I’m starting today’s post with a personal story. At 8:00 this morning, I woke to a text message from my friend Jerry asking if we were okay. Odd, I thought, so I returned the text saying that we are all fine, and why was he asking … had something happened? He then told me that last night around 10:00 there had been a shooting at the small park behind our house. One dead, two injured. Imagine, if you can, the flip flops my heart did when I remembered that after supper, granddaughter Natasha had gone for a walk at that very park and returned home around 9:00, just a short hour before the shooting.
The park is maybe 200 steps behind my house … I can be there in under a minute … that’s how close this was. This is not the first time that shots have been fired here in da hood, but to the best of my knowledge, it is the first time anyone was killed or even seriously injured. Still dazed by the news, I was having my coffee, trying to regain my equilibrium, when I read that my state is considering expanding its “Stand Your Ground” laws to remove any responsibility for a person to try to avoid a dangerous situation. This means, basically, that you can shoot someone who you claim made you feel threatened, and walk away free and clear, just as George Zimmerman did after murdering young, unarmed Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012.
I realize that I am barking up a hollow tree, that the gun culture in the United States will not end any time soon, but nonetheless I will continue to bark up that tree until either people start to listen, or I can no longer bark.
The average person has no need for a gun, and frankly if someone needs a gun to feel safe, then they are pretty much a wuss in my book. I have never owned nor shot a gun, have no desire to, and yet I’ve always managed to keep safe, even without a gun. Twice in my life, I have had a gun pointed at me, and I’m still standing … in one case, my temper protected me and the man with the gun turned tail and ran, and in the other, my wits and good sense protected me. So, to those who claim to need a gun to keep safe, I laugh in their face.
Only, I’m not laughing now. I’m angry.
In other news …
👍Thumbs up to Disney, Papa John’s (pizza company), T-Mobile, and Veri (office furniture company) for pulling their ads from Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. Tucker Carlson is a dyed-in-the-wool racist who has a long history of using white nationalist rhetoric and has recently attacked and denigrated the Black Lives Matter movement. Personally, I hope that every company still advertising on the Tucker Carlson show pulls their ads, and Fox won’t have much choice but to say “bye-bye” to Tucker.
👎Thumbs down to Starbucks for prohibiting its baristas and other employees from wearing T-shirts, pins, or any other accessory that mentions Black Lives Matter. The company claims that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be misunderstood and potentially incite violence. Misunderstood how??? It’s not a complex statement, not rocket science, and frankly, anybody who takes offense at Black Lives Matter wouldn’t be welcome in my place of business if I had one.
👍Thumbs up to auto racing organization NASCAR for banning the display of the Confederate flag at its races and tracks, effective immediately. The ban applies to fans, competitors, and anyone else involved in the industry. Prior to the announcement, driver Bubba Wallace, the first full-time African-American driver in the top-flight Cup series since 1971, had called for NASCAR to get the Confederate flag “out of here,” saying there is “no place” for it in the sport.
👎Thumbs down to Donald Trump for rejecting calls to rename U.S. military bases named after Confederate generals, a demand that has picked up steam as protests against racial injustice grow around the nation. Civil rights activists, with the support of some former military officials, are pressuring the government to change the names of such installations as Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, saying they glorify generals who led the fight to preserve slavery in the Civil War.
👍Thumbs up to Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator Warren introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires the Defense Department to rename posts and assets — streets, aircraft, ships, and other equipment — either named for Confederate officers or that honor the confederacy within three years. The committee approved the amendment, though it is likely to lead to a showdown between the Senate and Trump.