You May Have Missed This One …

Did you all know there was another mass shooting in the U.S. on Saturday morning?  It happened in Lancaster, South Carolina at a sports bar – 2 people were killed, and 8 others injured.  There was no “breaking news” update on my phone, I saw nothing in the usual places about it, and even once I saw brief mention of it on the Associated Press (AP) website and went in search of further information, I found the story only in the back pages of the New York Times and Time magazine.  Nowhere else.  Why?

Is it because only two people were killed?  Because it took place in a bar?  Because it was South Carolina?  Or because we are becoming so inured to the news of mass shootings that this wasn’t really considered by the editors to be ‘big news’?  Or … more ominous still, was it suppressed intentionally?  I don’t know the answer, and I’m not trying to put forth some conspiracy theory, but folks … 10 people were shot!  Why was this not ‘breaking news’???

A clue to why this wasn’t national news may lie with the statement by Lancaster Country Sheriff Barry Faile …

“This was a violent incident of huge magnitude that was witnessed by lots of people.  We don’t think this was a situation where a random person armed himself and went into a randomly selected location and shot a bunch of unknown people.”

Apparently, the sheriff believes that the shooting was the result of a local conflict.  While he declined to discuss the nature of the dispute, he said that one of those killed had been involved in the conflict, which had been going on for a couple of months.  He also said that neither the victim involved in the dispute nor the person officials were seeking as the gunman were legally allowed to have guns, both having been previously convicted on firearms charges.

So, because it was rather a Hatfield vs McCoys situation in the rural south, it’s not newsworthy?  It’s still a mass shooting with people dead and injured because … because … well, guns. I guess that since it wasn’t widely reported, the NRA and our elected lawmakers didn’t feel they needed to bother to even send their ‘thoughts and prayers’ … it’s the weekend, after all … they obviously have more important things to do, like playing golf or watching sports on television than to be bothered that people are losing their lives.

This summer, we heard about El Paso, Dayton, and Odessa … they were big news, for a few days anyway.  But did you realize that between Memorial Day in May, and Labour Day in September, there were 26 mass shootings in 18 states, leaving 126 people dead?  More than half of the mass killing suspects this summer had a family or romantic tie to at least one victim. Among them: A teenager in Alabama accused of killing five relatives, a father in Iowa who killed his wife and two school-aged sons, a man in Oklahoma charged with killing his wife and stepchildren.

A variety of scenarios and motives.  The common denominator?  A gun.  Time and time and time again we hear the tired old NRA motto that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.  True, but people use guns to kill people.  Sure, people also use knives and fists to kill people, but a gun does it so much quicker and more efficiently.  You stand a good chance of outrunning or outmaneuvering a man with a knife, but you cannot outrun a gun.  Make no mistake … contrary to what those gun lovers will tell you, a gun has one purpose and only one purpose:  to kill.

While several of the summer’s 26 mass shootings dominated national headlines, others — like a triple homicide in rural Pennsylvania — received little attention beyond where they happened.  WHY???  Is this nation becoming so numb to the daily toll of gun violence that it is no longer considered newsworthy unless it happens in the public eye? Or is it possible that the ‘free press’ is not as free as we believe?

With each mass shooting that did receive national media attention, the public outcry grew louder and louder.  When Ohio’s governor spoke at a vigil in August, Dayton residents drowned him out with shouts of “Do something!”  Imagine if every mass shooting had been headline news … how loud might the public be screaming for gun laws today?  Instead, most are swept under the carpet …

Think about it.

Skewed Priorities …

Today, as more than a thousand people are injured and at least 52 dead in the Gaza Strip due to the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, and the violence continues, the following was the only “Breaking News” update to cross my screen this afternoon:

“Breaking News: Melania Trump, the first lady, had a surgical procedure for a kidney condition. It was successful, and she will stay in the hospital to rest.”

I received this notification from three separate media entities, but not a single one about the violence in the Middle East.  Yep, folks, our priorities are seriously skewed.

HOW Could I Have Been So Wrong???

duhYesterday I was going back through some of my posts from the end of 2015, the beginning of the disastrous 2016 election campaign, as I was looking for something specific.  During my search, I came across a post from 27 October 2015 and I decided to repost it this morning, as it should be good for a few laughs and a whole lot of head shaking.   Most of you began reading my blog after this post was published, so for most it will be new material, and you will ask, “How could you have been so wrong, Filosofa???”  Trust me, I am asking myself the same question. The original title of the post was …

Trump Supporters? Where???

The Donald Trump that some 20% of republicans seem to love is loud, obnoxious and bombastic, which leaves me scratching my head and wondering just what that says about those who claim to support him.  But the bigger question I have is this:  where the heck ARE those 20%???  I have among my friends, relatives and acquaintances many republicans, and not a single one of them can even tolerate Trump, let alone support him.  To a person they agree with my assessment of him as a clown, a joke, a narcissist, take your pick.  In addition, I am an avid reader of op-ed pages in many of the major, mainstream news media, and have yet to read a single opinion by political analysts, editors, writers or voters that support Trump or his inane ideas.  So, I repeat the question, who are these people who have elevated his poll numbers and where are they hiding?

Until now, I have left Trump alone and not written about him except in response to an op-ed in the New York Times, for a number of reasons.  The main reason is that I do not think he or his candidacy is actually worth wasting my time or effort.  The second reason is that the man is so wrong on so many issues that it would be impossible to discuss them all in a single post.  Third, everything there is to be said about Trump has already been said by people far more qualified than I.  Lastly, I get a nauseous feeling every time I hear his name or see his picture.  But alas, I decided to join in the fray for two reasons, the first being that I think there is danger in allowing his rhetoric to go unchecked.  The second is that I heard him say that he “just doesn’t get it” that Ben Carson has edged above him in the polls.  What is there to “not get”?  Though I do not consider Dr. Carson to be a viable option to govern this nation, I will at least give him credit for intelligence (although not when it comes to politics, government and foreign policy), being soft-spoken (very refreshing after Trump’s in-your-face ranting persona) and for not lowering himself to the petty criticisms and attacks on his opponents for which Trump is so well-known.

Trump, in crowing proudly about his poll numbers has forgotten a couple of salient points.  First, the election is more than a year away, and early polls are rarely an accurate predictor of the eventual outcome.  Second, neither he nor Dr. Carson nor any other republican candidate have anything remotely close to a majority.  Third, the Republican Party is only one of the two major parties in the nation and there are some 42% of eligible voters who are not committed to either party.  There are two strong contenders in the democratic field, both of whom have distinct advantages over both Trump and Carson.  First, they both have experience in policy-making and governance, and secondly, while the republicans have been conducting a circus, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been seriously speaking about issues that matter to the American people, issues such as jobs, the economy, minimum wage, climate change and the environment, the gun lobby, the Iran nuclear agreement and more.  Whether one agrees with their opinions or not is not my point.  My point is that at least they are discussing issues, things that matter to “We the People”, and doing so with knowledge and experience, without mud-slinging and name-calling, and giving the voters an opportunity to actually consider their viewpoints.  Now, what Trump, Carson and every other republican candidate need to realize is that whoever ultimately gains the GOP nomination will need to convince a fairly large number of voters outside the republican party that they are the best person for the job, and in light of the current circus-atmosphere, that is likely to be a very tough sell.

All of which brings me back to my original question:  where are the people who supposedly support Trump, the people who have kept his poll rankings in the 20% range for a few months?  It is to be hoped that over the course of the next twelve months, the American people step back and look at the bigger picture, that they do their own research into the issues and weed out the candidates who can only bring disaster to our nation.  Trump has made the claim that “our country is going to hell”.  Despite numerous social and economic problems, our country is a far cry from “going to hell”.  We still have more going for us than working against us, and I believe that the citizens of this nation still hold basic values of caring, compassion and humanity.  Why would anyone want to vote for a candidate that doesn’t even believe in his country?

Trump Supporters? Where???

The Donald Trump that some 20% of republicans seem to love is loud, obnoxious and bombastic, which leaves me scratching my head and wondering just what that says about those who claim to support him.  But the bigger question I have is this:  where the heck ARE those 20%???  I have among my friends, relatives and acquaintances many republicans, and not a single one of them can even tolerate Trump, let alone support him.  To a person they agree with my assessment of him as a clown, a joke, a narcissist, take your pick.  In addition, I am an avid reader of op-ed pages in many of the major, mainstream news media, and have yet to read a single opinion by political analysts, editors, writers or voters that support Trump or his inane ideas.  So, I repeat the question, who are these people who have elevated his poll numbers and where are they hiding?

Until now, I have left Trump alone and not written about him except in response to an op-ed in the New York Times, for a number of reasons.  The main reason is that I do not think he or his candidacy is actually worth wasting my time or effort.  The second reason is that the man is so wrong on so many issues that it would be impossible to discuss them all in a single post.  Third, everything there is to be said about Trump has already been said by people far more qualified than I.  Lastly, I get a nauseous feeling every time I hear his name or see his picture.  But alas, I decided to join in the fray for two reasons, the first being that I think there is danger in allowing his rhetoric to go unchecked.  The second is that I heard him say that he “just doesn’t get it” that Ben Carson has edged above him in the polls.  What is there to “not get”?  Though I do not consider Dr. Carson to be a viable option to govern this nation, I will at least give him credit for intelligence (although not when it comes to politics, government and foreign policy), being soft-spoken (very refreshing after Trump’s in-your-face ranting persona) and for not lowering himself to the petty criticisms and attacks on his opponents for which Trump is so well-known.

Trump, in crowing proudly about his poll numbers has forgotten a couple of salient points.  First, the election is more than a year away, and early polls are rarely an accurate predictor of the eventual outcome.  Second, neither he nor Dr. Carson nor any other republican candidate have anything remotely close to a majority.  Third, the Republican Party is only one of the two major parties in the nation and there are some 42% of eligible voters who are not committed to either party.  There are two strong contenders in the democratic field, both of whom have distinct advantages over both Trump and Carson.  First, they both have experience in policy-making and governance, and secondly, while the republicans have been conducting a circus, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been seriously speaking about issues that matter to the American people, issues such as jobs, the economy, minimum wage, climate change and the environment, the gun lobby, the Iran nuclear agreement and more.  Whether one agrees with their opinions or not is not my point.  My point is that at least they are discussing issues, things that matter to “We the People”, and doing so with knowledge and experience, without mud-slinging and name-calling, and giving the voters an opportunity to actually consider their viewpoints.  Now, what Trump, Carson and every other republican candidate need to realize is that whoever ultimately gains the GOP nomination will need to convince a fairly large number of voters outside the republican party that they are the best person for the job, and in light of the current circus-atmosphere, that is likely to be a very tough sell.

All of which brings me back to my original question:  where are the people who supposedly support Trump, the people who have kept his poll rankings in the 20% range for a few months?  It is to be hoped that over the course of the next twelve months, the American people step back and look at the bigger picture, that they do their own research into the issues and weed out the candidates who can only bring disaster to our nation.  Trump has made the claim that “our country is going to hell”.  Despite numerous social and economic problems, our country is a far cry from “going to hell”.  We still have more going for us than working against us, and I believe that the citizens of this nation still hold basic values of caring, compassion and humanity.  Why would anyone want to vote for a candidate that doesn’t even believe in his country?