Posts Tagged 'Guns'

Nothing is Going to Change

Nothing is going to change.

We will gnash our teeth, mourn the loss of innocent gunshot victims and then slowly forget exactly what happened.

Nothing is going to change.

We will conveniently blame the mentally ill and offer up solutions that avoid dealing with the real causes of mass mayhem.

Nothing is going to change.

After a period of outrage, we will meekly allow the gun lobby to falsely promote the idea that “if those poor people had guns, this would never have happened.”

Nothing is going to change.

The safely gerrymandered House of Representatives will bemoan the loss of life and offer their condolences to the families of those murdered.  But it will do nothing meaningful to address the problem.

Nothing is going to change.

Those of us who want more restricted access to guns will stop and say “What’s the use, the horse is out of the barn. There are already 350 million guns in the United States.  It’s too late.”

Nothing is going to change.

Republican controlled state legislatures, seeing an opportunity to expand gun ownership, will allow the killing instruments to be carried everywhere. Their mantra will be “save lives, carry a gun.”

Nothing is going to change.

Donald Trump will double down on his racist remarks and promise fairy tale solutions to dealing with “those people.” Like-minded xenophobes will cheer and wave their guns.

Nothing is going to change.

Carly Fiorina will issue bald faced lies in a flagging campaign to garner the votes of unquestioning dupes, while denying the murderous outcome of her actions.

Nothing is going to change.

Personal grievances and political disputes will continue to be settled in a country awash with guns.  A country that has forgotten who we once were.

Nothing is going to change

The NRA will be proven correct.  Guns are not the problem.  Guns are the solution.

Nothing is going to change

Unless we change.

If I’d only had a gun

It was a little after midnight.

I’d been sleeping soundly when I was roused by a noise at our front door.  Not yet fully coherent, I left my warm bed without looking for my glasses, stumbled into a semi-lit hallway and caught a fuzzy glimpse of three men.

“What do you want?” I half yelled at the men.  “What are you doing here?” I said while growing more frightened.

After what seemed like an eternity, one of them said “Dad, it’s me, David.”

Our son had made a surprise visit with two his buddies.  They had driven most of the night from their UC Berkeley digs and decided that our house would be a good place to sack out.  Wouldn’t Mom and Dad be surprised.

I could have killed my son.  If I’d had a gun.

That was thirty years ago and I’m still frightened by the experience.  Thirty years later and I still don’t have a gun.  Thirty years later and most of the country has at least one gun.  By some estimates, 350.000,000 guns.  Waiting to kill their sons.  Or for someone else to do it.

The only thing that’s changed in all those years is that killing has been made more efficient.  Requiring less thought.  Requiring less time.  It’s part of the mainstream.  Soon to be as commonplace as the horrific daily carnage in Baghdad or Kabul.  Ho hum.  Let’s see what Lindsay Lohan is up to.

I thought that Sandy Hook was a watershed moment.  Twenty little kids gunned down in their first grade schoolroom.  Gunned down with the current stylish weapon of choice.  Slaughtered by the weapon promoted by gun manufacturers for its appearance, attractiveness and, most of all, its profit potential.  Protected by the NRA from any limitation that might otherwise lead down the slippery path of gun control.

I had watched the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre stare vacantly at those attending his news conference.  Semi-glazed, he seemed to be a recent escapee from the asylum featured in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Reliance on more guns in schools was Wayne’s answer to protecting tots.  Only an armed guard policing every institution of learning could be relied upon to avert another Sandy Hook.

I said “What a nut.  He’s toast.  The NRA is headed down the Tea Party path.  Happy days are here again.”

Flash forward less than a month.  An eternity for short-term memory-challenged Americans.  According to the Washington Post and ABC News, more than half the people in the country think armed guards in kindergarten is a good idea…including half of the Democrats polled.  So much for thinking Wayne is out of touch.

Harry Reid, the Senate Democrats’ major domo, and a recipient of NRA largess along with a B rating,  wonders why he should push gun control.  According to Reuters, Harry is more concerned about Democrats, including himself, getting re-elected than in bringing legislation to the Senate floor that is sure to be rejected by House Republicans.

An American University poll of students throughout the country reports that about half intend to purchase a gun when they graduate.  So much for ” And a child shall lead them.”

And while we are all focused on AK47 assault rifles and inexhaustible ammo clips, we should remember that you are 17 times more likely to be killed by a handgun than a rifle. And who’s even talking about that ubiquitous weapon?

Yes, I listened to the Obama press conference where he announce the actions he was prepared to take to curb the insanity. At times I felt like he was an actor, playing his role until the curtain came down. Then it would be back to business as usual.

A trip to the Brady Gun Control website will reward you with a peek at a graphic in the upper right corner of the home page.  It announces, in real time, the number of today’s gun deaths in the U.S.   At noon on January 18, the daily total stood at 176.  That’s nearly double the number of gun deaths in the U.K. for an entire year.  More people die in English soccer riots.

So head on over to the Brady site.  Look at the graphic.  And be grateful that your son is not part of that statistic.

guns

Napalm in the morning…

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

That was Robert Duvall’s famous line from Apocalypse Now.  We laughed nervously at Lt. Colonel Kilgore’s morbid craziness while we also stared at the wild, crazy eyes of Marlon Brando, playing Colonel Kurtz, a berserk officer living in a cave, who had gone over the deep end in the same movie.

I was somehow reminded of that movie as I watched and listened to John Boehner this morning as he tried to explain why he couldn’t successfully arm wrestle enough members of his own party into voting for his Plan B.  A plan devised by folks who apparently had skipped arithmetic in first grade.  A plan that offered to microscopically increase taxes on folks making over a million dollars while, maybe inadvertently, also raise taxes on a few million poor folks.  Such a deal.

Eric Cantor, majority leader and Boehner’s Sancho Panza, stood next to the Speaker and, when his turn in the barrel came, told us how the Republicans had fought hard to maintain fiscal sanity while the Democrats simply didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation.  Then he quickly stepped aside, exited stage left, and went home for the holidays.

Speaker Boehner, looking like he needed some emergency time in the tanning booth, then took questions from the press.  “Mr. Speaker, now that you weren’t able to corral enough of your own party to pass your own Plan B, and since all of your members are headed for the airport, what are you going to do next to keep us from going off the fiscal cliff?”

Rising majestically to his full political height, a smile appeared on his face not unlike that of a kid who has no way out other than to tell the truth, and said “God only knows.”  For the first time ever, I actually almost believed him.

The Speaker knows the solution but can’t bring himself to say it.  To say it means that he will have failed to satisfy the Colonel Kilgores and Colonel Kurtzes of the Republican party.  The crazies who have hijacked the party and are holding it hostage until he and we agree to their every demand.  Holding a gun to their own heads like Cleavon Little did in Blazing Saddles.  The crazies who, like the NRA’s gun-toting national icon Charlton Heston, will never let a tax hike be pried from their cold, dead hands.

The same crazies worship Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, who earlier had promised to provide constructive suggestions that would stem the mass killings of first graders.  In satisfaction of that pledge he offered these remarks at today’s NRA news conference…

America has left its school children utterly defenseless.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Put an armed police officer in every school.

Laws that declare school zones as “Gun Free” actually entice killers to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

He criticized Congress for not having established a national data base of the mentally ill (he did not, however, offer to be first on its list.)

How does one deal with crazies?  First, you convince the vast majority of our citizens that the crazies are indeed crazy.  We’ve already done that, in spades.

Second, you refuse to deal with the crazies on their terms.  We’re doing that.

Third, you replace the crazies.  We’ve done some of that but another opportunity will come up in 2014.

Yes, the fiscal cliff is ten days away.  As the venerable George W. Bush once said “bring ’em on.”  If we do that, here’s what will happen.

Sane folks, including a bunch of Republicans, will realize that the sake of the country is more important than Grover Norquist, The Tea Party, and Wayne LaPierre.  They will band together with enough votes to pass legislation that will lead to fiscal sanity and put a severe dent in mass murders.

Until then, get used to the smell of napalm in the morning.

Robert Duvall

Enough already…

My first feeling was outrage.  My second thought had something to do with the NRA.  My third notion was that maybe I should wait a few days before writing a blog about the murder of a whole kindergarten class in Connecticut.

I thought it would be unseemly in the wake of this slaughter of innocents to immediately begin carping about gun control, the idiocy of arming morons with weapons that are solely intended to murder large numbers of people in the most efficient manner possible, and the lack of morality so blatantly exhibited by the NRA and those who cheer its outrages.

And then I saw this…

Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, wasted no time trying to pin Friday’s shooting on gun control advocates. Think Progress quoted a statement of his that read, in part: “Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to ensure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones.”

And this…

Recently the Michigan House of Representatives passed and sent to the governor a bill that, among other things, makes it easy for people to carry concealed weapons in schools. After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday, a spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger said that it might have meant “the difference between life and death for many innocent bystanders.”

And this…

Mike Huckabee preached…since prayer is banned from public schools, “should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

So, I decided to join this questionably elite company and scribble my own thoughts.

It’s too late to put the Genie back in the bottle.  There are too many guns in the hands of too many people to think that more effective gun control laws would have prevented the latest slaughter.

The Supreme Court has, for the foreseeable future, blocked any attempt to limit these weapons of mass destruction.  And anyone who doesn’t think that the hands of the five ultra conservative Supremes aren’t bloodied by the Sandy Hook carnage wreaked on Friday needs a refresher course in human relations.

There are too many politicians who rely on the NRA and its minions who support them.  And as long as the House remains gerrymandered in favor of Republicans, no meaningful legislation will emerge.

Our President is not without blame.  In 2008 he promised to deal with the unfettered sales of instruments of death at gun shows and the hideousness of assault weapons.  But we were instead blessed with laws permitting guns on Amtrak and in our national parks.  At least the crazies won’t have to worry about leaving their AK47s at home when they take the train to Yosemite.

This morning Dianne Feinstein told Meet the Press that she was finishing up a bill to ban assault weapons.  So as not to offend, some 800 weapon types will be grandfathered in as will those currently in the hands of people like Adam Lanza.

Perhaps most depressing is the country’s willingness, no, its support of guns and gun enthusiasts.  One Gallup poll reveals that 50% of fellow citizens are satisfied with the current slap-on-the hand gun control laws.  Another Gallup poll sadly reports that a majority feels no need to ban the private ownership of assault weapons.

Yes,  I know that the mental health of these killers is surely a contributing factor to the carnage.  Yes, we should do something to improve the identification of and provision of help to them.  But disturbed people without access to rapid fire, high-capacity guns is surely a whole lot better than the alternative.

Dozens, maybe hundreds, of people get slaughtered weekly in the Middle East.  We say, ho-hum, another day at the office.  So, as a reward for our wild-west, every man for himself, frontier mentality, maybe it’s our turn in the barrel.  A slow, but steady, progression of accepting the violent death of innocent bystanders as just another day’s work in protecting and expanding the rights of gunslingers.

Regrettably, maybe it’s best that we throw up our hands, let the anger pass, get back to business as usual, and just forget about doing anything meaningful to stop this insanity.

Then again, if we say ho-hum, what will we tell the kids who were not murdered in Sandy Hook.  What will we tell them when they ask “am I safe?”  How will we explain to them that we did nothing?  That we accepted the murders of their playmates as just one of those things.

No, enough already.

Sandy Hook

Health care reform imperils gun ownership!

It wasn’t enough that I had to deal with the Snow Queen, Joe the Plumber, Rush Limbaugh and other assorted microminds.  Now the gun owners have stepped up to the plate.

The Gun Owners of America  published a letter to its 300,000 members warning them that they stand to lose the right to bear arms if Harry Reid has his way with health care reform.  The organization, a sort of Three Stooges version of the NRA, is located in Virginia and boasts as its president, former California state senator H.L. (Bill) Richardson.  Here’s Bill’s website photo demonstrating the proper technique for suffocating pets…

 

Bill, writing on the president’s page, voices his infatuation with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.  You remember Jim.  He’s the guy who said…If we’re able to stop Obama on [health care reform], it will be his Waterloo. It will break him…

The Gun Guys, as noted in a Washington Examiner article, warn their members that the legislation will…most likely dump your gun-related health data into a government database. … This includes any firearms-related information your doctor has gleaned or any determination of post traumatic stress disorder or something similar, that can preclude you from owning firearms.

Going on, the Examiner reports that the group warns…that new “wellness and prevention” programs that would permit employers to offer employees lower premiums for healthier lifestyles do  not include anything that would prohibit “rabidly anti-gun Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from decreeing that ‘no guns’ is somehow healthier.”

The Gunners’ website also provides a sample letter that it asks members to send to the thirty-nine Republicans who voted against the bill.   One paragraph offers the following…the Senate legislation would mandate that doctors provide ‘gun-related health data’ to a government database…

But hope is eternal.  The website offers it to their besieged members by announcing…Can you spell R-E-C-A-L-L?  GOA is looking into which states are the best targets for recalls — and you can be sure that we will be pursuing this option aggressively, exposing the Senators who sold their vote.

I realize that truth is an unnecessary, to be avoided at all costs, component of the Gunner’s website.  But a few things should be mentioned.

First, although it probably would be an excellent idea, there is no provision for a government-run, unified medical records database in the current legislation.

Second, there are no guidelines for what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.  But, if I were king, I’d give extra credit to those homes without guns.

Finally, you can’t recall a U.S. Senator.  It would violate the Constitution.  But then, unless we’re talking about gun ownership, who reads the Constitution?

Other than that the Gun Guys had it pretty straight, including President Bill’s demo of pet suffocation, proving once again that we can get along quite nicely without guns.


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