WRONG WORDS, WRONG TIME

The price we pay for freedom

You know, people say stupid things. It happens frequently. Many folks on social media are ready to attack those who tweet, text or talk Second Amendment smack after a mass shooting, and so today’s coverage begins.

Late last year, Tennessee Representative Andy Ogles sent out a holiday card with his entire family holding guns. The caption read, “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” When asked about that photo in light of three kids and three adults being gunned down in a school in his city, he refused to apologize for his tasteless holiday P.R. Why? Perhaps he fears an expression of sorrow and grief would expose him to be less than the manly man he conjures for his brand and image.

Oh, Ogles did say he was, “devastated by the tragedy,” but like 99% of the Republicans in office, he will do absolutely nothing to protect the rights of “life, liberty and happiness” of the very people he represents, but he’s only one of many misguided guys who believe a gun is part of the “American dream.”

Tennessee Representative Andy Ogles

Another trope that rolls out of the mouths of the protectors of the amendment they like is a notion that mass shootings demonstrate that “freedom is not free,” and when people die at the hands of a lunatic it’s simply “the cost of freedom.” I find myself screaming that sounds exactly like a notorious domestic terrorist, Timothy McVie, who was put to death by the state.

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVie planted a bomb at the Oklahoma City Federal Building and killed more than 168 people, including nineteen children. When asked about the kids lost in his retribution for the Waco siege two years before, McVie uttered the immortal line, “They were just collateral damage.” Now, we have far-right members of Congress blaming the Nashville shooting on transexual procedures and illicit drugs, ignoring the real problem. The alleged shooter was being treated for a mental disorder.

There was no law in Oklahoma that prevented anyone from buying enormous amounts of the fertilizer McVie needed for his bomb, and obviously there are no red flag laws in Tennessee that would have prevented the shooter from legally buying seven guns. Audrey Hale’s parents didn’t think she should own guns, but she was a 28-year-old adult who could own as many guns as she wanted.

Tim Burchett, another braindead Congressman from Tennessee, declared, “We’re not gonna fix school shootings.” He even went so far to say that he doesn’t think the government has a role to play in stopping mass shootings. This guy, along with Andy Ogles, should be thrown out of Congress. If they cannot even believe a solution is feasible then they are part of THE PROBLEM.

Intellectually, I don’t care if you own one or four hundred guns, but if the purpose of your weaponry is casting fear over the neighborhood, you are misguided. If your reason for ownership is sport and hunting, I must ask what happened to using a rifle to bring down a deer or bird? Why would you destroy the very meat that is the object of your quest? Most police departments don’t have the firepower of their local gun clubs but, when protecting blue lives, pro-gun fans never seem to remember that cops are often outgunned by those with the automatic weaponry that Democrats want to ban.

Maybe I am naïve about the protection aspect of having weapons in the home. I get that you want to protect your family, but protect them from what? If an average gun lunatic wanted to off your whole family, all they would need is a loaded AR-15 and you would be helpless with your little 9mm handgun. It’s just a teddy bear for a nervous person, bringing comfort but no real protection.

Another aspect of our ongoing struggle with the plague of lunatic shooters is this concept of congratulating the police on how fast they responded. That’s all well and good, but in the end it’s not the quick response to the 911 call but the lack of concern about mental health challenges, red flags laws and dismal gun ownership record keeping. We truly have no idea about who owns guns and how many. Maybe we just don’t care.

A workable system would be national gun registration and a database entry required for weapon merchants and accessible by law enforcement. We need to keep an eye on those who buy “too many” guns or “too much” ammunition and messages posted on social media presenting clues to a crazy person’s intent. Yell to the ACLU all you like, but the print clearly states, “a well-regulated militia.”

Let me get real here. When dishonest politicians, TV talking heads and far-right scum on the internet claim the ravaged, dead bodies of nine-year-old children is just “collateral damage” or the “price of freedom,” I want to screech, “If you cannot do something to protect our children and make America better then SHUT UP!

I don’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat, if you don’t do something about this crisis you will go to hell. According to Axios, “At least 57 people have died in 38 mass shootings in the US this month alone, with another 133 injured.” With seven hundred people taken from the earth each year by senseless mass shootings, we must address it. We first must admit it happened, then agree it’s a scourge and decide what we will do to prevent it. If not, we are not much more advanced than Neanderthals, who didn’t have guns.

Security at every door, metal detectors, teachers with guns, students with guns, more resource officers, more weapons, more religious resistance to a Second Amendment update will only kill more. We are at the tipping point and maybe it’s too late. It’s certainly too late for the 57 people who were taken from us this month by firepower, but it’s not too late to take back some guns, limit who can own them and convince America that inaction by those in power is careless, reckless and intentional disregard. In a court of law that’s called “negligence.”

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THE SOLUTION TO GUNS IS EASY

We must change the Second Amendment

I am not being flippant; I am being logical. You see, gun owners, politicians, fanatics, domestic terrorists and others keep using the same source to justify why they should be able to own, carry and discharge their weapons. It’s time to correct the actual problem because a law that gives “rights” to one set of citizens is wreaking havoc and death on another. It’s unreasonable to say NOT taking guns away from law abiding citizens is the answer when we have no idea who those people actually are. How do we separate the well intentioned from those who intend harm and mayhem?

The NRA responded to a mass shooting more than a decade ago when their leader, Wayne LaPierre, stood at the microphone to pronounce a war cry, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.” Okay, but whenever I hear that slogan I must ask, “How did the bad gun get the gun?” Sadly, the answer to that question doesn’t seem to matter to the mouth-breathers who are in love with guns. Most of them got their guns legally or they took a legally purchased gun from their stupid parents.

The founding fathers wanted to make sure the farmers and citizens had guns, because of fear that Great Britain would come back and try to regain their land. They wanted THEIR country back, even though they had stolen the land from the Native Americans. Slaves and non-citizens were never going to get guns, because people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and they needed that free labor to keep their farms prosperous. And newsflash, they used guns to keep those workers in line.

Of course, George, Thomas and the rest of the Continental Congress had no idea how advanced firearms would become when they wrote these words into America’s bible, the Constitution, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” These twenty-seven words might keep some people of this land feeling like they are in control, but in reality no one is in control whether they own one or thousands of guns. The house, in this case the government, always wins.

Let’s explore the language of the amendment that is causing grown men and women to totally ignore the problem that having too many guns is causing. First of all, the founders introduce the premise that a “well-regulated” citizen army is a grand idea to protect our “free state.” They essentially were saying, “In order to have a well-regulated militia we cannot make a law that infringes the right of the people to keep and bear arms because those citizens could be called upon to defend this nation and the only way they are going to be effective is if they have their own guns. Okay, got it, promising idea.

Now here we are in 2022, when a kid goes out on his 18th birthday and buys an AR-15 assault weapon along with hundreds of rounds of ammo. He has not joined a militia and has no intent of protecting “our free state.” So, his use of the gun has not been mandated by the Second Amendment in any way. In fact, the use of an automatic rifle or other weapon of mass destruction for any other purpose is against the law. The kid in Uvalde, Texas was not protecting our nation from a bunch of nine-year-old school kids. He was nothing less than a domestic terrorist and murderer.

Our Constitution does not say that “well-regulated” cannot include background checks, registration of arms, a national database that could track people buying large guns and amounts of ammunition. One of the things other counties ask in their gun registration procedures is “What is the genuine need and use of the firearm?” We could do that here. In fact, I am proposing to codify such things in the amendment itself. I will get to my rewrite of the Second Amendment shortly.

I doubt anyone would declare their use of a weapon is to murder some kids in school, but may I ask this? Why is a kid under 25 years of age buying an automatic weapon? I come from a family of hunters and no one who hunts for sport and meat would use an automatic weapon. The gun would destroy too much of the target. So, why are citizens buying these guns? Another newsflash, almost all of the mass shootings done at schools and public gatherings were pertpetrated by men 18 – 21 years of age. So, maybe they aren’t ready to own firearms, we don’t sell them alcohol.

Oh, some will say it’s for protection. Protection from other owners of big guns make sense, but why is this necessary? It was said the cops in Texas were at a serious disadvantage because the killer had an AR-15 and they had only service revolvers. Really? Why did we make it easy for bad guys to acquire better guns than the police? We don’t need an arms race, we need more laws, more review, better red flag detection and the community’s ability to study, interview, counsel and control mentally ill young men. Unless we invest in such forms of intervention, we have no reason to talk about mental illness after every shooting.

The NRA gives millions of dollars to politicians, which was caused by a lack of sound reasoning on the part of the Supreme Court. They pointed to the First Amendment and allowed vast amounts of dark and dirty money into our constitutional government. The influence of the NRA is off the charts and the Supreme Court is to blame. When Justice Gorsuch declared that corporations have the same rights as the individual, he devalued the US citizenry. He’s a bad guy; but does he own a gun?

Here’s a Second Amendment rewrite that just might make things better, “There may be a time, when the government of the United States of America needs a well-regulated Militia or citizen army to help our Armed Forces keep and secure a free State. When asked, the people who have legally procured firearms can be sworn into this role and use those arms to defend the country. There are other recreational uses of firearms, and the State shall not make a law forbidding such ownership or usage. Any use of a firearm to harm or kill a United States citizen is not part of this right.”

If you don’t get it, I cannot help you. It’s not the Republican party that’s at fault, there are many Democrats who are also held in gun rapture. Too many males need to boost their manly confidence by holding a powerful artificial penis in their hands. You know, it might be a good thing if we had more rapists killed by women with guns. However, we cannot talk about saving the lives of the unborn, and with the same breath demanding that our broken system of gun control cannot be changed, all the while standing by doing nothing as little-baby bodies are torn to shreds by a madman’s weapon. Those who say nothing should be done or can be done are moral voids. And just to keep it a hundred percent, I say to them, “FUCK YOU!”

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BANG, BANG, YOU’RE DEAD

An Open Letter to High School Students of America

As an America more than five times your age, I come to you with some advice and I urge you to listen. In my life, I was opposed to the Vietnam war. My friends and fellow students were being sent 7,400 miles to fight a war we hardly understood. Some of my friends were killed. It was obvious that my government didn’t understand what we felt. History has revealed the lies and illegal actions of the “adults” running the United States of America during that dark time. It was a bi-partisan effort to kill us.

You have been awakened by a demonic tragedy and the misuse of a lethal weapon. You are joining hands and marching and chanting. You want to make a difference. We are with you. We care about you. We cry for you. We will march with you. We understand what you are saying. Wisdom of the past will help you. Learn about civil disobedience and your right to peacefully assemble. This isn’t going to be easy.

To end the Vietnam war, we had to expose the lies. We needed help from the free press and, in some cases, brave whistle-blowers with valuable documents like the Pentagon Papers. Google it. We had to see blood being spilled on the nightly news and middle America had to understand that these were “our boys” who were bleeding in the jungles. Your classroom floors will be cleaned, but you will never forget the terror you experienced. You need to bring that horror to the public. They need to understand what happened. As macabre and disrespectful as some might think, pictures of bloody bodies would make Congress wake up and start talking about solutions.

Next, I want you to know that the NRA and pro-gun factions in this great nation of ours will see you as the enemy. They will come after you and they will attack you. They won’t be using guns; they will be using propaganda. They will do research on you and your parents, and they will disclose connections to anything that even hints at “left-wing radical” associations. They will claim that you are being funded by Democratic Super PACs and you will hear the name George Soros. Do not listen to these talking heads on TV. They are not your friends. They will be attacking your cause célèbre and the fact that you have a platform; you have a voice. Do not get sucked into their nonsense.

If you start to make inroads in your quest to get gun regulations, they will attack you on very personal levels. They will circulate rumors about your sex life, they will put you on an enemy list, they will infiltrate your schools and try to get other students to rally against you. It’s an old playbook and I am simply reading a few pages from it. You will hear the term, “outside agitators,” which is code for linking you to some communist left-winged group. Do not stray from your message.

The NRA is a very powerful lobbyist group and they will pour money into defeating you. Be careful when they say they want to meet with you. And be extremely on guard when it comes to Donald Trump. He will tell you he is open to review and modification of the gun laws. He will suggest that he is “evolving” on the issue. He will even issue a memo to his Attorney General to “look into” whether “bump stocks” are legal, while he uses executive order to push almost a million dreamers to the edge of panic. He waited four and half months after the Las Vegas shooting to write his memo. Score a D- for him.

In the end, Trump will listen to the gun hawks and will walk away from you when the story dies. He already left behind the dead bodies in Las Vegas, Texas and the other killing fields. Donald Trump is not your friend. He will use you to placate moderate Republicans. Donald Trump is not an inadequate President, he’s an inadequate person.

You need to learn the terms of the Second Amendment and their importance to the far right in America. They will continue to let you die to save this sentence: A well -regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Now let’s talk about the March 24, 2018 march on Washington you are planning. Get as many people as you can to attend this event and don’t worry about who will promote it. You know how to use the internet and social media to motivate people.  Do it! You also need to think about giving marchers advice on where to stay and how to get around once there. Get the National Park people to help you. That’s their job. They did it for Martin Luther King, Jr. and they did it for the Million Man March and they did it for right wing groups. They are there for you. And be sure to read up on other rallies and protests in the Capitol, here.

And finally, you must continually state your goal. You must be extremely clear in what you are demanding. An 18-year-old kid can’t buy a beer or a hand-gun but can buy an AR-15 (semi-automatic rifle) and you must change the laws. You must not waiver. If we got Nixon to end the Vietnam War, you surely can motivate a bunch of old white guys to listen. If they don’t, vote them out. Just stay the course, there will be many of them to vote out.

Dwight C. Douglas

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