Just One Snarky Snippet …

I mentioned in yesterday afternoon’s post that there had already been 510 gun deaths in the first 37 days of 2019.  Last year saw an increase in gun deaths to the highest level in more than 20 years, with almost 40,000 people killed in shootings.  This represents a total of 12 deaths per 100,000 people – up from 10.1 in 2010 and the highest rate since 1996.

Given the above figures, it only makes sense that our government would be looking into the situation and determining ways to reduce the number of deaths by firearms, right?  Right.  And they are.  Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on gun violence in eight years, since the republicans took a majority in 2011.  Republicans, you see, do not like to talk about gun control.

The hearing room was packed with advocates who had lost family members, friends or classmates, or had survived gun violence themselves.  And, of course there were the members of the Judiciary Committee – both democrats and republicans.  It didn’t get off to a good start, for when Representative Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary’s chairman, attempted to swear in the panel’s speakers, Republican Mike Johnson of Louisiana objected that Nadler had omitted the words “so help me God,” and asked him to repeat the oath.  Seriously???  Apparently so, for the speakers were forced to stand again and take the oath again, with the inclusion of “so help me God”.  Nadler had a bit of a smirk on his face, and who can blame him?

But wait … for it gets even better.

The discussion was about guns, the consistently high rate of gun deaths, and what sort of legislation might make our streets, our schools, shopping centers, public venues a bit safer.  Out of the blue, Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz seemed to lose sight of the topic and uttered …Gaetz

“If we really cared about safer streets, we would build a wall and secure the border.  I hope we do not forget the pain, and anguish, and sense of loss felt by those all over the country who have been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens. [Firearms background check legislation] would not have stopped many of the circumstances I raised, but a wall, a barrier on the Southern border may have, and that’s what we’re fighting for.”

Say WHAT???  Who invited this lunatic to the party, anyway?  Obviously, he is incapable of focusing on the topic at hand.  And he lies, for there are few who have “been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens”, as compared to those who have been victims of violence, particularly gun violence, at the hands of American citizens.

Now, it so happened that among the people in the hearing room were two men, Manuel Oliver and Fred Guttenberg, both fathers of Parkland shooting victims.  As you might imagine, they were offput by Gaetz disjointed, out-of-context outburst, and uttered a few words of protest.  Gaetz requested that the two men be thrown out of the hearing for “taking up [his] time”.  The rules of the hearing are that the public is not supposed to comment, but Nadler simply warned Mr. Oliver and Mr. Guttenberg, and they acquiesced.  But, Gaetz was not satisfied, saying …

“I’d observe three interruptions of my time by the same individual, and the chair is not exercising his discretion to remove that individual.”

What, exactly, did the two men say to Gaetz?  According to Mr. Guttenberg, “Manny told Gaetz his comments were not true, and I said our loved ones were killed by an American male.”  True statements of fact, but they didn’t seem to fit into Mr. Gaetz’ agenda, and anyway, facts have little relevance to many in the Republican Party, it seems.  Mr. Guttenberg also made note that a number of the republican committee members left after about the first fifteen minutes, including Steve Chabot (Ohio), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Arizona), and Tom McClintock (California).  Time to start the letter-writing if any of these jerks are in your state … let them know we expect them to take gun control seriously!

Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol

Even neoconservative political analyst Bill Kristol was disgusted by Gaetz’ behaviour, tweeting …

“The Founders were well aware the people would sometimes make unfortunate choices for their representatives. But even the Founders with the lowest expectations for popular government would have been astonished at the spectacle of @mattgaetz as a member of Congress.”

Gaetz mug shotMr. Gaetz, it would seem, has a few skeletons in his own closet.  First, here is his mug shot from a 2008 DUI arrest.  Even though he refused the breathalyzer test, he did not have his license suspended for a year as Florida law mandates.  Between 1999 and 2014, he received no less than 16 speeding tickets.  I hope his colleagues in the House never take him up on the offer of a ride to lunch!  Oh, and Mr. Gaetz keeps some really respectable company, too!  Take a look …

Gaetz-Stone

Roger Stone (left) and Matt Gaetz 

It’s gonna be a fun two years, folks.  Better buckle those seat belts for part two of the Voyage of the Trumptanic.

40 thoughts on “Just One Snarky Snippet …

  1. Pingback: They Walk Among Us … | Filosofa's Word

  2. In 2016, 64 percent of global gun deaths were homicides, 27 percent were suicides and 9 percent were accidental.

    —Gun deaths in the U.S. climbed from 35,800 in 1990 to 37,200 in 2016, but the rate dipped slightly to 11 per 100,000. Gun suicides increased from 19,700 to 23,800.

    —The U.S. had the second-highest gun suicide rate in 2016, just over 6 deaths per 100,000 — a slight dip from the 1990 rate. Greenland had the highest, 22 per 100,000 but that amounted to just 11 suicides.

    —El Salvador had the highest global gun death rate, nearly 40 per 100,000 people. Singapore had the lowest, with 0.1 death per 100,000.

    —Gun deaths outnumbered deaths from combat and terrorism every year except 1994, when 800,000 people died in Rwandan genocide.

    Source…AP August 2016

    I think the world is violent. The US has a long culture of guns and violence and are far too easily available to anyone legal or not.
    There’s also a big drug problem, poverty and disenfranchisement, untreated mental illness, and the constant pushing of fear by the right wing that illegal immigrants, drug lords, Muslim terrorists and the like are coming to kill you.

    The right wing almost never mention white crime, mass shooters being almost always white or religious extremism.

    And our culture pushes individualism, being tough, self made, successful etc. which lends to a disconnect from a strong family and friends support system. Add drugs and isolation and being a bit different and prone to bullying and that’s a recipe for suicide.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you ever noticed that most people who own arsenals of guns are men and not the intellectual variety. I would venture, most are republicans and conservative. I realize some are just collectors.

    Some men and their families may be living on remote ranches or they may be living in high crime areas. This I understand.

    Young men who have been in the military often become multiple gun owners as well and often suffer from PTSD. I can only imagine what they must see in war. Most military men are conservative also.

    But the mass killings lately in Fla. and elsewhere have been young men full of anger and hate.

    So it’s a mental illness thing, but also prevalent in poverty and high crime areas. Illegal drugs are a huge problem here and again you find this more within poverty.

    It’s a plain fact that we have far more gun deaths than any western country and much more lax gun laws as well.

    We also have more poverty, poor public education and lack free or low cost medical care that other western countries have. I mean we wouldn’t want to be socialists!

    We have many more disenfranchised people who are boiling over with resentment and anger. Add drugs, easy to get guns, mental illness and lack of family support and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    Not meaning a slam at men, it just is that way…more aggressive tendencies, more temper problems that I observe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I know one or two women who are big gun advocates, overall you are correct and it is a male thing. I have often made the remark that it makes them feel like a big man, makes up for a lack in some other area. And yes, some people may have valid reasons for needing protection, however … most European nations simply do not, with a few exceptions, allow guns in the hands of civilians, and their crime rates are lower than ours, their gun deaths a miniscule percentage of ours, and their streets are overall much safer than ours.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gun control is only onre part of the problem. Gun manufacture is a much bigger part. You do not have to control what is not readily available. I cannot remenber how many gun of weapons manufacturers thefe are in the States, but there are way too many. Too many are sold domestically, and probably even more are sold illegally. Start where it hurts the most, in the manufacturers’ pocketbooks. Reduce the number they can make, and charge thousands of dollars for the ones that are left. to sell. Anyone who puts guns into the black market loses their licence to manufacture them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, the thing is that we cannot control how many guns the manufacturers make, but … if we can regulate who can own guns and how many, and if there are significant constraints on gun purchases, the manufacturers will, by necessity, make fewer because they will not be selling them and thus their profits will be greatly reduced. Law of supply and demand.

      Like

      • I guess in a totally free enterprise system you cannot regulate what a company makes, or what kind, or how many. And that is a failing of the system. If you can only try to control them as they hit the streets, you have already lost the war. While powerful, the NRA becomes redundant. They are the false focus. The black market will supply weapons to anyone who wants them, as long as they can pay the price. If you cannot control the manufacturers, move.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Too many bucks available for law enforcement to train its eyes on “legitimate businesses.”
            We have a case going on in British Columbia right now where government run casinos are being used to launder the proceeds of crime, with the heads of the governing bodies knowing it’s going on, but allowing it to happen. I haven’t seen the news magazine program yet, but it’s been on the news all week. The police aren’t checking into it because it doesn’t break the letter of any of the laws in BC. They were quoted as saying, “”It’s not their job.” I guess putting guns directly onto the streets in America is someone else’s job too!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Err..’scuse me. If there is no State religion in the USA why is someone making a whoo-hah about missing out an allegiance to God…..Gosh I do hope it wasn’t something crass like a feeble distraction. Looses credibility straight away.
    Love The Wall business.
    But didn’t a republican president make some sort of remark disapproving of walls? Hmm..maybe it’s actually a secret agenda, they want to stop folk leaving the USA????
    Just a thought (Watch that Canadian border folks)

    Liked by 3 people

    • I had the same thought … even a president taking the oath of office does not have to say “so help me God”, so why was it imperative here? And what if perchance one of them was an atheist? Sheesh … we are moving closer to a theocracy every damn day.

      Hmmm … yeah, seems I remember one who asked a certain Mr. Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” How quickly they forget, eh?

      I considered that might be their plan … to keep us all locked in here. I’m looking to score a cyanide capsule, just in case that happens. (Just kidding, before you go ballistic)

      Liked by 2 people

      • When I enlisted in the military, and every time that I re-enlisted, I was given the choice of mentioning God or not. Amazing that forty years later, a dickhead like Nadler is pushing his views on his country. Sorry, had a little wine tonight. Probably should not be commenting anywhere on anything, especially on narrow, pig-headed, jack-assery things that conservatives try to push. Grrrr.

        Again, sorry. Cheers

        Liked by 2 people

        • I share your angst on this … religion has no place … NO PLACE … in legal/government proceedings. But one thing … it wasn’t Nadler who insisted on re-administering the oath, but Mike Johnson, the representative from Louisiana, who objected to the secular oath and forced Nadler to re-administer it. Nadler, I think, was rolling his eyes at the whole thing. And don’t apologize … you’re fine … we all feel this way, I think.

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    • That’s a really good point, separation of church and state. It’s just tradition is all, US was predominantly a Christian nation back then. I still remember the pledge of allegiance… one nation under God was part of the oath. Saying the words without meaning is hypocrisy, so yeah it was all a show.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. NRA has a huge hold on the republicans, so it’s about the money as always. And there’s a huge correlation between right wing politics, religion, good old boy male machoism that includes hunting, wars and guns.

    There’s a stark cultural difference between conservatives and liberals….doing good vs doing bad, inclusive vs exclusive, earthly dominance vs earthly care, intellectualism and critical thinking vs more shallow thought processes and tribalism and it’s all about “me” vs empathy for others. Trump epitomizes the far right in every way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re right, of course, that it all boils down to money/greed. Yes, that gool ol’ boy mentality plays a role, but the NRA knows that and plays to it quite effectively. The differences you mention between conservatives and liberals has always been there, but never before in my recollection has it been as wide a gap as it is today. I honestly think many republicans today would happily take away all “social welfare” programs and let people die. Many years ago, I said we have become a ‘me-istic’ society where most are more concerned with finding their own happiness than anything else. Nothing has changed my mind since then. And I don’t foresee it reversing any time soon. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have mentioned on numerous of your other posts about the epidemic rate of gun violence in the USA, that I am a follower of “The Trace”. They are an American independent nonprofit journalism outlet devoted to gun-related news in the US. On Feb. 2, 2019 their newsletter listed this statistic from the Gun Violence Archive : In January 2019 there were at least 3,321 people shot in the US, 1,211 were fatal and 249 victims were under the age of 18! A recheck of the Archive this morning brings the total up to 5,167 incidents and 1,400 deaths as validated on Feb.7, 2019! A sad certainty is that these numbers will continue to move upward. The only question that can possibly remain for this country, this government of the people, this House Judiciary Committee…when will it be enough to warrant effective legislation to address this senseless epidemic? I must wonder just how many of those members of the House Judiciary Committee are receiving “gifts” from the NRA? Until the power of the NRA is removed from the pockets of many such men in government, I doubt that much of any lasting consequence will be achieved and the numbers of those statistics will continue to grow. The likes of Matt Gaetz will continue to obscure the need for action, Florida must be so proud of him! Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It would seem, based on your information, that my own info was faulty. I didn’t take time to check other sources this time, and I can see I should have. I’ll check out The Trace!

      You asked the right question: When will it be enough … what does it take? I thought that Parkland might have been the catalyst to make some in Congress put humanitarian values ahead of their own fortunes, but I was wrong. We are the only nation on the globe with such lax gun laws, and we have by far the highest fatality rate by guns. Like you, I don’t see an end in sight, for money seems to be the driving factor in our government.

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  8. Jill, Gaetz is following the politician playbook; if you don’t like the topic, change the subject. You and I are of like minds and feel we are a broken record on this topic. Here are a few givens:
    – unless we better govern guns in America, there is little we can do to stop domestic terrorism. A motivated person gets an assault type weapon…..
    – unless we better govern guns, there is little we can do to stop the daily onslaught of homicides.
    – unless we better govern guns, there is little we can do to stop the number one reason for gun deaths – suicides. Taking their healthcare away won’t do it either.
    – unless we better govern guns, accidental shootings of and by children will continue.

    I am long past tired of NRA funded politicians saying this action would not have stopped this occurrence. Obviously, doing little or nothing is not working. The time is hear to demand action from politicians revealing who is funded by the NRA. My two Senators are top five donees of the group. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, we seem to be talking to a deaf audience, or as Hugh once told me I was “spitting in the wind”. But, if we stop trying, then we don’t stand a chance, do we? I’m sick of the NRA voice being much louder than ours, and if I hear that tired old “good guy with a gun …” phrase one more time, I’m going to throw something. The simple fact is it’s a money-making business and those who are making the money are spending it to buy up politicians so they can keep making even more. I thought maybe Parkland would be the thing that finally woke up those members of Congress who are in the pocket of the NRA, but I was wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. why was Steve Scalise not permited to testify at this hearing, one who was a victim of a lunatic who shot him at a congressional ball game? He’s a part of congress but wasn’t permited to speak. How fair, just and honorable is this?

    Excerpts from an article he wrote on the topic.

    “I am the Congressman for Louisiana’s 1st District. I am the Republican Whip. I am also a
    target of gun violence.

    Many of you may be familiar with the events of June 14, 2017. Around 7:00 AM, at the last morning practice before the annual Congressional Baseball Game
    for Charity, an Illinois man named James Hodgkinson opened fire on myself and a group of Republican legislators and volunteers on an Alexandria, Va. baseball
    field.

    Fortunately, as a member of House leadership, I was accompanied by my Capitol Police security detail who were able to return fire and engage the shooter
    until additional law enforcement officers arrived and ultimately took down the shooter. I was shot and nearly fatally wounded, and both of my detail agents
    were shot as well. I am alive today thanks to the bravery of U.S. Capitol Police and the Alexandria Police, heroes like Congressman Brad Wenstrup and the
    first responders who rushed to the scene, the incredible medical team at Washington MedStar Hospital Center, and most importantly the grace of God.

    I applaud the intentions behind this hearing and believe we are all pursuing the same goal of reducing gun violence. As someone who experienced gun violence,
    I do not want anyone else to go through that trauma. However, it is also important to me that we be honest with ourselves and the American people about
    what will — or won’t — actually prevent these tragedies. The shooter who targeted me that morning was armed with an SKS rifle and a 9mm Smith & Wesson
    handgun, both of which were purchased in compliance with Illinois gun laws.

    The new gun control restrictions currently being considered by the Democratic majority in H.R. 8 would not have prevented my shooting.

    In fact, these new gun control measures being proposed in H.R. 8 would not have prevented any number of recent mass violence events. Several perpetrators
    of recent multi-victim shootings also purchased their guns legally. In some instances, the background check system failed, and lack of intervention from
    law enforcement failed to intercept potential threats.

    I want to stress that the man who shot me was issued a permit to purchase firearms by the state of Illinois, and had acquired them legally. At Virginia
    Tech, Charleston, and Sutherland Springs failures in the background check system allowed individuals to illegally obtain the firearms they used to commit
    their crimes. The alleged loopholes that H.R. 8 claims to fix would not have prevented these tragedies either.

    Instead, whether intentionally or not, the gun control proposals in H.R. 8 could turn law abiding citizens into criminals while also failing to achieve
    the stated purpose of reducing gun violence.

    A recent study by the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis and Johns Hopkins University into California’s effort to implement “comprehensive
    background checks” found that, “The simultaneous implementation of [the Comprehensive Background Check policy] and [prohibitions on firearm purchase and
    possession for persons convicted within the past 10 years of certain violent crimes classified as misdemeanors] was not associated with a net change in
    the firearm homicide rate over the ensuing 10 years in California.” Even though California implemented more stringent background checks, this study shows
    that these measures did not reduce gun violence.

    In fact, most criminals obtain firearms through unlawful means — whether through theft, straw purchases, or lying on the required paperwork. A DOJ study
    of federal inmates found that only seven percent who possessed a firearm while committing the crime they were serving time for purchased it legally from
    a firearms dealer under their own name. Based on similar gun control measures in states like California, H.R. 8 would not deter a criminal from engaging
    in criminal activity, and it won’t decrease gun crime.

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  10. I really cannot pretend to understand the moronic, stubborn, self-serving obsession with guns that so many Americans appear to have. Facts don’t seem to mean anything to them, other than as something to twist around to a point where they can cry ‘See? Thousands of innocent gun deaths. Clearly, we need more and better guns.’ Jesus, words fail me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve lived in this country for 67 years now, and I don’t understand it either! I wrote a piece a year or so ago about two parents who owned guns and one day one of the children found one of the guns in a bedside drawer, and accidentally shot his brother. Children’s services told the couple that either they give up their guns, else the children would be taken from them. Guess what? They refused to give up their guns and the children were placed in foster care. It’s almost like a disease over here … I have a friend whose brother-in-law literally has an arsenal in his home and claims he’s ready for when the military try to take over! I guess he forgets the military have tanks. Sigh. You are right … it makes absolutely NO sense!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jill, those parents who just left a gun in a drawer for their children to accidently find and people like them are the problem, not the guns. They are irresponsible parents and if they valued their guns over their children, they either shouldn’t have had them in the first place or given them up to a loving couple who desperately want but can’t have kids of their own. I personally have a friend who has guns and she goes over gun safety with her children on a regular basis and I am confident that her kids probably know more about guns than you or most of the readers of your blog.

        You hear all the time about the accidental deaths of children or the mass shootings and though they are tragic, the media is complicit in painting an inaccurate picture of this topic because you hardly ever hear of the people who save lives with the guns that they responsibly own, such as those who stop home invasions by thugs who don’t give a damn about the law in the first place or those women who stop a sexual assaulter dead in his tracks by a well-placed bullet which doesn’t need to be fatal.

        Yes, it is wrong for an organization like the NRA to have such influence over our politicians but there are a lot of big corporations who have influence over our lawmakers, take the drug companies for instance.

        Finally, the crazy person who has an arsenal in his home to defend against a government takeover is clearly out of the mainstream as well and cannot be taken as a serious representation of the law abiding citizens who own firearms.

        Please answer me these questions any of you who would like to do so.

        How will more legislation prevent a disturbed teenager from taking a gun that his parents legally own and going to shoot up a mall or a school?

        How will more regulations prohibit people from lying on applications that they fill out when purchasing a gun even with the background checks in place.

        How will more laws make schools and police departments talk to each other so that tragedies like parkland don’t happen again?

        Think about that.

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      • I have had conversations with a few gun nuts over the internet, and I think a lot of the problem is that a lot of people have a completely unrealistic world view. This thing about the military coming to take over is very common – just where the heck does that come from? And these same people have no idea of the world beyond their own shores, either. The last one I engaged in debate described the European countries as ‘slave states’. It was at that point I knew I had no chance.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I don’t know what it is … perhaps it gives them a sense of power? The NRA (National Rifle Association) plays a huge role in keeping people convinced that without their guns, the government will just come take over their lives, or they will be robbed and killed in the dead of night. I have left stores many times because of seeing a gun sticking out of someone’s belt, and I’ve made a couple of people angry because I wouldn’t allow them to bring their guns into my home. Sigh. I’ve never heard that one about European countries being ‘slave states’! Somebody needs to study their history it sounds like! Sheesh!

          Liked by 1 person

        • And here in the US along the lines of the government is coming for your guns…remember that with Obama!
          Then you have militia groups here who “play” war in the woods.
          And arcades full of shoot em up games for teenagers or is it just the internet now?
          Mock confederate battles from the past.
          And look at American crime TV compared to the British.

          It’s just insidious in our culture and the stats prove it’s a huge problem that will not be fixed anytime in our lifetimes.

          Liked by 2 people

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