Changes…

Changes…

And these children
That you spit on
As they try to change their world
Are immune from your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…

–David Bowie

A little under two years ago, I wrote this post in reaction to Philando Castile’s murder:

Storm’s here.

In that time, nothing changed, until last February, kicked off when a series of white males took up arms against their social circle and inspired a movement in the aftermath of their destruction. Except, that’s not the whole picture.

Compare and contrast.

Four articles from The Guardian, a somewhat left-leaning source with roots in the United Kingdom:

1. Florida shooting: suspect escaped scene by hiding among students as they fled
Nikolas Cruz, 19, charged with 17 counts of murder as officials confirm the AR-15 rifle used to commit massacre was purchased legally

(Incident: February 14, 2018. Dead: 17, injured: 17)

2. Austin bomb suspect left video ‘confession’ before he died
Police say footage portrays ‘a very challenged young man,’ but nothing to show he was motivated by hate

(Incidents: March 2-20, 2018. Dead: 2, injured: 5)

3.  ‘They executed him’: police killing of Stephon Clark leaves family shattered
A young, unarmed black man was shot 20 times in his grandmother’s backyard. Now his brother is fighting through grief to demand justice

(Incident: March 18, 2018. Dead: 1)

4. Maryland student who shot classmate dead killed himself, officials say
Austin Rollins, 17, fired a fatal shot to his head just as he encountered the school resource officer at Great Mills high school

(Incident: March 20, 2018. Dead: 2, injured: 1)

Wait. Did I say four? I meant five.

5. Alton Sterling shooting: two police officers will not be charged with any crime
Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II won’t be charged for incident that occured [sic] in July of 2016 that sparked unrest throughout Baton Rouge

(Incident: July 7, 2016. Dead: 1)

Two of these incidents are not like the others. In fact, the victims in those two incidents stand in stark contrast to the others, even though they are connected by the way in which they died. And in how the victims were described. And in the accountability of those who perpetrated their murders.

On March 22nd, I wrote this piece, after the Associated Press put out a horrendous article describing the Great Mills murderer as a “lovesick teen.” The phrase AP used seemed completely tone deaf, wholly inappropriate given the reality that, according to the Violence Policy Center, 11 murder-suicides happen every week, and that 9 out of 10 murderers use a gun.

As the article above shows, the Resource Officer originally credited with stopping the murderer actually hit him in the hand, and that the kid died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

The hand.

Think about that.

In contrast, Stephon Clark was shot twenty times in his own backyard, murdered in cold blood, and the only thing the cops could find after the dust settled was a cellphone. And nobody could explain why they had to turn off their body cameras.

When Alton Sterling was shot, he did have a gun on him. And it shouldn’t have mattered. After all, Louisiana is an Open-Carry state, and Sterling was within his legal 2A right to possess and carry the gun.

According to an eyewitness report from his friend inside the store, near where Sterling was murdered, the gun was in his waistband, not in his hands.

What Sterling and Clark, and Castile, and Brown, and all the others have in common is an abundance of melanin, which most of the cops and all of the civilian murderers listed above, lack.

People of color have been targets since the first of the slave ships landed on these shores. And cops have proven that lynching isn’t necessary as long as they feel free to pump lead into any individual they view as a threat, regardless of reality.

Being born with dark skin isn’t inherently threatening unless one wants an excuse to pump the entire contents of a gun clip into a human being and call him a target, to exercise summary justice outside of the legal system, to shut down any possibility of accusations of police brutality or corruption.

Any excuse will do, regardless of whether the victim’s legal and civil rights say otherwise.

I’ve been writing about racism since the first few posts I wrote in this blog, way back in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the Bush family turned a blind eye to reality and cost the lives of almost 1,500 people and displaced a huge number of poor families, many of color, in New Orleans.

#BlackLivesMatter, which started as a hashtag on social media,  came into existence in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s acquittal finally drew attention to the massive disparity between being black and being white in America.

But not enough. Not nearly enough.

No, it took a major tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in a privileged part of Florida’s Broward County, to focus the movement like a laser. These students are articulate, driven, privileged kids. They have finally, firmly, seized that banner of truth and anger and sadness, raised it high, and reached out to their siblings across the country who have been targets far longer.

Inclusive, determined, driven by force of will, these kids who founded the March For Our Lives movement, who have declared #NeverAgain in places across the country, are defining the future in their terms.

Now that they’re coming of age, their movement looks a lot like the Vietnam War protests of our past. And no wonder.

We ARE at war.

We are deep into Civil War, and we have no idea where it will lead, but the children…OUR children…have declared in more than a million clear, strong voices of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and cultures, that #EnoughIsEnough.

Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and their friends speak not just for the students at MSD, but for kids across the country, and they will sit in silence no longer.

It’s no surprise that they have welcomed their siblings of color, who are considered “at-risk” merely for existing. After all, they’re theatre kids. They understand diversity in ways only some of us fully understand.

In a time and place where our people of color are maimed or killed in disproportionate numbers, simply because they’re not white, these kids see only one thing: Themselves.

In our gun-saturated society, there’s a reckoning coming. It’s coming at the ballot box this year.

This is just the start.

May these children succeed where we have failed, in the ten years since the District of Columbia v. Heller  decision, to force change. I only wish David Bowie was still here to see it.

David Bowie – Changes (Olympia)

Endarkenment…

Endarkenment…

Guardian.com: If Donald Trump wins, it’ll be a new age of darkness

We are almost there. The countdown says two days. This time Tuesday, we’ll be minutes away from the closing of the last polls, except for Alaska and Hawaii (IIRC). We should already know how things look in the East. We might know the Central states. We will start to have an idea of how the Mountain states are doing.

My kids and I will bear witness to history, because this will either be the election when a woman finally steps up to the helm of my country, or we tip over the cliff to full-on fascism.

You can go back and search on the keywords to the right to find all the posts I’ve written concerning our drift to the extreme right. You can look at the photos, read the articles aggregated here, and you can see much of what I’ve written (though not all of it, because I’m still merging two blogs and a lot of material I posted on my FB account).

What you won’t see, at least not for a couple of months, is the effect this campaign season has had on our country. We ought to thank Donald Trump for outing all the hatred, misogyny, and racism that some of us have known about for decades.

Hidden in the crevices, spoken in whispers, quietly shared in dark meeting halls and on gun ranges all over the country, the nastiest, most dreadful schemers have stockpiled millions of weapons, just waiting for the signal to tell them it’s time.

Whether or not Hillary Clinton overcomes the dark money plot to divide us, the damage is already done.

I know I am standing on the right side of history, but what that history will show in fifty or a hundred years is anyone’s guess. I’ll probably be long gone by then.

It’s no wonder that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s gift to the modern American musical, Hamilton, centers around the gun. There has never been a better time to witness, firsthand, what civil war will do to a nation at odds with itself. We are overripe, and overdue, for our own war to end all wars.

I’m not a praying woman, by and large. I came late to a faith tradition and my current circumstances keep me from attending weekly services, so it’s easy to forget the process, but I am hoping with every fiber of my being that come Tuesday I won’t have to figure out how to survive in the new regime.

I want to know that my friends in same sex marriages, with kids or without, on the big, beautiful heritage, gender, and intellectual spectra, will still be welcome in this country come Wednesday.

I will bear witness on Tuesday, and I will post the results as they come in, so that I can continue to bear witness to history.

And I will remember. All the lies, all the slander, all the hatred and intolerance, all the righteous indignation that somehow we are something other than that which our founding fathers envisioned over 200 years ago, all that and more, for all of that I will bear witness.

We are the product of 240 years’ worth of fighting for independence.

If only we knew what to do with it.

#ImWithHer #Election2016

Storm’s here.

Storm’s here.

In December of 2014, I wrote this post as a placeholder for further exploration. I never got back to the subject because I was trying to juggle the holiday performance schedule and the last semester of classes before graduation in May. It isn’t that the problem had gone away, but it seemed quiet for a time.

The primaries have come and gone, the presumptive nominees are digging in and preparing for their party conventions, and we are reaping the rewards of decades of toxic repressed racism and anger, combined with a rhetoric of hate from the Right that promises to throw our supposedly inclusive society out in favor of pre-war fascism, just as I’ve been predicting since 2012.

Go back and reread the posts I’ve made since I launched this blog, way back in October, 2012, just prior to the election. Every word, every warning…it’s all there.

White Fragility

In March, 2015, articles began to surface that identified a serious problem. The problem, outlined in several useful articles, suggested that white people are so privileged, so clueless about what it means to be a person of color in this country, that any approach at all voids the conversation because people are too entrenched in their beliefs to see what that privilege looks like.

These articles include the following:

America’s white fragility complex: Why white people get so defensive about their privilege The author of “What Does It Mean to Be White?” on Black Lives Matter and our biggest misconceptions about racism

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism

Race is difficult to talk about. And that’s exactly why we keep talking about it. Here are some of our best posts on the subject.

As I said at the bottom of the post I made in December, race is fiction. Racism is real.

But that’s not all. Not even a fraction of reality.

Aftermath

In the wake of three horrific events that are currently in the news, people who care are seeking answers, trying to come to grips with retaliation and looking for someone to blame. Stories, like clockwork, are coming out again. They describe similar circumstances, near misses, lucky escapes that depended on the gun holder’s ability to put it away instead of using it without thinking first. And they will not go away. They MUST NOT go away.

What we have learned in a short 72 hours is this:

  1. Police still fire on unarmed men because they believe their own lives are at risk.
  2. Going armed is, in fact, a privilege reserved for white people, because by definition a black man is guilty, regardless of due process.
  3. The right to bear arms is …also to defend yourself from the government should it become tyrannical.

Except, of course, when you’re a person of color.

How has this become a thing in our country, where freedom is supposed to be prized above and beyond all else? This shit’s not new. 1968 was only 48 years ago. And in just that brief generation or two, look at what we have done.

Here’s why this matters: The Counted People killed by police in the USYou’ll notice right off the bat that the cops are doing this to all sorts of people, but based on the statistics, Native Americans and Blacks outnumber the rest of the dead by 2:1. Make of this statistic what you will, but why are good guys with guns doing these things, when due process is supposed to do it for them?

Cops don’t wait. If you’re packing heat, you’re guilty until proven innocent. Doubly so if you’re not white. Here’s why: Shooting to kill: Why police are trained to fire fatal shots

After last night’s events in Dallas, they may have a point. The attack on Dallas cops who were there to help, not hurt, has drawn the attention of everyone, and for various reasons. It was, on its face, a horrible event. Anyone who appears shocked that it happened has clearly missed the point, though, about rhetoric that says our guns are intended to protect us from oppression and tyranny. How are these identified? By the shooting of unarmed men by hair-trigger cops with axes to grind?

What do you do when a good guy with a gun can’t stop bad guys with guns?

Where’s the NRA on this?

The NRA includes talking points that boil down to Number 3, nine times out of ten, in an argument over gun rights. I’ve heard plenty of this crap since I started making noise about it online. But when the tyranny is aimed at people who don’t look like us, and when those numbers seem to be invisible except for a few high profile incidents where someone was in the right place at the right time to shine a light on the truth, the argument evaporates in a puff of white privilege.

It is the same with the open carry policy. It’s okay to carry a gun for protection if you’re white. If you’re not, it’s a ticket to the grave. The NRA is still largely silent on the subject, because on the one hand, this is the bed they made, and on the other hand, they can’t condone violence against the police or they risk unmasking themselves as the hypocrites they are.

Justin Cohen, in a piece from July 6th that predates both Philando Castile‬’s murder and the Dallas shooting, lays it all out. If we want justice for all, if we truly want a nation where all men, women and children are created equal, then it is on US to make this happen. Accountability starts and ends with the holder of the weapon. It should not ever require chance or accident to see these acts of murder for what they are.

If we don’t do something, Dallas will be just the start of the ugliest summer on record in the United States of America since the American Civil War.

Storm’s not coming anymore. It’s here.

#BlackLivesMatter #SayTheirNames #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #DisarmHate #Enough

 

Orlando…

Orlando…

In January 2013, after the Sandy Hook massacre, I was moved to write this post. Last night I attended the Orlando memorial and vigil, combined with the movie Pride, which my art house theater showed for free. I held one of the candles early on in the evening, before the movie, to honor the dead.

While I was watching Pride, some things boiled back up to the surface, not the least of which was my time at New Paltz as part of the theatre community. The scenes where the wives of the miners go to the London scene could have been right out of my own experience.

I tried briefly to call up all the names and faces of the people I met then, to remember my high school friend Eric, the first guy I knew was out and proud, and all the people I’ve met in between. I can’t count them all.

Before I got through the movie, I knew already how it would end, at least in part. And I wept, not just for those killed or injured at Pulse, but for every one of the people I’ve met or been friends with in my life.

Even without my theatre experience, I knew I was always an ally. The community that the shooter violated is in part my community. If this had happened 1984 or 1985, in the bars where my friends and I went to dance, it could have been me.

Empathy. That’s what this is.

Any 2A argument that this could have been solved with a good guy with a gun fails to understand the nature of these safe havens. Guns aren’t necessary when you’re home. And if you think they are, I feel sorry for you, because you have no safe place.

That is why I weep for my country, for my brothers and sisters, wherever they fall on the spectrum. AIDS wasn’t a punishment or divine retribution. Neither was the attack last weekend. If you think otherwise, I feel sorry for you because you have lost the ability to empathize.

May you come to your own peace. I am still working on mine.

( i )


GOP Congressmen Offer “Thoughts and Prayers.” Here’s How Much the NRA Gave Them to Offer Nothing More.

Is your Representative in the NRA’s pocket?

Gingrich: Let’s Create New Version Of House Un-American Activities Committee

NRA breaks its silence and blames ‘Obama administration’s political correctness’ for Orlando shooting

STONEKETTLE STATION: The Seven Stages of Gun Violence

Obama Had This Haunting Confrontation With A Pro-Gun Activist Just Days Before The Orlando Massacre

Democratic senator frustrated by inaction on guns wages filibuster

Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…

Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…

UPDATED: 7:49pm

 

I didn’t want to go there, but I sure had a sneaking suspicion, and I’ve just been proven right.
According to Gawker Magazine, the shooter was a regular at Pulse. This was no random attack. It was cold blooded, premeditated murder. Daesh had nothing to do with it.

 

Orlando Shooter Was Reportedly a Regular at Pulse and Had a Profile on Gay Dating App

 


There are plenty of words for what happened in Orlando but I promised not to say any of them yesterday because the families and friends of the dead deserved that much.

It’s disgustingly typical of Conservative America that the 2nd Amendment remains more important than human life, but how will the deluded reconcile too many guns with radical Islam and manage to keep the dialogue from devolving into “more guns would fix this?”

Make the problem into a self-righteous rant that they must have deserved it because LGBTQ? (Nope. No cognitive dissonance there.)

No. Not quite.

Whether the lone wolf shooter, who will remain anonymous in this post, is or is not an actual member of DAESH is truly irrelevant here. He was born in New York City, was not even observing Ramadan (the holiest month in the Islamic year), and in the usual 20/20 hindsight that comes after these events, was unstable, violent, threatening, and still employed despite a co-worker’s warnings that he was dangerous. The shooter was licensed and fully able to acquire the firepower he needed to do roughly a third the amount of damage as took place November 13, 2015 at Le Bataclan in Paris.

The problem lies not in the shooter’s actual affiliation but in the dialogue that will come from this horrific event. It lies in this statement, posted by WTOP at 5:50 a.m.:

The Islamic State’s radio has called the Orlando mass shooter “one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America.”

Al-Bayan Radio, a media outlet for the IS extremist group, on Monday hailed the attack that left 50 people dead [including the shooter], saying it targeted a gathering of Christians and gays and that it’s the worst attack on U.S. soil since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Authorities say [the shooter] opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at a gay nightclub early Sunday before being killed in a shootout with police. Another 53 people were wounded in the shooting.

The broadcast is apparently an opportunistic statement as IS has not officially claimed responsibility for the Orlando attack.” [emphasis mine]

You want to see how this stacks up against reality?

Have you been reading my posts? I’ve explained this already. And I’m not alone.

As mass shootings plague US, survivors mourn lack of change

There can be no rational discussion ever again about common sense gun control, because GOD NRA FORBID we exercise control of our emotions long enough to realize we’re talking about human lives, of people with the same exact rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, whether it’s the brand of happiness we think is acceptable.

When single issue voters choose the Second Amendment over anything resembling sanity, this is what we get as a result: “The state of Gun Violence in the US, explained in 18 charts.”

In 2009, when there were still enough Democrats in Congress to make a difference, the House and Senate finally passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama later signed into law. It would never have passed today.

According to Vox.com, the bill, which added perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities to the list of protected classes under existing federal hate crimes law, was passed as a rider to one of that year’s Defense Spending bills, no thanks to the following individuals, who voted against the bill.

[The names in RED are running for re-election this November. Remember that when you go to the polls this year. Again, emphasis mine.]

In the Senate:

Sen. John Barasso (R-WY)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

 

In the House

The following are ALL up for re-election, except where noted, and you can vote them out in November:

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. John Boozman (R-AR), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA)
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. Dan Camp (R-MI)
Rep. Shelley Capito (R-WV), who’s now a US senator
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
Rep. John Chaffetz (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)
Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN)
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who’s now a US senator
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Rep. Steven Guthrie (R-KY)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX)
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Rep. Pete King (R-NY)
Rep. John Kline (R-MN)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. John Mica (R-FL)
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI)
Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN)
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)
Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

 

What are YOU doing on November 8, 2016?

And another thing…

And another thing…

I’m going to riff off the post I made earlier on FB, because it summarizes the problem we’re facing today. If you already read my post, feel free to share it. I’m following on from my last post, Connecting the Dots, Part 4, where you’ll find the current stats for the 2016 Primaries and Caucuses.


What did the GOP establishment think was going to happen when they kept comparing President Obama to Hitler, told their constituents they ALL had to have guns to protect themselves, that the country is in crisis and only the GOP will save them, and then put up a field of candidates who couldn’t actually deliver?

When the real deal–a pure fascist demagogue–comes along with actual authoritarian values, charismatic appeal to the basest senses of fear and loathing, and stirs up the spoon-fed population of fully armed racists, bigots, misogynists and zealots and tells them he’ll do everything their narrow-minded hearts desire, who are they going to follow?

Make no mistake here: The GOP establishment and their crony capitalist billionaire thugs built this, and they’ve intentionally rigged the system with deceptive voting machines, voter ID laws and outright fraudulent counting practices just to ensure their candidates can’t lose. When Trump sweeps in come November, it will be because of everything WE let them do in the last eight years in service to the government they’ve sworn to destroy.

What they’ve all failed to remember–every last one of them–is what Germany looked like for DECADES. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and the final reunification took place in 1992, almost 50 years AFTER the end of World War II in 1945.

Think about that for a while, as you chew on all the rhetoric that says it can’t happen here, that Trump isn’t electable, that somehow Bernie Sanders or Hillary Rodham Clinton will win and we’ll all be okay.

The Right doesn’t recognize fascism because they think it’s a 54 year-old black man from Kenya.

Think about it.


Addendum 1:

This just crossed my feed. It doesn’t name names or call the question of where ALEC derived, but everything I’ve been saying since 2012 is here. What we’re seeing is the natural progression of decades of hate and manipulation, coalescing around Trump and Cruz (recently compared elsewhere in my feed to Mussolini and Hitler).

They built this.

Vote Libertarian and you suck votes away from the GOP. Vote Green or Socialist and you suck votes away from the Dems. And if, as I suspect, Cruz moves forward and takes the nomination away from Trump, there will rise a third party, that will split the GOP straight down the middle. IF Cruz gets enough support.
Regardless, that is the ONLY WAY this election won’t produce a Republican for the White House. Your choice: Authoritarian Fascist or Christian Theocrat. Which is worse: Concentration camps or the Spanish Inquisition?
Take your pick.
If you can’t say it to my face…

If you can’t say it to my face…

I woke up this morning at 2:30am after a fitful night’s sleep. I was trying to concentrate on homework before I crashed, but there was an incident last night in my favorite restaurant/hang out that bothered me on a level I failed to interpret properly, and I woke up and realized I needed to unload before I could go back to sleep, so I turned on my computer.

That led to a variety of things, including more work on the homework and, more importantly, some solidifying of my thoughts on what happened.

A few days ago, I posted a link to a quote on FB that appears to have grown legs. The quote appears to be a paraphrase of this article on Examiner.com, written by William Hamby: What if gun laws were like abortion laws?

My post, with a paraphrased version of the comparison Hamby made, continues to generate likes and has also attracted a couple of trolls who would rather point their flamethrowers at anyone who thinks pregnancy choice is a problem (read: Pro-Birth) than discuss the actual issue: Gun control.

 

I could address an anti-choice rant and get involved in a days-long fight with someone who’s only interested in posting on FB to generate arguments and feed the hate, who’s largely impervious to reason, employing logical fallacies rather than discussing the actual problem and identifying solutions, or I could eliminate the source.


I’ve been told that one of the individuals in question is a “professional troll” and I’ve got a clearly stated policy against such behavior on my FB page. Posting inflammatory rants borne of logical fallacy for the sake of pissing off the liberals is reason enough to eject someone from my space. I don’t tolerate trolling behavior and I try not to derail the conversation with straw man arguments or false equivalency, but the simple summary that generated the latest response struck me as a concrete analogy and that’s why it was important to share. 

 

Too often, 2nd Amendment supports see their right to guns as trumping any other rights to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. The trouble is, with today’s all-too-often climate of “shoot first, ask later” and doxxing as a means to settle arguments, you actually can’t be too cautious about who you invite to the conversation.

 

Maybe that’s wrong, but I called the police tonight on a guy in my local favorite restaurant (which, by the way, is run by a Muslim family) because the ass wipe was behaving in a manner that threatened him and his family. So when I say I won’t tolerate behavior and I’ll say it to someone’s face, I back that 100%.

 

Why did I call the cops? He was harassing the chef’s daughter, who does not speak English and was wearing her hijab. She was sitting quietly at the end of a long day, and he wandered through, heaping verbal abuse on a guy he called a “f**king queer (who packed up and left in a justifiable huff) and attempting to start a conversation with the daughter. I was unable to keep working on the homework. I felt threatened, and he wasn’t addressing me at all.

 

Two days ago, an American shot up his workplace after leaving angrily. This guy was wearing a cammo coat and was clearly drunk. What was going to stop him from going to his car, hauling out a pistol and exercising his 2A rights, as he saw them through a haze of alcohol? So, I called the cops, because it was necessary. It’s sad that I had to go there at all, but it was clear from where I was sitting that he was unloading all that hate just because she was wearing something he could identify as a target for abuse.

 

It’s the same hate I’ve seen filling the arenas where Trump and Carson and the rest of the bigots in the GOP try to pander to their racist, homophobic, xenophobic base, out of fear they will become irrelevant if they can’t control all the branches of government.

 

It’s the same hate that made the GOP vote to repeal the ACA (Obamacare), and defund Planned Parenthood (even though the federal government is banned from financing abortions).

 

And now that we’ve finally seen Daesh on our own shores, maybe we’ll finally see some action regarding control of weapons, even though the vast majority of mass shootings occurred with a Christian or Atheist at the trigger. The irony hasn’t escaped me, but the question is: Why now? Why not back when Lanza shot all those children in Sandy Hook? Or when the kids shot up their classmates and teachers in Columbine?

 

You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to force me to risk my health for your firmly held belief. That includes your opinion of Planned Parenthood facilities, semi-automatic weapons, medical Mary Jane or anything else. And you sure as hell aren’t entitled to say whatever you want on my FB wall or here, with no consequences to your actions.

 

I’m not going to waste my time arguing with you. Deleting the hate-filled spew on my wall and blocking the source is as much a self-defense mechanism as anything else. If people can’t be civil, they can leave. I’ve said as much on FB, right here. And if they won’t leave, I’ll eject them. It’s really, truly, that simple.

The law we’ve all been waiting for…but wait! There’s more!!!

The law we’ve all been waiting for…but wait! There’s more!!!

Last night I had an extended conversation on Facebook (which I do quite often, because these posts don’t tend to happen anywhere near as much as they should).

The conversation started with this article:

Raw Story: Vermont woman uses high-powered rifle to kill social services worker after losing custody of her daughter

I led with the phrase “Because guns fix everything, and there are no consequences, right?”

It didn’t take long to get the usual response.

“I wish they would focus on that, this was not a sane person. If it’s a mental hospital, or prison, she goes forever.”

In the following responses we saw laid bare the actual problem with this statement, and with the NRA’s [oops! I mean] Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn’s newly proposed gun control bill

It’s quite simple, really: If you have to be insane to shoot someone, then why are the prisons filled with insane people?

Mental illness isn’t a crime, is it? Well, yes, it is, apparently, or the prisons would be empty and there would be mental institutions everywhere.

There aren’t, are there? Why is that?

Well, the answer’s kinda complicated, see. It starts with the shutdown in the 1980s of mental facilities and President Reagan’s dismantling of a lot of the structure supporting those facilities.

Salon: Ronald Reagan’s shameful legacy: Violence, the homeless, mental illness

But that’s not a complete answer, is it? No, because people fire guns for a whole bunch of reasons, including (but not limited to) in no particular order:

  • suicide
  • anger
  • revenge
  • racial profiling
  • accident
  • crime
  • fear
  • greed

You get the idea.

If you look at the prison system today, violent offenders make up only a portion of the population. And a majority of folks who are responsible for gun-related deaths aren’t remotely mentally ill. So where does the NRA come off with claiming this will fix the problem? It’s not a cure. It’s a Band-Aid, designed to draw attention away from the actual problem and place the blame on a population that is far more likely to do nothing at all, or to self-inflict.

Statistically speaking (if you can even call it that), the vast number of certifiably mentally ill shooters who see trial are white. Why is that? Because if it isn’t a murder/suicide, they are far more likely to survive encounters with police if they are white than if they’re not. No, race isn’t a guarantee of protection, but do you suppose the case in Aurora would have seen trial if Holmes had been black? I rather think not, especially in light of Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore and the rest.

We have a gun problem in this country and the NRA is pointing at a portion of the population who are under-served, blaming THEM because then we won’t actually address the problem. CDC Mental Healt FastStats show some of the picture, but not all of it.

Prisons are not remotely designed to handle the mentally ill. Rather, imprisonment is a contributing factor to mental illness.

So what’s the deal, NRA? And what makes you think you can just pass the buck?

Yeah, money.

Just remember, when you pay your dues to the NRA, what you’re supporting. And when you vote for an NRA-backed member of congress, don’t have any mental illness in your background, or you may find you’re on that list.

The law of unintended consequences works all the time.

How we process the news from Santa Barbara…

How we process the news from Santa Barbara…

In this world, too many people see discussions as only about one topic or another, and these folks shun the idea that topics have many subtopics and sources.

The world of Elliot Rodger is by no means exclusive, but if his actions bring these multiple threads of discussion to a head, perhaps we can have the discussions we need to that will help us get past what corporate interests prefer not to discuss for the sake of continuing to generate revenue at the cost of human lives.

In this discussion, but by no means an exhaustive list: Misogyny, misandry, gun control, mental illness, autism, entitlement, politics and more. Every single one of these topics has something to do with the murders and injuries in Santa Barbara, but not the way you might think. And for me, this post has been coming since Sandy Hook and Aurora, but until now I couldn’t wrap my mind around the pile of implications and threads without being afraid either of outing myself or offending someone else, so I’ll say this first and get it out of the way, because you need to know.

It all starts with

#YesAllWomen

And it ends with

#NotAllMen

Now before you blow up all over me and say I’m interested in taking away ALL TEH GUNZ, as some now-unfriended people have done in the past, let me share some facts with you:

1. I have been in therapy on and off since I was a teenager. Losing a parent early is bad enough, but I also suffered bouts of depression and headaches and cramps that were bad enough to put me out of commission for a couple of days. Add to that being unable to get organized because I would start one process and then ten hours later find I’d gotten sidetracked and only partially finished the original goal, but forgot those 15 other things that also needed doing (along with the food I was supposed to eat regularly), well, that’s ADHD in a nutshell. Add to all this a separation from my husband and how to handle his behavior and the aftermath of the break-up, and death of a parent, and it’s not a surprise. I have been on medication but am not now and have not been for the better part of a year, and in that year I’ve accomplished Dean’s List two semesters running. My ability to cope has been tested sorely and I’ve come out okay on the other side.

Mental illness comes in all forms and so do other mental issues. I’ve never considered myself a danger to others. I used to think it was all on me, that I was broken, but no more. Having watched my ex-relationships and how they handle their current relationships, I’ve come to realize my biggest fault is in the relationship choices I’ve made and not so much with me. Some of the problems I’ve had could be chalked up to immaturity, narcissism flawed logic on the part of the opposite sex. I’m tired of playing romance roulette and I’m not looking anymore, mostly for this reason. And I’m mostly okay with that.

2. I grew up in a household with an NRA member who also smoked. I never picked up either habit, though I am a fair shot with a .22 rifle. I have spent time with people who were doing drugs, but never knowingly took drugs on my own or sought out more than alcohol and I don’t drink much now because I don’t like the effect or (in many cases) the taste.

3. I have suffered sexual abuse, above and including the “dirty phone call” variety. In more than one instance I was not a consenting adult. Only one time did someone of the opposite sex hit me, and he’s been out of my social circle for an extended period of time. No, I won’t go into details. The statute of limitations ran out a long time ago.

4. I like movies quite a bit, but am increasingly uncomfortable with what I see in them, especially when they revolve around relationships between men and women. The Bechdel Test is weighing particularly heavily on my mind just now.

So, when the news broke about Santa Barbara over the weekend, I had plenty of thoughts on the subject, but until I started seeing responses on my Facebook feed, I was willing to ignore them until I could get my thoughts to gel.

What follows are a number of articles and videos, in what I think are appropriate order. You can feel free to follow my path down through the material or just take my word for it: We have a major problem on our hands and we don’t even know how to talk about it because these issues are coming up and getting in the way of the conversation.

We can start with Ann Hornaday’s response (auto-launch video warning!) to the critical feedback she received on her scathing article published May 25, 2014, in which she indicts the Hollywood movie machine as a foundation for the problem of male entitlement.

What follows here are four reactions, every one of them written by men. I want you to read what these four men have to say on the subject. I am excluding from this conversation the father of one of the male victims in the Santa Barbara rampage because he’s addressing his questions to congress. In the end, this is what you must do, as well, or the conversation will not change.

First, regarding the shooter’s mental health condition, a subject that should really be investigated further because we do NOT treat mental illness the way we should and we never ever have. Worse, assumptions by the police that it isn’t as bad as observers have seen has much to do with lack of training, coupled with a lack of beds in hospitals and the lack of trained medical staff for dealing with violent mental illness.

Washington Post: Sheriff: Calif. shooter Rodger flew ‘under the radar’ when deputies visited him in April

That the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance companies restrict access to care and shunt everyone to drugs first is a failure to address the fundamental problem: We are not equipped to handle mental illness because it’s not in the interests of drug companies to fix a problem that nets them billions of dollars annually.

These situations exist because we have failed both the families of our most fragile citizens who know better and try to warn about the dangers and those victims who likely never knew what hit them or why. There is but one target for this: Our laws fail us and our lawmakers fail us because they answer to the industry and not the people.

But then, there are those in congress who prefer to blame the mentally ill and regulatory failures instead of looking at why those gaps exist:

Washington Post: GOP’s Rep. King calls for more background checks in wake of Calif. killings

Rep. King’s views aren’t new, but they are politically motivated, and it’s still easier to point a finger at background checks without recognizing that without a universal database to check, such a system will fail, and such infrastructure simply doesn’t exist because of the taboo discussion regarding mental illness in the first place. So sure, go ahead and talk as if a background check might have kept the violence from happening, but it’s a smokescreen on a much larger problem.

And on top of all this, there’s the dreaded “Autism = Murder” issue that came up with Sandy Hook. I read the article below when it came out, and I think it bears rereading. I know at least a dozen people in my social circle who fall somewhere on the spectrum. Everyone wants something to blame to try and explain the actions of murderers. Consider these words before you become part of the problem:

Psychology Today – Asperger’s, Autism, and Mass Murder: Let’s stop the rush to judgment.

Two more articles, and I’m done for now. I’ve posted at least one of these on my Facebook feed already, but both bear reading and further reflection.

First:

Slate – Not all men: How discussing women’s issues gets derailed

and second:

Patheos.com – John Beckett: Dude, It’s You

If you want to have the discussion here, you’d best spend the time and read these last two articles because I will boot you otherwise.

You can feel free to share this information. We can’t have the discussion if we don’t recognize the foundation for the problem.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.