The NRA slogans just don't work anymore

Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013
The NRA slogans just don
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – It has been a violent two weeks in Michigan, with several deadly shootings across the state.

In this installment of Tom’s Corner, Tom Van Howe says the slogans from the National Rifle Association just don’t work anymore.

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A good friend of mine is touring Croatia right now. A week or so ago, when he told our golf group where he was headed, one of them said;

“Whoa, aren’t you going to be a little worried about your personal safety?”

Croatia does have a history of civil war and some terrorism.

The fourth guy laughed and said, “Just imagine what it would be like to be a Croatian embarking on a visit here; that would make you worry about your own safety.”

I’ve been dwelling on that conversation ever since. The fourth guy was right on target. Despite its history, there is little to no violent crime in Croatia, murder is rare.

If you are a Croatian visiting the United States and you do a little research, you’ll quickly learn that about 37 percent of American households have weapons and those gun owners own two-thirds of all the weapons that exist in the world today.

You’ll learn that the number of gun owners is down by 25 percent over the past 40 years, but the number of guns owned by that group is up astronomically.

You’ll learn that American police officers own a total of roughly 900,000 guns, that civilians own roughly 300 million.

That there were 33,000 murders in the United States two years ago, about the same last year and that the vast majority of them were committed with guns.

Two weeks ago, after a dozen more people were shot dead at the Washington Navy Yard by a 34-year-old man with a security clearance who heard voices in his head.

Wayne La Pierre, the head of the NRA, once again trotted out his worn-out slogan that “the only thing to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun.”

At odds with virtually every chief of police in every city in the country, La Pierre continues the drumbeat for his view that more guns is better, that if we all carried we’d all be better off because the good guys will win, and I’m tired of it.

This stream of bird seed from him and others like him is simply making us numb to the reality of violence that is all around us.

Saginaw, two nights ago, triple shooting. Two are dead.

Muskegon, over the weekend, three dead, another wounded at the Elks Charity Lodge. There a dying teenage girl asks police to tell her mother and her sister that she loves them.

Kalamazoo, over the weekend, two people shot and hundreds flee a party at the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity house at Western Michigan University.

Lansing, eight days ago, four young people shot and wounded at Sexton High School.

Ludington, two weeks ago, MSP trooper Paul Butterfield pulls over a truck and is shot in the head by the idiot behind the wheel.

Detroit, over the past month, too many shootings and deaths to talk about here, both children and adults are victimized, at least 30 in all.

A couple of weeks ago, Detroit and Flint are named the two most dangerous cities in the nation, guns and death all over the place.

It’s gotten to the point that when I read those stories in the paper or hear them on TV, I zone out. It’s the result, I think, of a helpless feeling that with all the power and wealth of the NRA and the fear they engender in our lawmakers, nothing is ever going to change, that we’re simply stuck with the brutality and violence the status-quo has to offer.

Last week, as the apparent result of a road-rage incident, two men, both described by others as “good guys” shot it out at a car wash in Ionia. Both carried concealed weapons permits, one of them is believed to have owned up to a hundred guns.

Both of them are dead and I’m wondering if Wayne La Pierre could help us out and tell us, which one was the good guy? Does it make a difference, or is this what happens when too many good guys, who live their lives in fear, carry guns for protection against other fearful good guys who carry guns for protection?

This is madness.

In this corner, I’m Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on November 27, 2015 18:34 GMT


CHICAGO (AP) -- A protest march has begun in Chicago's Magnificent Mile shopping district, with the Rev. Jesse Jackson in the middle of a crowd that's shouting, "What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!"

Several hundred demonstrators have gathered in the drizzling rain, many with umbrellas and plastic-wrapped signs.

They're protesting the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer last year. The recent release of a video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald has set off days of largely peaceful protests.

Protesters sought high visibility by taking the demonstrations to the city's main shopping area on what's traditionally one of the year's biggest shopping days.

An association representing hundreds of high-end retailers, hotels and restaurants in the district says it's confident authorities will maintain order for thousands of Black Friday shoppers. The Magnificent Mile Association represents 780 businesses on Chicago's North Michigan Avenue.


UNDATED (AP) -- "Black Friday" may no longer represent an early start on holiday shopping. For some, it may be too late.

One woman in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, says her $200 budget today was the same as last year, but that it didn't buy as much because the best bargains were on Thanksgiving night.

Ashley Walton says the day for bargains is now "Black Thursday." She says she didn't go shopping on Thanksgiving because she was in what she calls a "turkey coma."

A Kmart shopper in Denver this morning had nearly the entire store to herself, and found it "sad." Susan Montoya said it's "no challenge" when no one else is shopping. She says people must have gone out yesterday or be shopping online.

Early numbers aren't out yet on how many shoppers headed to stores on Thanksgiving Day. The National Retail Federation expected about 30 million to shop on Thanksgiving, and 99.7 million on Black Friday.


BERLIN (AP) -- A closely-watched survey shows German consumers are losing confidence amid growing concerns of an economic slump.

The GfK research group said Friday its forward-looking consumer climate index dropped for the fourth month in a row to 9.3 points in December, from 9.4 in November.

GfK says consumers' willingness to buy rose, but that was offset by drops in both their income and economic expectations, partially linked to the growing number of asylum seekers pouring into the country.

Germany is set to receive more than 1 million refugees and other migrants this year and some 40 percent of consumers surveyed told GfK they believed unemployment would soon rise, most of them saying the newcomers would hurt the labor market.

GfK's monthly survey is based on some 2,000 consumer interviews.


BRUSSELS (AP) -- Greece and its creditors are close to sealing a deal on conditions that Athens must respect to obtain the next slice of rescue money.

The country has already received this week approval for a 2 billion euro loan, and is negotiating on more economic measures needed to get another 1 billion euros.

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Friday the sides have "agreed broadly the second set of milestones."

She said that when the details are ironed out "this of course would unlock the disbursement of the final one billion euros still available."

That would also allow for an important review of Greece's handling of its austerity program, which is required to secure international credit.

Andreeva said the implementation of pension reforms "is a key part of the first review."


GENEVA (AP) -- A Swiss court has convicted in absentia a former employee with international bank HSBC for economic espionage and sentenced him to five years in prison.

Herve Falciani -- seen by some as a crucial whistleblower -- had refused to travel from his native France to appear before the Swiss Federal Tribunal in Bellinzona in proceedings that began in October.

France does not extradite its own citizens and Falciani appears unlikely to serve the sentence.

Falciani was on trial for leaking bank data that led to a worldwide wave of tax evasion probes against prominent clients in France and elsewhere.

He was charged with illegally obtaining data, economic espionage, breach of business confidentiality and breach of bank secrecy while working at a Swiss HSBC subsidiary between 2006 and 2008.


Glitch causes bank customers to see billions in charges

HONOLULU (AP) -- A technical glitch meant some First Hawaiian Bank customers logged on to their accounts to find that they appeared to be billions, or sometimes more than a trillion dollars in the red.

KHON-TV reports that bank officials say the glitch was visible to customers who logged on to their accounts during a 20-minute window Wednesday. They say no actual customer information or balances were affected by the issue.

Customers who logged in at that time saw outstanding balances of at least $710 billion.

Kauai resident George White says when he saw the error all he could think was, "Well, my wife is going to kill me."

First Hawaii Bank said in a statement that the issue was resolved quickly and that the bank apologized to customers who were inconvenienced.

Washington Times