One Year After …

Yesterday marked one year since the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers:

  • Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo, 10
  • Jacklyn Cazares, 9
  • Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
  • Jose Manuel Flores Jr., 10
  • Eliahna Garcia, 10
  • Irma Garcia, 48
  • Uziyah Garcia, 10
  • Amerie Jo Garza, 10
  • Xavier Lopez, 10
  • Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
  • Tess Mata, 10
  • Miranda Mathis, 11
  • Eva Mireles, 44
  • Alithia Ramirez, 10
  • Annabelle Rodriguez, 10
  • Maite Rodriguez, 10
  • Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, 10
  • Layla Salazar, 11
  • Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10
  • Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10
  • Rojelio Torres, 10

Since that tragic event, what has happened?  Well, aside from the numerous and completely useless ‘thoughts and prayers’ that have been sent to nobody in particular, NOTHING.

In the year since Uvalde, there have been more than 650 mass shootings in the United States, and still, Congress, state legislators, state governors, and the courts have done naught but sit on their fat arses … or in some cases, even reversed what few gun laws that were in existence.

In the immediate aftermath of the Uvalde tragedy, Congress did manage to pass one milquetoast piece of legislation that …

  • included incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others
  • expanded an existing law that prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun to include dating partners rather than just spouses and former spouses
  • expands background checks on people between the ages of 18 and 21 seeking to buy a gun

Not many teeth in that law, but worse yet,  there is a new bill on the table in the House today that would repeal the law and what little it does.  So no, my friends, NOTHING is being done to prevent another Uvalde … or Parkland … or Sandy Hook … or Columbine.  No ban on assault weapons, no new training and licensing requirements … in fact, many states have recently eliminated any requirements for permits related to carrying a concealed weapon.

Is this why Republicans and religious groups are so hellbent and determined to keep women under their thumb, force them to become baby manufacturing plants, so that we can afford to have our children shot to death and still have a hefty population?  Does that offend you?  Well, then, don’t tell me … call or write to your members of Congress and tell them how you feel!

There is something deeply flawed with a country, a people, who value their right to own a killing machine more than they value the lives of their own children.

I’ve Been Pondering …

I’ve been pondering what seems like the recent ‘normalization’ of such things as anti-Semitism, Naziism, racism, political corruption, disrespect, and lies.  At first, there is horror, then as it bombards the news, disgust that morphs to mild disgust that ultimately ends up with “meh”.  It is human nature that the more we are inundated with something, the more commonplace it starts to become, until eventually we have accepted it without really thinking about it.

In May, a school shooting took the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and the nation was in shock.  Stunned.  The same month, a shooting in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, took the lives of ten people.  More shock.  Both of these events were headline news … for a while … and then they faded … and now, they are largely forgotten, replaced by other dramas and traumas, of which there are plenty to choose from.

Trump’s dinner with two anti-Semites and Hitler apologists, Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, aroused anger and horror, but after days of reporting on it, it seems to be losing its fervor. Says Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “In an early time you would call a serious person with aspirations for highest office, meeting with a Nazi, disqualifying. Now it is simply ill-advised. That’s a sign of where we are.”

When the Access Hollywood video of Donald Trump talking about how it is okay to physically attack women if you’re famous, because “they let you”, there was horror and outrage, but after it was heard and discussed for days, by the time election day rolled around it had become a joke, just “locker room talk”, they said.  We moved past it, and thus it was not the horrendous thing that it really was, but rather became something of an acceptable ‘norm’.

Two years ago, most of us were up in arms over the voter restrictions that were being put into place willy nilly by the states, restrictive laws that would disenfranchise millions of Black voters, college voters, single-mom voters, and poor voters.  When was the last time you heard anything much about voting rights?  We became inured, accepted that we didn’t have the power to change the new laws, shrugged our shoulders and went on about our business.

Last week, Marge Greene, a U.S. Representative from Georgia, speaking of the insurrection and attempted coup on January 6th 2021 said, “And I will tell you something, if Steve Bannon and I had organized that, we would have won. Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.”  I, and many others, undoubtedly even some Republicans, were stunned by that remark.  She is saying that she would have seen more violence, more devastation, and a bloody coup, would have silenced the voices of We the People, and she’s … proud of that???  It is an affront to the people of this country, the people who pay her $174,000 per year.  We should be calling for her immediate expulsion from Congress, but have you heard of such a call?  How long until her remarks fade into the background and become just another ill-conceived remark by a politician?

There was a time when all of the above things and more would have been the political death of the person involved, but today we express outrage for a day or two, maybe even a week, then move on to the next abomination, for there is always another looming right around the corner. By the time the next election rolls around, we don’t even remember the horrid things they did, so we send them right back to Congress again … and again. We have become inured to it, for one can only remain outraged for so long and over so many things.  Our senses are bombarded and pretty soon things that might have led us to write to our members of Congress and demand something be done, now only cause us to roll our eyes and “move along now, nothing to see here.”

Is it, then, any wonder that the word “gaslighting” is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2022?  The word, defined as “The act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage,” or “psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories…” experienced a 1,740% increase in lookups in 2022 alone.  We the People, the common, ordinary, average Joes that keep this nation running, are being manipulated for the purpose of expanding the power and wealth of a few.  Was this what he had in mind when the former guy said he would “make America great again”?

Lost In The Fray

Amid the continual coverage of last Tuesday’s elections, and amid the speculation about whether the former guy would be so dumb as to launch another presidential campaign, this little tidbit of actual news seemed to be largely overlooked on Monday …

Three killed and two wounded in shooting at University of Virginia

Now, I know that last week’s elections were among the most important mid-terms in the history of our nation, and I know a lot of people are fixated on the former guy, but … how can a shooting that killed three college students be relegated to a minor news story???

And while most of you probably did hear about the UVa shooting once the networks eventually found time to report on it, four students were found dead on Sunday in an off-campus house at the University of Idaho.

Having read about the UVa shooting in The Guardian, a UK publication, I opened the New York Times website and all I saw was election coverage, speculation, reactions, etc.  I went to The Washington Post’s site, and again … all election news or journalistic speculation.  And I wonder if we are so inured to gun violence in this country that it isn’t even front-page news anymore.  Or is it that people are so enthralled by the political drama that they can only focus on that one thing?  I haven’t even heard the usual “thoughts and prayers” by the politicians this time – I guess they are too focused on their own fortunes or misfortunes to pay attention to the misfortunes of the families of seven dead students.

The three victims in the UVa shooting were

From left, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, the University of Virginia football players who were killed Sunday. (University of Virginia Athletics/AP)

The youths had attended a play about Emmett Till in Washington, D.C. and their bus was just returning to the UVa campus when one of the students, who I shall not name, opened fire inside the bus.  The shooter was also a student, though not in the same class as most of the rest of the group.  No motive has yet been discerned.

Information on the deaths of the University of Idaho students is still very sketchy and all I know for sure is that the four deaths are being investigated as a homicide.  Initial reporting indicated the four were shot to death, but that has since been changed and no ‘cause of death’ is officially available.

I do realize the importance of this month’s election and I am as focused on the results and what they might mean for the future of this nation as much as anyone.  But one of the most serious problems we have in this nation is guns, and the lives of college students being cut short by a man with a gun is too important to just give a passing glance.  In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott won his bid to remain governor of the state.  Texas, where last May 24th, 19 students and two teachers were brutally murdered in an elementary school in Uvalde.  Said Kimberly Mata Rubio, the mother of the slain 10-year-old Lexi Rubio …

“Abbott hasn’t done anything to curb gun violence or prevent another school shooting from happening in Texas in the 6 months since the Uvalde elementary school shooting.”

But apparently the people of Texas care more about things other than the lives of their children.  The issue of school shootings and guns in general is woven into our political discourse and the two really cannot or should not be separated.  More and more in this country the laws lean toward unlimited and unrestricted gun ownership … and use.  The man charged in the UVa murder had twice failed background checks, but still was able to purchase a gun.  Something wrong here, folks.

The media does us a disservice when they focus on the political fray to the exclusion of all else.  We need to hold their feet to the fire, hold them accountable to report all the news, not just the political news.  Life matters.  Say their names:  Devin Chandler.  Lavel Davis Jr.  D’Sean Perry.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

On May 24th, 19 children and two teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.  Since then, I have heard some of the most ignorant things come out of people’s mouths!  Those of us with brains still in our heads know that the major solution to school and other mass shootings is to get the guns out of the hands of would-be killers, even if it means maybe stepping on the toes of other gun owners.  Sorry, but the rights of these children to live and thrive, my right to feel safe checking out the green peppers in my local Kroger, supersede the 2nd Amendment.  But then, on the other side you have those who sold their brains early on and they have come up with some of the most off-the-wall blame for the latest round of mass shootings that I’ve ever heard!  If we weren’t convinced before that these people sold their brains early on, we must surely be convinced now.

Take, for example, Billy Long, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri and a candidate to replace Roy Blunt in the U.S. Senate next year.  Now, ol’ Billy, a former auctioneer, when asked his views on gun legislation, replied …

“Unfortunately, they’re trying to blame inanimate objects for all of these tragedies. When I was growing up in Springfield, you had one or two murders a year. Now we have two, three, four a week in Springfield, Missouri, so something has happened to our society and I go back to abortion. When we decided it was okay to murder kids in their mother’s wombs, life has no value to a lot of these folks.”

Now, ol’ Billy Boy has quite a rèsumè of qualifications to make such a statement.  A college drop-out, he then attended a nine-day training program at the Missouri Auction School in Kansas City where he received his Certified Auctioneer designation via the National Auctioneers Association.  He owned an auction house, was a radio talk-show host, and is a member of numerous organizations including … wait for it … the National Rifle Association.  Surprised, aren’t you?

Why am I not surprised that ol’ Billy blames the gun craziness on women’s rights … naturally it is all women’s fault!  Isn’t everything?  Never mind that almost all gun violence is committed by men.  But sure … blame women … or Black people, as Blake Masters, yet another candidate for the U.S. Senate in November, claims.  Blake Masters, an unapologetic white nationalist running for a senate seat from Arizona, is a real piece of work.  He is the President of the Thiel Foundation, owned by one of the crookedest billionaires in the nation, Peter Thiel.  Masters had this to say when asked why we have so much gun violence …

“We do have a gun violence problem in this country, and it’s gang violence.  It’s people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly. And the Democrats don’t want to do anything about that.”

So, Mr. Tighty-Whitey Blake … ‘splain to us why the shooters in both Buffalo and Uvalde were white?  And, to the best of my knowledge, most of the mass shooters of late have been white males.  There goes your theory out the door, but … you didn’t really believe it anyway, did you?

The bottom line here, folks, is that there are certain congressional Republicans who have been told in no uncertain terms by their handlers in the gun industry that NO gun legislation is to be passed, or at least none that would slow down gun sales or reduce the number of guns in the hands of civilians.  And so, they are left scrambling for two things:  1) a scapegoat, someone to blame besides blaming guns, and 2) a non-starter disguised as a solution to the problem without restricting guns in any way.  To that end, they have talked about arming teachers, putting armed guards in every school, having only one entry/exit to each school (better hope there is no fire!), and other nonsense.  And what about the shootings that happen in places other than schools, say supermarkets, churches, synagogues, shopping malls, concert venues, and … streets.  We the People would be paying twice the taxes we currently pay just to arm all those guards and … there would still be mass shootings, same as there are now.

The Republicans in Congress and state governments are not interested in ending mass shootings, they are not interested in our safety, our lives.  They believe they have a right to protect their mega-donors in order to keep the dollars rolling in, and if it costs a few thousand lives here, then … oh well.  And these are the same people who go all goody-goody-two-shoes when the talk turns to women’s rights and abortion.  Oh, gotta protect the right to life … at least until it’s born, and then it doesn’t matter anymore.  Killed in school?  Oh well … tragic, but at least he/she wasn’t aborted before even becoming a human.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  Such a double standard, and they don’t even seem to care that we can see right through them and their sorry excuses!  And it’s not just our lawmakers … some 44% of Republicans said that mass shootings are something we have to accept as part of a free society.  Say WHAT???  Nearly half of Republican voters would sacrifice their child’s life to have the freedom to own an AR-15???  🙄

I say it once again.  There is no place for assault-style weapons in the hands of civilians.  None.  Never.  And no gun belongs in the hands of a teenager.  Period.  Full Stop.

If a man needs this … to feel like a man, then what he is, in fact, is a coward.

The President’s Fury

Our friend Annie talks about President Biden’s speech earlier this week and I’m in complete agreement with all that she says! I, for one, am proud of the President and ever so ashamed of Congress as a whole, particularly one element of it. Thank you, Annie, for your observations!


While waiting for President Biden to make his suddenly scheduled address on gun violence last night, several somewhat sympathetic “talking heads” discussed what we could expect from his speech.

They concluded he’d have to be very careful, appealing to those ten elusive Republicans whose votes are essential if we are to see anything—anything at all—get through the Senate.

Some form of background checks, maybe a red flag law. In other words, the kinds of compromise that will have to include some Republican baggage that won’t do any good but will be the price to pay for their refusal to acknowledge the actual role of guns in America’s gun crisis.

It would have been reasonable to assume that of President Biden, who has tried and tried again to speak of and to his once-and-probably-not-future-friends across the aisle. He is an institutionalist who has long believed in bipartisanship.

But as I watched…

View original post 526 more words

The Week’s Best Cartoons: Tragedy in Uvalde

As you might imagine, the main (only) topic of the ‘toons this week is the horrific mass murder at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers.  And as she does each week, our friend TokyoSand has scanned the news sources and found the best of the ‘toons.  Be forewarned, though … there is no humour here today, only broken hearts, anger, and grief.  Still, the cartoonists have managed to put into a single picture what our own hearts are trying to say.  Please be sure to follow the link at the bottom to see the rest of the ‘toons.  Thank you, TS.

Editorial cartoons are very specific — they respond and react to current events. But what struck me this week as I watched cartoonists share their work on Twitter, was that it was sometimes hard to distinguish which cartoons were drawn in reaction to the Uvalde massacre this week, and which were responding to to previous mass shootings.

The deathly chill that came over me when I realized that most editorial cartoons about gun violence in America are evergreen…

be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons!

A Few Thoughts From My Bouncing Mind

First, I start with a short, passionate and heartfelt clip from Jimmy Kimmel …

Next, a shout-out to singer/songwriter Don McLean of American Pie fame for having a conscience.  He has cancelled his appearance at the upcoming NRA annual meeting this weekend in, of all places, Houston, Texas.  McLean issued a statement saying …

“In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week. I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans.”

Of course, if he truly had a conscience, he would never have agreed to appear at their event in the first place, but … better late than never I suppose.  Others are also pulling out and I will have a good laugh if the venue is only about 2% full all weekend!

Daniel Defense, the company that manufactured the weapon used in Tuesday’s school massacre, has also pulled out of the NRA convention this weekend.  Their reason is not likely any sudden attack of conscience so much as fear of being assaulted by people who are angry and looking for a target for their anger.  And there should be fury toward this company who not so long ago posted this picture …

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 🙏

I am sickened.

Some, such as the not-so-illustrious Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz, still plan to attend … surprised, aren’t you?  Every single person who attends that convention is a target for my anger, so they should probably be thankful that I won’t be there, eh?  Does anybody else see the irony in that this nation is banning books by the dozens … BOOKS 📕 📚 that open minds, educate, and help us make the world a better place … while at the same time refusing to ban assault weapons such as the one used on Tuesday, the ones that have been used so many times to kill thousands of innocent people?  There is something intrinsically wrong here …

The following chart lists the 50 senators who have taken the most money from the NRA.  Is one or more of your state’s senators on this list?  One of my own state’s senators, Rob Portman, has taken more than $3 million in donations from the NRA and I am more ashamed of him than ever before.  He is retiring this year, but I’m not doing any happy dances because he’s likely to be replaced by someone even worse, J.D. Vance … an unqualified bozo who loves guns, lies, and will do just about anything to get his name in print.  Read those senator’s names and look at the amounts … now do you understand why our lives mean less than nothing to these men and women who we have elected to act in our best interests?

Senator NRA Donations Gun Deaths in State per Year
Mitt Romney (UT) $13,647,676 365
Richard Burr (NC) $6,987,380 1,311
Roy Blunt (MO) $4,555,722 1,074
Thom Tillis (NC) $4,421,333 1,311
Cory Gardner (CO) $3,939,199 715
Marco Rubio (FL) $3,303,355 2,568
Joni Ernst (IA) $3,124,773 264
Rob Portman (OH) $3,063,327 1,402
Todd C. Young (IN) $2,897,582 907
Bill Cassidy (LA) $2,867,074 946
David Perdue (GA) $2,002,462 1,459
Tom Cotton (AR) $1,968,714 534
Pat Roberts (KS) $1,581,153 368
Pat Toomey (PA) $1,475,448 1,503
Josh Hawley (MO) $1,391,548 1,074
Marsha Blackburn (TN) $1,306,130 1,103
Ronald Harold “Ron” Johnson (WI) $1,269,486 592
Mitch McConnell (KY) $1,267,139 690
Mike Braun (IN) $1,249,967 907
John Thune (SD) $638,942 95
Shelley Moore Capito (WV) $341,738 305
Martha McSally (AZ) $303,853 1,013
Richard Shelby (AL) $258,514 961
Chuck Grassley (IA) $226,007 264
John Neely Kennedy (LA) $215,788 946
Ted Cruz (TX) $176,274 3,139
Lisa Murkowski (AK) $146,262 165
Johnny Isakson (GA) $131,571 1,459
Steve Daines (MT) $123,711 197
Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS) $109,547 576
Roger Wicker (MS) $106,680 576
Rand Paul (KY) $104,456 690
Mike Rounds (SD) $95,049 95
John Boozman (AR) $82,352 534
John Cornyn (TX) $78,945 3,139
Ben Sasse (NE) $68,623 169
Jim Inhofe (OK) $66,758 679
Lindsey Graham (SC) $55,961 829
Mike Crapo (ID) $55,039 242
Jerry Moran (KS) $34,718 368
John Barrasso (WY) $26,989 104
Lamar Alexander (TN) $25,293 1,103
Mike Enzi (WY) $24,722 104
John Hoeven (ND) $22,050 93
Susan Collins (ME) $19,800 146
Deb Fischer (NE) $19,638 169
James Lankford (OK) $18,955 679
Jim Risch (ID) $18,850 242
Tim Scott (SC) $18,513 829
Kevin Cramer (ND) $13,255 93

I am writing to a number of members of Congress this week with a simple, single question:  89% of people in this nation support stricter gun regulations, and some 67% support a ban on assault weapons – so why don’t you?  How can you claim to represent the people of this nation when you are voting against their will, against their best interests?

Fellow countrymen … now is the time for us to stop the madness, to stop electing and re-electing men and women who have no conscience, whose own lust for power and wealth are their only priority.  Research the candidates in your district and state, make sure the candidate you support does NOT support the NRA, does not support wealthy corporations over the interests of the people.  Look at that list above … if any of them are from your state and are up for re-election this year, vote them out!!!