Captain Don was steadfast and strong. He was the man in charge. He was the man in control. He was given control of the Titanic and he was doing it his way. The best way.
He inherited a crew of tried and true sailors. He fired them. Then he hired the best crew and the best mates. Well. A whole bunch of them left so he hired some more. They left. So he hired more of the best men.
And off he sailed.
One day his first mate came to him and said. “Captain, my, captain, the best captain in the world. One of our crew has spotted an iceberg. On a collision course with the Titanic”
Captain Don replied. “Fake news. A hoax. There is no iceberg. Stay the course.”
A few hours later, the same mate came to Captain Don. ” Captain, my captain. The captain with the biggest brain in the world. The iceberg is closer now and we still have time to steer the ship to a different course. See, look to the north, you can see it in the distance.”
Captain Don peers to the north. His gaze is steady. His jaw juts out in defiance.
Captain Don speaks. ” That is no iceberg. It is an ice cube. See how tiny it is? How foolish you are. A hoax. Fake news. Such a tiny ice cube can do us no harm. Stay the course.”
A few hours later, the iceberg looms closer and closer.
The first mate. “Captain, my captain. The smartest, bravest captain with the biggest brain. And best brain. The iceberg is going to hit us. We can not get out of the way. What should we do?”
Captain Don. ” Well, why didn’t we see the iceberg sooner? Where was the man in the crow’s nest. He must have been one of Barry’s men. A member of the Deep state. Out to get me.”
First mate. ” Oh captain, my captain. The sexiest, smartest most brilliant captain in the world. Actually it was your budget cuts that eliminated the man in the crow’s nest. The early warning system we used to have. What should we do?”
Captain Don. ” Put everyone in lifeboats. Time to evacuate.”
First mate. “We only have 20 lifeboats for 20,000 people. What shall we do?”
Captain Don. “What? Why so few boats. The former captain Barry refused to buy more boats? It is Barry’s fault. Damn him. Well, put me in a boat and find my friends. Get them in boats.”
First mate. “Captain my captain. The truth is that Captain Barry left you with plenty of boats. Actually it was you who sold the lifeboats, cheap, to your friends in the boating industry. We had enough lifeboats. No longer.”
Captain Don. ” Lies. All lies. Fake news. Fake iceberg. I take no responsibility. Not my fault. Not my fault. Where is my lifeboat? I’m out of here. You’re in charge”
OK. So, in El Paso, Texas a white supremacist used a military style weapon to kill 20 people and send more to the hospital. In Dayton, Ohio only 9 were killed by a gunman. So, what day is? Another day in America.
At this point we don’t know much about the Dayton shooter. But odds are that the El Paso guy drove for about 8 hours for the express purpose of protecting the fatherland from the Hispanic invasion. Have no clue as to where he got the idea that there was some invasion. Who could have inspired such blind hatred? Where did he get this from?
And, as usual, members of the Democratic (aka Socialist) Party called for stricter controls on guns. In fact, they passed a background check bill in the House which now sits on Moscow Mitch’s In box…also called the “waste basket”. The Dems have this odd idea that if nutcases could not get their hands on weapons of mass destruction there would be fewer mass shootings. Fewer children murdered in cold blood. What kind of logic is that?
And, as usual the members of Trump’s GOP have offered their thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims. Ted Cruz. Moscow Mitch. Donald himself. The entire crew is really broken up over this one. They are very sad. Sad. Very sad.
But the GOP has a problem. Over 100 mass killings already this year. How do you keep your sadness fresh? How do you keep track of the devastation of human life while maintaining your support for domestic terrorists? How do you maintain the facade of concern? Not an easy task.
Which is why I am here. To help. Like usual.
I am offering the GOP members of Congress a simple template for grief. Even they should be able to fill in the blanks. Or have a staff member do it. Just fill in the blanks, print and you are ready for the camera. Roll em.
” My fellow Americans. I recoil in horror at the senseless murders of (fill in a number) our fellow Americans. The sacred place (fill in name of school church, synagogue, mosque or mall) has been forever blackened by this evil deed. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas (fill in a different state if appropriate, although you can figure it is probably Texas). My wife (add name of wife, not girlfriend, be careful here)and I both kneel and pray to God for the victims and first responders. Today (fill in date) will forever be a black day in US history. We must combat this evil by prosecuting the offender to full extent of the law. That will make the families of the dead (fill in men, women and or children) feel much better about their loss. Let us hope we never have to go through such a traumatic event again. May God bless you and God bless the NRA.”
The bad news is that political violence is on the upswing. And there is a very good chance of a political assassination.
The good news is that I am wrong more often than I am right.
That said, an assassination seems inevitable. Violence by white supremacists is becoming more and more common. According to the ADL anti-Semitic attacks doubled in 2018. Right wing nutjobs have used AR-15s to attack synagogues, churches, mosques.
We saw Nazis marching in Charlottesville chanting Nazi slogans: “The Jews Will Not Replace Us” and “Blood and Soil”. We saw the president of the US refuse to condemn Nazis. We heard him say that there were “good people” involved in those chants. I guess he meant “good Nazis”. That laid out a clear signal to the far right. Violence was acceptable.
At his rallies Mr Trump called for people to be thrown out. He would pay for the defense of anyone who threw out hecklers . If they got violent he would pay their court costs.(Of course he would never pay a debt and wasn’t about to start now, ask Matt Heimbach. He was a Trumpster who was arrested for violence and tried to get Trump to foot the bill. Nice try, sucker).
Talking to New York police, Trump said they should rough up any suspects when they arrested them . Yep. Suspects. Just bang their head on the car when throwing them in the back seat. Rough em up. No trial needed. Violence against a citizen in custody is ok.
The rhetoric coming out of Mr Trump only encourages political violence.
More recently he called the investigation into his corruption an attempted “coup”. Of course, Mueller not only itemized 10 specific instances of obstruction of justice, he also provided information to other jurisdictions to investigate Trump’s financial shenanigans. That was too much for Donald. So, he called legitimate investigations a “coup”. For the record, a “coup” is a violent overthrow of a legitimate leader. By calling this a “coup” he sends a message to his followers that violence is being done to him. He must be defended with violence.
Just last week at a rally he told his supporters that the Democrats supported infanticide. They support killing little infants. Killing babies. He explained quite graphically how a baby is born, picked up and wrapped up nicely, and then a doctor and woman decide to murder it. Should we kill it? Yes, let’s kill it! His Wisconsin followers applauded in approval. Those fools actually believe him. Or pretend to. Which is worse. How can you stop baby killers? Only one way. Kill the killers. Justified. Noble, even.
Since his campaign, aided and abetted by Putin, began in late 2015, Mr Trump has appealed to the most vile and violent elements of society. As more and more of his own crimes are exposed he becomes more and more strident and more and more unhinged. His words call for violence. Sometimes indirectly. Sometimes directly.
This goes beyond the “dirty tricks ” the GOP excels at. As the recent attempt by two Trump dirty tricksters to frame Pete Buttigieg as a rapist. Which was exposed just this week. We know more dirty ticks will follow. That has been part of the GOP playbook since Ronald Reagan and his imaginary “welfare queen” . It’s stock and trade GOP lying.
But the Trump supporters, at least the most wacked out ones, go well beyond dirty tricks. They will do violence. The Coast Guard lieutenant, Christopher Hasson, had a stockpile of weapons and a hit list of politicians to kill. All Democrats. .Presidential candidates. He did web searches to hunt “liberals”. While even Fox News (yes, that Fox News) referred to him as a “domestic terrorist”, the Barr Department of Justice refused to charge him with potential acts of terror. As a result he was allowed to go free pending trial. What message is this sending to other right wing nut jobs?
No condemnation of violence by the president. No appeals to work together or turn down the rhetoric. No calls for observance of the law. Only calling FBI agents “scum”. Purges of the Justice Department.
Democrats running for office WILL be shot. Maybe killed. It is inevitable.
Guns are easy to get. Nutjobs are easy to influence. Mr Trump has said over and over that the Dems are out to get him. They kill babies. They tried to overthrow him in a “coup”. They are “enemies of the people”, like the New York Times. They are out to destroy our leader. How can they be stopped?
It is a very small step for a radicalized supporter to figure out the message. Kill them before they kill our leader. Kill them before they kill more babies. Kill. Protect the fuhrer. His enemies must die.
I do hope I am wrong but it seems inevitable. Democrats running for office will be shot. And Trump will remain silent. The silence of approval.
Photo above is NOT me, it is of Christian Hurlburt.
I am a proud member of the master race. I am an old white male and god knows I am superior to everyone else.
As proof of my race’s superiority I give you this story. About 2 men who lived just a few miles from me in western NY. They went to South Carolina and killed some people. Now, you won’t see it on Fox News (sic) because it isn’t about black guys or immigrants or Muslims. But I’ll let the news article tell the story from the Finger Lakes Daily News:
“The discovery of two bodies buried at a house in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has resulted in the arrest of two men originally from Steuben County.
41-year-old Christian Hurlburt and 39-year-old Jonathan Galligan were arrested over the weekend after two women’s bodies were found in shallow graves. Hurlburt is listed as a level three sex offender in New York with a last known address being in Prattsburgh. Galligan is from the Bath area.
According to a South Carolina television station, Hurlburt shot himself in the head in front of deputies Wednesday, survived and then told police he witnessed Galligan kill one of the two women and helped bury her.
Galligan was arrested Saturday and Hurlburt was also arrested Saturday after being released from the hospital. They are currently jailed without bail.”
Now, I am not one to criticize my fellow master race guys, but one thing about this story bothers me. OK, he killed people. Well, over 35,000 Americans are killed each year by guns so that is no emergency . At least not as great an emergency as a 4 year old Guatemalan crossing the border. Or as an Honduran mother escaping gang violence with her 8 year old daughter.YIKES! Those are REAL emergencies.
Consider this. This upstanding member of the master race shot himself in the head. Shot himself in the head. Took a gun, put it to his own head and shot himself. And he missed. The master race.
If the following IS a national emergency answer YEPPER. If not, answer, NOPER.
1. Russia actively interferes with the 2016 election and helps Donald Trump get elected?
2. The Trump administration cuts funding for the FBI task force investigating and trying to prevent Russian election interference in 2020?
3.At the World Trade Center catastrophe of 9/11/2001, 3,000 Americans were killed. Since then, an average of 3,000 Americans each month have been killed by guns . That is a total of over 612,000 Americans killed by guns. National emergency?
4. The hottest, driest years on record due to global climate change have lead to extensive fires and droughts?
5. The US and Russia pulling out of the arms reduction agreements?
6. Over 25,000,000 Americans without quality health insurance due to the recent erosion of the ACA?
7. A record 22 trillion dollar debt, built up largely due to the 2 trillion dollar tax giveaway to the wealthiest 1%?
8. Growing and eventual insolvency of Social Security unless action is taken immediately?
9. Selling off of national parks, created long ago by Teddy Roosevelt, to the fossil fuel industry for the short term economic gain of a dying industry?
10. A family of Guatemalans, including a 5 year old and a 3 year old, fleeing death in their homeland, are posing a major threat to US safety and security?
The 2nd Amendment guarantees my right to carry a gun anywhere I want… according to the NRA.
The NRA is hosting Donald Trump today as a speaker. I am sure he will give a great speech. He will talk about those evil liberals, like Nancy Pelosi (Scary!!!) who want to take away your guns.
He will stand tall with real Americans who want guns everywhere.
They want guns in colleges. In universities. In high schools. In elementary schools. In hospitals. In stadiums. In churches. In synagogues. In mosques..well, they don’t want mosques but if you have to have mosques let’s put guns in them.
Guns. Guns. Guns. Everywhere guns.
It’s the 2nd Amendment.
Except. When Mr Trump gives his speech later today there will be no guns allowed at the NRA convention. None.
We live in the age of iodiotic ideas followed by even more idiotic ideas. Most of the “solutions” to problems seem to be designed to create even more problems. And they do. Inevitable.
The latest idiotic idea is that we should start arming teachers in our schools. The NRA supports this idea, of course. As the primary gun manufacturing lobby this will mean more sales. More sales means more dollars to legal gun runners. More dollars to legal gun runners means more dollars in the NRA account. So, the idiotic idea at least has an upside for someone.
As I taught school for 33 years I wondered how I would do if I were armed. Nothing big. Just a small sidearm. A six-shooter. At my hip. Ready to go. Bang. Bang. You’re dead.
It would have proven a useful tool in my arsenal of teaching tricks, to be sure. Before I go on you might consider this. A number of studies have placed teaching as the third or fourth most stressful job in industrialized societies. Third or fourth. Behind soldiers. Cops. EMTS/medical folks. Lots of stress. And not so good on the wages for all those professions. So, even more stress.
I can think of some situations in my long career where a gun may have been useful. And remember the old saying: Don’t point a loaded gun at anyone unless you intend to use it. Use it I would.
There was the 7th grader I will call “Billy Bob”. Billy Bob never did his homework. He almost always sauntered into class late. He shot spitballs on a regular basis. Never passed a test or quiz. Sometimes spit on the floor. He was sent to the office so often he earned frequent flyer miles. And he had a smart mouth. “You’re not my father, you can’t make me do nuthin”. Wonder what I would have done with a loaded gun?
Then there was Akili . The 18 year old in 9th grade. Came to class once in awhile. Never had a book. Never had a pen or pencil. Never would answer a question. I asked the administration what to do with this kid. Why was he even in school? The answer? He had a “right” to an education and it was my job to teach him. Also, he is selling drugs but we can never catch him. So, once in awhile Akili would show up and take up space. Sit and smirk. Eventually Akili disappeared. Word has it he was “offed” by a rival in the drug business. Still, I wonder? If I had a gun would I have beaten his rival to the punch?
Then there is the monthly faculty meeting. Wherein a person who taught for 3 years and then decided he wanted to make real money but had no skills went on to get an “administrative degree”. This degree allowed such a person to be hired as a principal or vice principal of a school. And to supervise people who actually knew something about educating kids.
Now, this person would hold a faculty meeting. Usually the meeting was designed to inform teachers that they were responsible fo passing all the students. Especially those that did no work. I had one administrator tell me I should never give a grade lower than a 60 on any assignment, even if the student did not turn it in. Not hand it in. Give him an automatic 60. Really. That was his policy. Which I ignored, of course.
Also at the faculty meeting the room full of teachers will be told they must attend “teacher workshops”. Now, a teacher workshop is a place where teachers with 20 years experience sit in student desks and listen to a 23 year old who has never been in a classroom explain how to do the job better. How to inspire every student. How to write individual lesson plans . All 150 of them. Every day. Imagine a room full of armed teachers, after correcting 150 essays, most of which were downloaded from the internet, being told how to do their jobs. Locked and loaded. Yes, give me a gun. Please. Let’s get his meeting started.
Of course there is the dreaded hall duty. Stop a youngster in the hall who seems to be wandering around aimlessly. Might be lost. Might be looking to bust open a locker. Who knows. So, I ask him very politely: Do you have a hall pass? Where do you belong?
He answers: “Who do you think you are? None of your business. Nobody tells me what to do. Cram it asshole”
Yes, give me a loaded gun.
Now, don’t get me wrong. These are isolated cases and I could give you plenty more. They only happen once in awhile. I might be having a great day and then…bam…some kid destroys it. And, like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, ” I’m a very gentle man…
even tempered and good-natured,
whom you never hear complain,
who has the milk of human kindness
by the quart in every vein.
A patient man am I, down to my fingertips,
the sort who never could, ever would,
let an insulting remark escape his lips
Just a very gentle man.”
There is an epidemic of gun violence in America. That is not even debatable. And there have been a multitude of solutions offered over time.
Most recently the President of the United States, the NRA and many members of Congress have offered the latest solution. Arm teachers. More armed guards. More guns. And more guns. And more guns.
A creative and exceptionally innovative solution to the problem of gun violence. More guns. So, I said to myself, why stop there. Maybe we can apply that same “reasoning” and “logic” to the many other problems we face. Let’s try.
Obesity is a major problem in the US. Anyone who has ever traveled to Italy or France or Spain immediately notices that there aren’t so many obese folks walking around. It could be limited to urban areas, perhaps. But, at least in my experience, folks in those countries as a rule, seem not so chunky as Americans. I , myself, have done my patriotic duty by increasing my body mass significantly over the last 50 years or so. A proud American. A BIG proud American.
What is a reasonable solution to the health issues caused by obesity? Well, former First Lady Michelle Obama started a healthy eating program to encourage kids to develop good eating habits at a young age. She was vilified by the right wing extremists for that. Big government interfering with the proper parental role. Then Sarah Palin showed up at an elementary school with cookies for kids. She passed them out. She didn’t bother to ask parents if they wanted their kids to eat cookies or perhaps had allergy issues. The right wing applauded. More cookies. More cookies. More cookies.
So, a reasonable solution to the obesity problem is more donuts. More junk food. Less fruits and vegetables. The problem of obesity can be solved by increasing the availabilty of junk food. Yepper.
Drunk driving kills thousands of Americans each year. Currently we have DUI laws and put folks in prison for that. Take away licenses for driving drunk. But that has not solved the problem.
What we need is more and better access to booze while on the road. Every gas station should have a liquor license. Every driver should be given a free beer with a fill up. End DWI laws and impose DWS laws (Driving While Sober). Pull over anyone who is not weaving side to side at 50 MPH in a school zone. Fine em. Drink or don’t drive. The obvious solution to drunk driving is more access to alcohol by automobile operators. Yepper.
The opioid epidemic. Killing thousands every year. These opioids, many prescribed legally, have wreaked havoc on families and individuals. They have destroyed families. They are agents of death. So, what is the solution?
Easy. We need complete and total access to opioids . No prescription necessary. Over the counter. At the supermarket. The drug store. In our schools. Free opioids with every order of fries at Mc Donald’s. (Solving two problems at once) The only way to stop the madness is total access to opioids. The more the better. Every teacher should be armed with opioids in case of an emergency. The emergency being that Billy forgot his opioids today. Yepper.
We could go on and on. But the message is clear.
The best way to solve a problem, according to our current leadership, is to make it even bigger.
The DC v Heller decision of 2008 established 3 things, according to the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia. (See https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/2nd-amendment-and-gun-control-part-1/ for details.)
First, individual citizens, not part of a militia, have the right to own weapons.
Second, the government has the right to regulate who can have weapons.
Third, the government has the right to determine the legality of specific weapons.
So, any attempt by any member of Congress to suggest that any gun control violates the 2nd Amendment should be referrred to the Scalia opinion. Gun control is constitutional.
So, what kind of gun control , which does minimal damage to the desire (not right) of gun owners to certain weapons, are possible? Here are some possible gun control measures which Congress could take.
A mandatory background check for any gun purchaser. Using a nationwide data base that identifies felons out on parole, individuals convicted of spousal abuse, individuals convicted of any violent crime, individuals currently charged with a violent offense pending trial.
A ban on the ownership and sale of military-style assault weapons and any devices that can be used to enhance the firing capacity of weapons, including bumpstocks. (Except in licensed shooting ranges).
A ban on the sale and/or transportation of weapons across state lines.
Mandatory written and field and safety tests for anyone purchasing a weapon, including a screening for emotional and mental stability.
A ban on any sale of guns other than that of a registered gun seller. This includes the ban on trading, swap meets or other gun sales not taking place in an established, permanent location.
The registration of all weapons with the local authorities. Including the free transfer of weapons to immediate famiy members, which would be legal.
Establishment of shooting ranges for those who wish to fire military style weapons. These establishments would be able to legally rent military style weapons to shooters to be used only at the shooting ranges.
The ban on any bullet or projectile designed to explode on entering the body or designed to pierce armor.
The licensing of any gun owner, renewable every five years, to determine that the person keeps up with the skill, visual acuity, mental capacity to handle a weapon safely and understands the law relating to weapons.
Establishment of free clinics and classes to teach and train gun owners as to the proper and safe use of firearms.
A Right To Know Law which gives parents the right to know which households have guns in them. A parent could then decide for themselves if they want to expose their child to a household which has a weapon. (Many children die playing with guns each year).
A yearly weapons licensing tax to help defray the costs of gun safety programs.
A health care premium Gun Violence Tax for gun owners. This would help defray the massive costs to hospitals,police, courts, jails and the insurance industry for costs related to the care of victims and perpetrators of gun violence nationwide. Hang on to your six-shooter. The annual estimated cost of gun violence in the USA is $8,600,000,000 (billion) in direct medical care. And the overall cost of gun violence to the economy is $229,000,000,000. See references at the end of this blog for details.
I am confident that many or all of these solutions, taken as a whole, would significantly reduce both intentional and accidental gun mortality. All of these ideas are constitutional and easily implemented. I am also sure that people more astute and informed than I have even more and better solutions.
We license people to drive cars. We renew auto license plates every year or two. We tax vehicles and gas used in those vehicles. We let people know if there is a sex offender living in the neighborhood so parents can protect their children. We heavily tax tobacco to reduce usage and pay for the costs of medical care caused by tobacco. So, none of the ideas above, if applied to weapons , is radical or unusual.
Would these solutions stop ALL gun violence? Of course not. Even places with strict gun control laws have some gun violence. But the likelyhood of desth by gun in these nations is minimal compared to the USA.
In Austria you are as likely to drown in a swimming pool as be killed by a gun. In New Zealand, your chances of death by gun are the same as falling from a ladder. In Poland, the chance is the same as being killed on your bicycle. And in Japan you are just as likely to be hit by lightening as killed by a gun.
Think about that last statistic the next time you watch a thunderstorm brewing.
There is a very strange argument that is made by politicians, the NRA gun manufacturing lobby and some others concerning the 2nd Amendment and the rights entailed therein. The argument goes like this:
The Second Amendment guarantees any person’s right to own any kind of weapon.
They take the 2nd Amendment and parse it out, emphasizing some of the words and ignoring others. Kind of like when Betsy asks me to take out the garbage. Me? Take out? OK , Let’s order a pizza.
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.”
They kind of skip the first 13 words and then start reading. Speed reading? Skimming for the general idea? Hmmmm.
The obvious intention of the founding fathers was that, in the 18th century, there would be times when the local government would need a call to arms. Maybe the injuns were coming or the Brits had decided to try to retake the village. Or perhaps the Canadians were on the march attempting to impose universal health care on our children and widows.
Hence the first 13 words. A well-regulated militia. Pretty clear. Well…regulated …militia.
Some folks, however, ignore those words. They don’t like them. The 13 words not only imply a strict government control over arms, they specify it. We may need a local militia, so you should keep a gun handy. That does not mean you can have a gun for any other reason.
Of course, if the founding fathers INTENDED that everyone should have access to a gun for any reason they had no need for those 13 words. They could have kept it much simpler, as in the 1st Amendment. Short and sweet.
So the first argument supporting the notion that anyone can have any kind of weapon for any purpose is easily shot down and understood by anyone with a modicum or more of cognitive ability.
Of course, because the Constitution is interpreted by the Supreme Court, it really does not matter what the founders were thinking. The Supreme Court decides what the words mean, not the founders.
And here we see an interesting phenomena. The conservative justices who CLAIM to be “strict constructionists” have actually changed the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. Now, I don’t mind the Court trying to keep up with modern times. I think the Supreme Court should do so. But I do find the hypocrisy of the conservatives on the Court somewhat amusing.
These same justices who claim to interpret the Constituion based on the “original” document and words of the founders tend to let this one slip by. The “originalists” suddenly found, after more than 200 years , that the founders didn’t realy mean “militia” when they wrote “militia”. The majority opinion in the Heller decision goes through more contortions than a Chinese acrobat trying to justify that one. But, they had the votes. So be it.
The Heller decision, giving all of us the individual right to own a gun states, in part:
“Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
So, the founders were simply wrong when they wrote “well-regulatedmilitia“. So much for the “strict constructionist” viewpoint.
But that’s ok. Everyone now has an individual right to own a gun. We all agree because the Supreme Court says so.
Which brings us to a second argument made by the NRA gun manufactuting industry and their employees in Congress. It goes like this.
Since I have the right to a gun, that means I have the right to ANY gun. And that means I can carry any gun anywhere I want. Therefore, no state or national government can make any laws restricting my right to own my gun or where I can wander around with it. Any government that does that is trying to take away my gun.
The obvious fallacy of that position is clear. If you want to think about it. It would mean that the only unlimited right granted to citizens by the government is the right to have a gun. All other rights have associated responsibilities and limits, but not my right to a gun. It places the 2nd Amendment in a different category than every other right.
Of course, that argument is easily refuted. Just look at the 1st Amendment. We have the right to free speech. It’s right there, in black and white. But that right is not unlimited. We have libel laws which restrain speech. We have regulations as to what words can be used on non-cable tv stations. We have slander laws. We have laws against threatening to kill others, especially political leaders. Try telling a joke about having a bomb in your backpack when you are boarding a plane and you will see how quickly your “free speech” is dealt with.
The same is true of freedom of religion. You have the freedom to worship in the church or mosque or synagogue or basement of your choice. You can pray to anything you want to pray to. Some Native American churches are even allowed to void anti-drug laws because they have a longstanding use of peyote in their rituals. But if you are an Aztec and believe in human sacrifice, that is a no-no. A fundamentalist Mormon may believe he can have numerous child wives (and some do) but that is illegal. You can believe it is your right and religious duty as the “father” of the house to beat your kids and wife. But that is not tolerated. Limitations.
So, every right has legitimate, common sense restrictions. Even in the Heller case, the most conservative of the justices, Justice Scalia, pointed out that this right is not unlimited. Specifically stating, in his majority opinion, that schools and government buildings are places where restictions may be logically imposed. Also, certain categories of people, like felons, could be legally restriced from owning guns. Further, he stated that the government has the ability to restrict certain kinds of firearms, like military weapons, as well.
So, the idea that every person has an unlimited right to any type of gun he wants does not pass muster. Even the most conservative member of the Court, Justice Scalia, recognized that, while you have an individual right to a weapon, that right is not without proper government restrictions.
In essence, the most radical arguments of the NRA gun manufacturing lobby and the extremists goes down the toilet. The only question that remains is: What are reasonable restrictions?
Another school shooting today in Florida. YAWN. 17 people, mostly kids, dead; a bunch more injured. YAWN. The shooter was known to be a problem. YAWN. The shooter used an AR-15 assault weapon. YAWN.
We now have about 1 school shooting every 2 or 3 days.
So, join me and Governor Scott of Florida. And Senator Rubio of Florida.And President Trump. And the rest of Congress.
Join me as we call for prayers. Our thoughts and condolences are with these children. And their families. Our deepest sympathy for the mothers who bore these childeren and will never see them graduate from high school. The fathers who changed their diapers and rolled around the living room floor with them. The brothers and sisters who fought with them, loved them, hated them and hugged them. Join me in prayers.
Congress and the president and all the decent people in America must join together in a moment of silence. We feel their pain. It is awful. We must all cry together.
We must all cry the crocodile tears. Doesn’t matter if it is Florida crocodiles or Connecticut crocodiles or Nevada crocodiles or South Carolina crocodiles. We all need to shed those tears.
But don’t shed too many. Save some. Because next month you will need to shed them again. Don’t cry yourself dry. You may run out of tears, but you can always pray.
The choice is clear. We can support the gun sellers, supported by the NRA. Or, we can keep our children safe with sane gun laws.
The solution is clear. We must share the pain. We must stand with the victims. We must pray.
And stand with Governor Scott who made this statement.
After the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead and dozens injured, Scott responded to questions about gun control in Florida.
“I’m not going to call a special session. The Second Amendment didn’t kill anybody,” Scott said.
Stand with Marco Rubio who just yesterday pointed out what needs to be done:
Fox News’ Pete Doocy asked Rubio if he thought it was appropriate to be discussing gun control after the events.
“It’s not, only because people don’t know how this happened,” Rubio said. “[We don’t know] who this person is, what motivated them, how did they get a hold of the weapon that they used for this attack.”
To quote Rubio again: “How did they get a hold of a weapon ???” I mean, who knows how? It’s a mystery!
So. Let us cry those crocodile tears. And let us pray. Like the governor of Florida and Congress and the president, please feel the pain. Because it makes us sad.
But oppose background checks. Oppose any ban on assault weapons. Oppose any national solution to a national issue. Stand with the NRA gun sellers. And shed those crocodile tears.
Please print and save this blog. Tape it to your refrigerator. You can read it again next month when the next school mass shooting takes place.
Another American Tragedy has occurred. Every day 100 Americans die due to guns. About half are suicides and accidents. The other half are murders. Every day. A daily American tragedy.
But some days are more tragic than others. Mass shootings. Mass killings. Or a Congressman or Congresswoman shot. Every day it’s somebody’s baby, somebody’s husband, somebody’s daddy, somebody’s mommy. Every day.
But when the mass killings occur the entire nation stops. Stops for a moment of silence. The president sends his condolences. It is part of the job description. The anti-gun lobby energizes and says: This has got to stop. The gun lobby energizes and says: No, it doesn’t.
In this century.
Red Lake Massacre. Minnesota 10 dead, 5 wounded. Moment of silence.
Virginia Tech Massacre. Virginia. 23 dead, 32 wounded. Moment of Silence.
Binghamton shootings. New York. 14 dead, 4 wounded. Moment of Silence.
Fort Hood Massacre. Texas. 13 dead, 30 wounded. Moment of Silence.
Aurora Theater shooting. Colorado. 12 dead, 70 wounded. Moment of Silence.
Newtown School shooting (Sandy Hook) Massachusetts. 28 dead, 2 wounded. Moment of Silence.
Washington Navy Yard shooting. DC. 12 dead, 8 wounded. Moment of Silence.
San Bernadino shooting. California. 14 dead, 21 wounded. Moment of Silence.
Orlando Nightclub Massacre. Florida. 49 dead, 53 wounded. Moment of Silence.
Las Vegas Strip massacre. Nevada. 50+ dead, 500+ wounded. Moment of Silence.
So much silence. So much silence in the face of regular murders. The moment of silence is no longer special. No longer has any meaning.
So, why have a “Moment of Silence” after these disturbing mass killings of Americans by other Americans?
Perhaps it is to give the NRA the time to re-load.
Congressman Scalise was shot by a nutcase with a gun. The usual nutcase, a white male. He was targeted for his political beliefs by a disgruntled , out of work male and shot. Not killed, but almost.
The same thing happened to Congresswoman Giffords a few years ago. On the other side of the political spectrum. Shot by a disgruntled white male. A nutcase. Like Scalise, she survived.
In both cases Congress rose as one to condemn the senseless violence. In both cases Congress was appalled by the mindless, fanatic attack on one of their own. The Congress pulled together behind Giffords and Scalise. They condemned the violence. They praised the courage of their colleagues in the face of near-death.
Scalise and Giffords are heroes. They survived. They live . Congress is outraged. Congress is sickened. And Congress will do nothing about it. You can take that to the bank.
Since the terror attack on 9/11 over 372,000 Americans have been heroes. You don’t know their names. 372,000 Americans have been injured by guns. Intentionally. 372,000 heroes who have been cocooned in silence as far as Congress is concerned. Not a peep from the outraged. Not a condemnation from the Capitol dome. Nothing.
In addition. Approximately 186,000 Americans have been killed, intentionally, by guns. 186,000 heroes. Silent heroes. Unnamed heroes. They were not important. They were not in Congress.
There have been 62 tragedies of 9/11 proportions since 9/11. Americans terrorizing other Americans with guns. Americans murdering other Americans. Sixty-two 9/11s. From Congress? Silence.
Every day in America, on average, 7 children and teens are killed by guns. Every day. This week there will be 50 Gabby Giffords who do not survive. All of them under the age of 20. Over 5000 children hospitalized each year with gun-related injuries. And Congress is silent.
Every day 93 Americans are killed by guns. Homicide. Accident. Suicide. They are all dead. This year 34,000 Americans will die because someone had a gun. And didn’t keep it safe. Or used it aggressively in during a moment of anger. Or in a temporary fit of depression just took their own life. It is almost equivalent of one 9/11 each month. And Congress is silent.
So, it may seem cold. But I do not get outraged by the shooting of Giffords or Scalise. I don’t applaud the violence. But it leaves me a bit cold.
After all, there were over 66 Steve Scalises shot today and sent to the hospital. They survived as 66 unnamed heroes. No Congressmen shed tears or made speeches condemning their assailants. And the 230 Gabby Giffords who were shot this week did NOT survive. 230 dead unnamed heroes. Not a peep from Congress. Not a word. Silence.
When compared to other industrialized nations the US has a homicide rate which is, on average, 25 times higher. The US homicide rate by guns is 18 times greater than France. The gun homicide rate is 60 times higher than Germany. And the US murder rate with guns is a whopping 90 times that of the UK. (Note: These numbers are out of date, but not that far off).
To be fair, Latin American nations like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Belize, etc. have significantly higher murder rates that the US. So, I guess that is some consolation. We are better than Honduras. Hurray!
Nothing will change. Scalise will be lionized and applauded for surviving. He lives. But the applause will end. Our representatives will cry their collective crocodile tears. Then Congress will get back to regular order, which includes taking massive donations from the NRA and the gun industry. In the last election cycle the NRA and gun industry spent $ 52,000,000 opposing candidates who support gun control.
So the killings will continue. And so will the silence.
I have been reading a lot of history lately. The biography of John Adams. The biography of Alexander Hamilton. The story of the b-17 bombing of the Nazis during WW2.
Americans of the distant and recent past put their lives on the line. Whether they were right or wrong can be debated. Was Vietnam worth it? Was Afghanistan necessary? Was Iraq a proper response to 9/11?
Whatever your political philosophy it seems as though Americans have always stood up and faced whatever “evil” they needed to face. Even if some of that “evil” may be imaginary.
Over the last few years we have seen a new American emerge. This is the American of the political right wing. Just as American as you or I. But Americans who have redefined what it means to be a “patriot” or a “citizen”
These Americans, unlike their forefathers, live in a state of constant fear. They are constantly horrified. Perpetually frightened.
They reject the liberal FDR who, when faced with the most devastating economic disaster the US had ever known, responded by telling Americans, in his first inaugural address. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. A statement FDR repeated in 1941 in response to the Nazi menace.
They reject the words of another liberal president, JFK, who pronounced, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate”.
We might even try Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the GOP, who said, ” Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”
Well. Not so.
Today, the entire right wing seems to be hiding under their beds, teeth chattering. To hear some of these new Americans talk you would think we are a nation of cry babies and cowards.
What are they afraid of?
Transgender people using bathrooms.
Gays getting married.
People who want to take away their guns.
People without guns.
Women who want to control their own bodies.
Old people voting.
Gays in the military.
Black Lives Matter.
Did I mention gays?
Perhaps we need to get these grown men out from under the beds. Be gentle with them. Pat them on their heads. Hold their hands. Tell them it will all be okay. Nobody is going to hurt them. No gays are going to attack them. No one is taking away their guns. Heat up some cocoa and give them a cookie.
The poor darlings are frightened out of their (half)wits.
Perhaps Plato said it best over 2,000 years ago.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”.
Protect us from the (fill in the blank)… Muslims…Mexicans…terrorists…refugees…Syrians…
But never fill in the blank with “Other Americans”.
We hear this from candidates all the time. America is a dangerous place…for some. But not from Muslim terrorists or jihadists. The biggest threat to human life comes from our fellow citizens. With guns. All kinds of guns. Easily obtained.
Forget about the few “mass killings” At churches . Or schools. They are simply a spike in the graph. The every day, under reported killing of people in the USA is the biggest tragedy not covered by the media. Or candidates.
Keep America Safe.
For some reason keeping Americans safe from other Americans is a very low priority, especially for the two GOP candidates. I give you Matthew 7:3 ” Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but ignore the log in your own?”. It is easier to point the finger at “the other” than admit to our own societal and governmental failures.
Fact: On 9/11 a small group of Muslim extremists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, flew planes into building that killed almost 3,000 Americans. The US government retaliated with a massive attack on Afghanistan and later Iraq. Americans wanted revenge and wanted to make sure that we would be safe. Keep America Safe became the mantra. Ever since then our legal institutions and domestic priorities have taken second place to our military desires. Keep America Safe. 3,000 innocents killed.
Fact: Since 2002 over 200,000 American citizens have been murdered. (Not including suicides or accidents, which almost doubles the figures) Not by Muslim terrorists. Not by ISIS. Not by hordes of Mexicans or Guatemalans. By fellow citizens. By other Americans with guns. 200,000 citizens murdered. . And this is not seen as a crisis worth talking about. By any of the candidates.
Fact: Since 2002 over 17,000,000 Americans have been victims of violent crimes. Murders, assaults, rapes. 17,000,000 Americans . That is MORE THAN the entire population of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho, West Virginia and Nebraska COMBINED. 17,000,000. And not a peep from the candidates.
These Keep America Safe politicians don’t seem to equate America with Americans. To them “America” is simply a land mass with a border, not millions of people. A geographic entity. Uninhabited? Children living in inner cities? Not Americans. The homeless? Not Americans. Battered spouses? Not Americans.
Perhaps someday a moderator in one of the debates will ask these candidates why they outline no plans to keep “Americans” safe. Wouldn’t that be a good question to ask?
Related information from the websites of the 4 major candidates. The 2 Democrats do touch on the issue of gun violence. The GOP candidates simply ignore it.
News Item: 3 are dead in Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado.
At this point I do not know HOW the GOP candidates will respond to this latest act of violence. Imagine if these were the responses of the GOP candidates for president.
Trump: We must go after these domestic terrorists with everything we have. I will not tolerate it. A Trump president would go in with guns blazing. Take them out. Let these old white guys know that as Americans we do not tolerate terrorism. I would register all adult white Christians and keep very close tabs on them.
Carson: I am saddened by the loss of life. We should never allow violence to rule our lives. I reject violence in all its forms. Just as we welcome newborns into the world, so should we welcome refugees to our shore. All life is sacred.
Huckabee: God bless the police officer and civilians who were killed by this outrageous act. True Christians do not commit murder. This man was not a true Christian. True Christians believe in love and brotherhood. Let us all condemn this violence against these women who are simply seeking health care. And condemn the use of violence as Jesus would.
Gowdy: We will investigate this. Congress needs to investigate where these domestic killers are getting their weapons . Then we need to stop the easy access to these weapons. I pledge to work across the aisle with the Democrats to finally put an end to these senseless killings by introducing effective gun control.
Rubio: I condemn these murders. We must be a nation of laws, not a nation of violence. We need to stop pandering to the worst in people and to hate. Let us work together to make sure all women have access to good health care so so day we will not need Planned Parenthood. Until then, we must protect women who are exercising their Constitutional rights.
Christie: Perhaps we need to stop yelling at each other and discuss issues like adults. Let us have an honest conversation and not try to bully each other over these issues. Let’s stop blaming Obama for every problem we have in this country. Most of all, let’s respect each other as equals and fight domestic terrorism together. Let’s stop the blustering and try to solve problems.
Bush: Every American has the right to health care. The US Constitution must be respected. Let us join in a national day of mourning and support for a woman’s right to choose. Let us condemn violence against women and show our support for the Constitution. When you take the law into your own hands you destroy the idea of law itself.
(Somewhere in the deepest caves in Afghanistan a meeting of the Al-Qaeda leadership is taking place.)
Mustafa Waynoofa La Pierre: Allah Be Praised. Where are the corn chips? Ah. Good. Welcome to the first meeting of the Al-Qaeda chapter of the National Rifle Association. Although our funds are running low we feel the $35 membership is well worth the cost. Not only do we get insurance if any of our guns are stolen, but we also get a free subscription to “American Hunter”. I think it is a guide to hunting Americans. Questions?
Mohammed bin O’Reilly: Why are we joining this American organization? Allah Be Praised. Is it not an organization of loyal Americans?
MustafaWaynoofa La Pierre : I know it seems strange. Allah and AK-47s Be Praised. But our accountants have done a cost-benefit analysis and we decided this was the best bang for the buck, so to speak.
Abdullah Zimmerman: Explain that. Our goal is to kill Americans. Not protect them. We lured them to Iraq and Afghanistan to kill them. And it worked. Allah and George Bush Be Praised.
John Wilkes Boothafa: And we spent so much time planning 9/11. Look how many we killed. Allah and Cheney Be Praised. Now you are saying we should join the Americans! Never.
Mustafa Waynoofa La Pierre: Hear me out. Joining the NRA is the easiest, cheapest way to kill Americans. And isn’t that out goal? Allah and Fox News Be Praised. In Iraq and Afghanistan we have killed fewer than 7,000 Americans! And it has taken us 13 years ! Fewer than 3,000 in the attacks on 9/11. We thought that was good. HAH!
Many shouting in the room: Praise Allah. Kill the infidels! Allah Be Praised.
Mustafa Waynoofa La Pierre: Wait ! Wait ! During that same period in the US Americans with guns killed over 420,000 Americans. That is more than all Americans killed in all the wars since WW2. Allah and the NRA Be Praised. In fact, more Americans have been killed by guns since 9/11 than ALL Americans killed in WW2 by the Germans and Japanese combined. Allah and La Pierre Be Praised !
Abdullah James Earl Rayoofa: This is embarrassing. You mean we spent all this time and money and energy and sacrifice trying to kill Americans and we have this result?
Mustafa Waynoofa La Pierre: We have been fools. Allah and Smith and Wesson Be Praised. Instead of wasting our time and energy on plots to destroy Americans we could have simply joined and supported the NRA. They do a much better job a killing Americans than we could ever dream of. They make sure every hateful, mentally ill American can get a gun. Not to mention children . There is a special place in paradise for Wayne La Pierre. He will certainly have many virgins…unless he shoots them first.
Muhammed bin Huckabee: So. What should we do? Allah and Cop Killer Bullets Be Praised.
Mustafa Waynoofa La Pierre: Easy. Just fill in the form. Include your VISA card number and join. You will get a free magazine, insurance for your guns and the knowledge that you are helping stop any sane laws to control guns in America. Think of all those American children that you are helping murder! And as a bonus, the NRA is the only organization that hates the American president more than we do! They will make sure American keep killing Americans. When it comes to killing Americans, nobody does it better. They have a saying in the ungodly, Satan-worshiping USA. If you can’t beat em, join em. And when it comes to helping people kill Americans, nobody beats the NRA.
(This is the fourth in a series of biased reports about the people who think they are qualified to be president. Really. They do. They think they should be the most powerful human being on earth. Really.)
I somehow missed it. On April 13 Marco Rubio evidently announced that he wanted to be President of the US. I missed it.
I had a little trouble finding his campaign website but I finally did. (marcorubio.com).
In announcing his candidacy he emphasized that he was a break with the old way of politics . A new beginning. A new way. Oh, I almost forgot. He announced his candidacy to his wealthy donors before he told the rest of us. A new way?
I checked his Senate website looking for specific legislation he has sponsored and/or passed. None mentioned. (rubio.senate.gov)
His campaign website has 5 issues. Each has a nice picture and the usual Obama-is-bad statements. I think someone should tell Marco that Obama will not be running again.
His 5 issues: Isis, Cuba, Iran, Abortion,Israel.
Nothing on health care. Nothing on unemployment. Nothing on job creation. Nothing on immigration. Nothing on gun violence. To look at his website you would think he is running for Secretary of State….hmmm.
On ISIS he says we should kill them. He says we cannot “ignore” the problem. Yet, he has proposed no legislation authorizing the POTUS to do so. He does sit on the foreign relations committee, so he could write a bill. But killing ISIS is a good idea. Obama should have thought of that.
On Cuba he says that Cuba is an exporter of terror and we should not have relations with dictatorships. Isolate dictatorships. An interesting principle. But he makes no comments about our China policy. He wants to keep Cuba isolated because it is a “communist” dictatorship. Maybe China is a nice communist dictatorship? Did I mention he rejects the policies of the past and looks to the future?
On Iran he says we should isolate them as well. We should do what Netanyahu tells us to do. Does Rubio really think that the US can unilaterally decide world arms policies? And why should we look to Israel to determine our foreign policy?
On Israel he is clear. Obama (there he is again) has “failed to stand with Israel”. But a quick check of military aid to Israel shows that under Obama the US has given much more aid than under Bush. More, in fact, than any other administration. Giving more aid and making it clear that we will support Israel in any attack is somehow “failing to stand” with Israel? (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/U.S._Assistance_to_Israel1.html)
The only domestic issue he chooses to include on his website deals with abortion. He is unequivocal. Roe v Wade, which guarantees a woman the right to an abortion, is “morally wrong” and should be overturned. He does not elaborate .
In some of his speeches Rubio has called for more tax breaks to create jobs. (Reaganomics) He has denied the science of climate change. Wants to go back to a time when all abortions were illegal. He was for immigration reform or not. Opposes any gun restrictions. Wants to isolate Cuba. Did I mention that he wants to look to the future and rejects the policies of the past?
His main claim seems to be that he is young. He emphasizes his youth as though it is somehow a qualification in and of itself.
In the political boxing ring Rubio is not a lightweight. He is a featherweight. Old wine in new skins. A blast from the past.
As I walked out to the mailbox on this wintry day I fell 33 times on the ice. Very slippery. A veritable slippery slope of slippery slopes. Which got me to thinking.
Many arguments about “rights” from my conservative compadres these days seem to hinge on the slippery slope idea. The argument is that if you allow the government to do “A”, then the government will do “B”. then the government will do “C”…all the way to “XYZ”. And that, my friends , is the end of civilization as we know it. Doom awaits us.
Take gay marriage as an example. Those who want to ban gay marriage (now declared legal and constitutional in 35 states) have a state’s rights argument. The philosophy behind the argument for not allowing gay adults to marry goes something like this. (Hang on to your hat, it is gonna get slippery)
If you allow gays to marry, then what next ? The government will allow polygamous marriages. Then it will allow animals to marry people. The slope is fast and very slick. Gay marriage leads to human-animal nuptials. Want to be the flower girl at the wedding of Uncle Jed to Barb the Burro ? I thought not.
Another controversy rife with slippery slope reasoning (?) is gun control. If the government can regulate my use of a gun, what next? The government will ban all guns. To everyone. For all times. Then the jackbooted thugs will take over my house. (Usually Obama’s jackbooted thugs, but not always).The end of civilization as we know it. After all, what is more civilized than an AK-47?
It is hard to argue with such unreasonable reasoning. If “A” occurs…then “XYZ”. So, instead, let’s play the game of slippery slopes. In reverse.
Gay marriage. If the state government can prevent two adult citizens from getting married, what next ? Can the government prevent blacks from marrying whites ? Swedish-Americans from marrying Chinese-Americans? Eventually the states will prevent heterosexuals from marrying each other. No one can get married. Or worse, the state (I’m thinking Alabama here) will make it mandatory for cousins to marry. Or for brothers to marry sisters. Or for humans to marry animals ! Slippery slope.
On gun control. If the state cannot regulate guns, what next. People will be able to carry guns anywhere. Into the mall. Into church. Onto airplanes. Into Congress. And people will be able to carry any kind of weapon. AK-47’s in the front row at Xmas Midnight Mass. The wealthy can afford their own nukes. And children can have guns as well. Playgrounds will become realistic battlegrounds with real bullets instead of pretend ones. And animals ! Do you really want to be confronted by a hungry, armed squirrel. They go nuts. A slippery slope from not allowing reasonable gun control to every felon, child, airline stewardess and nun being armed , locked and loaded. The slippery slope.
Law “A” leads to…well…Law “A”. Nothing more. So, beware of slippery slopes. Throw down some salt on the ice. Tread carefully. In the end, all slippery slope arguments end up leading to a fall. Wear extra padding on your butt and use your common sense.