Category Archives: Terror
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.
It seems as though the news emphasizes almost nothing but catastrophe and encourages negativity. This is not new, but it seems to be overwhelming sometimes. And it leaves the impression that we live in a constant state of terror, unhappiness, fear and anger. Things are getting worse and worse. Danger around every corner. The end is near! That is the narrative.
Good news does not sell papers or drive “clicks”. Good news is boring.
Some good news.
In 2015, a total of 322,761,000 Americans were NOT killed by the police.
The murder rate in Chicago is 1/2 of what it was in 1990. The murder rate in Washington DC is 1/4 of what it was in 1990.
Since the ACA (Obamacare) was enacted uninsured rates fell in every state in the union.Now only about 10%-12% of the population remains uninsured.
At long last all US citizens, including homosexuals, can marry and serve openly in the military.
The US is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time since the 1990s.
Americans demonstrated their generosity by giving more money to charity than ever before. , over $358 billion dollars in 2014.
US teen pregnancy rates are 50% LESS than they were in 1991, and have been falling.
In July of 2009 the rate of inflation was 5.6%. In July of 2016 the rate of inflation was 0.8%. The trend has been steady.
The unemployment rate in January, 2016, is down to 4.9% from a high of 9.8 % in January of 2010.
Since 9/11 you are 15 times more likely to be killed by a deer, than by a foreign terrorist. And your chance of being killed by a deer are less than 1 in 15,000,000.
And, the biggest good news surprise of all time. The Chicago Cubs, currently in 1st place, were predicted to win the World Series by the gambling establishment. (I wouldn’t bet on that one)
So. Good news will not make headlines. Not as exciting as disasters. But cheer up. Things are not nearly as bad as some would like us to believe.
Keep America Safe.
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.
Not worth mentioning.
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.
The Ted Cruz website (https://www.tedcruz.org/issues/) talks about defending our borders. and securing the borders. He wants to install a missile system on the borders of Russia and wage war on..well, just about everybody. (http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Ted_Cruz_War_+_Peace.htm )
The Donald Trump website (https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions ) talks about building a wall to keep out Mexicans. And he wants 30,000 US troops to defeat ISIS. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/politics/donald-trump-30000-troops-isis/ )
Hillary Clinton is a little more nuanced in her views of keeping America safe. She wants a combination of military, economic and political actions. War as a resort. But not the first resort. (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/national-security/). And she has some specifics regarding domestic gun violence. (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/gun-violence-prevention/)
Bernie Sanders seems to agree with President Obama’s current policies on ISIS and terror, in general. ( http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-isis/ ) Sanders stand on gun control is a little more complicated. He is for it, but does not go as far as Clinton. (http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-gun-policy/ )
Since today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I thought it would be appropriate to give some advice to my black son. Advice on how to live a long life in a hostile nation.
Problem is I don’t have a black son. Both my son and daughter are white. As is my wife. And we have a long history of ancestors who were also white. Quite a coincidence. Being white, there was never the necessity of having this little talk with him or her. But I digress.
To my black son or grandson. First, I will make some assumptions about you, most of which are not true.
You live in poverty (actually 73% of African Americans do not live in poverty, but the percentage IS higher for children and young adults) http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/
Your parents do not own their own home (55% do not, but 45% do). http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0883976.html
You will be arrested for a violent crime this year . (about 1/2 of 1% of black youths will be arrested for a violent offense, so 99.5% of black youths will NOT be arrested for a violent crime) http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05261
You are most likely a high school “drop out” . (The drop out rate for African American males is approximately 7%, so 93% are NOT drop outs) http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16
Enough of statistics. And stereotypes. I want you to live a long and happy life. Keep in mind the following.
First of all you have rights. The right to free speech. To drive. To assembly. To individuality. To be young. And to be stupid at times. To walk down the street. To carry a gun in some states. To use a cell phone.
My Rules for my black son. Listen carefully:
1. Take that last paragraph about your rights and forget it. Assume , instead, that you have no rights. Accept reality. Act like you have no rights. You will live longer.
2.If the police stop you in your car or walking be respectful. Don’t argue. Be polite. “Yes, officer. No,officer”. If you see the cops driving around in your neighborhood wave and smile.
3.Sew your pockets shut. So you cannot possibly reach inside them. Don’t carry a cell phone. Or comb. Or knife. Or anything.
4.Don’t be out after dark. If you are a friend’s house, call home and tell ma and pa that you are sleeping over. Do the same for your friends when they are visiting you at night. Don’t be out after dark.
5.Don’t go to places where you know drug dealers hang out. If drug dealers show up where you are hanging out, go home. Now.
6.If you are arrested for some reason say nothing. Nothing. If you are put in a cell do not talk to your cellmate. Be polite and ask for a lawyer. Say nothing.
7.Don’t wear bling. Don’t wear a hoodie. Don’t wear your cap backwards. Don’t argue with anyone about anything. Swallow your pride. Often. Regularly.
8.Act like you are a Jew in Nazi Germany. Pretend you are a foreigner with no rights.
Should you have to follow these rules? No. But in reality these rules will give you a much better chance of making it to adulthood than the Bill of Rights. Or the Voting Rights Act. Or any other legal protections. Sorry, my black son, but that is reality.
As MLK, Jr hoped, someday you WILL be judged by the content of your character and not by the color of your skin. But January 18, 2016 in America is not yet that day.
The line of ragged refugees trying to gain entry into the US winds around the corner. Men in robes and tattered clothes. Women wearing veils and hijabs. Little , wide -eyed children peering out from behind their mothers’ flowing dresses.
The Border Control agent barks .”Next”
A young bearded man, with wife and baby crouching behind, slowly approaches.
The agent is filling in a form.
“Where are you coming from?”
“The Middle East. We have had to leave our home.”
Agent:” Why did you leave?”
Yusef: “They are killing us. The new government has taken our property and demands that we give up our homes and possessions. We fled from the violence. If we go back they will kill us. Don’t send us back”
Agent: “Do you have any documents?”
Yusef:”No. We had to flee quickly. We left everything behind except what we carry.”
Agent, writing : “How did you pay for the airline tickets?”
Yusef: “We had a little gold, but that is now gone.”
Agent:”How do you intend to support yourself? Do you have any skills?”
Yusef: “I worked in construction. I can build things. I work with tools.”
Agent: “I see you wife is wearing a hijab. Are you Muslims?”
Yusef: ” Oh, no. She is just wearing the traditional veil. It means nothing.”
Agent: “Are you Christians? Do you follow Christ?”
Yusef, looking confused: ” No. We are simply refugees fleeing for our lives. Please help us.”
Agent, writing down something and looking concerned. “What is in those two boxes?”
Yusef: “Just some perfume and some medicines. It is all we have.”
The agent calls over some security who take the boxes and disappear into another room. “Sorry, those boxes will have to be destroyed. They had some odd looking substances in them.”
The agent looks at the young refugee family , down at his forms, and back up again. “You have no papers. You have no means of support. You CLAIM not to be Muslims, but you sure LOOK like Muslims to me. You brought in some strange packages. And you claim your life is in danger but offer no proof. ” He then takes out a big red stamp and loudly stamps the documents, hands them back to the young man and points him to the exit door.
“We will be putting you and your wife and child on the next plane back to the Middle East. Good luck. And Merry Christmas.”
The young man looks down at the document. The big red letters of the stamp are bold: ENTRY DENIED.
They cover the names of the applicants.
Yusef the Carpenter, wife Mary and baby Jesus.
Donald Trump continues to be a real treasure trove of ignorance. I know, I know. What am I talking about ? So much to choose from.
Well, I am referring to his latest..wait, what time is it…his latest comments about banning Muslims. All Muslims. That will make America safe. Again. Or great again. Or whatever. You know.
So, the next obvious step in the Trump Plan is the HOW to do it? The Donald is always a little close-to-the-vest when it comes to details. (Remember Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the Vietnam War. Ooops) His latest escapade into the unknown is no exception.
So, let’s get practical. How do we identify a “Muslim”. Especially a “Muslim terrorist” which is, after all, the reason for the ban. To keep “Muslim terrorists” out of the US. Now that, in itself, is not a bad idea. After all, we have plenty of “Christian terrorists” already. Who needs the competition? The fewer terrorists the better , I always say.
The problem is simple: What does a “Muslim” look like? In order to ban them, we need to see them first. Seek them out. So, what do we look for?
Well, we know that he could look like a Pakistani or a Turk or a Nigerian or a Russian or an Egyptian or a Chinese (23,000,000 Chinese Muslims) or a Saudi or an Englishmen or an Uzbeki or an Indonesian or an American or a Brazilian…well, you get the idea. Muslims are from every ethnic group and live in every nation on earth. Every one! Nope. I lied. There is one nation that has no Muslim citizens. Vatican City. So, Pope Francis can glide through customs without a body cavity search.
So, I guess just looking won’t work too well. So, let’s ask!
Everyone who enters the US should be asked a simple question: Are you now or do you ever intend to be a Muslim terrorist. If they answer “Yes”. GOT EM. Another victory for The Donald. Unless, of course, a Muslim “terrorist” is smart enough to figure out that he should answer :”No, sir, I am not. And by the way. god bless America !”
So, Donald. We need a few more details. Keeping terrorists out of the US is a unique and fascinating idea. Something no one ever thought of before. But now we need to see the details.
How do you identify a Muslim? How do you identify a”Muslim terrorist”?
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.
Wouldn’t those responses be something?
Scene: Lots and lots of fluffy clouds. A big, pearly gate. Sitting outside the gate at a folding table is a figure with a long , white beard.
Enter from the left a grungy, dark-skinned hobbling figure. Smiling and excited.
Bearded figure (with thick Brooklyn Jewish accent): Oy. So, who are you? Vat do you vant?
Dark -skinned figure: All praise to Allah. I am your humble servant, Amedy Coulibaly. I have come for my reward.
Bearded figure: Allah shmallah. I am who am. You can call me Yahweh. So, let’s see if you are on my list.
Coulibaly: But isn’t this paradise? The heavenly garden of delights?
Yahweh: Yah, yah. Some paradise. We had to lay off staff. So now I have to work the third shift every other week. And my bursitis is acting up. Look. I think you want to see Allah. right?
Coulibaly: Yes. Allah the all-powerful. The all-knowing. The master of all things.
Yahweh. Right. Whatever. Look. Allah works the third shift this week. You’re gonna have to wait over there with the other Muslims and Christians. I only handle the Chosen People. No goyim. Ever since Zeus retired it’s been a madhouse up here. When will you people stop reproducing, already ?
Coulibaly: All praise to Allah. I shall wait.
6 hours later. Shift change.
Coulibaly: All praise to Allah. I am your humble servant, Amedy Coulibaly. I have killed infidels in your name and in your honor. I have come for the rewards of paradise.
Bearded figure at table: Coulibaly. …Coulibaly…Nope, not on the list. Were you a Protestant or a Catholic?
Coulibaly: Neither, most holy one. I am of the Seal of the Prophet. The completion of the Holy Scripture. I am ISIS and /or al-qaeda, take your pick.
Bearded figure: Well, my son, I am Jesus. Jew turned Christian. I don’t think I can help you, but let me check my records just to be sure. You said ISIS? Is that the name of your congregation?
Coulibaly: Yes, Jesus. It is my true calling, to die for Allah and ISIS. And so enjoy the fruits of the heavenly garden of delights.
Jesus: Right…heavenly delights…OK, let me check my list of organizations…Baptist…no..Congregationalist…no…Not Catholic. OK…Presbyterian…First Church of the Second Church of the Holy Redeemer….OH, WAIT. What’s this ?…MARY! Mary Magdalene…get Lucifer on the hot line.
(A woman in very short robes and plenty of cleavage showing sashays over with a phone.)
Jesus: (to Coulibaly) She can’t type, but, what the heck, this is heaven, right? (On the phone)..Hey Beelzebub, wassa up dog ?…We have a problem…I’ll send the sheet down….No, it was just a mix up…OK , add this to your list “Westboro Baptist Church membership rolls”…I know they are….No, we don’t want them either. …You know in your heart they belong to you…OK OK, send up Jack the Ripper as a tradeoff…keep warm, Bub.
Jesus: Look, Amedy. I would like to help you but your gonna have to wait for the next shift. That is when Big Al takes over. Allah to you.
(8 hours later)
Coulibaly: Finally, All praise to Allah. I am Amedy Coulibaly.
Allah (also an old guy with a beard): I know who you are. What do you want?
Coulibaly: I have come to claim my reward in paradise. I have destroyed infidels in your name. I have killed a policeman. I have taken hostages and killed them in cold blood. Praise be to Allah.
Allah: What are you? Nuts? Why would you kill people I have created? Innocent people. With families. Minding their own business. What were they doing to you?
Coulibaly: They were infidels. All praise to Allah. Death to infidels. I deserve a reward.
Allah: You know. You people with your crazy ideas and guns and infidels and terrorism. You are giving me a bad name. You want to kill civilians, fine. But don’t try to lay that shit on me. Don’t try to pull that “Inquisition” nonsense like the Christians did to Jesus. Couldn’t you just chill and enjoy life?
Coulibaly: No. I was promised a reward. Entrance into paradise. Eternal heaven with 72 virgins.
Allah: Oh, Jesus! Not the virgin thing again. If you weren’t such a tightass you might get laid on Earth. Look. There are no virgins. At least not in Heaven. Unless you count Mother Theresa, but she had to buy her way in. You people need to learn to read.
Coulibaly: No virgins? No reward?
Allah: Oh, there is a reward, okay. Here, in this bowl. 72 white grapes. The Aramaic word for white grapes: hur. That is the word for grapes. Some idiot mistranslated it to mean “virgins” a long time ago and it stuck. So, here we are in paradise. Lots of fruit. Lots of grapes. A few bananas. A mango or two. But virgins ? No. All these girls went to college. Sorry.
Coulibaly: So, it was all for nothing? The hatred. The murder. The blind obedience to authority. All for nothing?
Allah: Take heart. It could be worse. See that group over there painting campaign posters and writing speeches. Their idea of paradise is to campaign for President of Heaven for all eternity with never a chance of winning.
Coulibaly: Are they heathens? Romans? Jews? Idiots?