Category: Safety

Sheriff Candidate Mike Harlow: The Ugliest Face of Mesa County

Mesa County Sheriff write-in candidate Mike Harlow

Mesa County Sheriff write-in candidate Mike Harlow

It’s no surprise that Mesa County’s tea party faction endorsed custom holster-maker and write-in candidate Mike Harlow for sheriff.

What is a surprise, though, and a huge embarrassment for Mesa County citizens, is that Harlow got the endorsement of anyone at all.

Harlow’s smugness and extreme hate-filled views reveal one thing: he is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

If his writings are any indication, contempt and hostility ooze from Harlow’s every pore.

Grand Junction Gun Club Urges Action End to Mass Shootings

A portion of the postcards delivered to Congressman Scott Tipton by members of the Grand Junction Gun Club on Friday, July 11.

A portion of the postcards delivered to Congressman Scott Tipton on Friday, July 11, by members of the Grand Junction Gun Club .

A new citizens’ group in Grand Junction is saying “no more” to gun violence. The group came together to advocate action be taken to reduce the growing number of mass gun slaughters occurring in the U.S.

On Friday, July 11, 2014 the Grand Junction Gun Club presented Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) with 1,500 postcards from constituents in his district saying “Not One More” person should be killed by gun violence. 150 of the postcards were from residents of Grand Junction. The postcards were collected by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety, two national groups working to overcome the inaction by Congress on the issue of  growing gun violence.

The words were inspired by Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Martinez, was one of the six people killed in the May 23 gun massacre in Santa Barbara, California. In a statement to the media after his son’s death, Mr. Martinez said,

“When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say ‘Stop this madness!’ Too many people have died. We should say to ourselves, ‘NOT ONE MORE!'”

His words inspired a national movement to urge legislators to enact measures to reduce the number of guns getting into the hands of unstable and violent people. The Grand Junction Gun Club is standing in support of the survivors, families and communities throughout the U.S. that have been affected by mass shootings.

The perpetrator of the Santa Barbara shootings, Elliot Rodger, sought retribution against women for rejecting him and to punish young men whom he believed lived a better life than he did. Rodger visited a shooting range to train himself in shooting handguns and owned a Glock 34 pistol. When he finished his gun rampage, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

Clueless Colorado House Rep. Ray Scott Denies Climate Change

In this 2013 video, Colorado House Representative Ray Scott, a climate change denier who represents Colorado’s western slope, argues against increasing the amount of renewable energy required from rural electric co-ops to 20% within the next 6 years. The bill, SB 252, was ultimately signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Scott says “We have better things to do.” and “We’re going too darn far.” Incredibly, he further states,

“I have people in rural Colorado who say ‘You know, I don’t have a problem with renewable energy. I have solar panels on my house, that’s fine.’ But they’re having a hard time getting their mind around fields of solar panels in a field, or wind generation facilities out in the plains that they’ve never seen before. And if we’re really environmentally conscious, why would we want to look at those things? They don’t even make sense to me. I know I’ve driven through places in Utah and California and said, ‘Oh my gosh. All of this just to say we are changing something that we’re not even really sure we’re changing, based on studies that make no sense and the science is not necessarily true?’ “

According to NASA, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the last century are very likely due to human activities. Most leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.

Some of the current consequences of climate change, according to NASA and a majority of scientists, include loss of sea ice, longer and more severe heat waves, and accelerated sea level rise.

The Crucial History Lesson Behind CO Ballot Initiative #75: the “Community Rights Amendment”

SummitvilleSuperfund

Colorado citizens learned their lesson from the Summitville Mine Disaster of 1992-93, but the state courts and legislature did not, and have repeatedly invalidated local laws that communities enact to protect their citizens from hazardous business pursuits.

Colorado citizens are now gathering signatures to get Ballot Initiative #75, a groundbreaking constitutional amendment, onto the state wide ballot in November.

Business interests have called Initiative #75, also known as the “Right to Local Self-Government” or the “Community Rights Amendment,” an “anti-fracking” initiative, but the measure confers more protection on Colorado citizens than just an anti-fracking initiative, and there are some very solid recent history lessons that are driving Colorado citizens to push for this initiative.

One of them is the Summitville Mine Disaster of 1992-1993.

The Summitville Mine, operated by the Summitville Consolidated Mining Corporation, Inc. (SCMCI), was an open-pit gold and silver mine located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, about 40 miles west of Alamosa.  SCMCI used a cyanide heap leaching technique to extract gold and silver. The process involved excavating ore from the mountain, then crushing it and placing it onto a 1,235 acre open leach pad lined with clay and synthetic material. The company then poured a sodium cyanide solution over the crushed ore to leach out gold and silver. The contaminated water was collected and held in leach ponds on the mine property.

Sodium cyanide is highly toxic, and among the most rapidly-acting of all poisons.

Botox Victim Wins $18 Million from Allergan after Contracting Botulism Poisoning

Ad for Botox Cosmetic. Allergan hid information from doctors and patients about the dangers of injecting botulinum toxin into the body.

Ad for Botox Cosmetic. Allergan hid information from doctors and patients about the dangers of injecting botulinum toxin into the body.

Dr. Sharla Helton, an accomplished obstetrician in Oklahoma City, won $18 million a long-running legal fight against the maker of Botox, after she contracted botulism poisoning as a result of getting injections of Botox Cosmetic 2006.

Botox Cosmetic, which is injected into people’s faces to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, is made from a highly potent neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin is the most acutely lethal toxin known to man, and has been considered for its potential as a biological weapon. Just four hundredths of an ounce of undiluted botulinum toxin is enough to kill one million people by giving them the nerve disease botulism, which causes paralysis. Allergan must dilute their toxin so much that the amounts in its drug Botox cannot be measured in conventional terms. One “unit” of Botox is the amount that will kill one half of a test population of laboratory mice. A typical injection of Botox is 20 times that amount.

Even very slight errors in how and where a doctor injects the drug can potentially cause significant and even lethal health problems.

Midwife Sounds Alert Over Spike in Stillbirths in Heavily-Drilled Vernal, Utah

Drilling density in the Uintah Basin, where Vernal is located

Drilling density in the Uintah Basin, where Vernal is located

A midwife in Vernal, Utah, has raised a red flag about a spike in the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in the small town in 2013. The statistic has emerged alongside explosive growth in drilling and fracking in the area. Energy companies have flocked to Vernal in the last few years to develop the massive oil and gas fields that underlie Uintah County.

The midwife, Donna Young,  who has worked in the Vernal area for 19 years, reported delivering the first stillborn baby she’s seen in all her years of practice in May, 2013. Doctors could not determine any reason for the baby’s death.

While visiting the local cemetery where the parents of that baby had buried their dead child, Young noticed other fresh graves of babies who were stillborn or died shortly after birth.

Young started researching local sources of data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths, like obituaries and mortuary records, and found a large spike in the number of infant deaths occurring in Vernal in recent years. She found 11 other incidents in 2013 where Vernal mothers had given birth to stillborn babies, or whose babies died within a few days of being born.

Vernal’s full-time population is only about 9,800.

The rate of neonatal deaths in Vernal has climbed from about equivalent to the national average in 2010, to six times the national average in 2013.

Along with the surge in oil and gas drilling in the Vernal area over the last few years, the winter time air in the Uintah basin, where Vernal sits, has become dense with industrial smog generated by drilling rigs, pipelines, wells and increased traffic.

“DrillingAhead.com” Gives Inside Look at Problems, Accidents and Worker Behavior in Oil and Gas Field

DrillingAhead.com is a worldwide networking website for employees of the oil and gas field. Rotating news stories on the the site’s front page have headlines like “Fingertip Amputation Hangs Over Chesapeak Energy,” “2 Dead, 9 Injured After Oilfield Explosion Near Orla, Texas,” and “Texas Newspaper Investigation Questions Oilfield Safety; Says 663 Killed in 6 Years.” The latter story discusses the U.S. federal government’s failure to enforce safety standards on drilling rigs.

DrillingAhead.com also lets oil and gas field workers upload videos of what they see  at their worksites. So far workers have uploaded almost 16,000 videos onto the site, with many showing accidents and workers screwing around. One video titled “Directional Drilling Nightmare” shows a drill bit gone awry and surfacing in a nearby field, spewing mud and fluid around the area. Others show workers sleeping on the job, and another shows a gas plant exploding in fire at an unnamed location in Colorado. Another truly incredible video shows drilling rig workers engaging in a pipe-licking contest (video at left), where two men actually try to outdo each other for the length of time they can hold their tongues against an active, circulating vertical section of pipe.

DrillingAhead.com also links to a fascinating Flickr site featuring still photos of “Oilfield Accidents.” Photos show frightened workers clinging desperately to the railing of a severely listing offshore rig, an offshore rig sinking into the water, a truck impaled by oilfield equipment, rigs that have collapsed or caught fire (or both), and rigs completely encased in ice.

DrillingAhead.com gives a detailed inside look at the actual operation of drilling rigs around the world as seen by the workers themselves, and in so doing does plenty to undermine confidence — if there ever was any — in how drilling operations are carried out worldwide.

In fact, DrillingAhead.com provides ample justification to worry mightily about the safety and integrity of oil and gas drilling operations everywhere.

 

Lawsuit Blames Chicago Woman’s Death on Botox

Botox™, made of botulinum toxin, one of the most potent poisons in the world. Incorrect injection can cause death from symptoms of botulism.

A woman injected with cosmetic Botox at a skin care center in Chicago in May, 2011 developed symptoms of botulism and died, and her husband is suing the doctor who injected her.

In May, 2011, after receiving injections of Botox, Janet Rosenstern, 55, started suffering progressive generalized muscle weakness. She eventually became unable to hold up her neck. She developed weakness in muscles throughout her body, developed severe anxiety, truncal parasthesias (feelings of prickling, burning or tingling in the skin) dizziness, unsteady gait, muscle spasms and involuntary jerking-type movements in her abdominal wall.

She contacted her doctor immediately after her Botox injections and reported her symptoms, but the doctor was dismissive of her complaints. She went to the emergency room several times as her symptoms worsened.

After suffering with these progressively worsening symptoms for nearly a year, on April 22, 2012, she was found unconscious and died the next day.

Her husband, Klaus Rosenstern, is suing his wife’s doctor, Steven Dayan of the True Skin Care Center in Chicago, seeking damages for negligence, lack of informed consent, medical battery and wrongful death. He charges that Dr. Dayan failed to inform his wife of the known serious, debilitating and deadly potential side effects of being injected with Botox Cosmetic.

Botox is Allergan’s trade name for botulinum toxin, one of the most potent neurotoxins in the world. If it spreads through the body, it can cause death.

Janet Rosenstern was a registered nurse who is described in the lawsuit as a “high functioning” and “articulate” woman.

People who have had serious reactions from injections of Botox, like a woman in British Columbia who ended up paralyzed and in a wheelchair, are struggling to make others aware of the serious risks of being injected with Botox.

Source: Courthouse News Service, Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Texas Family Wins $2.95 Million Verdict from Aruba Petroleum for Damaging their Health

Drilling rig outside the Ruggiero's kitchen window. The Ruggieros were neighbors of the Parrs, who won the lawsuit against Aruba Petroleum, for damaging their health (Photo by Tim Ruggiero)

Drilling rig outside the Ruggiero’s kitchen window. The Ruggieros were neighbors of the Parrs, who won the lawsuit against Aruba Petroleum, for damaging their health (Photo by Tim Ruggiero)

A Texas ranching family won a $2.95 million award in a civil lawsuit against Aruba Petroleum, Inc., after a jury found that the company’s drilling and fracking operations near their home caused the entire family to become desperately ill.

It is believed to be the first jury award in the country resulting from a claim of health damages from drilling and fracking operations. Most landowners who bring such suits are pushed to settle and submit to gag orders so drilling companies can keep the terms of the settlements out of the public realm.

Robert and Lisa Parr lived on a ranch about 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Texas, and had 20 active wells being drilled and fracked within two miles of their home.

In November, 2008, Lisa, a stay-at-home mom, started feeling nauseated and getting extreme headaches. At first she thought she was getting the flu, but the symptoms did not abate. She soon developed muscle spasms, a strange rash all over her body and open sores that would not heal. The sores and rashes got so severe that she went to the emergency room, where doctors packed her body in ice to give her some relief.

Lisa’s daughter, then about six years old, started getting severe nosebleeds in her sleep and would wake up soaked with blood.

Her husband, Robert, began experiencing memory loss. Their house pets died, and their livestock gave birth to deformed offspring.

Colorado Health Department Investigating Spike in Fetal Abnormalities in Heavily-Drilled Garfield County

Cross-posted from DeSmogBlog.com

Garfield County drilling rig (Photo: Garfield County government)

Garfield County drilling rig (Photo: Garfield County government)

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has called in an epidemiologist to investigate a recent spike in fetal abnormalities in Garfield County on Colorado’s western slope. Stacey Gavrell, Director of Community Relations for Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, said area prenatal care providers reported an increase in fetal abnormalities to the hospital, which then notified CDPHE. So far neither the hospital nor the state have released information about the numbers of cases reported, over what span of time, or the amount of the increase.

Gavrell said it is too early to speculate on the causes of the spike in abnormalities.

The report comes on the heels of the February, 2014 publication in Environmental Health Perspectives of a study that found an association between the density of natural gas wells within a ten mile radius of expectant mothers’ homes and the prevalence of fetal anomalies such as low birth weight and congenital heart defects in their infants.

The study examined a large cohort of babies over an extended period of time in rural Colorado, and specifically controlled for confounding factors that also emit air pollution, including traffic and other heavy industries. The abnormalities in infants in the study are associated with exposure to air pollutants like those emitted from natural gas wells, including volatile organic compounds and nitrogen dioxide.

map of current drilling activity in the Garfield County area shows the number and concentration of active wells along the busy I-70 corridor between Glenwood Springs and Rifle, one of the areas of interest in CDPHE’s investigation.

Court Rules Corporations Aren’t People, Can’t Exercise Religion

The United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously today (pdf) that a private, for-profit corporation is not a “person” capable of “religious exercise,” and so cannot be excused from complying with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) for religious reasons. The case centered around a lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by Autocam Corporation and Autocam Medical, LLC two for-profit, secular corporations that make products for the automotive and medical industries. The companies are owned and controlled by members of the Kennedy family, all of whom are practicing Roman Catholics. The Kennedy family complained that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employees’ health insurance cover FDA- approved contraceptives would force the family to violate the teachings of their church. The Court ruled that since a corporation cannot exercise religion, it cannot claim that its religious rights are being infringed by the Affordable Care Act. The ruling has implications for other corporations, like Hobby Lobby, that have made the same claim.

FDA Drags Feet on Regulating Menthol in Cigarettes

MentholJoe

In the 1980s, R.J. Reynolds used one version of “Joe Camel” to market menthol cigarettes to African Americans (left), and another version (inset, right) to market to caucasian populations.

It’s own Tobacco Products Advisory Scientific Committee (TPASC) concluded in 2011 that menthol cigarettes increase hazards to human health, but even now — fully two and a half years later — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still dragging its feet in acting on the information. Yielding to pressure from tobacco companies, on September 4, FDA (pdf) delayed deciding what to do about menthol for yet another two months, asking for more public comment. A scientific study commissioned by FDA and published in March of 2011 (pdf) found that cigarette companies add menthol at trace or “subliminal” levels to all cigarettes to manipulate the sensory perception of smoke. FDA’s scientific advisory committee studied the relationships between menthol cigarettes and public health, and concluded that menthol cannot be considered simply a flavoring additive in cigarettes because it has distinct pharmacological actions. It reduces the harshness of smoke and irritation from nicotine — both characteristics that make it easier for kids to start smoking. Menthol also may make it harder for some people to quit, and the evidence suggested use of menthol cigarettes can lower responsiveness to medications. TPSAC concluded that there are no public health benefits of menthol compared to non-menthol cigarettes. TPSAC also found use of menthol cigarettes is highest among minorities, teenagers and low-income populations, and particularly heavy among African-Americans. Cigarette companies have long disproportionately marketed menthol cigarettes to African Americans. A Stanford University School of Medicine study found cigarette companies market mentholated cigarettes in a predatory manner designed to lure African Americans into becoming smokers. They advertise menthol cigarettes more heavily in areas with higher African American populations, and lower the price of menthol cigarettes in stores located near high schools with large African American student populations.

Worms and Bugs in Cigarettes

Cigarette beetles measure only 2-3 mm and thrive in the warm, humid conditions in which cigarettes are stored.

Cigarette beetles measure only 2-3 mm and thrive in the warm, humid conditions in which cigarettes are stored.

As an agricultural product, tobacco is fairly unclean and can be full of surprises. You can wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them, but you can’t wash off your cigarettes before you smoke them. Smokers have blissfully little information about the weird things that can find their way into cigarettes, at least until some of them come crawling out.

If you want to do something fun, go to the the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library and search on the words “worms complaints” and “bugs complaints.” The search on “worms complaints” alone returns over 1,300 documents. The results of these searches are always interesting. For example, one customer wrote to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) complaining that “These cigarettes are full of worms.”  An RJR internal memo says worms and bugs in cigarettes was the #3 complaint to RJR in 1983. In another, rather calm handwritten letter, a smoker tells RJR that he “noticed a parade of bugs” streaming out of his newly-purchased pack of Doral full-flavored cigarettes. The customer wrote,

“…as the pack lay on my table, I suddenly noticed a parade of bugs exiting the pack. They resembled an ant with pincer claws…What was up with that?”

An alarmed smoker wrote to RJR in 1996 to say she found find live bugs crawling out of her cigarette filters. She wrote,

“I am very concerned and devistated [sic] over the fact that I smoked these bugs. I am also afraid and sickened that these bugs are crawling out of the filters and I may have ingested them.”

The customer then told RJR that she fumigated her home after finding bugs crawling out of her cigarette pack, and expressed her displeasure at the cavalier manner in which she believes the company handled her complaint. The customer was actually upset to find that R.J. Reynolds was so unconcerned about her health:

“I am very concerned if there are any dangers from smoking or injesting [sic] these bugs… I am very upset on how this issue was handled through your so called supervisors. They showed no concern when I explained that these bugs could be in my house and in my body. You would think that they would put a rush on this situation but I was told it would take 2 weeks to receive the mailer [to return the cigarettes to the factory] and 5 weeks to examine the cigarettes. There were no concerns that this could be a health risk to me and my family.”

These are among the many letters that appear in the tobacco industry’s document files from smokers complaining that they found worms, bugs and bug larvae in their cigarettes and expressing concern about ingesting them.

Upset Grand Junction Citizens Keep Brainard Issue Before Council

Mare Charlesworth addresses City Council about Rick Brainard May 22.

Mare Charlesworth addresses City Council about Rick Brainard May 22.

At the Wednesday, May 22 Grand Junction City Council meeting, citizens took advantage of the public comment period to speak out about their feelings about Rick Brainard sitting on Council. Brainard pled guilty in Mesa County Court May 17 to a charge of third degree assault for hitting his live-in girlfriend in the face hard enough to cause a black eye and facial bruising. The assault took place just days after he was elected to the Grand Junction City Council. The Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce backed Brainard as a candidate, and has continued to support him despite the assault, angering citizens. John Williams, an artist and author who lives in the 7th Street historic district and writes about Grand Junction, spoke to Council and said his family has lived in Grand Junction for 50 years, and he knows a lot of people in town. Williams said many citizens are upset about Rick Brainard’s presence on Council and have called for him to step down. “You’ve heard a lot of people in town,” Williams said. Citing Mr. Brainard’s guilty plea in court, he spoke directly to Mr. Brainard told him he “should be a man and step down” from Council.

Brainard Enters Guilty Plea in Mesa County Court

Rick Brainard

Rick Brainard

Grand Junction, Colorado City Councilman Rick Brainard pled guilty in Mesa County Court today to misdemeanor third degree assault for pushing and striking his former live-in girlfriend, Cindy Franzen, in the face April 6.  Mr. Brainard’s attorney, Stephen Laiche, tried to enter a no contest plea on the charge, but Judge Craig Henderson said he would only accept a charge of “guilty” or “not guilty.” After conferring briefly in the hallway with Mr. Laiche, Mr. Brainard agreed to plead guilty. Mr. Laiche, trying to get as much leniency from the judge as possible for Mr. Brainard, indicated that Mr. Brainard did in fact lose his job at  West Star Aviation as a result of this assault incident and the surrounding publicity. Mr. Laiche called Mr. Brainard as “a 51 year old man without a job.” During the court session, the Assistant District Attorney handed the judge an 8 1/2 x 11,” close-up color photo of Ms. Franzen’s face taken shortly after the attack, showing her blackened left eye and bruised face. The judge held the photo up several times for the court to see during the hearing.

Citizens Flood City Hall with Calls of Outrage Over Brainard Issue

Grand Junction City Councilman-Elect Rick Brainard (Photo Credit: GJ Police Department)

Grand Junction City Councilman-Elect Rick Brainard (Photo Credit: GJ Police Department)

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has published audio of telephone calls made by outraged citizens to City Hall about councilman-elect Rick Brainard’s intent to assume office on May 6.  Mr. Brainard was arrested April 6 for assaulting his girlfriend — just four days after he was elected to the Grand Junction City Council. In his police affidavit, Mr. Brainard admitting grabbing and pushing his girlfriend, pulling her hair and hitting her “on the left side of her neck/cheek area,” hard enough to cause a black eye. Mr. Brainard’s arrest affidavit (pdf) states, “Rick stated that he slapped Cindy because she ‘needed to shut her mouth.’ ” Citizens have been calling City Hall to express outrage at Mr. Brainard’s intent to take his seat, and asking the City to do something stop him. One caller was angry at Mr. Brainard’s request to Mesa County Court Judge Craig Henderson avoid all of his court appearances. Another caller complained he cannot get a job because he has the same charge on his record, and yet Mr. Brainard will be allowed to serve on City Council. Following are some excerpts from the calls:

 

“My husband and I voted for this lowlife that is in jail right now. I wish you would ask for his resignation…”

“…Just letting you know that if you keep Mr. Brainard on board, all you are doing is letting the people of Grand Junction know that it’s ok to be a wife beater…”

“The fact that I can’t get a job with the same record, …I’m just curious how it is a man can stay on…I can’t get a job as a CNA or get a CNA license or anything with the same record…”

“If you people keep Rick Brainard on City Council you have everything coming to you that happens. This is only the beginning. I know this guy.”

“I’m calling to express my outrage at Rick Brainard being able to keep his seat after being arrested for domestic violence…”

“I’d just like to register my utter outrage that RB is going to be allowed to still sit on City Council after admitting to the police that he struck a woman for something she said, and I cannot believe the message this sends to the female members of our community…”

“This is not the type of individual I want as part of my City Council. I find it embarrassing…”

 

Citizens are planning to protest Mr. Brainard at his swearing in on Monday, May 6. Mr. Brainard’s first court date coincidentally is that same morning, just two hours before he is scheduled to be sworn onto City Council.

Petition Against Grand Junction City Councilman-Elect Brainard Goes Viral

RBrainard

Embattled Grand Junction, Colorado City-Councilor-Elect Rick Brainard

On Tuesday, April 3, Rick Brainard, Vice President of Business Development at West Star Aviation in Grand Junction, Colorado was celebrating his election to City Council. On Saturday, April 6, he was arrested, put in a yellow jumpsuit and thrown in jail on charges of third degree assault after he admitted to police that he pushed, shoved, and struck his live-in girlfriend in the face. In his police affidavit, Brainard first denied the altercation, then said he had to strike his girlfriend because she “needed to shut her mouth.” That admission has inflamed citizens and last week  a hundred people rallied at City Hall demanding Mr. Brainard not take office. Sitting Grand Junction City Council members have sent Mr. Brainard a letter to asking him not to assume office amid his legal flap, saying the case is embarrassing the City. The City is legally powerless to keep Brainard from taking his seat on Council, and despite the public pressure,  Brainard has vowed to assume his seat on Council. If he does, citizens have vowed to start a recall effort. The City Clerk estimates a recall would cost the City about $45,000. In the meantime, the matter has gotten coverage across the U.S., including in Denver, San Francisco and Seattle, and an online petition demanding Mr. Brainard’s resignation, titled “Woman-Beating Councilmember Must Go,” has gone viral. As of 3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 21 the petition had 13,731 signatures and the number is growing at the rate of several thousand more a day. Even worse for Mr. Brainard, his mugshot now appears on MugShots.com.

Main Source: Care2 Petition Site, Woman Beating Council Member Must Go, April 21, 2013

To the GOP: If Gun Control Doesn’t Work, Try This Instead

Op-Ed

Camden County, New Jersey gun buyback program brought in 1,137 firearms. Photo credit Tim Hawk, South Jersey Times

Camden County, New Jersey gun buyback program brought in 1,137 firearms. Photo credit Tim Hawk, South Jersey Times

Laws to regulate guns just don’t work. At least that’s what many prominent Republicans say.  In the mean time, the U.S. is awash in guns, judging from the piles of them turned in at buyback programs across the country. While it is unclear whether these programs actually reduce gun deaths, they do prove one thing: Americans have more guns than they know what to do with. Add to this emerging technology that, when gun nuts perfect it, will allow people to manufacture guns using 3-D printers, and we may be so deep in trouble we’ll never dig out. This distribution method will make it completely impossible for government to regulate who gets a gun and who doesn’t. Gun owners and pro-gun legislators repeatedly tout the portion of the Second Amendment that talks about their right to bear arms, but universally ignore the part indicating gun owners are expected to be part of a “well-regulated militia.” All these factors point to one conclusion: the time may  have already passed when we could realistically regulate guns to any desired effect.

So now what?