Why So Much Killing and Disregard for Life?

How many times do we need to read this, “It is unclear what motivated the shooting, but investigations are ongoing and will continue into most of the day…” One of the by-products of being in a Covid lockdown is not only did we avoid colds and the flu but the mass shootings were put on hold. Now that we are beginning to reopen, guns and shootings seem to be in the news every other day. WHY?

Jim Jordan, Representative of Ohio, once again embarrassed himself and his state by verbally abusing Dr. Anthony Fauci in a hearing on the Hill yesterday. It seems that Jordan’s agenda is to use his taxpayer-funded job to harass, vent and inflame citizens with no productive result.

The fact that Jordan disrespected Congress by not wearing a coat in a formal setting speaks to the character of the man, but isn’t it a moral affront to pit the number of people who have died from Covid-19 against the debate about when we will get all our rights back? Jordan was only trying to get on the news, which he did, but how do you think the families of those who have succumbed to the virus feel about his diatribe? Fauci is trying to save lives and Jim Jordan was yelling at him for no good reason. WHY?

All the numbers start to run together when seeing the daily stats, but we must always remember those numbers represent people. According to a Washington Post analysis of data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, during the past week thirty-eight states have reported an increase in the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19. But the national statistics don’t capture the intensity of the coronavirus emergency in the hotspots. Michigan reported more than 10,000 new infections on Tuesday alone. On Wednesday, the state reported an average of 46 deaths a day, up from 16 a month earlier. If 46 people were killed in a mass shooting, we would be alarmed and saddened.

Remember how you felt the morning after October 1, 2017 when Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip? He killed 61 people and injured 867 of the attendees. Put the coronavirus statistics in those terms and it begets a raw emotion and perhaps depression. Every day in MICHIGAN, more than 10,000 are hospitalized with Covid and 46 to 60 of them die.

According in CNN, 45 shootings have taken place in the last thirty days in the USA. Here are a few of the more infamous ones. On March 16th, eight people were killed by a gunman at three massage businesses in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the victims were of Asian descent. On March 22nd in Boulder, Colorado, a shooter at a supermarket killed ten people, including a police officer who was the first to respond to the scene. In Orange, California on March 31st, a gunman killed four people and critically wounded a fifth at a Southern California office building. On April 7th, former NFL player Phillip Adams shot six people, including Robert Lesslie, a prominent doctor, his wife and two of their grandchildren along with two air conditioning technicians. His brain is now being examined for possible degenerative disease that has been shown to cause violent mood swings and other cognitive disorders in some athletes and members of the military. At least in this case, we might get an answer, albeit, too late.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Just last night, a gunman opened fire outside and inside a FedEx Ground facility near the Indianapolis main airport, killing eight people, wounding several others and sending witnesses running before taking his own life. We’ll probably never learn the true motivation of this former FedEx employee, but it’s pretty damn clear we have a huge problem in the United States of America.

While we are watching bad guys with guns shooting good people without guns, we are also seeing police officers around the country shooting people for minor issues and traffic stops. We watch the court cases with witnesses and experts giving their testimony but the victims have no voice there.

I am angered by Jim Jordan’s obvious disregard for life, his disrespect of a medical expert and his disdain for a united effort to beat the virus. He’s so worried about the Frist Amendment he’s forgotten about all of our rights to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” My idea of happiness is not laying in a hospital room on a ventilator. Should Jordan’s shredding of policies and extra care taken to lower the spread of a virus make things worse then he’s complicit, just like Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is complicit in every mass shooting in America. Yes, I get all the Second Amendment stuff but what suggestion or steps has LaPierre made to solve the problem of American mass shootings? Bupkis.

The idea that a good guy with a gun will keep us safe is more than fallacious, it just doesn’t work at all. If we had a competent president when the global pandemic broke out, we would not have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of American lives to keep the economy rolling. It’s not helpful to debate our freedoms when we have kids being shot by cops, a virus taking a thousand lives each day and mass shootings wasting people all over the country. Where does Representative Jim Jordan get off screaming at Dr. Fauci when he has not put forth a single idea to cure Covid-19? He’s much beyond a squeaky wheel, he’s a horrendously loud human fart.

We should not have disposable people. Human life is not sacred when we talk one way about Roe vs. Wade and then other ways about gun control, national health policies and police reform. If you care only about your dogma, then you are most likely disregarding the people you supposedly serve. Elected officials have a supreme responsibility to make sure all Americans are safe — safe to live, safe to work and safe to travel without fear of becoming infected with a virus or being executed by a cop. We must get back to our values with the understanding that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness mean something. If not, then we are just another third-world county but with lots of money.

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The Complicit President

One of the great miscalculations of the decade came from the gun-suckers at the National Rifle Association during the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference. They heavily miscalculated their message and, unfortunately for America, our sitting President is equally tone-deaf. This post may get me on two enemies lists for the price of one, but it seems like there is a wind blowing and the updraft from the heat and sorrow of death is lifting opinions.

The NRA must surely be wondering why their messaging hit such a sour note in Maryland last week. Like most shows, a comedian warmed up the audience so that the star had an audience primed and ready for the headliner. Ms. Dana Loesch said, “Many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it. I’m not saying you love the tragedy. But I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold… And notice I said crying white mothers because there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend and you don’t see town halls for them, do you?”

With that statement, Loesch sparked a tweetstorm from people all over the United States. Some might say it was insensitive to make those remarks within 24-hours of the CNN Town Hall with survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, but the words were more than obtuse. They were an example of the numbing reality that the NRA’s tactics are not caring, open or helpful. They sensed, for the first time, that people were coming for them in the dead of night with torches. They overreacted.

Their leader, Wayne LaPierre, has a famous slug-line, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.” He marched into the room and attempted to present the NRA as a solid front and to reaffirm himself as the puppeteer pulling the strings of Congress and our President. The leader of the NRA misconstrued some of the basic points of his association’s existence. Yes, of course, the National Rifle Association is a registered lobbyist, but they want to be more. And it wasn’t more than seconds before Donald Trump was parroting the points that LaPierre was making on stage at CPAC.

What disturbed many corporate leaders was not only the divisive rhetoric of Dana Loesch, but the highly-charged words of LaPierre. He advanced a political attack that sounded like Germany rhetoric from 1939. And if you think words don’t matter, consider this: Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States soared by 57 percent in 2017, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League. That’s the largest single-year increase in more than two decades. There was an 86 percent rise in vandalism.

Wayne’s world protects 100 million-gun owners by getting money from five million members. There are companies who believe that supporting the NRA is good business. I don’t understand why Delta Airlines, Hertz Rent a Car and other companies thought that offering discounts to NRA members was a good idea. Do they offer discounts to Super PACs or other lobbyist members?

The NRA damaged their brand with those two speeches and, of course, proved the point the high school students were making. With LaPierre saying that the “European Socialists” were controlling the minds of the masses, he was sending a message that anyone who confronts the NRA is politically bad for America. He sounded like a politician running for office.

The speech reeked of Neo-Nazi messaging. And while the CEO of the NRA was defending his cause he had no idea that Nikolas Cruz, the shooter in Parkland, Florida, etched swastikas in his ammunition magazines. Oops!

In 2015, Dylann Roof confessed to murdering nine African Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, one of 40 states not requiring background checks for private gun transactions. In clear sight on the internet, Roof espoused racial hatred. Photographs there showed him posing with emblems associated with white supremacy. He had also been arrested. He beat the system.

When a reformed Neo-Nazi appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes trying to motivate others from getting sucked into the group, Dylann Roof sent him a letter from prison that read: “I know you won’t be, but you really should be ashamed of yourself. Traitor, you’ve really cashed in, haven’t you? I hope you know that you are 100 times worse than the Jews you’ve surrounded yourself with.” No repent there.

And with the death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a Unite the Right rally, it was clear that a statement from the President would have helped the situation. Rather than denounce this bullshit, Donald Trump gave a convolved message of “fine people on both sides.” He advanced anti-political correctness rather than calling out Neo-Nazis. He worried about a Robert E. Lee statue more than America.

Donald Trump, through stupidity or complicity, has not created a strong message against the KKK, Nazis, White Nationalist and other terror groups operating in America. The NRA fights any effort to track gun owners, so it’s impossible to know names and locations of the bad guys. And much of Congress shakes in their boots when it comes to the NRA. Nothing happens, and not only is Trump complicit but he has neglected his duty to keep us safe.

The voice of the Florida students and the corporate boycotts will alarm companies who would rather not be involved in politics. This time the NRA veered off course and made a wide turn away from the Second Amendment. With LaPierre critiquing other facets of government and society, he struck a hateful Trumpian tone. CEOs and boards of directors are nervous. Good use of social media this time!

Wayne LaPierre doesn’t have the credibility to talk about leaks in the intelligence community, media bias or universities he claims are spearheading a socialist revolution by emphasizing the teachings of Karl Marx. He added that America was trending toward a “growing socialist state.” Adolf Hitler was against Karl Marx as well and said, “Our adopted term ‘Socialist’ has nothing to do with Marxian Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true socialism is not.”

The Nazis adopted a new gun law in 1938, allowing Non-Jews to buy rifles, shotguns and ammunition. Handguns were also easy to own, buy, sell or carry. Local officials could even allow people under the age of 18 to buy a gun. Gee, how did that work out? Lots of crazy brown-shirted kids killing Jews.

Saying that anything which challenges their power is somehow connected to European Socialism and Karl Marx, has not only blurred the message of the NRA but has left trouble and blood on their hands.

The NRA has failed to understand America. When people suggest true universal background checks on gun purchases, they aren’t talking about Karl Marx. They are talking about Making America Safe Again. In the bigger picture, the smart people in the United States with knowledge of history are hearing exactly what the NRA is saying, “You cannot fuck with us.” As our President has said, “We will see.”

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