ARMED ASSAULTS

Trumpean Dystopia

Right after Donald Trump was elected President, he said, “I’ve really inherited a mess.” While there is some truth to that statement, history will remember what someone did, rather than what they said. Did you make things better, or did your lack of talent for leadership make it worse, Donald?

When a white man executes a group of human beings, we move quickly to peer into the psychological disturbances in that man’s soul. When a brown man takes lives, we hastily place the blame on the man’s religious dogma or where he came from. When a black man shoots up the place, we swiftly use phrases like “law and order” and “respect.”

The headline on CNN this morning (11-6-2017), points to a serious problem, Trump says Texas shooting result of ‘mental health problem’ not US gun laws. Is there really any difference between a man who has voices whispering in his brain saying “kill, kill” and someone who has been brainwashed into thinking he inherits paradise if he kills? In either case the actions are not those of a mentally stable human being.

These mass killings are a form of terrorism and should be classified as such by the legal system in this country. Why is that important? Because once an attack is considered terrorism, federal resources can be used to figure out why it happened and the penalties for those offenses can be harsher.

When you embrace the Second Amendment and give lip service to the First Amendment, you give the NRA and legal gun owners comfort. Several years ago, gun sales soared because of an imaginary fear that Obama was going to take them away. For a while after Trump’s election, gun sales decreased. But now, America will be marching to the gun shops and ranges to make sure they can protect themselves from the next armed assault.

It’s not Donald Trump’s fault that there are more than 300 million guns and rifles in America. After making a rough guesstimate from older NRA records, there are probably 2,446,294 AR-15 rifles currently available in the United States. Most likely, you are living within a few miles of someone who owns one. Not that comforting, and in this Trumpean dystopia, this will never change. We cannot legally stop the number from increasing.

In the case of the shooter in Texas, the structure that’s in place did not prevent this guy, who assaulted his wife and their child, from getting a gun. The shooter was given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force and slapped with 12 months of confinement in 2014 after his court marshaling. When the system we have doesn’t work, we have a bad system.

After being attacked themselves on a baseball field in Virginia, and seeing 59 people mowed down in Las Vegas, our lawmakers have not banned the “bump stock” device that converts a rifle from semi to full automatic weaponry. For some reason, the people who we elect to represent us in Washington, cannot, will not, make any effort to curtail the violence. The collusion with the NRA to thwart any reasonable weapon reform in this country is morally wrong. If you failed to save one life, then you are complicit.

If hate is the root of a massacre, then you have to take off your blinders and realize what is influencing these killers. If you want to end the homegrown incidents of those holding a radical belief system, you don’t build walls or tighten up visas, instead you must peer into the root of those desires. Sure, better vetting will make you feel better, but in the end the president has no power over legal residents being radicalized because they felt left out.

I’m always miffed when someone reacts to my plea for discussion and action on this national tragedy with defense of the amendment, rather than openness for a discussion. We always hear that same refrain, “the guns were purchased legally” and we go on about our business. Nothing to see here. Or is there?

Anyone can get a gun and, if you can get a gun, you can get a semi-automatic rifle. As we painfully learned, it takes only $200 to convert that nine-pound piece of metal into a real killing machine. If you follow Trump’s logic, we don’t need to do anything about the guns, we need to focus on mental health problems.

According to HealthAffairs.org, Trump’s 2018 budget would cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control by $1.3 billion and funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion. It would eliminate the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, folding it into the NIH with reduced funding. Substance Abuse and Mental Health budgeted funding would be cut by almost $400 million. This sounds like a commitment to creating more mental health problems, and, by extension, more mass killings.

The other day Donald Trump announced a big push to get rid of the scourge of drug addiction and death by pills. What is he doing about death by guns.?

From the National Institute on Drug Abuse: “There were 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016.” According to the New York Times: “The rate of gun deaths in the United States rose in 2016 to about 12 per 100,000 people, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” We don’t have the total annual numbers beyond 2014, and the NRA is making every effort, through Trump, to block that data. In 2014, there were 33,594-gun deaths, and it’s time we budget money for the CDC to research this menace to our society. Or are we waiting until it grows bigger?

To borrow an expression from Bush #41, this “blowhard” in the White House explains it all to us, and then does the opposite of what he should be doing. We cannot start to conquer the problem without a plan to study and act on the problem of mass killings. We need to replace the planner in chief. Trump clearly doesn’t know what he is doing.

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THEY ALREADY BOUGHT HIM

Can Trump Challenge the NRA?

The most powerful lobby in Washington has Donald Trump tucked securely in their pocket. When it comes to politicians in Washington, it’s always open carry season and the Donald is just another politician.

Even though our President can talk about an “act of pure evil,” he doesn’t want to talk about guns, yet. He may never do anything about guns, but that should not surprise anyone. His underlings talk about how bad Chicago is, rather than answering the one special question they refuse to face. How do you control guns? How do we as Americans stop the carnage, as Trump called it in his inaugural address?

If you are taking the time to read this post, you have time to look at this incredible page that was created by the Washington Post. Just take a moment to think about this grave reality we allow.

Look at the headlines from the last five years: 59 killed, more than 500 injured in Las Vegas; 49 killed, 58 injured in the Orlando nightclub shooting; 14 killed, 22 injured in San Bernardino, California; nine killed in Charleston, South Carolina; 12 killed, three injured in Washington, D.C.; 27 killed, one injured in Newtown, Connecticut. You can see that we have a problem. And those weren’t all the shootings, there were more. We are so numb to these killing sprees, we hardly notice the shootings that kill three, four or six people. It’s like they never happened.

Another great website is this one: EveryTown. According to this site, 93 Americans are killed with guns each day in America, which adds up an average of nearly 12,000 gun homicides a year in the US. Seven children and teens (age 19 or under) are killed with guns in the US on an average day. You can read the rest and then either go back into your stupor, or start to do something about this.

What role should the President of the United States have in this critical American problem? Candidate Trump bragged about being against the Washington swamp and how he couldn’t be bought by the lobbyists and interest groups controlling Congress. He is being bought, however.

According to the spot and ad research company, Media Monitors, between June 1, 2016 and the election in November of the same year, the NRA bought and placed 28,774 radio and TV political spots that helped Donald Trump get elected. Their message was simple, Hillary Clinton will get rid of the Second Amendment. According to CNN, more than $54 million was spent by the NRA to advance Trump’s candidacy.

Does the NRA think that Trump owes them his loyalty? They certainly do. And Trump feels the need to maintain that relationship and sees the money they give him as quid pro quo for him helping advance a platform of more liberal gun laws.

When the gun store owners sold Stephen Paddock dozens of guns he used to kill more than 59 people, they saw, “No indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit to buy the guns at any time.” In short, the firearms were purchased legally. He also bought boxes and boxes of ammo without anyone’s knowledge. And he bought the guns in four different states, therefore no way the police or federal agents would have been warned.

We might be able to track guns used in a mass assault after the event, but it’s impossible to track large gun and ammunitions purchases before these events take place. Why? Because there isn’t a national database of gun ownership. This idea was thwarted by the NRA, which gave large contributions to all the Congressmen and women in key states. The NRA owns Congress.

All the data is on paper and the law is clear. Federal law explicitly prohibits federal law enforcement agencies from: (1) using dealers’ records of sales to establish a centralized system for the registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions; and (2) requiring dealers’ records of sales to be recorded in, or transferred to, a centralized facility. Checkmate.

So, that leaves Trump, the great Orange Leader. We know that the Supreme Court has been slanted to the opinion that the Constitution says that no law can be made to restrict gun ownership in America, but what about munitions? Is there a way to modify the law within the spirit of the Second Amendment?

Sad to say, Trump will do nothing about these mass killings. He has been bought. Congress has been bought. The Supreme Court cannot write law, only interpret it. And even with what some researchers say is a decline of support for an assault rifle ban after the election of Trump, we are faced with the same question and the same answer. It’s a blatant lie that restrictive gun laws don’t work, read this.

The question is: Is there is nothing we can do about guns? No is the answer. Stop complaining and reload is what the NRA would tell you. If someone killing 20 grade schoolers cannot get people to act in Congress, what will?

The House has cooked up a good payback for the NRA. It’s a provision called the Hearing Protection Act, which is embedded in the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement, or SHARE Act. This little nugget would eliminate restrictions on silencers, you know the device spies and gangsters use to kill people without any noise. Yes, we have to protect the gun owners’ hearing while giving up protections against organized crime and gangs.

Under the National Firearms Act of 1934, suppressors – along with “destructive devices” such as grenades or rocket launchers, “sawed-off” shotguns and machine guns – currently require federal registration, a special license and a tax of $200. Well, the new SHARE Act would repeal those restrictions and then we can get really crazy using silencers. Without the BIG BANG of a gun, it might take victims and law enforcement longer to determine that a fire arm is being discharged and, of course, the source of the bullets raining down on a crowd. Too soon? I think not.

Donald Trump has no desire to get anywhere close to the sensible gun reform movement. He is not going to budge a finger about guns in support of his boys at the NRA. We will have more acts of pure evil, sponsored by the NRA and Congress. Trump already has blood on his small hands, but the most we will hear from Donald the Dotard is, “Out damn spots.”

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