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

Peeking Out of My Cave, PII

soapboxpileThe world spins in the same direction and at the same speed, every day of the year. Don’t you just wish it would speed up and fling a few of the Neanderthals out into orbit, I know I do and these days that wish seems to be the one most often at the forefront of my mind. I seem to be keeping a roll of pennies in my purse for fountains and wishing wells, just so I can make that wish as often as possible. Do you think I need to up the ante, change my roll to nickels, dimes maybe even quarters?

I only know one thing for certain, the Neanderthals are exponentially increasing in number and space has not seen any of them, not a one in independent orbit. Clearly, my wishes with pennies are not doing the trick.

So let’s talk about Washington’s, hang your heads in shame day, perhaps this should be a national holiday or a new game. The day those who have sold their votes and their shriveled souls voted against 83% the people of this nation, yeah that day. Most of us were focusing on, just give us one thing we have been so beaten down we all focused on one small thing. We would have danced naked in the rain if these Azzhats had voted YEA on Expanded Background Checks (715) in the Senate. We would have celebrated in the streets knowing the long fight ahead, if those prickless wonders would have just grabbed their shriveled balls and stood up to the great and powerful NRA and their money. But no, they couldn’t even give us that one small thing, not even that one small harmless thing. These ideological Stand Your Ground Azzhats said no, we aren’t going to do a damn thing, not one thing to keep you or your children safer on the streets or in their schools. With the parents of Sandy Hook watching from the Gallery they said Nay, to Amendment 715 and a host of other Amendments. We didn’t even know about most of them, we hadn’t even heard about most of them, they had so little chance of getting past the Senate no one was talking about them.

I say, why the hell not?

Well that being said, let us examine all the other Amendments to Senate Bill 649 Safe Communities and Safe Schools, these soulless bastards (and this is an insult to bastards everywhere of which I am one) spent their time debating and voting on. Ready for a ride? Hang on, get your hanky and be ready to gnash your teeth.

Amendment Description

Yea

Nay

Status

711 To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes 38-D, 1-R, 1-I 15-D, 44-R, 1-I Rejected
713 To increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking. 53-D, 2-R, 2-I 0-D, 42-R,0-I Rejected
714 To regulate large capacity ammunition feeding devices. 43-D, 1-R, 2-I 10-D, 44-R, 0-I Rejected
715 To protect Second Amendment rights, ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process. 48-D, 4-R, 2-I 5-D, 41-R,  0-I Rejected
717 To withhold 5 percent of Community Oriented Policing Services program Federal funding from States and local governments that release sensitive and confidential information on law-abiding gun owners and victims of domestic violence. 22-D,   45-R, 0-I,   3-D NV 28-D, 0-R,  2-I Accepted
719 Ensuring those who have a conceal carry from one state can carry in other states without having to re-apply or confirm eligibility. 13-D,44-R, 0-I 40-D, 1-R,  2-I Rejected
720 Extending mental incompetency to specific persons, not defined in amendment. 9-D,45-R, 2-I 44-D,0-R, 0-I Rejected
725 To address gun violence, improve the availability of records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, address mental illness in the criminal justice system, and end straw purchases and trafficking of illegal firearms, and for other purposes. 9-D, 43-R, 0-I 44-D, 2-R,2-I Rejected
730 To reauthorize and improve programs related to mental health and substance use disorders. 50-D,43-R, 2-I,   2-D NV 2-R Accepted

Yes, that is correct, you read it right two Amendments’ passed this week, but we didn’t hear much about them did we? The first passed will protect ‘law-abiding’ gun owners by withholding funds from states that release information, please note they also don’t want information released on domestic violence victims. Why is that? Could it be because it is likely this might tell someone who his or her abuser is? This might tell someone, who that likely ‘law-abiding’ gun owner is who is likely to kill them.

proverbs216

By the end of the week, the Senate had ensured the gun nuts ‘law-abiding’ gun owners would continue to buy and sell guns without restrictions. No restrictions on how guns are sold, no restrictions on what kind of guns are sold, no restrictions on to whom guns are sold, no restrictions on ammunition or clip capacity. By the end of the week the Senate, despite every single legitimate poll in the nation saying the American people wanted change, supported Expanded Background Checks, supported restrictions; this Senate pissed on America, pissed on the parents of Sandy Hook, pissed on every victim of gun violence.

Since Newtown and as of April 19, there have been 3,531 deaths by gun in America. Of these fifty-seven (57) have been children under twelve years of age. It is hard to get these numbers; Slate compiles them as no agency has them.

This week just proves we, the people have no voice. Again I weep for us, I weep for each death, each family who buried a loved one, each child who will not achieve their potential.

What now? Where do we go from here? My fury at the tone deaf Senators is boundless, what about you?

Read the debates here:

Debates, April 15 part 1, Debates, April 15 part 2, Debates, April 15 part 3 .Debates, April 15 part 4

Debates, April 17, this one is worth a read, Debates, April 17 the amendment debates

Debates, April 18 Debates, April 18 and let me say I despise this coward Senator John Cornyn, Texas

My Anniversary Shots Fired

LVal_2010I looked out at thirty-three faces all staring back at me as I stood at the front of the room. Some young, some old, one woman the rest men. They did not want to be in this stuffy room sitting on those uncomfortable chairs. They didn’t have a choice, each one of them had been ordered into this room on this night for Victim Impact. Each one of them was a Texas Department of Criminal Justice Parolee; if they hadn’t signed in tonight, they could be revoked and returned to prison.

So there they slouched, White, Black, Brown; staring at me mostly I suspect hoping I would talk fast so they could fulfill this requirement and get the hell out of there.

“Tomorrow is my Anniversary.”

“Twenty-one years ago tomorrow, three young men decided for no good reason to try to take my life. Before I tell you the rest of the story we are going to play a game, it is called ‘What do you See’, so just shout it out when you look at me what do you see.”

This is their list; it took them a minute or so to get warmed up.

  • White Lady
  • Working Woman
  • Successful Woman
  • Educated
  • Well-Dressed
  • Rich
  • Articulate
  • Mean
  • Crazy Woman

Interesting isn’t it? I didn’t give them my list until much later. I did tell them my story though. I told them the story of what happened. I told them the story of what it did to my family. I told them how I felt when I found out the ages of the children who did such terrible harm to me, how I felt knowing they were going to prison.

I also told them a little bit about my own childhood, that it hadn’t always been rainbows, puppy dogs or easy. I told them about being declared a juvenile delinquent, being turned over to the state and being a runaway and on the streets at a very young age.

It matters they are not able to blow off the story of survival, compassion or Impact because of what they see when they look at me today.

I am not unkind, but I don’t pull punches about my feelings toward my attackers. I don’t lie about my feelings regarding their release either. Today I found something new, the reason why the youngest did his entire twenty, his complete sentence; his prison record was so bad he could never make parole. The one who was out and had his parole revoked, he was on the street less than a month, 28 days to be precise he is back in now. The last one, his parole was approved in October but he has not been released yet, he has nowhere to go.

Argicles.businessinsider Image

Articles.businessinsider Image

With each of these new pieces of information, I am torn. Torn between my wish they had made different choices. My wish they could find redemption. My true heartfelt wish they would or could be brought to the light and thus to a different manhood. Then there is the me that woke up this morning in pain again, the me that may face another surgery this year if the gym and physical therapy and acupuncture and everything else I am trying fails. There is the me that sometimes simply can’t get through the day without snapping for pain. There is the me that lies about seizures to keep people from worrying. There is the me who sometimes thinks I really will be alone someday because living with this me really isn’t a pleasant walk in the park.

When I look at this, these tears to my heart I have a very difficult time.

Whenever I speak at Victim Impact, I always allow for questions. I am always open and rarely am offended. Today I was offended, perhaps because things are close to the surface. Perhaps because tomorrow is my anniversary; but I think I was offended because it was simply an offensive exchange.

Sitting in the front row was a gentleman, perhaps in his forties who throughout the session had been fidgeting, rolling his eyes and clearly had something on his mind. Finally, he spoke up (this is paraphrased and not exact).

“Are you saying you never get angry, not even when you are in pain or when you have a seizure?”

“I did not say I am never angry, of course I get angry. I am human and have normal human reactions.”

“That is what I thought. So your interaction with the parole board to try to keep them inside is revenge!”

“No, it is not revenge. It is justice. For what they did to me, my family and their other victims they have never shown remorse. That lack of remorse or understanding means they will very likely do it again.”

“You threw them into prison, where it is insane, violent and terrible. You admitted they were children. You let them be turned into animals. Did you ever think about what they would become by keeping them there?”

“Yes, but what they did both before and after was not my choice it was their choice. They made these choices. At some point they have to take responsibility for those choices. They got time, I got life. Some day they will get out, they will choose what they do with the rest of their life. I don’t get to choose, my choices were taken away because of what they did. My life was shortened and changed because of what they did.”

At this point he started to argue but one of the host parole officers stepped in. In every crowd there is one like this. I don’t know why, there just is always one. The problem is there is a piece of me that will always wonder, always question my own heart. What if what he says isn’t at least in small part true, am I truly that terrible person who is only seeking revenge?

Tomorrow is my Anniversary. I am struggling with this.

My list:

  • Daughter
  • Grandmother
  • Mother
  • Wife
  • Sister
  • Aunt
  • Cousin
  • Friend

If you saw any of the above when you looked at me, your first instinct would not be to hurt me. That is why I stand up. That is why I do Victim Impact. Tomorrow it will be Twenty-One years since three young men and three bj-286x300bullets changed my life forever.

Insanity in the Face of Truth

Last night I watched two important testimonies to government bodies. As I watched these I pondered, with tears in my eyes and rage in my heart why we, as a nation, continue to have these discussions. I also considered the enormous strength of the individuals speaking while thinking to myself, I wonder what will the media, both mainstream and social reactions to these testimonies be tomorrow. One final thought occurred to me, as I pondered the testimony of one … why the hell wasn’t he or any person from this great tragedy in Washington.

Can you guess the testimonies I am talking about? Can you guess the issue? I suspect you can, it is an issue I have spent time on in the past and one I am passionate about.

Gun Control, or as I like to think of it Gun Sanity.

One thing I thought as I watched the testimonies yesterday, why in the Hell was there not a single person from Newtown testifying in front of the US Senate, not a single solitary parent or first responder. No, instead they had this fool of a woman who made up stories from her vivid imagination and this million-dollar lobbyist for the death by bullet industry:

 Gayle Trotter, an ultra-conservative activist who before she took on the role of pro-gun fantasy weaver, she is also a card carrying member of the far right with not a single credential that would qualify her testimony. This is the same woman who in 2012 wrote on her website a scathing piece against VAWA. But you know, high capacity clips will solve the problem just shoot those thugs as they come through the door.

 Senate Judiciary Committee Hears From Prominent Voices On Both Sides Of Gun Control Debate

Wayne LaPierre, an ultra-conservative mouthpiece for the board membership of the NRA, he no longer even speaks for the majority of the paying membership. When listening to his Testimony one has to wonder, what the Hell he is doing there. Are these people sworn in? Do they swear to tell the truth or are they simply there reading from a script to provide their effing talking points. How does this man sleep at night?  article-lapierre-1221

By the way, they do swear to the truth, they are sworn in. I don’t understand how they are allowed to make up stories, fantasies out of their heads as part of their heads or asses as part of their testimony.

What brought me to my knees and then to my feet was to see Representative Gabrielle Giffords as she slowly walked to the front of the room. Each one of her words painfully spoken, challenging the room and her former peers to do something, to be brave for once to do the job they are elected to do. I thought to myself listening to her, who among us would be as brave as her, as strong as her? Who among us would survive what she has survived and stand before them and demand justice for a nation crying out for change. My tears of compassion for her and her husband flowed freely as I listened to her.

Her husband Mark Kelly testified directly after her testimony. He was fair, he was balanced. Both he and his wife are supporters of Gun Sanity and Gun Ownership. Mark Kelly spoke well, he didn’t make up stories. He was factual in his testimony. It is my suspicion his testimony will be given less weight than both Gayle Trotter and Wayne LaPierre.

Now to the one person who should have been heard but wasn’t invited. David Wheeler, the father of Ben Wheeler, a 6 year old child and one of the victims at Sandyhook Elementary. Mr. Wheeler testified at a public hearing held by the Connecticut legislature’s Bipartisan Task Force on Violence and Public Safety. I can only ask, why wasn’t he or any of the victim’s parents or first responders of Sandyhook invited to speak in Washington?

Here is his testimony.

I can only say this today, we must bring sanity to gun control. We must stop diverting our attention to what isn’t real and isn’t the truth. Wayne LaPierre wants us all to believe it is the “crazy” among us and so we should look over there, stop trying to control guns instead “control the ‘lunatics’”. This is simply a diversion tactic, the truth those with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of violence than to commit violence. Yes, we need to make certain we are providing help and support but this doesn’t address the core issue.

Mr. Wheeler made a profound statement and I want to paraphrase it here, the Declaration of Independence wasn’t accidental in its framing. The following is from that first of our documents, one those Gun Rights Advocates all too often forget:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

It seems we have perhaps in some of our wings gone too far today. There seems a belief the correct answer is armed insurrection rather than supporting our republic through debate and the democratic processes. It seems, based on the content of some of the testimony before the Senate Judiciary these small and frankly insane minorities and their nut job spokespeople now speak for all of us, their money and voice override ours.

I fear for us as a nation and a people when the loss of tens of thousands each year means nothing and our voice simply falters.

Revocation

Dear Valentine (I love how they make it personal)

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Parole Division issued a pre-revocation warrant for the arrest of this offender due to violation of supervision.

Offender: ASSHAT THAT WIELDED A GUN TO SHOOT YOU ON A DARK NIGHT NEARLY 21 YEARS AGO

STATE ID: XXX                                    TDCJ ID: YYYY

Date Pre-Revocation Warrant Issued: 1/6/2013

For information contact FORT WORTH DPO 3 or call (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

If this offender is returned to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (meaning back to prison to serve the rest of his 35 years), you will be notified of further actions and given the opportunity to provide your input. To find out if the offender is in custody, you may contact Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) service at (XXX) XXXX or at their website.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

41510_prison-gatesThe above is part of the letter I received from Angela McCown, Director of Victim Services in Austin in reference to the status of one of the AssHat offenders who on February 7, 1992 kidnapped me, shot me three times and left me to die on a dark road alone. For his crime against me and another victim in a separate offense, equally heinous he received a sentence of 35 years.

In October, despite my active role in his parole hearing, in all his parole hearings over the past 20 years he was granted parole. He walked out of prison free but for supervision. So fine, not free supervised. Still more free than he had been, free to get a job. Free to see his family. Free to have sex with a woman. Free drive a car. Free dammit, free to breath air not filled with the smells of other men.

I asked time and again, why would you consider parole for a person so obviously not prepared for freedom. Why?

There never was an answer. Perhaps the answer was 20 years was enough. Well, now they have their answer. No, it effing was not enough. Some people simply do not appreciate the gift you give them. Some people are not sorry; some people are not capable of learning from their mistakes. Some people are never going to be ready for the world and the world should never be subjected to them.

This person is perhaps one of them. At seventeen years of age, this person picked up a gun and said I want to kill white people. With that in mind, this person recruited friends and set about on a rampage to do just that. The harm he caused to his victims and their families was life-long, we do not get parole from our injuries. He has never shown any remorse for his actions, not once not ever not in any of his parole hearings has he ever once made a statement that indicated he understood his actions or was remorseful.

They should never have granted his parole, ever. Now, not even six-months of freedom and a warrant is issued.

GOOD!

It is my hope they find him soon. Yes, I already checked. No, he is not in custody yet.

It is my fervent hope they return him to serve the remainder of his sentence. Perhaps in the remaining fifteen years, he will find his soul and discover his heart. Perhaps he will learn remorse and humanity.

In the meantime, it is fervent hope he has not harmed anyone during his taste of freedom.

Hard Stop Sanity

If I haven’t visited you lately I apologize, I had a very difficult time processing my feelings after the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary this past Friday. I have watched social media for the week, watched friends and family make their personal stands on the issues of gun control, mental health and a host of other surrounding issues. This is a disclaimer, I am not a mental health expert, I am not an expert on the Constitution nor am I an expert on all the issues surrounding firearms, murder rates or suicide. I am a parent and a grandparent, I am a victim of violent crime, I am a survivor of domestic violence and I am a citizen of the United States. I care about living in a civil and sane society in the future and I care about the future of my children and grandchildren.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln, Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois January 27, 1838

We are complicit through our inaction, through our fear and our refusal to acknowledge the issues we create through greed, ignorance and ideology. Yes, I said it we created the Hell that sees our children dying in their classrooms, in the streets, in the mall. We are responsible for this mayhem, this chaos this vicious cycle.

We are a nation of paranoids, a nation of victims wrapped in flags with Bibles in one hand and high capacity military grade weapons in the other. What are we afraid of? Oh sure, the government is tyrannical and somehow we must protect ourselves (hint: even with the weapons you have they have better ones). Of course, you need these high capacity clips and assault weapons to defend your home (hint: if you have fired 100 rounds in 30 seconds Bible&Gunsyou have likely killed your own family along with the bad guys and if they aren’t down you aren’t getting out alive).

We should not be quick to jump to conclusions, we should not be quick to slap that ‘insanity’ label on giving us the excuse to wipe our hands and carry on with our mundane lives. The truth is, most spree murderers are not clinically ‘insane’, do not have long-term psychiatric problems and are not psychotic. The make-up of the mass murder is changing, what isn’t changing is access to high-capacity magazines and military guns making the death toll higher.

The meme of those who demand their Second Amendment rights remain sacrosanct:

  • Guns don’t kill people Kill
  • 64,999,987 legal gun owners killed no one yesterday
  • Know guns, know peace and safety. No guns, no peace nor safety.
  • Gun control is hitting what you aim at.
  • The right to buy weapons is the right to be free.

Don’t you just love some of those? Yeah, me too they make me all warm and fuzzy; not.

In light of the tragedies of recent years, does the above stupidity hold weight? Can we honestly stand aside and allow our nation to continue to hold the record for death by gun violence among other high income nations, is this what we should be proud of?

Just a small slice

Just a small slice

I am pragmatic; the monster is already out of the box. We cannot fix what is already so tragically broken. We cannot change the minds or hearts of those who believe the only way to a Civil society is by arming themselves, arming school teachers, arming college students in their classrooms and dorms. We cannot change a society convinced they must be armed to the teeth, in their homes, their cars and walking the streets to protect themselves from the government, those violent ‘others’ they heard about or the zombie apocalypse.

Let’s start with some facts; I think it is important to make this a non-partisan issue:

  • Gun owners are both ‘Liberal’ and ‘Conservative’
  • When the Constitution was written, guns were breach load muskets single shot
  • Slave and Land holders wrote the Constitution; in fact, within the first ten amendments slavery is ratified. We do occasionally see the error of our ways and correct them, the Constitution was not written on stone tables by a lightning bolt shot from on high.
  • Anyone is able to purchase any type of firearm, including military grade semi-automatic rifles and handguns without a background check or waiting period in the secondary market (gun shows and private sales, including the internet). Forty percent (40%) of all legally purchased firearms are purchased this way.
  • Anyone can purchase as much ammunition in any clip size as they want without any tracking, registration or license on the internet.
  • Approximately 10,000 people are murdered every year in gun violence, many of them teenagers.

There are those who say their right to bear arms, their right to conceal carry, their right to own any weapon and any clip size is inviolate. They say armed rebellion would be the result of any attempt at Gun Control, they say SCOTUS has confirmed their right in District of Columbia v Heller to be armed and dangerous under any and all circumstances and without restraint.

This is what I say; I say there must be some middle ground that satisfies all of us. There must be some middle ground that stops the senseless deaths of our children and the murderous rampages in our public places.

This is what I believe must happen if we are ever to begin to heal this nation:

  • Require national registration
  • Demand Conceal Carry permits only in the following circumstance and make this a federal mandate:
    • Show true need (e.g. over the road truck drivers, certain security personnel, off duty police)
    • Attend regular training
  • Require same background check and waiting period in secondary market as in gun stores
  • Create national mental health registry
  • Update criminal background check registry to include domestic violence
  • Do not allow restoration of civil rights after time-served to allow gun purchase for violent criminals
  • Update background check to include Terrorist Watch List
  • Limit Clip Size to 10 rounds
  • Do not allow private purchase without background checks, make private sales illegal even between family members
  • Shut down internet sales of ammunition
  • Require gun safes in the home of all gun owners with children under 18
  • Raise the age limit to 25 for legal purchase and gun ownership
  • Require gun safety class before purchase
  • Change Stand your Ground laws to apply only to personal property / personal homes make this federal rather than state by state
  • Create a federal buy-back program to get illegal guns off the streets of our cities, give it two (2) years. Within the scope of the buy-back program, strengthen the laws and penalties for owning an illegal gun, selling a gun illegally and for using an illegal gun in the commission of a crime.

I don’t want to take your guns. I want sanity and safety. I would rather not call it gun control, I would rather call it Gun Sanity. These days I am afraid to go to the theater, the mall or anywhere else. If you are a gun owner, frankly I am afraid of you. Is this really the world any of us want?

http://www.academia.edu/1199492/Hegemonic_Masculinity_and_Mass_Murderers_in_the_United_States

http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/gunviolence?s=1

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/in-gun-ownership-statistics-partisan-divide-is-sharp/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/jul/22/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list

Hunting Goodwill

560px-DespondentAngelMetCemHeadWander the malls festooned with fake glitter and false boughs of pine, blasting Christmas carols of peace on earth and goodwill towards all men. Peace and goodwill, one has to wonder how we accomplish this wondrous peace and goodwill when one of our nation’s most dominate and viciously protected rights is the ‘right’ to bear arms.

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Goodwill indeed, twenty children under 10 years of age dead, twenty-eight people in all but TWENTY CHILDREN shot to death in their classroom. Twenty mothers and fathers, who will never again kiss their children goodnight, never again tuck them in at night. Twenty parents, who will not see their children grow to adulthood, who will not watch with pride as their children graduate, marry and have children of their own. All their dreams lay wasted at the end of a gun wielded by a twenty year old with access to the legal guns of his mother. LEGALLY OBTAINED GUNS.

The Second Amendment is ensconced in our national psyche, come hell or high water we will hang on to our effing guns. No matter the innocent lives laid in the cold ground, the families in mourning, by God and all his Angels we will keep our guns and our ammunition and our rights to bear it all without interference of any kind. No one will touch those rights, no matter what. My and other people’s personal right to safety on the streets, in the mall, in theaters or in the classroom will sgen577hnever be considered, we do not count in the grand scheme and neither do any other gun violence victims. So long as the Neanderthals in the NRA can convince enough people it is viable they might someday need to protect themselves from the government, or save a life during a mass shooting, or battle a zombie horde by keeping a well-stocked arsenal in their basement and a side-arm concealed, just in case.

Without Registration and without Limitations, we will by all that is holy and by Hell and the Damned, protect our Right to Own our Arsenal, to Conceal Carry and there is not a damned thing anyone can do or say to limit this right. If anyone suggests otherwise they will be demonized, they will be called fanatics; they will be debrided, sometimes painfully so. They will certainly be taken to hard task for their unpopular position; friends and family will drive them into corners with meme that are not defensible in the face of the innocent lives lost.

I have been lashed with it all before and those who have lashed me both friends and family forget sometimes I was left on a dark road with three bullets in me bleeding out and dying but they by God thought it important for me to know I was an effing idiot for my position. So be my guest in the future, call me a fanatic. I am sick in my soul of hearing about gun rights and the Second Amendment. Call me a fanatic, those of you who believe your rights outweigh my rights or the rights of the following:

  • the twenty children and six adults dead today at Sandy Hook elementary school
  • those wounded in the mall last week in Oregon
  • the twelve dead Aurora victims
  • the two teenagers victims of Stand your Ground killings in Florida in this past year (Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis)
  • or tell Nick Rainey the 30 year-old salesman also killed in Florida, with a defendant also using the nefarious Stand your Ground defense
  • Gabby Gifford and the six dead in the same shooting victims of the Arizona shooting
  • the victims at the Sihk Temple in Wisconsin
  • the Chardon victims, Daniel Parmertor, 16; Demetrius Hewlin, 16; and Russell King Jr., 17

These are just 24 months’ worth of random killings or attempts at them. We thought Aurora was terrible, we mourned for a brief moment social media blew up for a minute, apparently not hard enough or long enough. We demanded justice for Trayvon, but barely blinked for Nick or Jordan. The Chardon victims barely made the news, and the Ohio mall was not even a blip on our radar likely because there was no massacre, no random death to titillate us or incite the media for hour upon hour, day upon day.

There are more, there are always more aren’t there? The children lying in the streets of our cities mowed down by illegal guns. The women and sometimes their children, lying in pools of their own blood murdered by their partners by legal guns in fits of rage.  Yes, please call me a fanatic, call me a zealot, call me anything at all I simply do not give a damn what you call me because I am all those things. I will become all those things, I will stop here and now trying to strike a balance between politically correct and my honest belief guns are no longer needful things in the hands of private citizens without limitations, regulation or oversight.

I am tired of all of it, the senseless death, the random violence the terrible and horrifying loss of life. I am tired of children losing their life before they reach adulthood. I am sick of the politics of money taking the front seat to the lives of people. I am tired and worn out, heartsick as I watch news of the shooting of Sandy Hook Elementary and the 26 deaths at the school, plus the shooters mother in her own home and by one of her own legal guns. I am sick to death of those who wrap themselves in sanctity and patriotism, scared to say no more, it is time to change the rules and be damned the NRA and the love affair with violence and guns.

I am bored with the idiotic motto of fools with guns and a love of random and unnecessary violence, ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’.

Well, I guess Sandy Hook Elementary School just goes to show what happens when a Human is wielded by a Gun doesn’t it?

I am effin’ tired of the idiots who suggest a car is an equally dangerous weapon. Or murder would still happen with a knife if a person wanted murder, yes you azzhats that is true however, a lunatic with a knife could not kill TWENTY CHILDREN in less than 5 minutes.

This morning the bodies of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims have not been moved from where they fell. The children remain on the floor of the school, unreleased to their families, as the school remains a Crime Scene under investigation.

I weep for the families, all of them. I know what my family went through when I was shot and left for dead. I know what I go through even now twenty years later. These survivors, the children will need enormous support systems for years to come. The families who lost children will never fully recover, their loss is unspeakable what they have lost will never be recovered.

I tire of hearing ‘now is not the time, each and every time a tragedy happens and we see terrible loss’, I must ask if not now then when?

Nevermore Forever

I sat back yesterday, I watched and I wept. Yes, I wept. In fact, I am still weeping, I can’t stop my tears from falling.

Israelites encounter undrinkable, bitter water on their journey

Every single time I read anything about the Sikh temple murders I start crying again. Not because I am personally related to any of the victims, rather because I am connected through my humanity, through my empathy and through my compassion for their loss.

We should, all of us be connected to them, weeping for them and reaching out to them in their pain with our sympathy. We should all be standing shoulder to shoulder with them offering our human compassion. We should all be offering to mourn with them.

When will it be enough?

When will there be enough innocent lives piled at the door of the NRA and those who do their bidding for sane people to say ‘no more’.

When will we say we have seen enough senseless death on our streets, in our town squares, in our public buildings, our schools and places of worship to demand change and stand up to the bullies. When will we stop, as a nation and a people, kowtowing to these tyrants with corporate money and an agenda that has nothing to do with our safety, our peace of mind and everything to do with xenophobia and fear-mongering. When?

Isn’t enough?

What will it take for us to change the hearts of the heartless?

I am not going to throw statistics out there of all the innocents dead this decade, or even this year; these numbers are easily found. I am not going to rail at those who demand their rights in the face of the horrifying and senseless violence; this clearly falls on deaf ears. I will only say this; I am speechless, heartbroken in truth at the depths we have fallen, the bitter water we drink and call it sweet.

I leave you with this, because this is what the victims will not have –

525,600 minutes or another Season of Love

Rapprochement or End Game

Egregious actions and the complete lack of human empathy, compassion and ethics is what this week has brought to us in the wake of Aurora. I will not go on a tear about Gun Rights or my position on them, yes, I have one and it might surprise many who know my history. What I will do though is pull some very real actions and words from this past week’s headlines and talk about why we are completely out of control as a nation, that we casually accept this behavior and these words. That many of us think nothing of these ‘Leaders’, elected or otherwise vomiting their vitriolic and noxious thinking into the airwaves without a single person standing up and saying to them;

SHUT THE F’ UP YOU VILE EXCUSE OF A HUMAN BEING

Example One – Rep. John McCaherty (R-High Ridge)Missouri will be raffling off an AR-15 at a fundraiser to be held 27-August-2012. According to him and his office this has been planned since April and it is simply, well too

Rep. John McCaherty

late to change the prize to be awarded for a donation of $25. Never mind, this is the same gun used in the Colorado Mass Murder of 12 people last week, never mind whoever wins will not have had a background check before picking up said Assault Rifle and will be perfectly capable of killing everyone at the raffle if they come prepared. No, never mind any of that, John McCaherty is planning to go ahead with his Raffle (note he has renamed it a Drawing) but he is praying for the families of the dead.

Example Two – Kenneth Roop, 52 of Cape Coral, Florida who on Wednesday the 25thof July for no reason other than he damned wall wanted to shot and killed a door-to-door steak sales man, Nick Rainey 30. He didn’t have to

Nick Rainey shooting victim

shoot him the second time in the back of the head, after he was down, indeed in his statement to the police Kenneth claimed his victim had screamed ‘You shot me’, in an antagonistic manner after he had shot him in the shoulder the first time. Using words, we have heard from another ‘Stand your ground’ defense, Roop claims he was still in fear when he shot Rainey in the back of the head ‘for effect’. It should be noted, this isn’t the first time Roop has been in trouble with the law for brandishing guns at unarmed persons, at the time those involved believed he wasn’t in full control of all his senses.

Dr. Jerry Newcombe

Example Three – Dr. Jerry Newcombe, of Truth in Action Ministries. Could not wait for the victims to be identified or their families to be notified before he was jumping on the Biblical bandwagon and blaming this tragedy on our Secular nation. Yes, this self-serving bottom feeder was already writing his pronouncement of damnation as they were announcing the numbers of dead and wounded. He was already blaming society and secularism, along with the loss of prayer and Christianity from our public institutions, as if the Constitution and our foundation demanded this from its beginning. This pompous jackass didn’t even have the decency to ‘pray’ for the victims of the tragedy.

Azzhats, all of them.

Of course, the list goes on when it comes to gun violence and the responses to the tragedy of Aurora. My question though is simply this, when we take the time to look at just these examples don’t we ask ourselves what is wrong with the world we have created for ourselves? Can’t we do better than this? Are we so entrenched in our views it is impossible for us to take a step forward, to meet halfway across the table, sit down for détente and find a reasonable middle that will show our respect for each other and our future.

The following are some Facebook postings I came across, at the time I was stunned. Now I am simply numb.

In fact this isn’t true. The shooter in Colorado obtained his guns legally. The shooter in Florida was a legal gun owner. This is at best disingenuous.

This is nearly as good as comparing guns to cars. Yes, it is true guns don’t kills people. People with weapons in their hands kill people. People who purchase weapons with the ability to fire 400 rounds per minute. People with guns in their hand, inanimate objects with only one purpose, to kill living things; unlike a rock or a car. I find the arguments those who insist their rights to gun ownership without a single restriction to be fabulously narcissistic. In the face of terrible tragedy this is the best you can do, defend your right to kill and wrap it in God, the Bible and the Constitution.

I say this all the time, I will always land on the side of being a Nation of Laws. I will always land on the side of defending the Constitution no matter how offensive I might at times find it. But this, this complete lack of empathy for the victims of tragedy is offensive because I am a human being with compassion and concern for my fellow humans, those I share this soil with. All I can say, grow up and get over yourselves. Start serving more than your own self-interests.

I apologize for my rage. I will hopefully move on from here.

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