It’s the Guns, Stupid

I did not intend to post a fourth post tonight, but … on reading Jeff’s post, I felt I had to. His words speak for themselves, and for the record, I am in 100% agreement with every word. We are the creators of our own doom … the love of guns in this country is greater than the love of life. Thank you, Jeff … great post!

On The Fence Voters

I was never a fan of President Ronald Reagan and can proudly say that I never voted for him. But he did possess an ability during his time in office for communicating a hopeful tone to the American people. They used to call him “The Great Communicator.”

One of his most famous rhetorical flourishes focused around his belief that when he thought about America, he felt that it was that “shining city upon a hill.” Reagan borrowed the analogous quote from John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, who upon setting sail for New England in 1630, reflected on his hopes for what would come to signify American exceptionalism; that we would be the moral compass and example for the rest of the world.

Let’s say that these days, that “shining city” is beginning to look more like an abandoned town, with rubble and burned out facades dotting the landscape…

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America’s Gun Culture On Display

Look at the picture below …

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-PROTESTThose are not National Guardsmen, nor are they law enforcement nor military.  They are armed … heavily armed … protestors at a rally in Michigan.  Would you be comfortable anywhere near this group of rabblerousers with guns?  I certainly would not!  I have planned for several days to write about this very ominous situation that was repeated in cities around the nation last week, but today I came across an OpEd by a contributor for The Washington Post that summed it up nicely.


We cannot allow the normalization of firearms at protests to continue

Michele-NorrisBy Michele L. Norris 

Opinions contributor and consultant

May 6, 2020 at 5:23 p.m. EDT

This we know: Black or brown people gathering in the streets or at the statehouse with rifles and body armor would not be tolerated.

They would not be allowed to yell in the face of police officers.

They would not be referred to as “very good people” by a sitting president.

There would be no debate about First or Second Amendment rights.

There would be arrests. Lots of them.

Let’s just admit that.

And let’s admit this, too: We’ve gotten far too accustomed to the image of white protesters carrying paramilitary-level firearms in public spaces. The presence of guns — often really large guns — at protests has become alarmingly normalized. It is time to take stock of what that means.

Accepting and even expecting to see firearms at protest rallies means that we somehow embrace the threat of chaos and violence. While those who carry say they have no intention of using their weapons, the firepower alone creates a wordless threat, and something far more calamitous if even just one person discharges a round.

If someone were to go rogue, it would be difficult for police to identify a shooter while facing a phalanx of protesters who all have rifles strapped to their shoulders. Distinguishing law enforcement from people dressed as “enforcers” could be tough. During the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, the Virginia National Guard tweeted that its troops were wearing “MP” patches on their uniforms so people could sort the military police from the rifle-wielding paramilitary groups that showed up wearing helmets, camouflage and tactical vests.

Accepting the open display of firearms at protests means we can expect an increased militarization of state and local law enforcement agencies seeking to protect their troops.

Accepting the open display of firearms at rallies means we must also admit this confirms a significant cultural shift that collides with norms and current laws. The protesters that stormed the statehouse in Michigan were within their right to carry guns inside the state Capitol under open-carry laws. But their actions were far outside of the comfort zone for many people who work in that building and who dedicate their lives to finding civil solutions to disagreements.

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is a Republican and Second Amendment champion who initially supported challenges to the state’s shutdown order. But in a statement last week, he condemned the use of “intimidation and the threat of physical harm to stir up fear and feed rancor.” There are now discussions about reviewing the laws that allow citizens to carry and display guns inside the Michigan statehouse.

Almost every state has legal tools to crack down on armed militias under laws that prevent the formation of private paramilitaries that are not answerable to civil authorities. Such groups cannot falsely assume police or military roles and are not allowed to provide military training to prepare members for civil disorders. But when heavily armed protesters show up in formation at rallies, they certainly flout these laws.

Is this brazen display of force about the right to own firearms or the right to make armed threats for political purposes? Just asking, because the latter is not a “right” that can be equally asserted. The protests are purportedly about reopening America. A parallel goal is realignment — using the Second Amendment to conduct regular and routine shows of force to intimidate elected officials into enacting a political agenda.

Accepting the display of firearms at protests by some and not others means that we must also accept that some are rewarded with a kind of special citizenship that allows them to be seen as patriotic instead of threatening, and aggrieved instead of aggressive.

If we accept this as normal, it means the country collectively is shrugging its shoulders and co-signing a skewed social contract, in which white-nationalist groups grow in size and influence, as threats against politicians and journalists escalate, and as gun violence and mass shootings continue to rise.

Accepting this increasingly brazen display of guns as normal means an armed political movement is flourishing outside the guardrails of our political system.

This didn’t happen overnight. Advocates for open-carry have been carrying handguns and rifles to department stores, Starbucks and state capitols since 2013 in an effort to normalize firearms in public. The movement is coincidentally aligned with an entertainment trend in which paramilitary forces take center stage in popular video games and TV shows such as HBO’s “Watchmen” and Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Polls show that most Americans prefer a go-slow approach to reopening most businesses. The armed protesters in places such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and North Carolina represent a tiny minority. Some surveys put the most insistent open-now crowd at less than 10 percent. But the weapons make their influence seem larger — and they know that. We see protests punctuated by guns almost every day. It has become routine. We have normalized something that should be shocking.

Essential??? I Think Not!!!

Merriam-Webster defines the word “essential” as:

Of the utmost importance: BASIC, INDISPENSABLE, NECESSARY

When I think about things that qualify under that definition, I think first of air, food, water, and shelter.  In truth, with only those we can survive.  Our lifestyles have, by necessity, added certain other things to the list, such as clothing, soap, medications, electricity, etc.  Now, I could expand the list even more, in light of 21st century living, to include companionship, the internet, a certain level of income – enough to pay for the other ‘essentials’ only, and maybe I would even include pets.

However, under no circumstances can I consider guns to be essential … not by the broadest stretch of the imagination.  And yet, that is exactly what the buffoon in the Oval Office, coerced by one of the nation’s largest lobbying groups, has decided.  Guns are an essential part of everyday living.  Hmmmm … makes me wonder just how I have survived all these 68 years without a gun?

In recent weeks, governors stepped up to the plate where the federal government dropped the ball, and ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses, including gun shops.  Well, never let it be said that the National Rifle Association (NRA) took that lying down!  They contacted former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, incoming Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and a former NRA employee who is now a White House staffer.  At the end of the day, the Department of Homeland Security added the gun industry to its “critical infrastructure” list, prompting governors around the country to declare them “essential businesses” that can operate during the pandemic, just as critical as grocery stores, hospitals and pharmacies.

BULLSHIT!

The FBI conducted 3.7 million background checks in March, a new single-month record.  More than 1% of the entire population of this country bought guns in a single month!  What the hell?  Do they think they can kill the coronavirus by shooting it?

There is so much wrong with this that I don’t know where to begin!

First off, consider this … people are confined to their homes more with their families.  In some cases, this is probably a good thing – families will bond in new ways (although I dread the new ‘baby boom’ that is sure to emerge around Christmas time, for the world is already over-populated).  But, in many cases, families will begin to get on one another’s nerves and I fully expect the incidence of domestic violence to increase significantly.  Bad enough that papa is smacking mama and the kiddies around, but if papa has that brand-new gun in the drawer of his nightstand …ambulanceNow think about this one … people are getting frustrated by the lack of such ‘essentials’ as toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, and often even an onion or an apple are in short supply at the grocery.  What about that guy with a bit of a temper, who has a list of ten things and can only find one when he’s at the grocery, but he sees another customer with two carts overflowing with … yep, you got it … toilet paper.  He doesn’t think, but reaches for that gun in his pocket …ambulance-2I’ve said more than once that the suicide rate in this country will double or more this year, due to the depression that is inevitable for some of us in this state of isolation.  So, John Doe has lost his job, cannot pay his rent, his lousy $1,200 government subsidy is long gone, and his family refuses to visit or allow him to visit for … who knows how long?  He might take an overdose and might survive that, but if he has a gun …graveIf you had any doubts … if you had so much as a shred of doubt that the government of this country is bought and paid for by the NRA, those doubts should be erased by now.  We the People, our lives, our well-being, do not matter one bit to the likes of Trump and his cronies.  Yes, we need the grocery stores to stay open, for without food we die, and in this nation, few are self-sufficient in growing their own food.  Yes, we need the hospitals, medical centers and pharmacies to remain open, for without them, some people will die.  But, if the gun shops close, lives may actually be saved!

At the end of 2017, there were 393 million guns in civilian hands … in a nation of 330 million people!  Think on that one … why do we even need gun shops, if there are already more guns than people in this country???  They for damn certain are NOT essential!

The average person in this country is already in fear of picking up some germ at the grocery store, and now … in addition … we better be looking for suspicious bulges in men’s pants pockets (no, not those).  In recent years, I have been known to walk out of a store if I saw somebody carrying a gun, but in today’s mentality of fear, it’s likely that every Tom, Dick and Harry will be “packing heat”.  And I’m willing to bet that the majority of those 3.7 million who bought guns last month don’t have a clue how to use them!  Just last week in Michigan, a man accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun he bought to defend himself against “pandemic-related chaos”.

The United States is the only country on the entire globe with such a gun culture that guns are considered more important than books, education, clothing, or even dentists.  This nation needs to do some serious thinking about its priorities.  Personally, if I have to have a gun to feel safe, then this is not a life worth living, and I feel more threatened by a gun than I do any virus.

Filosofa’s 2020 State Of The Union

This evening, Donald Trump will present to members of Congress and anyone who cares to listen, the annual State of the Union Address.  Last year, as Trump was forced to cancel his planned January address, I wrote my own, thinking that perhaps I would be asked to fill in for him.  I wasn’t, but still, it was a good speech, so I’ve decided to prepare my own again this year.  Some things are the same as last year, some have changed.


Good morning, fellow humans.  This is called the State of the Union address because the purpose is to inform the people of this nation how the country is doing.

Environment

I regret that I must tell you that we have some very serious problems here in the U.S., and if we don’t address them very soon, the ramifications will be tragic.  We produce and use far too much coal and oil, for the fossil fuel industry has our government in a choke-hold that keeps us from doing everything in our power to promote renewable energy sources.  Far too much federal land has been opened to mining, drilling, and logging, and we don’t yet know the full extent of the environmental impact, or the level of destruction of wildlife.  The fossil fuel and logging industries are putting farmland and water supplies at risk.  In addition, we have rolled back so many environmental regulations that we are putting far more CO2 into the atmosphere per capita than any other nation on the planet, including China.  We have made little or no effort to reduce single-use plastics and other garbage that is polluting our land and waterways, not to mention the oceans.  This is the area that is most important of all the topics I will cover here, and yet we are doing the least to address the problems.

Economy

If one looks only at the Dow-Jones or the employment rates, the economy looks pretty fair.  But, there is more to the economy than just the stock market and employment rates.  When you look at such things as affordable housing, income inequality and minimum wage, the picture is far less rosy.  Then, factor in the national debt, which stands today at more than $23 trillion, and the budget deficit hovering around the $1 trillion mark, you can see that in truth the economy has some serious problems.  It may seem great for that upper 1% who are the beneficiaries of keeping wages low, tax cuts, and other benefits, but the majority of people in the U.S. are no better off than they were ten years ago.

Education

The average cost of a four-year degree ranges from $40,000 for in-state tuition at a public college, to $140,000 at a private college.  It is estimated that with rising college costs, that amount will nearly double over the next decade.  Few working-class families can afford that, so students must rely on financial aid.  Young people are leaving college already burdened with a mound of debt that would have purchased a nice home 15-20 years ago.  The result is that fewer and fewer students are attending college, for it is rapidly becoming available only to the wealthy.  This is alarming, for who will be the doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, computer programmers, etc. in the coming decades?

Global image

As I reported last year, we have lost the trust of our allies.  Since WWII, the U.S. has worked hard to be a trusted and valued partner in the global community, to develop alliances for the purposes of trade and security. But in order to maintain those alliances, we must first be a good friend, and we have let that ball drop. We have pulled out of treaties, imposed tariffs, been a poor trading partner, nearly started a war in the Middle East, and been critical of our allies for less than no reason.  At the same time, our leadership has gone out of its way to befriend our adversaries.  Is it any wonder, then, that a recent Pew research poll indicates that 64% of the 32 countries surveyed had very little confidence in the leadership of the U.S.

Domestic strife

The United States is more divided than at any time since the close of the Civil War in 1865.  We are divided along racial lines, religious ones, and more than ever before, along political lines.  The majority of the people do not trust our government, do not believe anything that comes from Washington.  When the people have lost all faith and trust in government, the nation has truly lost its way.  This is not a sustainable situation, but rather one that is likely to lead to serious trouble in the near future.

Guns

Already on this, the fourth day of February and 35th day of the new year, we have seen 28 mass shootings, resulting in 38 deaths and 112 injuries, for a total of 150 victims.  In total, in these first 35 days of the year, there have been a total of 3,618 gun deaths in the U.S. – 1,374 were homicides and the other 2,244 were suicides.  This figure, as much as any, tells the true state of the union.  No meaningful gun legislation was passed into law last year.

Immigration

While the majority of the people in this nation welcome immigrants, understand that immigrants add to the richness of our culture and contribute in countless ways to the well-being of our country, immigrants are being treated terribly.  Just last week, six more nations were added to the travel ban … nations whose people have never and do not now pose any threat whatsoever to the United States.  Funds have been siphoned from other areas to support the building of an unneeded border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border – over $10 billion in total – money wasted.  And children are still living in cages at the southern border, separated from their parents, perhaps forever.

Health care

There are now some 44 million people in the U.S. with no health insurance.  While there has been much talk, many promises, the only actions have been those which caused the cost of health insurance and prescription medication to rise, making it un-affordable for many.

Although I could go on, my time is up.  As you can see, the state of the nation leaves much room for improvement, however I would like to end on a positive note.  One industry in particular has seen positive growth.  Alcohol sales in the U.S. rose by some 5.1% over the past year!  If you’re looking for a place to invest a few dollars, I strongly recommend Jack Daniels or Budweiser!

Admittedly, last year’s ‘Filosofa’s State of the Union’ was better than this years, but consider that I’ve had an entire year of deterioration & detritus has taken place since then, and I think my gloomier outlook is somewhat justified.  I can only wonder what next year’s will bring!

2nd Amendment Run Amok

You’ve most likely heard about the big gun rally planned at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on Monday, but perhaps you don’t know all the who, why, and what-for of it.

Why?

You mean, apart from the fact that a handful of gun nuts care more about their right to own an arsenal than they care about their own children?  Well, pull up a chair, my friends.  After the 2018 elections when both chambers of the Virginia legislature flipped from a republican majority to a democratic one, one of the priorities was to pass some meaningful gun legislation.  Now, it wasn’t as if they were banning assault weapons, or taking away people’s guns.  The proposed legislation has only three parts:

Two things should be noted … First, 80% of the people in this country support gun regulations such as these, and Second, these are only common-sense measures … nothing that requires gun owners to give up their currently-owned guns, nothing that stops people from buying guns … simple, common-sense measures that might actually save a few lives.

But …

A group calling themselves ‘Virginia Citizen’s Defense League’, a misnomer if ever I’ve heard one, has taken umbrage.  And thus, they are planning a rally at the State Capitol that has attracted the riff-raff and gun-toting scum in and outside of the state.  The rally has drawn the attention of militia groups from as far away as Nevada and Oklahoma, including those tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Others vowing to attend include individuals associated with the Light Foot Militia, some of whom were banned from Charlottesville after the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, which ended in the death of a counterprotester. Richard B. Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who is among 24 defendants in a lawsuit over the rally in Charlottesville, also said he might attend.

So far, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has declared a ‘state of emergency’ and banned guns from the capitol building and grounds, and the FBI has arrested three neo-Nazis linked to the ‘Base’, a group that aims to create a white ethnostate.  Chatter picked up on Facebook and in chat rooms by the FBI indicates that various extremist organizations are calling Monday’s rally the “boogaloo.” In the lexicon of white supremacists, that is an event that will accelerate the race war they have anticipated for decades.

These people, folks, do NOT represent the population of the United States.  They are an extreme minority, and yet …

“They are fanning the flames for this event.  They want chaos.”

The three bills will almost certainly pass the legislature, and Governor Northam has already promised to sign them into law, and yet these gun-loving people (and I use the term ‘people’ loosely here) are determined to bring chaos into the capitol.  If I had to guess, I would guess there will be violence and there will be injuries, if not deaths.

Let me quote for you the text, word for word, of that 2nd Amendment they so love …

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Twenty-seven words.  Nowhere does it say that every household should have the right to own a gun.  Nowhere does it say that people have the right to own high-powered, automatic weapons that can mow down hundreds within minutes.  Nowhere does it say that people have a right to keep an arsenal in their garages.  The framers’ language was vague, but their intent was not.  Their intent was not for John Doe to have the right to carry a gun into the grocery store and start shooting, nor for a family in the suburbs to keep a loaded pistol in their home.  People have so broadly interpreted this that any law that has the word “firearm” in it automatically riles the gun-lovers.  If I were given the task of making revisions to update the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment and the electoral college would be on the chopping block.

Now, to add insult to injury, the fool that sits in the Oval Office felt a need to ring in on the subject.  Now, as president, he might have used his office to call for calm, to call for the rally to be canceled, or to urge people to keep the protest peaceful, right?  But noooooo … he tweeted …

“Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!”

This from the so-called “president” of a nation of 330 million people.  Keep your eye on Virginia tomorrow, my friends, because this may well be a harbinger of things to come.

A Rose By Any Other Name …

Edward Gallagher is a war criminal.  It matters not that Donald Trump issued a pardon in November … he is still a war criminal.

gallagherGallagher was found guilty of posing for a grisly trophy photo with the dead captive’s body.  He was initially charged with other war crimes, including charges that he shot at civilians and killed a wounded captive with a knife while serving as a platoon leader in Iraq.  I strongly suspect, based on what has been said by those who served with Gallagher, that he was at least complicit in the other charges that he was not convicted on.  Either way, Eddie Gallagher is a nasty piece of work.

In the videotaped statements of SEAL members, several broke down in tears as they recounted Gallagher’s behavior in Iraq. They told Navy investigators that Gallagher shot civilians without cause, bragged about the number of people he’d killed with his sniper rifle, including women, and went on “gun runs,” which means indiscriminately firing a heavy machine gun into civilian neighborhoods.  They said of their former platoon commander that he “is freaking evil,” “toxic,” and “perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving.”

Some of Gallagher’s former platoon members – who defied an unwritten code of silence within the Navy SEALS to testify against him – even said they thought Gallagher had purposely exposed their unit to enemy fire out of the belief that an increased number of casualties among his men would increase his chances of being awarded a Silver Star.

But, all that did not matter to Donald Trump, an equally nasty piece of work, as he not only chose to pardon Gallagher, but also demanded that his rank be restored.  He issued a direct order to the Navy that Gallagher was not to be demoted.

So, what has Eddie Gallagher been up to since his undeserved pardon?  Well, partying with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, for one. gallagher-mar-a-lagoYes, folks, Trump invited Eddie and his wife to his Florida resort to be wined and dined, and invited Gallagher and the other two war criminals he pardoned to join him on the campaign trail this year!  But wait … there’s more.

Eddie Gallagher has started his own line of clothing, called “Salty Frog Gear”.  He is also endorsing products of other clothiers that include t-shirts with the words “KILL BAD DUDES,” and websites that features t-shirts reading “Waterboarding Instructor,” which suggests that he’s perhaps a bit too comfortable with acts that fall into the category of war crimes.  He is, in other words, capitalizing on his war crime and ignoble presidential pardon.

I find it strange that Donald Trump, when he initially announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, made a comment whereby he referred to immigrants from Mexico as “bad hombres”.  In my book, this Gallagher person is the ‘bad hombre’.  He has shown no remorse or introspection about the accusations against him.  He’s referred to the SEALs as “mean girls” and has consistently attacked them on social media.  He has also appeared on Fox News, though he has banned the New York Times from his Instagram page and refused to speak with NYT journalists, saying he only gives interviews to “legitimate media” … like FOX???

Eddie Gallagher calls himself a “patriot”.  Donald Trump praises Eddie Gallagher, calling him “one of the ultimate fighters”.  Perhaps I would have a bit more respect for Trump’s opinion if he had actually served in the military, rather than having his daddy buy his way out.  Trump’s pardon of Gallagher and two other war criminals in November is a slap in the face to the honourable men and women who put their life on the line every day for this nation.  Michael A. Cohen, writing for The Boston Globe, sums it up best …

“Having a president who appears to take no issue and even encourages the committing of war crimes certainly doesn’t help – and I fear for the impact on the US military, and good order within its ranks, when the president is so brazenly endorsing acts that violate the training that members of the military receive. I fear even more for the SEALS who bravely spoke out against Gallagher – and for future whistleblowers who will now have little motivation to come forward.

But worst of all, with the benefit of Trump’s support, Gallagher has become another weapon in America’s toxic culture wars – and I suspect that much of the support for him from conservatives is a result of the fact that liberals are so outraged by his actions and the president’s intervention on his behalf. Gallagher has become a heroic figure for far too many. It is yet one more example of how tribalism is overwhelming our national character and the extent to which America has become an increasingly divided and broken nation.”

♫ Eve of Destruction – Over and Over and Over Again My Friend ♫

Just like John Lennon’s Imagine that I played for the umpteenth time earlier this week, this song is timeless.  It was appropriate when it was first released in 1965, and it is apropos of the situation over the past two days.  This was the only song I could think of to play tonight.  Sigh.


Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

What’s New? Just Another Mass Shooting

Friends and family members were gathered in the backyard to spend time together, share a meal, and watch a football game last night in a neighborhood in Fresno, California.  Today, four of those people are dead and at least six others in the hospital in critical condition.  Why?  How?

Guns.

Not much is known yet, but police surmise there were multiple suspects who sneaked into the backyard and opened fire.  Police are hoping to gain information from neighbor’s security cameras.  No victims’ names have been released as yet, and few details have been reported at this time.  Naturally, the usual and increasingly meaningless thoughts and prayers have been sent.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed her outrage that gun legislation the House passed more than 260 days ago is being held up in the Senate …

“Enough is enough. The daily tragedy of gun violence continues to inflict terror and violence into communities across the country. Americans deserve real action to keep them safe, but Republicans continue to obstruct meaningful, bipartisan solutions to protect our children and communities. No one’s political survival is more important than the survival of our children.”

In my last post about a mass shooting, two short days ago, our friend Scottie provided the following information that I think is relevant here …

“The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey finds that 89 percent of Americans favor expanded background checks for gun purchasers; 76 percent support “red flag” laws to identify dangerous persons and deny them guns, and 75 percent favor a voluntary buyback program in which the government would purchase firearms from current owners. Sixty-two percent of Americans favor a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons.”

89% … that figure includes a lot of gun owners.  Only 11% of the people in this country are against gun regulations.  It becomes obvious at this point that our elected representatives, particularly those of the republican party, do not represent the people of this country!!!  How the hell many more people have to die before these jackasses get voted out of office???

Guns.

Only in the United States of America are guns more sacred than human life.

♫ Eve of Destruction – Still Apropos ♫

I had a really nice song … a happy song … ready for tonight, but the events of the day sent me plummeting into a deep, dark place, and this song seemed more appropriate tonight.  I know that I have played it a few times before, and … unless I miss my guess … I will play it a few times in the future.  It is a song that, unfortunately, never seems to become irrelevant.


Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management