Friday, July 22, 2016

Only Guns Matter

On the CBS news tonight there were two videos that showed police officers exhibiting violent attacks on people with absolutely no provocation.  (http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/austin-officers-investigated-for-disturbing-arrest-video/) (http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/21/us/miami-officer-involved-shooting/index.html)  (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/21/fla-police-shoot-black-man-with-his-hands-up-as-he-tries-to-help-)  It's hard to judge which is the most outrageous - the man lying on the ground with his hands in the air, who still got shot by the officer; or the one where the officer threw a slight, 120 lb. woman to the ground not once, but twice, after a traffic stop.  There is no report that she threatened this police officer with a gun or other weapon.  Her only weapon was the color of her skin.  The health-care worker stretched full-length on the pavement tried explaining that he presented no danger to the officer. We can hear his words on the video.  He asked the officer later, "Why did you shoot me?"  The officer's answer?  "I don't know."

What in the world has happened to law enforcement?

I think the answer is that the Republican party in conjunction with the NRA has encouraged every American to carry a gun.  (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/apr/13/nra-weakened-gun-control-laws)  States have open-carry laws where a police officer has no idea whether the person with a weapon is a "good guy" or a "bad guy." (http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/map-where-is-open-carry-legal-1715/)  Even Chiefs of Police have spoken up against open-carry, saying that it makes their job much more difficult.  (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-dallas-chief-20160711-snap-story.html)  Years ago, when an officer stopped someone for speeding or running a stop sign, they didn't really have to worry much that the driver might pull out a Glock and start shooting.  Now they do.  When law enforcement is operating in fear of their lives, they preempt violence with more violence.  The rule now is "shoot first, ask questions later."

Unfortunately, sometimes the weapon carried by a 12-year-old turns out to be a toy.  And chances are the murderer - and, make no mistake, this child was murdered - will never face any consequences.  (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/23/us/in-tamir-rice-shooting-in-cleveland-many-errors-by-police-then-a-fatal-one.html?_r=0)  Because he is a protected class - the ones who wear a uniform and a badge.  There are a myriad of reasons why law enforcement officers are not charged and convicted, even when a video exists that shows unarmed men being shot in the back while running away from the officer. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2015/04/11/thousands-dead-few-prosecuted/)

If you are still naive enough to listen to politicians for information, you will hear that all the violence we see on the evening news is due to ISIS.  That in some way it's all related to terrorism.  This is the coward's reasoning.  If you can blame the death of so many Americans on some foreign entity in a turban, then you do not have to face the consequences of your own inaction.  So many times Congress has been asked to take even one small step for our country, one small step to keep assault weapons out of the hands of those who want to kill.  But no, the problem is ISIS.

Therefore, those susceptible to persuasion begin to believe that every time they leave their house some crazed Muslim is going to start spraying their local Starbucks with armor-piercing bullets shot from an AR-15.  So they need to buy an AR-15 so they can shoot back and not hit any innocent person, but only the dark-skinned madman.

Finally, it seems that "Black Lives Don't Matter," "Blue Lives Don't Matter,"  "Gay Lives Don't Matter," "First Grade Lives Don't Matter," "Bible Study Member Lives Don't Matter," "College Student Lives Don't Matter," "Movie Goer Lives Don't Matter".  Only "Guns Matter."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Where Was The Good Guy?

I woke up this morning to the news of yet another mass shooting in the U.S., in Orlando, Florida.  50 people this time.  And the death toll will increase because another 53 were injured.  And, as usual, the product that produced this carnage - performing exactly as it was meant to - was an AR-15.  

There was a time when the Congress recognized that this was not a hunting rifle meant to go out and hunt Bambi, and they sensibly banned it.  The following quote is from a Wikipedia article on the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994.  (The reviewing court held that it was "entirely rational for Congress ... to choose to ban those weapons commonly used for criminal purposes and to exempt those weapons commonly used for recreational purposes."[18]:10[22] It also found that each characteristic served to make the weapon "potentially more dangerous," and were not "commonly used on weapons designed solely for hunting."[18]:10–11[23])  Any product designed to kill as many humans as possible in as short a period of time as possible is meant for warfare, not hunting, and not for personal protection.  Unless you really believe the zombies are coming.

Now the NRA says the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  In the nightclub last night, I guess there were no good guys with guns.  Most normal people don't want to walk around carrying a weapon that could more likely cause harm to themselves or a member of their family than protect them from some madman.  I cannot envision myself killing someone else.  Can you?  Honestly, can you?  

Where are the good guys with laws?

Sunday, June 05, 2016

I'm Ignoring Trump

When it all began, we thought it was humorous.  The idea of the larger-than-life reality showman running for any political office, let alone the Presidency.  The only thing anyone knew about him was that he was rich and like to fire people.  As time went on, the joke became less funny.  And, finally, when it looked as though he would definitely be the Republican candidate, it got scary.

The major news folks - from CNN to the Twitterverse - have given Trump millions of dollars of free coverage.  Every word he utters seems to be news.  Why?  I'm damned if I know.  We have a sitting President, and his activities and speeches are not covered as much as the lies and exaggerations of Mr. Trump.  

Everyone seems to be concerned about the image he's giving our country.  It's not just on Facebook that people are saying they will move to Canada.  I said it last night.  Mitch McConnell tries to reassure us that the structure of our government will protect us from Trump's unconstitutional and racist ideas.  But we have had presidents in the past who were willing to break the law to have their way.  Certainly, I can imagine Trump ignoring our laws because he thinks he knows better.

The one sure thing that would straighten things out a bit is if the media just ignored him.  Let him make his speeches, criticize whomever he wants, threaten each and every minority, and make promises he cannot keep - just don't cover the story.  That's what Megan Kelly did.  We've heard enough to form an opinion.  Months more of it won't change our minds much.  Let's see the news reports of heroism in the face of floods in Texas, document the newest breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, show us the refugees who are settling in to their new lives.  Just, please, no more Trump.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More than Beautiful

So-and-so updated her Profile photo, and all the comments say, "You are so beautiful,"  "Great photo," "Such a good-looking couple," etc.  Why do we only acknowledge a woman's looks, not her achievements?  

Just once, I would love to see the profile photo of a 40-something with three kids and a husband and a business, at the end of a marathon.  Now that should garner some meaningful comments.

And now, at graduation season, let's see some photos of Moms and grandmothers in their caps and gowns, having finally earned a degree after they ensured the education of their children.

Let's see the woman who, at 2 a.m., is working on the taxes for their business, preparing for a meeting with the tax accountant.  She's taking advantage of the quiet of the house after the health-care workers have gone home, the phone has stopped ringing, and her cancer-stricken husband in a hospital bed in the living room has finally gone to sleep for the night.  Now that's a beautiful woman!

Think about it the next time you see that one of your Facebook friends has updated their profile.  Try not to comment on her appearance - speak to her achievements.