A Scrapbook Of Life In America: Excerpts From The Pro-Gun Forums

Just over a week ago, I re-blogged a post by Greg, aka Ohio Realist, over at On the Fence Voters. It was the initial post of their new project on the issue of guns and the tragic gun culture in the U.S. Today, I share with you the second post in the project, a plethora of excuses for the fact that there is almost zero regulation on guns in this country. We have a problem … a huge problem … and the key to solving that problem is awareness. Please take a look at these pictures and read the words. The U.S. doesn’t lead the world in much these days, but we certainly do lead in gun fatalities, and once you see this post, you’ll understand why. Thank you, Greg and Jeff, for keeping this issue in the limelight … great work!

On The Fence Voters

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Again …

It happened again, my friends.  Twelve lives … snuffed out with a pull of a trigger.  We just keep killing each other … for no reason or any reason … it’s so easy, isn’t it?  Go to Wal-Mart, buy a gun.  Mad at the boss?  Hey, let’s go shoot a few co-workers … that’ll show ‘im!  Mad at the wife?  Hell, just shoot ‘er!  Bet she’ll never burn the rice at supper again!

In 1787, the Founding Fathers as we’ve come to refer to them, made a couple of big mistakes.  The first was that they believed that humans had consciences and would use them.  The second, they failed to foresee how the citizens of this country would develop a love, an obsession really, of guns and all things that go ‘boom’.

Did you know that there were 47 multiple victim shootings in May, according to the Gun Violence Archive? Just last weekend, nine people were hurt, and one was killed in the neighboring city of Chesapeake, Virginia when gunfire broke out at a party.

For those who may be tempted to send meaningless ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the families of the victims in Virginia Beach, let me suggest that instead you send apologies.  Yes, apologies. We have had opportunity after opportunity to elect people to office who were committed to implementing stricter gun regulations, but time after time we have failed to do so.  Instead, we send people to Congress who are in the pockets of the National Rifle Association, people who place the value of the right to own a gun above the value of the right to life, so the blame lies squarely on our shoulders.

Our apologies to the victims and their families …

  • Christopher Kelly Rapp
  • Ryan Keith Cox
  • Laquita C. Brown
  • Tara Welch Gallagher
  • Mary Louise Gayle
  • Alexander Mikhail Gusev
  • Katherine A. Nixon
  • Richard H. Nettleton
  • Joshua A. Hardy
  • Michelle “Missy” Langer
  • Robert “Bobby” Williams
  • Herbert “Bert” Snelling

victims

Just Two Snarky Snippets …

Wouldn’t you think we could have just one day where I am not stomping my feet and growling like an angry leopard?  Noooooo … that’s too much to ask, isn’t it?  Sigh.  Hold onto your hats, folks, for I’m on a tear tonight!


Still more evidence that …

The only people who matter in the current administration are those who love Trump … a distinct minority, yet a loud, obnoxious one.  The evidence of this lies in the debate in the Oval Office on Monday whereby Trump’s staff convinced him to support a decision to eliminate healthcare for no less than 20 million people in this nation. health-care-1As most of you know, a lawsuit filed by 18 state’s attorney-generals and 2 governors came before Texas District Court Judge Reed O’Connor last year.  The judge was tasked with determining whether the ACA individual mandate that requires everyone to have health insurance was lawful.  However, Judge O’Connor took it a step further and declared the entire Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional.  Appeals, of course were immediately filed.  At that time, the Department of Justice, while supporting overturning the individual mandate, did not support overturning ACA in its entirety.  Then came Monday.

On Monday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Domestic Chief of Policy (whatever the heck that is) Joe Grogan convinced Trump that if he, via the Department of Justice, supported the complete repeal of the act through the courts, his base (a minority) would “love it”.  They told him that the move would be seen as ‘fulfilling a campaign promise’ and that it would help secure his re-election next year.  Thus, even though Attorney General William Barr expressed concerns about the move, it was announced later that day that the U.S. Department of Justice will support the move to have ACA declared unconstitutional and thereby sign death warrants for some 20 million people or more.Trump-health-careAlthough Trump has claimed he would make republicans “the party of health care”, there is no plan on the republican side of the aisle with which to replace ACA.  Just … do away with it … let poor people die … who needs ‘em anyway?

Even Mike Pence argued against the move, not because he cares a whit about we common people, but because he felt it might have political ramifications down the line.  You think?  Under ordinary circumstances, I would say that in making this move, Trump just signed away his re-election, but we have not had normal circumstances in this nation since 20 January 2017.  This is just one more in the growing pile of signs that We the People really do not matter.  The only ones who count are the bloomin’ fools who wear red caps and chant “Lock ‘er up!”


A step too far … way too far!

Last night, a friend posted this to my Facebook page …Jerry post

Now, this particular friend sometimes gets a kick out of ruffling my feathers, in a good-natured way, so I thought this might be a … joke?  But no, I looked into it, and steam began coming from my ears, my teeth gnashing, and lightning bolts emitted from my eyes.

The so-called constitutional carry bill would permit anyone age 21 or over, who is not disqualified by federal law due to a felony conviction or other offense from obtaining a weapon, to carry a hidden gun — without obtaining a concealed-carry permit.  Currently, Ohioans can only carry a concealed weapon after obtaining a $67 permit from a county sheriff upon passing a criminal background check and completing eight hours of training by a certified instructor, including two hours of range time and live-fire training.  The legislation would not be restricted to handguns — it also would allow Ohioans to conceal and carry long guns, such as rifles and shotguns (though I’m not sure how one conceals a long gun … seems it would be a might noticeable sticking out of their waistband). Ohioans already are allowed to openly carry firearms without a permit.  The bill also would repeal a current requirement that concealed-carry owners notify police officers they are carrying a gun when stopped.  The police are going to love this one, yes?

Do any of these fools remember Parkland in February 2018?  Do they remember Las Vegas?  Do they remember their own damn names?  Fools.  Idiots.  Then, while I was still frothing at the mouth, the same friend informs me that Kentucky just passed a similar law.  Back to searching … yep …

rednecks-1

Bright looking bunch, eh?

From the March 28th Cincinnati Enquirer …

“Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin just signed a law allowing residents to carry a concealed gun without a permit and the prerequisite training.”

And then … I find out that this is not a new thing, not an anomaly, but that there are sixteen … yes, SIXTEEN states where residents can carry guns with no permit, no training, and in some cases, no background checks.

Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

rednecks-2

More ‘Einsteins’

The law is called “Constitutional Carry” because it reflects the view that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not abide restrictions on gun rights, including the right to carry or “bear” arms.  This is utterly ludicrous.  This is the absolute stupidest thing I have heard of!

But back to the proposed Ohio law …

At least one Ohio legislator, David Leland, had a bit of sense (hint:  he’s a democrat)

“It’s going the exact opposite direction of what most people want. If more guns make more people safer, we would be the safest country in the world. Yet, our gun violence exceeds most every other country on this planet.”

Correction, Mr. Leland … not ‘most’ every other country on the planet … EVERY other country on the planet!

Chris Dorr, director of Ohio Gun Owners, sent an email to supporters …

“We already know there will be efforts by anti-gun Democrats and Rino-Republicans to block, stop and KILL Constitutional Carry. And as we saw last General Assembly, there’s always a lily-white coward willing to cut a deal and water down these pro-gun bills.”

Scumbucket.

2nd amendmentIt appears that the only thing that is going to wake these people up is if next time it’s their own child who is killed in a school shooting, or a drive-by.


nightmareAnd that’s it for tonight, folks … I must stop the steam coming from my ears, brush what I haven’t gnashed away of my teeth and go to bed for another fun night of night terrors.  Gee, I can’t imagine what’s causing them, can you?

 

Six Days …

Six days.  It only took six days after a gunman opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand, killing at least 50 people, before the government took action and banned assault-type weapons that were never meant for civilian use to begin with.  Yesterday, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a national ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons, on parts that allow guns to be modified into such weapons, and on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

This, my friends, is how a true leader responds to a crisis.  This is the action of a leader who actually cares what happens to the people in the country she is tasked with leading.  This is a leader who puts people ahead of corporate greed and politics.  Every nation deserves such a leader.

Now, you might say, well, New Zealand doesn’t have the National Rifle Association (NRA) to contend with.  Well, yes and no.  New Zealand actually does have a National Rifle Association, but their function is entirely different than the one in the U.S.  The New Zealand NRA is the country’s governing body for the sport of long-range target shooting. It does not engage in political lobbying.  When Prime Minister Ardern announced the ban on semiautomatic weapons yesterday, the NRA-NZ responded positively and even noted that they are considering a name change to avoid being associated with the U.S. NRA.

In New Zealand, gun owners are subjected to rigorous background checks and requirements, and even after acquiring a license, gun owners in New Zealand continue to be subjected to scrutiny from the authorities.

“If your name comes up with a police or traffic complaint, that list gets looked at by the police firearms division. If it looks like your name is coming up more often, they’ll come and have a word with you.” – Ross Mason, Chairman NRA-NZ

Can you imagine the outrage among gun owners if this happened in the U.S.?  Or, can you imagine the reaction if it was suggested that gun owners voluntarily give up their firearms?  Within the first four days after the shootings, a number of gun owners had turned in their semiautomatic weapons.  One man, a farmer named John Hart, turned his rifle over to police, then tweeted …John Hart

Did you read that, folks?  “My convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.”  That should be a bumper sticker and we should hand them out with every gun purchase, every box of ammo …

I don’t know about you folks, but to me, this reaction all the way from the head of government down to the citizens, is a breath of fresh air.  This is the way it should be.  Consider this.  If a roller coaster at an amusement park derails and 30-40 people are killed or injured, all hell breaks loose.  The ride, or likely the entire park is shut down indefinitely.  The manufacturers of the ride are called in.  Safety experts and mechanics are called in to determine the cause.  If there is fault, fines are levied. And lawsuits are filed against the park and the ride’s manufacturer.  That ride will never operate again in all likelihood.  Why?  Because we place a high priority on human life.

But if a gunman goes on a spree in Las Vegas or a high school in Parkland, Florida, the nutters immediately come out ranting “don’t try to take our guns!” The NRA issues a statement before the dust even settles warning the sensible among us that this is “not the time” to mention gun regulation or gun safety.  A few days pass, the media move on to other things, and life returns to normal … until the next time.

Apparently, the NRA in the U.S. is not content to interfere and subvert any attempts at sensible gun safety legislation in the U.S., but have also stuck their nose into New Zealand’s business this week.  Former police minister and New Zealand National Party MP Judith Collins says that both she and the current police minister, Stuart Nash had begun receiving propaganda material from the U.S. NRA.  In the past, she said, when she sought to introduce gun law reforms during her two stints as police minister, she was inundated by material from the NRA in the U.S.

“They talked about how we were trying to take away their Second Amendment rights to own guns. We don’t have a right to bear arms. To own a gun in New Zealand is absolutely a privilege and not a right.”

Say WHAT???  By what right does the NRA here in the U.S. get off trying to change gun laws in a nation on the other side of the globe?  The NRA has gone beyond what is acceptable so many times in the past, but this one takes the cake.  Fortunately, New Zealanders have better sense that the average gun-lovin’ American, and Ms. Collins told them to …bugger off

I’ve said it all before, but it bears repeating.  The U.S. has the most lax gun laws, the most guns per capita (more guns than people, at approximately 400 million guns and only 330 million people), and the highest rate of deaths by guns than any other nation on earth.  It is past time for us to re-consider the 2nd Amendment that has cost the lives of more citizens of this nation than every war we’ve ever been involved in.  New Zealand certainly has the right idea, as do Australia and every other nation on the globe.  Yesterday I saw a New York Times’ OpEd piece titled, “America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern”.  I second that!

Two thumbs up to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the good people of New Zealand for putting human lives ahead of corporate greed.

A Letter From Parkland …

Today, February 14th 2019, marks one year since 17 people were killed, 14 of them students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  I would like to share with you a letter written by Jaclyn Corin, a senior at the school and the founder of March For Our Lives.  The letter was published yesterday in the New York Times.

Corin.jpgWhen I arrived at school on Feb. 14, 2018, like any junior, I was mostly caught up in Valentine’s Day chatter and events. But that all changed in the space of a few minutes that afternoon when a gunman opened fire on my classmates and my teachers, killing 17 of them and injuring just as many.

Despite the countless tragedies you see on TV, nothing prepares you for the day it happens to your community.

The familiar images of students fleeing their school as SWAT teams entered, of parents waiting by the perimeter desperately praying to get their kids back, were now my reality. They were my classmates and friends, too many of whom never came home.

After the shooting, my friends at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and I decided we couldn’t sit by as school shootings and gun violence became a normal part of life in America. We were determined to turn an act of violence into a movement, to do everything we could to send a powerful message to the country and to Washington.Parkland-2.jpg

There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of the shooting. When I hear the sound of sirens or fireworks, I’m taken back to that horrific afternoon. For me, Valentine’s Day will now forever be a reminder of loss.

Yet our community isn’t alone in its tragedy. In 2017, nearly 40,000 Americans died as a result of guns, an average of 109 people a day. And according to a tally from Education Week, there were 24 school shootings that resulted in gun-related deaths or injuries in 2018 alone.

While several states have taken positive legislative measures in response, there have been zero bipartisan investigations or new laws from Congress.

Not a single federal law has been passed since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 to address the crisis of school shootings. This year could be different — but only if we organize and insist on it.

Last week, Congress held its first hearing on gun violence prevention since 2011. This week, the House Judiciary Committee is poised to approve a bipartisan bill to requiring background checks for all gun purchases, a proposal that represents one important step toward keeping deadly firearms out of the wrong hands. However, it’s also likely this bill won’t get a hearing, let alone a vote, in the Senate.

That chamber’s majority leader, Mitch McConnell, needs to explain to all of us who have survived a shooting or lost someone to gun violence why the Senate won’t even vote on such a bill even though there’s been over half a million gun deaths since 2000, the year I was born.

And Americans should truly reckon with why this epidemic of gun deaths is treated so differently from any other health crisis in our country.

Imagine for a moment that all these gun deaths were caused by something else widely feared: airplane crashes. There’s no universe in which we wouldn’t see it as a national emergency worthy of our undivided attention.

In fact, 2017 was a remarkable year in aviation. No one died in a commercial airplane crash, meaning it was safer for me to fly than it was for me to go to high school. It would take hundreds of completely full Boeing 737 flights crashing without survivors to total the number of people who died by guns in America in just 2017.

If even a handful of such crashes occurred, the government would declare a national emergency. All 737s would be grounded, there would be an independent commission created to investigate the crisis, and Boeing would be called before Congress to answer for its failures.

So why then don’t more than 30,000 gun deaths in a year rise to the level of a national crisis for America’s conservative leaders?

The past year has been one with the deepest of lows and, at times, the highest of highs — moments when the hope that springs from fighting for a better world makes anything feel possible. On Thursday, the anniversary of the shooting, I will be in the only place that matters, nestled in my community and with my family.

And for the next four days, the organization I helped found, March For Our Lives, will go dark to honor those we lost and their memory.

I am deeply proud of all that my friends and I have accomplished in the last year. Still, I can’t help but wonder why so many lawmakers are ignoring — and, at their worst, enabling — the horrific gun deaths that occur in our country each day.

Parkland-1.jpgIn the year since the Parkland tragedy, nearly 1,200 more children have lost their lives to guns in this country.   When do we say, “Enough!!!”?  When do we put the lives of our children ahead of politics and corporate greed?  The sign above says it all … “Choose Me, Not Guns”.

Newsworthy …

The news of the day is predominantly predictions and warnings about Hurricane Florence, expected to hit the Carolinas tomorrow.  Our friend Keith is in Charlotte, North Carolina, so I’ll be thinking of him and hoping he and his family are safe.  And, Trump is running his mouth & thumbs again, falsely claiming what a “great job” he did in the aftermath of last year’s Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico, and slamming San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.  I will have more to say about that tomorrow. But a couple of other things crossed my path this morning …

And we thought the NRA was bad? 

In yesterday’s New Hampshire republican primary, a man named Eddie Edwards won over Andy Sanborn by just over 3,000 votes, or 6.8%.  Eddie, endorsed by Rudy Giuliani, is a big Trump fan …

“The president’s doing one hell of a job in Washington. It’s about time we had a president who understood the values of our country and stood up for our country.”

eddie edwardsThat in itself is enough to make one want to head for the nearest bathroom, but that is far from the worst of it.  Edwards is a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, the likes of which we have never seen, not even in the most ardent gun supporters such as the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.  Hold on to your hats for this one, folks.  Eddie fully supports a total repeal of the background check system.  A TOTAL repeal … no background checks … ever … for anyone.  But wait … there’s even more.

He says he would vote to shrink or eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF). He would oppose any legislative or regulatory prohibition on “bump stocks.” He also vows to repeal the 1996 federal law that prohibits bringing guns within 1000 feet of schools, to end limits on gun imports that are not for “sporting purposes,” and to even repeal the 1996 Lautenberg amendment that prevents people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. In other words, not only would he eliminate the background checks, but would also arm more domestic abusers.  Listen to Eddie …

A 2013 poll by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that even in pro-gun New Hampshire, 89 percent of likely voters supported universal mandatory background checks for gun purchases.  Now, aside from the fact that I don’t foresee Congress, even if Mr. Eddie Edwards were to attain a seat in the House, passing laws to make any of Eddie’s dreams come true, I find it extremely disturbing that a man with these ideas could make it as far as he has in politics.  At least 21,767 people  in new Hampshire support this insanity.


Free speech runs amok … again

It’s called the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).  Sounds innocuous enough, yes?  But no.  It is an anti-Semitic hate group whose main ‘claim to fame’ is in denying that the Holocaust happened, even claiming that the Anne Frank’s diary was a hoax and the gas chambers never existed.  This month, IHR has been allowed to place advertisements on San Francisco’s mass transit system, BART (Bay Area Regional Transit). BARTWhy?  Why would BART allow a blatantly, unapologetic anti-Semitic organization to advertise on its trains?  Because …

“You have to look at it for exactly what words are used and what images are used … There is plenty of case law and court rulings that show if you deny the ad, you can be taken to court, and you’ll lose, and that’s obviously costly.”

Anti-Semitism is on the rise … hate crimes and discrimination against Jews rose by 57% in the U.S. in 2017.  To be fair, anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe also, but at least there, they have laws that curtail such abomination as hate groups advertising in public venues.  But here … anything goes under the guise of free speech.  This is not free speech … this robs people of their right to peace of mind!

In 2015, a judge ruled that New York’s MTA (Mass Transit Authority) could not stop an ad from being run that read “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah.” The ad was created by a pro-Israel organization whose president, Pamela Geller, is a well-known Islamophobe.  And just last August, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to court for refusing a number of ads, including one by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I am a staunch supporter of free speech, for I believe that it is the only thing keeping this nation free from a dictatorship.  Even when I don’t particularly like or agree with what is said, I support the person’s right to say it.  However, in my mind there is a line, and advertising anti-Semitism or any other form of hate on public transit crosses that line.  The divisiveness in this country today, and Donald Trump’s support of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups has contributed to this madness.  What’s more, I see no end in sight, but predict an escalation to these types of hate speech.

It is quite possible to support freedom of speech without supporting speech that denigrates others and invites violence.  Think about  it.

The Printable Gun: Should We Even Care?

For a couple of weeks now, I have been contemplating a post about the new concept of 3D printable guns. The concept disturbs me greatly, but as yet I was still in the process of researching the technology to better understand it. Meanwhile, tonight I came across a terrific post by fellow-blogger On The Fence Voters, aka Greg, and decided not to re-invent the wheel, especially as Greg has done an excellent job of explaining what they are and whether we should worry … or not. Please take a minute to read this informative and thoughtful post, and also check out the comments, for there is much more food for thought there. Thank you, Greg, for implied permission to re-blog and for this great post!

On The Fence Voters

When I first heard that files would be made available online which would allow people to print guns on 3D Plastic printers, I shared the alarm and anger felt by most people around the country.  What makes this situation very different and scary are that we can now download and ‘print’ an actual gun, and given that the files are on the internet, it would not be unreasonable to assume that the downloads could go ‘Viral’.  It’s only natural then to imagine a headline which would scare any rational person in the room:  “Millions Download Gun Files In First 24 Hours.”  It brings to mind a society in which mentally ill people, violent offenders and other convicted felons could be walking the streets with loaded and ready-to-shoot 3D printed guns hidden in their coats.

But a closer look points to a different reality.  Once I read more about the finished…

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Fools Rush In …

It’s really too bad that fools and idiots don’t come with some physical identifying feature, such as a hooked nose, or green ears … something!

KempBrian Kemp looks like a normal person.  Kemp is running for governor of Georgia this year and is, or at least claims to be, a big Trump supporter.  Apparently the feeling is mutual, for Trump supported Kemp over the current Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle, causing Cagle to lose the primary last month by a landslide.  Both Kemp and Cagle were lukewarm about Trump in the beginning, but now … funny, but for some reason they were in a competition to see who could most slavishly support Trump.  Oh … could that be because Trump’s approval ratings among Georgia Republicans are above 80 percent?

So, who is Brian Kemp and what does his platform look like?

Who is Brian Kemp?kemp-gun-JakeKemp has served as the Secretary of State of Georgia since 2010, first appointed by then-Governor Sonny Perdue, and later that year was elected to the position, and re-elected in 2014.  He would be up for re-election this year were he not running for governor.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture – I fail to see how that qualifies him for a governorship, but hey … it’s more education than the president has!

Kemp also had a rather unremarkable stint as Georgia State Senator from 2003-2007.

As Secretary of State, Kemp was responsible for a major data breach in 2015 when his office erroneously distributed personal data (including Social Security numbers and dates of birth) of 6.2 million registered Georgia voters, more than 95% of all registered voters in the state. This data breach occurred when the office sent out a CD with this information to 12 organizations that purchase monthly voter lists from the office.  The office of Secretary of State did not publicly acknowledge the mishap until the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the class-action lawsuit against the office as a result of the data breach.  The breach cost taxpayers $1.2 million in credit monitoring services for those whose data had been compromised and $395,000 for an audit into Kemp’s handling of the unauthorized data disclosure.

In 2016, as evidence mounted that Russian hackers were attempting to disrupt the 2016 elections, President Obama directed his Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson to work with states to secure their voting systems as “critical infrastructure.”  Secretary of State Kemp refused, later justifying his decision by saying, “I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration.”  He also claimed the effort violated state’s rights.

So, we can see that Kemp is one of those who, no matter how much evidence is presented, will argue until he turns blue, simply because he didn’t like Obama.  Care to make a wild guess why?

What does Brian Kemp stand for?

You may remember that back in May, I included a snippet about Kemp in a post because of a campaign ad he had run where he had pointed a gun at a young man who wanted to date his daughter. In case you need to refresh your memory, here is the clip again …

“I’m a conservative businessman with a 4-Point Plan to put hardworking Georgians first. I’m also the proud father of 3 teenage girls. Here’s the thing: If you want to date one of my daughters, you better have respect for women & a healthy appreciation for the 2nd Amendment.”

Well, then …

kemp-Trump-endorsesGeorgia is a red state … republicans control the state legislature, as well as the governor’s office, but not necessarily because there are more republicans in Georgia. Georgia is a red state because of voter suppression, and quite likely were it not for voter roll purges, refusing to register voters until after an election, and the use of investigations to intimidate groups registering minorities to vote, there would at the very least be a significantly higher number of democrats in office.

Whites make up less than 60 percent of the state’s population but more than 90 percent of people who voted Republican in the primary. The state’s gerrymandered districts, drawn and redrawn by the Republican-dominated Legislature, mirror the inordinate and disproportionate power of this constituency.kemp-deportKemp’s platform seems to consist of three major things:  deport immigrants, protect the 2nd Amendment, and keep minorities away from the polls.  As Secretary of State, Kemp initiated investigations into organizations that registered nearly 200,000 new Asian-American and African-American voters — efforts that resulted in the first majority-black school board in a small town.  Although Kemp’s investigations yielded no charges, indictments or convictions, there was a strong intimidation feature with Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents knocking on doors, some of those people who were erroneously investigated losing their jobs.

In addition, Kemp kept thousands of the newly registered minority voters off the voter registration rolls. Why?  Because …

“Democrats are working hard, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines. If they can do that, they can win these elections in November.”

Perish the thought, eh?  Kemp has also blocked nearly 35,000 people from the voter rolls because of misplaced hyphens or a typo on the voter registration card that didn’t precisely match the spelling of the name at the driver’s license bureau.  Mostly African-Americans, it just so happens (60%), but also Latinos and Asian-Americans.  In fact, since 2012, the number of registered voters in Georgia has actually decreased!  Oh yes … and those warnings about the vulnerability of the voting machines in his state?  No worries … Kemp has successfully ignored those pesky warnings, even though the machines, which run on Windows 2000, leave no paper trail; as a result, there is no way to verify whether the counts are accurate or whether the vote has been hacked.kemp-abramsIn November, Kemp will be running against Stacey Abrams, a woman and an African American.  As of the latest RealClearPolitics (RCP) average poll, Abrams and Kemp are tied neck-and-neck with each having 45% of the votes.  Kemp has, it seems, taken every possible step to ensure that the majority of voters will be white republicans.  I sincerely hope his efforts all come to naught, and I want to see his face on the night of November 6th, when he is told it is time to concede to Ms. Abrams.  I just hope he leaves his gun at home!

ONLY Good Guys With Guns? (Excellent Washington Post Article Link)

We haven’t heard much about gun issues lately … Oh wait! School’s out for the summer break, so there haven’t been any school shootings, and no other mass shootings of late, so the gun issue just rather dropped out of sight in lieu of so many abominations taking place in Washington. Last night, though, I stumbled across a post that I found to be an excellent response to the NRA’s “good guy with a gun” rhetoric, and I wanted to share it with you. We will likely never completely abolish the 2nd Amendment, but we must not lose sight of the battle for much stricter gun laws and for putting the lives of people before the greed of the NRA. Please take a few minutes to read this excellent post by On The Fence Voters. Thank you, Greg, for permission to share!

On The Fence Voters

Link to The Washington Post article, ‘There Were Three Shooters”

The Washington Post recently published an outstanding article about the National Rifle Association’s assertion that ‘The only  thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.’  It details an actual situation in Oklahoma which ended in  the death of an active shooter at the hands of two ‘good guys with guns’, but goes on to explore the many factors which may have led to a very different and tragic ending.  I’ve linked the article at the top of this page and I hope you read it because it’s very eye-opening.

I’ve always had my own thoughts on this subject.

Ever since the Sandy Hook mass school shooting in December of 2012, the ‘mantra’ of the National Rifle Association has been ‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a…

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What Exactly IS Freedom?

Been a lot of talk about that thing called ‘freedom’ lately.  Started me thinking about some things.  What is freedom, anyway?  Freedom from what?  Freedom to do what?  Am I free?  Are you?  Are any of us?  And what is the trade-off for freedom, for there is a trade-off, a price to pay for everything, y’know.

I did a bit of thinking about it … and one thing I can say for certain is that we don’t all see freedom in the same way.  There are those, some are friends of mine even, who think freedom means you get to have a gun … any ol’ gun you want, carry it wherever you go … and use it however you want.  To them that is freedom, but wait … if they have that gun, and they can use it when and how they want … suddenly I don’t feel quite so free as I did a minute ago.  And … if my kid gets shot and killed at school by some student whose daddy has an arsenal and he snuck one out to take revenge on those kids he thinks don’t like him … then the people who think owning guns makes them free just tell me, “we send our thoughts and prayers”.  But … what good is that???  I don’t want your thoughts and prayers … they don’t bring my child back!  And then they say, “well, that is just the cost of being free”.  If that’s the cost of being free, maybe it’s time somebody did a cost-benefit analysis.

And then there’s that freedom of speech.  Now, I’m happy that I can write my opinions on this blog, and some may not like them, but I haven’t gone to jail yet, so I think that is my freedom of speech.  And I appreciate it, believe me I do, for I have a sharp tongue and if criticism and words could send you to jail, I’d surely be wearing an orange jumpsuit right now!  But … I never have and never will tell people they ought to go out and kill somebody else.  I never have urged my friends and readers to physically hurt another human being.  It seems to me that there’s a difference between calling Donald Trump or Paul Ryan a fool, and asking people to go out and hurt one another.  I keep hearing that the human race has become so advanced … but frankly, folks, I don’t see it.

On March 23rd 1775, Patrick Henry in a speech to the Second Virginia Convention is reported to have said, “Give me liberty, or give me death”.  The liberty that he was seeking was freedom from oppression, freedom from being ruled by a monarch 4,000 miles away, paying taxes to that monarchy, without having a say in the rules that bound the colonies that would become the United States of America.  Freedom from oppression, and freedom to self-govern.

Freedoms are either from something or to something.  The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States calls for the freedom to ‘bear firearms’.  But, in its present-day incarnation it has been interpreted as the freedom to kill.  The freedom to own an assault weapon that was never … NEVER … intended to be placed in untrained civilian hands.  And by so interpreting that ‘freedom to …”, the freedom from having to fear for one’s life in a school, church or shopping center has been trampled.  When you, Mr. Christian Republican, bought your AR-15, as was your perceived right, you robbed me of my freedom to be safe next time I go out in the same place you go.

In the same vein, when a person uses his freedom of speech to call for my death, as one of my readers did a while back, then that person is robbing me of my freedom to feel safe in my own home.  When a person like Milo Yiannopoulos says, “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” and just three days later five people are gunned down in a newspaper office … whose freedom took away whose?

We do not all define freedom in the same way, and until we do, one man’s freedom will be another man’s prison.  The Constitution, as well as other documents such as court rulings have attempted to bring about a uniform definition for ‘freedom’, but there seems to be a disconnect.  The man who has a few billion dollars in offshore accounts believes that he has the freedom to use those monies as he sees fit.  Fair enough, if the money legitimately belongs to him and was not earned off the sweat of others who were under-compensated for their labours.  BUT … how many who have billions actually earned them without trampling the freedoms of others?  Very, very few, I think.  Any?  I don’t know … perhaps Bill Gates?

As many have commented on this blog in the past, and as I myself have said, “your freedom ends at the tip of my nose”.  You like loud music?  Fine, but understand that not all of us enjoy the same music you do and don’t force it on us.  I smoke.  I have the freedom to do so, but I do not have the freedom to blow my smoke in your face, or even to smoke in a public venue where you might be.  If I can accept that I do not have a right to smoke in public, why can you not accept that you do not have the right to carry a gun in public?  Really, which is more potentially lethal?

In this world, in real life, freedom can never be complete, can never be 100%, for if it were, it would be depriving others of their freedoms.  That is a fact of life.  You can be free from a dictatorship, but you can never be completely free from rules, from laws.  Today, as we live under a ‘man’ who claims to make America “great” again, we are finding that for some, the freedoms are being expanded, but for the majority of us this has meant giving up other freedoms.  There comes a point when we must prioritize:  a right to live vs a right to carry a gun in public?  A right to have medical care for a chronic condition vs a right to pay less in taxes?  A right to breathe clean air vs a right to make a profit from mining coal?

Freedom is not an absolute.  It does not come without a cost.  Freedom for all requires compromise.  Think about it.