In Response to Dana Loesch: Colorado Senator Claims RECALL is Racist

Missouri native Dana Loesch–with no knowledge of race history or Pueblo politics–wants you to believe that the recall against Senator Angela Giron in Pueblo is in no way race or gender motivated. She cites the fact that Latino Representatives Ed Vigil and Leroy Garcia aren't being recalled as proof positive that the recall against Giron isn't in any way race related. The problem is those gal darn conservative pals of hers who spent an entire legislative session race and gender baiting Senator Giron and others.

Before we get to the nitty gritty, we'll cast misogyny aside for a lesson in Colorado race history: Assuming that people identify as Latino based on their surname is prejudiced in itself. Loesch likely assumes, since she probably didn't ask Representatives Vigil and Garcia, that their Spanish surnames mean they think of themselves as Latino. Colorado reality check: The Spanish are European and many families with Spanish surnames have been here since the Spanish granted them land long before the Mexican-American War. Hence, many people with Spanish surnames in Colorado don't identify as Latino. 

Loesch's barely-west-of-the-Mississippi mentality certainly makes an ass out of her, but what's got me hot are the racist, misogynist asses she's dismissing or, worse, parroting. 

Get ready for the really nasty stuff.

You've met Nik Andrasik before, but here's a reminder from the Colorado Springs Independent:

During the legislative debates surrounding high-capacity magazines, [Andrasik] had this to say about Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora: "Fields back up, being a vacuous cunt as usual."

On Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood: "Rep Pettersen asking about more limitations – she's a stunning cunt."

On Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton: "Salazar is a fucking retard."

Or how about the time Franklin Sain sent Representative Rhonda Fields a nice letter reported by 9News…

“There will be blood! I’m coming for you, n—– b—–.”

And while Colorado Peak Politics actively decried racism when one of Tom Tancredo's buddies stereotyped Rep. Fields by saying she looked

kinda gangsta in Bronco orange

Only minutes earlier they tried to teach a Latina Senator from Pueblo how to pronounce her own name.

So when Senator Giron "turns up missing" at a town hall meeting, maybe its because some of the people who turned out for it are just plain scary, racist misogynists who make death threats. And when Senator Giron tells The Pueblo Chieftain that the recall effort against her is

partially about me being a Latina and being in this position of authority

Dana Loesch should just shut up or, better yet, admit that Giron has a point and quit whining about how people of color "play" the race card when its the card that jerks like Colorado Peak Politics keep dealing.

There’s a reason the NRA wants to keep the terror gap open

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the NYPD Intelligence Division are currently investigating threats against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as well as the Director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Both men received envelopes containing ricin over the weekend. Before the gun crazies start jumping up and down disclaiming the terrorist moniker it should be made clear that the connection to gun violence prevention was more than just implied.

According to NBC News:

The writer made threatening comments about Bloomberg’s support for gun control, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public information Paul Browne said.  The letter to Bloomberg was opened on Sunday, and the letter in Washington was opened on Friday.​ 

So, just to recap: Mayors Against Illegal Guns supports common sense public safety laws like background checks on gun sales (90% support) and prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing or possessing a gun (88% support).

Surely, you say, keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists is a policy that the NRA could support!

Well, you're wrong.  And that fact begs the question: Why does the NRA want terrorists–like those who sent ricin-laced letters to a public official–to have access to guns?

Good gun policy or the GOP’s latest idea for a first-person shooter?

Senator Kent Lambert must like video games a lot.

Colorado Senate Bill 13-062 reads like a cross between the latest edition to the Tycoon series and an exciting first-person shooter.

In Senator Lambert's video game, you're a lone hero with a gun. In the opening scenario, you're sitting quietly in a dark movie theater when suddenly a young man dressed like The Joker bursts through a door bearing an assault weapon with an endless supply of ammunition.  Did the business post signage prohibiting guns on the premises? Do they have a security guard? Nope and nope! You answer the "call of duty" (is it 5 or 6, now? Who gives a rat's ass?!?!) and jump up to defend the crowd. Oops! You took out an innocent civilian! Negative 3 points. Too bad. "Shoot first, ask questions later," we always say. 

In the second level, you leave your gun at home for a parent-teacher conference at your kindergartner's posh private school. They don't have a security guard with a gun, but they clearly post signage prohibiting guns on campus. Suddenly, the school's counselor, who's tired of selling spoiled rich kids' failing grades to Harvard, loses it and kicks open the door to the classroom you're in. She points a semi-automatic 9mm handgun with a high capacity magazine at the principal. You take immediate action and try to tackle the shooter, but you get clipped in the process. A second later, the unarmed security guard wrestles the gun from the deranged school counselor. Sure you could have ducked and let the unarmed staff do their job, but Rambo took no prisoners, so why should you? 

You sue the school for millions and buy a tank for round three: Fighting the tyranny of the most democratic nation on the planet!

We have to thank Senator Lambert for such entertaining and creative ideas. After he loses his next election, we see a great future for him in the video game industry.

The fiction versus reality of guns in Colorado

On SaturdayВ The Denver Post’sВ Jordan Steffen reported that “Almost 1,000 people gathered outside the Colorado state Capitol.” Based on the pictures taken by Andy Cross, its difficult to see howВ The Denver PostВ derived its estimate of 1,000 people. Counting approximately 40 people in the front row and then counting 10 to 12 rows back, it seems a generous estimate would be about 500 people.

Leaving aside the numbers, Steffen’s reporting also failed to address the fundamental disconnect between what gun owners are protesting and what state lawmakers and President Obama are proposing.

Many [attendees] held up signs with messages such as “Party like it’s 1776” and “Registration is the first step to confiscation.”

Gohlke, a competitive shooter, drove up from Colorado Springs to attend the rally, she said.

“I’m worried that Obama is going to take my gun away. I’m not only worried as a competitive shooter but as a woman who would like to defend myself,” Gohlke said. “The more laws there are, the more criminals there are going to be.”

State Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, spoke at the rally[…]

“The Second Amendment serves as a defense against tyranny, and I will not compromise on that issue,” Holbert said. “I am not going to compromise on the Second Amendment.”

In reality, President Obama’s plan would:

  1. Close the background check loophole to keep guns out of dangerous hands (polls with 83% support in Colorado)
  2. Ban military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines (polls with 62% support in Colorado)
  3. Help schools invest in safety
  4. Improve mental health services for young people

Contrary to all the fear mongering, nobody is trying to take people’s guns away; a registration system has not been proposed; there is no looming tyrannical threat; laws only create criminals if people choose to break the law; and the Second Amendment right to “bear arms” is only being compromised against its own provision for “a well-regulated militia.”


Getting serious about gun violence prevention means fighting disinformation

Tomorrow marks one month since the tragic loss of 12 lives in the Aurora theater shooting. Since the shooting, nearly 1,100 more Americans have been  murdered with guns.

There are several approaches to preventing gun violence. Most gun owners favor a combination of background checks, training and criminal sanctions to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. For the most part, these are reasonable considerations. However, there’s little evidence that criminal sanctions are any more of a deterrent to criminal behavior than general gun ownership.

To contrast gun owners against the gun lobby (two very different groups), the gun lobby advocates mass proliferation of guns as a deterrent to criminal behavior.

The evidence for the “more guns, less crime” theory is skimpy at best. Most proponents of this theory cite Australia as a negative example where they claim categorical gun control has resulted in a 200% increase in crime since 1997. They neglect to point out that crime was rising at 3 times that rate before Australia’s law passed. Their second favorite example is England where they claim a near total ban on private weapons has driven crime through the roof. Likewise, they neglect to point out that the murder rate in England has fallen dramatically since the ban.

The gun lobby will never point out the ‘other’ major correlation: Just as gun ownership peaked in 1993 at 53%, the crime rate in the U.S. began to fall and continued to fall alongside gun ownership through 2007.

The truth is that there are no easy answers for effective gun violence prevention. That doesn’t mean there are NO answers.  

What we know is that every crime is:

1) Motive

2) Means

3) Opportunity

If we’re serious about gun violence prevention, we have to limit all three of those factors. Motive is the human factor. Improved mental health services, education and community policing can help. Means are the guns themselves. There may be a (paranoid) desire, but there is no realistic need for 100-round magazines that can fire out of a semi-automatic weapon in 90 seconds. Opportunities to commit crime can be limited through robust (private or public) security measures and a common sense system of background checks.

As Coloradans, the majority of us respect the logic of the 2nd Amendment. Most gun owners recognize that rights carry responsibilities. Nobody is trying to take those rights away, but every right has limits. Most people wouldn’t  shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater and defend themselves on the 1st Amendment. Likewise, responsible gun owners don’t expect others to give up their rights to life and liberty because they really like popping off a hundred targets in a row without reloading.

Despite broad support among gun owners, the general public and a broad coalition of more than 90 national organizations with broad cross interests, we have yet to hear a plan from either presidential candidate. Governors in Colorado, Wisconsin and Texas have all deferred or flat out denied the need for a plan to address gun violence.

That simply isn’t acceptable.

Special interest groups like the NRA–whose source of membership revenue is less than half of their total annual budget–are not all powerful. Many analyses show that they deserve much less credit for influencing elections than they’ve taken.

Leaders owe it to the victims and survivors of mass shootings like Aurora and Oak Creek to speak up and fight back. We owe it to ourselves to demand a plan to address the highest rate of gun violence in the democratic world.

Despite fatal gaps in gun policy silence reigns for some leaders

(It’s always “too soon”–until it’s “too late” – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This week Mayors Against Illegal Guns released a new interactive map at its petition site Based on the 2011 report “Fatal Gaps,” the state map illustrates how much more can be done to prevent senseless tragedies and renders inexcusable the claim that nothing can prevent future mass shootings.

In spite of the shaming, name calling progenitors of silence, it’s more than reasonable to ask: Is our state doing everything it can to keep guns out of the hands of people with severe mental illness?

According to new data from the FBI, the answer for many states is clearly: “No.” While Colorado has submitted more than 30,000 mental health records, it has failed to submit more than 11,000 records to the NICS data base for background checks on gun purchases.

Every missing record is a tragedy waiting to happen.  

As Mayor Hancock recently pointed out in an interview with Sam Levin at Westword, if we’re serious about gun violence prevention we have to be comprehensive in our approach to arresting gun crime. Leaders like Mayor Hancock, Rep. DeGette and Rep. Perlmutter all have different approaches to limiting gun violence and each one of them is correct.

While Mayor Hancock is careful to avoid the perception that he’s leveraging the tragedy in Aurora, he’s focused on community outreach in order to better understand the causes and soften motives behind the use of illegal guns.  Rep. DeGette is championing security measures that would outlaw certain after-market, high capacity magazines and limit the ability of dangerous people to purchase ammunition online. Rep. Perlmutter supports legislation limiting the means for maximum destruction through renewal of common sense gun laws Republicans let sunset in 2004.  

Good leaders counsel common sense solutions and know how to listen. They also know how to organize others to take action. It’s time that other leaders learned by example and proposed their own plan to prevent gun violence.

Fixing gun checks through improved NICS reporting might be a great step in the right direction.

One thing should be clear to good leaders: Silence isn’t a strategy.