Gunfire suspect now in jail and other investigation updates at tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting

(October 9 photo by Christopher Boffoli; suspect Daren Atwood at center, khaki pants)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The man arrested after last Thursday’s gunfire incident near Fairmount Ravine was booked into jail this evening and is charged with a misdemeanor.

That case topped crime updates from Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores during tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, held at Hiawatha Community Center (a last-minute move because of a conflict at regular venue The Sanctuary at Admiral).

We had been checking on the suspect’s status; as reported during our coverage on Thursday, he was initially taken to Harborview for a 72-hour mental evaluation. That has since ended and as of this evening, King County Jail records confirm that the suspect, 30-year-old Admiral resident Daren Atwood, is there, charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, a gross misdemeanor. No bail amount is listed on the jail register so far, but Atwood is due in the city’s Mental Health Court tomorrow, according to online records.

Ahead: Other crime incidents/issues discussed at the meeting, plus two other major topics, including presentations on both preschool-related measures you’ll see on the November 4th ballot:

OTHER CRIME/SAFETY UPDATES: Officer Flores began with stats: Over the past 2 months, Admiral area has had two strong-arm robberies, last week’s firearms incident, five residential burglaries, one non-residential burglary (at the Shell station), three car prowls, three auto thefts.

Regarding the first of the two strong-arm robberies, August 18th outside the 41st/Admiral Starbucks, there’s been one arrest (out of three suspects), according to Officer Flores, with charges either filed or pending. Regarding the October 4th attack/robbery in Hiawatha Park – “one of the issues here – 911 was not called immediately, so by the time officers were dispatched, about 25 minutes had elapsed – the victims made their way home.” He said multiple officers made “area checks” but didn’t find anyone specific, yet it remains “an active and open investigation … (with) at least one potential lead.” The attackers were believed to be young adults – late teens, early 20s, past high-school age, he said in reply to a question of whether they might have been high-school students.

One other major crime/safety topic – people hanging out/living under the Admiral Bridge. For one, Officer Flores said, while he was part of the containment during last Thursdays’ gunfire incident, he was approached by many people who “thought it was the people under the bridge,” though, as noted above, the suspect turned out to be a local resident.

Police and other city departments are working on strategies including, he said, “We are working toward being able to close off those sorts of structures – bridges – to (people)” – getting some signage in the area (which doesn’t have any right now) – “it will allow for active enforcement. .. There isn’t any reason for people to be under that bridge, unless you’re a structural engineer.”

Side note: During one recent cleanup of the area, a unique collection of potential stolen property was found – a bag with four binders full of near-mint-condition sports trading cards “one you knew someone was missing” – dating back into ’70s, ’80s. Officer Flores said the cards were taken to the SPD Evidence Unit ‘and hopefully we can find owner of that property.”

PRESCHOOL MEASURE PRESENTATIONS: Heather Weiner, a supporter of Proposition 1A, said it is on the ballot “against” 1B despite supporters’ wishes that the two weren’t pitted against each other. She said she is “not a big critic” of 1B – “we had wanted voters to be able to vote yes-yes.” What 1A does, she says, is “address the larger child-care crisis … your average single woman in King County pays more than half her income in child care. That’s a really big issue over the quality of the care she might choose and whether she chooses to stay at work.” It comes down to high turnover because teachers have not-so-high wages, which Weiner said is “detrimental to children.” The proposal deals with wages and training that would deal with issues such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and recognizing child abuse, she said. The $3 million/year cost could come from a surplus in the already-approved city Families and Education Levy or from the city seeking grants, Weiner said.

For Proposition 1B, campaign manager Austin Miller started by listing supporters/endorsers. “After taking a look at both plans, (supporters) recognized that only 1B creates high-quality preschool” and would help to close the achievement gap. He said that 1B has its own funding, a four-year property tax. Holly Miller (no relation) said that she is here on her own time though her day job is running the city Office of Education. She said this sets up a 4-year “demonstration project,” learning from the mistakes of Boston, for example, which, she said was too ambitious in its first three years. “Start slow” was the advice they received, she said. The program will be serving 2,000 children in 100 classrooms around the city by the end of its fourth year, she said. The measure requires teachers to have a certain level of credentials but also offers money to help them achieve that level, she said. And she listed “social and emotional support” for students and families in the program. By the end of the four years, she said, they think the funding picture for the program might look different because of grant availability from other sources. (She also said Weiner’s claim of a Families and Education Levy surplus was inaccurate.)

Asked how the participants will be chosen, 1B advocate Holly Miller said criteria will include neighborhoods of low-academic-achievement schools, concentrations of low-income families and/or English language learners, but “in building the classroom, we would want to make sure there were children” from mixed-income levels. The plan is still being drawn up, she said.

You can read both measures on the King County Elections website – note the very specific request for you to say whether one should be enacted into law, and then if one IS, which one – watch for your ballot to arrive later this week.

(Added: Prop 1A’s Weiner sent related documents including this one about how it would be paid for.)

HOLIDAY EVENT: ANA is planning a big community holiday event for noon-4 pm December 7th at The Sanctuary, and they’re hoping for help with planning. Photos with Santa Claus, chorus/musical entertainment, gingerbread-house contest, donation drive for the West Seattle Food Bank, and a holiday craft bazaar, are among the likely features. Interested in being part of the bazaar? – don’t wait, as there are just a few tables, $35 each.

NEXT MEETING: Second Tuesdays 7 pm, so that’s November 11th; should be back at The Sanctuary.

50 Replies to "Gunfire suspect now in jail and other investigation updates at tonight's Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting"

  • Jeffery October 14, 2014 (9:48 pm)

    “Proposition 1B … creates high-quality preschool … and has its own funding, a four-year property tax.”

    Love the last part, has its *own funding* paid by property owners.

    Using Boston as an example is wonderful, except that Massachusetts became known as Taxachusetts for good reason.

  • Disturbing October 14, 2014 (9:52 pm)

    So is Darren Atwood the sibling of the flasher, Duane Atwood?

  • carole October 14, 2014 (10:00 pm)

    Re: Admiral shooting, any relation to alleged flasher Duane Atwood (July 30 crime report)?

    • WSB October 14, 2014 (10:07 pm)

      Yes, Daren Atwood is Duane Atwood’s brother.

  • tim October 14, 2014 (10:09 pm)

    I take it this means the case has been “referred to the prosecutor’s office” If so I’ll refile my records request per paragraph two of

    • WSB October 14, 2014 (10:23 pm)

      It hasn’t been referred to the prosecutor’s office. It is a misdemeanor case, which means it’s being prosecuted by the City Attorney. King County Prosecuting Attorney handles felonies, and I wasn’t sure how this would be charged, if at all, so I had asked them just this afternoon if it had been referred to them; it hadn’t. Then came news from Officer Flores tonight that he had been booked into jail – I had been checking multiple times daily, and it really was just before the meeting, after 5 pm tonight.

  • Yaten24 October 14, 2014 (11:40 pm)

    Duane allegedly flashed people. Those charges were dropped after the real flasher continued his streak. There have been several issues in the area where the shooting took place. A home was broken into and a Truck was majorly damaged. Both were called into police and both incidents are under investigation. Darin and Duane are my friends. Until I see or hear otherwise I am believeing that Darin only discharged his firearms to either scare off a potential burglar or was defending himself against such an individual.

    • WSB October 15, 2014 (12:17 am)

      There is nothing in the court files (which we check daily) indicating the dropping of any charge in Duane Atwood’s case. Nor has he been charged in either of the other cases in that same time frame, in which documents indicated he was being investigated, though he was *not* mentioned as a suspect in last year’s incidents. His last case-setting hearing on September 23rd was continued with the notation on the document “awaiting filing of new charges.” (Continuance of case-settings is the norm rather than the rule, in our experience, and they are pushed back multiple times before a case is resolved either through trial or through plea bargain.) His next case-setting hearing is currently set for October 21st. The case is 14-1-03949-9 and documents in it and most other King County Superior Court cases are publicly viewable by anyone (for a cost of .15 per page, through ECR Online). – TR

  • Panopticon October 15, 2014 (8:06 am)

    Duane Atwood is a Level 2 Sex Offender because of a 2001 conviction for a burglary/arson with sexual motivation.

    Of course past offenses are inadmissible as propensity evidence. However, I doubt it was the one-armed man flashing people. Clearly two disturbed individuals, and I hope they continue to seek help. And remain under supervision. Cheers.

  • Karen October 15, 2014 (8:53 am)

    hopefully Darren’s gun will be confiscated!

  • Concerned October 15, 2014 (9:03 am)

    Is there any other Atwood siblings we should know about?

    • WSB October 15, 2014 (9:15 am)

      There is no inference of relatives’ involvement in either of the cases; we would not routinely even mention who a crime suspect is related to, if there’s no involvement, but since this had come up in last week’s discussion, it wasn’t surprising that someone asked. Daren Atwood, by the way, does NOT have a felony record in this state, according to online records. We will update with whatever happens in court this afternoon.

  • Snausages October 15, 2014 (9:15 am)

    I’m with Concerned! Excellent question.

  • Thomas M. October 15, 2014 (9:58 am)

    “Forfeited” is the fate of the guns, along with his right to own, control or have access to any guns. This type of nut is exactly the kind of person whom the NRA has pointed out should not have access to guns. On the other hand, the other goal of the NRA which is to fix the mental health system can not happen until we, as a people, decide that we will spend sufficient tax money to fix the system and properly handle the mentally ill. Perhaps if we stopped blowing the national wallet on bombing brown people in faraway places, we could afford to take care of some of our own tragically debilitated people.

  • come on people October 15, 2014 (10:00 am)

    All the people on this blog who post their opinions and recommendations on how to “deal with” or “treat” others when they have very little or no actual facts should take a good look in the mirror and be ashamed of yourself. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY?
    Daren was ATTACKED by a prowler that he came across in HIS OWN DRIVEWAY, his truck was destroyed a few days before and the police took two days to investigate, the officer told Daren “carry your gun and don’t hesitate to protect yourself” and that is exactly what he did. When the police arrived and couldn’t find the attacker (obviously because Daren legally protected himself and the attacker ran off) an officer accused him of making up the whole story and sent him to the hospital for a psych evaluation. He was CLEARED by the hospital then arrested by the Seattle police.
    One other thing… Daren was not alone, there was a witness who told the police the same thing Daren did. Lets not forget that Daren has no criminal record what so ever, never been arrested, not even a speeding ticket!
    We have had our fair share of problems with the Seattle Police Department but this is ridiculous.
    Concerns for the neighborhood are admirable but lets not make our good, honest, law abiding neighbors into criminals.
    Thank you for reading this and taking the real facts into consideration everyone!

  • Thomas M. October 15, 2014 (10:19 am)

    This nut was not “cleared” by anyone. His 72 hour hold came to an end, and he was transferred to police custody for additional incarceration and a trip to mental health court for a judge to have a good look at this man’s mental status.

    This is not an abuse of police power. Even if the shooter was told to pack heat and defend himself he was NOT instructed to go into the woods on an active human hunting expedition. Nobody has the right to do that. A car prowl is no justification for taking up arms and going out to get some vandal.

    There being no justification for his underlying mission, there is no justification for opening fire within the city. Bad boy.

    Parents make sure your kids get complete firearms education, a bunch of range time, and learn where the line is. This guy so far exceeded the legal limits on the use of firearms it boggles the mind.

    Common sense should tell you that where a bad guy has run away you can not keep shooting or hunting. Fairmount ravine is not this guy’s driveway.

  • come on people October 15, 2014 (10:27 am)

    Seriously, people who write their opinions with no facts need to act like an adult
    if he wasn’t cleared he wouldn’t have been released form the hospital. with all due respect, you really don’t know what you’re talking about

  • AnonyMouse October 15, 2014 (10:30 am)

    This case presents more questions than answers. I suggest everyone suspend judgment until a critical mass of evidence has been accumulated.

    Secondly, the recent spurt in crime has concerned me, but what concerns me even more is that everyone thinks throwing more money at a problem makes it go away.

    What fixes problems is building more efficient systems, not feeding ones that are already broken. It is not a matter of cost, it is a matter of efficiency.

    Lastly, we should not jump to conclusions–fruit will ripen on the tree of its own accord.

    Be concerned with questions. Not answers.

    Secondly, I trust Yaten.

    Hasty generalizations have never invented working technology, nor is assumption a form of truth. In fact, it blinds us from objective thinking, and proper analytical thinking.

    Raw emotion is not the same as logic, nor truth!

  • ktrapp October 15, 2014 (10:53 am)

    There’s a difference between sticking up for your friends, and being an enabler for people who, regardless of their personal demons, need to be held accountable for their actions. First it was the people complaining about others being mean to the flasher, who has had such a hard life, yet glossed over the refusal to seek treatment, his refusal to register locally, and his continued illegal activities. And now we see, perhaps the same people rushing to this guy’s defense. The statement of the witness has been posted here for everyone to see. So claiming that she told the police the same thing is either a lie or being willfully ignorant. She didn’t see anyone else, and only saw the shooter fall down on his own, causing the injuries that he then claimed were made by these phantom attackers. He was drunk and high, shooting a gun down a street with other houses. These so-called friends of the Atwood brothers would be a lot better friends if they didn’t just repeat the BS stories that they tell them, and maybe tried to get them into the various treatments that they need.

  • Korm66 October 15, 2014 (11:19 am)

    Ktrapp- well said. I understand wanting to defend a friend, but when that person has issues you need to get them help.

  • Dis October 15, 2014 (11:56 am)

    This family certainly has its fair share of troubles. I hope they can find peace and healing.

  • zark00 October 15, 2014 (1:14 pm)

    Just get rid of the guns already. Don’t need em, unless you hunt and eat what you kill, they only cause problems. Guns for fun are for morons. Guns for protection are a myth.

  • anonymous October 15, 2014 (1:28 pm)

    You are going off the woman’s statement. How do you know the police are reporting exactly what she said and they didn’t get some things wrong?

  • WSB October 15, 2014 (1:42 pm)

    The witness (who the police report says identified herself as a friend of Daren Atwood’s) is not the entirety of the report. It also contains what police say they saw and what was called in to 911. Having covered many trials, I can tell you that in most cases, these things are recorded in one way or another. Certainly the 911 calls will have been recorded. Don’t know if the officers’ conversations with the witness and suspect will have been.
    I was listening to the radio transmissions the whole time via scanner and some of what in the report is what I heard – that at one point the female witness on the phone with 911 said the man (the name Daren Atwood was mentioned at least once, but we don’t report names or show faces until and unless charges are filed) was on the ground but was believed to have fallen/sat/lain down in shock more than out of having been injured (the injuries, described as cuts etc. to the face, also are shown in a couple photos we have that I have not published).
    Police reports end with the officer signing that s/he swears it is the truth as best s/he knows at the time. If there is a trial, certainly it will be up to the lawyers to rustle up as much proof and/or refutation as they can.

  • Thomas M. October 15, 2014 (1:50 pm)

    Yeah, I am sure that dozens of cops and a helicopter took all that time to find him standing in his own driveway, jaw set, rifle in hand, a real American Hero. BTW keep your grabber hands off my guns. They are my right. The real problem is not “things” it is “people”. It is going to be expensive to fix: our mental health system is a disaster area and serves nobody well. It will take money and the grit to take on a real problem, instead of just taking “things” from people who do not deserve to be deprived of them. The way to the high road is usually uphill.

  • dsa October 15, 2014 (2:21 pm)

    Did the Iraq citizens (not the Iraq military) have guns to protect themselves from ISIL? This is a serious yes/no question.

  • Thomas M. October 15, 2014 (2:45 pm)

    It is a rhetorical question based on false parallel. Iraqis are confronted with people in Humvees, tanks and light armored vehicles manned by thousands of men with fully automatic weapons and other things that go BOOM real big. Where is the parallel? How would anyone here have the personal firsthand knowledge to answer? Do you have the personal first hand knowledge to judge the correctness of an answer? I doubt it.

  • Diane October 15, 2014 (2:58 pm)

    I hope all the people coming here to read about the Atwood brothers, also took a moment to read the full story, that we had our Admiral neighborhood meeting last night; the other big topic of the evening, the PreK measures on the ballot; we had lively debate with Q/A and was very informative
    we had one new neighbor at our meeting last night; she’s not new to the neighborhood; she just had never heard of our Admiral community group before; perhaps all this attention to the gun-toting/flasher brothers will also inform neighbors about our community group; we meet every month; this group also puts on the summer Hiawatha concert series; anyone/everyone, always welcome to attend; this is your neighborhood, so show up and participate (beyond just commenting/fighting on the blog); last night was also a fabulous opportunity to ask police officer Flores about crime/safety concerns in our area; I got to ask questions that have concerned me about youth who hang out, often in large/loud groups inside Admiral Safeway café into the very late hours after midnight, and sometimes appear to be sleeping in the café; I have been worried some of them may be homeless, or from unsafe homes; what to do? sadly, the answer was, basically nothing the police can do; I didn’t like the answer, but at least had a chance to ask

  • zark00 October 15, 2014 (3:16 pm)

    You would be hilarious if you weren’t serious; instead you’re just terrifying.

    The NRA wants a database of mentally ill people; it’s sick and gross. A desperate attempt to deflect blame from your precious guns to the mentally ill; it is immoral to say the least.

    States with the highest per capita gun ownership have the highest numbers of gun deaths.
    Alaska, with 60% gun ownership, reports over 20 gun deaths a year. Hawaii with 9.5% ownership reports 3. Both Alaska and Hawaii have 4% of their population with a serious mental illness. Mental health argument doesn’t hold much water does it?
    Mississippi, with 4% serious mental illness and 54% gun ownership, has MORE gun deaths than neighboring Louisiana which has 5% serious mental health illness but only 45% gun ownership – the seriously mentally ill in Louisiana must be the “nice” kind that the NRA doesn’t want to blacklist, er I mean monitor.

    In homes with guns, the homicide rate is 3 times higher than in homes without guns. The suicide rate is 4 times higher.
    That would have to mean that either:
    The presence of guns increases the likelihood of homicide and suicide.
    People who own firearms are more predisposed to commit homicide or suicide than people who do not own firearms.

    Which one do you think it is?

    The mental illness smokescreen only works on people who don’t have access to facts.

    Just curious, what “well regulated militia” are you a member of?

  • dsa October 15, 2014 (3:29 pm)

    It sounds like Thomas didn’t know the answer to my question. I don’t know the answer, or I would not have asked it. I still want to know.

  • anonymous October 15, 2014 (5:06 pm)

    he’s well known in ws and not everyone who knows him is defending him… not by a long shot.

  • zark00 October 15, 2014 (5:26 pm)

    Gun ownership in Iraq is 34.2 per 100 people – in the US it’s 88 per 100.

    In total, civilians own about 650M firearms worldwide.
    US citizens own 260M of that total – 40% of the worlds firearms.

    After Port Arthur, and the 6 mass shootings in the 7 previous years, Australia destroyed 1/3 of their privately owned guns. They bought-back and melted rapid fire rifles and shotguns – the guns one would only need for killing lots of people quickly. Gun violence has remained 50%-60% lower for the 15 years since – and they have not seen another mass shooting since.

    The NRA actively lobbies against assault rifle and large capacity magazine bans in the US.

    Aussies melted 1M guns. Then bought 1M new guns that just shoot one bullet at a time; aaaand the gun violence stayed 50% lower.
    They bought the guns from us. Australia doesn’t have any gun manufacturing. Is it really a wonder why the NRA fights gun control? Hint – it’s not because they are defending your rights, it’s because they like money and they get a lot of it from gun manufacturers. The NRA is a virtual subsidiary of the firearms industry.
    Ruger gives $1 to the NRA for every gun sold, millions annually, Crimson Trace donate 10% of every sale to the NRA, Taurus buy an NRA membership for anyone who buys one of their guns – you are bought and paid for if you support the NRA – learn to think for yourself – it’s what we’re supposed to be all about here – not some sheep who blindly follows the giant NRA into oblivion. Guns are for wimps and bullies.

    Here’s an article about Iraqi civilians fighting against Isis

    One from a while back about the Prime Minister offering to hand out guns to civilians willing to fight Al Qaeda.

    I was unable to locate anything about Iraqi civilians needing more guns. They might, but I couldn’t find anything.

  • dsa October 15, 2014 (7:14 pm)

    Thanks actually answering zark00. The Iraqi civilians need something and it’s probably not the nra.

  • Thomas M. October 15, 2014 (7:23 pm)

    Are we to believe that Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and all the other liberal money bags are donating “good” money but all NRA and gun manufacturer money is “evil”?

    Since the 1970’s the number of guns in the US has exploded, but violent crime is down by half. So your “post hoc ergo propter hoc” logical fallacy dies on the horns of the statistics that count: OURS. It was all done while preserving our liberties and while the AR15 became the most popular gun in America. How can this be? Such inconvenient facts may not fit your world view, but they remain facts.

    The largest consumer segment lately has been women… I don’t think they are bucking for a “manly” persona or are doing it because they need a macho boost. These things are great for protection, are good sport, and are just plain fun.

    Your figures on cash flow and donations show this: Americans love their guns. Millions of us buy new ones at least once a year. Just because the occasional kook or criminal does something stupid does not justify taking our Constitutional rights. They are rights and are not subject to a popularity contest, or even the tyranny of a majority (just ask the SCOTUS).

    Scrape together the states and Congress votes necessary to amend the Constitution and you have a different game.

  • Thomas M. October 15, 2014 (7:44 pm)

    Which brings us full circle. You are kicking a dead horse. Enjoy the sore foot.

  • nolongerusingthestreets October 15, 2014 (8:45 pm)

    @Thomas M: “violent crime” is a conveniently big bag. [In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault]. Kinda takes the horns off your metaphor. But it is true that gun deaths in the US are down by about half in the last twenty years, along with most violent crimes. However, mass shootings are up in that same period. Gun massacres are quite a bit less likely in the Australian scenario zark00 gave. Any there is no arguing that the US generally sees a lot more gun violence than other rich first-world countries.
    Bill Gates is a pretty terrific example of a person trying to do some good with this riches, so long as diminishing human misery is a criterium. Politics aside. (I guess Wayne Lapierre’s $1M/yr salary is relatively peanuts, so we don’t hear what he does with his surplus.)
    I wish people got as worked up over the NSA!

  • Mike October 15, 2014 (9:39 pm)

    The NSA keeps tabs on Wayne Lapierre. I’m cool with that.
    As for this suspect, we’ll see what comes out as the story continues to unfold and court dates get set.

  • Thomas M. October 15, 2014 (10:10 pm)

    While we are expanding our statistical horizons, let’s see how that works in Jolly Old Australia: it appears that the Aussies have opted for Arson and Blunt Instruments. Mass killings are about the same as pre 1996, but the weapons have changed. There has been one mass shooting (last month). The stats are easy to find, so I will not try to figure out how to reformat them here… they do not make page 1 of Google.

    Lizzy Borden anyone?

    Australia is not a valid benchmark for the US on the basis of geography alone… to say nothing of our different Constitutions. Australia is closer to Canada or the UK than to us or our traditions.

    I still say the grabbers are kicking a dead horse… and hope they enjoy the sore foot.

    Yeah the NSA ticks me off too. What can be done? Not much from what I gather. I am very much against just gathering everything on everyone. Not cool at all, and scary in a very Orwellian way.

  • Mike October 16, 2014 (6:23 am)

    Thomas M., they’ve been collecting data on you since before you were born. I don’ know how old you are, but if you’re over 100, they’ve been collecting data on you since you were about 1. :)

  • WS Citizen October 16, 2014 (8:46 am)

    True friends would have the Atwoods get help and take responsibility for their actions. All these excuses are enabling. They have been terrorizing our neighborhood for over 25 years. This is not a one time event…lots of gunfire in the past. Someone could have easily been killed.

  • Jessica October 16, 2014 (12:23 pm)

    I live right next to the opening where I see a lot of transients going underneath that bridge, along with highschool boys who also go down there. Should I be calling the police when I see them? Any advice?

    • WSB October 16, 2014 (12:27 pm)

      Jessica, that has come up in many discussions before, most recently at the meeting covered in this story. The Community Police Team (follow the link to that phrase before Officer Flores’s name on first reference) is a good contact. If you believe a crime is being committed, of course, call 911.

  • zark00 October 16, 2014 (12:57 pm)

    Thomas – need a citation on your Australians bludgening each other – that data is nonexistent.
    Facts are your friends, try to use them to make informed decisions. Passion is good, but not when you use it and it alone to make an argument for your “right” to own guns you don’t need. Would you be OK with owning guns but storing them and using them only at a gun range? Most gun owners are just not safe with their weapons, its a fact. A major problem with allowing people to own guns is the gun owners lack of ability to be responsible with them. As I assume yours are locked up, they completely fail to provide protection. If they’re not locked up, the owner is irresponsible.

  • panopticon October 16, 2014 (8:43 pm)

    I’m a progressive gun owner, a young attorney, and understand the both public health policy questions surrounding private gun ownership in the states, as well as the legal landscape that underpins the ability of private American citizens to own firearms.

    Zark00 seems to advocate a complete abolition of guns and an abrogation of the Second Amendment. DC v. Heller affirmed the individual right (rather than a collective right) to own firearms, but still allows for meaningful restrictions on firearm ownership (relinquishing of your right with certain felony convictions, mental health holds, etc.). If you truly feel that private firearm ownership ought to be abolished, then I would point you to our democratic process. We have a representative government, and there is a procedure, ostensibly at least, that allows for the abrogation of Amendments to the Constitution. Of course, it’s a daunting process, and I doubt you’d find the groundswell of support needed to achieve such a feat. Perhaps you ought to focus on meaningful efforts to reduce gun violence, such as focusing on wealth distribution (poverty and hopelessness and gun violence are related, you’re welcome to look at the stats), education, reducing domestic violence, etc.

    Also, your condescension-infused rhetoric undermines most of your argument. I am a gun owner who abhors the NRA, particularly when their views on minority gun owners; they backed Reagan, then Governor in CA, who instituted firearm restrictions to combat the Black Panthers. There are numerous progressive groups throughout history who have asserted their human rights in conjunction with exercising their right to bear arms.

  • Thomas M. October 16, 2014 (9:15 pm)

    Arson and blunt instruments used in these post-gun-grab mass killings: Snowtown Murders (12); Childers Palace Backpackers fire (15); Churchill fire (10); Lin Family Murders (blunt instrument (5); Quakers Hill Nursing Home Arson (11 dead, 20 injured), Hunt Family Murders (shootings) (5). Count he bodies and spread them out over the same number of years and you get pretty much a small wobble in the mass killings category. Port Arthur is a horrific event, but also a statistical outlier.

    I think young lawyer panopticon(I am an old lawyer 1987 CA, 1994 OR, and 2011 WA) meant “Amendment” not “Abrogation” of the Amendments to the Constitution. The last attempt was Equal Rights Amendment which failed to get the 37 states needed to ratify an Amendment approved by 2/3 of the Congress. Given the number of states outside of New England and California who will NOT ratify such an Amendment, I wholly agree with panopticon that Amending the Second Amendment in our lifetime at least is a daunting task. I would characterize it as a futile task.

    When has the NRA used firearms violence or even the threat of it to further its agenda? Since its founding in the mid 1800’s it has been a voice for the industry to be sure, but also ran all the gun safety courses (3) and concealed carry (3) courses I have taken. Their Citizens Marksmanship Program is extremely popular with the high schoolers who fill the classes every week at my Club. The NRA also takes the position that we must fix the mental health system (which was dismantled by the ACLU and its lobbying and lawsuits); and that we need a database that actually works and contains accurate information, not the garbage database we have now. I don’t see how any of that is non-productive or not reasonably calculated to improve safety, training, education and our liberties.

    Gun Owners of America is far more radical. The most radical I have seen (for obvious reasons) is the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership organization. Wow.

    I too used to be a Republican, then a Democrat. Now I just despise them all for exactly the same reasons the Framers told us to distrust and severely limit government. Ben Franklin noted that Politicians are like diapers, they require frequent changing.

  • Look it up October 17, 2014 (9:00 am)

    Sorry Thomas M., Benjamin Franklin never said that. It’s just one of many fabricated “quote of founding fathers” being parroted over the internet.

  • zark00 October 17, 2014 (1:37 pm)

    Thomas – incorrect – there was no increase in non-firearm homicides or suicides in the decade following the big melt in Autralia.
    Here is a quote from and a citation to a study by the Australian National University and Wilifrid Laurier University.

    “Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University [found] that the firearm homicide rate fell by 59 percent, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65 percent, in the decade after the law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides. ”

    Australia is handing out murder convictions for arsonists in a much harsher way than previously – it’s been a problem there for decades. Perhaps you’re seeing recent convictions for arson and assuming arson is a new thing for them.

    No answers on locking up guns vs their usefulness as home protection? How about storing guns at a range?

    I never said abolish or change the 2nd amendment, just follow it, that’s all I’d like to see. It’s pretty clear, if you’re part of a well regulated militia you have a right to keep and bear arms to serve in that militia. I don’t think any state or local militia can really fight the federal armed forces, but the spirit of the 2nd amendment is fine, admirable even. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 2nd is garbage – it’s right wing, NRA sponsored, finance-driven, garbage. It’s where terms like “grabbers” come from. As if I want to take your guns – it has nothing to do with taking something from you – it has to do with public health and safety.
    That’s why the NRA blocked Murthy – he says pretty clearly, gun control is a public health issue.
    So, we should all be able to go out and buy and keep a tiger with little to no regulation right? It’s my right as a US citizen. Except it’s not, because tigers are dangerous to other people. If I really want a tiger, I can get the proper training, licenses, and facilities, and I can legally own a tiger. Why can’t guns be the same way? Uncontrolled tigers and uncontrolled guns are both dangerous and unpredictable. If not controlled properly, both tigers and guns are dangerous to their owners and to others.
    Nobody is saying you can’t have a tiger, just saying you have to some extra stuff to get one and keep one safely.
    Same with guns. Keep them at a range. Be properly trained, licensed, tracked and checked on.
    You want the mentally illon the NRA blacklist, but you would freak right out if someone wanted to track you as a person with a bunch of guns – personally – I think it makes A LOT more sense to track people with guns, mentally ill or not, rather than track mentally ill people.

    Honestly, I think one single child being killed by a gun trumps any right you have to own one. I can’t fathom how anyone could feel differently.

  • Thomas M. October 17, 2014 (10:49 pm)

    Pot smokers are involved in incidents that kill and maim children every day.

  • catman978 October 18, 2014 (1:31 am)

    @zark00 – You seem to have a lot to say on the topic of firearms, but many of the things you’ve said lead me to believe you have little or no actual experience with firearms or people who use them. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

    You raised the question of how firearms can be useful for home protection if they must be locked up. I’d like to point out that many gun owners would take a multi-tiered approach to that problem- firearms they are not currently relying on for protection are stored in a larger safe. It is also common to store the firearm(s) intended to be used for protection in a quick access kind of safe, which is often small and opens rapidly with either a shorter key pattern, or a biometric reader, or both. If a weapon is not secured in a safe, it can be safely carried on the person with the safety engaged, and/or with no round chambered (although the latter does mean it will take a second or so longer to be able to fire the weapon.)
    Regarding licensing to be able to use firearms, the major objection is that it is a potential vector for abuse by state power. As more requirements are added beyond simply not being a felon or having been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, it becomes possible to discriminate economically through fees, or geographically by licensing facilities, etc. Since firearms are meant to be one of the checks against a corrupt government, it can become a conflict of interest to grant the government too much power in deciding who is allowed to bear arms. That said, there IS a public benefit to helping ensure that people learn proper gun safety, so the question is how to balance these concerns. It differs from automobiles in the sense that cars are a form of luxury that one can do without, while the ability to project force relates to life-and-death survival.
    If by now you are rolling your eyes about my mention of corrupt governments, please take a moment to zoom out a little and consider the histories of probably just about every country in the world. There are ups and downs, good leaders, and sometimes, some real villains. When you talk about limiting a civil right for the greater good, you need to think about how that right will be returned to people if it is ever needed more than it is today. The Europe of today is not the Europe of 70 years ago. The United States of today is not necessarily a good indicator of how it will be 70 years from now. I realize that you believe that no one is saying I can’t own firearms, but many people ARE saying that, if the comments sections of many left-leaning websites are an indication. (I tend to lean left on many issues, btw.)
    I think you are dismissing the benefit of firearms completely, possibly from your own personal experience of not needing them. I spend a fair amount of time in the mountains, and while most of my experiences with wildlife are peaceful, there have been a couple of times over the years where I’ve had the distinct feeling that I might have screwed up by not bringing a weapon. In my case the situations never escalated, but I do wonder, have you ever had that feeling that you were about to be in a physical life-or-death situation, that wasn’t of your choosing, and that you weren’t going to win?
    I know of several people in my life who have had to follow through and destroy animals (cougars and bears) that had broken into their homes and threatened them. My own grandfather shot a grizzly bear coming through his front door!
    The complex division of labor we have in modern society, (professional fireman, police, etc.) are good things, but sometimes for whatever reason you can find yourself all on your own. If you are someone who plays by the rules, but keeps firearms for those days when eight or nine things go wrong in a row, you should not be penalized or called names such as “moron, wimp,” or “bully”.

Sorry, comment time is over.

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