Save Your Prayers For The Living

angry-godThey profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Titus 1:16

 

Your prayers are useless. Your prayers are insulting, always coming after the fact and as an afterthought. Want to pray? Pray for a change, pray there are no more victims of gun violence, pray the NRA becomes known as a criminal enterprise, and pray Congress finds their heart and starts to do something to change the vicious and violent nation we live in. Then when you get off your sanctimonious knees find your heart and demand change, do something, take action.

I am tired of it all. Aren’t you?

I am weary as hell of turning on the news and seeing another mass murder, another report of a school, church, theater or mall shot up and dozens dead. I am mind numb with the senseless death 11202102_486110584889188_3832410922166378229_nin every city, of the thousands of our youth, lying on cold streets in pools of their own blood. I am shattered by the number of guns bought and sold daily in this nation without a single thought to how they will be used, without a background check or any other validation or identification. I am stunned that we still can’t do even the simplest of things, a national background check versus what we have today the useless state by state checks that allow for loophole after loophole to be casually meandered through by those who would do grave harm.

I am exhausted by the excuses presented by the media, government Representatives and of course those spokespersons for the gun manufactures the NRA, for why yet another mass killing has happened.  Everything from ‘Beta Male Syndrome’, just what the hell is this anyway? Boys don’t feel they are getting enough female attention so they buy guns and blow shit up?  To the random, mental health issues; okay everyone has a bit of crazy these days. Then we have the easy to identify, my wife left me so I am going to kill her and everyone else around her, there are a few of these. Of course, we have the failing to make the grade so let me kill those professors and students who might be better than me. Finally we have the just plain old racist, bigot assholes who think there is a need to kill those ‘not like them’ out of what, fear and hate.

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The face of the mass murder from 1984 to today

It isn’t getting better, it is getting worse. This ignorance, the pure unhealthy love affair this nation has with violence is making our small bit of this world a terrible place to live and to raise our children. From mass murders in theaters, churches, classrooms and malls to the random murders on the streets; it is getting worse. Fear and violence, children lying dead, by the hand of a parent, classmate, cop or random drive-by. Truly does it matter how a child dies? I can tell you it doesn’t matter to the parents who must search for a small casket to bury that child.

Your prayers are useless. Who needs or wants your prayers? Surely, though they might be polite and thank you, not those who are left behind. Not those who must bury their beloved family members, their children, siblings or spouses because some asshole with access to a guns and more rounds of ammunition than a platoon needs on maneuvers decided today was the day they would kill human beings. Not the walking wounded who must live every single day with the nightmares and physical results of the shots fired by a random stranger or loved one, who must face their changed circumstances and the even in some cases their shortened life expectancy, not because of their poor choices but because they were in the were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Your offer to pray for any of us, yes us, without action is an insult. If I hear one more person tell the victims of gun violence they are praying I believe I will scream.

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 2:26

Let me help, please let me help your understanding if there is any confusion at all. Guns have no purpose but to kill. Killing is the only purpose of a gun. Don’t try to make it out to be anything other than what it is, those who want to paint lovely pictures about skeet shooting, range shooting and target shooting need to step off, you only do this so you are better killers with guns. Guns, allDomestic-Violence-9Women-1_Meme-noURL guns from the smallest ladylike pistol to the biggest cannon have one single purpose, to kill; whether killing people or animals for food. Guns are designed to kill as efficiently as possible, depending on their design they kill one thing or have the potential to kill many things with a single pull of the trigger. Guns are tools of murder and destruction, this is their single and only purpose. They cannot be compared to anything else, nothing else at all. I have seen in social media guns compared to many other things over the years as the debate for gun control rages, let me try to set the record straight:

Cars ≠ Guns

Knives ≠ Guns

Baseball Bats ≠ Guns

Explosives ≠ Guns

Fire ≠ Guns

Poison ≠ Guns

Water ≠ Guns

Narcotics ≠ Guns

Hammers ≠ Guns

All of the above have been cited as things people use to kill with, things people would use to kill with if they didn’t have access to guns. This is true, these are all things you might use to kill another human being with if you didn’t have access to a gun or guns. The difference between these things and guns? All of the above have a purpose other than to kill another living creature, all have a reason to exist, yes even poison has a purpose other than to kill a living creature, in some cases it is to kill weeds in your yard, in some cases it is to alleviate pain. It is impossible to make the argument that guns and any of the above are in any way, shape or form equal any of the above they are not.

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Save your prayers, they are useless pandering. Save your tears, they are frankly too damn late.

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Psalms 34:13

http://timelines.latimes.com/deadliest-shooting-rampages/

http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2015/09/us/the-loneliest-club/?sr=sharebar_twitter

Be Damned

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church sits at 110 Calhoun St. in Charleston, S.C.

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church sits at 110 Calhoun St. in Charleston, S.C.

I am incapable of words to express my sorrow or my fury. I am at a loss where to begin to express my deep empathy for the families of those who were lost, the survivors, all victims of a terrible hate crime, a horrifying act of violence. I find I am at a loss at how to express my compassion for those left behind to survive the terrible repercussions of violence.

Where do you even begin?

Do we start with the grief that we have not risen from the past but instead nurture hate so closely it drives some among us to walk into places of worship and indiscriminately murder innocent people. How do we battle this cultural nightmare, this disease that continues to feast on heart, decimate soul and destroy future?

We did this, yes when I say we I am specific in my calling out. We, White Folks, those of us with the privilege of being born with skin the color of moonlight. Those of us who check the box, ‘Caucasian’,  or ‘White’ on the Census and all the other forms through our lives, we did this. It is ours, we own it and we have owned it from the first slave sold in this nation. From the Three-fifths Compromise to Dredd Scott, from Jim Crow to Separate but Equal and everything before, after and in between. Every step along the way, White People in power worked to keep those they considered ‘different’ and ‘less than’ powerless. Through economic, educational and justice policies, we have divided this nation’s people into cultural classes that not coincidently aligned along racial-color lines, keeping Black, Brown, White in their separate and unequal lanes.

Now, in this century, in this decade and after the election of the first Black President the hate and fear, the true ugliness of racism has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of political correctness and the result has been truly terrible to witness. Fear and fury rose up from the White community, from the dirt floor of the poorest house in the Appalachians to the polished marble floors of Congress, White Men rose up in protest at the Black Man in the White House. It was terrible to see, but we turned away. We shrugged our shoulders and said, ‘these are not the norm, these are the minority’. We did nothing, said nothing, demanded nothing be changed nothing be confronted.

Worse than the rising up has been our acceptance of this ‘new normal’. We see it, we witness the horror of violence, we turn away. We justify our apathy with, ‘but it isn’t me, I am not a racist’. We11164745_892454580813961_4783942740135091392_n watch in horror as another act of violence is carried out, another unarmed black man, woman or child is beaten or killed by police or civilians but we do nothing except perhaps wring our hands and pretend we don’t understand why. We listen to the nuanced language, the media spin trying to justify the horror show of murderous rampages by white thugs, whether cops or civilians, against those they deem unworthy of life, liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness in the land their ancestors helped to build in chains. We pretend we don’t see it, we forget within the next news cycle.

The state of South Carolina flies the Confederate flag, a symbol of all that is wrong, a symbol of traitors who fought to maintain the status quo of enslaving human beings. The Sons of the Confederacy can whitewash and bullshit all they like, can cry their tears of states’ rights, liberty and freedom as the driving factors of their ancestor’s reasons for secession from the lawful government and their own reason for continuing to worship the Stars & Bars. We should pull that scab off the wound that was the Civil War, demand the history books be revised to tell the truth and call those who would say otherwise damned liars. The war of secession was fought  to keep human beings enslaved and preserve a way of life for wealthy White men and women who did not wish to give up their privilege. The majority who died fighting in that war were poor, ignorant and fearful, they were convinced if the slaves were freed they would be displaced, their women would be raped and their jobs taken. The language of the traitors was eerily similar to those of the Tea Party today, hauntingly analogous to many of those who would be President.

“Government Overreach”

10407515_10203057948409525_2425821899359663210_n“Preservation of Constitutional Values”

“Preserving Liberty and Freedom”

Yes, familiar rhetoric isn’t it. The hubris of those who would preserve a way of life built upon the blood and misery of others is exceeded only by the ignorance necessary to believe the lies. The amount of money spent to divide us, keep us separate, maintain the horror of racism and ignorance exceeds the budgets of some nations, yet we allow it to continue without rising up. We, owe ourselves better than this, better than more blood, more hate, more division based on ignorance. We must demand a change, an accounting; we must say no more.

We, each of us with the privilege of our Whiteness intact must stand up and demand the same privilege for those not born with skin the color of moonlight. We must demand history books tell the truth of America, of slavery, of Jim Crow, of enslavement through poverty, miseducation, unequal justice and incarceration; we must demand an accounting and we must apologize for our own ignorance and blind acceptance of the lies we have told to preserve our own power. We must rise up and against hate and hate groups, we must stop turning away and instead call them what they are, Domestic Terrorists. We must demand an accounting of media that uses their power to criminalize Black victims while whitewashing even celebrating White murderers. We must begin to call things and people what they are, we must hold accountable those who refuse to do so.

We must stop giving a pass to any person who refuses to stand up and call out Hate Crimes and Racism for what they are. We must hold those who would lead to the highest standard and demand they call the nation towards healing, towards justice, towards equality and fairness. Those who will not stand up and call racism what it is, who will not call out their followers for their racist remarks and acts, they do not deserve leadership roles, certainly don’t deserve to be President.

Dead at the hands of a terrorist, racist thug.

Dead at the hands of a terrorist, racist thug.

We all need to start demanding better, doing better, teaching our children better and demanding of our leaders better than they are today. For the lives that have been lost, we need to give them names and bear witness to their tragedy. For those who took their lives, we need to give them no name but murderer, thug, terrorist we need to give them no excuse for their act but the one they gave, racism and hate.

Cynthia Hurd, 54

Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49 Myra Thompson, 59
Clementa Pinckney, 41 Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 Susie Jackson, 87
Ethel Lee Lance, 70 Daniel L. Simmons Sr., 74

Tywanza Sanders, 26

Over the Cliff

OpEdThe world spins and each of us finds our center of gravity based on many different inputs, different sources of information and values gathered throughout our lives. We come to our beliefs, our moral centers through our experiences, our families and our communities. We judge the world around us, what is happening, who is doing what to whom based on our own emotional response to what we see, as well as, what we are fed through the various sources of information we absorb (e.g. media, friends, family). Some of us, because of our experiences fall far away from where we started others of us never take a road less traveled; never stray far from the path our parents, even grandparents before us trudged down before us.

What is the impetus for those who take the branch in the road that takes us away from our roots? Do we see the world differently from those around us? Is our vision different from birth?

I know for me, I was always different from those around me. My beloved stepmother said to me once, I was exotic, not just in my looks but my mind was unfathomable. This combination made me an outsider within my family, as a child and an adult. Keeping in mind I was adopted at birth I wondered sometimes if ‘exotic’ thinking was a product of biology, this was often the subject of my second mother’s rages against me. Needless to say, I am the one who always sought the road less traveled, the path hidden in the brambles and ran toward it, barefoot and with bells on to find the clearing in the woods and all too often the monsters awaiting me. Oddly, even after meeting my first family I find myself at odds with many of them as well; my conclusion is I am simply a product of my own thinking, my own strange mind, a combination of experiences and how I have processed them over the years.

I suspect this might be true of most of us, which takes me to the reason for writing today. First let me say this, I am not a Christian. I do not subscribe to any formal religion. I have nothing against those that do, but have an enormous issue with those who wish to force their religious dogma down my throat or in my face, either through legislation or through bullshit-rewritten history. I am not an Atheist, nor am I Agnostic. I am frankly not anything in particular. I subscribe to the idea there is something greater than me, something wider and broader than me in the universe, not that this something takes an overwhelming interest in me simply that it exists. I do not believe it is a White Man with a long white beard sitting in a cloud. I believe both Jesus and Mohammed existed as real live men of their time, I also believe they were both of Middle Eastern descent (thus Jesus could not be a Blue-eyed, pale skinned White man as depicted). I believe they were both great teachers, as were the other great teachers and founders of the other religions of the world. Finally, I believe religion corrupts and is corrupted by man; it is used to keep societies placid and ignorant.

I have been watching the news as it unfolds this week have you? I am disheartened by all of it; I am dismayed by the way we treat social injustice, police violence, racial inequality and most disheartening sex crimes within Christian cults. What do I mean by all this? Let’s take three specific issues and compare them, three specific media worthy events and compare their outcomes, both real and hypothetical.

Shootout in Waco, Texas: Nine Dead, 18 injured. Criminal conspirators, known motorcycle biker clubs, predominantly White males (infrequently a Hispanic will be allowed to ride with them). Police knew they were there and were on standby. No dead bodies shown on the ground, not once did the media show the after effects of the violence of the day, the blood running in the streets, the bodies strewn in the streets or in the restaurant. Not once did the media show the ambulances carting off the injured. Those flying their colors were not referred to as thugs, their criminal histories were not trotted out immediately to insure sympathy for the officers involved, oh that’s right there was no need there were over 500 guns found in bathrooms, potato chip bags and locked cars, these were not innocent and unarmed civilans being shot down in the street by the police. Those who were involved were milling about, sitting on sidewalks, crossing police lines, texting and talking on their phones. No teargas was deployed against them, no military riot gear on police.

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Compare this to the peaceful protestors of Ferguson, Baltimore, New York. Do you wonder what the difference is? I do not, I do not wonder for a single instant how the police would have responded had those ‘bikers’ been black what the response would have been.

Next up? How about the acquittal of Michael Brelo, he fired 49 times into the car of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams’, reloading twice before he was done. He wasn’t charged with murder only manslaughter, why was he acquitted? Because there was a total of one hundred and thirty-seven (137) shots fired into their car and it couldn’t be proven he fired the killing shots. Before his trial the other officers involved in the deadly shooting of the unarmed black men who did nothing more than drive a car that backfired, they refused to meet with the prosecutor’s office to review testimony. There was no jury trial, Michael Brelo waived his right thus having it heard only by a judge who found him ‘Not Guilty’. See a pattern? I surely do. Since the aquittal of George Zimmerman, the only ‘thug’ on the street that night, I surely do see a pattern.

josh-duggar_1Finally, let’s talk about family values or the distinct lack thereof. Let’s talk about why those who wrap themselves in the mantle of holier than thou Christianity are allowed the most heinous corruptions, while those who have done no wrong are accused of the ugliest of faults. Let’s talk about why it is perfectly acceptable for a serial pedophile to continue to live under the roof with his victims while his mother and father hide his crimes, while those who should be protecting the children turn away. Oh, that’s right they are Christian and he asked God to Forgive him. He went on to become a stand up activist against the rights of others, even going so far as to suggest those ‘others’ would be a danger to children (like he is).

We, those of us with a thinking cell in our brain are being ‘mean’ to suggest his actions are not simply childhood curiosity but something more, something terrible and should have been treated like Josh_Duggar_Mike_Huckabeethe criminal and deviant behavior they were. We, those of us who understand sex crimes, understand molestation and rape, we look at this family and wonder what else and how much worse was it than what we know. What we have instead is Presidential wannabe’s standing up for the poor mistreated deviant and his entire cult like family, because they are Christians. What we have is others from the far right of the flock, speaking out against anyone who questions, anyone who wonders, “what about his victims”; Josh Duggar and his parents are not the victims in this, the victims are the young girls he molested. Let’s get this right, the victims were his sisters and the other young girls he molested. He did not pay a price for his serial molestation of the young girls within his control. Young girls who did not receive counseling, young girls who did not receive justice for what was done to them.

See a problem here? I surely do. Yet there are those who defend this family. Why did Josh Duggar get away with his bad acts? I assure you, had he been a different skin color he would have been locked up and in one of the programs I speak in every month. I see boys as young as 11 years old, they aren’t considered too young, they also are Christian and have often asked for God’s forgiveness. Josh though, he got a pass, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why?

I am disheartened by all of it. The media is training this nation to not ask the hard questions, like sheep we wander to the cliff and fall off.


 

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to the pain,
That the dry death won’t find me
Empty and alone, without having done the sufficient.

I only ask of God
That i won’t be indifferent to the injustice
That they won’t slap my other cheek,
After a claw (or talon) has scratched this destiny (luck) of mine.

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to the battle,
It’s a big monster and it walks hardly on
All the poor innocence of people.

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to deceit,
If a traitor can do more than a bunch of people,
Then let not those people forget him easily.

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to the future,
Hopeless is he who has to go away
To live a different culture.

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to the battle,
It’s a big monster and it walks hardly on
All the poor innocence of people.

Léon Gieco

Mothers, Fathers and Nations

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a young, beginning even before I was a teen I started to run away. By the time I was fourteen I was deemed a habitual delinquent by the juvenile court system. I was also considered past redemption by many. At the age of fourteen, I was removed from my parents’ custody and placed in foster care, shortly thereafter I ran for the last time. I have written some parts of my story in Broken Chains, it might explain why I was a runaway, why I was a Juvenile Delinquent.

There was a time, many years ago when many told me, including judges and my own mother they didn’t expect me to see twenty-one they certainly didn’t expect me to ‘make anything of myself’.

I say all this because I did make it to twenty-one and beyond, today I am a grown woman; I am alive with a loving though slightly dysfunctional family. With two sons, grandchildren, friends, a decent career, my own home and mostly the things I want in life when I want them. I have books to read, a good education; I have seen the world (even if I complain about travel). I have been most fortunate, surviving heartbreak and violence in my life to become ‘Victorious’.

This isn’t the story of me; this is about a mother’s heart. I thought it was important to say first where I came from, to say first someone in fact many someone’s saw my promise and gave me a chance, thus I am here.

My two sons were a gift. I did not bring them into the world but I married their father when they were barely potty trained. At the ripe ages of two and five, they were already handfuls, already opinionated and full of themselves as little human beings. Our first run in after my marriage happened the first weekend they came to stay, with Number One Son hands on hips and head twisting side to side like a cobra spitting, “I don’t have to do what you say you aren’t my mother”.

I glanced at their father sitting calming and silently on the couch behind me and realized at that moment this would be the weft of our relationship, especially with regard to his sons. Staring at these two small humans, I realized I had the opportunity to shape lives, it was frightening and my heart hit my throat. I knelt down in front of them so I could look Number One Son in the eye, “You are right, I am not your mother but in this house your father does what I say and so will you. In this house, you will not smart mouth me. You will say Yes Mam’ and No Mam’, Please and Thank You. In this house I will tear a knot in that narrow butt if you smart off to me again.”

By the end of that first weekend, both of those boys had been swatted and stood in a corner. Number One Son never was swatted again, ever; though he found a few corners to his liking over the years. Number Two Son on the other hand, he was me all over. When my mother use to say to me, ‘some day you will have a daughter and she will be just like you, then you will reap what you sow’, honestly I thought I had dodged that bullet, until Number Two Son, he was my Waterloo. During my marriage to their father, their mother and I made a pact, to raise them with love. We didn’t always agree on tactics, but we did agree on one thing we wanted these young men to survive to adulthood.

 

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It is thirty-two years later, water has passed under the bridge, I divorced their father seventeen years ago. In that divorce the best thing I got was custody of my youngest son, no one fought this; his place in my home was secured with love. At the time he was just turning seventeen, he and I had a unique relationship. While his brother was the child of my mind, he was the child of my heart and soul. His mother and I agreed the best place for him was with me. His father did not want him, walked away without a backward glance.

My two sons were by no means angels, they weren’t devils either, like so many they were simply teenagers. They weren’t complete delinquents though Number Two Son certainly worked hard at achieving this goal. Certainly if you saw them during their teen years, walking down the street you might have crossed to the other side. They had their days, with tongue piercings, eye brow piercings, tattoos and sagging pants, hair midway down backs and dyed colors not intended for humans, Goth finger nails (black and dark blue were popular) and yes experimentation with marijuana and drinking that I am aware of. My sons were no angels.

Do not get me wrong, I fought hard for Number Two Son, for his safety and his sanity. Some things you can ignore, some things you can shrug off as childish; other things you yank chains and demand change. I knew too well the path he was following and I put a leash on him, marshalled every resource I had and fought hard to save him. Number One Son, he played at being ‘Cool’, but really he just wanted to grow up and be part of the crowd. He didn’t want to rock the boat; he listened and was smart enough not to be truly stupid about the choices he made.

I tell the story about my two sons because it is important, Number One Son just turned 37 this week; Number Two Son will be getting married next month. Both have good jobs, their own homes, lovely families, brilliant futures. All it took to get them here was love, patience, belief, a few tears and sometimes a whack upside the head. All it took to get them here was giving them a chance to thrive on their own, the opportunity to grow up a support system and trust.

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Though I sometimes worried about Number Two Son reaching adulthood, I never once had to worry either of them would be gunned down in the street by a rogue cop. Every child in this nation has the right to grow up and achieve their full potential. Every parent has the right to raise their child in safety, without fearing the people who are paid to protect our neighborhoods will murder their child.

Every child has the right to walk down the street in broad daylight or at night without fear. Every child in this nation has the right to an education, to hope, to a future. Every parent in this nation has the right to believe their child can be successful in life including education, work, family and home.

Every parent has the right to believe they will outlive their child. Every parent has the right to believe they won’t bury their child due to violence, especially police and vigilante violence.  We have seen far too many mothers and fathers burying their children due to violence and especially recently due to police violence against mostly unarmed young Black Men. It is hard for me to call them men, so many of them aren’t out of their teens, so many of them haven’t yet reached their majority. So many of these young ones couldn’t even tell you what they want to be when they ‘grow up’, yet they are gunned down in the street by cops or vigilantes, or by a ‘good guy’ with a gun who ‘feared’ for his life and made up a story to justify what there is no justification for.

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How did we get to this place? The media are complicit with the police painting each shooting as justified; each young person becomes a ‘thug’ and the murderer the ‘victim’, even as brokenhearted parents bury their child. When did we become so lacking in compassion, so deficient in empathy as a nation or a people. When did we lose our heart, perhaps we never had one to start with and now it is more obvious with every loss more reported on within social media and the contrast so clear.

I realize I am blessed, along with their other mother we are both blessed. We have sons who are alive, healthy and grown to adulthood. There are far too many mothers today who can only visit their sons at gravesites, who will only see their child as a teenager in photographs because that is the age he was when he was gunned down in the street. This must end and only we can end it. Every parent has the right to see their child grow to their full potential in safety. No parent should have to bury their child due to violence.

Only we can end this. Only we can stand up and demand change.

Only we can stand up and demand a change to Police behavior across the nation through better hiring practices, training, education and penalties.

Only we can stand up and demand Stand Your Ground laws be repealed nationwide.

Only we can stand up and demand changes to gun laws, nationwide.

Only we can stand up, demand the Department of Justice do their job and investigate police violence.

Only we can stand up and demand more money for education less for incarceration.

Only we can end this violence. Only we can protect our future by protecting our children, all of them.

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Look Over There

OpEd

Today, in the United States of America, we have a national tragedy on our hands and we casually turn our backs, shrug our shoulders and with aplomb blame others, including the victim, for outcomes we own entirely. In the year of the Lord 2014, we continue the slow and sure genocide of those members of our society we first enslaved and then disenfranchised, no matter the dreck we pretend to, post racial my happy azz. Then throw in those members of society we stole the very land we call our own, the land we stole through hook, crook, death dealing and broken treaty, yes they remain on lands we continue to try to steal ‘back’. Finally, there are those who cross our borders in search of a better life, we have the gall to stand before them as if we ourselves are not the descendants of immigrants, demanding they return from whence they came pretending there aren’t criminals and other shady characters slipping about our family trees. We are a soulless community hate filled hypocrites that make me ashamed to claim my citizenship most days.

But just in case anyone doesn’t know the history of pap and dreck called Civil Rights, it includes:

  • Emancipation Proclamation of 1863
  • Thirteenth Amendment of 1865
  • Executive Order 9981, giving ‘equality’ within the Armed Forces
  • Brown v. Board of Education, 1954
  • Twenty-Fourth Amendment of 1964
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1968
  • Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 1971
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, overriding Reagan’s original Veto
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991, overriding a threatened Veto by Bush
  • Shelby County v. Holder, 2013 the current SCOTUS reverses the voter protections of section 4 and made section 5 toothless of the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act. In a strongly worded dissent, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the V.R.A.” (Voting Rights Act).

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The President said today, “We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists.”

No the President of the United States of America was not talking about the Terrorists in our midst, he was talking about others far away, others we in fact created. Created through our love for war and our propensity for nation building and the spreading of the falsehood of ‘Equality’, ‘Democracy’ and ‘Freedom’. This nation is built on a lie, a great huge sinkhole of propaganda. We are neither Equal, Free nor are we by any stretch of any imagination a Democratic Republic and we get further and further from this shining ideal every single day of our existence.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t talking about the police who are terrorizing and brutalizing entire communities. Killing children, men and women in the street and in their homes. Beating them on the side of the roads with impunity. Raping them without fear of retribution. Arresting them for no reason other than they are Black and sitting on a public bench outside a bank in broad daylight. I ask, what is the difference in these four killings?

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I personally do not give two tinkers damn if IS (ISIL, ISIS) continue to make their way through every nation in the Middle East, let them fight their own battles. I am unwilling to spend another drop of American blood, another drop of American sweat untangling the mess. I personally have no desire to see another American life destroyed for greed and the ignorance of rich white men who don’t give a damn whether any of us survive so long as their bank accounts thrive and they can ultimately negotiate another contract with another puppet government when it is all over.

This is what I give a damn about, right now, right here, today and without equivocation.

  1. Educating our young people from pre-K through grade 12 and making it possible for every young person to gain either a trade or a university education without going into a lifetime of debt. I want this education to be ‘real’ and I want it to include Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, History, Philosophy, Human Biology, Age Appropriate Sex Education, Science, Political Science and Comparative Religion and the Arts. I want sports to be secondary but PE to be mandatory. I want every child to have access to Head Start, Healthy Meals, Technology and Books (real ones). I want education to be PUBLIC and every school no matter where it is to have the same access to information, facilities, books, equipment and teachers. I want children to be taught to alleviate ignorance not to pass a f’ng test.
  2. Invest in our INFRASTRUCTURE, now and without trying to pick and choose who has the ‘best’ must kiss-ass-suck-up Senator or Congressperson. There are plenty of reports that identify the roads, bridges, ports and rail that are in the most desperate need, start there and work forward. This nation should be ahead of the curve instead of decades behind our competition, we should have high-speed rail for transporting goods and people. Our airports should be state of the art rather than third world nation, our ports should be pristine, we suck at all of it.
  3. Pass gun laws, now. No bullshitting on this one, no pansy ass negotiating with the NRA, tired of them. Let’s all face it, guns have one purpose to kill, that is their only purpose. Screw the Second Amendment, repeal now. Want to shoot stuff, want to kill stuff? Join the Army and volunteer to go over to the Middle East or wherever the latest hot spot is, otherwise no guns on your back, in your car, on your hip; no armory in your house. It is ignorant and stupid. We do not live in the Wild Wild West and guns are unnecessary.
  4. De-Militarize the police and start testing all applicants for sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies. Take away their toys first. Put cameras on their cars and their uniforms next. Anyone who turns a camera off is subject to automatic unpaid suspension. Establish external, citizen investigation of all complaints of police brutality. All police killings investigated by DoJ. Internal affairs essentially to become null, departments should never be allowed to investigate themselves, ever.
  5. Let’s start emptying our prisons of non-violent criminals, shall we? These mandatory sentencing laws are ridiculous. Three strikes, can you guess who this hurts the worst? How about life-sentences for juveniles, any guess who are sentenced most often? While I am at it, I want an end to the play for pay scheme all together, no more private prisons in the Good Ole US of A, no more Governors boosting their coffers by emptying streets into these horror shows.

I want; damn what I want is for all of us to be lifted up out of this soul sucking poverty we seem to have fallen into without a fight. I want an end to dead men, women and children of all races lying in the street at the hands of cops who are not held accountable for their actions. I want all of us to give a damn again, to give enough of a damn that we demand a change and demand it now rather than allow our horrifying descent into us-against-them feudalism, where all of us lose to continue. We have turned our backs on what we were supposed to stand for, what some of us did once stand for and now we are burying our dead, every single day without a tear shed.

192281_336075869815618_2112135589_o

 

Our Apathy is Killing Me

OpEdAnother day, another week, another spree of violence from more cretins with axes to grind and tendencies to believe conspiracies and live in fear and self-righteous entitlement. Isn’t it fascinating the very same people who point outward, complaining about all those ‘others’ who live on the teat of the government dole, tend to be the ones who live on the brink of tumbling into the chasm, needing a handout in the worst kind of way. Yet, they are constantly complaining about those ‘others’ that are destroying the fabric of America, you know the ones they are always talking about;

  • The folks on Unemployment
  • The folks working two or three jobs on Welfare
  • The folks needing to feed their children on SNAP
  • The folks on Medicaid and Medicare even
  • The folks on Social Security
  • The folks getting student aid (Pell Grants or Student Loans)

Did I catch all those government programs? What I failed to mention, in every case those complaining about these programs seem to think, truthfully they strongly believe most of those within the system are the problem and they are also ‘other’, meaning they aren’t of European (Caucasian) descent and in some or maybe many cases they might not even be Christian. It seems we, as a people find it entirely acceptable for people in media and elected positions to hurl the most egregious and base insults towards our fellow citizens without consequence. We have sunk so low we willingly turn away from the ugliest vitriol dripping from the mouths of those we elect and those who are paid to act as the gauge of our culture, we shrug their words off and demand no consequences from them for their divisive actions.

Our nation is being torn apart, yet we shrug and turn away, sometimes we even laugh at the ignorance of the utterances. Shouldn’t we instead be holding these bigots, these racists, these homophobes, these sexists, these misanthropes to a higher standard and with them ourselves. How dare we, as a people and a nation turn away from these terrible acts and words and not demand better, not demand something change. How dare any of us sit back, shrug and pretend not to see what is happening to this nation, even as we sip our coffee.

I can only say, What the Fuck is wrong with us that we don’t put two and two together and come up with four. Instead we sit back and say, ‘oh, well this isn’t so bad’. Really? This isn’t so bad, when pray tell have any of us seen it worse? Answer me this, when have any of us seen it worse than it is today. The origin of, ‘Take our Country Back’, the battle cry of the Tea Party movement, comes directly from the last gasp of a scared and aging demographic, you know the ones I mentioned them before.

  • White, Older
  • Disenfranchised
  • Mostly Southern (started here

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  • Low Information
  • Low income
  • Christian

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying all White Men above a certain age are members of the Tea Party, they most certainly are not; fortunately there are many who don’t fall into the Disenfranchised / Low Information category. Unfortunately, for all of us there are those who saw a void and scrambled to fill it, these horror stories of the modern age have been building on the fear and disenchantment of the European male for decades and in 2008 the movement exploded with the election of Barack Obama. The fear mongers saw the opportunity and jumped in with both feet and all their financial assets, they founded the Tea Party in all of its loud and proud glory. Spun off from the John Birch Society, The Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity, The KKK; The Tea Party has inherited the weight of each of these, hidden under their sheen of new money and attempts at political respectability.

Fred Koch => John Birch Society=>David & Charles Koch =>Americans for Prosperity+John Birch Society=>ALEC=>Citizen United=>CPAC

It is insidious and ugly, it is apparently the New American Way. When you add to this mix the KKK, Patriot and Nationalist Groups, Radical Christians Identity Groups then throw in a few Skinheads and a couple of White Nationalists all of whom seem to relate to and populate the Tea Party. But no, the Tea Party isn’t Racist and didn’t suddenly grow from the election of the very first Black President of the United States of America, except, look at these:

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How to account for a 755% growth since the election of Barack Obama if it isn’t the color of his skin? Whatever some of us might wish it otherwise, there is an underlying truth we must accept, the first Black President has brought out the very worst, brought to the surface what already existed. It isn’t his politics, it isn’t that he is a bad President, it isn’t his ability to lead. It is one simple defining characteristic, it is that he is ‘other’. This simple truth has led to the dividing of a nation and many other issues including escalating violence.

I struggle to write these days, I do. I struggle with the violence. I struggle with the constant seemingly never ending days of spree shooting, school shootings and people no matter how many have died, making excuses, blaming the victims or worse, ignoring the real problem in favor of screaming their Second Amendment rights trump all else. My heart breaks for the families of all those who have lost their lives, some days I can’t face the news; truly I sit on my bed and tears simply flow down my cheeks silently, my shoulders shake and I wish for someone to hold me as I weep.

I blame these venomous and bile filled horror stories siting in their studios and back offices for the state of the Union.

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This is just a small selection of who I blame, a mix of elected officials some still seated, some revered for ‘past accomplishments’, some on their way out, some media pundits, some of course dead and deified by those who apparently have forgotten what they truly did during their time in office. This is enough, I didn’t bother to put SCOTUS up, I do blame them as well. I blame the sell out to NRA, the fear the entire Congress apparently feel each time NRA is whispered in their ears, never mind we have had seventy four (74) school shooting since Sandy Hook, can you imagine? Seventy-four school shootings since twenty babies were shot dead in their school rooms and we still haven’t done a damned thing to stem the tide of blood running in the streets.

Screen_Shot_2014-06-10_at_1.48.46_PM

Map Image; Image Credit: Twitter/Mark Gongloff

I blame us. That is right, I blame all of us for not having the wherewithal to get up off our azzes and say “No More”. For being so damned apathetic we willing shrug our shoulders and say, ‘there is nothing we can do’.

I blame us. For every child that dies. For every father who weeps at the loss of his only son. For every mother who buries her child. I blame us. We don’t owe the NRA a damned thing, we owe our children a better world. Hell, we owe ourselves a better world than the one we have today. We owe ourselves safer streets than the ones we have today. I know I don’t feel safe going into downtown Dallas where men with small penises have supplemented their insufficiency by strapping large guns across their chests or backs simply to ‘prove’ their manhood. It use to be they would buy good cars, I tell you what I want to go back to those days.

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I don’t know about any of you, I am tired. I am tired of the idiots. I am tired of the hate. I am tired of the divisive trash talking BS coming out of the media and my elected officials. Let’s start calling things what they are maybe then we can start healing wounds and moving this nation forward.

  • People who kill police officers screaming about revolutions and draping those dead officers in the Tea Party flag, they are Domestic Terrorists.
  • The people out on the Bundy ranch with their guns, who pointed said guns at federal officers during the commission of their duties; they are criminals. By the way, so is Cliven Bundy.
  • Rush Limbaugh is a Racist and a Sexist.
  • Sean Hannity is a Racist and has used his position to stir Domestic Terrorism and Criminal activity.
  • The United States of America is NOT a Christian nation it is a Democratic Republic, stop saying it is anything else.

I am certain there is more. The problem is right now, we are moving further and further to the Right. If we don’t stop this tumble we will very quickly find ourselves living under a Christian Taliban. Our rights will be gone, Civil Rights will be a thing of the past, Voting Rights for but the wealthy a thing of the past. Shrug your shoulders if you like, think I am overreacting if you want. The truth of the matter is, Congress has dug their heels in, despite this Eric Cantor lost his seat for being ‘not conservative enough’.

Think about that one. Then think about November 2014 and consider what will happen if you remain apathetic.


 

Hate Groups Growing: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/the-year-in-hate-and-extremism

In their own words:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/26/913651/-The-Republicans-in-their-own-words-Part-2-bigotry-hate-and-violence

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/27/914152/-The-Republicans-in-their-own-words-Part-3-Big-Fat-Liars-and-hypocrites

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/28/914514/-The-Republicans-in-their-own-words-Part-4-Let-em-eat-applesauce

http://www.teapartyslogans.com/cgi-bin/web/index.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/

Jill Sobule, Protest Song: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-sobule/protest-song-we-want-our-america-back_b_1097453.html

 

 

 

 

Hope and Apathy

soapboxpilePlease read here for the best synopsis of Fridays mass killing, my friend Jueseppi has done a spectacular job of putting it all together: http://theobamacrat.com/2014/05/25/university-of-california-santa-barbara-isla-vista-shooting-rampage-7-reported-dead-including-22-year-old-shooter-elliot-rodger/


 

I had planned to stay silent over the killings in Isla Vista on Friday, what is one more voice after all. The truth is I planned to stay silent because it is impossible for me to write through my heartache at more young lives lost. As I write this, my heart is cracking, tears periodically leak from my eyes and stream down my cheeks. I cannot help but think of the families of those who lost their lives. I cannot help but think of those who will have the long road ahead of them toward recovery, the fears they will face, the triggers they will have to overcome, the nightmares that will awaken them in the future all because we failed them, because one man with a gun decided to take retribution for his failure with women.

I think this father’s grief says it best:

Twenty-two years ago, I got lucky. I lived when I wasn’t supposed to. Friday night six young people lost their lives. Yes, I am aware the killer also lost his life, frankly I do not care that he is dead. I am sorry for his parents, they lost their child but he took the lives of six others before he died, he attempted to take the lives of seven others. Had he been successful his minimum body count would have been thirteen, had he achieved his true aim it would have been much higher.

Already in much of the mainstream media, this mass murderer is being referred to as a ‘child’ with psychological problems, trying to excuse his behavior, trying to give him an out for his spree. Not only will I not name him, let the Devil do that while he burns in hell, I will not excuse him or anyone else I blame for the lost lives on Friday.

So let’s clear some of the excuses off the table, first this is not a ‘child’ this was a twenty-two year old man, a fully grown man, in college, living in an apartment, with a car (a BMW no less) and an income, albeit likely one he didn’t earn. The next thing we should be clear about is the childhood diagnosis of High-Functioning Asperger Syndrome, while he might not have been as socially adept as his peers due to Asperger Syndrome; his family had the means to provide him the very best treatment and education throughout his life. It is unlikely he was that far behind unless the diagnosis of High-Functioning was incorrect, based on his videos and his ‘manifesto’ he was simply selfish, spoiled and self-centered. I accept the diagnosis of Asperger, it appears he wasn’t a ‘normal’ twenty-two year-old, this does not however, make him mentally deficient, insane or otherwise incapable of knowing right from wrong.

Let’s be really clear, he was a twenty-two year-old man who believed the world and women in particular owed him something, in this case owed him ‘sex’, the fact that he remained a virgin at his age bothered him immensely. That he believed he was a ‘god’ compared to others who he saw with the women he wanted, as seen from a quote from one of his videos:

“I see so many beautiful, blonde haired girls. So many beautiful blonde-haired girls walking around everywhere. In your revealing shorts. Your cascading blonde hair. Your pretty faces. And I want one for a girlfriend… I’m 22 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’m still a virgin. I’ve never had the pleasure of having sex with a girl. Sleeping with a girl. Kissing a girl. I’ve never even held a girl’s hand,”

Or another quote:

“Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men but never to me”

Now, six young people are dead and seven others will have to live with his actions, because this man, believed he was owed and took it in his head to follow through with his threat:

“If I had it in my power. I would stop at nothing to reduce every single one of you to mountains of skulls and rivers of blood,” adding “You deserve to be annihilated, and I will give that to you,” he said, speaking of what he termed his “day of retribution.”

When it all goes wrong, this is what happens. This is the aftermath, this is what happens to communities.

How many must die before we get right with our children? How many times does this have to happen before we stop the insanity of out of control gun laws that allow massacres on the streets of our nation to happen indiscriminately? When are we going to demand change and why aren’t we asking the relevant questions such as, where did he get a gun?

That last question isn’t as obvious as it might sound, as someone with a ‘disorder’, not insane but not entirely normal either, he would be on a list that would bar him from gun ownership in a sane world. We don’t live in a sane world though, do we?

Three Stooges

Three Stooges

We live in a world where Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and Wayne LaPierre have more power to determine whether our children will be safe on the streets and in their schoolrooms than the majority of Americans.

Please note, none of them are elected officials, I can tell you what all of them have in common though:

RACISM, NRA, SYG and a complete lack of intellectual discernment.

Worse yet? Most recent polls show their messaging is getting through to the ignorant and uninformed, their constant flow of misinformation is having an impact and more citizens of this nation are leaping on the bandwagon. More Americans believe gun control laws should be ‘less’ strict rather than more strict, this coming from the most recent Gallup Poll. As gun deaths rise, as mass murder rises, as our children lay bleeding in the streets, the school yards and even in their own homes; Americans look and shrug their shoulders and say to themselves fuck it, open the floodgates.

How many more must die? How many more mothers and fathers must bury their children in the cold earth?

Twenty-two years ago, my father got lucky. Mr. Martinez and the other parents of Friday’s mass killing were not as lucky. I am heartbroken for them, shattered for them. My friend said the following to me, knowing I sign my e-mail ‘helplessly hopeful”:

Well, in “Hopeland”, things are OK. Here in reality where I live, this shit ain’t ovah. There will be many more shooting rampages to come. Get yo popcorn and get ready for the show.”

It was somewhat cruel, I know the monsters are out there, he isn’t wrong though is he; until we, as citizens get up off our apathetic asses and demand change we are lost and the victims will continue to pile up. Hope, it isn’t enough and it will not stem the tears of all the parents who lose their children. We must take our nation back from those who would destroy it. We must stand up and say no more.

What soothes my heart at times like this:


 

http://everytown.org/

http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/tc/aspergers-syndrome-topic-overview

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/aspergers-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20029249

http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/asperger-syndrome

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/24/the-nra-s-all-out-assault-on-accurate-information-about-gun-deaths.html

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

Prosperity at what Cost

Do you know what I like best about the New Testament?  The part where Jesus of Nazareth tells his followers to starve children, withhold medical treatment from the ill, turn out on the streets the aged, judge others and find constant fault .  Yeah I really like the part where The Christ told the people to be uncharitable, judgmental and to seek personal wealth at the expense of others.  I also really like the part where he told the priests to build massive edifices to themselves and their own egos and demand the last dime from a poor mother so the minister could buy a new Cadillac.

Those are the parts of the New Testament I really like.  What those parts aren’t in the New Testament?  Are you certain? Surely they must be, those are the Christian values we are legislating. Those are the Christian values our oh so Christian government and their supporters are telling us are the foundation of our Christian Nation so they must be there somewhere, you and I simply haven’t read the Bible correctly.

Pope FrancisIf you can’t find that part of the New Testament either, perhaps we need a real ‘Come to Jesus’ with those who claim Christianity is the framework, no the very foundation of the United States, but fail abysmally to follow any of its tenants.  Maybe it is time for those of us who have a problem with the entire Prosperity Gospel to stand up and hold accountable those who have decimated generations of our people, the very  soul of our nation through their greed and complete lack of empathy. I like this new Pope in Rome, he has turned the fervent followers of the gospel of self, the theology of Free Market on their ears and their asses are thoroughly chapped.  Pagans that is what he called them recently, I like that though I suspect true Pagans might take exception.

We come to the end of another year and we have slipped further down the road to perdition.  You don’t agree with my assessment of where we are today let me give some examples, tell me where I am wrong:

  • Income gap widens between the ‘have’ and the ‘have nots’.
    • The American Dream is out of reach for many today and the once robust middle class is disappearing.
  • More children are hungry and living in poverty than at any time since the Great Depression.
  • More families are homeless.
  • Unemployment remains steadily high, above 7% overall but in some groups above 10%.
  • Education is slipping, we are falling steadily behind other nations in all critical skills;
    • Math, Science, Technology, Literacy
  • Retirement guarantees for those who fought for this nation will be cut, while Congress will keep theirs intact.
  • Banks and bankers, those nefarious organizations and the men who lead them, you know the ones who nearly brought the world economy to its knees and we the people bailed out, they fought and won to remain free to do it again.

That is just a partial list there are worse things we should acknowledge though, things we say only in whispers to each other for fear of the backlash.

The culture war is in play, it is in full force, it is insidious and ugly.  This is a war to win the hearts and minds of those who do not have the wherewithal to discern truth from lies, what they know is their life is getting worse, the American Dream is out of their reach and it is someone’s fault.

The war on women is ramping up; it is insidious and nastier by the month.  We think of this as only the issues on abortion, it is not.  This is across the board; it is rape, violence, education, access to healthcare.  It is how women are portrayed by and in media when it comes to single mothers, poverty and welfare.  It is a host of issues placing women in a harsh and glaring light, forcing us onto a scarlet carpet for a slut walk not of our choosing.

Racism is not a thing of the past; truthfully, racial tensions are high and the ugliness only the icing on a cake that has been slowly baking since the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.  The viciousness spewed daily by those in the media and those hidden behind avatars in social media is nothing less than horrific.  Those who deny the blatant racism within our society are nothing less than willfully ignorant.

ConfederateFlag

Should I continue?  This is simply rubbing the tip of an iceberg I personally find bone chilling.

As the year draws to a close, I wonder what have we done to fix what is broken, or are we instead caught in an endless loop.  Caught simply pointing out the problems, pointing at our dysfunctional government and corrupt elected officials then shrugging, thinking there is nothing to be done.  Have we simply decided to laugh at their stupid, inane utterances, while wondering at the constituency that elected them without demanding change?

Let me help, they are us. Unless we do something, unless we stand up we are that constituency that continues to elect the idiots, the fear mongers, the Hawks, the Free Marketeers; we are the problem even if we don’t pull the lever.

The rich continue to enrich themselves, to serve a God I don’t think most of us recognize.  The rich have convinced a very large part of this nation and many other nations of a number of things that are not true, have never been true and will destroy us, soon if we don’t start speaking up, if we don’t start demanding a change in behavior both public and private.

I leave you with this, a discussion of empathy something we are sorely lacking.

Note: all references to the Bad Bible were a take off on a Twitter comment. For the life of me I cannot find the original Tweet, however my comment is not a copy.

Standing By

soapboxpileThere are times when the world seems to be a terrible place doesn’t it? For those of us who have soapboxes we climb on, sometimes those ladders get a bit shaky we fall on our asses more often than we would like. Those of us who follow the world of dreadful and ghastly, from the halls of the Hill to the streets of any city USA, sometimes we grow weary of the sheer volume of ugly. I know I do, it is my suspicion others do as well.

This morning as I was perusing the wise words of others, three wonderful bloggers poked my soul, my conscious and my self-respect. I am reminded constantly why I am grateful for all the friends I have made in the blogosphere these women are brilliant!

http://fiftyfourandahalf.com/2013/09/19/whoah-what-happened/

http://mommasmoneymatters.com/clyde-try-dammit/

http://deborah-bryan.com/2013/09/19/i-am-greater-than-my-fear/

For very different reasons these three entries into my morning touched off my thinking about what I have been doing lately. Why I have been remiss in talking about what bothers me about the world we live in. It isn’t I haven’t had time, I have had more than enough time; truthfully I have had more time than I would like. It isn’t that I can’t, I of course can if I choose to do so; my problem is I have become unwilling to face the storm. This leads to fear, I have become afraid of what others think and of conflict, my ability to withstand the conflict is much lower these days than it has been in the past.

This feeling of dispiritedness, it doesn’t bode well for our nation. So many of us feel this way as we stare into the future and consider our options and the world our children will inherit if we do not move our asses. What do I mean by this? I don’t know that I can fully answer my own question, what I do know is I will not give in to fear or apathy, that road leads to dead ends, obstructionist governments and failures. This is what I believe; I have been failing myself lately. I have, as my friend Red pointed out so well been saying, “I can’t” not because “I can’t” but because I was afraid, maybe I will explore this one with you all in a later post.

This is what I know, I have to stop being afraid, apathetic and foolish. With this thinking in mind, I am going to pick my mantle back up, drape it around my shoulders and start to talk about the things that matter. Maybe some of these things won’t matter to you, they matter to me though and so I am going to talk about them. I am going to stomp my feet and raise my fist and stop being afraid I might offend you or others, I hope I don’t offend you, I hope you will talk back, tell me why you disagree or spread the word if you do agree. Either way, I am going to put my boots back on and return to my roots as a wonk, an activist and someone who actually gives two shits about what happens in the world.

Today, the thing I want to talk about is one of the things that troubles me the most about this country, this is not the only thing that deeply troubles me, there are many more. Nevertheless, this is one close to my heart that plunders my spirit, so let’s talk about Guns –

Yes, I could talk about the Constitution and how most people stomping around waving it as their justification for their personal arsenals have it wrong. I am not going to do that today; I have been down that road and it isn’t necessary to repeat myself I hope. What I am going to do is talk about just one aspect of our deep love affair with violence and guns, the increase in mass murder and spree shooting. What this means for us, how we are becoming increasingly unsafe, how our children are becoming increasingly less safe:

Thirty-one years of killing. Mass murders and spree killing.

Thirty-one years of killing. Mass murders and spree killing.

Look at those numbers in the past thirty-one years. What does that mean? I don’t know, beyond the idea the more easily accessible high-powered guns are, the greater capacity of rounds the more damage and the more likely the body count.

Some of the leading pro-gun lobbyists’ and spokespeople say it is just crazy people doing all this damage, committing all these terrible crimes. Look at this next graph though, it tells a very different story.

MentalHealth_gunpurchase

The known mental health of individual, whether their weapons were purchased legally and how many weapons were used during the commission of their mass / spree killing. This graph is telling, here are a couple of important facts to take away:

• Out of the 149 guns used in the mass murders and spree killings of the past thirty-one years, 23% were obtained illegally.

• Out of the 149 guns used in the mass murders and spree killings of the past thirty-one years, 52% were purchased legally by persons with known mental health disorders.

Finally, there is an issue of gender and race; yes, this is important because we should understand who is committing these crimes so we can begin build an accurate profile of the mass murder and spree killer. Maybe with this profile we can identify them before they kill rather than after.

MassKillers_Gender

We have to stop turning away from the issue of violence on our streets. We must stop pretending it isn’t real, isn’t dangerous and isn’t affecting our quality of life. Every single bullet has a dollar sign engraved in it. Every single American citizen buried due to gun violence is money in the pockets of the NRA, munitions manufacturers and legislatures with their hands out for more. We are as guilty as they are if we continue to passively stand by and accept the excuse, “nothing can be done”.

Something can be done, we can do something; we can refuse to stand by a watch more of our citizens die.

ValentineBullet

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Other interesting sources, including the source of the data for the graphes.

http://www.motherjones.com/special-reports/2012/12/guns-in-america-mass-shootings

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/pro-gun-myths-fact-check

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/mass-shootings-investigation

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-victims-2012

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/nra-board-members-selleck-nugent

FISA and all that Jazz

soapboxpileThere has been a great deal of bitching, whining and otherwise raising the roof regarding the loss of our civil liberties lately. I am all over this issue, I don’t like it and neither should you. In fact, we should be storming the halls of Congress, raising our voices on the lawn of the White House in protest; demanding a reinstatement of our Constitution. Power once given is difficult to take back, authority once ceded is nearly impossible to demand returned to the powerless.

Let us all admit it, when the planes flew into the towers on September 11, 2001 we were all shocked and dismayed. We had been attacked, successfully by what we considered unsophisticated enemies. American lives were lost and we mourned, it was a terrible day. In the midst of our mourning, we were bombarded by fear mongering, more attacks were coming and none of us were safe not in our homes, not in our places of work, nowhere. The ‘Terrorists’, they were coming to kill us all!

Enter The Patriot Act of 2001, signed by President George W. Bush on October 26. Approved by a nearly unanimous House (357 to 66) on October 23, with Democrats the largest portion of the dissenters.  The700.hq Bill moved onto the Senate where it passed on October 25, with a vote of 98-1. This Act opened the floodgates, giving law enforcement the right to search, seize, listen and otherwise trample your civil liberties granted under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Patriot Act has been reauthorized twice, once in 2005 by George W. Bush, once by Barack H. Obama. Those who are screeching about FISA, undue seizures, wiretapping and the loss of privacy must go all the way back to 2001 and remember their willingness to give up their civil liberties for the bullshit idea of safety from those terrible terrorist hiding behind every corner and down every dark alley.

The reality is this; you are more likely to die in one of the following ways:

Falling in Bathtub, Drowning or other injury since 20021 – 3,000

Talking, Texting and otherwise acting in ignorance on your phone while driving2 – 54,000

2nd Amendment Homicides (1 decade of carnage 2001 – 2011)3 – 130,347

2nd Amendment Justifiable Homicides – 5,924

2nd Amendment Unintentional Homicides – 4,764

2nd Amendment Suicides (1 decade of why not leave this mess) – 195,096

Death by Lightening (2003 – 2012)4 – 418

Here you go a picture just to put it in perspective –

killrates

If you remove the horrible September 11, 2001 event from the average on Terrorism, this number is reduced to two (2) per year. Even lightning has a better chance to kill you if you are stupid enough to stand out in a storm.

I loved the idea of death by weather; well I had to give you this one –

Weatherkill

Weather Kills, certainly more on average than Terrorist but still not more than Azzhats with Guns

Amazing isn’t it? On the 6-month anniversary of Sandy Hook today, we haven’t done a damned thing at a federal level on Gun Sanity. Those morons in Congress, couldn’t even pass a Federal Background Check, not even that in 6 months, yet look at the numbers.

Some state governors’ struggle, weighing their party line with the will of the people of their state. Only yesterday Governor Brian Sandavol of Nevada vetoed a bill sent to his desk to strengthen background checks, call in support indicated the people of Nevada supported this bill overwhelmingly 86% to 13%, didn’t matter he chose party politics and vetoed.

Since Newtown, there have been 5,047 gun deaths in the US. These are what we know about, sometimes these numbers are hard to get. I love this chart:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

Despite the Boston Marathon bombing, which was tragic you are more likely to be murdered by a toddler than killed by a terrorist in the US (list provided by Opposing Views).

  • Jan. 10: 6-year-old playmate shoots and kills 4-year-old Trinity Ross, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Feb. 11: 4-year-old Joshua Johnson shoots and kills himself, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Feb. 24: 4-year-old Jaiden Pratt dies after shooting himself in the stomach while his father sleeps, Houston.
  • March 30: 4-year-old Rahquel Carr shot and killed either by 6-year-old brother or another young playmate, Miami.
  • April 6: Josephine Fanning, 48, shot and killed by 4-year-old boy at a barbecue, Wilson County, Tenn.
  • kidswithgunsApril 8: 4-year-old shoots and kills 6-year-old friend Brandon Holt, Toms River, N.J.
  • April 9: 3-year-old is killed after he finds a pink gun that he thinks is a toy, Greenville, S.C.
  • April 30: 2-year-old Caroline Sparks killed by her 5-year-old brother with his Cricket “My First Rifle” marketed to kids, Cumberland County, Ky.
  • May 1: 3-year-old Darrien Nez shoots himself in the face and dies after finding his grandmother’s gun, Yuma, Ariz.
  • May 7: 3-year-old Jadarrius Speights fatally shoots himself with his uncle’s gun, Tampa, Fla.
  • June 7: 4-year-old fatally shoots his father, Green Beret Justin Thomas, Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Should we be worried? We absolutely should be worried, we should be damned worried for our own future and future generations and more Civil Liberties are eroded, more economic opportunities are lost and Civil Rights are contracted rather than expanded. We should be shaking in our boots. Then, when we are done with our whining about what we have given away, we should put on our big girl and boy panties and get to work.

We created the Tyrants currently filling up Washington and spewing the bile. We continue to elect them. We allow them to abuse this nation with their arrogance and ignorance. We do this with our failure to take action and thus we have no one to blame but ourselves for the outcome. Our legacy to future generations?

  • Economic Failure of a once brilliant nation
  • Rampant poverty, including homelessness, starvation, rise in disease
  • Joblessness
  • 3rd world nation status.Bridge Collapse
  • Unbreathable Air
  • Undrinkable Water
  • Failed Infrastructure
  • Widespread Illiteracy, failed education systems
  • Theocracy and Feudalism replacing Democratic Republic

We are well on our way to all of these. In some cases, we are already there. Is this the legacy we want for our children? So FISA courts through the continued reauthorization of The Patriot Act, allow your e-mail, phone records and all sorts of other personal information to be combed. The Second Amendment seems to be the only piece of the Constitution anyone gives a good damn about, I mean really who doesn’t want to shoot’um up in the streets just cause you look different, strange, odd, or by damned you might by an f’ng terrorist or a kid with skittles.

Worried? I know I am and so should all the rest of us be. I have a far better chance of being shot in the street by an azzhat with an attitude than being killed by a terrorist attack, but this nation spends $750 billion on The War on Terrorism while bridges are falling down.

Think about it, when will we be marching again to regain what is being stolen from us?

1 Bathtub accidents statistics gathered from a variety of sites, used 300 per year as the average.

2 Statistic gathered from a variety of sites, texting has been available since 2004. Included standard phone use in calculation, which has been available far longer. It is estimated accident rate is increasing by 4% per year. Used 6,000 per year as the fatality rate.

3 http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states

4 http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/stats/03-12_deaths_by_state.pdf

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