Awakening To Tragedy … Again

Courtesy of Dan Rather …


Morning headlines of mourning.

A night of violence and loss.

A dawn that brings no comfort.

Our national map of tragedy has a new place in which we stick a pin of pain.

We see once more what happens when instruments of mass death are untethered from any semblance of logical restrictions.

As always, there are new names to learn of people who will never hear their names again.

All that life snuffed out in an instant.

The press will publish old pictures of smiling faces eulogized.

Motives? As if any will be justified or bring peace to the families now torn apart in bloodshed.

We repeat and repeat and repeat these tragedies, as if we are powerless to address them.

But there are answers and ideas that go unheeded.

Our politics don’t allow progress.

Mass shootings are part of our American identity.

Meanwhile, a lesser volume of death simmers unremarkably below the surface.

Lives cut short in tallies of one or two; often the victims know the killers.

And often the violence is self-inflicted, a permanent end to mental anguish.

Once again, we await more information.

There will be press conferences, maybe an arrest and even a trial.

We also know that there will be another such story that will crest upon the headlines.

Only to disappear except for those who have no choice but to live its consequences daily.

Again, and again, and again.

AGAIN, DAMMIT!!!!!!!!! 💔💔💔

Yes, my friends, it has happened again.  Another mass shooting in the United States.  Last week, it was 8 killed in Atlanta, Georgia, and this week it’s 10 killed in Boulder, Colorado.

Boulder-shootingI don’t want to hear “thoughts and prayers” from anybody.  Keep the damn thoughts and prayers … they won’t bring back the dead, and they won’t stop the next one, probably later this week or next week.  ACTION is what’s needed.  Action on the part of our inert Congress to pass emergency legislation banning any further gun sales, effective immediately.  Action to shut down the National Rifle Association, aka NRA.  Action to ban assault weapons and to require rigorous background checks on every single damn gun sold, no matter who the seller.  Action to begin removing guns from the homes of the mentally unstable, the domestic abusers.

The shooting, for any who may be unaware, took place yesterday afternoon in a grocery store.  Police are, apparently, still trying to figure out the motive.  The shooter, last I heard, was injured in the leg and was “being treated for his injuries”.  WHY is he being ‘treated’ for anything … throw the son-of-a-bitch in a jail cell and let him writhe in pain … or die … doesn’t much matter which to me at the moment.

Boulder-shooterWhile he is being treated for his injuries, let me note here that if he had been Black, he would be dead now … there were SWAT teams at the store within minutes of the shooting and they would no doubt have killed the shooter if his skin had been darker.  Instead, he is gingerly put on a stretcher, placed in an ambulance, and taken to a local hospital.

Welcome to America, land of opportunity.  Opportunity to get killed while picking up a gallon of milk on your way home from work.  Opportunity to get killed while working in a spa, or a grocery store, a bank, or a news station.  Opportunity to make less money in 2021 than you made in 2009.  Opportunity to graduate from college with so much debt that you will be nearing retirement age before you pay it off.

When are people going to wake up and realize that we have a critical gun problem in this nation?  Perhaps when their own child or grandchild is killed while at school?  I have written before about people who, when confronted with a choice between their children and their guns, chose their guns.  This is not human, people!

And guess what, folks?  Just 3 days before the shooting, as a result of a lawsuit filed against the city of Boulder, Colorado by none other than the NRA, Boulder’s ban on assault-style weapons such as the AR-15, was deemed to be unenforceable.  Guess what the shooter used?  Yep, an AR-15.  It’s only a damn shame that NRA head Wayne LaPierre wasn’t doing a bit of shopping in that grocery store yesterday, or having a massage at a spa in Atlanta last week!

Funny, there is a certain element in this nation who believe that mass voter fraud is the most important issue to deal with, that restrictions must be placed on voting such that Blacks, Hispanics, women, and the poor will find it almost impossible to vote.  This, despite the fact that it was overwhelmingly proven last year that there was no mass voter fraud.  However, those same people are all about making it easier to buy a damn gun.  Something is seriously screwed up in this nation, so much so that I seriously doubt we can continue as a democratic republic.  Our headlines read much more like a third-world country, with people being shot at random in a grocery store, and our politicians appear to favour a plutocracy – a government by and for the wealthy.

I will likely be suspended from Twitter again by morning, as I responded hastily and in a fury to a post by none other than the consummate gun looney, Lauren Boebert, who posted she was sending those damn useless “thoughts and prayers”, when she is part of the problem with her arsenal pictured behind her during a congressional Zoom meeting.  I let her know my feelings in no uncertain terms … just waiting for an email from Twitter to slap me on the wrist … again.

People … this has to STOP!  This nation is eating its young, so to speak.  We are killing for no good reason.  We are a nation peopled with bigots … gun-owning bigots … and our Congress is in such a stalemate that no legislation is likely to be passed this year or next, no matter how urgent, how sensible.

We the People voted for the fools who are currently playing games with our lives.  Yesterday, ten people lost their lives, one a police officer, because this is a nation that cares more about their “right” to own a gun than they care about this country and the lives of the people who live here.  Let’s all do some serious thinking and study the issues, and before next year’s election, let’s make some wiser choices.  Let’s vote for people who do NOT have an A+ rating with the NRA!  Our lives depend on it!  Instead of sending useless ‘thoughts and prayers’, let’s send some people with brains and consciences to Congress!

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?


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???


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

A Tribute to the Victims …

Wednesday’s tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has left a dark cloud over this nation.  While I will have more to say about how avoidable this could have been, and how sad that we, as a nation, place the value of our steel toys above the lives of our children, for today I find it more appropriate to honour the victims.  I cannot possibly do any better job than ThinkProgress has done with their tribute that includes pictures of 14 of the 17 victims, as well as a brief bio and some comments from friends.  And so with that, I ask you to please click the link below to learn a little bit about each victim in order to make this senseless tragedy a bit more personal, a bit more real.  And please keep the community and the families of these victims, many of them children, in your hearts and thoughts.

The Victims of the Parkland Shooting

Parkland 2

Nothing to Fear But … White Males???

Yesterday morning, I, along with most of the nation, awakened to the terrible news of the worst shooting spree ever to happen in our nation, with 50 people killed and 53 others injured.  I knew immediately what the reactions of the vociferous few would be, and I was not to be disappointed.  I intentionally did not post about this last night or this morning, as I needed some time and distance before I could do so. However, my tongue cannot stand being bitten any longer, so this is the first of two posts addressing various aspects of this horrific event.

First, it was inevitable that those who support nearly unlimited rights to gun ownership and use would immediately use this tragedy as propaganda to make their case for less restrictive gun laws and the myth that ‘everyone would be safer if more people carried concealed weapons’.  Second, also inevitable, those who already mistrust and hate Muslims renewed their insistence that Islam is the problem, Muslims should be banned, blah, blah, blah. I suppose those who prefer an easy, immediate answer to the question “WHY?” must seek to blame, must look at the nearest target at which to point their finger.  But in reality, there are no easy or immediate answers.

The whole issue of guns, 2nd Amendment rights, gun regulation/control, is my second least-favourite topic about which to write (religion is my least favourite).  It generally sets in motion more negativity than I need.  That said, I am also rarely, if ever, one to shy away from controversy.

Donald Trump, on hearing of the horrific tragedy in Orlando this weekend (which I will cover in a later post, but today it is still too soon), saw yet another opportunity to propagandize a tragedy in order to promote his Islamophobia and renew his call to ban Muslims from entering the country.  He also insists that if he becomes president he will establish a database of all Muslims in order to closely monitor them.  I cry FOUL!  Apart from the whole ‘freedom of religion’ issue, let us look at some facts. I dug into the statistics, and based on what I found, the group that we really need to ban from this country, if in fact that is the answer, is white males!  Fully 61% of all mass shootings in the U.S. between 1982 – 2015 were committed by white people, mostly males. Only two mass shooters during that time frame were women, one Hispanic and one white.

In the chart below, the statistics show the number of mass shootings in the United States between 1982 and 2015, by race and ethnicity of the shooter(s). Between 1982 and 2015, 44 out of 72 mass shootings were initiated by white shooters.

Mass shootings in U.S. between 1982-2015 by shooters race & ethnicity*:

Race # of perpetrators Pct (%)
White 44 61%
Black 11 15%
Asian 6 8%
Hispanic 4 6%
Native American 3 4%
Other 4 6%

Now seriously, who, if anybody, should be banned or ‘monitored’ via database?  Who are you most likely to trust?  I live in a neighborhood that is about 40% African-American, 25% Middle-Eastern (Muslim), 15% Hispanic, and 20% Caucasian (white).  In the nearly 20 years I have lived here, the only people I have ever had problems with were white, Caucasians.  They are the reason I keep my doors locked.  Think about that for a minute!

While I am on the topic, let us look at the number of people killed each year by terrorism as opposed to those killed by senseless gun violence other than terrorism (see chart below).  So would somebody please explain how the politicians are able to stir such a fear of terrorism in the nation whose citizens have only lost 311 people to terrorism (excluding 9/11), as opposed to 130,347 lives lost due to senseless gun violence?  I am more afraid of the bimbo in the grocery store with a gun in her purse, or the ‘macho-man’ swaggering through a parking lot with a gun barely concealed under his jacket than I am any person of Middle-Eastern heritage!

U.S. Deaths from gun violence and terrorism compared*:

Year Gun deaths Deaths from terrorism
2001 ** 11,348 2,689
2002 11,829 25
2003 11,920 35
2004 11,624 74
2005 12,352 56
2006 12,791 28
2007 12,632 19
2008 12,179 33
2009 11,493 9
2010 11,078 15
2011 11,101 17

Now there is just one more thing I want to address here, and that is the tired old saying that right-wingers and gun advocates throw out when other words fail them: “well, the criminals will get guns anyway, so why bother with stricter gun regulations?”  Let us think about this one for a few moments.  Yes, there is some truth to the fact that a determined criminal who has his mind set on shooting someone will likely find a way to obtain a gun.  Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, certainly would have had no trouble obtaining his weapons. HOWEVER, … why should that stop us from making rational and enforceable laws?  A person who drives drunk will do so if he feels so inclined, so does that mean we should not have laws against DUI?  A speeder will likely do 85 mph down the highway, but does that mean we should just throw our hands up and say, “oh well, no point in making laws against it, as they will only do it anyway.”  Sorry folks, but that is about the absolute stupidest argument I have ever heard.  And for you gun lovers out there … I am not talking about laws to strip you of your guns, but I am talking about stricter regulations to ensure that people are fully vetted and pass a test to prove that they can safely handle a gun, perhaps even a class to teach them about keeping guns out of the hands of children.  Those are not a threat to your ‘rights’, those are common sense!  Get over yourselves and remember that you are not the only person who counts in this world.

Check out this post by Erik Hare of Barataria for a thoughtful, insightful perspective that I think you will enjoy.   Constant Outrage

Okay, enough ranting from me for today.  My fingertips are sore from pounding the keys!  My main point in this whole rant is that we simply must stop blaming all Muslims every time one of them performs an act of terrorism.  There is no more justification for that line of thinking than there is of blaming the entire Caucasian race every time a white person such as Dylan Roof goes on a spree.  Blame the perpetrator of the crime, not his whole race, not his entire religion.  Don’t let the politicians like Trump scare you with ‘monsters in the closet’.  The U.S. has been fortunate that other than 9/11, we really have not been victims of wide-scale terrorist attacks.  Those we have seen have been mostly domestic, lone-wolf terrorism, episodes by self-radicalized individuals.  Stop and put things in perspective.  Think before opening your mouth.  Look at facts, not meaningless rhetoric.  We do not need a wall; we do not need to ban people based on their religion.  We need to monitor ourselves and use a bit of common sense. Think about it.

*  All data obtained from Statista

** Includes deaths on 11 September 2001 in New York, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pa.