Murder, Mayhem and a Reckoning

Do you know how things change? When enough people say enough. When the pain is bad enough, all the small differences finally melt away, and people find common ground and say to each other, “this shall not pass.” Things change when good people no longer turn away.

That is how things change.

We are currently a nation ruled by a vocal, heretic minority. They are mean-spirited, illiberal, unprincipled, power-hungry, and terrified. They are also violent and growing more so by the day.

When we, the majority, stop being weak-willed and selfish, when we the majority, become the genuine ‘Big Tent’ rather than the fractious, tribal-focused standard-bearers of our own self-interests that we are today, things change. When the majority stop infighting, stop name-calling and demanding absolute adherence to bullshit standards, that is when things will finally begin to change.

We, the majority, are always screaming bloody murder about one thing or another, the problem is it is usually directed at our own rather than those who are against us. Still, we can’t even put together a ‘true’ timeline of the crucial milestones, and how to define our messages of hope and victories. Nope, we only care about history if it suits our own beleaguered agenda, and losses that prove our point. We would rather attack our own President and those on our side, just to make a point. We would rather stand with the enemy, or stay at home because we didn’t get all we wanted then whine when we lose it all. 

The messaging is winning the day because those in the middle, the majority, don’t know how to confront the stridency of the Right or the Left and we are weary of both. Just some of the foolish things I have been confronted with since Buffalo:

  • Mass Shootings are due to a mental health crisis in America.
    • Oh, okay then. We are the only country in the world with crazy folk. So the solution to this crisis for the G.O.P. is to strip funding from Mental Health and put guns in the hands of the Mentally Challenged. Well, you know, that makes perfect sense to little ole me.

      Morals in America?

  • Mass Shootings are because parents are too lenient, children aren’t disciplined at home, there is a moral crisis with prayer being denied in school, Christianity is under attack, and schools have a leftist agenda.
    • Ummm, oh, okay. That might explain that whole Baptist thing with the entire conference sweeping decades of sexual abuse under the carpet, right? Or maybe it is the decades of proof that whooping your child with a belt doesn’t really do any good; it only makes the child resent you and grow more aggressive? The whole prayer in school? Yeah, you can still pray till your knees turn into a bloody pulp; you simply cannot force others do so in compliance with your selected faith. Despite your instance otherwise, America was not designed or intended to be a theocracy; it is not a Christian Nation; rather, it is a Democratic Republic with a citizenry that is a majority Christian, though this is rapidly changing.
    • I had to take this one separately because the entire issue of public schools and public school teachers having a Leftist agenda is both ignorant and insulting. Teaching true history, real science, accurate sex education, real social studies, and real political science all at the right time during a young person’s maturation cycle is not Leftist; it is called EDUCATION and Preparation. This education is vital for young people; it prepares them for the world they are entering; they are entitled to it, and your fears and bullshit stand in their way of becoming fully empowered and enabled adults.
  • It is our Constitutional Right to own Guns; we are a free nation because of this Right.
    • I think this might be one of my favorites. This one is close to an all-time high in the ignorance category. I can only shake my head at how truly myopic this sounds; these folks should get out of their Faux Hole more often. There are fourteen (14) countries that rank higher than the United States of American on World Population Review, Freest Countries. Guns make us free? This is by far one of the most asinine things I have read. Guns do not make us free; they force us to live in fear, our streets run with blood, and our schools are places of terror rather than learning.

There were so many more that I would spend the next week documenting them all and likely not even scratch the surface. Everything from the trite comparison between guns and cars to the regular refrain of “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” There is always a piece of me that wants to slap the holy hell out of these fools with their talking points that seem to slip between their lips with such ease; they run from the truth, staring them in the face, dead people calling them from the grave demanding answers for their failures.

We, the majority, are the only ones who can give our dead the answers they deserve. We can do this thing that we have failed to do for so long. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Congress did it in 1968 by passing and signing the Gun Control Act of 1968, driven primarily by the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The act prohibited mail-order sales of rifles and shotguns; it also banned most felons, known drug users and those found to be mentally incompetent from purchasing or owning guns.

“If guns are to be kept out of the hands of the criminal, out of the hands of the insane, and out of the hands of the irresponsible, then we just must have licensing. If the criminal with a gun is to be tracked down quickly, then we must have registration in this country. The voices that blocked these safeguards were not the voices of an aroused nation. They were the voices of a powerful lobby, a gun lobby, that has prevailed for the moment in an election year. But the key to effective crime control remains, in my judgment, effective gun control. And those of us who are really concerned about crime just must—somehow, someday—make our voices felt. We must continue to work for the day when Americans can get the full protection that every American citizen is entitled to and deserves-the kind of protection that most civilized nations have long ago adopted. We have been through a great deal of anguish these last few months and these last few years—too much anguish to forget so quickly.”

Lyndon B. Johnson, Oct 22, 1968 upon signing the Gun Control Act

In 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence and Prevention Act updated the Gun Control Act of 1968. This amendment was a direct result of the attempted assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan. The Brady Act added Background checks and created a list of prohibited individuals:

  1. is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  2. is a fugitive from justice;
  3. is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
  4. has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
  5. who, being an alien (a bunch of set-asides on this one I am not going to list);
  6. has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

What should we want? Where should we go from here? Honestly, we should stop with talking points to make all the crazy and fringe folks happy. We shouldn’t be taking all the noise into account; instead, we should be talking about reasonable solutions that make sense for the problems facing us today. I am a survivor of gun violence; many of my family members are gun owners and hunters. I argue with them about this issue because we talk over each other instead of listening carefully to each other. They sometimes forget I carry the trauma of gun violence every day of my life. I believe in my heart there is a common ground; if reasonable people talk with each other, there is a solution to what we face today on this issue. Here are my thoughts on the subject of Gun Safety and the incremental steps toward a safer Nation for all of us:

  • Raise the age limit to 25 for all gun purchases.
    • Exception: Honorable discharge from any branch of the military.
  • National Background Check database, with a minimum 24-hour waiting period.
    • Shut down internet purchases with the direct-to-home shipment. Must be shipped to a local handling agent who can validate I.D. and license.
  • Enact Red Flag Guidelines federally. This would trickle down to the state level, with states able to add to them, creating more effective solutions for their state. Federal Guidelines should simply provide minimums.
  • Safe Storage Laws this is critical to prevent the ongoing child accidents we see so often in the news. At a minimum, households with guns should have liability insurance against accidents.

For me, that is ground zero.

Today, in Uvalde, Texas, nineteen (19) babies are being memorialized, and two (2) teachers are being remembered. In Buffalo, NY, they are still burying their dead.

Today, we still don’t have the heart to do something. If not now, when?

Comments

  1. I find it beyond belief that we require a person to be 21 to buy tobacco or alcohol but let an 18-year-old buy a high-capacity rifle and ammunition. I also get tired of those who misinterpret the 2d Amendment to mean anyone can own any kind of firearm. The right to ‘bear’ arms refers to service in a well-regulated militia (not some weekend private militia that plays soldier and pretends to be he-men. We demand the right to have guns but deny women the right to decide about their own bodies. We sell guns and ammo but ban books and ban teaching true history. I was a diplomat for 30 years and served in a lot of lesser developed countries but most of them had higher moral standards than we do in the U.S.A. Sorry for ranting, but I love this country and would like to see it be better than it is.

    • First, thank you for your long service. I too love this country and fear for it. I have traveled for most of my adult life, living and working in many other countries, this is the only one I fear being out after dark.

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