An adult American male whines to me like a baby about how I’m trying to take his rights away. He insults me. He won’t have any accidents. He won’t make any mistakes so regulations won’t affect him. He’s a “responsible gun owner.” He’s a “good guy.” Obviously. He insults anyone who doesn’t agree that his Second Amendment rights are absolute and without limit. I can practically hear his little fists and Velcro tennis shoes pounding against the floor right after he threw himself down, hitting his head, to have a hissy about – WAAAAAHHHHH – his “rights” and he’s not going to listen to a “retired police dispatcher” (he made part of that up himself though I was a police dispatcher for awhile – they do that a lot, take one fact and add assumptions that fit their narrative) or anyone else who knows better.
There were actually three or four in this particular chat (one chat of many), different handles (one has to be a non-American – odds are he’s Russian, but I can’t know, for sure), but the others all sounded like the same ol’ generic gun nut with different handles so it’s easy to confuse them. The short version of their argument is there is no problem, and even if there was a problem, it can’t be solved so stop threatening their rights. They have these irrational fears and this distorted sort of tunnel vision as if they view the world through a scope while lovingly cradling the gun; all they can see is what they want at the end of their tunnel vision. Nothing else matters. Nothing and nobody.
What about our fundamental rights? the right to life? to liberty? to the pursuit of happiness? Why do we have to live in fear? Just so these pathetic men can have stacks of semi-automatic penis extenders? No. Hell, no. That’s not how this works. Even the Liar-In-Chief (speaking of Russians. . .) recognizes that we shouldn’t have to feel unsafe. Yet, we do. All the time. Even at home.
This is America, and we go through this often. Too often. Children have been murdered at school by a white guy with a military-style weapon (AR-15 this time, I believe), and Congress offers “thoughts and prayers” while telling us it’s too early to do anything. It’s also still too early to discuss Sandy Hook or the concert in Las Vegas or any of the hundreds of other mass shooting incidents over the years.
The shooter, this time, was just another white guy who murdered 14 students and three faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He was trained by a (white supremacist) terrorist cell right here in the USA. He is mentally ill – battled depression and had been expelled from that school and at least one other for disciplinary issues – and was able to legally purchase a semi-automatic rifle at the age of 19. The FBI were aware of the guy’s problems. The signs were there, and he had specifically talked about being a school shooter. He posted videos about it on youtube.
There is a lot of discussion about what to do once the shooting has started. Schools do drills. Hell, this school was well prepared, and they still lost 17 people while their armed guard, a sheriff’s deputy, their “good guy with a gun,” hid in the parking lot. Generally my posts are about prevention, and I’m still very serious about prevention – background checks, not selling to the mentally ill or domestic abusers, training, licensing, etc. – but this time I’m looking at one aspect I’ve touched on before that could help with prevention AND dealing with the aftermath once the shooting stops.
Very often when a shooting has occurred we talk about how many people died, who the victims were, where they were. This is an important way to – this isn’t the right word, but it is kind of what we do as humans when we don’t know the victims, personally – “quantify” the losses. When we look at statistics for gun violence, a huge part of what we look at, what we measure, is deaths. It’s cold, but it’s simple. These people were alive, someone came along with a firearm and murdered them; they are no longer with us. Count them among the dead.
There is an important quantity we often miss in all this. How many were shot at the concert in Las Vegas on 1 October 2017? If you ask, people will say it was something like 500. They can tell you how many died (58 + 1 because the shooter also shot himself later), but the sheer number of people injured is huge. And it’s important. Yet we don’t know the figure. (BTW, as far as I can tell there were 851 injured due to the shooting at that concert, and of those injuries, 422 of them had gunshot wounds.) The man fired more than 1,100 rounds at the concert-goers from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
How many of those 851 injured people had health insurance? This is not an unreasonable question; this is the United States, and health insurance is expensive. I can’t afford it (I’m in Wisconsin so no surprise) right now. How many of those people have health insurance that will cover all or most of their costs? No doubt some of those costs are going to be very high and go on for years. Who pays for this?
Us, of course. We pay, mostly in taxes and insurance premiums.
One of the things we wish we could do effectively when discussing guns is review and analyze statistics on violence and suicide and gun ownership, but unfortunately, the NRA makes sure that Congress prevents the CDC from studying gun violence. The Gun Lobby also pays off Congresspeople not to pass any legislation that will in any way protect people from gun violence or prevent people who shouldn’t have firearms (the mentally ill, domestic abusers, violent felons, etc.) from buying any firearm they please. How are we going to get anything done when we’re up against the power and money of these organizations that are standing between us and our government?
I say we get the insurance industry involved.
Hear me out. . .
I have to carry liability insurance (and other coverage, but liability is a minimum and it’s required in most states) on my car. The insurance isn’t on me; it’s on my car, but it’s based on my driving habits, my driving record, where I park my car when I’m not driving it, and that sort of thing. When I had two cars in my name, I had a policy for each vehicle, but I saved on them because they were both mine and based on my habits, my address, my driving record. They knew my brother was my roommate, too, and I was honest and told them that he sometimes drove one of the cars. It’s why I kept it when I really only needed one vehicle most of the time; this is before my son was old enough to get a driver’s license. Liability insurance covers bodily injury (to other driver/their passenger(s)/pedestrian(s)) and damage to another person’s property (typically their vehicle) in the event I cause an accident while driving that vehicle. This coverage doesn’t pay for any damages to myself or to my own car. It will cover others (with limits) so that I don’t have to come up with all that money to reimburse them for my mistake. This coverage also means the insurance company will pay for a lawyer to defend me if I’m sued over the accident. Again, most states require liability insurance for vehicles.
With that in mind, a basic understanding of liability insurance for a vehicle, though you can get it for other things such as for a business, what if we required liability insurance for firearms? Perhaps require it as part of licensing. If your insurance lapses, your licenses lapse. I realize this matters more in some states than in others, but I believe requiring insurance is an important part of gun reform laws including making them uniform throughout the United States.
And, importantly, I believe liability insurance should be required for every firearm you own because when you choose to own it you are responsible for everything it’s used for, for every hand that touches it, while it belongs to you.
First, what liability insurance is and is not.
Liability insurance would cover the following with limits, of course:
- Bodily injury caused by the firearm (to other people, not to you/the shooter)
- Damage to another person’s or business’ property caused by use or misuse of the firearm
- Defense costs (insurance company hires a lawyer and pays costs to defend you if you’re sued – doubtful they’d defend you on criminal charges, but perhaps that should be considered as part of the deal, at least for a part of the costs)
Liability insurance does not cover:
- Injuries to the shooter (suicide or attempted suicide, injury due to malfunction of the firearm, etc.)
- Your property including your home, vehicles or boats
- Loss of electronic data (anyone’s, not just yours, is excluded from coverage)
- Incidents happening outside of the policy period including before you took out that policy
Of course, insurance is a pool. We all pay into it, and any time there is a claim to pay, it is paid out of that pool of money. Rates are determined by how many contribute, the risk, how much needs to be added to the pool for covering payouts, administration fees, some profit for the company. I believe there should be restrictions on the profit. That includes no monies from that firearm pool be used for bonuses to any principals/board members – ZERO – as well as a limit on how much of it can be a profit for the company after administration costs. Perhaps five percent? I further propose that a small percentage go to a pool (that the government at least matches) to be held with Medicare funds and used for victims of gun violence in instances when the shooter is not identified and the victim has no way to pay for their own health care. I say put it with Medicare money because that is owned by us, The People, and not the government – we don’t want them dipping into it for wars, paying off victims of congressmen’s sexual assaults, golfing trips, etc. These are ideas, a place to start.
All of this means that the insurance companies will have a whole new product even though it’s closely related to products they already have (health care, liability on other items, liability policies for police departments). A policy could easily be added to homeowner’s insurance as it covers some of this stuff already if an incident happens in the home or on the property. And just like with liability on a car, multiple firearms can be covered with savings for collections or antiques. We get discounts for storing a car in a garage and for keeping a lock on the gate. I don’t see any reason why your insurer, once they’re convinced you’re a responsible person and not mentally ill, wouldn’t give you excellent prices for keeping your firearms in a particular kind of cabinet, or for being a combat veteran, law enforcement, etc. Perhaps they can arrange the training classes you need to keep your licensing current. Your insurance company wants to protect their money so they’re going to want to be sure you know everything you need to so there are no incidents that cause you to make a claim. Perhaps taking their class will save you some money on premiums.
And, of course, all this stuff will have to go into a database. You know, like the one the NRA won’t let anyone make? One that would make background checks and checking serial numbers and such much faster and more efficient? Just think, we could require a sale to be completed only after the background check is completed (and the buyer checks out) and have it still go much faster than it does now. And fewer people who shouldn’t be able to acquire firearms would slip through the cracks due to time running out and finalizing a gun sale before the background check is complete.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your insurance agent or company becomes an agent for private sales of guns, too. Most of us agree we should ban the sale of military-style weapons, discontinue private sales and gun show sales, etc. They don’t want claims so they’re going to want to be sure private sales are legal and all the “i”s are dotted and “t”s crossed. Perhaps your agent can sell a policy to the guy who buys your old rifle, too? Who doesn’t love a sales pitch from an insurance agent, right?
The insurance companies will need to set limits and determine costs. That will depend on research, and you can bet your ass they’re not going to make an educated guess and just leave it at that. They’re going to want statistics on deaths, injuries, locations, dates, times, stats on shooter, age, history, everything. Insurance companies will be able to get the statistics the CDC cannot because the NRA pays congress people to prevent the CDC from doing any gun violence research. The gun lobby wants more guns out there, more gun violence incidents, which lead to more sales of guns. Insurance companies who have to pay for the instances of gun violence will want fewer incidents. Fewer deaths and injuries are good for Americans. Good for our kids.
(For this next bit, I want to clear up what I mean by a real responsible gun owner. It’s not the yahoos who tell you over and over how responsible they are because they have a toddler in the house and “protect my home” blah blah blah “Second Amendment rights!” blah blah while you fear for that toddler’s life as the unfortunate offspring of an idiot. I mean an actual responsible gun owner, an adult who has a pretty damned good grasp of what a huge 24/7 responsibility owning a gun is. They knew when they got the firearm that they’d be making the decision whether or not to take a life, even their own, constantly, from second to second, even when they’re sleeping for the entire time they own that firearm.)
I expect there will be people who will have trouble getting the liability insurance coverage because they’re a high risk. Those are probably the same people who can’t (or shouldn’t be able to, if we ever get sensible laws in place) purchase a firearm. For the rest, I expect rates would be pretty cheap; a truly responsible gun owner who keeps up their licenses, trains at approved sites, and stores their weapon properly, etc. is going to be so low risk insurance agents are going to be falling over each other to cover him.
You see how this could – pardon the choice of words – kill two birds with one stone?
We could get some health care coverage for victims of these shooters, and we could get some of the issues with the Gun Lobby’s power over our legislators sorted. We might even get gun violence research going in earnest again. And a database of firearms and their owners and such to speed up the process of transfers and background checks and identifying owners with a serial number from a firearm.
These guys in the chats and on Twitter, eyeballs glued to their scopes, aim their tunnel vision on the idea of requiring liability insurance and flip the fuck out. They can see nothing else. They can grasp nothing other than ‘the big, bad government might require me to pay for liability insurance.’ They also argue about involving a private business (the insurance companies). What do they think the NRA is? It’s a fucking gun manufacturer lobbyist, and they listen to and worship them without question despite the fact that they’re nothing more than gun sales, cha-ching; they don’t represent people. They represent selling guns TO people. Death sells more guns. Our deaths. If these firearm owners in the chats truly were as responsible as they tell me they are – ad nauseam – they would understand exactly why liability insurance is such a good idea, and they’d realize they’re so low risk they’ll get it for cheap. Looking through that tunnel, that scope, all they see is the excuses because they wonder if they could even be covered. They can’t admit they have no business owning, much less carrying around, a murder machine. They just, well, they want what they want. The very idea of gun reform chills them.
So it must be my fault even though I couldn’t care less if I have a “right” to own a killing machine. I don’t need to kill anyone. Hell, I’m fighting for people to live, not just me, but everyone. Instead of moving their head a bit, changing their angle, they insist on seeing the distorted view, the tunnel effect, through their scopes. These armed people are making their anger and fear my problem, their “solution,” their tool of choice to deal with whatever it is they’re afraid of, means bringing fear into my life and into the lives of everyone else in the country. We fear them and what they’ll do with that killing tool they cherish over all else, over our very lives. And the lives of our precious children. When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The only tool they have or want to have is a gun. These gun obsessives can see no other problem, no other solution, through their scope. They’ve pointed it in a chosen direction and see only what they want to see. And it doesn’t matter who dies as long as they can have that tool. Lots and lots of them.
Like rape victims, it’s stupid to keep trying to teach people how not to be victims of gun violence. We’re not the ones choosing to assault people, and we all have the right to live our lives in peace, unmolested, and without fear. We need to prevent people assaulting others in the first place. This liability insurance proposal is part of a total gun reform conversation (I’ve done posts on this, links below, but many other people have, too). I believe we need to require agents to do ALL firearms sales, and we need to require comprehensive background checks. We also need to find a way to get Americans covered with affordable health insurance. This mental health issue should have been dealt with decades ago. We should all be able to afford to see a doctor.
It’s taken me a few days (six or so?) to get all this together though part of the delay was periods of frustration/sadness/anger that clouded logical thoughts. Lots of things going on so mucho links below followed by something at the end on what our school children live with now in schools around the nation:
Link: “The True Cost of Gun Violence in America” – by Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee, and James West at Mother Jones (from April 2015). This article includes a very important reminder of why we must fight for the ACA, for the ten essential benefits and other protections including preexisting conditions.
Link: “It’s time to bring back the assault weapons ban, gun violence experts say” – by Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post
Link: “Warren Burger and NRA: Gun Lobby’s Big Fraud on Second Amendment” – Milwaukee Independent
Link: “Trump Signs Bill Revoking Obama-Era Gun Checks for People With Mental Illnesses” – by Ali Vitali at NBC News
Link: “LET’S REPEAL THE SECOND AMENDMENT” – by Kurt Eichenwald at Vanity Fair (from January 2013)
Link: “The real reason Congress banned assault weapons in 1994 — and why it worked” – by Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post
Link: “Just 3% of Americans own more than half the country’s guns” – by Paul Ratner at Big Think
Link: “More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows” – by Melinda Wenner Moyer in Scientific American
Link: “Statistics on the Costs of Gun Violence” – lawcenter.giffords.org
Link: “The despair of America’s gun debate” – by Damon Linker at The Week
Link: The Usual Gun Arguments – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters
Link: People With Guns Kill People – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters
Link: Putting Our Feet Down #GunControlNow – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters (directed at our lawmakers)
Link to original tweet from Donald J. Trump.
Link to original tweet from Tom Boylan.
Link to original tweet from New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
Link to an excellent thread on gun ownership and mental illness by DJ Schuette.
Concerns our students have that might be getting in the way of their education:
From these tweets by DonnaNoble10th:
- A little girl wants new tennis shoes because if a shooter comes in and she hides, she’s scared her light up Skechers will giver her away.
- A HS (high school student? not sure what “HS” means) will only wear grippy socks to school in case she has to run & she’s afraid her shoes will squeak.
- A parent is putting rubber doorstops in her kids’ backpacks because a shooter can shoot out a door lock but still can’t open it if there’s a doorstop.
Also, just things I’ve picked up here and there:
- Schools have to come up with plans for shooter situations and then do regular drills. When they could be learning.
- Or the reverse, the schools come up with drills, and the staff run them, but they don’t tell the students. They don’t want the students to know the plans ahead of time in case the shooter is a student.
- Students say they are afraid to run outside if the fire alarm goes off. They’re actually considering staying inside if there is a fire because it might really be a shooter.
- Children as young as kindergarten are afraid to go to school because they might get shot.
- And kids who say they’re afraid of armed people. I get lectured on this by the ammosexuals, but I am with the kids: these people walking around carrying guns all look like “bad guys.” We can’t tell the difference. It’s common sense to stay far away from random people with firearms. Duh.
#GMScopeTunnelEffect #GMGunControlNow #GunControl #GunReformNow #NeverAgain #EnoughIsEnough