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.”
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.”
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?
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.
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.
(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.