Friday, September 21, 2012

Another Gun Culture Fail

We keep having these incidents; we have too many of them.  Even a few of them are bad.

In this case we have a veteran, apparently with a gun, creating a hostage situation.

The expense of the 2nd Amendment just in law enforcement having to come clean up the mess of people, often with mental illness issues, with their guns which would be far less costly if the risk of fatality were not present, is one that the gun nuts don't like to acknowledge --- that their 'right' infringes on all of us in ways to which we do not wish to support.

Have a gun if it is necessary for your sense of manhood, just don't make it OUR problem -- but so very often they do, including adding it to the public expense in ways which do not benefit the public the way the other things we agree to pay for do, like roads and bridges and schools or a judicial system.

Guns have no public upside, in the way they were intended to function under the 2nd Amendment as part of a militia in place of a standing army.  Guns are sometimes recreational, but too often a public menace - like this guy.  Being a public menace was clearly NOT what the founding fathers contemplated when they wrote the 2nd Amendment.

So we need to find a way to keep guys like this from getting guns and from abusing others with indulging the need to empower themselves with firearms for bad purposes.

We have too many guns, we have too many people with guns who should not have them because they do things like this.  It is time for sensible gun laws, beginning with sensible gun owner screening that keeps individual guns and entire arsenals out of the hands of bad people.

This is one more gun culture failure that needs fixing NOW.

From CBS news:

September 21, 2012 10:02 AM

Pittsburgh cops: Hostage situation in office tower


Police block off the area around Three Gateway Center where they are negotiating with an armed man in the downtown Pittsburgh office building Sept. 21, 2012. (AP Photo)

Updated at 10:38 a.m. ET

(CBS/AP) Pittsburgh's police chief said a military veteran was holding an office worker hostage inside a downtown office building and was talking with police negotiators.

Police Chief Nate Harper told reporters Friday morning that they have identified the man who entered the 16th floor of Three Gateway Center, one of six office buildings that dominate the city skyline, and started asking questions before waiving around an object that may possibly be a gun.

"His demeanor is, from what I understand, relatively calm, and he's sitting there talking to the negotiator at this time," Harper told reporters.

Five hostage negotiators and canine response teams have been called in, CBS Pittsburgh station KDKA reports.

The man entered the building sometime after 8 a.m. and went up to an office suite on an upper floor, police said.

A woman who works on the 20th floor said she and others were told only that a man with a gun was on the 16th floor. The woman, who gave her name only as Gina, said she saw other workers being escorted out by officers after getting off a freight elevator.

Several hundred people milled around about a half-block from the 24-story building after police evacuated it. A light rail stop nearby was closed and at least 20 emergency vehicles surrounded the building.

A phone message left for the building's Santa Monica, Calif.-based ownership group was not immediately returned.

Joel Kirchartz, a 28-year-old web developer who works on the 17th floor, said he and his co-workers looked out the windows Friday morning and "a bunch of cops pulled up with all sorts of sirens going; there must have been 20 of them." He said he went downstairs to find out what was happening and by the time he got outside, police had sealed the building.

Another worker, Sarah Vereb, said she was at her desk when she was ordered to leave the building shortly after a friend called to report that she wasn't being allowed up from the lobby.

Hundreds of workers walked down the stairwell. Vereb said the exodus was orderly and "very, very quiet."

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Things you don't know that you know until you need to know them

Hey, you know how they say that you learn something new every day?

Well, last evening I and my team were playing for the undisputed Trivia Championship of G.S. Steamers debatery and drinkhole and everything turned on the final question of the Summer Classic.

That question, "Who was Abraham Lincoln's FIRST vice-president?" had every other person in the room goin', like, WTF? I told our team's recording secretary that the answer was "Hannibal Hamlin". He gave me one of those WTF looks hisself and said, "How do you know that.". I said, "I read it on a blogpost, yesterday!"*.

So, thanks to intertoobz skollarship, we won the tournament and I got my free single malt victory drink--and we get SNACKS, next week. Is life good, or what?

*  If memory serves that blogpost was one by dog gone over at Penigma.