It’s time to stop advertising guns.

In keeping with the linking of firearms to masculinity, Daily Sentinel ran a Sportsman’s Warehouse’s ad promoting guns as gifts for last Father’s Day

It’s time for our local paper, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and other publications to stop advertising guns. This is the rock-bottom minimum that can be done to end the glorification of guns and senseless proliferation of gun violence in society. It is the metaphorical lifting a pinky finger to take action against a problem, but it is necessary.

Given the rate at which gun massacres are happening in our country, as a matter of health and safety, it’s time to just stop promoting guns in any way, and nowhere is this more true than in Mesa County.

People who want a gun in western Colorado already know where they can go to buy one. People who don’t want guns aren’t going to buy one anyway. Beyond this, guns are continually getting into the hands of people who misuse them to kill and injure others, and putting more guns into more people’s hands will only exacerbate the problem.

Ads selling guns and promoting gun shows give criminals, psychotics and minors easy directions to places and events where they can buy or steal guns. Ads for gun stores tell people with bad intent where they can go to steal guns. These are all net negatives to Mesa County, which is already suffering so many negatives from the proliferation of firearms in our area.

Promoting guns in an area with a sky-high suicide rate is heartless, senseless and inappropriate.

Ad links guns to masculinity to sell military-style weapon

Mesa County’s suicide rate is now almost three times the national rate, and our County has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. Suicide with a gun is the most common way people kill themselves, and it is the most deadly method of committing suicide. Males are four times more likely than females to kill themselves using firearms.

Mesa County follows this trend. The odds of a household member dying from a firearm increases drastically for people who have a gun in the house.  Advertising firearms in our area does nothing to ameliorate this trend and gun ads may even contribute to it by legitimizing and condoning having dangerous firearms in homes.

Potential for harm outweighs benefits

Guns are marketed as implements to kill, as elicited in this “Savage Arms” ad

Guns are legal, and Americans have a right to own guns. But the only purpose for advertising guns is to sell more guns, and we don’t need more guns in Mesa County. As suicides by firearm reach all-time highs in Mesa County and gun massacres across the U.S. have frighteningly become every day occurrences, the very least we can do to address the problem is to acknowledge that gun proliferation is a real problem in our country and stop advertising guns. The use of firearms in an urbanizing area has little societal benefit, and has far more downsides than upsides: The presence of firearms in homes increases accidental shootings, increases the likelihood of school massacres and criminal activities occurring, increases the rates of accidental injuries and deaths of children and increases the likelihood that a portion of gun owners will be careless in how they secure their guns. Any upside doesn’t even  compare in magnitude to the many serious downsides of having a county awash in guns.

The Daily Sentinel no doubt derives some income from gun ads, but while the paper may be helped financially in the short term, gun ads pose a huge net negative to Mesa County.

Other deadly products have long been deemed inappropriate for advertisement, too.

We’ve been in this same situation before with other deadly products.

Cigarettes used to be advertised on billboards, on television, in newspapers, in magazines and on the radio and TV. Smoking in TV shows was done without thought. As they did with cigarettes, advertisers link guns in ads to masculinity, femininity, toughness and fun. But society as a whole finally realized that cigarettes were killing and maiming people at an astounding rate, and were costing society an outrageous amount in terms of medical care, lost productivity and lost lives. The day finally came when people decided advertising cigarettes was just plain inappropriate.

We’re in the same place now with firearms. Norms change as society comes to an understanding of how corporate behaviors harm society.

It’s common sense now for Americans to demand change in how we regard gun ads. In our current climate of routine mass slaughter, gun ads are now shameful, plain and simple, and should not exist.

Gun ads are already banned from many media venues, including other newspapers.

Guns are not ordinary products like potato chips, moisturizer or laxatives.

Guns are in a class of semi-legal, harmful products like cigarettes and alcohol, but what sets them even farther apart from these other products is that unlike cigarettes and alcohol, guns are designed to be used on someone or something other than the user: an inanimate target, an animal or a human being. This makes them heinous well beyond these other products and puts them into a category all their own, deserving of even more scrutiny and worthy of even more drastic restrictions.

Daily Sentinel 2017 Sportsman’s Warehouse ad promoting an AR-15-type assault-style firearm and pistol along side harmless products like flotation vests, cargo shorts, water bottles and GPS locators, for last Father’s Day.

As a society we often draw lines on where we want to stop harmful and harmful and deadly products from being pushed on us.

The Mesa County Commissioners today banned the sale of fireworks within the county due to  excessive fire danger caused by drought, citing potential harm to safety, life and property. “We have to realize that in the over all scheme of things [fireworks sales are] not good for the community or the county and the risk of people’s property, their lives or the wildlife,” said Mesa County Commissioner John Justman. The same justification could just as easily be applied to gun sales and advertising.

Fortunately, across the country media companies are starting to understand that it’s time for gun ads to go.

In April 2018, YouTube banned videos promoting the sale or use of guns, including videos that show how to manufacture guns and accessories like silencers, conversion kits or or bump stocks. Guns cannot be advertised for sale on EBay. Weapons, firearms and their components and ammunition are banned from Craigslist. Ads for guns, ammunition and explosives are banned from Facebook. In 2013, the National Football League banned an offensive, pro-gun ad (video) from being aired during the 2014 Superbowl.

Lots of other newspapers have already banned gun ads.

According to Editor and Publisher magazine, by 2003 a host of daily papers around the country had tightened their rules for gun ads or dropped gun ads altogether, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Denver Post, the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Sandusky (Ohio) Register and the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa.

The south Florida Sun Sentinel recently banned gun ads from it’s paper after being criticized for printing an ad for a gun show beneath multiple stories about mass shootings.

Connecticut’s Stamford Advocate stopped advertising guns after placing an ad for a gun show on the same page as a story about the Sandy Hook massacre. 

In Charleston, South Carolina, the Post & Courier offended it’s readers after it slapped a sticker advertising a gun range on it’s front page above the headline “Church attack kills 9,” about the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in 2015. Readers were appalled.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel shouldn’t wait until it shoots itself in the foot the way these other papers have done, or wait until Mesa County experiences a gun massacre in a school, concert, theater or local church before it stops promoting guns in our area. Stopping taking gun ads at this point in America’s history would materially advances the substantial goal of ending the glorification and proliferation of firearms, and the benefits would clearly outweigh the costs to society of any continued such advertising. But even more certainly than this, it is just the right thing to do.

 

 

 

 

Anti-Ray Scott billboard campaign starts May 11

 

Mesa County residents who are fed up with State Senator Ray Scott are running a campaign urging people not to re-elect him in 2018.

Constituents say they’re fed up with Scott’s narrow-minded fossil fuel boosterism, ignorance of climate science, sub-par spelling and grammar and inability to tell credible research from industry-backed studies designed to reach a specific conclusion. Scott’s constituents are also offended by his rudeness. Scott calls voters who disagree with him “idiots.”  In February, 2017, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel threatened Scott with a defamation lawsuit after he called an opinion piece critical of him “fake news.” When a Mesa County resident commented on Scott’s Facebook page that the Sentinel was actually a conservative newspaper, Scott responded with this grammatically-challenged comeback: “Your [sic] a foolish Democrat, go cry somewhere else” and blocked the constituent from his page.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce takes off it’s fig leaf

Grand Valley Drainage District pipe choked with weeds. (Photo credit: GVDD)

If there is a shred of doubt left that the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce exists only to promote it’s own political ideology, it dispelled that notion today with an ad in the Daily Sentinel endorsing the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) Board candidate notable for being the remarkably far less qualified person for the seat.

The Chamber endorsed the less-qualified candidate for one reason only: she opposes the fee imposed by the GVDD in 2016 to raise funds for crucial improvements needed to the Grand Valley’s stormwater drainage system. Residents pay an extra $3/month. The fees assessed to businesses are higher because their larger “big box” buildings and paved parking lots create far more polluted stormwater runoff than homes, burdening the valley’s drainage system more than residences do. The drainage system, designed in 1915 primarily to collect agricultural seep from fields, is already in bad shape and needs improvement and expansion to cope with the valley’s change from primarily a rural/agricultural area into an urban area. If runoff exceeds the amount of drainage capacity we have, the result will be flooding, property damage and damage to other important infrastructure, like roads.

Celebrate the National Day of Reason Thursday, May 3, 2018

The first Thursday in May of every year is the National Day of Reason, a celebration that coincides with the National Day of Prayer, which encourages Americans to pray to God for peace and prosperity for the nation. A big problem with the National Day of Prayer, though, is that it excludes almost a quarter of the U.S. population that doesn’t belong to any religion or doesn’t believe in God. That’s a whole lot of people to leave out of a national celebration.

Flex your muscle by getting out and voting in the May 8 Drainage District election!

Why drainage matters: Sherwood Park flooding after a sudden heavy summer rainstorm

Mark your calendars: there’s a local election coming up that Grand Valley progressives and intelligent voters can actually win if they just get out to vote: It’s an election in which typically only about 200 people turn out vote, so one or two dozen extra voters coming out could really tip the entire election in a good way for our valley. It’s for the District 3 seat seat on the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) board, and it’s coming up May 8. (pdf)

The difference between the two candidates is stark. It should make for a very easy decision by voters.

Sen. Ray Scott tanks bill to boost electric vehicle charging stations across the state

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott

Mesa County’s State Senator Ray Scott was the key “no” vote that killed a bill to encourage utility companies to build more infrastructure across the state for electric vehicles (EVs). The bill, SB18-216, would have permitted electric companies to build more EV charging stations and recoup the costs of the construction by charging fees to users. The bill would have expanded the use of clean-running electric vehicles in Colorado by making it easier for people to charge them when traveling across the state.

Tanking the bill was a goal of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), an astroturf front group funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, owners of Koch Industries, a private conglomerate with holdings in oil and gas. 

Canal roads voted “Best Health Club” in Sentinel’s “Best of the West” contest

Area residents voted trespassing on the Grand Valley’s irrigation canal roads as the “Best Health Club” in the Daily Sentinel’s “Best of the West” contest in a “favorite write-in votes” section. Almost 4,000 people voted in the “Best of the West” contest.

Don’t be fooled. Gun massacres are about GUNS, not mental illness.

Yes, President Trump, it IS a ‘guns situation.’

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Republicans are claiming that the easy availability of guns in the U.S. isn’t even a factor in our national epidemic of mass shootings. Instead they point to mental illness as the only factor that should be considered.

Hogwash.

Milo Yiannopoulos’s Grand Junction show cancelled

Milo Yiannopoulos

Grand Junction has been spared a potentially embarrassing and costly problem. A show by white supremacist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos scheduled for April 14th at an undisclosed location in Grand Junction has been cancelled. The website for the event, “A Night with Milo, Grand Junction” says tickets to the Grand Junction event are no longer on sale. No more details are provided. The tickets had been priced at $40-$109 — expensive for any event in Grand Junction. Yiannopoulos was also supposed to appear in Las Vegas the night before the Grand Junction event, but that appearance has also apparently been cancelled.

Great news, and another win for Grand Junction’s growing liberal/progressive community.