No, Folks, This Is NOT Normal …

Yesterday morning we awoke to news of another mass shooting, this one at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, that left 13 dead, including the gunman.  The first headline I saw claimed it was the “First mass shooting in the U.S. in over 10 days”, as if that were a statistic in which we ought to take pride.  First, a mass shooting every eleven days would be nothing to be proud of even if true, but the reality is that it was not the first, but rather the eleventh mass shooting since the shooting at L’Simcha (Tree of Life) synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 27th.  Eleventh.  Think about this one for a moment.  Did you realize there had been, on average, one mass shooting per day for the past ten?  Why did we not know?  How could we have missed it?mass shootings map-2According to statistics from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 307 mass shootings in the 312 days of 2018.  It has become a common occurrence in our lives and we are, apparently, no longer shocked.  Five people shot, nobody died … oh well, just another day in paradise, eh?

The words of one parent whose son, Telemachus Orfanos, lost his life yesterday morning tell it all …

“I don’t want prayers.  I don’t want thoughts.  I want gun control.”

Telemachus had survived the Las Vegas massacre last year, only to lose his life in this one.

Gabrielle Giffords, the former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona who was shot in 2011, tweeted …

“307. There have been 307 mass shootings so far this year. Do we really want to raise our children in a country where mass shootings like Thousand Oaks are a weekly occurrence? A country where every single day in America, more than 90 people are killed with guns?  Classrooms. Places of worship. Newsrooms. Movie theaters. Restaurants. Yoga studios. Nightclubs. Playgrounds. No place in America feels safe anymore. No other high-income nation has this level of gun violence. I’m heartbroken, angry, and never going to accept this as normal.”

None of us should ever be willing to accept this as normal … it isn’t.  I’ve quoted statistics in past posts, so I won’t bore you with them again, except to say that every other nation in the industrialized world has stricter gun laws than the U.S., and not a single one has the number of gun deaths … not even close … that the U.S. sees every single year.  Every.  Single.  Year.

Tree of Life synagogue, Parkland, Las Vegas, Pulse nightclub, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook … how many more?  How many more people in this country have to die before somebody wakes up and says ENOUGH!!!  Small men who rely on guns to make them feel like big men need to find some other outlet for their anger!  We The People are tired of the killing.  The NRA owns most every republican in Congress, as well as the small man sitting in the Oval Office.

Please … don’t sit back and shrug this one off, don’t accept that gun violence in the United States has to be ‘the norm’.  It doesn’t have to be.  Write letters, make your voice heard, or one of these days it might be you who gets that call in the middle of the night.gun-pointing

♪ Snippets, Snippets, I Got Snippets ♪ …

I came across a few tidbits, or snippets yesterday that I thought were deserving of a mention.  So, I am mentioning them.  The first involves one of my favourite people to snark about, former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio!  Yep, folks ol’ Sheriff Joe is back in the news! He is reminiscent of that bad penny that just keeps turning up everywhere.  Or the paperclip that keeps turning up under my daughter’s desk and the vacuum finds it every bloomin’ time!


A Case of Hypocrisy?Arpaio-2You may remember that just a year ago, Sheriff Joe was convicted of Contempt of Court.  He never served a single hour of jail time, and then the month after his conviction, Donald Trump pardoned him.  Now, you might think, having dodged the bullet, so to speak, that ol’ Sheriff Joe would be thankful, cut his losses and slither silently back under the rock from whence he came, right?  Wrong.  Sheriff Joe is now running for the United States Senate, hoping to fill the seat that is being vacated by Jeff Flake.  But that isn’t what put him on Filosofa’s radar.  It was yesterday’s tweet that did it this time:arpaio tweetFirst, isn’t it ironic that the man who committed the crime and didn’t do so much as an hour’s time, can baldly make such a statement?  And second … those ‘tent cities’ were partly what got him in trouble in the first place, as he abused and mistreated his prisoners.  The good people of Arizona need to make damn sure that Mr. Arpaio does not win the election in November!


Sue!!!  Sue, sue, sue!!!

Okay, folks.  Donald Trump has been involved in nearly 6,000 lawsuits in his life, which equates to approximately 120 per year if he started suing and being sued at birth.  I’ve been involved in exactly one lawsuit in my entire life.  Anyway, apparently it is a trend, one of those things that … if something isn’t going quite the way you expected or wanted it to, why then … just sue somebody.  Things still won’t be going the way you expected or wished, but hey … at least you’ll have a bunch of money, right?

You all remember the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas last October?  The gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the window of a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegas strip.  At the end of his shooting spree, 58 were left dead and 851 injured inside of a 15-minute period.  Stephen Paddock had not just one, but several semi-automatic weapons with bump stocks that allowed him to shoot at a rate similar to a fully automatic weapon.  But guns are not my point today.

MGM Resorts International, the hotel conglomerate that owns the Mandalay Bay, is suing more than 1,000 victims of the aforementioned massacre.  Stop just a minute now, and think about this.  The hotel where the gunman was a ‘guest’, and from where he perpetrated his heinous crime, is suing the dead and injured parties.  Huh?  Say what?  Why, you ask?

Because … some of the victims have filed a suit against MGM Resorts, a security firm hired to manage the festival, and other companies, alleging negligence.  A group of 450 victims filed the suit … that’s a bit less than the 1,000+ victims that MGM is suing, but they want to head any future lawsuits off at the pass, as well as putting the current ones to bed.

MGM is not seeking monetary damages from the victims, but is hoping a federal judge will dismiss any current or future lawsuits brought by victims against the company.  For the record, I think both lawsuits are wrong.  The guilty party was Mr. Paddock and he is dead.  The Mandalay Bay Hotel had no way to know what his intent was when he rented the room, so I see no reason for a lawsuit against MGM.  If I were among the victims and wanted to sue anybody, it would be the NRA for blocking all legislation that could have prevented this tragedy. Neither, however, do I see a reason for MGM to sue the victims … all of them.  It seems like pouring salt in the wound.  Frivolous lawsuits seem to be the trend of the day.  Not happy?  Fine, sue someone … you still won’t be happy, but you’ll have money.


The Blame Game Redux …

Donald Trump has attempted to blame nearly everyone for almost everything.  His favourite targets, though, have consistently remained Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  It has become obvious to those of us who are not mesmerized by Trump’s pathological lies that he is guilty as hell in conspiring with Putin & Co to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.  While Trump is not, in this writer’s opinion, particularly intelligent, even he is surely able to see that the people of this country are no longer buying his tall tales.  So, of course, he has to find somebody to blame.  Eenie meenie miney mo … who shall it be this time?  President Obama drew the short straw on Monday!  SURPRISE!!!  Not.

Trump accused President Obama of rigging the ongoing Russia investigation against him and instructing FBI agent Peter Strzok to carry out the task. He pulled this theory from the dark recesses of either his mind or his posterior during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday night, after having made a mockery of the nation he is purported to represent, in Helsinki.  Best guess?  He needed to distract attention from his own disastrous behaviour.  His theory doesn’t even deserve more than these two paragraphs.


Paint the Plane???  WHY???A-F-1This is a picture of the plane the president and his entourage fly on, known as Air Force One.   You may remember that Trump has ordered two replacement jets from Boeing at a cost to us of $3.9 billion.  Okay, the old ones are … old … 28 years old, so I get needing new ones.  While the cost sounds exorbitant to me, I am no expert, and frankly the cost of a new pair of shoes sounds exorbitant to me.  I am cheap.

But look at the picture again.  Not a bad looking plane, eh?  But it is too tame for Donald Trump.  When he was in Scotland, killing time until he could meet with Putin in Helsinki, Trump did an interview with Jeff Glor of CBS News.

“I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors?’ And we’re not. You know what colors we’re using? Take a guess. Red, white and blue.”

The colour change isn’t likely, I suppose, to add to the cost, but knowing Trump, it will be garish and ugly, for he seems to like garish and ugly.  I imagine he has to change the colours because the current schema was good enough for President Obama.  But here’s the real kicker … the new version is scheduled to be completed by 2024, but Trump has pushed for that date to be pushed up to 2021 so that he might have a chance to ride it.  HAH!!!  If he’s still around in 2021, I will eat my socks!!!


wash-windowsAnd that concludes today’s roundup of snippets.  My street is being paved today, and the noise is driving me nuts, so I think I will wash windows or something productive to take my mind off the noise.  Have a great evening, folks!

 

The Price We Pay For Free Speech …

In the immediate aftermath of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, many, including White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told the nation that it would be disrespectful to open the conversation on gun regulation.  Most of us with any sense disagreed, and knew the motive for these statements, saw it for what it was, and we are actively calling for this to finally be the wake-up call this nation needs to realize that it is past time to make some changes.  But apparently there is no call for the conspiracy theorists to show respect, to wait a decent amount of time to spew their lies.  Take, for example, televangelist Pat Robertson (Idiot of the Week 07/29/2016)

Mr. Robertson has decided, presumably via some telekinetic message, that it is We The People, not gunman Stephen Paddock, who is to blame for the deaths of 59 people and the injuries of some 500+ others.  How can that be, you ask?  I was finishing up an email, some 1,959.8 miles from Las Vegas.  Most of you were probably asleep in your beds.  No matter … it was, according to the sighted Mr. Robertson, our fault.  Because … wait for it … we do not like Donald Trump!

robertson

Pat Robertson

“Why is it happening? . . . The fact that we have disrespect for authority. There is profound disrespect of our president. All across this nation, they say terrible things about him. It’s in the news. It’s in other places. There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system. All the way up and down the line: disrespect. … Until there is Biblical authority, there has to be some controlling authority in our society and there is none. … When there is no vision of God, the people run amok. We have taken from the American people the vision of God.”

And there you have it, folks … it is our fault for saying ‘terrible things’ about Trump!  This means yours truly must also share in the blame, for I have said my share of ‘terrible (though true) things’ about that person, haven’t I?  I suppose I better get out of my jammies now, for they will be coming to arrest me at any time, and I would hate to be taken to jail in my Eeyore jammies!

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Wayne Allen Root

Robertson, of course, is not alone in his stupidity.  One who is joining him is columnist Wayne Allen Root (Idiot of the Week 05/31/2017) who quickly jumped to the conclusion … “This is real thing. Clearly coordinated Muslim terror attack. PRAY for our Vegas police. PRAY for victims. VERY bad. Awful.”  Even later, after it was widely reported that there is absolutely zero evidence of any connection to Islamic terrorism, Root did not back down, arguing that … “liberals assuming not Islamic terror attack in Vegas. No one knows motivation of killer or ‘Asian companion.’ On day of lone wolf terror.” And as recently as this morning, he tweeted, “Just like before 9/11. planned it…made a fortune on it. Killer no lone wolf. This was planned terror attack.”

And then there is YouTube whose ‘algorithm’ is more inclined to lead searchers to conspiracy theory videos of the shooting than to legitimate videos.  When questioned why such videos were promoted, YouTube simply stated that it did not violate their standards.  The videos number in the hundreds and include some that claim the shooting was a hoax perpetrated by a) the government, b) democrats, c) gun regulation supporters.  The videos are offensive to us all, but especially to the families of victims of the tragedy.  Yet they do not ‘violate the standards’?  In that case, there apparently are no standards.

jones-header

Alex Jones

And of course America’s favourite conspiracy theorist, the inventor of Pizzagate, Alex Jones had to weigh in, as we knew he would.  “The whole thing has the hallmarks of being scripted by Deep-State Democrats and their Islamic allies using mental-patient cutouts.”  He attempted to tie the tragedy to the 100-year anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution and also to the release from prison of O.J. Simpson the previous day.

Make no mistake … one person, Stephen Paddock, was responsible for the shootings in Las Vegas last Sunday night.  ONE PERSON.

The disturbing thing, as I have said many times before, is not that these fools spout their garbage, but that people actually buy into it, turning a tragedy into a feeding frenzy of idiocy.  For instance, one of the more ludicrous YouTube videos purporting that the shooting was a hoax staged by the government, received more than 250,000 views within the first 24 hours.  A quarter of a million people had nothing better to do than watch a doctored video clip of lies. Who are these people?  Do they not have jobs to go to, families to spend time with, friends and lives to live?  It makes a sad statement about humanity that so many are so bored with their lives.

And, of course, there is always the danger that somebody who is living in this fantasy world will feel obligated to take matters into their own hands, just as Edgar Maddison Welch did last December when he went on a shooting spree in Washington’s Comet Ping Pong pizzeria.

We cannot shut down the voices of conspiracy, for to do so would put us on the slippery slope toward losing our right to freedom of speech.  However, we must find ways to educate, to enlighten, so that people will seek real answers rather than accepting the most wildly concocted story.  And we must hold accountable those who perpetuate the theories for the end result of their words.  Aforementioned Edgar Welch received his sentence in June:  48 months in prison, an additional 36 months’ probation, and restitution of $5,744.33.  This is right and just, though mandatory psychiatric counseling should have, in my opinion, been added.  But what of Alex Jones, whose rhetoric inspired the delusional Mr. Welch?  Should not he, also, be held accountable?  Until there are consequences for the acts they inspire, people like Alex Jones, Pat Robertson and Wayne Root will continue raking in mass amounts of money and planting seeds of evil in the minds of the public.

 

When Is The Right Time To Discuss Gun Control? The Answer Is Anytime You Can

The NRA and its ‘bought-and-paid-for’ politicians, including leaders of both chambers of Congress, as well as the ‘man’ in the White House, have been busily telling us that it is a sacrilege, that it is profane, for us to discuss the need for stronger gun legislation at this time. They are dead wrong. Two blogger-friends have expounded on the need to have this discussion NOW, and I am re-blogging both, for they are both excellent pieces. Please, whether you agree or disagree that we have a gun-addiction problem in this country, take the time to read and ponder Keith and Gronda’s words, both of whom I agree with wholeheartedly. Thank you, Keith and Gronda, for your work, and permission to share.

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of bump stocks that turn guns into machine guns

We have already heard ad nauseam the republicans’ talking point, that right now, so soon after the 10/1/17 Las Vegas Mass shooting tragedy, it is too soon to be discussing issues pertaining to gun control.

“We the people” who are part of the resistance, beg to disagree. We are certain that all those who are grieving because of loved ones suffering harm, would want us who are supportive of sensible gun control measures, tackling this issue head-on with no delay. They would want to save others from experiencing their pain.

Image result for photos of bump stocks that turn guns into machine guns

For example, I see no reason for “bump-stock” devices being an item that is legal to sell, especially when its sole purpose is to turn a rifle into a machine guns. Machine guns have been  illegal to purchase, if made after May 1986.

In Nevada, it is legal for a resident to own a machine gun. Under federal law…

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When is the right time?

The NRA and its ‘bought-and-paid-for’ politicians, including leaders of both chambers of Congress, as well as the ‘man’ in the White House, have been busily telling us that it is a sacrilege, that it is profane, for us to discuss the need for stronger gun legislation at this time. They are dead wrong. Two blogger-friends have expounded on the need to have this discussion NOW, and I am re-blogging both, for they are both excellent pieces. Please, whether you agree or disagree that we have a gun-addiction problem in this country, take the time to read and ponder Keith and Gronda’s words, both of whom I agree with wholeheartedly. Thank you, Keith and Gronda, for your work, and permission to share.

musingsofanoldfart

We should mourn the loss of innocent American lives at the hands of one shooter. We should offer our prayers, thoughts and support to the victims, injured, caregivers and their families and friends. And, we should demand from our lawmakers to act like parents and grandparents and to stiffen our gun governance.

NRA funded politicians, who unfortunately include the leaders of the two chambers of Congress and the White House, say now is not the time to discuss gun control. When is the time? The NRA is likely horse whispering in their ears to stiff arm the gun control proponents until the crisis abates. Then, lip service will be given to the subject as it is defeated once again, given the NRA’s ability to highly mobilize its confederation of zealous followers, even though they are small in number.

Speaker Paul Ryan has noted that it is more than a gun…

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