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Blood moons

Gadfly | June 3rd, 2015

Blood moons and blood days at the National Rifle Association corral

There is a blood moon “gospel” of sorts among Christian fundamentalists that prophecies the Rapture, or the End Times, will begin to take place if there are four blood moons (eclipses) within one and one-half years.

According to old records, four blood moons around 1493 supposedly marked the expulsion of Jews from Spain -- and the European discovery of America. Another four heralded the founding of the state of Israel in 1948-49. Another four lunar eclipses foretold the Six Day War won by the Jews against the Arabs in 1967-68.

What happens after our next four blood moons? Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz described what could happen after the next bloody eclipses: “Institutions will collapse. Banks will close. The Stock Market will plunge. Planes will fall out of the sky. Cars will crash on the road. Government in America at every level will disintegrate. Families will be torn apart.

“In the unprecedented turmoil, our nation will be vulnerable to our enemies, who will seize the moment and attack us. There will be mass chaos, confusion, fear, grief, despair, anger, threats, danger -- judgment.”

After the recent bloody outlaw biker deaths in wacky Waco, the police shootings of young black boys and men in cities and towns in the United States too numerous to mention, and with the fact that firearms kill about 30,000 and wound about a 100,000 a year in this country, maybe that fourth bloody moon is about to rise.

In contrast, in 2012 British police officers fired just one shot while U.S. police killed 409 citizens in what were called justifiable homicides. In 2013 British cops fired their weapons three times. What is wrong with us? Are we haunted by bloody moons? In 2012 we had 8,855 murders by firearms. Britain had 30. One British cop was killed by a firearm in 2013. The U.S. lost 30 by gun that year.

Fifteen-year-old Jared Michael Padgett of Troutdale, Ore., took an assault rifle, a handgun and nine ammo magazines to his high school, killed a fellow student, shot a teacher and then killed himself. Those magazines could have held between 153 to 297 rounds. He could have killed half of the students in his high school. Fifteen-year-old Jaylen Fryberg of Seattle walked into his high school, murdered two 14-year-old girls and wounded three more before he killed himself. Two victims were cousins.

American children make up 93 percent of the children shot and killed in the 26 high-income countries in the world. What will it take to force us to join the world in the control of guns? Would we assume some gun controls if 200 first graders are shot and killed in one incident like the 20 who were slaughtered at Sandy Hook? With semi-automatic weapons with 33-round magazines triggered by a diseased mind, anything is possible. Some of those Sandy Hook six-year-olds were chopped up by as many as 11 bullets.

Over two million children live in homes where guns are not secured

Only 39 percent of parents who own guns keep guns locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition.

In Cumberland County, Ky., a five-year-old boy shot his two-year-old sister dead with a small rifle manufactured for the use of children by Keystone Sporting Arms of Pennsylvania. The rifles, colored in bright blue, pink, and rainbow, are sold under the ad line “My First Rifle.”

A Kentucky eighth grade girl invited her friends to a rifle range to shoot guns to celebrate her birthday. She got a gift of a new pink rifle from her parents as her top birthday present.

A nine-year-old girl shot and killed her shooting instructor with an Uzi at a Las Vegas machine gun range while her parents watched. The family went to the range for “fun.”

The mother of three children was home during this incident in Pueblo, Colo. Her nine-year-old found a loaded handgun in his house and gave it to his five-year-old sibling, who then shot their three-year-old sister. She survived a critical condition label.

A three-year-old Albuquerque boy wounded both of his parents, the husband in the butt and the eight-months pregnant wife in the shoulder, while they were staying in a motel. His two-year-old sister was also in the room.

Weapons enthusiast Jon Holzworth had sold a gun to his neighbor. The neighbor’s four-year-old son often played with Jon’s three-year-old son, Michael. The neighbor’s son brought the gun over to Jon’s house to play and shot his son.

Linda Maddox of Hillsborough County, Fla., shot and critically wounded her seven-year-old grandson when he moved a chair blocking a door in her bedroom while she was sleeping with two grandsons after their father had gone to work. She awoke when she heard the chair moving and blasted away with a revolver, thinking it was an intruder. Sorry to say, it was one of her grandsons.

While a Tulsa, Okla., 26-year-old mother was changing the diaper of her one-year-old daughter, her three-year-old son found a semiautomatic weapon under a couch. He shot and killed his mother. The mother of the dead woman discovered the very bloody scene.

A two-year-old found a handgun in his Idaho mother’s purse while she was shopping at WalMart and shot and killed her while she was checking out.

Tammy Myers, a Las Vegas mother of four, was shot in the head and killed during a road rage incident. She was teaching her 15-year-old daughter to drive.

An Indiana couple was charged after they displayed a cellphone video of their one-year-old girl with a barrel of a gun in her mouth. They were also instructing her to make gun sounds while performing this task.

A repetitive litany of bloody days where the gun culture rules

In Cleveland, Ohio, 13 cops fired 137 rounds while killing an unarmed black couple after a high-speed chase. One officer fired 49 rounds through the windshield while standing on the hood of the car. He was acquitted of manslaughter by a Cleveland judge.

A 12-year-old Cleveland boy was shot and killed by a cop in a park after the boy had displayed a toy gun. Every year about 7,000 children and teenagers in the U.S. are involved in shooting incidents, with 3,000 dying from wounds. These deaths are one of the leading causes of death for ages 1-14.

A 22-year-old man picked up a BB gun in WalMart to examine it. He was shot dead by police who thought it was a real rifle. In an experiment concerning toy guns, 96 percent of police officers fired their weapons at actors who carried toy guns marked with orange stripes around the barrel.

Richard Fipps of Wyoming was accidently shot by his dog when the dog jumped from the front seat to the back and stepped on a loaded rifle that had the safety off. Gregory Lanier of Florida was shot in the leg when his dog stepped on his “unloaded” pistol and knocked it to the floor of his pickup. (The dog was not charged with negligence!)

A Minnesota duck hunter was shot in the leg when he called for his dog to jump into his duck boat. The dog landed on his loaded shotgun. A Utah man hunting ducks on Great Salt Lake ended up with 27 shotgun pellets in his buttocks when his dog stepped on a loaded gun with the safety off. The man claimed the dog switched the safety off.

Floridian Dennis Eugene Emery, the owner of 13 dogs, was having a fight with his wife over barking dogs when he pointed a gun at one of the dogs and cocked it. Later when he was trying put the hammer back in place the weapon fired into his face. He died before the police got to his house. The police knew the way. They had been called there 34 times.

Former Major League Baseball player Jose Conseco committed a major error by blowing off a finger while cleaning his handgun. The finger was attached by a surgeon but it later fell off while Jose was playing poker. Being a celebrity, he thought he might auction it off on eBay.

When a Macon, Ga., man was sitting in his car at a gas station he tried to put his pistol back into his holster. He shot himself in the penis with the bullet exiting his buttocks. In the last five years alone six men have shot themselves in the penis. It’s a world record.

Michigander Christina Bond fatally shot herself in the eye while adjusting her gun in her bra holster.

To end this litany of bloody insanity, I close this section with a bizarre story of the 19-year-old Tennessee girl who was arrested for driving with a suspended license. While being booked into the Kingsport jail, a jailer noticed a bulge in a private spot. A female cop examined her and found a small loaded .22 revolver in her vagina. Perhaps she had a friend -- or enemy -- in the jail.

Novelist Walter Mosley: “If you carry a gun, it’s bound to go off sooner or later”

There are about one billion small firearms in the world, one for every seven humans. The stakes and the odds for the U.S. citizen are much higher in that we have nine guns for every ten people.

In 2013 the Center for Disease Control said we had 100,598 non-fatal intentional shootings and 33,636 fatal shootings. So we have a shooting about every 30 seconds, the conclusion’s evidence from 140,000 sellers operating from 48,000 licensed gun dealers.

In 2014 federal background check call centers and the FBI’s online E-Check system checked out 21 million firearm purchases. Only 1.25 percent were denied. The countries of the world produced about 12 billion bullets for those one billion firearms, enough to kill each person on earth twice.

More than 800,000 people kill themselves each year using various means. In the U.S., out of 20,000 suicides most are with firearms. In 2011, 92 American children under 14 shot themselves.

An interesting note: When the Israeli Defense Force started to have a disturbing rise in firearm suicides, the Force banned soldiers from taking their weapons home with them on weekends. Suicides fell by 40 percent. The Force concluded: “Decreasing access to firearms significantly decreases rates of suicides.”

The U.S. has more guns per person than any other country in the world. The gun lobby has created 250,000 jobs and $38 billion in economic activity by itself. We manufactured 10.8 million guns in 2013, an increase of 220 percent in the last ten years. We imported another five million.

FBI figures in 2013 indicated 1,075 people under the age of 19 were killed by firearms, 37 of them four years or younger. In 17 states in this country you are more likely to die by firearms than you are to die in auto accidents. How many bloody moon days and nights do we have to endure? When will this blood moon insanity about guns end?

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