News


Slain Palo Alto man uttered three words before shooting

Accused accomplice in homicide of Neil Gandler describes events surrounding his killing

The accused accomplice in the homicide of a Palo Alto engineer described his three last words and the single shot that ended his life in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 29, according to a newly released police arrest report.

Megan Lee Hippie, 19, told Las Vegas Metro police that she and alleged shooter Kyle Staats, 27, had intended to rob Neil Brian Gandler, who was asleep in his car. But Staats allegedly shot and killed Gandler, according to the three-page report.

Staats and Hippie, Las Vegas residents, now face first-degree murder, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery charges, and Staats is also charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, according to police. Both were arrested separately without incident on Jan. 2.

Gandler, 42, was killed by a single bullet to the torso, according to the Clark County Coroner's office. He was in town for the CES convention, a consumer electronics trade show. He habitually slept in his car while traveling, but always in RV parks or in areas with surveillance cameras for security, according to friends. That night, he had parked in the parking lot of the 24 Hour Fitness center at 601 S. Rainbow Blvd., according to police.

The fitness center's security footage shows that Gandler arrived at the parking lot on Dec. 28 at about 10 p.m., according to police. Hippie told police that she and Staats were searching for cars to burglarize when they came upon Gandler's white Hyundai Sonata early that morning on Dec. 29 at about 1:20 a.m.

As they drove past Gandler's car, Staats allegedly commented, "Did you see that? The guy sleeping in his car," Hippie told police. They drove past the car, and Staats made a U-turn, parking next to Gandler's vehicle, driver door to driver door. Hippie and Staats sat in their vehicle for about 15 minutes and talked about robbing the sleeping man, according to her statements and surveillance footage.

Staats allegedly got out of the car with a gun in his hand and knocked on Gandler's driver-side window. Hippie said she heard Gandler say, "Don't do it." She heard a gunshot moments later, and Staats got back into the car, according to the police report.

When Hippie asked what happened, Staats allegedly said, "I think I got him."

Hippie then told Staats to drive away. They continued to burglarize additional cars after killing Gandler, she told police. At some point, they stole another vehicle, according to the report.

Police said they learned about the pair's alleged connection to the crime after receiving confidential information. Hippie had allegedly talked about being involved in the homicide at the 24 Hour Fitness parking lot, and the tipster provided Staats' name as the shooter, according to police.

Department of Motor Vehicles records revealed that Hippie owned a 2007 Pontiac fitting the description of the suspect vehicle seen in the surveillance footage: a small, dark, two-door coupe with a rear spoiler that police recognized as likely a Pontiac G5 from the early to mid 2000s, according to the report.

Police conducting surveillance on Hippie's residence observed her entering the vehicle, which had a missing or broken driver-side window covered and taped over with plastic. The spoiler had been removed from the car. When police stopped her car, Hippie allegedly admitted that she was involved in the homicide. She had removed the spoiler from her car in an effort to evade detection, she told police.

Hippie said she had seen Staats with a Glock pistol for about 1 1/2 months, according to police. She directed police to a bullet from the gun in a compartment near the car's steering wheel. After obtaining a search warrant, police found the .40 caliber Tulammo round where she said it would be. The bullet is identical to the casing collected at the homicide scene, police said.

Following information provided by Hippie, detectives staked out the apartment complex where Staats lived. He arrived at the complex in a Nissan Xterra, which was stolen, police said.

Detectives contacted Staats after he entered the apartment. A short time later, he exited the apartment and detectives took him into custody. A warrant search of the apartment found .40 caliber Tulammo ammunition and a Glock .40 caliber handgun, which was hidden inside a bathroom exhaust vent, according to police.

Comments

33 people like this
Posted by Victoria
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 9, 2016 at 10:46 am

Heartbreaking that such a senseless act of violence led to the death of a wonderful person.


20 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm

@well, palo alto: This is nothing like the downtown incident where a man was armed and charging at the police officers, ignoring their orders! This was a sleeping, unarmed man. Life in prison for these two. A shame that the public has to pay to incarcerate two people whose parents failed to raise them right.


7 people like this
Posted by @The Palo Alto Online Troll
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2016 at 5:59 pm

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 9, 2016 at 6:23 pm

A cold blooded pointless bad-actor that prison time is only going to make worse.
I have a hard time not wanting to suggest capital punishment for this kind of crime.

We need to do something to reduce the number of people floating around in our
society that do or even think to do things like this ... how does someone get to a
place like that where that is an acceptable action ... for what?

I have to wonder if it has something to do with the fact that we are the richest
but also the only country in the developed world that seeks to dump no support
along with pain and misery and contempt on people in these situations. No, it
doesn't explain it or make it any less awful, but what if we tried to be a little
less harsh on Americans before the point where we have to treat them as criminals
or they do something like this. Give them some support, education, mental healthcare
or something.

Sad condolences to the victim's family and friends.


36 people like this
Posted by PA Mom
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 9, 2016 at 7:56 pm

If we actually DID something about controlling access to guns, fewer of these crazies would have them.


8 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2016 at 1:49 am

PA Mom, it might sound reasonable to do something about guns, but
the concept if fraught with problems.

First, what? For the first time I think the President's proposals are very
good, but they are not going to do what you ask for. There are something
like 300 million guns out there already.

But the President's idea of banning people on the No-Fly list is almost
frivolous. The other day there was a news item about a Dad who complained
that his son had the same name as someone on a No-Fly list and every
time the family took a trip the son, 7 years old by the way, was led off by
the TSA until it got resolved. There is no due-process or evidence in a No-Fly
list, and that suggestion seems crazy to me, unless you just hate the 2nd
Amendment.

The idea of "smart" guns even if every gun produced from here to eternity
was "smart" all those dumb guns are going to be around. And smart guns
are really just not smart enough and probably never will be smart enough
to know who should be able to use them and who not.

People should have the right to own guns, that is what the vast majority
of Americans believe and how they vote - not matter how any of us like
it, and it is in the Constitution as a basic right.

I think this issue is always blown out of proportion though because despite
the grizzly awful statistics, there are few proportional people that this affects.
This shows not so much we have bad or the wrong laws, but that our system
doesn't work the way it should. But, no disrespect intended to anyone, this
is not a major issue in the political space of this election.

The main issues building up for 20 years have been what kind of country are
we going to have, and the gun issue is a tiny piece of that is hard to analyze
and move people politically. The issues are about the middle class.

The issues are about the widening gulf of inequality in money and power and
the disenfranchisement and sweeping to the side the people in favor of a
small group of people with huge money, huge power, unprecended communication
and computing resources, and the ability to twist the political system to do
their bidding. The gun issue falls way down the list when stacked up against
these realities ... and I think if we could reverse some of the trends and change
some politicies this problem with shootings of innocents would all but go
away ... like it has in most of the rest of the developed world.

But I think President Obama is on the road to doing something and it will happen,
and then we will see whatever blockages the Republicans come up with to anything
Obama and the Democrats suggest. Let's hope for the best.


8 people like this
Posted by Greenmeadow mom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 10, 2016 at 9:44 am

I agree with Plane Speaker. I am 100% for Gun Control. It is crazy that as a modern, western country, our gun control laws put us somewhere between Sudan and Libya! But let us not argue about that...THE PROBLEM IS LACK OF EDUCATION, ECONOMIC EQUALITY, and did I say it already?, LACK OF EDUCATION. If everyone in U.S. gets access to a top notch education, where they will actually care about reading, following news, critical thinking, and everyone has access to learning a vocation, and going to community college (at least) so they can have an honorable honest job that puts a decent roof above their heads, ... then they will not be out burglarizing cars, and who knows, maybe their children will vote for Gun Control, and in 2 generations or so, the gun issue will go away. What a senseless death...


30 people like this
Posted by Chuck
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Jan 10, 2016 at 10:03 am

This is a case of just another idiot thief who was probably twacked out on drugs when he killed Neil. No gun law is going to ever stop this from happening. You take guns away from people who know how to use them and will not use them for crime, then you will just have criminals like Kyle out there owning them illegally. Then you will truly see how much crime can be committed with guns from people that shouldn't even exist in our society. I say that they speed up the death penalty and stop wasting our money on keeping these type of people alive. They deserve to be just as dead as their victims. To them jail is not as bad as their lives on the street, so they don't care about going to the pokey.


7 people like this
Posted by Chuck
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Jan 10, 2016 at 10:10 am

@Green Meadow Mom.
I agree about the economic eqaulity, but the problem is some people are drug addicts or don't want to learn or contribute to society. They are selfish individuals. They weren't stealing to survive, they were stealing to feed their habits.
No amount of education will help these people. I've seen very smart criminals who commit murder.
I went to college and I can barely afford to live in the Bay anymore with the 3 jobs that I have. I actually had to move out of the Bay due to our rent being raised almost 5 times the amount we were paying 5 years ago. I am not a selfish person, or I would be out robbing people.


4 people like this
Posted by Green Meadow Mom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 10, 2016 at 10:41 am

well, death penalty is fraught with all kinds of issues, not the least being number of innocents who will get the death penalty. and then we will truly become a police state...yes...I get mad at the senseless deaths too, [portion removed.]...the last 40 years in this country has been a systematic downgrading of education and erasure of the middle class (Thanks Reagonomics!)...
[Portion removed.] But I am saying if the social infrastructure is solid, and we reach pregnant single moms for good health care (educate them to insist on such care), if we reach those little kids who are lost early, if we reach the teens who see no way to advance in the educational system, if we provide honest jobs for those who don't have the IQ for wall street or high tech jobs, if we pay decent wages for the hard-working bottom-rung jobs, then in a generation or two these issues will fade... A civilized society takes care of its down-trodden, it does not step on them.


14 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 10, 2016 at 11:17 am

There is absolutely no doubt that a gun crazed society with insanely easy access to firearms for even the most mentally deranged and violent misfit,s is not a civilized modern society. The two are absolutely incompatible. The Second Amendment has been tragically and wrongly misinterpreted as if the Framers meant to allow every individual the right to bear arms. Even based on the conventional interpretation, it's suicidal and wrong for us as a society to conclude that the government should be prevented from regulating arms sales.


6 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Chuck:
>> No amount of education will help these people.

That kind of comment resonates with people and seems like it might be true, but
it is really far from true. Over and over people with life and hope for the future do
not become violent and criminal drug addicts. But, that is even a different subject
from this case ... in this case this person already committed murder and the only
thing at issue for me is that he not get the ability to be in public again, however
that can happen.

>> I went to college and I can barely afford to live in the Bay anymore with the
>> 3 jobs that I have. I actually had to move out of the Bay due to our rent being
>> raised almost 5 times the amount we were paying 5 years ago. I am not a
>> selfish person, or I would be out robbing people.

What we have seen in terms of how our society has changed will just be the
beginning if it doesn't get turned around. When I was college age you could
live on minimum wage and go to school. Jr. College was next to free, and
the state institutions were not that much more. Not only that, but they were
better because they were not all about profit.

This is why I said earlier that gun control is an important issue to get right,
eventually, but it is not the urgent issue enough to make it a priority voting
issue. The priority is to start to turn things around or all the other priority
issues will get worse, with bad behavior and crime keeping us in the reactive
fear zone instead of a mindset where we proactively improve people's lives
and climb out of hopelessness.

As Bernie Sanders says, anyone who works a 40 hour work week should
not be living in poverty. The map below shows in CA at minimum wage
they would have to work 80 just to survive.

Web Link

Enough years of that and right-wing rhetoric will break people and cost
all of us even more money. We really need to look at the kind of society
we are producing because when it gets this point it is costly and too
late.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm

I am not in favor of gun ownership and would like to see as many gun controls as possible in this country. I see the gun culture as being a big problem but not because of crime or terrorism. I see no value to owning a gun for self defense if it is locked away with the ammunition locked away separately. That cannot help. What it does do is make it an invitation to criminals, mentally ill and even children to have access to guns. Even the most diligent of gun owners has had his children accidentally access a gun or uses it in a domestic dispute let alone that some of these have ended up in the hands of mentally ill people. For these reasons, gun ownership can never be responsible in my mind.

Being able to open carry or even hidden carry (if that is the correct terminology) does not stand well as I would hate to be in the middle of a wild west shoot out if this were allowed and the norm.

However, that does not make me a liberal, democrat or any other political name. I am not republican either.

The problems with these debates is that people who think freely for themselves are labeled unfairly.

The gun culture in this country is a big part of the problem. There are no controls that make any sense. There is no way that owning a gun makes you any safer than not owning a gun. There is no way that any criminal can tell who really owns the guns. Even those who don't own security systems can easily put a security sticker on the window and an empty box on the wall.

Would gun controls have kept this poor man alive? No, I don't think so. The criminal intent of those who have no morality are the problem. Even if this poor man had had a gun in the car with him while he was asleep would probably have made absolutely no difference to the outcome of this tragic event.

This is an event that has to do with criminal culture alone. The fact that a couple of people place no value on human life, let alone other people's possessions, is the real issue here.


9 people like this
Posted by Truth, No Spin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 10, 2016 at 4:42 pm

SUVs do not run people over, the drivers do.

Guns do not shoot at people, the persons do.

All about drivers, the persons.


8 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Without SUV's, drivers won't be able to run people over. Without guns, people won't be able to shoot other people. Nuclear weapons don't launch themselves, people launch them, and the US seems to be very adamant that Iran should never have them. According to the logic of the gun cultists, Iran should be allowed nuclear weapons, because it's about the persons, not the weapons.


13 people like this
Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 11, 2016 at 10:43 am

I can't wait for all of those pesky criminals to turn in their guns in return for a Snickers Bar and a $200 gift card to Walmart.

Ain't gonna happen. I have NO issue with saying these two deserve the death penalty. The gun would have been enough of a threat while they robbed him. They didn't have to KILL him. They CHOSE their actions, and in doing so, they CHOSE the death penalty for this man who wasn't harming ANYONE, thus they CHOSE their punishment, which should match the crime of THEIR CHOICE.


3 people like this
Posted by sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Life is very fragile.

Lots of things to think about.

But, to kill a man that is sleeping in the car is cowardly. It is as bad as what happened recently in Paris.

I propose every gunn owner subject to a security deposit of $5000 that is to be held as security for owning a gun.

It will somehow hopefully puts burden on gun owners. Of course, Texas and other states will have their own proposals.

My prayers and u extend my condolences. When get an opportunity, I will propose a bill on the victims behalf.

It is not Wild West. We need to be smarter than that.

If you have other ideas, lets us hear. It is time.

Respectfully


4 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Gun owner not gunn owner.

GANDLER. Law.

California proposal.

Each gun owning family need to deposit $5000 with the State.

Interest can be earned at market rate say 3%.

What do you think district 24?
Palo Alto Menlo residents?


4 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:38 pm

"There is absolutely no doubt that a gun crazed society with insanely easy access to firearms for even the most mentally deranged and violent misfit,s is not a civilized modern society. The two are absolutely incompatible. The Second Amendment has been tragically and wrongly misinterpreted as if the Framers meant to allow every individual the right to bear arms. Even based on the conventional interpretation, it's suicidal and wrong for us as a society to conclude that the government should be prevented from regulating arms sales."

It has nothing to do with firearms. Do you think that getting stabbed or bashed over the head with a steel pipe would be any better? Mentally deranged and violent misfits are incompatible with pretty much everything except an institution. If you think the government does not regulate gun sales, then you are greatly mistaken. If such laws don't work, piling on more of the same won't make things any better.


5 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm

"Without SUV's, drivers won't be able to run people over. Without guns, people won't be able to shoot other people."

So we should ban SUVs, too?

"Nuclear weapons don't launch themselves, people launch them"

So it the person or people, not the device that is the problem. If that is the case, then banning devices will have little effect. Proscribing behaviors will.


4 people like this
Posted by Its not about laws.
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 11, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Kazu, without an efective enforcement arm, laws will not work. If we pulled the funding from the CHP as they have done to the policing arm of gun laws, the ATF, the roads would look like Road Warrior, and people we could say "See? Speed laws do not work" They would look like people who don't see the full picture though.

To be CLEAR it is not about laws, it is all about the enforcement of those laws. We need an effective enforcement arm in this equation.


7 people like this
Posted by Truth, No Spin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm

@ mauricio,

"... gun cultists"

labeling folks who are different from your opinion won't compensate your deficiency in openness and decency.


6 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2016 at 6:49 pm

> Each gun owning family need to deposit $5000 with the State.

I usually find your comments well reasoned and coming from a
sensible place, but this I have to take issue with.

If you want to run for office in the US, maybe read the Constitution.
An American citizen should not have to put up money to obtain rights
granted him or her by the Constitution ... that would be UnConstitutional,
not to mention pointless.



Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Resident:
>> I see the gun culture as being a big problem but not because of crime or terrorism.

There is no such thing. There are gun-nuts, but gun culture is a trick phrase to cast people
who believe in their second amendment Constitutional rights as some kind of criminals.

They are not, millions and millions of people own guns ... and what you are referring to as
gun culture is really a very small number of people, and the criminal and mass-shooter
element a smaller micro-subset of those.

Let's not just say that guns are the problem.


2 people like this
Posted by A Noun E Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 12, 2016 at 5:11 am

Don't need to ban all guns. Just up it a notch and ban all semi-automatics. Automatic weapons are banned and we don't see criminals using automatic weapons on any regular basis. One can defend themselves quite adequately and hunt with bolt action and revolver action. Give an interval and then if not turned it, send General Sherman 2.0 out and about---big fines and jail time if caught. If one thinks that the 2nd Amendment is so that an armed citizenry can overthrow some tyrannical government then, if one has any courage of that conviction, they should be advocating for citizens to possess full auto, RPG's, SAM missiles, states to have their own thermonuclear weapons and so on. That would retrofit it to 1776 parity. Simple problem, simple solution.


4 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 12, 2016 at 11:13 am

Plane Speaker, an American citizen was never granted the right to bear arms in the first place, unless he is part of an organized militia. This was undoubtedly guaranteed because at the time, the new nation didn't have an established military. Since then, we have established the armed forces and the National Guard:organized militias. Please show me where the Second Amendments guarantees every individual unrestricted rights to bear arms.


2 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm

> Plane Speaker, an American citizen was never granted the right to bear arms in the first place, unless he is part of an organized militia.

Your interpretation of the Constitution is dismiss-able since it is clearly not what the majority believe or have practiced through our history. It take a lot of deliberate evasion of reality to even say that. It is people who have your no-gun-at-all opinion that somehow scare the gun owners. I think it's silly, but it does. It also simply does not work in today's society where people do need the right to protect themselves.

The anti-gun opinions always resort to hyperbole about missiles and bombs.

If we produce too many people who cannot be trusted or trained with guns, maybe that is a more reasonable thing to look at and start with ... education, childhood nutrition, jobs, law enforcement, health care, mental health care, and more equality in our corrupt system. There is no reasonable path or justification for getting rid of guns of crippling new guns so that they do not work.


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 12, 2016 at 3:16 pm

The majority has practiced this dead wrong interpretation of the Second Ammendment for all the wrong reasons. If we are to be considered a civilized nation, we need to correct this. Many legal scholars believe the current interpretation of the Second Amendment is terribly wrong.

"A fraud on the American public.” That’s how former Chief Justice Warren Burger described the idea that the Second Amendment gives an unfettered individual right to a gun. When he spoke these words to PBS in 1990, the rock-ribbed conservative appointed by Richard Nixon was expressing the longtime consensus of historians and judges across the political spectrum.


5 people like this
Posted by Illuminato
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Once again, someone who thinks that I shouldn't own guns has decided to leave out the "not". "The right to bear arms shall,,,, be infringed."


1 person likes this
Posted by @Illumisumthin
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Oh, look who's doing selective editing!

Try this: "*A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,* the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."


Like this comment
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 13, 2016 at 5:21 pm

Truth no spin, should have learned to speak the truth. We allow people tools to commit crimes. The control of the tools will decrease criminal activity, not eliminate it. If we allow someone we know who shouldn't be driving to get an SUV that he/she uses to run someone over then we are an accessory to any crime they commit with that SUV. People have been convicted for furnishing the means used in a crime. Have you not heard that in U.S. criminal law, means, motive, and opportunity is a common summation of the three aspects of a crime?

Those who are so keen on guns to everyone seem to want a far-west style of lawlessness. There will be the time in which no nonsense will prevail, but unfortunately no before a lot of unnecessary victims. Mr. Gandler was one of them.


2 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:26 pm

>> Those who are so keen on guns to everyone seem to want a far-west style of lawlessness.

I see no evidence of that. The anti-gun fanatics are as bad as the gun fanatics, looked at in perspective the fear-mongering on both sides becomes apparent.

President Obama suggested some reasonable changes to prevent unstable people from buying guns. That doesn't do much for those people who bought guns before they become unstable, but it is a start. I think the no-fly list idea is a bad one since there is no official investigation or due process behind it. Kids that have the same name as a possible terrorists in a no-fly list are often stopped and put through extra interrogation and searches in an airport and in some cases people who were joking at some time in their life and may have said something stupid on-line can be put a list though it is obvious they never intended any threats or terrorism.

When you start looking at the gun stats the start to fall into some kind of perspective.

32,000 gun deaths per year in the United States.

60% or 19,200 are suicides.

34% or 11,000 are classified as homicides.

The rest are miscellaneous, accidents and such.

40% of homicides come from arguments.

It is unclear how much gun-violence is gang or crime related ... In New Orleans, between 35-55% of homicides are classified as gang-related. In Chicago, an estimated 80% of homicides are gang-related. And in Baltimore, the police commissioner states that 80% of homicides are drug-related.

This story is horrible, and there are a lot of horrible people out there at large still. Let's be reasonable and logical about this issue, there are a lot of facts and rights to consider, not just exaggerations and fear.


Like this comment
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 13, 2016 at 8:50 pm

@Plane Speaker wrote:

"A cold blooded pointless bad-actor that prison time is only going to make worse."

Yeah, that is certainly true. Most people don't realize that prisons are often Criminal College, and that needs to change. Very bad things can happen when the "students" graduate.

"We need to do something to reduce the number of people floating around in our society that do or even think to do things like this ... how does someone get to a
place like that where that is an acceptable action ... for what?"

For the nutjobs, the media seems to play a key role in encouraging their apalling behavior. That needs to stop, regardless of the impact to ratings and profits. Not everyone grew up in a good home surrounded by loving family. A disturbed background can lead to highly abnormal adult behaviors. Those need to be nipped in the bud, and never encouraged.

@PA Mom wrote:

"If we actually DID something about controlling access to guns, fewer of these crazies would have them."

We have already done plenty about controlling access to guns. If it has not fixed things yet, there is no reason to believe that more of the same will work. If easy access to firearms is the problem, then why is the violence worse today than it was when guns were much more readily available? Better to direct our efforts towards expanding and improving our mental healthcare system. An ounce of prevention really is better than a pound of cure.

@Its not about laws wrote:

"Kazu, without an efective enforcement arm, laws will not work."

You're claiming our various law enforcement agencies are ineffective? I think they deserve a lot more credit than that. Try doing something stupid with a gun and it will quickly become apparent just how effective our law enforcement actually is.

@mauricio wrote:

"Plane Speaker, an American citizen was never granted the right to bear arms in the first place, unless he is part of an organized militia."

The Constitution says a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, not that one is required to be part of the organized militia to posess arms. Here is the definition of militia composition and classes: Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Illuminato
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I didn't think it was necessary to type in the whole thing, but someone didn't get the point, so here we go:

Once again, someone who thinks that I shouldn't own guns has decided to leave out the "not".

"*A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state,* the right to keep and bear arms shall... be infringed."


Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:37 pm

My take-away from this sad story is "Don't sleep in your car." unkess you really have to money to stay in a hotel. It's really very odd that a Palo Alto techie couldn't afford at least a cheap motel.


Like this comment
Posted by @Illumisumthin
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm

"Once again, someone who thinks that I shouldn't own guns has decided to leave out the 'not'."

With a screen name like yours? I sure hope you don't have guns.


Like this comment
Posted by SB mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 15, 2016 at 9:48 am

@plane speaker - I think you underestimate the importance of the gun situation in this country. It isn't a big issue because of the number of people who actually get killed, it's because of the increasing incidents of pointless, random violence that cause significant fear and anxiety in a large portion of the population -- it isn't organized terrorism, but it still causes terror in a similar way -- not knowing when you or your children will be next. It may not be rational, but it's human. I think it's worth taking serious steps to curb gun use just to reduce fear and anxiety and improve quality of life.

We're seriously hampered by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, so I don't know of any great solutions without changing that. But I just take issue with the idea that easy access to guns isn't important, because I think it's a big issue for quality of life and wellbeing.


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Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 15, 2016 at 2:46 pm

SB Mom, I never implied or meant to imply the deaths from guns is not important,
far from it.

The problem is not guns it is bad people getting guns and using them. There is not
an easy solution to that which will work, and there is no solution that is not
unconstitutional. This is not a Supreme Court issue, this is an American majority
issue.

People say they read the Constitution differently ... to me that is a useless argument,
we have had a general and popular understanding that people have the right to
own guns.

I think what President Obama suggested is an effective continuation of the only
strategy that will help. I don't favor using a no-fly list because there is really no
valid basis with due-process with that list, and it is merely by name. I think it was
foolish to even suggest it.

A lot of this is social issues. For example in the worst neighborhoods with the
worst violence people are afraid to speak out. There is no easy solution to this,
but in terms of ... forgive the expression ... bang for the buck ... there is no low
hanging fruit that will remove this as an issue in American life.

The thing I see is long term ... we need to build our society stronger. We see even
with criminals out of prison that when they have jobs and pride they leave the
criminal life. Right now our society is structured to alienate, disenfranchise and
winnow out people in the most bizarred ways. Even in companies people are
promoted in mostly political ways. Talk positive about unions and you are
likely to see your career slump like a non-Shia in Iran ... you do not get anywhere.

Picking up the rug and sweeping out from under it and shining a little light could
be a big step toward giving people confidence. Health care, particularly mental
health care, education and jobs would help. Americans always seem to be
attracted to the simple-minded quick fix ideas that mostly do not work and
cause more problems.

Right now it seems the most effective thing we can do is to make sure the
regulations we put in place about people selling guns actually are
implemented and work. I guess we all thought we already did that, but apparently
not.


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