest gun sales day of the year: Black Friday.

Imagine if America had gun safety conversations en masse at Walmart? At the time when the most guns and accessories are sold (2014 was the second largest day in gun sales history, with the FBI reporting almost three background checks every second. If we did this, there might be one less "if only" after we read about yet another avoidable shooting of a 6-year-old. If we could amplify that message through the largest community-driven retailer in the world, with 2.2 million employees and over 10,000 stores. THAT would be a bold "make a difference" move. All brought to you by socially responsible Walmart.

Walmart recently got great reviews for doing something to prevent kids dying in hot car seats. Walmart reminds us that 39 infants and toddlers die annually in hot cars, and explains that they have taken on this cause because "there are millions of cars in the parking lot." I applaud them for this proactive effort. But of course, everyone is pro safety when it comes to kids dying in hot cars. Who would argue with innovating new ways to prevent this?

In contrast, we all know the hot potato of guns and politics makes companies duck-and-cover when it comes to anything to do with gun safety. Yet, with all the guns carried out of Walmart into those same parking lots, it would be nice if some of those gun buyers were reminded of the rules of gun safety before they got home. Does it sound odd that Walmart, Starbucks or the NBA would ever promote gun safety? No more than Breast Cancer Awareness "pinkafication" and NFL players wearing pink ribbons on their jerseys and cleats.

What exactly are they afraid of? Apparently, all it takes is one extreme person to start protesting that industry-standard gun safety measures are restricting my second amendment rights. That's when behemoth brands like Walmart start to get nervous and fill up their marketing calendars with car seats and sustainability. But all it takes to fix that problem is a voice. The voice of the customer. And the voice of Walmart. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about the "silence of good people" as an obstacle to Civil Rights progress -- I would revise that statement today and say it's the silence of good companies that is holding back progress. Selective good and selective silence, rather than consistently doing the right thing for the communities that they profit from.

Doing the right thing as a socially responsible brand takes leadership, creativity and vision. With some bravery and heart too. Brands who seek this lofty status, need to take on those challenges, if they aspire to be the authentic voice of today's customers.

People who sell dangerous products have always endured a conflict. As global brands, they must weigh conscience with commerce. Efforts to keep people safe must be seriously undertaken, otherwise it is superficially selective in social good.

So with alcohol, bars check IDs, even when you look over 40. Spirits brands promote designated driver campaigns, even though it is, in effect telling people NOT to consume their product. And yet spirits sales are just fine. As far as regulation, the alcohol industry has shown that if you "self-regulate" with massive safety efforts -- making lots of great ads, partnering with brands such as Uber -- it's a halo effect of good and you get left alone by government regulators. Given all this, why aren't more of the mass retailers who sell gun products, actively partnering and supporting what could make gun safety as memorable and iconic as "Friends don't let friends drive drunk"?

Maybe we just need to tell them that someone IS looking.

Jennifer Bendery   |   November 22, 2015    6:30 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton has said that, as president, she would use her executive authority to tighten a loophole that lets people buy guns online and at gun shows without a background check.

Democrats on Capitol Hill want President Barack Obama to just do it now.

In separate letters, more than 120 House and Senate Democrats wrote to Obama on Monday urging him to take executive action to eliminate ambiguity surrounding the term "engaged in the business" as it relates to federally licensed firearms dealers.

Currently, only licensed gun dealers are required to perform background checks for all gun sales, and only those "engaged in the business" of dealing in guns are required to get a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). But because the term is vague -- is someone "in the business" if they sell eight guns? Seven guns? -- people can sell guns at a high volume online or at gun shows without performing background checks.

"Updating the definition of 'engaged in the business' to provide more explicit guidance as to which gun sellers are required to obtain a federal firearms license would not impact a father giving a gun to his son, or an individual selling his gun on the internet," reads the Senate letter. "But it will help ensure that individuals are not able to continue to ... sell guns at a high volume without any oversight by ATF and without conducting background checks."

"This type of action is not without precedent," reads the House letter, "as many states have provided this type of explicit guidance regarding which vendors engaged in retail sales in the state are required to collect states' sales tax."

The effort was led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.).

Obama has previously said he's exhausted all tools available to him to strengthen gun control. He signed 23 executive actions on gun control in the weeks after the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. But in the absence of congressional action, there's only so much he can do.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Administration officials told The Washington Post's Greg Sargent in October that the idea is far more complicated than it might seem and could lead to legal challenges. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said earlier this month he's not sure if Clinton's proposal, also backed by fellow Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley, is doable.

"I'm not sure that the administration has conducted a legal analysis of their specific proposals," Earnest said at his Nov. 3 briefing. "But what the administration is doing, at the direction of the president, is actually carefully considering what authorities are available to the president and looking to see if there are some additional steps that can be taken to prevent criminals ... from getting their hands on a gun so easily."

Democrats have recently stepped up their calls on Obama to act on gun control, perhaps because his time in the White House is winding down. A few lawmakers wrote to him earlier this month urging him to use his authority to require gun manufacturers who sell guns to the government to use stricter safety measures, such as researching "smart guns" and working with law enforcement.

Also on HuffPost:

Nina Golgowski   |   November 19, 2015   11:55 AM ET

Authorities in California on Wednesday confiscated more than 500 firearms and 100,000 rounds of ammunition in the state's largest illegal weapons seizure from a single home.

The massive cache was taken from a Fresno County man who had been prohibited from possessing firearms due to a previous mental health hold, said Kamala Harris, the state's attorney general.

California Department of Justice agents arrested Albert Sheakalee, 59, for illegal firearms possession. They told local outlet ABC30 News that Sheakalee was formerly a federal arms dealer. He was released after posting $11,000 bail, prosecutors said. 

His collection included 209 handguns, 88 shotguns, 234 rifles, 181 standard-capacity magazines, 10 high-capacity magazines, 100,521 rounds of various ammunition, and 10 assault weapons, the attorney general's office said.

Sheakalee lost his license to sell firearms last year and his right to own them this year, ABC30 News reported. He was treated for mental health issues three times in June, and his name was added to state’s Armed Prohibited Persons System.


The attorney general's office describes that system as a first-of-its-kind automated database that tracks owners of handguns or assault weapons "who might fall into a prohibited status."

"Obviously when a person is admitted into a hospital for a mental health hold it's because he's believed to be a danger to himself or to the public," DOJ Special Agent-In-Charge Michael Haroldsen told ABC30.

Harris said the raid is proof of APPS's continuing success.

Since November 2013, the number of individuals in APPS has been reduced by nearly half, dropping to a historic low, her office said.

"Over the last two years, the California Department of Justice has doubled the average number of guns seized annually and increased the number of investigations per month by nearly 300%, allowing special agents to conduct 17,465 investigations as of October 30, 2015," the office said in a release.

"Removing firearms from dangerous and violent individuals who pose a threat to themselves and the public is a top priority for the California Department of Justice," Harris said in the release. "I thank our Bureau of Firearms Special Agents for their bravery in carrying out these dangerous investigations and their commitment to keeping our communities safe."

Shaklee's son told the station he and his father run a weapons dealership out of the home and that all but one of the firearms were registered to either himself or his father.

Even if the weapons were registered, Haroldsen said, it was concerning to see how they were being stored.  

"These firearms were not stored in safes or locked up, so anyone breaking into his home would have had access to any of these guns," he said.

Paris Attack Elicits More Gun-free Zone Nonsense From Trump and Company

Mike Weisser   |   November 16, 2015    3:03 PM ET

It only took The Donald a couple of hours to figure out how to use the Paris craziness to once again demonstrate that if there's something worth saying in a totally outrageous way, he'll figure it out. And while the other Republican presidential candidates initially kept to themselves about what happened in the City of Light, leave it to Trump to jump onto Twitter and let fly with what we now expect from him, namely, a comment that is obscenely stupid or totally false, or both.

In this case, along with making some statements about Syrian refugees that could have easily tumbled out of the mouth of the fascist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, we were then treated to what has become the standard Trump-ism for dealing with all the world's problems, namely, giving everyone a gun. Here's how he 'analyzed' the problem, in Paris: "If they had guns, if our people were allowed to carry, it would have been a much different situation.

And to make sure that nobody would fail to make the connection between everything that's wrong in the world and the Kenyan-born occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Trump went on to say, "You look at certain cities that have the highest violence with guns and shootings and killings -- Chicago is an example, toughest gun laws in the United States."

When you stop to think about it, however, why should we condemn Trump for reminding us about the dangers of gun-free zones, when the NRA has been saying the same thing for years? Isn't this what Wayne-o said one week after Sandy Hook? Isn't this what red-meat noisemakers like Breitbart say every chance they get? In fact, it appears that the tweet put out there by Trump-o was actually a replay of what he tweeted back in January after the Charlie Hebdo attack. One way or another, the phrase 'gun-free zone' has become a standard part of the American political lexicon and Trump-o can't be blamed just because he gives it yet another digital whirl.

On the other hand, if Trump is going to talk about the negative results of gun control in the city whose current residents include the president of the United States, sooner or later someone from the media might actually try to earn a day's salary by asking him about gun-control efforts in his own city, in this case not his adopted home town, but the place where he was born, which happens to be New York. Because, in fact, New York boasts the country's toughest gun-control statute known as the Sullivan Act, which went into effect before World War I. And the result of this law is that The Big Apple is, to all intents and purposes, a totally gun-free zone. If you're willing to plunk down $434.95 and wait six months, you might be allowed to keep an unloaded gun in your home, but as for concealed-carry, unless you're Donald Trump, fuggedabout it, which means, don't waste your time.

Now it just so happens that this gun-free zone containing 8 million people has a gun-homicide rate of 2.2 per 100,000 residents, which makes it far and away the safest city -- in terms of gun violence -- in the entire United States. Chicago's gun homicide rate is 4 times higher, Los Angeles comes in at 3.52. And the neighborhood where Trump-o himself lives has not seen a single gun homicide or any kind of homicide for the last several years. And don't think for one second that there aren't plenty of opportunities for the bad guys to bring guns into New York; the city of Newark right across the harbor just recorded its 44th gun homicide in 2015 which works out to an annual rate of nearly 16.

Want to understand the connection between gun-free zones and gun violence? It's about the same as the connection between the crime rate in New York City and the gun that Trump claims he maybe carries around all or maybe some of the time.

Carla Herreria   |   November 16, 2015   12:30 AM ET

HONOLULU (AP) — A United Kingdom citizen who is a legal permanent resident of the United States alleges in a lawsuit that the Honolulu Police Department discriminates against non-U.S. citizens by making it difficult for them to obtain firearm permits.

Hawaii has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation. Hawaii is the only state that requires firearms to be registered at a statewide level, which is done through county police departments. Hawaii's permit allows someone to purchase a firearm, transport it to limited places such as a shooting range or gunsmith, or use it for hunting.

Hawaii only granted permits to U.S. citizens until a federal judge in Honolulu last year ruled that's unconstitutional.

The department is trying to get around that ruling by verbally requiring those with green cards to obtain additional clearance from their countries of citizenship, said the lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Honolulu.

Honolulu resident Andrew Namiki Roberts, who was born in England, was given a permit to acquire rifles and shotguns, which must first be obtained before purchasing one. He then took a firearms safety course, which is required to obtain a permit for a handgun, according to his lawsuit. But when the self-employed photographer tried to get a handgun permit, he was told his background check was deemed incomplete and that he needed a letter from the British consulate clearing his background.

His lawyer, Richard Holcomb, said the department couldn't produce written policy about requiring such documentation, but even if it could, it's an unfair requirement. "They can't discriminate against permanent resident aliens," he said.

The department won't comment on pending litigation, police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said.

The lawsuit notes that Hawaii law says if the permit applicant is not a U.S. citizen and is eligible to acquire a firearm, an inquiry on the applicant will be made using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement databases.

The department also revoked his previously issued permit that allowed him to purchase a shotgun and then seized the weapon he bought from Sports Authority, the lawsuit said.

Requiring Roberts, who has been a permanent resident for about nine years, to get additional documentation from England is like requiring U.S. citizens to obtain clearances from countries they've lived in previously, Holcomb said.

"Mr. Roberts has the constitutional right to keep and possess firearms in his home for the purpose of self-defense," his lawsuit said.

Also on HuffPost:

Buckminster Fuller on the Paris Massacre, Politics, Guns & the Survival of the Human Species

L. Steven Sieden   |   November 15, 2015    2:14 PM ET

In the shadow of the Paris incidents, I again turn my attention to the wisdom and perspective of a great teacher and mentor - Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller. Although Bucky (as he preferred to be called) is no longer the household name he was a few decades ago when he was available to us in a physical body, some of us recognize that he was, in fact, one of the first truly global citizens concerned about all life on the planet he named Spaceship Earth.
He consistently a very specific mission from 1927 when he was such a "failure" that he seriously contemplated suicide, until his death in 1983. That global mission and vision is reflected in the question he often asked himself and his audiences ...

"How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?"

Simplifying even more, the issue Bucky devoted his entire adult lift to is ... shifting our focus and resources from weaponry to what Bucky labeled livingry. This transformation only became a viable possibility in 1976. It was then that (as Bucky predicted in the 1930's) we reached a point on our planet where there was (and still are) enough resources to support all life. Actually, Bucky claimed that there are enough resources to support all life and all humans at a higher standard of living than anyone currently living knows.

Radical as this idea may seem, it is true, and Bucky proved it with hard data decades before such a possibility was even a science fiction dream for most people. This is a reality that few people know about, much less embrace or advocate, but it's crucial to our survival and success as a species and as individuals. As Bucky reminded his audiences time and time again over the course of many decades ...

"It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary. War is obsolete. It is a mater of converting the high technology from weaponry to livingry."

What this means is that had we shifted our focus and resources from weaponry to livingry, there would have been no Paris massacre or any other warring events perpetrated by terrorists or governments. People living a good life with all the resources they want and need including food, shelter, education, health care, etc. would not pick up a bomb or gun and kill their fellow travelers on the planet Bucky named Spaceship Earth. Perspective terrorists, patriots and soldiers could also not be convinced to take up arms by a few deranged individuals who clearly require help with their mental illness.

In addition, when we shift from weaponry to livingry, those mentally ill individuals who continue to espouse violence, killing and war will stand out from the norm so much that they'll quickly receive the mental health care they need or be confined to humane institutions where they can do no harm to themselves or others. That's how a sane, abundant society takes care of people. They don't use weaponry to hunt them down like rabid animals. We find them and help them as best we can.

Accordingly, the Paris massacre and all the other acts of violence occurring almost daily on our planet can be solved quite easily once we realize that it's not an issue of power or might defeating right but an issue of educating people. As Bucky so often reminded us ...

"There is no energy crisis, food crisis or environmental crisis. There is only a crisis of ignorance."

Once you understand and appreciate this perspective, it becomes a matter how to most effectively efficiently create a paradigm shift in which most people know and accept the reality of this truth. Again, we can turn to Bucky for the answer. After all, he was the person who in 1927 turned his entire life into an experiment to determine and document what one individual could achieve that could not be accomplished by any government, corporation, religion or other organization no matter how large or powerful. Here's what he advised on this subject ...

"Never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person."

It's now time to seriously take this sage advice. The old paradigm of competition, war and greed are no longer viable. These must be replaced by cooperation, peace and sharing the bounty that our tiny fragile planet has provided us. If not, we'll just continue on with politics (which Bucky told us is obsolete) as usual. And as Bucky reminded us over and over (and we've seen again and again including in Paris) ...

"The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun."

What Foreigners Believe Is Wrong About America

René Zografos   |   November 13, 2015    1:56 PM ET

The echo from most parts of the world is that "America is a country with the very best and the very worst." This article is about the very worst.

Egos. Nobody can't understand the selfish philosophy in America, why a young person or for example an unfortunate lady with a bad start in life is less valued than any others. Many people ask why there must be such a huge difference between rich and poor. Why doesn't everyone have the right to health care, to participate at schools, and to have food and a roof over their head? Where is the humanity and empathy in today's America?

Americans have more people in jail than any country in the world. Nobody understands why America needs to have so many people in jail, and what people are questioning is: Does the American society create more criminals than everywhere else? Or are the punishments in America so much harder than everywhere else? Either way, people think this is something America must deal with.

Before, a Coke and a burger were a symbol of success, youth and great living around the world. Now, American fast food is a symbol of obesity, illness and early death. While American fast food is killing people around the world, it also affects the local farmers who are no longer able to sell their local food, because people abroad strive for the American-Hollywood-illusion-life and therefore are eating American fast food. What they get instead is Western diseases. Luckily, people are starting to wake up in America and also in other countries around the world.

Photo: René Zografos
Greed. People don't understand why American companies must grow into the sky? Why must they produce and sell all over the world? People think there is a never-ending greed to earn as much money as possible - no matter what comes in their way. The general opinion is that Americans don't care about the balance in nature, or if others are suffering or are forced out of business. Americans must get their hands on as much money as they can, no matter the consequences.

Earth pollution and consumption; the whole idea of "More and bigger is better" is generally viewed as a silly thought. That Americans and American companies and citizens for decades have destroyed a lot of our soil through exploitation of our mother nature is just foolish. Everywhere in the world, people tell me that we must leave our earth in a good condition when we depart, but at the same time many Americans don't seem to care.

American bullies and the new rage from the youngsters in the US. is something that is intolerant for people abroad; there is a fury people didn't see a few years ago. People around the world are bullied by American youngsters. I am not talking about common critical sentences, but hateful, sometimes racist comments and even death threats. It's a fact that an increase of net-bullying is growing in most parts of the world, but at the same time we see more of it from America, and there are more hateful aggressive words and expressions that come from the US than anywhere else. At the same time, people who meet Americans in person are saying that the American youngsters have become weird and not understandable. If there are drug problems or a harder society in America now than before is not for me or anyone outside to say, but we must at the same time look at the facts -- and that is that Americans are the new bullies in the world and people no longer understand or accept such behavior.

With so many people on drugs, desperate immigrants and poor people in a country, people feel it's quite easy to understand why there are so many accidents and attentive actions with weapons. Many think it's absurd that there is about a gun per person in America and that roughly 30,000-40,000 die or are injured by them every year. Australia has successfully tightened their gun-laws, so it should be possible to do the same in the U.S. as well.

More Guns Won't Make Us Safer

Rob Tindula   |   November 13, 2015   10:22 AM ET

Firearms have long been championed as "the great equalizer" for their ability to remove physical size from the self-defense equation. In reality however, mass shootings, police brutality, and firearm related accidents serve as daily reminders that a gun does more harm than good.

Yet in the wake of repeated violence, pro-gun rights advocates continue to preach that the ubiquitous distribution of guns is the most effective means of defense against assailants. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, which claimed the lives of 26 people, mostly children, Executive Vice President of the NRA Wayne LaPierre made the organization's position on gun control painfully clear, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."

But under further scrutiny and a little research, this argument is groundless.

For example, making the distinction between a good and bad person has not only proven to be almost impossible, but is very idealistic considering the ease at which almost anyone can acquire a firearm under the current system. Since the inception of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act on March 1, 1994 through December 31, 2012, only 1.6 percent of the nearly 148 million applications for firearm transfers or permits were denied, meaning that almost anyone without a prior felony conviction or fugitive status can purchase a weapon legally.

And unfortunately, these legally purchased guns end up being responsible for innocent civilian deaths as was the case in the recent Umpqua Community College shooting and many others. The lack of stringency coupled with the difficulty of accurately identifying potential threats is in many instances responsible for providing the tools used for committing terrible crimes.

The threat of having a legally acquired weapon falling into the wrong hands doesn't just stop there. A 2000 study on firearm storage patterns found that in homes with both children and firearms, 55 percent had one or more firearms stored in an unlocked place. This alarming lack of concern for keeping firearms under lock and key directly leads to negative consequences.

A study by Safe School Initiative found that 68 percent of school attackers acquired legal weapons from either their own home or a relative. Moreover, data from the U.S. Department of Justice from 2005-2010 shows that on average, more legally purchased guns were stolen during burglaries annually, 232,400, than applications for guns were denied, 142,167.

The issue of legally purchased firearms often ending up in the wrong place aside, a study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that the notion of guns being used for protection in the home is also bogus. The study concluded that there was little evidence to suggest the protective effect of keeping a gun in your home, even in the small subset that involved forced entry, because the vast majority, 76.7 percent, of homicide victims in their home were killed by a relative or someone known to them and that, "efforts to increase home security have largely focused on preventing unwanted entry, but the greatest threat to the lives of household members appears to come from within."

This threat from within seems to also include protection from ourselves as data from the CDC reveals that in 2013, Americans were about twice as likely to take his/her life by firearm than commit a homicide with a gun. Therefore, while typically considered a defensive tool, firearms aren't often used for protection against outside forces.

Even if a firearm is in the correct hands, they can escalate a seemingly innocuous situation into something deadly. This occurs frequently in law enforcement. Take for example the recent cases of Samuel Dubose, 17-year-old Deven Guilford, and David Kassick, all of whom were unarmed but shot and killed by police this year after being stopped in traffic. While it's true that each victim exhibited some form of resistance, the bottom line is that they were all unarmed and the police officer's own weapon was responsible for accelerating the situation to the point of an innocent person's death. Guns intended for protection can have just as unfair and tragic consequences as those that aren't.

While repeated acts of violence have garnered support in the form of prayer, it has not translated into legislation, which has proven to be the most effective method of preventing these tragedies.

For example, following the Dunblane school massacre in Scotland on March 3, 1996, which claimed the lives of 16 children and one teacher, the UK banned the private use of all handguns, even for most police officers. Not surprisingly, this universal respect for the power of the firearm has resulted in a far lower number of gun-related deaths and gun-related homicides than the United States.

One doesn't even need to leave the United States to see the effect of more potent legislation. Based on a state by state comparison, states with stricter gun laws yield fewer deaths. It's an obviously clear correlation. Especially considering that handguns account for far more of homicides each year than any other weapon type, making them less available would have an immediate impact.

The simple fact is that we can do something about gun violence and the evidence is overwhelming. Our system does not keep the "bad guys" from possessing guns, they do not make a home safer, they can turn a harmless situation into something fatal, and proper legislation has been proven to reduce violence. We as Americans need to turn the conversation inward and seriously weigh the consequences of our second amendment rights against the greater good. Otherwise we are willingly putting ourselves and our loved ones at risk.

The Gun Industry Is Winning Public Opinion, But They're Losing in One Key Metric

Mike Weisser   |   November 10, 2015    2:21 PM ET

It's another year until we elect the next occupant of the White House, but the gun industry is in full swing reminding gun owners that a Democratic win will result in yet another attempt to confiscate everyone's guns. And the Democrats, much to the joy of the NRA, are making it clear that gun control will be an issue in the upcoming election, particularly if the ticket is headed by a lady raised in a suburb of Chicago who would love to spend the next four years back in Washington, D.C.

The dirty little secret about the gun business is that gun sales spike upward when gun owners believe they won't be able to buy any more guns. You can get a pretty good idea of this situation from the ATF's annual report on gun manufacturing, which shows that 40 million guns were manufactured and imported between 2009 and 2012, an increase from 24 million manufactured and imported the previous four years. That's a rise of 66 percent from the last four years of George Wubbleyou through the first four years of You Know Who, and the numbers during the second term of what Rush calls 'the regime' have stayed just as strong.

Even Apple doesn't have sales increases compared to what's happened with guns. If you purchased Smith & Wesson stock for what was about three bucks a share in 2008, you could sell it today for $18. Ruger's stock was around eight bucks when Barack took the oath in 2008, now it's sitting above $52 a share. Google has gone from $200 to $700 over the same period. Guess what? The crummy, old gun business has outperformed hi-tech.

In addition to an unprecedented sales increase, the attitudes of Americans have clearly softened when it comes to attitudes about guns. The polls say that a majority of Americans believe a household with a gun is safer than a household unarmed. Americans also believe that we need more 2nd-Amendment rights and less laws regulating small arms. So under Obama the industry has achieved both remarkable sales and acceptance of a laissez-faire attitude regarding additional laws. Is it any wonder the gun industry doesn't let a day pass without trumpeting 'gun-grabbing' charges against Hillary and the rest of the 'Democrat' gang?

There's only one little problem. Underneath this blanket of good news, the gun industry is facing a problem that won't be overcome no matter how loud they talk about America's love of guns. And the problem has to do with the fact that every year the number of Americans who legally own guns keeps going down. It used to be that the decline in the percentage of households with guns was slightly less than the increase in the overall population; hence, the raw number of families with guns continued to go up. But this is no longer the case, with recent surveys showing that the drop in percentages of homes with guns has been greater than the increase in the population as a whole.

Another, even more disquieting trend facing the gun industry is that the demographic groups whose growth increasingly spurs population as a whole -- women, new immigrants, minorities, millennials -- are not particularly pro-gun. Dana Loesch can yap all she wants about the 'millions' of American mothers who protect their families by being armed and Colion whatever-his-name can prance around with an AR telling inner-city residents that a gun will make them 'free,' but both of those canned and stupid scripts are falling on deaf ears.

I would love to see just one survey which after finding that a majority of Americans believe that a gun will protect them from crime, then ask the same population whether they have actually gone out and bought a gun. It hasn't happened, it's not going to happen, and the gun industry knows full well that for a majority of Americans, there's no love lost with guns.

The Price of 'Normalizing' Open Carry

Josh Horwitz   |   November 10, 2015    9:48 AM ET

Those who advocate the Open Carry of firearms in public have been telling us for some time that their goal is to "normalize" this behavior. On October 31, we learned the price of treating such threatening and dangerous behavior as normal, and it might have been three human lives.

On Halloween Day, Naomi Bettis of Colorado Springs saw her neighbor across the street walking around with a black rifle, a handgun and two gasoline cans, and she called 911 promptly at 8:45 a.m. Bettis was so unnerved by what she saw that she canceled her own plans to get in her car and leave home. She also reported that the man appeared to have broken the window of a ground-floor business.

The dispatcher's response to Bettis? "Well, it is an open carry state, so he can have a weapon with him or walking around with it, but of course, having those gas cans, it does seem pretty suspicious. So we're going to keep the call going for that." The dispatcher ultimately created a possible burglary in progress call. Colorado Springs police have clarified that a priority 2 level call of this nature describes a situation "with potentially dangerous circumstance but no apparent imminent life threat." No officers were dispatched to the scene.

At 8:56 a.m., Bettis called 911 again. By this time it was too late to prevent tragedy. "Some guy was just riding his bike through the alley and the guy [armed with the rifle] started shooting him," Bettis reported, crying. "[The man who was on the bike is] laying in the driveway ... Please send somebody here." Finally, all available officers and an ambulance were dispatched. Not until several minutes into this second call does Bettis confirm that she can see officers on the scene.

Police confronted the suspect, Noah Harpham, 33, in the street. When he pointed a gun at the officers, they were forced to kill him. He was armed with an AR-15 rifle, a .357 caliber revolver and a 9mm semiautomatic pistol. By the time they brought him down, Harpham had killed three people: bicyclist Andrew Alan Myers, 35; and then Jennifer Vasquez, 42, and Christy Galella, 35.

Bettis was stunned by the lack of response to her first call. She had done her duty as a citizen, and could not understand why officers weren't immediately dispatched during her first 911 call when there was still an opportunity to prevent the loss of innocent life.

Many law enforcement officers were stunned as well. Jacki Kelley, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Colorado, demonstrated law enforcement's quandary. "Is this person exercising their rights or about to start a very serious situation in which someone is going to be killed?" she said. "We just don't know the difference." John Jackson, a past president of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, and the current Greenwood Village police chief, said, "You legalize it to be OK to carry a gun and the hard part of that is it only takes moments to level the barrel of a gun and shoot someone." Dan Montgomery, who served for 47 years as a police officer, including 25 years as the chief of police of Westminster, Colorado, expressed frustration, stating, "If you've got someone walking down the street and they are holding a rifle in their hands, that requires an emergency response by police. What the hell are they doing with the rifle?"

The situation is not intractable, however. The Colorado state legislature has the ability to repeal the state's Open Carry law so this behavior is now treated with the seriousness it deserves.

The city of Colorado Spring has options as well. Colorado does have an NRA-drafted preemption law in place that restricts the ability of local governments to regulate firearms, but the city of Denver challenged the law, and in 2006 the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Denver could ban the practice of Open Carry.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers sees no reason to change the city's Open Carry law, however. "What your open carry laws are don't dictate what your violent crime rate is," he said. "I have no appetite" for changing the law, he told Colorado Springs Gazette. Not surprising, given that Suthers has been in the NRA's pocket for some time. "I've had an A rating from the NRA throughout my career," he bragged in March.

That might be true, but should such a tragedy happen in Colorado Springs again, residents will know exactly who to blame for failing to learn Halloween's lesson. The next time a killer uses Colorado's Open Carry law to gain the critical minutes needed to center in on their prey, that blood will be squarely on the hands of Colorado state legislators and municipal leaders who failed to act.

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One Thing That Is Worse Than Guns

Cynthia Dill   |   November 9, 2015    1:54 PM ET

I met Jeff at the Woodfords Congregational Church, a polling place in Portland, Maine, on Election Day. He was videotaping people collecting and providing signatures to put a citizens referendum question on the ballot.

Jeff was nice. He's from Appleton and answered most of my questions politely, and didn't object to me videotaping him as he videotaped others.

When I asked whether he was carrying a gun, Jeff said no, and I was glad because he was sitting in a chair about 5 feet away from a table where pleasant-looking senior citizens were volunteering their time for democracy. Two of them told me outside later they were uncomfortable with Jeff's presence.

"This is not right," said Maureen Hyslop, a stylish woman I guessed to be in her seventies.

Another, Johannah Hart O'Brien, who had snappy barrettes in her hair and is a retired teacher of high-risk kids, was collecting signatures for the background check bill out of concern for student safety. "I feel intimidated by him," she said of Jeff, "but we created this reality with guns everywhere." And she wanted to do something about it.

Our new reality is cameras and guns are everywhere against a backdrop of a Constitution that protects speech, voting, privacy and gun ownership.

Sick and tired of police abuse and oppression, black people are filming arrests to show the public and authorities their reality, while the Justice Department recently instituted a policy of recording interrogations.

"Creating an electronic record will ensure that we have an objective account of key investigations and interactions with people who are held in federal custody," Attorney General Holder said. "It will allow us to document that detained individuals are afforded their constitutionally-protected rights. And it will also provide federal law enforcement officials with a backstop, so that they have clear and indisputable records of important statements and confessions made by individuals who have been detained."

Even the American Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights organization that "generally take(s) a dim view of the proliferation of surveillance cameras in American life," has concluded "police on-body cameras are different because of their potential to serve as a check against the abuse of power by police officers."

On Election Day in Portland, it wasn't Jeff's camera that was creepy, it was that he sat in a chair for hours aiming it at strangers that was disturbing. And for what purpose?

A friend had texted Jeff a day or so before Election Day about a new group -- Project Dirigo -- so Tuesday morning, Jeff showed up and was deputized with an official-looking badge by a guy named Shane, who Jeff met for the first time and whose last name Jeff didn't know.

Project Dirigo never had a meeting, and Jeff was unaware of any website or Facebook page, he told me. There hadn't been any emails, in fact Jeff had no idea who else was in the group besides his one friend who sent him the text message, his wife and Shane, who gave him the camera and a mission to "protect" the integrity of the petition process.

Jeff's charge was to tape people for hours at the polls, and he did. When I asked him what the purpose of the videotaping was, Jeff said he didn't really know -- just that the tapes would be used to make sure the rules weren't broken.

When I asked Jeff what the rules are, he didn't know, but one thing is certain. Jeff, his wife and his friend are members of the NRA and they oppose the background check bill, and Shane Belanger is the past president of the Maine Open Carry Association, according to news reports.

When I asked Jeff his last name, he laughed and refused to give it to me. "I don't give my name out to random people," he said as his camera captured the images and conversations of strangers.

Videotaping people is like burning flags. It isn't an issue that's black and white, or red or blue.

I met Gregory Trueworthy, a retired Army Ranger and Republican, outside of the church. He had very white teeth was sporting fitted military-like attire that showed off his big guns. A self-described "Second Amendment guy," he supports background checks and believes people who want to carry concealed weapons should be required to get a permit.

Trueworthy told me he is "security sensitive," and spotted Jeff and the camera immediately upon entering the polling place. He "didn't like it," and thinks Jeff should not be allowed to film people without their permission.

Most of the people I spoke to outside of the polling place, however, felt differently. Many didn't even notice Jeff's camera, and those who did appeared to care little.

A guy videotaping people collecting signatures might be scary to some, but more frightening to me is that a guy like Jeff joined a group in response to a text message, and traveled from Appleton to Portland to wear a badge and spend the day videotaping people for a cause he knows very little about.

So you're uncomfortable with Jeff and his camera? Welcome to America. Others are uncomfortable with you, or with gay marriage, or with protesting. To be uncomfortable and free is our creed.

Jeff's camera is not scary, but his apparent blind faith to join a group simply because it purports to support guns is scary. People joining ideological groups without knowing answers to basic questions is scariest of all.

Jeff didn't know the rules about collecting signatures to put a question on the ballot about background checks for gun buyers, but he was eager to make the trip from Appleton on Tuesday to videotape strangers to make sure they weren't broken.

Cameras aren't going away. Electronic recordings are mashed together with security concerns and justice in an era of terrorism and technology so we might as well embrace their potential while we search for answers to questions about privacy.

Maybe the only thing that can stop a bad person with a video camera is a good person with a video camera.