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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Time For ‘Toons!!!

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes right?  It started with getting up late, finding that the kitties had knocked over my flowers and water was everywhere, then trying to quickly get a beef roast into the crock pot for supper took me nearly an hour for some reason.  So, long story short, I am in a time crunch today and thought … what a perfect opportunity to showcase some cartoons!  Political cartoons sometimes make us laugh, sometimes shake our heads, and sometimes make us want to cry, but they say so much with a simple drawing.  So, let’s see how the cartoonists have viewed the past week or two …


Trump does love tariffs.  Too bad he doesn’t understand them.  

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One of the biggest issues dividing this nation … one of the few hundred, that is … is guns.  Every time there is a multiple-death shooting as there was in Virginia Beach on May 31st, the debate becomes more vocal, with the gun nuts saying “this isn’t the time to discuss it”, and the rest of us positing that this is exactly the time to discuss it. 

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Of course, regardless of political party, the “I-word” is on everybody’s mind these days …

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Who can resist poking fun at ol’ 2-faced Lindsey Graham?

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And just for kicks …

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Have a great week, folks … remember, humour helps us maintain perspective in these troubled times!

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

emma gonzalez

On February 14th, 2018, seventeen students and staff members died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students were heartbroken, and they spoke out, letting us know that this was beyond tolerable, that they were fed up with we “adults” allowing these things to happen … think Columbine, think Sandy Hook and many, many others. One of the young activists was Emma Gonzales, a courageous young woman who said, “No more!” And still today, the government and the people of this nation are letting our young people down.

Every time there is a mass shooting, especially a school shooting, we are horrified … for a few days … and then, while we don’t exactly forget, we let other matters take precedence and we put it out of our minds. How many of our children must die before we wake up, before we force our legislators to put our children ahead of the profits of the all-powerful gun lobby?

Our friend Larry has written an excellent post featuring a tribute song by Madonna. Thank you, Larry, for this post and your permission to share it.

QUEST

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photo by SIMON MATZINGER

“So we are speaking up for those who don’t have anyone listening to them, for those who can’t talk about it yet, and for those who will never speak again. We are grieving, we are furious, and we are using our words fiercely and desperately because that’s the only thing standing between us and this happening again.” EMMA GONZALEZ

We rise every morning anticipating a great day filled with joy, happiness and safety in our daily endeavors.  We hug our loved ones as they go out the door about their day’s agenda.  We expect to see them later, don’t we?

We know life has no guarantees, but we trust in goodness and mercy.  Emma Gonzalez chatted with friends before classes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas not knowing that there were a few whom she would never again see alive.  Shots rang out, young people were murdered and…

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The Wild West???

The United States today is beginning to look like the ‘Wild West’ if one looks closely.  A madman in the Oval Office is only the beginning.  Out on the streets, in our neighborhoods, things are happening that were unheard of just a few short years ago.

rashad jamesTake, for example, the case of African American attorney Rashad James in Maryland.  As Mr. James entered the courthouse in Harford Country, Maryland earlier this month, he was detained by a deputy who did not believe he was a lawyer and demanded proof.  Just one more in a string of cases where African-Americans have been detained or questioned by police as they went about their everyday lives, golfing, gardening, swimming, shopping, sitting in a Starbucks, leaving an Airbnb, grilling out and napping at a college.

Or, the little boy’s birthday party that was crashed by Chicago’s ‘finest’.  Didn’t hear about that one?  No wonder, for if the name ‘Trump’ isn’t in a story these days, you’re not likely to see it on the front pages.  Well, TJ Jackson was 4 years old on that cold day last month, and his parents were having a birthday party for him in their basement apartment on the South side of Chicago.  Four children were having fun, playing games, and the birthday cake awaited on the table.  Suddenly the door burst open and in strode 17 Chicago police officers, weapons drawn and pointed at the children!

According to the lawsuit that was filed this week by TJ’s family, the officers questioned the children, used vulgar language, damaged furniture as they searched the apartment, and made the adults sit lined up against a wall for 45 minutes while they searched the small apartment.  Why?  They were looking for a man who had lived in the apartment five years before.  A simple bit of research would have shown them that he no longer lived there.  They might have knocked and acted in a respectful manner.  If the family had been white, perhaps they would have done so.

And what about the hundreds of children still separated from their parents at the southern border?  Were you aware that even now, nine months after federal judge Dana Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to stop separating immigrant children from their parents, it is still happening?  And were you also aware that just this week the Department of Homeland Security requested Congress to pass legislation allowing the department to send all unaccompanied children who try to cross the border back to their home countries?  Fortunately, Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea in short order, but it is still a sign of these turbulent times.

Oh, and let us not forget about the hundreds of people being held under a bridge in El Paso, Texas, surrounded by fencing and sleeping on dirt. el-paso.png

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If you still have any doubts that ‘civilization’ in the U.S. is on a backward roll, consider that there is a push for people … any people … to be able to carry concealed weapons without any testing, permits, or even background checks.  Fully one-third of the states have already passed such laws, or un-laws as I call them, and there is a push for this un-law at the federal level. Quite literally, in some states, a man convicted of murder could break out of prison, walk into a gun show, and purchase an AR-15, no questions asked.

Oh, and did you know that the United States has been ranked as the 10th most dangerous nation for women on the globe?  From 1994 until 2017, we had a law called the Violence Against Women Act, that was allowed to lapse under the Trump administration and republican-controlled Congress.  The current Congress is trying to re-authorize the Act, but … the National Rifle Association (NRA) is lobbying against it. Why?  Because it calls for gun bans for those who have been convicted of domestic abuse or violence against a ‘romantic partner’.  This is a nation where we apparently want to ensure that the men can keep their ‘womenfolk’ in line, one way or another – if fists aren’t enough, then grab the gun!

Oh yeah … and speaking of guns, I almost forgot that there is also an idea gaining momentum that teachers in schools should carry them … guns, that is.

Then, of course, there is the “leader”, who breaks every norm of a civilized society and who encourages violence among the people of the nation, divides rather than unifies, promotes hate rather than peace, and panders to those who engage in every form of bigotry imaginable.  Is it any wonder, then, that some days it feels like we are moving backward in time?  We have regressed in so many areas, including civil rights of every sort.  The United States, once referred to as the “Leader of the Western World”, is now well on its way to becoming a third-world country, all just in two short years.  Welcome to the Wild West – Part II.

The Heartbreak of a Nation

Last week was a sad one, not only for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community, but for the entire nation.  Two students, survivors of the mass shooting at the school in February 2018, have ended their lives in the past week.

Sydney-AielloThe first was Sydney Aiello, the second an as-yet-unnamed male student.  These two are victims just as much as the 17 who died on that fateful day.  How many more will there be?

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, many of the students who survived the attack rallied in protest of the United States’ current gun non-laws, and they did a fine job making their voices heard.  Those of us with live cells in our heads applauded their efforts and hoped their resistance was only the beginning.  I thought their protests would help them, knowing that they were doing something positive to try to change this nation, to try to make sure this never happened again.

But while most of us were applauding these young people’s efforts, others were putting them down.  Representative Steve King was one such … you’ll remember I wrote about his bigotry and racism just a couple of days ago.  Mr. King put down Emma González, one of the leaders of the protests, in a Facebook post whereby he criticized her for having a Cuban flag on her denim jacket.

“This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self-defense.”

What. A. Jerk.  Senator Marco Rubio from Florida … the state where the shooting took place … jumped on the criticizing bandwagon, as did many conservative media outlets.  Could it possibly be that all the criticism played a role in the deaths of the two young people?  First, they were traumatized by a classmate shooting up their school.  Then, they found that they had lost dear friends and teachers.  Then, they try to take positive action to ensure others won’t have to go through what they went through, and they are criticized by the very people who should be helping them!  Gee, I wonder why they were depressed?  I wonder why they felt that this nation had let them down.  I wonder why they gave up hope?

For months, the name-calling and trolling of these young people continued, even crossing into conspiracy theories when it was suggested that these students were paid actors.  Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, all nationally syndicated television personalities, jumped on the bandwagon criticizing the kids, not the NRA, not lax gun laws, not even the shooter, but instead the kids who are sick and damn tired of living in a country where guns are more important than human lives.  In my book, every single one of these people have the blood of the two who died last week on their hands.  That includes every single member of the NRA.  That includes every member of Congress who has taken NRA money in exchange for voting against a ban on assault weapons or other gun safety regulations.  That includes Donald Trump, who has been bought and paid for by the NRA.  That includes every single person who puts his “right” to own a gun above human lives.  These are the ones that killed these two young people.

The NRA and the gun lobby supporters in Congress keep telling us that “now is not the time” to discuss gun regulation.  Our young people, the future of this nation, if indeed it even has a future, are being killed, and the idiots who put their 2nd Amendment “rights” before human lives have the unmitigated gall to tell us that it isn’t appropriate to discuss gun safety regulation???  To hell with the 2nd Amendment!  THIS was not what the Founding Fathers of this nation intended when they wrote the Constitution.  The damn fools have interpreted it to mean what they want it to mean.  And why?  Because a bunch of men cannot feel like a ‘real man’ unless they are carrying a weapon that can kill.

Meanwhile, children are dying … needlessly … senselessly.  Think about it.

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.

You Have Got To Be Kidding!!!

Ever have one of those days where you start scanning the news and find yourself saying, multiple times, “You have got to be kidding me!”?  Have you noticed that they seem to come more often these days?  There is just so much utter … nutsiness, for lack of a better word … that I shake my head until marbles begin to rattle around in there.  Here are a couple of the latest ones …


Damn those subversive Girl Scouts, anyway …

I had never heard of Jane Chastain, but apparently she made history in 1974 when she became the first woman to call an NFL game.  Now, I might have found that exciting, might even admire her and give her a high five for breaking that glass ceiling, were it not for what she has done since.  Somewhere along the line, she lost her admirability, lost her good sense … lost her marbles it would seem.

Chastain writes a column for the right-wing media outlet, WorldNetDaily, commonly known as WND.  But her latest … well, you be the judge …

“It is no small coincidence that the Girl Scouts are out in force this month selling cookies on street corners, in front of grocery stores and other places of business. For many years, I would buy at least one box from every girl I met, even if I had a dozen or more boxes at home.

The Girl Scouts were an important part of my formative years, and I sold hundreds of boxes of these cookies myself, so I considered it payback, paying it forward so to speak. Not anymore.

In fact, the Girl Scouts are celebrating the victory won by their alums in the 2018 midterms on its website, beginning with their star, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who attributes much of her success to what she learned as part of this organization.

Now Girl Scout alums make up 72 percent of female senators and 60 percent of the women in the 116th Congress. Although the website tries to strike a bipartisan tone, it is no accident that, among this year’s freshmen, Carol Miller is the only Republican, and she is much older, 68, than the rest. Her training in scouting was well before the feminist takeover that occurred in 1970.

So before you decide to embrace an International Women’s Day celebration or buy the cookies, ask yourself, ‘Will the country be better off with more representatives like the young socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez?’”

girl-scouts

Faces of Evil?

You’ve got to be kidding!  I’m not sure what offends her more … that the girl scouts are celebrating the election of one of their alumni, or that most of the members of Congress who are former girl scouts are democrats!  This woman has lost her marbles!


Get paid extra for carrying a gun?

You likely remember that after the tragic school shooting in Parkland Florida last year, Trump and the NRA bluntly suggested that the way to end school shootings was to arm teachers.  The rest of us held our heads, rolled our eyes, and groaned a deep, anguished “nooooooooooooo …”.  Well, it seems there are some who still think this is just a peachy idea.

teacher-with-gunThree North Carolina republican legislators filed a bill last Wednesday to give up to 3,000 teachers a 5% salary raise if they become teacher resource officers who receive specialized police training to carry firearms at work.  One of the three, North Carolina State Senator Jerry Tillman, says this bill, which is a copy of one that failed to pass last year, will succeed.

“This is an idea whose time has come. With the heightened awareness of the legislature, I believe this bill will see success. It’s a big deterrent to somebody going to shoot up a school. You need to stop them any way you can.”

You’ve got to be kidding!

Mark Jewell, President of the North Carolina Association of Educators, on the other hand, is not thrilled.

“It is a disaster waiting to happen. We continue to be opposed to arming our teachers with firearms. Arm us with the resources we need to teach our kids to be safe.”

I agree 110% with Mr. Jewell.  Want your kids to be safe in school?  Then vote for legislation that takes guns off the streets and out of the hands of people not qualified to use them.  Let us hope the North Carolina legislature has better sense than Mr. Tillman.


How she dresses means she is … what???

I would love to know how people with a law degree can be so utterly stupid?  Think about Kellyanne Conway and Ann Coulter … bimbos, they are, yet they hold law degrees.  Add to that list Jeanine Pirro, who not only holds a law degree, but is a former judge, prosecutor, and politician from New York.  Currently Pirro is host of Fox News Channel’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, where she spouts right-wing conspiracy theories and other lunacy.jeanine-pirroHer latest is a claim that Muslim women who wear a hijab are against the U.S. Constitution.  More specifically, freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who wears a hijab, is against the Constitution.

“Omar wears a hijab, which, according to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

You’ve got to be kidding!  This woman needs to go back to school and study the history of this nation, how religious freedom was one of the tenets of the founding of this country.  Interestingly, and surprisingly, Fox News apologized for Pirro’s abhorrent comments, saying …

“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

For once, Fox did the right thing and I applaud them for it.  But wait … along comes former Trump associate Sebastian Gorka …

“She’s absolutely right. The hijab is a requirement of the religion of Islam. It is part of Sharia law. Sharia law does not comport with the U.S. Constitution. Judge Jeanine, we have your back. Hold the line. You are speaking the truth.”


Where are all these fools coming from?  Would somebody please shut the damn gate?

Until next time, dear friends …

The Supreme Court Has Lost Its Way …

The Supreme Court, the branch of the federal government that is supposed to be most independent, that is intended to hold the executive and legislative branches accountable, has made two major decisions today that indicate they have fallen and landed squarely in the camp of Donald Trump.  I am beyond disappointed … I am incensed, and I see our rights as citizens of this plutocracy going down the drain. supreme court justices


Supreme Court revives Trump’s transgender military ban

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to go ahead with its plan to restrict military service by transgender people while court challenges continue.  The court split 5-4 in allowing the plan to take effect, with the court’s five conservatives greenlighting it and its four liberal members saying they would not have.

Until a few years ago service members could be discharged from the military for being transgender. That changed under President Barack Obama. The military announced in 2016 that transgender individuals already serving in the military would be allowed to serve openly. And the military set July 1, 2017 as the date when transgender individuals would be allowed to enlist.

Trump, of course, had to undo that, for two reasons:  a) it was a decision made during the Obama administration, and Trump has a goal to undo every single thing Obama did, and b) because Donald Trump and his supporters are homophobic bigots.  There is no viable reason to ban transgender people from the military, and this decision does not reflect the feelings of the majority in this nation!

Supreme Court returns to gun rights for 1st time in 9 years

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will take up its first gun rights case in nine years, a challenge to New York City’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits.  The court’s decision to hear the appeal filed by three New York residents and New York’s National Rifle Association affiliate could signal a revived interest in gun rights by a more conservative court. The case won’t be argued until October.

New York’s ordinance allows people licensed to have handguns to carry them outside the home to gun ranges in the city. The guns must be locked and unloaded.  The city residents who filed suit want to practice shooting at target ranges outside the city or take their guns to second homes elsewhere in New York state.  The city’s top lawyer, Zachary Carter, urged the court to reject the case, arguing that the restrictions allowed New York police to reduce the number of guns carried in public.

Just about the last … the very last … thing we need in this country is an expansion of 2nd Amendment ‘rights’!  The NRA has already nearly ensured that gun deaths in the U.S. will continue to be the highest per capita on the globe.  What do we want … are we shooting for some sort of record here … “let’s see if we can top last year’s gun deaths”?


Both of these issues are beyond merely concerning on their own merit, but the even greater concern is the trend that is appearing.  It is a trend we all feared when first, Neil Gorsuch, then Brett Kavanaugh were seated on the Supreme Court.  It is deeply disturbing that the Supreme Court appears to be making decisions strictly along partisan lines rather than considering issues on Constitutional merit.  The real concern, however, lies on the path ahead.  There are two prior Supreme Court rulings that ultra-conservative republicans, evangelicals, Trump’s base, want to see overturned:  Roe v Wade, and Obergefell v Hodges.  The first guarantees a woman the right to make decisions about her own body, her own life.  The second guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.  Both were long, hard-fought battles and are, in short, about human rights … civil rights.

In addition to those, it is highly likely that the Supreme Court will soon be asked to hear cases involving gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement.  Our constitutional rights … all of them … may be in jeopardy if the Court cannot manage to overcome it’s partisanship.  After Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation, Chief Justice John Roberts, in an effort to quell growing concerns of partisanship on the Court, made the following statement:

“… We do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle, we do not caucus in separate rooms, we do not serve one party or one interest. We serve one nation. And I want to assure all of you that we will continue to do that to the best of our abilities, whether times are calm or contentious.”

Prove that to us, please, Chief Justice.

Speaking of Sandra Parks …

Sandra ParksThe day might have come when I would have written about a young lady named Sandra Parks in one of my Wednesday ‘good people’ posts.  She was only 13-years-old, but she had already shown that her heart was good.  Two years ago, in sixth grade, young Sandra wrote an award-winning essay about gun violence and crime in her hometown of Milwaukee for the Martin Luther King, Jr. annual essay contest.  In her essay, she called for more empathy and less negativity, and emphasized the importance of getting an education to make the world a better place.

But I will not be able to see what Sandra might have done to help improve the world, and I will not be able to write about her efforts to help people, for Sandra was shot and killed on Monday as she sat in her bedroom watching television.Sandra Parks-houseThe bullet that hit Sandra in the chest was not meant for her … it was a stray bullet from gunfire on the street in front of her home.  Milwaukee Public Schools, in a statement mourning her loss, said Sandra is the 7th child attending a district school to die by homicide in 2018.  Let that one sink in for a minute … SEVEN children have died by homicide in less than eleven months in a single school district!

Tell me again, Mr. NRA member, how more guns is making us safer?  Or, perhaps you would like to explain this concept to Sandra Parks’ mother, Bernice?  Or her sister, Tatiana?

Bernice Parks

Bernice Parks (mother)

Tatiana Parks

Tatiana Parks (sister)

I saw something in passing a few days ago that posed the question: “If, as the NRA claims, more guns make us safer, shouldn’t the U.S. be the safest nation in the world with the lowest incidence of crimes?”  But instead we have this …gun violenceAnd we have yet another dead child because an angry person fired a gun on the street in front of what should have been the safest place in the world for young Sandra Parks.  Who knows what wonderful things Sandra Parks might have done with her life … if only she had been allowed to live.  What a shame … what a damn shame!  Please take a moment to read Sandra’s award-winning essay …

Our Truth

Sandra Parks-awardSometimes, I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day.  I put my headphones on and let the music take me away. I move to the beat and try to think about life and what everything means. When I do, I come to the same conclusion. . . we are in a state of chaos. In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost every day.  Little children are victims of senseless gun violence. There is too much black on black crime.  As an African-American, that makes me feel depressed. Many people have lost faith in America and its ability to be a living example of Dr. King’s dream!

The truth is faith and hope in what people can do, has been lost in the poor choices we make. We shall overcome has been lost in the lie of who we have become! So now, the real truth is, we need to rewrite our story so that faith and hope for a better tomorrow, is not only within us, but we believe it and we put into actions.

Our first truth is that we must start caring about each other. We need to be empathetic and try to walk in each other’s shoes. We shall overcome when we begin to understand and accept each other. We shall overcome when we eliminate the negative and nasty comments people make about each other. We shall overcome, when we love ourselves and the people around us. Then, we become our brother’s keeper.

Our second truth is that we need to have purpose. We are the future generation, therefore we must have an education to make a positive difference in the world. We are the future leaders, but if we don’t have an education, we will accomplish nothing. We will overcome, when we use our education to make the world a better place. We will become the next President, law enforcement officers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and law makers. We cannot continue to put the responsibility on other people. It is our responsibility as future leaders!

We must not allow the lies of violence, racism, and prejudice to be our truth. The truth begins with us. Instead of passing each other like ships in the night, we must fight until our truths stretch to the ends of the world.