Gun violence continues in America

Updated: Thursday, January 17 2013, 06:02 PM EST
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In Washington, Vice President Joe Biden got the high profile talks on curbing gun violence going Thursday when he suggested the President could take executive action if necessary.

Although the Vice-President gave no specific details, it was immediately suggested within the gun lobby that the White House was on the edge of starting to take away privately-owned weapons.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says that while he doesn't think the President will do that, something ought to be done, and soon.

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The Slate magazine web site has taken on an interesting challenge.

They started collecting data on how many people in the United States have been killed by guns since the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14.

Those kinds of numbers are hard to keep up on and Slate is pretty much relying on people to send them the information which they at Slate can then easily confirm or deny. So—if anything—the gun death-count will likely be understated rather exaggerated.

But as of Tuesday evening, the number of people who've been gunned down in this country over the past 25 days stands at 695.

That's already 20 times the number of people who were shot to death in all of last year in Great Britain. And if 695 doesn't impress you as a particularly large number, do yourself a favor and count to 695 out loud, one at a time.

Stick with it until you're done. And while you're doing that, realize that six of those people are from Detroit. Seven are from Grand Rapids. Another from Bedford Township—Lansing. On Monday, a man and four women were killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

People were killed in Louisiana, in Illinois, all over Florida and Texas and California.

The only states that appear to have been left untouched are North Dakota and Maine.

45 people were killed on New Years Day alone. 32 on the second day of the year.

Meantime gun sales are at record levels—the makers of assault weapons can't keep up with the demand. Ammunition is flying from shelves.

FOX News was very excited this morning to have found an actual story about a woman shooting an intruder to death in the past day or so. They're already making her a hero without knowing details of the case.

And 125,000 people so far have signed a petition circulated by a loud Texas radio talk show host to have Piers Morgan , who took over for Larry King on CNN, departed back to Great Britain.

Morgan has had the temerity to call our incredible tolerance for violence a travesty. The White House has already noted that Morgan has every right to express his opinion on the Second Amendment by the authority of the First Amendment.

Look—even though I've long since grown weary of the expression—I know that guns don't kill people, that people do. But let's not let it end there.

There is simply no reason on earth that people  who are prone to anger management problems, who are unstable in a host of different ways, should have access to assault weapons.

Any weapons, for that matter.

But every issue needs a starting point.

I don't know what the white house is going to do, but I hope it is something. Because for a people who like to call themselves civilized to do nothing is unacceptable if not cowardly.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.
Gun violence continues in America
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Last Update on April 17, 2014 17:08 GMT

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits last week rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000. Jobless claims continue to be near pre-recession levels despite the slight increase.

The Labor Department says that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,750 to 312,000. That is the lowest four-week average since October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession started. The average has fallen by 53,500 applications over the past 12 months.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The current level of claims suggests that employers are holding on their workers with the expectation of stronger economic growth ahead.

Employers added 192,000 jobs in March and 197,000 in February, the Labor Department reported. Hiring has picked up after a slowdown caused by severe winter weather.

MORTGAGE RATES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for the second straight week as the spring home-buying season begins.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.27 percent from 4.34 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.

Many analysts have been expecting an improving economy to lift the housing market, which has been recovering over the past two years. But housing has struggled to maintain momentum. Rising home prices and higher mortgage rates have held back some potential home buyers. Others have had trouble qualifying for mortgages.

EARNS-GOLDMAN SACHS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Investment bank Goldman Sachs says its first-quarter earnings fell as fixed income trading slumped.

The bank earned $1.9 billion in the quarter, down 11 percent from the same period a year earlier when it made $2.2 billion.

The earnings were equivalent to $4.02 a share. Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted earnings of $3.49 a share.

Revenue totaled $9.3 billion, down 8 percent from a year earlier, when the bank generated revenue of $10.1 billion. The latest quarterly revenue beat analysts' expectations of $8.7 billion.

Goldman's stock rose $2.78, or 1.8 percent, to $160 in pre-market trading.

EARNS-PEPSICO

NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo reports a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit as the company slashed costs and sold more snacks around the world.

The company, which makes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Tropicana, says global snack volume rose 2 percent while beverages were even from a year ago.

In its closely watched North American beverage unit, PepsiCo Inc. says volume was even. Growth in other drinks offset a 1 percent decline in sodas.

For the quarter, the company earned $1.22 billion, or 79 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 83 cents per share, above the 75 cents per share Wall Street expected.

A year ago, it earned $1.08 billion, or 69 cents per share.

Revenue edged up to $12.62 billion, higher than the $12.39 billion analysts expected.

EARNS-MATTEL

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Toy maker Mattel says weak sales of Barbie and markdowns to clear out excess inventory left over from a sluggish holiday season led to an unexpected first-quarter loss.

Toy makers are facing a weak environment globally due to the uncertain economy and popularity of electronic gadgets.

The largest U.S. toy maker says its net loss for the three months ended March 31 totaled $11.2 million, or 3 cents per share. That compares with net income of $38.5 million, or 11 cents per share last year. Analysts expected earnings of 7 cents per share.

The company which makes Disney Princess dolls and Hot Wheels cars says revenue fell 5 percent to $946.2 million. Analysts expected $947.6 million. Barbie revenue dropped 14 percent.

TARGET-SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE

NEW YORK (AP) -- Target is vastly expanding the goods that are available to order by subscription as it fends off its biggest non-traditional retail rival, Amazon.com.

The nation's second-largest discounter first dabbled with subscriptions last September, trying to win over haggard parents with 150 baby care products.

That program has been expanded more than tenfold this week to nearly 1,600 items across a much wider array of consumer goods. Everything from beauty products and pet supplies, to home office supplies like printer ink, are now available through subscription.

Target, based in Minneapolis, is playing catch up in the subscription arena, which has exploded as companies test consumer appetites for almost every niche, from socks to razors, to clothing and entertainment.

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